Xanax, or alprazolam, is most often prescribed in the treatment of anxiety disorders, seizures and panic disorders – all issues that are characterized by a high rate of brain activity in the patient. For some patients, it’s a lifesaver. They are able to function normally while using the drug. Others, however, experience any number of side effects – some mild, some severe.
The US National Library of Medicine reports that most adverse side effects caused by the use of Xanax are evident early on in treatment. In many cases, these side effects are no longer an issue as the body adjusts to the medication. However, in some cases, they can be overwhelming or so disruptive that they outweigh the benefits of taking the drug.
The most aggressive side effect of taking Xanax long-term is the development of addiction. The psychological and physical effects of Xanax addiction can be life-altering – and even life-ending. If you are concerned that your loved one is building toward a dependence on Xanax or if he is unable to shake his addiction to the drug, contact us at Axis and learn about the treatment and therapeutic options that may be able to help your loved one heal.
Most Common Xanax Side Effects
Xanax affects the central nervous system, slowing down the processes that cause adverse symptoms in the patient like hyperventilation, rapid heart rate, etc. Because this is its primary function, most of the side effects associated with Xanax use are related to functions of the central nervous system. The most often reported side effects of the drug include:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Sleep disruption
Though these issues are often mild and pass within a few days or weeks of initial use, for some patients, they make it too uncomfortable to continue taking the medication.
Other Xanax Side Effects
Other systems in the body can also be affected by Xanax use and side effects, though these are less common than central nervous system side effects. These include:
- Gastrointestinal side effects
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Decrease or increase in saliva production
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cardiovascular issues
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heart beat
- Musculoskeletal issues
- Sensory issues
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Skin issues
- Itchy skin
- Other issues
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Extreme change in weight
- Lack of libido
- Menstrual issues
Mental Health Side Effects of Xanax
Some patients reported that Xanax created a number of mental health issues in addition to the physical side effects caused by use of the drug, including:
- Increased anxiety
- Loss of memory
- Loss of cognitive ability or clarity of thought
- Feelings of confusion
- Irritation or agitation
Xanax Addiction: The Most Significant Side Effect
The most intensive and life-threatening side effect caused by Xanax use is addiction. Addiction affects both the body and the brain, so the patient will experience medical and mental health symptoms as a result. In fact, the disorder of addiction is so overwhelming to the patient that its effects are apparent in every part of life, creating a wide range of issues that can potentially include:
- Loss of freedom. Many who live with Xanax abuse cannot get enough pills to maintain their addiction through their legal prescription. To augment their legal supply, they may indulge in illegal activities that may result in arrest, including altering their prescriptions, getting two doctors to prescribe them the medication, buying pills on the street, and more.
- Loss of finances. Xanax can cost quite a bit depending upon health insurance coverage, and it can be difficult to purchase all the pills necessary to maintain a high-dose addiction. Additionally, those who are long-term addicts have a difficult time holding down a job, which can mean a disruption to their income.
- Loss of relationships. Behavior that is controlled by Xanax is erratic at best and few relationships will function well under the weight of chronic addiction and associated behaviors.
- Loss of health. No matter the potential medical benefits, too much Xanax can be taxing on the body. The development of chronic health disorders is not uncommon.
- Loss of mental wellness and stability. Muddied thinking, emotional disconnection, fatigue, confusion, irritability, depression – there are a number of potential issues that can occur due to Xanax addiction.
Xanax Addiction Is Treatable
If your family member is living with an active addiction to Xanax, help is available. Contact us at Axis today and discuss the options available in treatment.