Friday April 28th 2017

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Does Xanax get you high?


Xanax can get you high.  Xanax causes euphoria in 0.1 – 1% of those who take it.

However, the main ingredient in Xanax, alprazolam, does not necessarily trigger euphoria.  And some people are more likely to experience a positive mood effect than others.  But is Xanax addictive? (yes)  Learn more about the pharmacology of Xanax and its effects on the central nervous system here.

Psychoactive ingredients of Xanax

What’s in Xanax?  The main ingredient in Xanax that affects the central nervous system is a benzodiazepine called alprazolam. Benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system and are known as sedatives, or depressants.  Although the exact action of alprazolam on the brain is still unknown, experts think that this class of benzodiazepine binds at stereo specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system to cause dose-related depressant effects.  And it is this action of alprazolam on the central nervous system that is associated with positive mood and other effects related to euphoria.

Xanax and euphoria

Although euphoric effect has not been documented as an adverse reaction to taking Xanax, feelings of intense well-being can be felt when taking Xanax.  But euphoric effect happens infrequently, and occurs in less than l/100 patients but at least l/1000 patients.

Additionally, it is possible that a certain population experience positive mood effect, while others do not.  Abuse of Xanax is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it up and snort it to get high.   But Xanax abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine abusers, those who may be chemically and physically more sensitive to euphoric effect than the general population.

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Xanax and central nervous system effects

Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause central nervous system depression effects which are dose related.  Effects from taking benzos like Xanax can vary from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis, or a state of extreme relaxation and suggestibility.  Plus, benzodiazepines are associated with amnesia, hostility, irritability, and vivid or disturbing dreams.  Some of the more common central nervous system effects reported by people who take Xanax for anxiety or panic disorders include:

  • depression
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • impaired coordination
  • impaired memory
  • impaired speech articulation
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • lightheadedness

How long do benzodiazepines stay in system depends upon the type of benzo you are taking, dosage and frequency of use.  Chronic use of benzodiazepines like Xanax can be detected in urine 4-6 weeks after last dose.  If you have just started taking Xanax, you should wait at least one day before a drug screen, although 3 days is appropriate for infrequent use.

Can you get addicted to Xanax?

Yes.  Psychological dependence is possible when taking any benzodiazepine, including Xanax.  And prolonged use of depressants such as Xanax can lead to physical dependence even at doses recommended for medical treatment.  But who is at risk of Xanax addiction?

In general, the potential of dependence on and abuse of Xanax (alprazolam) are similar to that of other benzodiazepines.  And the risks of Xanax addiction are related to both intention for use and mode of administration.  So if you are taking Xanax just to get high, in doses or ways other than prescribed, your risk of becoming addicted to Xanax increases.  Not to mention that you can die from Xanax.

The risk of psychological dependence on Xanax may also be more likely when you are taking doses higher than 4 mg/day.  Longer term use can also result in addiction.  Finally, the risk of Xanax addiction is increased for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse.  To summarize, those at highest risk of Xanax addiction are people who:

  1. have alcohol or drug abuse history
  2. take Xanax long term
  3. take more than 4 mg of Xanax a day

Am I addicted to Xanax?

Getting high on Xanax is a form of Xanax abuse.  If you think that you have problems with Xanax, and are taking more than recommended, or are snorting, smoking or injecting Xanax…then you can get help to stop.  Please leave us your questions about Xanax and its use here.  We answer all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference sources: Abuse liability and clinical pharmacokinetics of alprazolam in alcoholic men
The pharmacology of alprazolam: a review
Daily Med drug info for Xanax (alprazolam) tablets
Prescription drug abuse and youth
DEA Drug Fact Sheet on Benzodiazipines
FDA approved Xanax XR label

Photo credit: M.V. Jantzen

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20 Responses to “Does Xanax get you high?
4:22 pm November 9th, 2013

So my bigger brother (17 years old) just started taking xanax for 2 week because he had some trouble sleeping, and he was caught smoking one day. Anyway he never sleeps after taking it and this one time he picked a fight with my mom (he didn’t touch her) so he would take 1 more pill so he took it from her hand and swallowed not 1 not 2 but 3 pills, so my dad started beating him and some pill fell. My brother while leaving he picked up a pill crushed it and licked it, we were all shocked and disappointed.

3:27 pm November 12th, 2013

Hi Zack. It sounds like there are certainly some family dynamics which could be driving your brother’s drug use. Have you considered attending family therapy to air out some issues?

