Xanax, a drug for anxiety and panic disorder, is a benzodiazepine drug. Hence, it has some level of addictiveness. In fact, the United States’ FDA has categorized it as a Schedule IV drug due to the possibility of Xanax abuse. Nevertheless, the government still considers it as less dangerous than other psychoactive drugs such as morphine and cocaine.

Because of these, it has become important for people to know and recognize the early stages of Xanax abuse. This knowledge can help them save someone they know from falling into worse kinds of addictions or experience more severe side effects from the drug.

Recreational Use Of Xanax

Recreational users of Xanax have found various ways of absorbing Xanax into their system. Other than taking the drug orally, some have started snorting and even smoking the drug alongside other drugs such as marijuana.

However, some testimonies say that doing these, in fact, lessen the effectiveness of the drug, hence dampening the euphoric effects they get from the drug. Nevertheless, some people still do it because they feel like it would speed up absorption time of the drug. (1)

Lastly, drug companies created most benzodiazepines in a way that oral consumption is the most efficient way to take the drugs. They did this to avoid the abuse these drugs are already being placed through. Furthermore, using other means such as snorting or intravenously could cause the side effects of the drug to worsen or spread dangerous diseases.

Symptoms Of Xanax Abuse

Data gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency suggests that there may be a rise in the incidence of Xanax abuse in recent years.

According to them, between the years 2005 to 2011, the number of hospital admission due to Xanax abuse has risen from 57,000 to 124,000, or a 118% increase in just six years. Hence, it has become more and more important to recognize the early signs of Xanax abuse. (2)

We listed below some common symptoms of Xanax abuse:

  • Always low on supply
  • Finding ways to get prescribed again
  • Returns to the doctor after a short period
  • Complaining of tolerance
  • Aggressive behavior when not allowed to take the drug

Side Effects Of Xanax Abuse

Due to Xanax’s addictive properties and availability, it has become one of the most abused drugs in the United States. In fact, a list published by the Forbes magazine in 2010 ranked Xanax as the 13 most purchased prescription drug in the US, it also ranked as the number 1 abused benzodiazepine drug. (3)

We listed below some common and dangerous side effects of abusing Xanax:

  • Suicidality
  • Thoughts of harming oneself
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity

How To Treat Xanax Abuse

The best treatment is to bring yourself or someone you know who is abusing the drug to a rehabilitation center. However, your first step should be to get consulted by the prescribing physician. This is to affirm whether you are or are not abusing the drug.

There are two ways the abuse may be treated. The first one is in patient care wherein the patient admits himself to a specialized facility where a doctor may monitor his situation 24/7. It will cost them a little more due to board and lodging, but it would be a lot safer for the patient. (4)

The second one is out patient care, this means the patient is allowed to stay at home, thus saving him and his family some board and lodging cost. The only problem with this approach is that the patient would need to travel once again in case some complications arise. (5)


Nature World News. (2014). Xanax Abuse Rising in US; SAMHSA Report. http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/7208/20140523/xanax-abuse-rising-samsha-report.htm

Langreth, R., & Herper, M. (2010, May 5). In Pictures: The Most Popular Prescription Drugs. Retrieved August 29, 2017, from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/2010/05/10/narcotic-painkiller-vicodin-business-healthcare-popular-drugs_slide_13.html

What is Inpatient Rehab? (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2017, from Addiction Education: https://www.addiction.education/what-is-inpatient-rehab/

What Is Outpatient Rehab? (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2017, from Addiction.Education: https://www.addiction.education/what-is-outpatient-rehab