How Much Xanax Does It Take to Get High?

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15 Jun How Much Xanax Does It Take to Get High?

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How Much Xanax to Get High?

Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug most often prescribed for mental disorders associated with anxiety such as panic disorder, panic attacks, anxiety disorder, and phobias due to its sedative effects. Its intended purpose is to inhibit neuron activity to promote relaxation and sleepiness but has since become a recreational drug and off label for insomnia, leading some to question, how much Xanax does it take to get high? When used as directed by a doctor, Xanax is meant to leave a calming effect for patients. The anti-anxiety medication isn’t necessarily meant to trigger euphoria in the user, but it can still create a high.

The amount it takes for someone to get high will vary from person to person. For example, someone who has taken the drug for the first time most likely will not experience any of the euphoric feelings that a person who is taking more than the prescribed amount at advanced intervals of time may feel.

The generic name for Xanax is alprazolam and its reaction with the central nervous system is what leads to the feelings associated with a drug-induced high. It is processed quickly within the body and takes effect within the first hour of ingestion and can last up to six hours, if not more.

The euphoric effect typically occurs in less than 1 in 100 patients, but drug abusers may crush up the pills and snort it in an effort to achieve their desired high. Addicts who already abuse heroin and cocaine are more prone to abuse Xanax and consequently, may be more sensitive to the chemical effects the drug provides.

Much like any drug, the amount it takes to get high is dependent on various factors: age, weight, how much of the drug is ingested, and how long a person has been taking the drug. People can and do become addicted to Xanax as prescription drug abuse continues to be on the rise across the country.

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Xanax and Prescription Drug Abuse

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are also prescribed for anxiety-related disorders, but typically take up to 4 to 6 weeks before they begin working. Xanax is prescribed as a short-term fix since its effect takes place rather quickly.

Xanax is not meant for recreational use and yet, with the growing statistics directly linked to prescription drug abuse, it’s not entirely uncommon for it to be used in this way. Many people do not automatically associate Xanax with illicit drug use, since it is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs, but chemical dependency of any kind, prescription or not, can lead to addiction.

An article in SELF magazine in 2014 reported on the dangerous rise of Xanax users, especially among women. It included data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which revealed an estimated 14.7 percent of Americans between ages 21 and 34 have taken benzodiazepines drugs without a prescription. It also reported, from 2004 to 2011, ER visits from Xanax abusers jumped an alarming 172 percent.

In addition, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Xanax in the top three types of prescription medications abused, which are: opioids, stimulants, and central nervous system depressants. Approximately 52 million Americans have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.

Side Effects of Xanax

Xanax falls into a category of drugs more commonly referred to as “benzos” or tranquilizers and have been linked to many negative side effects. The drug directly disrupts the central nervous system and as a result of taking the drug, one or more of the following symptoms may occur:

  • Amnesia;
  • Irritability;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Impaired Coordination

People who take Xanax have also reported disturbing dreams and sleepwalking with little to no recollection of the activity in the morning. People who are taking the drug recreationally are not taking into account these side effects or interferences from other drugs or alcohol in their system. If the goal is to get high, to those who abuse drugs, side effects are secondary.

Long-Term Side Effects

The drug’s medical use is to help long term treatment for people with anxiety and other related disorders, but one of the long-term effects of Xanax is sedation. In fact, when someone has taken Xanax, it’s not abnormal for that person to experience periods of sedation for several days.

Memory loss is another one of the most common side effects experienced. The impairment ranges in severity, mostly affecting a person’s short-term memory, but nonetheless, Xanax abuse can have a more long-term impact.

These side effects make a huge difference if the drug is being abused and more than the allotted dosage is taken. It will not only affect the person using the drug, but will also bear a negative weight on a person’s work relationships, interpersonal relationships, and ability to carry on with day-to-day interactions and activities.

It’s also possible for a person who has become chemically dependent to overdose on Xanax. This occurs when someone takes increased amounts, especially within a shorter amount of time. Even if a person doesn’t experience an overdose, but continues to abuse Xanax, he or she still faces long-term, irreversible effects on their health.

Is Xanax Addictive?

Xanax helps relax the body and aids those who wish to sleep better, making people who suffer from anxiety want to take it as often as possible. The more people take it, the more likely they are to build up a tolerance for the drug. When this occurs, over time, a larger amount or increased use is necessary to achieve the same effect. People who abuse the regular prescription amount eventually may develop dependency on the drug. For those who were never prescribed the drug, they may not know what is considered the “right amount,” which automatically puts their health at greater risk.

When chemical dependency occurs, it changes the body so that it cannot function without taking the drug. People who have become addicted to Xanax experience benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. In order to avoid these symptoms, such as depression, tremors, or seizures, people often continue to use and find themselves in a cycle of addiction.

The risk of becoming addicted or developing psychological dependence increases when a person is abusing the drug and using it to get high rather than its prescribed purpose. Those who continually take more than 4 mg per day and abuse other substances are at the highest risk.

