What Happens When Someone Overdoses on Xanax?


xanax patient

One of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, Xanax, generically called Alprazolam, is part of a category of drugs called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax fills the GABA receptors in the brain, causing nerve activity to slow down and for the person to experience a calming effect. When taken as prescribed, Xanax can be an effective way to help individuals cope with their anxiety symptoms. However, Xanax can quickly become dangerous if too much is taken.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), national data report that there are more emergency room visits associated with Xanax misuse than any of the next top 3 prescribed benzodiazepines – brand-named Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine reviewed Xanax and stated that it’s potential for misuse is likely due to its properties of rapid absorption, high potency, short half-life (how long it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the bloodstream), and more. As we can see, misuse is an unfortunate yet common occurrence when Xanax is involved; what about overdose?

Since Xanax has sedative, hypnotic (sleep inducing), anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant and muscle relaxant properties, overdose can be extremely dangerous:

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma

Dial 911 immediately if you believe a loved one has overdosed. Their condition may be life-threatening, depending on how much was taken, how it was taken, if others drugs or alcohol were mixed with it, and more. From there, emergency services may perform gastric leverage, in which a tube is inserted into the stomach to retrieve unabsorbed pills. Additionally, an intravenous line may be administered to provide your loved one with proper fluids.

If you have been struggling with Xanax addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Treatment for this often involves medication and psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. From there, you can develop effective coping mechanisms for handling life’s obstacles.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.