Xanax: Physical Dependence, Withdrawals, and Long Term Effects on the Brain

Open pill bottle. Recovery from Xanax Addiction is possible.

Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine (known as benzo for short) that has a very high drug dependence rate among users. Benzos amplify the effects of neurotransmitters within the brain, specifically the GABA transmitter. The GABA transmitter creates a sedative, anticonvulsant, and even muscle relaxant effect [1]. Because of these effects, Xanax is often used to treat anxiety because it works quickly in order to calm people down, but it also has a high physiological dependence rate. If you are addicted to Xanax, it’s important to get help for sobriety from a Florida detox center. At Detox Boca, we’re here to help you break free from this dangerous benzo.

What Xanax Does to the Brain and What Makes it Addictive


Like many other benzos, Xanax hyperpolarizes brain cells, resulting in an overall calming effect [2]. Essentially, this altering of gamma receptors in the brain reduces anxiety and other challenges [2]. But, this creates a highly dangerous situation. There are three factors which make Xanax highly manipulative and addictive in the brain:

  1. Tolerance
  2. Withdrawals
  3. Short Half-Life

These three factors work to keep a dangerous combination for possible Xanax addiction. First, the brain builds a tolerance to the effects of Xanax on neurons. This means that a tolerance builds, and normal doses may grow less effective. This plays into withdrawals, which can include heightened anxiety as the neurons go into overdrive. The short half-life and quick action of Xanax create a dangerous reward system, where users feel the beneficial effects for only a short period while experiencing heightened withdrawals as use continues.

An important thing to keep in mind is that when your body becomes physically dependent on Xanax, it is possible that you can die from withdrawal symptoms.  When withdrawing from Xanax, it is best to do so in a medically safe environment. A safe environment is one where trained professionals can monitor your detox and make sure that you are as safe and comfortable as possible, like you would be a Florida detox center like Detox Boca.

Detoxing from Xanax


At Detox Boca, we offer safe, medically monitored approaches to prescription pill detox. Xanax withdrawals can be difficult, and even medically dangerous, which is why it’s crucial to trust professionals with your prescription pill detox. At Detox Boca, we are here to help with your detoxification profess. We also offer inpatient, outpatient, and IOP rehab.

Long-Term Effects of Xanax


If you are currently recovering from a Xanax addiction then it is important that you are aware of the long-term effects that heavy Xanax use may have on you, your body, and your brain.  Some common side effects are: impaired cognitive abilities, memory problems, mood swings, emotional clouding, nausea, dizziness, headaches, lethargy, irritability, memory impairment, personality changes, sleep problems, depression, aggression, employment difficulties, and social deterioration.


Be honest with your doctor and inform them of your past drug use so that they can effectively help you recover. Pay attention to your behavior, and make sure that you are vocal about any side effects so that they can be treated right away.


Detox Boca wishes you the best of luck on your road to recovery!



1- The PBI Institute, This is Your Brain on Xanax

2- CNN, What Are the Long-Term Brain Effects of Xanax?


Additional Reading:

Tips on How to Plan for Detox

Why You Need a Prescription Pill Detox

Facts You Need to Know about the Science of Addiction

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