Xanax – find out how to keep yourself safe

If you or someone you know is worried about Xanax, we’re here to help.

This page will tell you about Xanax, its side effects and risks, and how to stay safe while taking it. 

Understanding Xanax

Xanax is another name for alprazolam, which is a type of benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines (or benzos) are sedative drugs that you might get prescribed for things like anxiety, insomnia, or to manage seizures.

They make you feel calm, relaxed and sleepy, but they can also make you confused or drowsy.

Find out more about benzodiazepines

Xanax is much stronger that most other benzos, but its effects don’t last as long. A Xanax pill is also sometimes called a ‘bar’, and it can be broken down into several smaller tablets.

UK doctors can’t prescribe you Xanax, but it is available on a private prescription. Some people also get illicit or fake Xanax online.

Side effects & risks of Xanax

Benzodiazepines can have unpleasant or harmful side effects. Xanax effects are sometimes much stronger than other similar drugs.

Xanax dosage is much stronger than other benzos. It is ten times stronger than Valium. This makes it easier to take too much, which can lead to an overdose.

You don’t always know how much you’re taking. Fake Xanax pills can be very different strengths, which makes it hard to know how much you’ve taken. Fake benzos often contain other substances which can make you very ill.

Xanax reacts badly with alcohol. Xanax and alcohol both affect your body in similar ways, so combining them can make their effects too strong and affect your breathing. Drinking and using Xanax at the same time is very dangerous and can cause you to overdose.

You can become dependent on them. Prescriptions for Xanax will only be for short periods of time because it is easy to become dependent on them.

If you become dependent on them, stopping using them can be unpleasant. You can get withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, feeling sick, dizziness and headaches. The effects of Xanax don’t last very long, so withdrawal symptoms can start very quickly.

If you notice withdrawal symptoms when you are not taking Xanax, please do not stop taking them suddenly. Get in touch with your local treatment service and speak to a doctor about safely reducing your use and stopping.

Keeping yourself safe

There are ways you can reduce the side effects and risks of Xanax and other benzodiazepines:

  • Try not to take benzodiazepines for more than 4 weeks to avoid becoming dependent on them.
  • Be careful about the drowsiness and sleepiness they can cause. Avoid driving or doing any dangerous activities while you are using them.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Xanax. This can cause bad reactions and can be dangerous.
  • Take Xanax when someone else is around. If you react badly to it or experience an overdose, they can call for help. Naloxone, the drug for reversing opioid overdoses, does not work on benzodiazepines.
  • Start with a small dose and wait to see how they affect you before taking any more. Xanax bars can usually be snapped down into several smaller tablets.
  • Don’t stop taking them suddenly. This can cause unpleasant Xanax withdrawal symptoms and can even be dangerous. Always reduce how much you’re taking gradually with the help of a medical professional.

Find out more staying safe while taking benzodiazepines 

Getting support with Xanax

If you want to take steps to address your drug use, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You’re not alone and there's nothing to be ashamed of. There is lots of help and support available. Speak to you doctor about how you’re feeling and speak to supportive family and friends if you can.

Advice and support is always available from your local Change Grow Live Service. If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help.