In the United States, Xanax is the most popular psychiatric drug on the market. While millions use Xanax, the drug is not without risks. Xanax abuse can cause a range of dangerous side effects, and it can even lead to addiction.
Users Can Overdose on Xanax
Xanax is often medically prescribed to combat conditions like anxiety or panic attacks. Although it has a legitimate medical purpose, it is still a dangerous drug. Taking too much Xanax at one time can lead to an overdose.
When medical patients take Xanax exactly as is recommended by their physician, an overdose is less likely. When used recreationally, the risk of overdose increases significantly.
In some cases, an overdose might only result in mild symptoms. Typically, these include side effects such as dizziness and blurred vision. Anxiety is also very common when an overdose occurs. Fortunately, the effects of a mild overdose are often not permanent.
It is possible for a Xanax overdose to result in more severe symptoms. Often, the worst symptoms involve the depression of the respiratory system. This can lead to trouble breathing and even complete unresponsiveness. While rare, a Xanax overdose can even potentially lead to death.
Xanax is Addictive
A common myth is that users can’t get addicted to Xanax. The reality, of course, is quite different. Anyone who uses the drug can become addicted, even over a short period of time. However, the risk factors are highest for long-term users, recreational users and those who take the prescription medication inappropriately.
Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It can alter the brain’s chemistry, changing what it responds to. Consistent use means that the brain will struggle when Xanax is taken away. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms, a clear sign of an addiction.
Xanax addiction is also likely for those who rely on high doses of the drug. While every individual is different, using more than four milligrams a day is usually not recommended. This is especially true for patients who are taking Xanax for several months at a time.
Anyone that uses Xanax illicitly, or without medical supervision, will be at risk for addiction. The dosage and timing could be inappropriate, and building up a tolerance can happen quickly. Taking more than the recommended dose can greatly increase the likelihood of a chemical dependence.
Xanax Can Cause Memory Loss
After taking Xanax, many users struggle with memory loss. This is similar to blacking out after drinking too much alcohol. Function might seem ordinary, but the next day individuals may not remember what happened.
Over time, Xanax can cause even greater memory problems. Patients can begin to present signs of amnesia or even dementia as a result of their reduced memory capacity. For older people, this is especially challenging. A misdiagnosis of alzheimer’s for example, could lead to inappropriate treatment.
Mental Health Disorders May Result From Xanax Abuse
One of the most frustrating dangers of Xanax is the risk for mental health disorders. What makes this so frustrating is that most patients take Xanax because of a mental health disorder. In so many cases, however, Xanax abuse can make the condition worse. Alternatively, it can cause new problems among those who previously had none.
Anxiety is the most commonly reported mental health condition associated with Xanax. That is no surprise, because Xanax is used to treat anxiety, among other conditions. Many users also see a resurgence in other mental health disorders. Depression and paranoia are just two examples.
Since Xanax can alter brain chemistry, it can absolutely lead to changes in emotions and mental health. Over time, those without a history of mental health disorders may begin to suffer. This is one reason that dual diagnosis treatment is necessary. It allows for mental health to be taken into consideration during addiction treatment.
Slurred Speech is Common as a Result of Xanax Use
One of the most concerning dangers of Xanax is how it can impact speech and communication. Even in relatively small doses, it can change how people speak. Users widely report slurring their words, and in some cases they can’t be understood.
This makes Xanax use similar to alcohol intoxication. Combined with memory problems, Xanax use can easily look like dementia or other serious conditions.
Shortness of Breath is Possible
Xanax is a depressant, and one of the things it does is depress the respiratory system. Unfortunately, one of the dangers that this presents is shortness of breath. Chronic Xanax users may take very shallow breaths.
This, of course, makes it very difficult to do any strenuous activities. Even walking around can be difficult if it is hard to take a breath. In some cases, a Xanax overdose can even lead to halted breathing entirely.
Sexual Issues Widely Reported Among Xanax Users
Sexual function and desire can take a direct hit as a result of Xanax use. Even when Xanax is used as prescribed by a doctor, it can have serious negative effects in this particular area. Sex drive is reduced and often eliminated entirely as a result of Xanax.
Xanax can also impact sexual function. Men, for example, may see changes to performance. Men and women alike can see a decrease in pleasure from sexual activities.
Fatigue and Drowsiness May be Common Symptoms of Xanax Use
One of the most common ways that Xanax can endanger health and happiness is by causing fatigue. Xanax disrupts the sleep cycle and makes it challenging to handle even everyday tasks for many users.
Xanax causes lethargy and drowsiness during waking hours, which means that users lack the energy or ability to be physically active. At night, Xanax can disrupt sleep. Insomnia and frequent waking is common. Unfortunately, that only makes it more likely to suffer from fatigue during the following day. This vicious cycle is one notable danger of relying heavily on drugs like Xanax.
Xanax may be used widely, but that doesn’t guarantee safety. The risk of addiction, and the abundance of side effects, proves that Xanax can be a very dangerous drug.