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  • Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a prescription drug that can help treat anxiety disorders. As a benzodiazepine (or “benzo,”) Xanax enhances the activity of a brain chemical called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical slows down brain activity, causing sedation. 

    Most medical professionals prescribe Xanax only for short-term use. That’s because it can have dangerous side effects, including blackouts. 

    What Is A Xanax Blackout?

    A Xanax blackout is a condition that can occur when you take too much Xanax or mix it with other drugs, namely other benzodiazepines or alcohol. 

    During a blackout, you may remain fully aware and conscious. When the Xanax wears off, though, you won’t remember what happened while you were intoxicated. 

    This is because a blackout causes a form of memory loss called anterograde amnesia, which prevents your brain from creating new memories while intoxicated. 

    Types Of Xanax Blackouts

    There are two types of Xanax blackouts: partial (fragmentary) and complete (en bloc).

    If you have a partial blackout, you may remember some events that happened while you were intoxicated, especially if someone discusses them with you.

    If you have a complete blackout, you won’t remember anything that happened while you were intoxicated.

    Xanax Blackout Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of a Xanax blackout include:

    • drowsiness
    • poor judgment
    • slurred speech
    • trouble walking 
    • trouble concentrating
    • changes in mood 

    Xanax Blackout Dangers

    Because a Xanax blackout impairs your judgment, it may cause you to engage in risky behaviors such as driving while intoxicated or having unprotected sex. You’ll then face an increased risk of problems like:

    • car accidents
    • sexually transmitted diseases
    • falls and other injuries
    • issues with law enforcement

    Risk Factors For Xanax Blackouts

    People who experience Xanax blackouts often struggle with Xanax abuse. Xanax abuse occurs when you use the drug in a manner not prescribed by your doctor. 

    For example, you may take higher doses than prescribed or mix the drug with other benzodiazepines or alcohol. Both of these behaviors can cause blackouts.

    Continued abuse can lead to Xanax addiction. This disease causes symptoms like:

    • intense cravings for Xanax
    • tolerance, which means you need increasingly higher doses of Xanax to feel the desired effect
    • physical dependency, which means you experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using Xanax

    People who are addicted to Xanax should seek professional help at an addiction treatment center. These centers offer a variety of recovery services such as supervised detox, mental health counseling, and peer support groups.

    If you or a loved one struggles with Xanax use, please contact an ARK Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    Mount Holyoke College - Blackouts
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: Journal of Studies on Alcohol - Fragmentary and en bloc blackouts: similarity and distinction among episodes of alcohol-induced memory loss
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alprazolam

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 29, 2022
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