4:56 pm January 1st, 2015

I took a xanex and a bout 5to10 mins made myself throw up because I didn’t wanna have that in my system . Is it possible to fail a drug screen for it I did not feel the effects

4:08 pm January 14th, 2015

Hello Joe. If you managed to get it all out of your stomach, then it shouldn’t show on any drug tests. The absorbed amount would be too insignificant to cause a problem. But, if you didn’t manage to get the pill out, it may have been absorbed.

6:31 am February 1st, 2015

Joe, when you take a drug test, they ask you what prescription medications you are on to discount you from legally taking the medicine. So, don’t worry about failing a drug test that can be verified by a pharmacy!!

2:56 pm February 22nd, 2015

Hi, I have a problem with Alpralolam and alcohol. I never take them both at the same time, but I alternate where one night I take 2 -3 mg of Alprozolam to help me sleep and then the following night I drink 1.5 liters of wine to get to sleep. (pass out actually) I’ve tried to stop the Alpralozam and was awake for two nights. I could not sleep and I was determined to deal with it. It didn’t work. I have been getting euphoric on 2-3 mg of alprazolam and I’ve made stupid online purchases during these episodes. I don’t use illegal drugs and I also don’t take any other medications. It’s wine one night and alprazolam the next.

4:44 pm March 2nd, 2015

Hi Renee. The two substances are not really mixing, thus they will not cause any problems as they usually would if used at the same time. But, this kind of use is causing a lot of damage to your organism, especially the 1.5l of wine every other night. Please get an appointment with your doctor and ask for help. I believe you need professional medical help to cope with your repetitive behavior of drinking and using alprazolam for sleep.

12:08 am August 6th, 2015

I don’t usually pop pills. Maybe a few times in my life. I only took it just to try it. Well, I just popped a Xanax and I don’t know how to feel. I definitely feel high, but I feel weird too.

9:21 pm August 19th, 2015

I just started taking Alprazolam o.25 mg.1tablet twice daily. I’m also taking Citalopram 20 mg. 1tablet once a day. Is it safe to take together ?

4:09 am September 1st, 2015

I’ve been on Xanax for over 10 yrs . Just started snorting them yesterday! Will it help me loss weight? I just lost my grandmother and I’m in a mess! I take the blue ones.

11:53 am September 1st, 2015

Hello Michaela. Definitely not a good idea. I’d advise you to continue taking your medication as prescribed. Snorting Xanax is not safe or recommended. If you are having trouble coping with the loss of your grandmother I’d suggest seeking help from a therapist.

11:17 am September 3rd, 2015

Hey Michaela,10 years is a long time on Xanax a difficult drug to begin with cutting back.Why snorting and why now after 10 years? Maybe an anti depressant along with Xanax will help.
No it will not help you lose weight,in fact just the opposite.
Lastly sorry about your loss,grandmothers are special,God bless you

4:20 am September 4th, 2015

xanax dope as fuck i got some bars right now finna pop em with like 3 codeine pills get dazzinn

11:58 am September 7th, 2015

Hi Guadalupe. Were the two medications prescribed together by the same doctor? Why don’t you ask the prescribing doctor about how you should take each one and what are the possible implications.

Drug central
3:52 am November 29th, 2015

God damn I love some gitting fucked up on the morning on some xans rocked nigga

3:14 am January 6th, 2016

i have a person who has been a house guest for a little over a month. i personally know that he has singlehandedly gone through about 170 xanax tablets within the month and 4 days he has been here. he claims anxiety is the reason he is prescribed the drug but he goes from hosp. to hosp. emergency rooms and doctor to doctor to get more prescriptions. what should i do to intervene. i feel like he may OD on them and end up dead. what should i do to try and save him from himself. he is 29, male, hiv pos. and looks and acts very normal. but he lies constantly about the medications he is getting. trying to hide that its xanax.

3:43 am March 5th, 2016

I take .o5 of xanax twice a day and then one at night to help sleep. So 2 pet day. If I get real down or aggravated I might take 2. That chills me way out! And I like it. But don’t want to do that consistently.

1:01 am April 27th, 2016

I have been using Xanax recreationally for a few weeks. The other day I woke up on my shower floor. I had no reckalection of anything that happened (even hours before). Thank goodness I didn’t serious hurt myself. Do you think this could’ve been a blackout or some type of seizure? I read they can be a side effect. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

4:35 pm October 23rd, 2016

I’m not addicted to Xanax but my husband is and I’m thinking of divorcing him because of it. I feel my children are in danger and I don’t want a life like this. Is there any help for him? I’ve live in Orlando Florida.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:17 pm October 27th, 2016

Hi Shirley. If you are looking for addiction treatment, call our trusted treatment hotline, our consultants can help you make the best decision for your husband. Also, you may search on SAMSA’ treatment locator:

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