Can Xanax Kill You?

While Xanax is widely viewed as safe drug, fatalities linked with Xanax can happen. As with any medication, it is essential to follow medical dosage directions when taking Xanax. Failing to follow the directions of the Xanax prescriber can lead to many complications and even death.  Deaths related to Xanax are connected to addiction, overdose, unsafe ingestion, unsafe combinations with the drug, suicide, and withdrawal.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a drug commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. From the benzodiazepine family of drugs, Xanax acts as a depressant.  This sedative may also be known by its genetic name, alprazolam. This drug calms people by “by raising the level of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.”

Side Effects

Common side effects of Xanax include:

  • Sleep issues (drowsiness, Insomnia)
  • Coordination issues (dizziness, muscle weakness)
  • Cognitive issues (headache, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, irritability, slurred speech)
  • Upset stomach (diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, appetite or weight change)
  • Increased sweating or swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry Mouth and stuffy nose
  • Loss of interest in sex

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • Depressed feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Unusual racing thoughts or increased energy
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Hallucinations, confusion, hostility, or agitation
  • Unusual risk-taking behavior
  • Uncontrolled movements or seizure

Any signs of allergic reaction (swelling, hives, difficulty breathing) need immediate medical attention.

Xanax and Addiction

Xanax is often prescribed in lower initial doses with gradual increases over time, as this drug is known to be addictive. As people take Xanax, they can become dependent on the drug for sleep or emotion/anxiety management. With increased dependency comes increased tolerance. That means that people need increased dosage to feel the effects of the drug. This also leads to the addictive properties of Xanax.

Others may become addicted to Xanax when chasing further relief from feelings of anxiety.  If you feel as though Xanax is not adequately addressing your symptoms, please speak to your doctor rather than choosing to increase your dosage on your own.

Xanax and Overdose

Death due to Xanax, as with any drug, occurs when the drug is not taken as directed by doctors. Reports suggest it is less common to overdose from Xanax alone, but it is possible.  “Drug overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines rose from 1,135 in 1999 to 11,537 in 2017.” This risk not only includes amount, but ingestion method.  Xanax is prescribed to be taken orally in a pill form. Different methods, such as inhaling powdered Xanax, are unapproved and dangerous.

Xanax is Especially Dangerous When Mixed with Other Things

Xanax overdoses are more likely to occur when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and opioids are particularly dangerous to mix with Xanax as all of these act as depressants. “In 2015, 23 percent of people who died of an opioid overdose also tested positive for benzodiazepines” The combination of benzodiazepines (Xanax) and opioids can be fatal as both can suppress breathing and impair cognitive functions. Xanax overdose fatalities are most often due to lethal suppression of the breathing or circulatory system.  Pay close attention to breathing difficulties when taking Xanax.

Someone experiencing overdose symptoms may have signs of abnormal breathing, extreme drowsiness or dizziness, or difficulty with coordination and balance.

Xanax and Suicide

Some report feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide as side effects of taking Xanax.  Please seek immediate medical help if you or a love one experience such symptoms. Samsha reports that Alprazolam (Xanax) is connected to 11.1% percent of drug-related suicide attempts. Many believe that the combination of Xanax and alcohol especially lead to depressed mood reactions.

Xanax and Withdrawal

Suddenly stopping this medication can lead to withdrawal and other symptoms. These symptoms can include seizures or other complications.  In some cases, sudden withdrawal can lead to shock or death.  However, this is very unlikely with a medical detox treatment plan. Professional treatment centers will help patients to slowly stop taking Xanax by gradually reducing the dosage.


If you are experiencing any physical reactions to Xanax, it is key to seek medical help immediately.  If looking for help with Xanax addiction or withdrawal, a Silver Pines Treatment Center will provide you with the support you need to treat this addiction in a healthy and safe way.