Xanax Side Effects, Symptoms & Treatment

Xanax (also known as alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders and/or depression. The drug treats mood disorders by allowing the user to experience a euphoric rush, leading to complete joy and relaxation. To a lesser degree, it also boosts dopamine levels in the striatum. For this reason, the drug can be highly habit-forming and has even made its way into illegal narcotics trade around the world. Although Xanax has a high efficacy when used as medically instructed, they are numerous possible deleterious side effects linked to long-term intake.

Some agonizing side effects of Xanax include:

  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors
  • Itching
  • Slurred speech
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Constipation
  • Problem urinating
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Mood swings

Beyond the aforementioned symptoms, one major complication that can arise from prolonged used of Xanax is dependency. Individuals who become habitual users of Xanax eventually develop rapid tolerance and require frequent increases in dosage to reap its calming effects. Although when taken in fairly low dosages it’s can be effective for treating mood disorder symptoms, continued usage allows users to become dependent on the substance physically and psychologically. With dependency, many users gradually increase dosage in order to control the agonizing symptoms they would have otherwise experiencing.

Xanax symptoms infographic

Ironically, depression and anxiety are common symptoms of Xanax dependency despite being prescribed to treat these conditions. Anyone who is concerned about Xanax dependency should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of dependency in order to be able to seek treatment if needed. Under medical supervision, doses are generally gradually reduced to treat users who have developed dependency.

 

Symptoms of physical dependency include:

  • Increased depression
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming oneself.
  • Dizziness and fainting.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Decreased urination.
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Headache
  • Excruciating Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired coordination and balance.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Muscular twitching
  • Seizures
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Heart palpitations
  • Jaundice

 

Symptoms of psychological dependency include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems

These symptoms may not always be as a result of ecstasy dependency considering that many are identical to its side effects. In the case of dependency, the symptoms are generally more exacerbated when users go without the substance for a prolonged period. If the user is not dependent then the drug would have left their system after discontinuing usage.

 

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?

Under normal conditions, Xanax is removed from the user’s body in 9-16 hours. Despite this, most abusers will still have the drug in their systems after 4 days of halting use. Only a healthy person can naturally get rid of the drug from their body in 9 to 16 hours. There are several factors that may come into play when answering the question of: how long does Xanax remain in your system? These include:

 

  • Age: Xanax has been found to leave the system of younger users faster than elderly people. Most individuals 65 years and older will have their internal organs (for example the liver) functioning at a slower pace making it more difficult for them to excrete the substance.
  • Metabolism speed: Although it is unclear how one’s metabolic rate influences their body’s ability to excrete Xanax, many findings have indicated that it does have a slight effect on Xanax clearance. A higher BMR is believe to causes a faster clearance while a lower BMR may result in delayed clearance.
  • Height and Weight: How tall or fat a person is can affect how fast Xanax is excreted from their body. Heavier/taller people are believed to be able to clear the drug quicker than their lightweight/shorter counterparts. This is because the heavyweight/taller person would have usually taken a smaller dose in proportion to their body.
  • Amount of ingested: Users on higher dosages may require a longer period for the drug to be fully excreted from their body. Most doctors will recommend between 0.25 mg and 4 mg to treat patients with depression or anxiety. A lot of the times people will end up exceeding 4 mg, making it more difficult for the drug to be excreted.
  • Length of use: How long an individual uses Xanax can affect how quickly it is excreted from their body. Those who use the drug for a longer period generally require a longer period to remove the drug from their body.
  • Liver and kidneys health: Xanax tend to linger longer in the bodies of individuals with a pre existing liver or kidney illness. This is because both organs are important for excreting toxins from the body.

 

Xanax withdrawal symptoms

It’s important to understand that most people who are dependent on Xanax will require a longer period for the substance to be removed from their body. These individuals will typically experience very extreme Xanax withdrawal symptoms in any attempt to go cold turkey. These symptoms include increased feelings of depression, headaches, nausea, weightless, trouble sleeping, feelings of nervousness, exhaustion, vertigo, aggressive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and other health complications. To get relief many people will be compelled to turn back to Xanax, taking it in higher doses and at a greater frequency. This in turn puts them more in harm’s way.

 

Treatment for Withdrawal From Xanax

There are many rehabilitation centers that offer effective treatment programs for those dealing with Xanax withdraw symptoms. Alternative treatment or a safer substitute drug is often recommended for people who were prescribed the drug for depression. On the other hand, those who have been using the drug recreationally or for personal pleasure will have to undergo serious therapy. Despite the reason behind using the drug, medically supervised detoxification is the safest way to overcome withdrawal from Xanax.

If you or a loved one is currently coping with Xanax withdrawal symptoms on your own, give the BLVD Treatment Centers a call. Dealing with these symptoms on your own can be life-threatening and could pull you closer to drug addiction. Give us a call today at (888) 537-6671 .

Xanax side Effects Infographic

 

Sources

UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program: Benzodiazepine Addiction

Drug Enforcement Administration: Drug Fact Sheet Benzodiazepines

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Emergency departments see increased visits involving the nonmedical use of sedative alprazolam

Center for Substance Abuse Research: Benzodiazepines