Man wondering, "What are the long-term effects of Xanax abuse?"

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Xanax Abuse?

Xanax, a medication often used for anxiety symptoms, can be beneficial when used as prescribed. However, this drug is frequently misused, leading to serious consequences.

If you or someone you know is participating in Xanax abuse, contact the caring team at Promises Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628. Our comprehensive addiction treatment programs can help you overcome long-term Xanax abuse and learn how to manage anxiety in a safer, healthier way.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a medication commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms associated with:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Anxiety caused by depression
  • Insomnia

Xanax is a brand name for the drug alprazolam, which belongs to the benzodiazepine family. Benzodiazepines increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in the brain, which eases feelings of nervousness and tension.

Unlike other types of anxiety medications, Xanax is potent and fast-acting, delivering rapid relief to people experiencing acute anxiety. Some people notice the calming effects of the drug within five to 10 minutes, while others start to feel relief within an hour. Due to its high level of efficacy, Xanax is widely prescribed, making it one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States.

Signs of Xanax Abuse

While Xanax can serve an important purpose for those struggling with crippling anxiety or panic disorder symptoms, the drug can also be addictive. Additionally, Xanax has a potential for abuse. Some common signs of Xanax abuse include:

Physical Symptoms

If someone is abusing Xanax by taking more of the drug than prescribed or using it recreationally, you may notice physical symptoms like:

  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed response 

The more Xanax the person takes, the more severe and noticeable these symptoms will be.

Behavioral Changes

Xanax abuse can also manifest behavioral changes, such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Impaired memory
  • Irritability
  • Changes in social circle
  • Neglecting personal or work responsibilities

Using Xanax as prescribed typically results in a calmer demeanor, so if you notice any of the above signs, it is likely the person is using more of the drug or taking it more frequently than advised by their provider.

Doctor Shopping

If a person is abusing Xanax, they will run out of their prescription earlier than expected. However, a doctor will only prescribe a certain number of pills within a designated time frame. To get past this restriction, some people engage in a practice known as doctor shopping. This involves scheduling appointments with more than one doctor to obtain multiple prescriptions for Xanax.

Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax abuse can lead to dependence on the drug, which is evidenced by having cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you do not take your usual dose. Symptoms you may notice are:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to concentrate

These symptoms will be more severe if you have been taking Xanax for a long time or use high doses of the drug.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Xanax Abuse?

Long-term Xanax abuse can have detrimental effects on your physical and mental health. Some of the potential long-term effects of Xanax abuse include:

  • Increased tolerance – When you become dependent on Xanax, your body will require higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects.
  • Impaired cognitive function – Over time, Xanax abuse can impair your memory, leaving you with difficulty maintaining your attention span and concentration, as well as retaining information.
  • Mental health conditions – Chronic Xanax abuse is correlated with the development of mental health conditions like depression, mood swings, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Respiratory problems – Since Xanax depresses the central nervous system, it can suppress breathing. Using the medication in high or frequent doses over the long term can lead to respiratory distress and, potentially, respiratory failure.

To prevent long-term side effects of Xanax abuse, seek out the help of professionals at an addiction treatment center.

Heal from Xanax Addiction by Calling Promises Right Step Hill Country

It is never too late to cut Xanax out of your life. Even if you are struggling with the long-term effects of Xanax abuse, help is available. Call Promises Right Step Hill Country today at 1.844.675.1628 to start getting the support you need to leave Xanax behind.

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