The short answer is, “yes, Xanax can kill you,” but the real explanation is a bit more complicated than that. While Xanax is widely viewed as a safe drug, many fatalities have been linked with this prescription medication.
As with any medication, it is essential to follow medical dosage directions when taking Xanax. If someone who takes Xanax fails to listen to the instructions that their doctor gives them, they may face many serious fatal health complications. Xanax-related death could be caused by addiction, overdose, unsafe ingestion, unsafe combinations with the drug, suicide, and withdrawal.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a depressant drug in the benzodiazepine category that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This sedative may also be known by its generic name, alprazolam. Alprazolam works by changing neurotransmitter levels in the brain to promote calmness. c
Xanax Side Effects
Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, insomnia, dizziness, muscle weakness, headaches, memory problems, difficulty concentration, irritability, slurred speech, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, appetite or weight change, increased sweating, swelling, blurred vision, dry mouth, stuffy nose, and loss of interest in sex. While these side effects may be uncomfortable, they are usually not dangerous if they are treated properly.
Xanax may also come with more serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor if you experience the following side effects after taking Xanax:
- Depressed feelings
- Thoughts of suicide
- Racing thoughts
- Increased energy
- Pounding heartbeat
- Hallucinations or confusion
- Hostility or agitation
- Unusual risk-taking behavior
- Uncontrolled body movements
- Seizures or convulsions
Any signs of allergic reaction such as swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing also need immediate medical attention.
Xanax and Suicide
Some report feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide as side effects of taking Xanax. Please seek immediate medical help if you or a loved one experience such symptoms. SAMHSA reports that Alprazolam (Xanax) is connected to 11.1% percent of drug-related suicide attempts. Many believe that the combination of Xanax and alcohol especially lead to depressed mood reactions.
Xanax and Addiction
Since Xanax is known to be addictive, it is often prescribed in lower initial doses with gradual increases over time. As people take Xanax, they can become dependent on the drug for sleep or emotion/anxiety management. With increased dependency comes increased tolerance. That means that people need increased dosage to feel the effects of the drug. This also leads to the addictive properties of Xanax.
Others may become addicted to Xanax when chasing further relief from feelings of anxiety. If you feel as though Xanax is not adequately addressing your symptoms, please speak to your doctor rather than choosing to increase your dosage on your own.
Overdosing on Xanax
Death due to Xanax, as with any drug, occurs when the drug is not taken as directed by doctors. Reports suggest it is uncommon to overdose on Xanax alone, but it is possible. Someone experiencing symptoms of a Xanax overdose may have signs of abnormal breathing, extreme drowsiness or dizziness, or difficulty with coordination and balance. Xanax is prescribed to be taken orally in a pill form. Different methods, such as inhaling powdered Xanax, are unapproved and can be extremely dangerous.
Xanax overdoses are more likely to occur when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and opioids are particularly dangerous to mix with Xanax as all of these act as depressants. The combination of benzodiazepines (Xanax) and opioids can be fatal as both can suppress breathing and impair cognitive functions. Xanax overdose fatalities are most often due to lethal suppression of the breathing or circulatory system.
Suddenly stopping this medication can lead to withdrawal and other symptoms including seizures. In some cases, sudden withdrawal can lead to shock or death. However, this is very unlikely with a medical detox treatment plan. Professional treatment centers will help patients slowly stop taking Xanax by gradually reducing the dosage.
Abuse and Addiction Treatment
If you are experiencing any physical reactions to Xanax, it is key to seek medical help immediately. If looking for help with Xanax addiction or withdrawal, a Silver Pines Treatment Center will provide you with the support you need to treat this addiction in a healthy and safe way. To learn more about the risks of taking Xanax, contact our team of drug abuse treatment specialists by calling 267.719.8689