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  • How Much Xanax Is Too Much? | Lethal Dose, Overdose Symptoms, & Treatment

    woman holding xanax blue pills Xanax Overdose signs

    Xanax is the brand name for a prescription medication called alprazolam. As a benzodiazepine and central nervous system (CNS) depressant, it slows down brain activity to make you feel calm and relaxed. 

    Xanax is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat panic disorder and other anxiety disorders.

    Like many prescription drugs, Xanax poses a risk of overdose, which can be life-threatening. 

    What’s A Lethal Dose Of Xanax?

    Most doctors tell patients to take between 0.75 and 1.5 mg of Xanax per day, usually via multiple smaller doses. Any Xanax dose that’s higher than the dose you were prescribed could be lethal. 

    You also face an increased risk of fatal overdose if you mix Xanax with other drugs, especially other CNS depressants like:

    • alcohol
    • opioids, such as oxycodone or codeine 
    • barbiturates, such as phenobarbital (brand name Luminal) or secobarbital (Seconal)
    • non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics, such as zolpidem (Ambien) or eszopiclone (Lunesta)

    These drugs cause sedation and slow down breathing, which is why combining them increases the risk of death. 

    Xanax Overdose Symptoms

    Early signs of Xanax overdose may resemble the drug’s common side effects. These effects include:

    • drowsiness
    • unusual talkativeness
    • nausea
    • joint pain
    • constipation
    • trouble urinating
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
    • memory issues
    • confusion
    • seizures

    Other common signs of benzodiazepine overdose include:

    • impaired coordination or balance
    • respiratory depression (slow, shallow breathing)
    • loss of consciousness (coma)

    If you suspect that you or someone you know is overdosing on Xanax, seek emergency medical attention right away. 

    Xanax Overdose Treatment 

    At the emergency department, medical professionals will monitor the patient’s blood pressure, pulse rate, and other vital signs. 

    They’ll likely administer an intravenous drug called flumazenil, which can reverse the effects of a benzodiazepine overdose. Some patients will also require intravenous fluids and/or breathing tubes to fully recover. 

    Xanax Addiction Treatment

    Many people who overdose on Xanax struggle with abuse or addiction. In those cases, doctors may recommend that patients attend an addiction treatment center to prevent future overdoses. 

    These centers offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to help people detox from Xanax, decrease withdrawal symptoms, and reduce the risk of relapse. If you or a loved one abuse or is addicted to Xanax, please reach out to 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

    Canadian Medical Association Journal - Flumazenil in Benzodiazepine Overdose
    Food and Drug Administration - Xanax
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Benzodiazepines and Opioids
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alprazolam

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