Does Xanax Cause Weight Gain?

Does Xanax Cause Weight Gain

Xanax is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine medication called alprazolam. While Xanax is often used to treat anxiety, panic, and seizure disorders, it is only intended for short-term use as it can lead to dependency and addiction. Many people abuse Xanax for its euphoric and drowsy effects.

If you or a loved one takes Xanax, whether by prescription or not, you may experience side effects. Common side effects are drowsiness and fatigue which can lead to a decline in physical activity. In some people, Xanax causes increased appetite too. Between increased appetite and less physical activity, some people who take Xanax may experience weight gain.

What are the Side Effects of Xanax?

Like any prescription medication, Xanax can cause side effects. Most of the side effects will go away after your body adjusts to the medication, however, abusing it could lead to increased drowsiness, sedation, and even life-threatening overdoses in large amounts.

Common side effects of Xanax include:[1]

  • Drowsiness and lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Talkativeness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased salivation
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Joint pain

If you are prescribed Xanax, it’s important to discuss your side effects with your physician.

Can Xanax Cause Weight Gain?

Several studies have found that Xanax can cause weight gain. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 32.7% of people in their study experienced an increased appetite and 27.2% dealt with weight gain.[2]

You will likely begin gaining weight when you take a substance that increases your appetite and leads to fatigue. However, it is important to note that most people who are prescribed Xanax are only on the substance for a short period or taking the medication as needed. When Xanax is taken in this manner, weight gain seems unlikely.

If you are abusing Xanax or taking it consistently long-term, weight gain is probable. However, there are some cases where alprazolam might result in weight loss.

If you are addicted to Xanax your body will rely on it to function properly. If you suddenly stop taking it, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. It is common for people experiencing Xanax withdrawal to lose weight, as their appetite will decrease.

Other Risks of Long-Term Xanax Use

Xanax is not intended for long-term use because it can lead to dependency and addiction. If you or a loved one frequently abuse Xanax, there are several potential risks.

The most common long-term risks of Xanax abuse include:

Cognitive Impairment

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are known to cause drowsiness, changes in reaction times, poor muscle control, motor incoordination, and even memory loss. When you are taking alprazolam long-term, you could experience permanent cognitive impairments.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), “Long-term use led to substantial cognitive decline that did not resolve three months after discontinuation.”[2]

Addiction

Taking Xanax long-term affects the reward and pleasure systems in your brain. Over time, you will become physically and mentally dependent on it, starting the cycle of addiction.

Signs of Xanax addiction may include:

  • Taking more Xanax than you are prescribed and running out of your prescription early
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription of Xanax
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities to abuse Xanax
  • Being unable to stop or cut down your Xanax abuse
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges or cravings to abuse Xanax
  • Continuing to use Xanax despite becoming unable to complete responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Being unable to stop using Xanax even though it is causing adverse physical or mental health effects
  • Needing a higher dose of Xanax to experience the desired effect
  • Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you do not take Xanax

Unfortunately, addiction to Xanax can cause extremely uncomfortable and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. As a result, you should always seek help from a medical detox center to receive the support and care you need to overcome withdrawal safely and comfortably.

Overdose

Lastly, when you are addicted to Xanax you could take too much and experience an overdose. Since addiction causes you to build a tolerance, you will have to increase your dose to experience the desired effect repeatedly, driving you to take higher and higher doses. Taking too high of a dose can result in an overdose.

The symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:

  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Seizures
  • Memory issues
  • An inability to stay awake
  • Unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness

If you or someone you love is experiencing a Xanax overdose, contact emergency medical services immediately.

Find Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to Xanax, it’s time to seek professional help. Addiction treatment centers can help you overcome Xanax addiction and provide you with nutritional counseling to combat the weight gain caused by the drug.

To learn more about our Xanax addiction treatment program, contact Moving Mountains Recovery Center today.

References:

  1. Medline Plus: Alprazolam, Retrieved November 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): XANAX Label, Retrieved November 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/018276s052lbl.pdf
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