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Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Xanax Abuse

Xanax is known to cause addiction in pretty much the same fashion as any other drug, for example, the opiates. It alters the brain’s structure in such a way that it functions normally only in the presence of the drug. When used for extended periods of time, tolerance is produced and more amounts are needed to achieve the same effects. Tolerance may develop even when drug is used exactly as prescribed. It may develop quickly or after some time depending upon:

xanax abuse
  • Amount of Xanax being used
  • The way user metabolizes the drug
  • Whether it is combined with other drugs or not

Generally, it takes few days to weeks to develop tolerance. The development of tolerance forces the user to take higher amounts of drug that results into addiction. A number of signs, symptoms and side effects are produced by abuse and addiction of Xanax that may help to find out if a loved one is struggling with Xanax addiction.

Table of contents:

  • 1.Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
  • 2.Side Effects of Xanax Abuse
  • 3.Health Effects of Xanax: Short Term and Long Term
  • 4.Xanax Overdose

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse:

Xanax abuse leaves its signs and symptoms on body, mind and behavior of the addict.

Physical signs and symptoms:

Physical signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse include:

  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Sleeping for elongated periods of time
  • Laziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes

Mental and behavioral signs and symptoms:

Xanax abuse produces its effects on brain by changing its structure and function. Also, noticeable changes can be seen in the behavior of the addict.

  • Overall changed personality: The addict fails not enjoy the activities he previously enjoyed.
  • Secretive behavior: In an attempt to hide the addiction from family, the conduct of addict becomes increasingly secretive and weird.
  • Elevated mood: Addict becomes more talkative and social.
  • Confusion: It becomes difficult to understand normal things for the addict.
  • Failure to maintain normal relationship with people: Addict gets into fights more often.
  • Marital problems: Ignoring responsibilities causes problems with the spouse. Declined sexual performance maybe another reason.
  • Suicidal tendencies: Addict may attempt suicide.
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities: Because a greater portion of time is being spent on obtaining and using the drug.
  • Forgetfulness: Memory is affected adversely by Xanax use. Even though the damage is minor and only short term memory is affected, the consequences can be far reaching
  • Drowsiness: The addict is always drowsy and seems to be half asleep.
  • Slurred speech: When the user speaks, it seems as if he is high on alcohol.
  • Poor performance at school or office: Addicts often tend to miss school and work because they don’t feel good enough or they don’t want to face people.
  • Financial problems: Due to failure to work for money while money is being spent on the drug at the same time.
  • Failure to remember important things: Addict tends to forget important things to do and important dates.
  • Decreased concentration: The ability to concentrate on a task is adversely affected.
  • Sleepiness: The user feels excessively sleepy all the time because of sedative nature of the drug.

Side Effects of Xanax Abuse:

Just like every other prescription medication, Xanax has its side effects. Side effects are produced even when it is used as prescribed. Abuse can result into even more severe symptoms. Side effects of the drug include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Declined sexual performance
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Problems with memory
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Changes in weight
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Pain during urination
  • Increased salivation
  • Skin problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Seizures

Health Effects of Xanax:

Xanax abuse takes its toll on the body and mind of the user. It produces both long term and short term effects.

Short term effects:

Short term effects appear after the use of drug and generally disappear after some time. They do not cause any permanent damage and are often pleasant for the user. Short term changes may include:

  • Reduction of tension
  • Decreased restlessness
  • Relief from anxiety

The negative effects of medication start to appear even after using it for a very small time. These may include:

  • Decreased concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired memory
  • Declined cognitive abilities

If Xanax is taken in much higher amounts, the results can be even more dangerous. Some users become confused and disoriented that keeps them from performing efficiently at everyday tasks.

Long term effects:

If Xanax is used for extended periods of time, the changes produced can be irreversible and the addict never fully recovers. Long term effects include:

  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Poor memory
  • Depression
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Psychotic symptoms

Sedation is also considered to be a long term effect. For some people, sedative effects produced by the medication may last up to 3 to 4 days.

Xanax Overdose:

Though a little difficult, but it is possible to overdose on Xanax. Professionals recommend to not to take more than 2mg of Xanax at any given time to avoid overdosing. Xanax particularly proves to be fatal when combined with other Central Nervous System depressants so its use combined with alcohol is strictly prohibited. It is highly unlikely to overdose on Xanax alone and die. Deaths associated with Xanax usually involve another drug used with Xanax. Xanax overdose symptoms may include:

  • Confusion
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Depressed respiration
  • Fainting
  • Poor coordination and loss of balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma

The treatment for Xanax overdose is possible and the procedure depends upon how much drug was taken and whether it was taken in combination with other drugs and medications. Usually, the medical professionals wash the stomach to remove as much unabsorbed Xanax as possible to prevent it from producing harmful effects. Medications that work as an antidote may also be given for example, flumazenil.


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