Xanax Side Effects

Table of Contents


Due to Xanax side effects and the benzodiazepine’s high potential for abuse and addiction, this medication is only indicated for short-term use.

Xanax is a branded formulation of alprazolam, a benzo from the same family as these common anti-anxiety drugs:

We want to help

Let’s setup a call and figure out the best treatment options for you or your loved one. Our detox specialists will get back to you immediately.

  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

Xanax is typically prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety disorders.

Benzos work by reducing excitement in the CNS (central nervous system) and brain, triggering a sense of calm. Xanax induces this calming effect by intensifying the effects of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is a chemical that occurs in the brain.

Xanax gained approval by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) in 1981 and the medication is still commonly prescribed in 2023, despite a range of adverse side effects and its abuse potential.

Common Side Effects of Xanax

Xanax can bring about various side effects. These normally present at the beginning of treatment, subsiding when the medication is discontinued.

The psychological and physical effects of Xanax occur both short-term and long-term.


These are the most reported short-term effects of Xanax:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Memory impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal involuntary movements
  • Decreased libido
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation of skin
  • Rash
  • Incontinence
  • Chest pain
  • Hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Increased libido
  • Increased saliva production
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Slurred speech
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Appetite changes
  • Tremors
  • Fear
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hypotension
a woman sitting with her knees tucked in, feeling Xanax side effects


There are many long-term side effects of Xanax, and the medication is generally considered unsuitable for sustained use.

Abusing benzos like Xanax long-term triggers structural and functional brain changes. In time, the brain will lose its ability to function optimally without Xanax.

Chronic Xanax abuse interferes with:

  • Consciousness
  • Thought processes
  • Memory
  • Emotional responses
  • Muscular coordination

Tolerance to Xanax forms rapidly, diminishing the effects of the medication and preventing the effective treatment of emotional disruptions. Taking higher or more frequent doses of Xanax is liable to accelerate the development of physical dependence on Xanax. Physical dependency can develop after just a few weeks of using a benzo like Xanax.

The sustained abuse of Xanax may bring on mood swings, hostility, aggression, and violent behavior. Less frequently, those abusing Xanax long-term may experience hallucinations or paranoid delusions.

Abusing Xanax may lead to memory problems and difficulty focusing. Coordination may be impaired, impacting both speech and balance.

Additionally, long-term Xanax use may trigger appetite changes and corresponding weight gain or weight loss. Lethargy is associated with long-term Xanax use, and this may indirectly contribute to weight gain.

The chronic abuse of benzos often triggers depression and suicidal thoughts, another reason why this medication is unsuitable for long-term use.

Some studies show a potential link between chronic Xanax abuse and dementia, with adverse Xanax side effects in the elderly including a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

What Does Xanax Do to the Brain?

All benzos like Xanax increase the production of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger associated with soothing nerve impulses that provoke emotional expressions like anxiety and panic.

Using Xanax for many months raises the risk of damage to brain cells. Ongoing use of Xanax alters the way the brain operates, reducing inhibitions and subjecting you to risks you would not otherwise take, such as engaging in unsafe sex or driving under the influence.

Psychological Effects of Xanax

Using or abusing Xanax long-term is liable to bring about tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction in the form of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder. The chronic abuse of benzos also causes changes to the brain that include:

  • Cognitive deficits
  • Memory impairment
  • Potential for depression or anxiety

If you find yourself responding positively to several of the following questions, consider consulting your prescribing physician:

  • Do you need more Xanax to achieve the initial effects?
  • Have you frequently tried and failed to control or discontinue Xanax use?
  • Does thinking about benzos occupy a lot of your time?
  • Do you worry about having a constant supply of Xanax?
  • Have loved ones commented on your absence from social occasions?
  • Do you continue using Xanax in spite of adverse outcomes?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, or muscle twitches if you reduce your Xanax dosage or stop using this benzo?

The most effective pathway to recovery from any form of Xanax abuse involves a supervised clinical detox followed by inpatient or outpatient treatment. We can help you achieve this at California Detox in Laguna Beach.

An image of California Detox, an addiction treatment facility in Laguna Beach, CA.

Xanax Addiction Treatment at California Detox

Whether you started using Xanax for legitimate medical purposes and developed an addiction, or you abused benzos to the point of sedative use disorder, we can help you fight back here at California Detox in Laguna Beach.

Whether you require inpatient or outpatient treatment, our supervised medical detox program provides the safest and most comfortable pathway to benzo withdrawal. With a tapered reduction in Xanax dosage, medications to streamline the withdrawal process and continuous care to mitigate cravings, you can address physical dependence on benzos and prepare yourself for one of these programs:

  • Inpatient programs (residential rehab)
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Remote rehab programs
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for co-occurring disorders)

All treatment programs at California Detox treatment programs offer personalized therapy that combines science-backed treatments and holistic therapies for a whole-body approach to addiction recovery. These might include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies

You will leave California Detox in Laguna Beach with an individualized aftercare plan that may include coping techniques, relapse prevention strategies, and access to ongoing therapy if required.

Call 949.694.8305 today to move beyond Xanax addiction.


Some research shows that those with Alzheimer’s who take benzodiazepines like Xanax might be at increased risk of stroke. Additionally, Xanax may cause drowsiness and impair cognitive function. If this causes slips and falls leading to head injuries, the medication may indirectly contribute to stroke.
No, Xanax is associated with lowering blood pressure rather than raising blood pressure.


Request a Call