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Symptoms & Signs of Xanax Abuse

Long before a person becomes addicted, Xanax use carries a number of risks and dangers. The most serious risk of abuse is associated with taking it with other drugs and alcohol. When taken with other GABA-inducing drugs such as opiates, hypnotics, barbiturates or alcohol, the risk of overdose rises exponentially. The central nervous system is assaulted with billions of messages to slow down all at once. This can result in a dangerously slow heartbeat, cessation of breathing and death.1

Research has shown that taking one mg of alprazolam impairs psychomotor performance and specific cognitive skills required for daily activities like driving.  A small research study on 26 healthy adult males found that short-term administration of 0.5 mg alprazolam for a two-week duration did not produce the same detrimental effects as long-term use at higher doses. Although participants incurred memory issues, psychomotor performance and attention skills were unaffected.2

Many Xanax symptoms are common to long-term use of any benzodiazepine-based drug.3,4,5 Physical signs of abuse may include any of the following:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping for extended periods of time
  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory impairment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Loss of interest in sex

Behavioral Signs of Xanax Abuse

As with many other drugs that are abused, a person who abuses Xanax may experience difficulties in several aspects of their life. Xanax use may affect relationships at home and work as well as finances. The abuser may lack motivation to engage in normal activities of daily life as the drug increasingly becomes the center of focus. Benzodiazepine drugs can have an amnestic effect. Signs of addiction include not being able to articulate clearly (e.g. finding the right words in conversation) or a lack of interest and attention to detail (e.g. tasks performed at work or home).3,4,5

Long-term abuse generally equates to higher doses due to tolerance. Xanax abuse carries an increased risk of any of the following serious side effects.3,4,5

  • Suicide
  • Thoughts of harming oneself
  • Depression
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity

If someone close to you is exhibiting any of the above signs, know that help for Xanax addiction is just a phone call away. Call The Right Step today at 844-877-1781.

  1. Is Xanax Dangerous? What’s Hype and What Are the Real Threats? http://www.alternet.org/story/154165/is_xanax_dangerous_what’s_hype_and_what_are_the_real_threats Published February 15, 2012. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  2. Chowdhury ZS, Morshed MM, Shahriar M, Bhuiyan MA, Islam SMA, Bin Sayeed MS. The Effect of Chronic Alprazolam Intake on Memory, Attention, and Psychomotor Performance in Healthy Human Male Volunteers. Behav Neurol. 2016;2016:3730940. doi:10.1155/2016/3730940.
  3. Xanax Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms. Drug Rehab Treatment Help website. http://drugrehabtreatmenthelp.com/drugs/xanax/ Published 2010. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  4. Xanax Abuse. Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/library/xanax-abuse/ Accessed October 11, 2016.
  5. Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse. Narconon website. http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/xanax-signs-symptoms.html Accessed October 11, 2016.
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