8 Symptoms Of Xanax (Alprazolam) Overdose To Be Aware Of

Xanax overdose can cause as many as eight distinct symptoms. And each individual symptom can range in severity from mild to debilitating. While alprazolam is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, it has higher toxicity levels than other drugs in that category.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a prescription drug in the benzodiazepine class. It is used to treat mental health problems such as panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Because of its ability to minimize symptoms related to anxiety, Xanax use is highly addictive leading some people to take more of the drug than is prescribed.

Xanax addiction is also typically formed in conjunction with other forms of substance abuse and drug addiction.

Xanax overdose, like other forms of benzodiazepine overdose, is a very real possibility and is complicated in that some overdose symptoms are similar to the normal side effects of the drug.

List Of Xanax Overdose Symptoms

The severity of Xanax overdose may affect the symptoms someone experiences. In general, a person who is overdosing on alprazolam may exhibit the following symptoms.

1. Confusion

One of the common side effects of alprazolam that is also an early overdose symptom is having difficulty concentrating.

As this symptom progresses, it can turn into confusion.

As the overdose symptoms get more severe, confusion turns into profound confusion. People can also experience memory problems.

2. Slurred Speech

Alprazolam naturally depresses the central nervous system in order to address symptoms of anxiety. This can result in the normal side effect of chattiness.

But in an overdose, Xanax causes slurred speech and increased difficulty enunciating as the severity of the overdose increases.

3. Rapid Heart Rate

Another side effect of alprazolam is heart palpitations and tachycardia, which can affect some people who take the drug within prescribed limits.

But a Xanax overdose can cause an accelerated heart rate accompanied by a feeling of pounding and pain in the chest.

4. Seizures

As symptoms of a Xanax overdose become more severe, the effects of Xanax can cause seizures. These can accompany the loss of coordination and balance.

5. Difficulty Breathing

A person who experiences a more severe Xanax overdose may have difficulty breathing.

This is often the result of the central nervous system being depressed by the drug. But it can also be the result of similar effects due to alcohol or opioids if they have been co-ingested with the drug.

6. Unresponsiveness

Drowsiness, one of the common effects of Xanax, becomes much more pronounced as one of the severe symptoms of Xanax overdose.

A person can become so drowsy as to be unable to keep from falling asleep and unresponsive.

7. Respiratory Depression

Studies have shown that appropriate dose amounts of alprazolam can positively affect the breathing of someone with chronic obstructive lung disease and anxiety.

But this is not the case with an overdose on Xanax. As a severe overdose progresses, the respiratory system becomes further depressed and breathing becomes very slow.

8 Coma

Finally, someone experiencing a severe Xanax overdose can lose consciousness and slip into a coma. Comas can come on rapidly, rendering a person unresponsive to external stimuli.

Someone who enters a coma because of substance abuse overdose can remain in a coma for as long as months or even years. However, the length of most comas is measured in weeks.

What To Do When Xanax Overdose Occurs

If Xanax addiction has led to an overdose in you or your loved one, seek medical attention right away.

Be sure to tell the medical professional, if you are able, of other prescription medications that you or your loved one are taking. They will also need to know whether you or your loved one has ingested any other substances with Xanax.

If you combine Xanax with another form of drug abuse, the risk of overdose increases. In fact, people who take Xanax with opiates or alcohol (or both) have a risk of fatal overdoses.

Medical treatment for a mild Xanax overdose usually involves supportive care with such measures as intravenous fluids.

If a Xanax overdose is severe, a doctor may decide to treat the patient with flumazenil. Flumazenil can reverse the overdose, but it comes with its own set of risks.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Abuse

Addiction treatment for Xanax use disorder and co-occurring substance abuse is available to you.

A professional rehab center will offer you a treatment program that can address many different aspects of addiction.

Some rehab treatment options include:

  • medical detox
  • help with withdrawal symptoms
  • inpatient and outpatient care
  • evidence-based therapy models of treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy

Find Substance Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we understand how difficult it can be to end prescription drug abuse, especially if it is a drug that you started taking with good intentions.

Located on the east coast, our treatment program is geared toward you as an individual. Every person has a unique story that has led him or her to this point. We want to help you discover how your story can move beyond addiction.

Call our helpline today and get the help that you need to begin addiction recovery.

  1. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1884537/
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482238/
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482238/
  4. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2922358/

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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