What Are the Side Effects of a Xanax High?

What Are the Side Effects of a Xanax High?

One of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the world today is Xanax. Originally introduced as a benzodiazepine drug in 1976, the medication comes in tablet form or an extended-release capsule (DrugAbuse.com).

While typically prescribed to treat anxiety and depression, Xanax has evolved to be on a somewhat synonymous plane with drug overdose, and has made news in recent years as the cause of several celebrity and other accidental deaths.

Due to its prevalence in the news, many are forced to ask why this drug is so popular and what are the side effects of a Xanax high?

Reasons for Prescribing Xanax

The effects of a Xanax high are predominantly calming and sedative. When taken as prescribed, the short-term effects of Xanax help to reduce physical tension, restlessness, nervousness, and feelings of uneasiness associated with anxiety.




Xanax is most often prescribed to those who suffer from severe anxiety disorders. Patients with severe anxiety will usually exhibit motor tension (like trembling, twitching, feeling shaky), autonomic hyperactivity (like shortness of breath, palpitations, or accelerated heart rate), or “vigilance and scanning” (feeling on-edge, having difficulty concentrating, or trouble falling or staying asleep).

Xanax is also used to treat panic attacks and other panic disorders (MedicalNewsToday.com). When abused, the effects of a Xanax high range from sedative to euphoric, with extreme cases resulting in “hypnosis, or a state of extreme relaxation and suggestibility” (AddictionBlog.org).

How Xanax Affects the Body

To understand the full effects and potential dangers of Xanax, it helps to understand the physiological effects. Xanax affects the the body primarily through the central nervous system, and takes effect very quickly, typically lasting for around 6 hours.

xanax high

The primary ingredient in Xanax that affects the CNS is a benzodiazepine called “alprazolam” (AddictionBlog.org). Benzodiazepines, which are also known as sedatives or depressants, work by slowing down the central nervous system.

The exact action of alprazolam on the brain is still unknown, but experts believe it binds “stereo-specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system to cause dose-related depressant effects.” This action is what causes euphoria in users.

Side Effects of Xanax Abuse

When used within the prescription limit, Xanax is helpful in treating and mitigating anxiety and phobias. However, due to the addictive nature of the drug, and the tendency of the human body to build up a tolerance against its use, it’s all too easy for users to develop a habit of abuse. Some of the negative effects reported by users who take Xanax to treat anxiety include:

  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired coordination and memory
  • Insomnia

Xanax abuse is also noted by impaired cognitive skills and difficulty producing words properly. If you observe a loved one slurring their speech or sounding like they’re intoxicated when speaking, keep an eye out for other warning signs of Xanax abuse. Other warning signs of Xanax abuse include:

  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Tremors
  • Loss of interest in sex or relationships

As dosage and/or frequency of usage increases, the side effects will become more severe. According to DrugAbuse.com, some people may also become confused or disoriented after taking Xanax. In more severe cases, you may notice the following behaviors:

  • Thoughts of harming oneself/suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements or seizures
  • Hyperactivity
  • Chest pain




Long-term abuse and addiction to Xanax is associated with “depression, psychotic experiences, and aggressive or impulsive behavior” (MedicalNewsToday.com). If you see any of these behaviors in a friend or loved one, take action to find someone to help immediately.

For more information on how to seek treatment for addiction for you or a loved one, contact HARP Treatment Center today.

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