Can You Overdose on Xanax?

The Recovery Village RidgefieldUncategorized

Can you overdose on Xanax? Yes, you can. The risk of overdosing is even higher if Xanax is used with other central nervous system depressants. When used as a short-term medication and as prescribed, Xanax is considered fairly safe and effective. However, Xanax abuse and addiction are possible.

Xanax is a brand-name prescription drug. The generic name is alprazolam and it’s classified as a benzodiazepine. Xanax is a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders, and it’s the most frequently prescribed psychiatric drug in the United States. Xanax works by increasing the amount of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter, so by increasing its effects, Xanax creates a sense of calm and relaxation in the user. Xanax slows the central nervous system as well.

What Happens When You Overdose on Xanax?

What happens when you overdose on Xanax? When someone takes Xanax, it slows their central nervous system, which is how it has a relaxing and calming effect. If someone takes a dose that’s higher than what their central nervous system can tolerate, it can slow down the functions of their central nervous system (CNS) significantly. For example, breathing may slow to a dangerous level if someone uses too much Xanax. Along with breathing, heart rate and blood pressure are controlled by the CNS.

While it is possible for a Xanax overdose to occur when a prescribed dose is used, there are situations where a Xanax overdose is much more likely. These situations include:

  • If someone abuses Xanax in any way, their risk of overdose is higher. This behavior includes using it without a prescription or using it outside of how it’s intended to be used. For example, crushing Xanax and snorting it allows it to enter the bloodstream quickly, raising the risk of a deadly overdose.
  • If someone uses Xanax only to achieve a high, they are at a greater risk of overdosing
  • Mixing Xanax with opioids. According to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involve a benzodiazepine.

What’s the Typical Prescribed Xanax Dosage?

The typically prescribed Xanax dosage can vary depending on the individual and their health and characteristics, as well as what it’s being used to treat. Usually, a prescribed Xanax dosage might range from 0.75 to 1 mg per day. Some patients may take higher doses.

What’s the Lethal Dosage?

People often wonder what the size of a lethal dose of Xanax is. There’s not one set answer. A lethal dose for one person may not be lethal for another.

On its own, a lethal dose of Xanax might range from 300 to 2100 mg. When combined with another CNS depressant, like an opioid, the lethal dose of Xanax might be much lower.

How to Prevent Xanax Overdose

The best way to prevent a Xanax overdose is to use it only as prescribed. If your doctor is going to prescribe you Xanax, ensure that you tell them about any other medications or supplements you use regularly. Anytime Xanax is used without a prescription or abused to get high, an overdose can occur.

Additionally, don’t combine Xanax with alcohol. Alcohol, like prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, is also a CNS depressant.

Xanax overdose signs include:

  • Changes in breathing, such as slow breathing or irregular breathing
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling faint or weak
  • Blurred vision

If it’s possible someone could be experiencing an overdose, it’s a medical emergency. Emergency assistance should be sought right away because prescription drug overdoses can lead to coma, brain damage and death.

Get Help for Xanax Addiction

If you or a loved one live with addiction, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield. Representatives can talk to you about the programs that are catered to patients’ specific needs and how treatment addresses addiction alongside any co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve good health, call today.


Nichols, Hannah. “What You Need to Know About Xanax.” Medical News Today, December 7, 2017. Accessed March 25, 2019.

NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.” March 2018. Accessed March 25, 2019.