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Xanax (Alprazolam) Addiction Warning Signs

signs and symptoms of addiction to xanax

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Xanax, or alprazolam, is an antianxiety medication that slows the nervous system, calms and relaxes people, and has been a great benefit to many. It is also, due to its sedative nature, an addictive substance, and can be abused with serious consequences. Signs of Xanax addiction can be easy to miss or ascribe to something else entirely. Here are some warning signs and other Xanax abuse symptoms that you should be aware of if you or someone you love is prescribed this medication.

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Table of Contents

Typical Xanax Addiction Symptoms

Woman with pills in hand taking one.

Xanax addiction symptoms may not be easy to see right away, as the person slowly becomes more and more dependent on the drug to manage, but it becomes easier to see with some education. Xanax is a psychotropic medication used to soothe and calm anxious and overworking minds and relieves people of worry, so it is easy to see why it would be addictive. It works like other drugs, however, in that a person comes to tolerate the drug, and needs more and more of it to feel the same effects, so prescriptions will be used up quickly instead of lasting the whole period.

Some typical signs of Xanax use include:

  • Lethargy. The user will not have much energy or do much anymore.
  • Oversleeping. The relaxed state often makes people feel tired or sleepy and increases time spent asleep.
  • Slurred speech. People on Xanax will not have as much motor control as those who are sober, as a result, they will slur their speech a lot.
  • Confusion/Disorientation. A person taking Xanax struggles to remember things, have difficulty making new memories while they are using, and often not be able to concentrate on things they would normally be able to do.

Psychological Signs of Xanax Abuse

The psychological symptoms of Xanax abuse may be some of the more difficult to see, but also may be some of the more painful symptoms. A person becoming addicted to the drug will have their life focused on the drug, and will do whatever it takes to get it, as Alprazolam becomes the center of their world. This is a major warning sign for drug addiction. This is where it goes from abuse to symptoms of Xanax addiction.
Here are some other warning signs of Xanax abuse:

  • Depression. This is a depressant medication, which slows the central nervous system. A severe side effect of Xanax is depression, sadness, and hopelessness, and other symptoms associated with mood disorders.
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable things. Using drugs like Alprazolam takes away the highs and the lows, so pleasurable activities leave them feeling nothing.
  • Loss of control of their use. People using and abusing drugs have lost control over how much they use, how often, or from where they get it. Even if they want to stop, they just cannot without help.
  • Impulsivity. Abusing Alprazolam takes away a lot of a person’s ability to think or reason. They frequently do things on impulse that they would not have otherwise done, which may include dangerous or deadly decisions.
  • Hallucinations. In some worse cases, Xanax like other illegal drugs may cause hallucinations, where people see, hear, or feel things which are just not there.

Physical Symptoms of Xanax Consumption

Xanax can be a deadly drug for those who abuse it.

Xanax dependence symptoms begin to show when the person stops taking the medication as prescribed and begins abusing it, taking dangerous amounts of the drug. Symptoms become increasingly dangerous the longer a person has been taking it and will impact more and more of what the nervous system controls, as well as other organs of the body.

Symptoms of Xanax abuse and overdose can be seen physically with:

  • Confusion. A sign a person is abusing Alprazolam becomes increasingly harder to understand, and it is more difficult for them to understand things as well. This confusion becomes more severe and can be the result of damage done to the brain.
  • Loss of consciousness. When someone is abusing Xanax, they will be taking significant amounts of it on a regular basis. Being a depressant, this will cause intense drowsiness and the inability to stay awake, or even conscious.
  • Blackouts. Like with alcohol, people can have drug blackouts too, where they are upright, talking and moving, but will have no memory of what they did or said.
  • Overdose. A person taking too much drug at one time runs the risk of Xanax overdose where they will need immediate medical intervention.
  • Coma. One of the more severe risks of this depressant is the chance of it putting a person who abuses it in a coma, possibly for life.

Behavioral Deviations of the Xanax Addict

One final piece of the picture is how someone is abusing Xanax acts or what actions might be symptoms of drugs addiction. Signs of Xanax addiction can be seen in how they talk and the way in which they move. While having one or two may not necessarily mean the person is addicted to drugs, it should be enough to ask a person questions and help to share any concerns that one may have to find out if any symptoms of Xanax abuse present.

  • Risk taking. With low impulse control and a high need for the drug, people addicted to Alprazolam often do riskier and riskier things to obtain it.
  • Withdrawing from life. The person abusing Alprazolam withdraw from life, stop acting like a part of the family or hanging out with friends, call into work a lot, or skip church for example.
  • New friends. It’s also likely they will be hanging out with friends you have never seen before, and likely friends that are helping them get high.
  • Drug-seeking. They will begin going to the doctor more, the ER, or use other means to try to get drugs when they run out.
  • Slow or sluggish responses. People on Xanax do not have a good reaction time for anything, which is a common sign of drug abuse. They may often appear like they are falling asleep constantly, and likely they are. It may take the time to compose their thoughts or even speak.
Xanax abuse and addiction impact thousands of people each year, both those with the disease, and their friends and family members. Knowing the signs of Xanax addiction helps avoid this, and lead to earlier intervention and recovery. 

The cost of ignoring Alprazolam dependence symptoms can be dangerous, even deadly. While this sounds tragic, it does not have to end that way. Help is available, and recovery is possible.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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