Does Xanax Cause Heart Problems?
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a type of benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are also referred to as tranquilizers because of their sedative effects on the central nervous system, making them effective in treating anxiety and panic disorders. When taken as directed, Xanax depresses the central nervous system (CNS) enough to reduce the individual’s symptoms. However, when misused, it can lead to some serious health risks. With that said, today we’re addressing a common question in Xanax users: does Xanax cause heart problems?
How Xanax Works
Xanax activates a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to reduce nerve activity in the CNS and produce sedation. Those with anxiety disorders may experience relaxation and relief from their symptoms.
Taking Xanax without anxiety or other similar conditions usually leads to a pleasant, euphoric, and relaxing high. However, using any prescription drug without a prescription or not using it as directed by a doctor is considered drug abuse.
Many people may use Xanax to combat their anxiety, whether they have a prescription or not. Those with prescriptions may take more than they’re directed to, hoping it will have a great effect.
People without a prescription for Xanax may even obtain it from friends or family or purchase it from people who sell it illegally. However, this only contributes to abuse, and as with any drug, misuse comes with a risk of adverse side effects.Common side effects of Xanax include:
- Drowsiness or sedation
- Dry mouth
- Irritability or depression
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fluctuations in appetite and weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Skin rash
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Difficulty breathing
Xanax may also produce side effects like hallucinations, mania, violent or aggressive behavior, and suicidal thoughts and actions when used in higher doses than recommended. However, perhaps the deadliest of Xanax’s effects are seizures.
Seizures are the result of a chemical disturbance in the brain, causing the body to convulse and spasm. These can lead to brain damage or death if they last for long periods or occur repeatedly.
How Does Xanax Affect Your Heart?
Although various studies on Xanax and high blood pressure have found the medication to be effective in treating patients with hypertension, all medications come with risks. Benzodiazepines like Xanax affect your heart by slowing down the heart rate and blood pressure.
When GABA levels increase in the brain, communication between nerves is reduced, which impacts functions like breathing and heart rate. Thus, heart failure and permanent heart damage are common risks of Xanax abuse.
Taking high doses of any benzo can lead to extreme sedation and reduce vital functions to the point where the individual isn’t getting enough oxygen. As a result, difficulty breathing and slowed heart rate are two of the most common symptoms of a Xanax overdose and are usually the deadliest, as well.
In addition to its immediate effects, the long-term side effects of benzodiazepines like Xanax include heart disease. Because alprazolam reduces your blood pressure significantly, abusing it can cause persistent low blood pressure.
Even moderate forms of low blood pressure can cause uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness, weakness, and fainting. But when it comes to heart health, low blood pressure deprives your body of enough oxygen to function properly, leading to brain and heart damage.
Can You Take Xanax With a Heart Condition?
Yes, you can take Xanax with a heart condition, but you must take it as prescribed by your doctor. Whenever you’re prescribed any medication, be sure to ask your doctor what other medications to avoid and never take with alcohol.
Additionally, because there is a slight correlation between benzodiazepines and heart disease, you may not be prescribed Xanax or other similar medications, depending on your heart condition. If you are, you may be prescribed a low dosage to reduce any adverse side effects.
Moreover, Xanax and other benzos usually aren’t prescribed for long periods because they’re habit-forming and can lead to addiction if abused. Regardless of how much you’re prescribed, be sure to follow your doctor’s directions when taking any medicines.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
Xanax is normally used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It works by reducing activity in the central nervous system, which leads to a drop in heart rate and blood pressure. Xanax can also lower your blood pressure over time, although it’s usually not prescribed for long-term use.
Unfortunately, many people may abuse or misuse Xanax to get high or to reduce anxiety symptoms. Doing so increases your risk of addiction as well as overdose, so it’s important to only take this medication as directed. If you or someone you care about has started misusing their prescription medication, our drug rehab in Chicago can help.
Banyan Treatment Centers offers benzodiazepine addiction treatment for people struggling with Xanax addictions and other similar substance use disorders. Considering the dangers of withdrawal symptoms, it’s crucial for people who are addicted to their prescription drugs to receive professional help when quitting.
Benzos and Weight Gain
How Long Benzos Stay in Your System