December 15, 2023

Xanax Overdose: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

A woman with her hands on her head, depicting the early symptoms of a Xanax overdose

Xanax (alprazolam) belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs and is frequently used for managing generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Benzos like Xanax are depressants of the CNS (central nervous system) that are commonly prescribed for their tranquilizing and anti-anxiety effects. Overdosing on Xanax is dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Can You Overdose on Xanax?

Overdosing on Xanax can be dangerous, especially when combined with other drugs or medications. The combination of Xanax with alcohol, for instance, can have fatal consequences.

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax enhances the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA plays a crucial role in calming the nerves and inducing a sense of relaxation.

Severe or fatal overdoses most commonly occur when Xanax is used in conjunction with other substances, particularly opioid pain medications, or alcohol. Inform your doctor about any medications you are taking while on Xanax, as they may suggest alternative treatments to minimize the risk of Xanax overdose.

Signs of a Xanax Overdose

Identifying potential Xanax overdoses involves recognizing a cluster of signs that may indicate a dangerous level of the drug in the system. Common Xanax overdose signs include:

  • Extreme drowsiness: Profound and prolonged drowsiness beyond the typical calming effect triggered by Xanax.
  • Confusion: Disorientation, mental fog, or difficulty maintaining clear and coherent thoughts.
  • Impaired coordination: Difficulty with balance and motor skills, leading to unsteady movements.
  • Slurred speech: Altered and unclear speech patterns, often resembling intoxication.
  • Weakness: A notable decrease in physical strength and overall energy levels.
  • Respiratory depression: Slow or shallow breathing, indicating compromised respiratory function.

Symptoms of Xanax Overdose

In the case of Xanax overdose, individuals may experience a range of symptoms, reflecting the severity of the overdose. Xanax overdose symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness: Unresponsiveness or inability to stay awake and alert.
  • Coma: A state of deep unconsciousness, often lasting for an extended period.
  • Cardiac issues: Irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or other cardiovascular complications.
  • Hypotension: Abnormally low blood pressure, leading to dizziness or fainting.
  • Hypothermia: Dangerously low body temperature, causing shivering and confusion.
  • Seizures: Sudden, uncontrolled convulsions or seizures, requiring immediate medical attention.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms can help enable prompt medical assistance in the event of a Xanax overdose. If any of these indicators are observed, emergency medical services should be contacted immediately.

person looking away representing a xanax overdose

Xanax Overdose Treatment

Addressing a Xanax overdose is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. Call 911 to seek urgent medical assistance. Emergency responders and medical professionals will work to stabilize the person’s vital signs, ensuring proper breathing and heart function.

In some cases, healthcare providers may perform gastric lavage – stomach pumping – to remove any unabsorbed Xanax from the stomach. Administering activated charcoal may be considered to help absorb the remaining Xanax in the stomach, reducing its absorption into the bloodstream.

Supportive measures such as intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and monitoring of vital signs are crucial to managing the overdose’s effects.

Flumazenil, a medication that reverses the effects of benzodiazepines like Xanax, may be administered under careful medical supervision.

Following the acute phase of treatment, the person may undergo psychiatric evaluation to assess underlying mental health issues contributing to the overdose.

For those with substance use disorders, rehab programs and ongoing support are key components of recovery to prevent future overdoses. Xanax overdose treatment requires professional medical expertise, and self-treatment or delaying medical intervention can lead to severe consequences. Seek immediate help to ensure the optimal outcome and prevent long-term complications.

FAQs

What happens when you overdose on Xanax?

Xanax overdose can result in severe central nervous system depression, causing symptoms such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, slowed or shallow breathing, and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness or coma.

Can you die from a Xanax overdose?

Xanax lethal overdose can occur as a result of respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, or a combination of these. Prompt medical attention is crucial in suspected overdose situations.

How much Xanax is too much?

The amount of Xanax considered too much varies from person to person based on factors like tolerance and overall health. Taking more than the prescribed dose or using it recreationally increases the risk of overdose. Adhere to medical guidelines and seek professional advice if concerned about Xanax use.

An image of Gratitude Lodge where treatment for Xanax addiction recovery is available

Get Help for Xanax Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

Do you or a loved one need Xanax addiction treatment? If so, we can help you at Gratitude Lodge. We have pet-friendly and inclusive rehab centers located in Newport Beach and Long Beach, CA.

In picturesque surroundings free of triggers and distractions, you can begin your recovery with supervised benzo detox. After a tapered reduction in Xanax dosage, you can engage with ongoing inpatient treatment at one of our facilities in Southern California.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs use the following therapies:

Call Gratitude Lodge at 800-994-2184 and begin your recovery from benzo addiction right away.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

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Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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