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Long-Term Effects Of Serax (Oxazepam) Abuse And Addiction

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

Medically reviewed by

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

May 9, 2019

Serax is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Abusing this drug long-term can have many adverse side effects. These include cognitive impairment and dependence.

Oxazepam, which also goes by its brand name Serax, is a benzodiazepine primarily used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It may also be administered in the treatment of alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms.

Serax is only available through prescription. This drug is prescribed in 10 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg dosages. For anxiety, oxazepam is typically taken three to four times throughout the day.

Like other benzodiazepines, Serax comes with the potential for abuse and addiction. People who abuse Serax often do so long-term. Extended abuse of this drug can have a number of lasting effects on a person.

Common Long-Term Side Effects Of Serax Abuse

There are a number of long-term side effects that can arise from abusing Serax. These side effects can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life.

Long-Term Effects On The Brain

Serax works by reducing the number of neural signals sent to and from the brain. This is helpful in the case of anxiety and insomnia. However, long-term reduction in these signals can negatively impact the brain.

Long-term effects of Serax abuse on the brain may include:

  • brain damage
  • trouble concentrating
  • memory problems
  • blackouts
  • impaired cognitive abilities

Long-term abuse of benzodiazepines has also been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s later in life. In fact, people who abuse Serax for more than six months are 84 percent more likely to develop this condition.

Long-Term Effects On The Body

Abusing Serax can also have a number of side effects on the body. The longer a person abuses this drug, the more likely he or she is to experience these effects.

Common side effects of Serax abuse on the body include:

  • fatigue
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • rashes on the skin
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • upset stomach

Additionally, abusing Serax increases a person’s risk of overdose. This is especially true when the drug is mixed with other substances like alcohol.

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Side effects of a Serax overdose include:

  • dizziness
  • coordination problems
  • trouble staying awake or waking up
  • slurred speech
  • decreased breathing rate
  • coma

If you believe you or someone you know is experiencing an oxazepam overdose, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Not doing so can lead to lasting health conditions or even death.

Long-Term Effects On Mental Health

Abusing Serax long-term can also result in a number of mental health conditions and problems. These can range from mild to severe and may worsen the longer a person abuses this drug.

Emotional changes that may occur as a result of Serax abuse include:

  • heightened anxiety
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • suicidal ideations
  • symptoms of psychosis

Serax Withdrawal Symptoms

A person who has abused Serax for an extended period of time will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when not on the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be extremely uncomfortable.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with Serax abuse include:

  • rebound anxiety
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • tremors
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased heartbeat
  • muscle weakness or pain

The longer a person has abused Serax, the more likely he or she is to experience withdrawal symptoms. Many people will continue to abuse Serax to avoid experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.

Treatment For Serax Abuse And Addiction

Abusing benzodiazepines like Serax can have a number of long-term consequences. Serax abuse and addiction can affect how a person’s brain functions and impact every aspect of an individual’s life.

There are several treatment options to overcome benzodiazepine addiction. Formal treatment programs are often recommended for more severe cases of addiction. This may include a medically supervised detox program as well as an inpatient program.

To learn more about the long-term effects of Serax abuse and addiction, contact one of our treatment specialists today.

Harvard Health Publishing - Benzodiazepine use may raise risk of Alzheimer’s disease

WebMD - Benzodiazepine Abuse

EveryDay Health - What Is Oxazepam?

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