Xanax is prescribed to help anxiety and panic disorders on a short-term basis. It has depressant effects on brain areas that regulate wakefulness and alertness, very similar in effect to alcohol and sedative barbiturates. Xanax enhances the action of receptors that inhibit central nervous system stimulation and conversely inhibit the action of receptors that stimulate the nervous system. In other words, if the nervous system were a car, these drugs help press down the brakes but make it harder to press down on the gas. Like any other medication, it must be taken in moderation under a physician’s supervision.
Those who have taken the drug for sometime will be aware when they have overdosed. However, those who are new to the drug will not be aware that they are possibly overdosing so it’s important to catch the symptoms of a possible overdose early on. If you should take an overdose of Xanax or have any doubts about the effects of the drug, either intentionally or by accident, you should call 911 or your doctor immediately.
Proper Dosage for Xanax
The proper doses for an individual to take Xanax are:
Starting dose of Xanax is 0.25 to 0.5 mg 3 times a day. Maximum daily dose 4mg.
Starting dose of Xanax is 0.5 mg, 3 times a day. Maximum is 10 mg.
Xanax is not recommended for children under 18 years of age.
Starting for dose anxiety disorder is 0.25 mg, 2 or 3 times daily.
Xanax Overdose Signs and Symptoms
As with any medication, you must be careful not to take more than you are prescribed. It is unlikely that you can take enough Xanax to die of an overdose, unless you mix the Xanax with other sedatives such as alcohol. However, this is not to say that it is safe in high doses. Overdoses of alprazolam (Xanax) can be mild to severe depending on how much of the drug is taken and if any other depressants have been taken. Alprazolam is significantly more toxic in overdose than other benzodiazepines with higher rates of fatalities. A study in New Zealand found that alprazolam is almost 8 times more likely to result in death from overdose than other sedative hypnotics as a group, with higher rates of ICU admissions and mechanical ventilation. Combined overdose with tricyclic antidepressants, alcohol, opiates, or overdoses of alprazolam in the elderly, significantly increases the likelihood for severe toxicity and possible fatality. If the occasion arises that an individual has overdosed, some commons signs of an overdose are:
- Severe Confusion—an individual who had either taken too much or mixed Xanax with alcohol may seen extremely confused. They may not know where they are or what is happening around them.
- Lack of Coordination—an individual may appear very clumsy and have a lack of coordination. These individuals may be unable to stand up or walk.
- Extreme Sleepiness—an individual may be unable to wake up. They may be extremely lethargic.
- Sluggish Reaction Time—an overdose will significantly slow a person’s reaction time.
- Coma—if an individual who had overdosed on Xanax does not get proper medical treatment, they may lapse into a coma.
Xanax makes you relax so it can be difficult to tell the difference between the expected effects of the drug and dangerous levels of “relaxation” that edge more toward a serious overdose. Difficulty breathing and/or a slowed heart rate are also signs of a possible overdose.
Treatment for Xanax Overdose
The treatment for a Xanax overdose will vary.
If the overdose was recent, a health care provider may give certain medicines or place a tube into the stomach to “pump the stomach.” Flumazenil (Romazicon®), an antidote for benzodiazepine overdose, may be helpful. Treatment also involves supportive care, which consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. For example, supportive treatment options may include:
- Fluids through an intravenous line (IV)
- Other treatments based on complications that occur
If you or someone you know is struggling with a Xanax addiction, we can help. Please call our toll free number. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions on Xanax treatment and addiction.
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