How is Xanax Abused?

How is Xanax Abused?

Xanax can be commonly abused through snorting or chewing the drug. When this happens, it may increase the risk of adverse side effects, increase the intensity of withdrawal or put a person at serious risk. Continue reading to find out how Xanax is abused and what to do if a loved one may be at risk.


Abuse of Xanax

Xanax can be abused when it is used differently than prescribed. When prescribed for short term use, it helps to therapeutically treat anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia and anxiety caused by depression. Some may continue, unaware of the possible consequences. Xanax is classified as a scheduled IV narcotic. This means it does not have the same liability of abuse as heroin and other similar illicit drugs. Xanax has a serious effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Over time, the body can build up a tolerance and dependence to the drug.


  • Tolerance makes it necessary to take more Xanax to achieve the same effects
  • Dependence means the body goes through withdrawal and may physically crave the drug when it is stopped

Abuse of the drug may begin with a desire to mitigate painful symptoms of withdrawal but when the drug is stopped, withdrawal symptoms may begin. Withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable for people who experience it and so either continue using Xanax to avoid withdrawal or refuse to use the drug again.


Abuse of Xanax

People who abuse Xanax are trying to speed up the onset of effects and to feel effects with the greatest potency. Chewing Xanax gets the drug into the saliva and into the bloodstream. People who use opiates or alcohol might also use Xanax as a means of self-medicating due to withdrawal symptoms which makes it hard to notice if other substances are present.


Side Effects

When a person snorts or uses Xanax other than prescribed, the risk increases for side effects or intensity of withdrawal, Reactions and symptoms of misuse of Xanax usually include symptoms of withdrawal, especially after a long period of use. Side effects may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired cognition and movement
  • Over activity
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Visual impairment
  • vomiting/nausea


Signs of Abuse

Some red flags of Xanax abuse may be difficult to identify but if the person exhibits the following traits it may be a sign of trouble:

  • Altered moods and demeanour
  • Changed route of administration
  • Disengagement from reality
  • Financial problems
  • Finding doctors to prescribe more of the drug (doctor shopping)
  • Lethargy and apathetic behavior
  • Preoccupation with obtaining the drug
  • Withdrawing from social circle


Once signs of potential abuse are noticed, next steps need to be decided. There are online resources and places to call to start an open conversation about what to do. An intervention may even be one of the options to discuss getting help for an individual with addiction. Professional help can be discussed with a treating physician who can connect individuals with local resources and services.


If abuse of Xanax has led to dependence or addiction, treatment is a great next step for recovery. If you have questions about how to quit Xanax, call The Villa to find out how we can help you get started on the road to health.