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The Side Effects of Xanax


The use of medication as a treatment option for depression and other mental health issues has revolutionized the field of psychiatry. Many of these medical services and advances have significantly improved the lives of countless individuals. In recent decades, pharmaceutical advancements have led to the developing of a diverse range of medications designed to alleviate the symptoms. 

Such medications treat significant mental health disorders and conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other psychiatric conditions. These medications, often psychotropic or psychiatric drugs, target specific neurotransmitters in the brain to restore chemical balance and alleviate the debilitating effects of mental health disorders. One of the most common and well-known drugs commonly used as part of clinical services and therapy is Xanax. 

Why is Xanax Used?

There are many reasons why one might be using Xanax. It is often prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders and sometimes seizures, but it doesn’t come without side effects. In 2017, over 25 million prescriptions were filled for the drug, according to a 2020 report from Statista.

What is Xanax?

Xanax, or alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine, reports Harvard Health Publishing, which means that it increases the effect of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This compound is responsible for inhibiting activity in the brain cells, which means your responses to things are slowed, and your blood pressure drops. 

As a result, this drug is quite helpful for anxiety and panic disorders, where an observed decrease in GABA signals has been linked to increased brain activity, according to the National Library of Medicine, in the emotional processing portion of the brain. However, as Xanax is a short-acting drug with a high potential of becoming addictive, caution must be taken when using it. Its desirable calming effects can lead to overuse. This is why ongoing support services are needed for those using Xanax and similar medications.

Dosage for Xanax

How much Xanax should you take? As always, it is best to follow the doctor’s recommendations. Typically, doses between 1-6mg/day have been prescribed, with more significant potential for abuse at the high end of the range, according to the National Library of Medicine.

If you are addicted, withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and it is crucial to get the help of a medical professional. A slow and careful taper is required, and a taper should not be more than 0.5mg every three days.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax?

While one is on Xanax, specific side effects may occur. If they become severe, medical attention should be sought to assist in weaning off the drug to minimize the risk of harm.

The most common side effects you and your family members should be watchful for are:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irregular Heartbeats.
  • Headache.
  • Memory Impairment.
  • Depression.
  • Light-Headedness.
  • Muscle Weakness.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of Balance.
  • Impaired Coordination.
  • Fainting.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Insomnia.
  • Irritability.
  • Aggressive or Hostile Behavior.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Tremors.
  • Blurred Vision.
  • Double Vision.
  • Change in Appetit.
  • Weight Loss or Weight Gain.
  • Change in food preferences.
  • Change in sex drive.
  • Incontinence.
  • Low Blood Pressure.

The more serious side effects of Xanax are: 

  • Peeling & Blistering Skin (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis)
  • Liver Failure
  • Kidney Toxicity
  • Low Count for White/Red Blood Cells and Platelets
  • Throat Swells Up, Trouble Breathing (Laryngeal Edema)
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Excess Ammonia in Blood (Hyperammonemia) Causing Brain Damage

As you can see, the side effects can be very severe, and if you are not careful in your dosing, you could be on the road to a lot of pain, despite the comfort it may bring in the short term.

Accidental falls and injuries can happen, which is especially dangerous for elderly patients. 

At New Choices, we have trained medical staff who know how to give you the care you need if the side effects are too much.

What Substances Interact with Xanax?

Many things can interact with Xanax, even if you are trying to detox from them or ween yourself off them. Try to avoid these when taking Xanax, and make sure you talk to a medical professional before changing things.

  • Alcohol
  • Other Similar Medications
  • Medication Causing Drowsiness 
  • Narcotics & Other Pain Medication
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Birth Control
  • Antibiotics
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Valerian
  • Heart or Blood Pressure Meds
  • HIV Meds

The above is not an exhaustive list; any medication or substance you take should be checked with a medical professional. Mixing certain medications can have dangerous side effects, so discuss all medicines with your healthcare provider before taking anything new.

Xanax, Pregnancy, and Lactation

If you take Xanax while pregnant, there are potential risks to your baby developing congenital abnormalities, especially with the larger doses. 

However, if you are dependent on Xanax, then suddenly stopping could also hurt the baby and lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures.

Xanax is present in breast milk at least 40 hours after exposure in the mother. Thus, caution is advised, and a medical professional should be consulted if you are with child.

Get Help for Anxiety and Know Whether Xanax Is Right for You With New Choices!

As an integral component of a comprehensive treatment plan, medication can provide individuals with significant relief. Regulating emotions and remaining in control with medication assistance can be easier. However, incorporating medicine into mental health treatment should be carefully considered in collaboration with other approaches and methods. 

Xanax is a powerful and effective drug that has helped many people manage their symptoms. But like all medications, balance is needed, and close direction and supervision are often required to handle potential side effects. Contact New Choices Treatment Centers today for more resources, and see how our combined clinical services and medication prescription treatments can help you get the most out of your recovery journey.