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How Much Xanax Is Too Much?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

June 13, 2019

Xanax is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This drug is widely abused, and taking too much can result in serious side effects including overdose. Knowing how much Xanax is too much can help prevent the serious consequences of this drug.

Xanax, brand name for alprazolam, is a medication commonly prescribed to treat general anxiety, panic disorders, and situational anxiety. This drug is part of the benzodiazepine class of medications and is one of the most widely abused prescriptions in the nation.

This drug is psychoactive in nature and works as a central nervous system depressant to provide calming effects. Xanax directly affects the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for feelings of relaxation. By increasing the presence of GABA, this medication can ease symptoms of anxiety.

While certainly beneficial for people struggling with panic disorders and anxiety symptoms, this medication is easily and commonly abused. When someone takes Xanax for an extended period of time or abuses the drug, tolerance can form. This requires the individual to consume more of the medication to experience the same effects.

Understanding the proper dosage of this medication and using under the supervision of a doctor can help prevent negative side effects that may include dependence and even overdose.

Normal Xanax Dosages

A typical prescription for Xanax is between 0.75 and 1.5 milligrams a day. These doses may be broken up into 0.25 to 0.5 doses taken multiple times throughout the day. The maximum daily dose of Xanax is four milligrams.

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The recommended dose of Xanax will vary from person to person. How much is prescribed will depend on an individual’s physical characteristics, such as weight, as well as the severity of his or her condition.

Xanax is offered in four strengths: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg. This drug typically comes in a tablet form that can be broken in half to adjust the strength.

What’s The Most Xanax I Can Take In A Day?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the maximum amount of Xanax that can be consumed in one day is 10 milligrams. However, doctors rarely prescribe this dosage to patients. For anxiety disorders, a maximum of four milligrams a day is typically prescribed. For panic disorders, an average dose of five to six milligrams is the common prescribing dose.

When taken recreationally, there is no “safe” amount of Xanax. Taking a medication that is not prescribed, especially a psychoactive one like Xanax, can have severe consequences. Negative interactions and adverse side effects may occur and put individuals at risk for health conditions and overdose.

Signs And Symptoms Of Xanax Overdose

Taking more Xanax than what is recommended or abusing the drug can cause a toxic buildup in the body. Having too much Xanax in the system can result in an overdose.

There is no specific amount of this drug that will cause an overdose. Several factors impact a person’s ability to tolerate this drug, including genetics, how much and how often the drug is taken, and how the drug is ingested.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of Xanax overdose can help determine if someone is in danger.

Common symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:

  • shallow breathing
  • weakened pulse
  • sluggish movements
  • skin that is cool to the touch
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • coma

If you believe someone is suffering from a Xanax overdose, seek medical attention immediately. A benzodiazepine overdose can be dangerous and even deadly if not properly treated.

Getting Help For Xanax Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to Xanax, seeking treatment is the best decision you can make. There are several treatment options available for overcoming a benzodiazepine addiction.

Many people find the most success through formal treatment such as inpatient programs. Inpatient treatment requires patients to reside at a rehab facility for an extended period of time, often 30 to 60 days or more. During their stay, individuals receive intensive daily addiction treatment that is catered to their condition and needs.

To learn more about the risks of taking too much Xanax, contact a treatment specialist today.

Chicago Tribune - Fatal overdoses rising from sedatives like Valium, Xanax

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Benzodiazepines and Opioids

FDA - Xanax

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