Xanax, the brand name of the drug alprazolam, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine usually prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Tolerance to Xanax can develop quickly, so addictions can develop even when it’s taken as prescribed.
When taken, Xanax produces a “chill out” effect on the brain and body. Users who take Xanax will become more relaxed, quiet, and tired.
Do you believe your loved one may be misusing or addicted to Xanax? Be on the lookout for these 5 signs of Xanax abuse:
Xanax is a sedative, so it makes sense that abusing it may make your loved one may seem extremely tired. He or she may lack the motivation to engage with friends or family. You may notice that they’re sleeping far more than usual or frequently complaining about headaches.
When you do speak with them, they may seem confused, easily annoyed, irritable, and/or have trouble remembering details. He or she may also seem to have trouble focusing for long periods of time.
Sedatives can also make the body feel sluggish, so pay attention to your loved one’s movement if you suspect Xanax misuse.
He or she may seem very off-balance or uncoordinated. They may also seem physically weaker and may have difficulty holding things or even standing for long periods of time.
Some other physical symptoms of Xanax abuse include swelling of the hands and feet, nausea or vomiting, excessive sweating, and changes in their appetite or weight.
You may notice your loved one is suddenly spending much more time alone than usual. He or she may begin missing school or work, disengage from hobbies or relationships, or even suddenly find themselves in trouble with the law.
Abuse of Alcohol or Other Drugs
Xanax is often (though not always) abused alongside alcohol or another drug in order to increase the euphoric and relaxing feeling.
However, this mixing of substances is particularly dangerous and can increase the risk of developing serious side effects like respiratory arrest, a slowed heart rate, coma, or even death.
Change in Mental State
Prolonged misuse of Xanax can cause some more serious effects, some of which can be long-lasting. Many of these longer-term side effects affect the mind with disorders such as depression, aggression, impulsivity, delirium, and psychosis.
In the very long-term, Xanax abuse can increase the person’s risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When your loved one is coming off Xanax, it’s recommended that they decrease their dosage gradually. This is because it’s very common to experience withdrawal symptoms and a gradual reduction of the drug can help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to determine what an appropriate schedule is for your loved one.