Long term effects of Xanax addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

How addictive is Xanax? Are the damages caused by Xanax serious? Check out this infoGRAPHIC! Then, feel free to PRINT IT OUT for a poster for use in school or office settings. More here, with a section for your comments at the end.

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Long term effects of Xanax addiction

Using Xanax to avoid emotional or psychological problems can result in Xanax addiction. Just how addictive is Xanax and can damage caused by Xanax addiction be reversed? We review here.

Use leads to tolerance

Dependence on Xanax is an expected outcome of long-term use of alprazolam for more than 6 weeks, or so. But Xanax use may quickly escalate to unintended and initially unanticipated levels. So how is dependence different than addiction? Mainly, addiction is a psychological condition.

Long term effects of Xanax addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Addiction to Xanax = Self-administering, snorting, taking Xanax other than prescribed and/or increasing Xanax intake without medical advice all lead to Xanax addiction.

Mechanism of Xanax action

Xanax presumably exert its effects by binding at stereo-specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system. Their exact mechanism of action is unknown.

How addictive is Xanax?

Physical dependence on Xanax is very common, even when Xanax is taken in the recommended doses. Psychological dependence and addiction have been documented in patients abusing Xanax.

Is damage caused by Xanax permanent or reversible?

Permanent damage that Xanax can cause:

  • acute kidney damage
  • cardio collapse
  • pulmonary collapse
  • damage as a result of seizures or coma

Reversible damage:

  • ear pain
  • rhinorrhea, nasal congestion
  • ulcers, sores and swelling
  • yellowing of eyes (elevated bilirubin)
  • yellowing, severe rashes and swelling

How does Xanax addiction affect you?

Effects of Xanax on health:

  • cardiopulmonary collapse
  • damaged blood vessels
  • uncontrollable muscle twitching
  • weight loss

Effects of Xanax on work:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • job loss
  • mental impairment
  • paradox excitation

Effects of Xanax on self esteem:

  • depersonalization
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • suicidal thoughts

Effects of Xanax on relationships:

  • aggressiveness
  • anti-social behavior
  • apathy
  • interpersonal conflicts
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 took 0,25 – 0,50 mg alprazolam for many years. I took it for anxiety, panic attacks caused by harassment and stalking. I have started lowering the dose a few months ago, I am currently taking 1/4 of 0,25 mg. = 0,06mg
    The withdrawal was very slow. I can’t lower the dose.
    Symptoms: severe insomnia, high prolactin, mild hypothyroidism, anger outbursts
    What shall I do? I want to lower the dose, but the pill is too small and I can’t really take a smaller quantity.
    I can’t fall asleep, I have hormone imbalance and I am irritable and nervous. I have become sensitive to sounds.
    What would you do? I am also taking 10 mg propranolol.
    I no longer have panic attacks, mild anxiety, but not severe phobias or panic episodes.
    When can I say I am completely benzo free? If I take 0,04 will it still affect my brain/body?
    Nothing is said about very low doses. Are they harmful?

  2. I have been taking 1 mg a day for about three years for insomnia. During the past three weeks, i have been having episodes of complete mental confusion and fog, sometimes accompanied by extreme vertigo; usually after lunch (about twelve hours after taking Xanax). I was worried i was loosing my mind, but after researching i think xanax could be the culprit.
    I tried to stop taking it, and the side effects were HUGE. i did not sleep for 72 hours and was CRAZY. After 72 hours i had to start taking it again.
    My prescribing doctor cannot see me for a month. I am kinda scared i am physically addicted, but i do not know what to do……if i take less than i mg, i do not sleep, at all…but if i cannot use my mind after lunch every day, my career is over.
    i have never abused my prescription, only followed doctors orders. All these effects are new, in the last month, after three years of use of 1 mg a day

  3. I have been giving my house cats very small dosages of alprazolam for severe skin irritation, un-stopable itching and scratching themselves, (to the point of raw flesh was showing), and unstoppable spastic behavior! (Where when my female was bitten by a FLEA wood leave her flopping like a fish out of water; URINATING EVERYWHERE!!!) PLEASE CONTACT ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I have nowhere left to turn!!!

    1. Hi Howard. Are you saying that you are now taking three quarters of a Xanax pill a day or you take 3-4mg daily? If it’s the latter, you should know that even small doses can lead to an increase in tolerance and development of physical dependence. What are you taking the medication for?

  4. I would like to know if when a lab does a drug test does immediate-release Xanax show up differently than extended release Xanax.

    1. Hello Margo. Let’s start with the weight loss as a side effect of Xanax discontinuation. Medical professionals don’t think Xanax has an effect on weight. They claim it’s more likely that it has to do with patients ability to deal with stress. When some people become paniced or nervous they will not get hungry, therefore they do not eat, and this is followed by weight loss. Muscle cramps and pains are also commonly experienced by patients detoxing from Xanax. I’d advise you to see a doctor that can help prescribe medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms.

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