Among the benzodiazepine class of prescription drugs, a healthcare provider will often prescribe Xanax (alprazolam) to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder.
Similar medications include Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam). These types of medications, such as Xanax, when combined with other substances, can have negative side effects.
One of the side effects of drugs in this class is drowsiness or sedation which can increase if you are on a high dose. As a result, people taking Xanax may take caffeine to give them more energy.
But is it safe to do so?
Side Effects Of Mixing Xanax With Caffeine
Xanax and caffeine both affect the central nervous system (CNS), but with opposite results.
Alprazolam is a CNS depressant, working with gamma-aminobutyric acid to produce that sense of calm that you get when you take the drug.
On the other hand, caffeine, as many of us know, is a stimulant. Coffee or energy drinks wake us up because their high concentrations of caffeine seek out an adenosine receptor to block it.
Otherwise, adenosine (a naturally occurring chemical in our cells) would attach to that receptor and block signals that speed up heart rate or cause irregular rhythms.
But when you rely on a benzo like Xanax to calm anxiety or even help you through panic attacks, you may find that caffeine can antagonize the symptoms you are trying to alleviate.
Worsened Anxiety Symptoms
One of the side effects of caffeine is anxiety, which means that people who do not experience mental health disorders can feel it as a result of drinking too many cups of coffee, for example.
So, if you are prone to a generalized anxiety disorder or any one of the other anxiety disorders, caffeine can make those symptoms worse.
Worsened anxiety due to Xanax abuse is also possible, which means that when you combine the two substances, compounding anxiety effects could be severe.
Another side effect of caffeine is insomnia, which means that coffee, which has high concentrations of caffeine, can keep you awake.
Insomnia may result from Xanax misuse as well, which means you may find sleep highly difficult if abusing Xanax and using caffeine at the same time.
Poor sleep can be a serious detractor to mental health. If you cannot get decent rest at night, it will be harder to deal with mental health issues that arise during the day.
Counteracting Xanax Benefits
In short, taking caffeine with Xanax creates a high risk of counteracting the very condition that you take Xanax for in the first place.
This also creates the potential for a vicious cycle where you take caffeine to counteract the side effects of Xanax, then more Xanax to counteract the side effects of caffeine, and so on.
Why People Take Xanax And Caffeine Together
There are a couple of reasons why people would want to take Xanax and caffeine together, and those reasons may not necessarily be related to Xanax addiction.
Unfortunately, these reasons may prompt Xanax abuse, which may in turn lead to an addiction.
Drowsiness And Sedation From Xanax
To get the effects of Xanax for anxiety while still being able to function at a job, people taking the drug will often resort to caffeine.
They may even drink several cups of coffee to stay awake, but you should always seek medical advice about dealing with the side effects of medications.
Xanax is a legitimate prescription medication often prescribed to treat anxiety.
People who are used to drinking a lot of coffee may have been prescribed Xanax to treat something that caffeine may aggravate but may not have created.
Factors That Affect How Xanax And Caffeine Interact
While there are no specific drug interactions (as in, chemical reactions) between Xanax and caffeine, there are factors that can increase the antagonism between the two drugs.
Doses Of Caffeine Ingested
Caffeine intake can decrease the efficacy of alprazolam. In other words, the more doses of caffeine you take, the less effective taking a benzo is for anxiety.
Caffeine can also increase your heart rate and your risk for dehydration.
Physical Dependence On Xanax
If you have a physical dependency on or addiction to Xanax and you also take caffeine to try to stay awake, you put yourself at greater risk of experiencing the dangerous side effects of that addiction.
These side effects can include:
- elevated heart rate
Treatment Options For Xanax Addiction
If you are experiencing a Xanax addiction, there are treatment options available.
These Xanax drug rehab options can include:
- inpatient and outpatient treatment
- medical detox
- management of withdrawal symptoms
- evidence-based therapy
- treatment of co-occurring mental health problems
Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Bedrock Recovery Center is located in Canton, Massachusetts, and has been treating benzodiazepine substance abuse for many years. We want to use that experience to help you or your loved one overcome addiction.
We also understand how difficult it is to experience substance abuse and a co-occurring anxiety disorder. With proper treatment, you can overcome addiction and manage your mental health.
Call our helpline today and begin your journey to an addiction-free life.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html
- Psychological Reports https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15460374/