Chronic users exhibit impulsive and sometimes aggressive behavior, psychotic experiences, and delirium. Xanax can cause irreparable damage, if not taken according to medical instructions. It is possible to become addicted to a drug even if it’s one that has been prescribed. This dangerous type of behavior can quickly lead to overdose.

Someone who has overdosed on Xanax might exhibit slurred speech, blurred vision and can even slip into a coma. There are also long-term health problems associated with the drug, which can leave a person struggling physically, emotionally, and psychologically for the rest of their lives.

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Detoxing from Xanax

A person’s detox plan is dependent on their level of drug use. The more a person has used, the longer the detoxification process can take. Detoxification from Xanax can last up to a week, but other users may need to slowly wean off use over several weeks first.

As the drug is removed from the body, an addict may experience the intense, above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms. This produces a shock to the system, wreaks havoc on the body, and puts a person in a mentally tough state-of-mind. Detox is safer and more successful with the monitoring of professionally-trained medical staff who can assist with the symptoms and challenges a person goes through during the detox process.

For an addict who has relied on drugs in order to function, the immediate elimination of them can create unforeseen issues. Though the medical detox process itself doesn’t usually take more than a week, treatment is still a strong and necessary part of recovery. If a person is not properly prepared for life after addiction, it’s far easier for them to want to use again immediately following the detox period.

Detox should be considered as a first step only of the process. The next phase is rehabilitation and recovery. While in rehabilitation, a person is introduced to their own customized treatment program, which involves inpatient treatment, outpatient care, or both.

The goal of any addiction treatment is to identify triggers that have led to drug abuse and implement coping tools and therapy to help combat repeated behavior in the future. Detox solves the immediate problem of having drugs in the system, but rehabilitation is the part required in order to maintain sobriety over a lifetime.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

With inpatient treatment, a person lives at their chosen facility for up to 90 days to focus solely on their recovery before returning to day-to-day life. These facilities are designed to provide the most comfortable type of atmosphere possible for sober living. Treatment may include therapy sessions, educational programs about addiction and ways to avoid relapse. Patients may choose whether they prefer individual therapy or wish to join a group session. The different parts of treatment are to demonstrate how to live life sans drugs.

Alternatively, some people may choose outpatient treatment programs because it provides more scheduling flexibility. Outpatient treatment still includes counseling and occurs in a group setting on a regular basis or can be done individually in a doctor’s office or treatment center. This may be an option for someone who has already received inpatient treatment previously or for someone who wants to remain in their home during their rehabilitation time.

Studies show, however, inpatient care is often more successful for those recovering from addiction. One of the biggest advantages of this type of treatment is the person seeking sobriety is removed from an environment that was contributing to their addiction. As part of inpatient care, the temptation to use and availability of the drug is removed. The structure of an inpatient facility allows a person to concentrate on their recovery free of distractions.

Although many may find comfort in their home environment and choose outpatient treatment, the switch from drug addiction to sobriety is a major adjustment which will change the state of a person’s environment no matter where they decide to seek help.

It’s important to review all options before deciding on a treatment plan. An addiction doesn’t occur overnight and unfortunately, recovery doesn’t either. It takes time and dedication. The end goal is worth it in order to live a healthier, stronger, and more fulfilling life.

Getting Help

As one of the top prescribed psychiatric drugs, Xanax, on the surface level, may not seem harmful, especially in comparison to substance abuse of cocaine or heroin. Due to the calming effects of Xanax in its design to alleviate anxiety, a person prescribed can easily become addicted if not careful. The dependency may take over any other methods used to help alleviate anxiety without medication.

People who decide to use Xanax recreationally, only for the high, will face addiction more quickly. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can occur anywhere, anytime to anyone. In short, addiction to any drug is dangerous and life-threatening.

The way a drug affects the body on both short-term and long-term levels requires supervision in order for there to be proper support when a person goes through the Xanax withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification can be more difficult if done alone and can cause a person to relapse more easily. Support is one of the crucial factors in overcoming addiction.

It’s important to choose a rehabilitation center that is accommodating to each person’s needs and one where a person feels safe. Addicts may be hesitant to seek help due to their physical dependence. They simply don’t know a life without using drugs. Because of this, when a person has become reliant on Xanax, the transition to sober living can seem overwhelming.

Once addicted, it may seem impossible to function without the drug, but treatment plans are designed to help every step of the way. The sole purpose of a rehabilitation facility is to guide people down the path to recovery in the most comforting way possible. There is support around the clock to aid those who wish to fight their addiction with detox and rehabilitation.

If a loved one is abusing Xanax or you suffer from drug addiction yourself, know there is help readily available. Explore your Xanax addiction treatment options today and get the support you need.


“Xanax High: The Dangers of recreational Alprazolam Use.” Addiction Resource. 6 Mar. 2019.

“What Does Xanax Feel Like? 11 Things to Know.” Health Line. 6 Mar. 2019.

“The Effects of Alprazolam Use.” American Addiction Centers. 6 Mar. 2019.


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