Xanax is an extremely powerful benzodiazepine medication oftentimes prescribed as a means to help treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and insomnia. Unfortunately, however, this drug is also extremely addictive, especially when used long-term. As such, most doctors will prescribe Xanax as a temporary way to relieve intense anxiety and insomnia. Nonetheless, because tolerance to this medication can develop quickly, even users with the most innocent attempts to relieve their anxiety or insomnia may become addicted and in bondage to this drug fairly rapidly.
Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the U.S., with even seventy percent of teenagers having access to the drug from a family member’s medicine cabinet. As such, this drug is also one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms experienced when detoxing can be intense and severe, keeping someone addicted to this medication from attempting a full detox in the first place.
Therefore, if one is considering taking this drug it is vital that they be fully aware of what side effects may occur as a result of taking this medication, what the risks of addiction and overdose associated with this drug are, and what withdrawal symptoms may occur when trying to detox off this drug. Only then can one appropriately gauge if the risks outweigh the temporary relief they may gain from taking the drug and seek possible alternative methods to relieve their stress and insomnia instead.
Xanax Bars Side Effects
As briefly mentioned, taking Xanax can create a host of problems, such as health consequences and addiction, especially if taken long-term. As such, if one is seriously considering taking this medication it is essential that they learn what the possible side-effects associated with taking this drug are first and foremost. Some of these common side-effects can include:
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor balance or coordination
- Slurred speech
- Increased sweating
- Dry mouth
- Appetite or weight changes
- Blurred vision
- Loss of libido/interest in sex
- Muscle weakness
- Swelling of hands or feet
- Dry mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Tolerance to the drug
- Addiction or cravings for the drug
Other, more serious, side effects that can occur and need immediate medical attention can include:
- Lightheadedness/a feeling like you might pass out
- A seizure
- Increased energy and a decreased need for sleep
- Risk-taking behavior
- Racing thoughts
- Double vision
This list does not cover all side-effects that may occur as a result of taking Xanax and, as such, an individual experiencing any uncomfortable side-effects from taking this medication should discuss these effects with a doctor.
Signs of an Overdose from Xanax Bars
Overdose to Xanax can be fatal, especially if taken with other substances like alcohol or other medications. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported over 1.2 million emergency room visits related to abuse of prescription drugs with around 10% of those visits stemming from misuse of Xanax. As such, if Xanax is abused and an overdose occurs, it is vital to the health and safety of the individual to seek immediate, medical help.
Some signs of an overdose may include:
- Loss of balance
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slowed heart rate
- Muscle weakness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slow reflexes
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms
The amount of Xanax that could lead to an overdose varies person to person depending on a variety of factors, such as:
- How the individual’s body metabolizes the medication
- How much Xanax was taken
- Genetics and the body’s chemistry (how sensitive the individual’s body is to the medication)
- The individual’s weight
- The individual’s age
- If the individual has an preexisting conditions, such as a heart, kidney, or liver condition
- If the individual took the drug with other substances, like alcohol or other drugs
Overdosing on Xanax can have mild to serious side-effects and in some cases may lead to death. If you suspect that an overdose on Xanax has occurred, it is vital that you seek emergency medical care immediately. Do not wait until overdose symptoms persist or continue to worsen.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Xanax Bars
Because detoxing off Xanax can cause uncomfortable, even serious, side-effects in the user, it is never recommended to detox off Xanax alone or to stop taking Xanax cold turkey. When an individual is withdrawing from Xanax, they may experience:
- Muscle pain
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Numb fingers
- Insomnia/difficulty sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Withdrawal symptoms experienced typically peak in severity within the first 1-4 days after the last dose of Xanax was taken. Although the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal will vary slightly from person to person depending on a variety of factors, research indicates that about 40% of people that take a benzodiazepine, like Xanax, for more than six months will experience moderate to severe withdrawal in comparison to the other 60% that will experience milder symptoms.
Treatment for an Addiction to Xanax Bars
As previously mentioned, detoxing off Xanax without professional, medical guidance is strongly advised against. Because withdrawal symptoms can cause serious health consequences, even leading to fatality in some cases, it is necessary to taper off the medication through the help of a trained medical professional or through an inpatient drug rehab setting. Inpatient drug rehab settings can be particularly helpful for someone struggling with an addiction to Xanax as it provides 24/7 medical assistance if there were a health crisis to arise. Furthermore, inpatient drug rehab allows the individual to recover without outside temptations and distractions that can oftentimes keep people in the loop of addiction for the long-term. In addition to this, an inpatient setting has trained therapists and counselors who can help the individual get to the root of the addiction so that the chances returning to drugs in the future is minimized.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, the time to get help is now. Reach out to a friendly inpatient rehab enrollment advisor who can answer any questions you may have and point you on the path to recovery and fulfillment right now.