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Effects Of Xanax Use

Xanax is the most commonly prescribed drug for treating anxiety and panic disorders. The effects of Xanax will depend greatly on whether the person is using it as prescribed or recreationally.

What Are The Effects Of Using Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name of Alprazolam, which is found in the Benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is the most commonly prescribed drug for treating anxiety and panic disorders. The effects of Xanax can vary greatly depending on numerous factors, including the quantity used, tolerance, body weight, and method of use. When taken as prescribed, Xanax corrects chemical imbalances in the brain, but an individual can still experience side effects even when taken as prescribed.

Xanax is prescribed in tablet form that, when taken orally, gets absorbed into the body through the stomach, passes through the mucous membrane and enters the liver. The chemicals then enter your bloodstream and work their way into the brain. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax work on the GABA-A receptors on the brain. These receptors are activated by GABA neurotransmitters, and thus producing sedative effects. Xanax is considered an agonist, meaning it amplifies the effects of the GABA-A receptors.

A person who is experiencing anxiety has an increase in chemicals such as adrenaline and a deficiency in GABA. A chemical imbalance of high adrenaline and low levels of GABA increase excitement in the brain and drugs like Xanax are used to correct the imbalance. If Xanax is taken as intended, then it should alleviate symptoms of anxiety and users may feel “normal” after the first dose. Those who take it recreationally, or without a prescription, will experience a heavy sedative state. Those under the influence of Xanax claim to feel more relaxed, quiet, and tired. Using Xanax recreationally will create an imbalance in the brain that can result in feeling calm and relaxed with sensations of euphoria. If too much is taken, it can lead to slurred speech, coordination imbalance, and passing out.

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Side Effects Of Using Xanax

Xanax can be habit-forming so it should only be taken as prescribed. When not taken as prescribed, the side effects of Xanax intensify in strength. Misuse of this drug can cause addiction, overdose, or even death. Common side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness or feeling tired
  • Slurred speech and lack of balance or coordination
  • Being forgetful
  • Feeling anxious early in the morning

You should call your doctor if you experience any of the following while taking Xanax:

  • Depressive moods
  • Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • Increased energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Unusual risk-taking behavior
  • Agitation
  • Hostility
  • Confusion
  • Tremors or Seizures
  • Increased or pounding heartbeat

Effects Of Xanax With Other Substances

Xanax should never be taken in combination with other substances, especially alcohol and Opioid medications. Drinking while taking Xanax may increase the effects of alcohol, causing users to feel more drowsy, dizzy, or tired. Xanax can interact with many medications including:

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Antifungals
  • Antibiotics
  • Heartburn drugs
  • Opioids

Mixing any of these drugs may prevent the pathway responsible for eliminating Xanax from the body as quickly as possible. Over some time, this blockage can lead to a toxic buildup of the drug and result in an overdose.

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Withdrawal From Xanax

The effects of Xanax are experienced in different time frames depending on various factors. Individuals who ingest Xanax begin to feel its effects within 15 to 60 minutes after administration. Those who snort Xanax typically experience side effects within 15-20 minutes. Peak effects usually occur after one or two hours and the strongest impacts can be felt up to 4 hours after taking a dose. Lingering effects or “fuzzy feelings” may continue as the drug wears off.

As Xanax begins to wear off, individuals may stop feeling the calm, relaxed, lethargic sensations associated with the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal typically begin two to seven days after the last dose of Xanax. Withdrawal symptoms may last two to eight weeks. Do not stop taking Xanax without talking to a medical provider as some withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. It is best to taper off high doses until quitting entirely, and it is best to detox from Xanax in a medically-supervised detox due to the high-risk of seizures. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Worsened anxiety or panic attacks
  • Poor concentration
  • Seizures

Overdose From Xanax

Those taking Xanax, it’s important to know that repeated use over time can lead to withdrawal symptoms within a short amount of time. The FDA has approved Xanax to be prescribed for up to 2 months (8 weeks) max. The only way to completely avoid risks is to not take the drug at all. Tolerance to Xanax could lead to taking more than the necessary amount in order to feel the full effects and result in an overdose. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Fainting

Taking Xanax with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause serious side effects, coma, or death.

Stop The Effects Of Xanax Today

Regular recreational users of Xanax may develop problems with anxiety in addition to a physical dependency. They may continue to use the drug in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms and thus, taking Xanax to self-medicate. The effects of Xanax can be dangerous or even fatal when not taken as prescribed. If you are struggling with addiction contact a treatment provider for rehab-related help today.

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Ginni Correa

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  • Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and activist living in Orlando, FL. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and double majored in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies. After graduation, Ginni worked as an educator in public schools and an art therapist in a behavioral health hospital where she found a passion working with at-risk populations and advocating for social justice and equality. She is also experienced in translating and interpreting with an emphasis in language justice and creating multilingual spaces. Ginni’s mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse while creating more accessible treatment in communities. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and attending music festivals.

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Theresa Parisi

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  • All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by Theresa Parisi, a certified addiction professional.

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