Managing Xanax Overdose

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are a class of prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizure disorders. When taken as prescribed, Xanax can provide valuable symptom-management. However, it also has the potential for abuse and addiction. When taken at higher doses, Xanax overdose is possible.

Understanding benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines or benzos are sedative-hypnotics, having a depressing effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines; others are Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin. The drug’s function helps those whose nervous system works at a higher-than-normal rate to calm down, alleviating symptoms like anxiety and insomnia.

When taken at higher doses than prescribed or used for non-medical purposes, benzos can induce a euphoric high on its own or in combination with other substances like alcohol. Benzos are also often abused to manage the effects of stimulants like cocaine which can cause agitation and jitteriness.

Can you overdose on Xanax?

Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines have been growing steadily over the last two decades, with over 12,000 deaths occurring in 2020 alone. Though overdose on Xanax and benzodiazepines is still relatively rare, it’s common for individuals who abuse Xanax to also take it with other substances. This drastically increases the likelihood of severe toxicity or fatal overdose.

One reason for this is the synergistic effect that two depressants can have on the nervous system. When a sedative such as Xanax is taken with a CNS depressant like alcohol, the effect is exponential and unpredictable. Therefore a dose of each substance that would be safe alone becomes more dangerous when taken together. When this synergistic effect occurs, respiration and heart rate can slow down to a point where life is no longer sustained.

Signs and symptoms of Xanax overdose

Xanax toxicity results in symptoms that may help detect potential overdose before it occurs. These symptoms include:

  • Impaired reflexes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Respiratory depression
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

Overdose risk factors

Several factors impact the likelihood of Xanax overdose. One of the most important risk factors is dosage. Whether Xanax is suddenly taken at a higher dose than usual or a person has developed tolerance and they are regularly taking high doses, the higher the dose, the more likely overdose is.

The other key risk factor is concurrent use with other substances. The majority of deadly overdoses involving Xanax and other benzos also involve the use of other drugs like opioids, prescription painkillers, or alcohol. Since abuse of one drug is associated with a broader pattern of drug abuse, this overdose risk factor is particularly important.

Treating Xanax overdose

Since Xanax overdose can be life-threatening, suspected overdose should be handled by medical professionals. It’s always best to call 911 and wait with the individual until paramedics arrive. It’s important to ensure that their airway remains open. In the event that they stop breathing or the heart stops beating, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR can help.

Xanax overdose can be treated through the administration of flumazenil, a medication that reverses the effects of benzodiazepines. It’s short-acting and may need to be re-administered periodically, but it can immediately counteract a toxic benzodiazepine dose. In the event that a person has other substances like opioids in their system, other drugs may be administered such as naloxone, which can reverse opioid overdose.

Treatment for Xanax and benzodiazepine abuse

Treatment for Xanax abuse can help treat benzodiazepine addiction, reducing an individual’s chances of deadly overdose. Treatment for Xanax abuse typically begins with medical detox, which is a safe way to eliminate the drug from the body after physical dependence has developed. Since suddenly quitting benzodiazepine use can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, medical detox is an invaluable tool that can help manage those symptoms to make the transition easier.

After detox, a person regains balance and control in order to be able to tackle underlying mental health issues. This is especially important with Xanax addiction since many people who become addicted originally needed the drug to treat a mental health disorder. Inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs can provide a structured regimen of individual and group therapy to help a person address their addiction and drug abuse and develop the skills they need to abstain in the future.

Xanax Addiction Treatment At Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

At Riverwalk Ranch, we can assist you in managing Xanax addiction and overdose as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, our professionals use only scientifically-supported therapies to help you safely and comfortably stop Xanax use on your journey toward recovery. Our facilities can serve as an encouraging and safe haven to overcome addiction, surrounded by medical professionals and like-minded individuals all working toward a healthier life free from addiction.

If you or a loved one has had a Xanax overdose or suffers from Xanax abuse, contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you live in Texas or you want a fresh environment to support your recovery, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a safe and therapeutic home for you. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy life free from addiction, and we are committed to helping you overcome Xanax addiction in order to get you there.

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