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Serax (Oxazepam) Abuse & Addiction | Side Effects, Withdrawal Symptoms, Overdose, & Treatment Options

Published on October 15, 2020
white and pink pill Serax Oxazepam medication

Oxazepam, brand name Serax, is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and alcohol withdrawal.

Unfortunately, Serax is one of many benzodiazepines that are targeted for substance abuse. Like other benzos, Serax abuse can have life-threatening side effects.

As of 2016, more than 10 percent of Americans have reported misusing at least one kind of sedative drug. This includes Serax as well as other benzos, such as Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam).

Prescription Serax Use

Use of oxazepam can be safe when it is taken in proper doses. Serax is a slow-acting benzodiazepine compared to other benzos, and affects your brain throughout the day.

Oxazepam should only be taken in the short-term. Long-term use of Serax can lead to drug tolerance.

Prescription drugs are only approved by the FDA after they are examined and tested. This does not mean prescription drugs are risk-free. Drug use always has some risk.

How Oxazepam Works

Oxazepam affects your central nervous system (CNS). Specifically, it affects gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors, or GABA receptors for short. Oxazepam will bind to these receptors and reduce activity in your brain.

This may affect your physical and mental health, because your brain will function differently under the influence of benzos. While this can be effective in treating mental illnesses like anxiety, it can also be harmful to your overall health.

Side Effects Of Serax

A person taking Serax may feel sedation. This may prevent one from doing routine tasks. Additionally, Serax can have a number of adverse effects.

The effects of oxazepam range from mild to severe, including:

  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • tremors or inability to sit still
  • blurry vision
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing

Side effects may become more severe if Serax is misused.

Serax Abuse

The sedative effects of Serax can easily be abused, especially when mixed with other substances such as alcohol and opioids. Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed. This causes some populations to have a higher risk of abuse.

Serax can be abused by:

  • mixing Serax with opioids, alcohol, or other depressants
  • taking excessive amounts of Serax at once
  • taking Serax without a prescription

Serax is commonly abused in combination with other substances. It can reduce the effects of other drugs, such as methadone, or increase the effects of others. People with a history of drug abuse are also at higher risk of abusing Serax. 

Is Oxazepam Addictive?

Benzodiazepine abuse has spiked in the last twenty years, although a 1978 study suggested a low abuse potential for oxazepam. Increased prescriptions and interactions with other drugs have led to increases in abuse, including oxazepam.

Combining Serax with other substances may be habit forming. This may lead to oxazepam addiction. People who suffer from Serax addiction may think or talk about Serax frequently. 

Oxazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Long-term Serax use may also lead to withdrawal symptoms when not on the drug. 

Withdrawal symptoms of Serax include:

  • increased anxiety
  • irritability
  • trouble sleeping
  • sweating
  • weight loss
  • Nausea

Oxazepam Overdose

Toxicity of oxazepam is especially high when mixed with alcohol. The two substances will combine to depress the central nervous system. When taken together, lower amounts are needed to cause an overdose. 

Signs of a Serax overdose in yourself or a loved one may include:

  • fainting
  • loss of balance
  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • coma (in severe cases)

In the case of an overdose, please call for emergency medical care immediately.

Oxazepam Addiction Treatment Treatment

Benzodiazepines have several effective treatment methods. Some are unique to this class of drug, but all addiction treatment is individualized and tailored to your unique needs.

Medical Detox

Long-term benzodiazepine use can lead to physical dependence. If you abruptly stop use, you may experience uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification programs may use another benzodiazepine as a taper to slowly reduce dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Although detox programs don’t treat substance use disorder, they prepare you for therapy and other treatment services.

Group Therapy

Emotional support and guidance can help you better understand why you or a loved one abuse oxazepam in the first place. Group therapy has many benefits, including establishing a network of support and reinforcing everything you’ve learned in treatment.

Holistic Care

Inpatient treatment centers address all aspects of drug abuse and overall mental health. Holistic care may include support from family members and loved ones, as well as wellness activities like yoga, exercise, and team-building.

To learn more about our treatment options for prescription stimulant abuse, please contact us today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

National Center for Biotechnology Information - Oxazepam - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
National Institutes of Health - Benzodiazepine use, abuse, and misuse: A review
National Institutes of Health - Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence
U.S. National Library of Medicine - The abuse potential of benzodiazepines with special reference to oxazepam
U.S. National Library of Medicine - Oxazepam: MedlinePlus Drug Information

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