Xanax is a brand name of the drug alprazolam. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which function as central nervous system depressants. The drug works by enhancing the action of a substance in the brain called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This molecule calms the nerves, producing relaxing feelings. For this reason, it is often prescribed to people with anxiety and panic disorders.
Xanax is a prescription drug, so you cannot buy it without your doctor’s orders. You must also carefully follow your prescribed dosage for the drug to work properly.
What is the usual dosage of Xanax? Is taking 1 milligram (mg) of it a lot already? Let’s take a closer look at this drug and find out.
What are the usual doses of Xanax?
When your doctor prescribes this drug to you, the usual range is anywhere from 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg per day. This may be divided equally into three doses daily.
If your condition does not improve, your doctor may increase your dose until you feel noticeable effects. A dose of 1 mg is actually not bad, as in some cases, the dose can be as high as 10 mg per day.
What if I take more than my prescribed dose?
Take note that Xanax has addictive properties. If you take more than the dose prescribed to you, your body may quickly develop a tolerance for the drug. That means you will have to take higher and higher doses just to feel the same effects as when you first took Xanax.
Over time, this may turn into an addiction. If you’re not careful, you may also suffer life-threatening overdose symptoms.
Why is Xanax addictive?
This drug produces feelings of calmness, relaxation, and tranquility. Abusing it causes a “Xanax high” characterized by those feelings. This high is what you may regularly seek out when you become addicted to Xanax.
Over time, you will want to keep using Xanax even if you don’t need it anymore. Drug cravings may become so strong that using the drug may become more important to you than your work, studies, family, and friends.
Eventually, your performance at work or at school will be seriously affected. You may even find yourself ditching your responsibilities just to get more Xanax.
Additionally, you may end up cancelling plans with family and friends more often, just so you can make time for taking the drug.
Later on, you will no longer be able to function normally without the drug. At this stage of addiction, getting professional help is the best way to overcome it.
How much Xanax will cause an overdose?
There is no hard and fast rule to how much Xanax will result in a dangerous overdose. It depends on a person’s metabolism, body weight, and a host of other factors.
If you take Xanax along with other substances that affect the central nervous system, like alcohol or opioids, your risk of overdosing is much higher. The same is true when you take street versions of the drug, which may have been cut with fentanyl or other substances.
The combined effects of alcohol, opioids, and Xanax can trigger a deadly slowing down of your breathing. In medical terms, this is known as respiratory depression, and it is a life-threatening emergency. Call for medical help immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing this condition.
Other symptoms of Xanax overdose include:
- Slurred speech
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Uncontrolled muscle movements
- Slow reflexes
- Fast heartbeat
Overdose may produce more serious symptoms in some cases, such as:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Chest pain
How is Xanax overdose treated?
While on an ambulance to the hospital, the emergency medical team may give you activated charcoal. This absorbs excess Xanax in your body and flushes it out, relieving some of the overdose symptoms.
Once you’re at the emergency room, your doctor may order your stomach pumped to remove any more traces of the drug. He may also give you flumazenil, a drug that counteracts the effects of Xanax. You may also be put on intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and replenish lost nutrients.
Once your condition becomes stable, you may need to stay in the hospital a while for observation. Depending on how fast your condition improves, it may take a few days before you can go back home.
What if I’m not feeling the effects of Xanax?
If your doctor has prescribed this drug to you, but you think it’s not working, tell your doctor about it. Never take a higher dose without informing your doctor first. Even if your initial dose is small, like 0.25 mg, increasing it on your own exposes you to the risk of overdose.
Once your doctor adjusts your prescription, that’s the only time you should take a higher dose. If you still feel no effects, tell your doctor again. He may have to increase your dose until the drug produces noticeable changes in your condition. Otherwise, he will instruct you to take a different medication.
What if I miss a dose?
The general rule is take the medicine as soon as you remember. But if it’s close to your next dose, skip the missed one and wait for the next dose. Avoid double dosing, as this may lead to an overdose.
To avoid missing doses, integrate your medication into your daily schedule. Your doctor may even recommend times of the day that you should take Xanax. It’s best to follow this schedule to the letter. You can set calendar reminders to take your medication so you don’t miss any dose.
Does Xanax have side effects?
Regardless of your prescribed dose, this drug can produce the following side effects:
- Blurred vision
- Trouble sleeping
Take note that these are not overdose symptoms. If you experience them while taking your medication, don’t worry. These side effects are mild and will subside after a few days.
But if the side effects you experience get more uncomfortable or painful, tell your doctor immediately. He may need to reduce your dosage or swap Xanax for another medication.