What Are the Effects of Xanax?

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Xanax, a branded form of alprazolam, belongs to the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. Benzos work by boosting the action of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers – in the brain.

This medication is commonly prescribed for managing anxiety disorders, including anxiety that accompanies depression. Xanax is also effective in addressing panic disorders. Despite these therapeutic benefits, this Schedule IV controlled substance is associated with side effects that may include dependence, addiction, and overdose.

This guide highlights the following issues:

  • What is Xanax for?
  • What are the side effects of Xanax?
  • What are the effects of Xanax long-term?

Side Effects of Xanax

The effects of Xanax can be minor or severe in presentation.

The following are some of the milder side effects associated with Xanax:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Difficulty with balance or coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Memory impairment
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Constipation
  • Challenges in focusing
  • Speech difficulties
  • Alterations in libido
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Mild allergic reactions

These side effects normally diminish within a few days to a few weeks. If side effects intensify or persist, consult with a healthcare professional.

A woman drinking a green smoothie, representing Side effects of xanax withdrawal

What Are the Negative Effects of Xanax?

Xanax is rapidly absorbed by the body after ingestion, with its effects becoming noticeable within 30 minutes and lasting for about 6 hours. Common negative reactions to alprazolam include coordination issues, lowered blood pressure, speech difficulties, and an increase in sexual desire.

Other potential adverse effects of Xanax may include:

  • Reduced mental sharpness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Loss of memory
  • Feelings of drowsiness and fatigue
  • Experiencing light-headedness
  • Encountering dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Challenges with balance and coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach discomfort
  • Intensified depression

Long-Term Effects of Xanax

Regular use of Xanax, even when sanctioned and monitored by a medical professional, can result in the body developing a tolerance to alprazolam, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effects. Increasing the dose or frequency of dose can speed up the development of physical dependence. Someone who is dependent on benzodiazepines requires the substance to function normally and experiences uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in its absence.

Abrupt discontinuation of Xanax, especially among those who have become dependent on this CNS depressant, can trigger withdrawal symptoms, sometimes within hours after the last dose. Symptoms of withdrawal from alprazolam may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Increased body temperature
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Shaking
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Agitation
  • Intense cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

If Xanax is reduced too quickly or stopped suddenly, acute withdrawal symptoms can be not just unpleasant but also dangerous. In rare cases, Xanax withdrawal is associated with life-threatening conditions such as seizures.

In severe cases, acute withdrawal from Xanax can be critical and may involve:

  • Mania
  • Psychosis
  • Catatonia
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe depression with thoughts of suicide
  • Seizures and convulsions

Short-Term Side Effects of Xanax

The short-term effects of Xanax are mainly related to its sedative properties, which are intended to calm abnormal excitement in the brain.

People may experience immediate relief from anxiety and panic, along with a feeling of relaxation and sedation. These effects can be beneficial when managed correctly, but they also carry the risk of side effects such as impaired motor functions and judgment, which can impact daily activities and overall safety.

FAQs

How long does the effects of Xanax last?

The effects of Xanax typically last between 4 to 6 hours, although this can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism and dosage.

What does Xanax do?

For those wondering what does Xanax do to you, it enhances the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, helping to reduce anxiety, induce calmness, and promote relaxation.

What does Xanax treat?

Xanax is mainly used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and sometimes to manage the symptoms of anxiety associated with depression.

What are the negative effects of Xanax?

Negative side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, and changes to libido. More serious negative side effects may include loss of coordination, hallucinations, and suicidal ideation.

ohio recovery centers facility from curb view, representing Side effects of xanax withdrawal

Get Treatment for Xanax Addiction at Ohio Recovery

Attempting to withdraw from benzos at home can be dangerous and potentially deadly. Avoid these risks and mitigate the side effects of Xanax withdrawal by engaging with supervised Xanax detox at Ohio Recovery Centers in Cincinnati, OH.

Once you have addressed dependence on Xanax, you’ll be ready for ongoing outpatient treatment at our Ohio rehab center.

Due to the unique nature of all addictions, expect to access personalized treatments that blend medications, talk therapies, and holistic interventions for an approach to addiction recovery that treats the whole person rather than only the symptoms of substance use disorder.

Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery tomorrow.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn