Xanax effects

Xanax works via the central nervous system and affects almost all systems of the body. More on Xanax effects here.

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Since the 60’s, Xanax has been widely prescribed for treating modd disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. It is even used occasionally in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

While Xanax is considered a highly effective drug, use of Xanax can also provoke adverse effects. More on the side effects of Xanax here. Then, we invite you to post your questions and comments about Xanax use or how to get help for addiction to Xanax at the end.

Xanax effects on the brain

Xanax tablets contain alprazolam, which is a triazolo analog of the  benzodiazepine class of central nervous system psychoactive medications. It is not clear understood how benzodiazepine drugs exert their effects on the brain, but experts presume that by binding at stereo specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system, drug cause dose-related central nervous system depressant activity. This can vary from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.

Some more series threats that Xanax can pose to the brain include the development of physical dependence and/or addiction, both of which occur after chronic use of Xanax over time. Taking Xanax in order to avoid psychological problems and deviating from the prescribed instructions is risky for addiction prone people. Physical dependence on Xanax occurs after regular daily dosing of a few weeks, or more, and is best resolved with a supervised tapering schedule and withdrawal.

Xanax effects on the central nervous system

Xanax directly affects the central nervous system by slowing down brain activity. It may work by increasing GABA activity, which diminishes the brain’s “excitability” promoting a drowsy or calming effect. When taken in combination with alcohol, Xanax can evoke excessive drowsiness.

Xanax effects on dopamine

Xanax promotes dopamine spikes by limiting the interneurons’ restraining influence on dopamine-producing cells.

Xanax effects on the body

Xanax is an effective drug for its intended purpose, but it has its adverse side effects on the body. For example, while it decreases abnormal brain activity resulting in a calming effect on the body, many Xanax users report:

  • constipation
  • muscle twitching
  • profuse sweating
  • tiredness
  • tremors
  • weight fluctuations

Since it’s a central nervous system depressant, a Xanax user may have a hard time keeping balance and body coordination, so it’s recommended that you avoid driving a car and operating dangerous machinery while on Xanax. And while the effects of Xanax last for about 4 hours, daily use can lead to physical dependence after a period of about a few weeks.

Xanax effects on personality and behavior

A person using Xanax is likely to exhibit unusual behavior and personality changes. The otherwise anxious and shy person may appear more talkative, restless and hyperactive. However, some people may  experience depression, suicidal thoughts, agitation, hostility, hallucinations  and similar. These personality and behavioral changes could pose a potential threat for the patient and people surrounding him/her and should be addressed appropriately.

Xanax effects on the heart and heart rate

Possible side effects on the heart from Xanax use include tachycardia, palpitation, and in rare cases, cardiopulmonary collapse.

Xanax effects on the liver

Xanax should be taken with caution  by individuals suffering from a liver disease or liver-related problems as it could cause liver enzyme elevations.

Xanax effects on the lungs

Respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, depressed respiration and apnea are possible side effects of using Xanax.

Xanax effects on skin

Xanax can give rise to skin rashes. Cases of extreme itching and swelling have been reported in people using Xanax. Other possible effects on the skin from Xanax use are yellowing as a result of elevated bilirubin and a condition called nonthrombocytopenic purpura which appears as a result of defect in capillaries caused by the drug.

Xanax effects on pregnancy

Xanax IS NOT recommended for use during pregnancy, especially not in the first three months. It is assumed that Xanax could cause congenital abnormalities when administered in the first trimester. Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms and respiratory problems have been reported in children born of mothers using benzodiazepines like Xanax during pregnancy.

Xanax effects on the menstrual cycle and birth control

Menstrual irregularities and heavy bleeding are possible side effects of using Xanax. The inability to ovulate has also been seen in female Xanax users.

Xanax effects on a fetus

Xanax could pose potential harm to the fetus but there is no sufficient data to justify this claim.

Xanax effects on breast milk

Nursing is not recommended for mothers using Xanax as there could be traces of it in the breast milk. Another possible side effect is producing excessive amount of milk, a condition known as galactorrhea.

Xanax effects on the nose, ears, and throat

Xanax users are likely to experience alterations in the sense of smell, and constant watery discharge. Nasal congestion and bleeding have also been reported in Xanax users. Another possible effect associated with Xanax use is increased noise sensitivity and ringing and/or buzzing in the ears. The throat of a Xanax user could manifest sores and ulcers.

Xanax effects on the eyes

Sensitivity to light, blurred vision and yellowing of the eyes as a result of elevated bilirubin are probable when using Xanax.

Xanax effects questions

Do you still have questions about the effects of Xanax? Please let us know in the comments section below. We also welcome you to share your experience with Xanax. We will try to respond to all comments in a timely manner.

Reference Sources: FDA: Xanax Label
NIDA: Benzodiapzeines addictive properties
Medline Plus: Alprazolam
NIH: Liver Toxitiy of Alprazolam
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I appreciate you taking the time to share with us your experience with Xanax.
    Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

  2. My mother has been on Xanax for 10 years. We are definitely seeing the adverse effects from this medication. I am having to be a detective and research the drug and what it can do especially from long term use. I believe that the the dopamine spikes that the article talks about could have caused my mother’s currently undiagnosed disorder that she is suffering from along with her family. In other research I have found that this dopamine spikes are linked to suspicious personalities, paranoid, and withdrawal from social situations. My mother has experienced this on an extreme level. The suspicious personality has turned into what we think she has, othello syndrome, or delusional jealousy disorder, she has experienced extreme paranoia, hallucinations, impulsive behavior, obsessive thoughts, etc. She has left me dad and has filed for divorce because she thinks while she is asleep he is sneaking out and having an affair, which is NOT happening. We have tried everything to convince her that she needs help. There will be a hearing tomorrow because we are requesting an evaluation. Because this is rare and unheard of where I from I need to have someone knowledgeable to say say yes this could be what is happening so that the judge will grant the evaluation. Please help.

  3. I am a sixty nine yr old female, I took so many zanax I was unconscious through a Heart attack i almost died. Now I have no balance so walking is out of my life. I am wheelchair stuck! It sure wasn’t worth it. I am very Depressed My Life is ruined. Don’t do what I did. Barbara

  4. I am far past the mid stages of CHF. I want to take an active role. I feel i should try anything that could have a positive impact in my life.

  5. been on 1,5 to 2 mg for 4 months. somedays i take only 1mg . then i crave and one day a week,may take 3 mg . two nights ago,only tool .75 that day…tried trazadone to sleep,50 mg only ,but it made me feel awful today n I’ve taken already 2mg by 6 pm.im trying to get out of this ugly habit.

  6. How can I detox myself? Was on 10 mg valume for 32 days done 15 clonavepam in week going through withdraw haven’t sleep in 2 nights help

    1. Hello Latrisha. Experts claim that every detox should be medically supervised.Generally speaking, during detox the first few days are critical. Also, it is recommended to seek help from a physician to make you a tapering schedule for your medication. Here are articles about detox from Xanax: http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/xanax-withdrawal-treatment-how-to-treat-xanax-withdrawal/ and http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/detox-from-xanax/ I hope you might find them useful.

  7. Hi Debi. Well, Ativan is one of those prescription medications that don’t leave the system as fast. Even small doses might be detectable in standard drug screens up to a week later.

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