Snorting Xanax: Dangers, Side Effects and Signs of Addiction

xanax addiction

Xanax is a prescription sedative medication under the drug class benzodiazepines. These drugs are commonly prescribed to patients to manage their anxiety. 

While taking Xanax poses minimal risks, misusing it can lead to dangerous and potentially fatal outcomes. That includes taking without prescription, taking more than what is recommended, combining with other drugs and alcohol, and crushing and snorting it. 

Xanax can be prescribed in different forms. One is a tablet to be swallowed or dissolved in the mouth and another as a liquid solution. In some cases, doctors also prescribe an extended-release pill gradually released in the body to reduce the need for frequent dosing. That is compared to other forms that are released all at once. 

Some people abuse the drug Xanax by snorting it to increase its effects. However, that can produce dangerous effects on the body. The short-term effects of Xanax include dizziness, slowed breathing, drowsiness, memory issues, and low blood pressure. In addition, combining Xanax with alcohol can impair breathing and slow down heart rate with an increased risk of death. 

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Snorting Xanax?

Once consumed, Xanax acts rapidly on specific neural receptors to increase GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can combat overexcitement and calm anxiety once activated. However, abusing the drug even for a short period can result in the rapid development of drug tolerance or the need to increase drug amounts to achieve the desired effect. 

This activity can lead to physiological dependence or when your body feels like it needs Xanax to perform normally. As soon as your body becomes dependent on this drug, a reduction in consumption or an abrupt stop can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Increased perspiration
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Decreased appetite/weight loss
  • Aggression
  • Problems with concentration
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Blurry vision
  • Stomach problems

The long-term side effects of snorting Xanax can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health. Moreover, side effects like disorientation and poor concentration mean that people under the influence have compromised motor skills. They should be stopped from activities like driving. 

Does Snorting Xanax Lead to a Faster High?

Contrary to popular belief that snorting Xanax leads to a faster high, studies show no direct nose-to-brain transport on animals administered with drugs of the same class. So, nasal administration did not make the drug reach the brain faster. 

As a result, people who abuse Xanax by snorting are getting the same effect as those who take it orally. What’s more, is that they’re left with many dangers, such as:

  • Nasal damage
  • Irritation of the nasal cavity
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Loss of sense of smell
snort xanax
Snorting Xanax

Can You Overdose from Snorting Xanax?

Taking Xanax according to what your doctor prescribed will unlikely cause significant harm. However, misusing it by taking more than the prescribed dose or mixing it with alcohol or drugs increases the chance of overdose. 

Miscalculating doses is easy when you’re snorting Xanax, and you could be taking more than intended. This is why it’s imperative to pay attention to those with drug addiction to Xanax. The symptoms of an impending overdose include profound drowsiness, poor coordination, confusion, and loss of consciousness. 

An overdose usually occurs when someone has taken a toxic dose of Xanax. The amount of this drug that a person can take before experiencing overdose usually varies depending on many factors like health and body weight. 

In addition, you could experience an overdose with just one use. If you suspect someone is having a Xanax overdose, call 911 immediately.

Signs Someone Has a Drug Addiction to Xanax

A person addicted to Xanax will likely exhibit behavioral changes that become a cause for concern. Professionals diagnose people with an inability to stop using drugs like Xanax with substance use disorder. You can determine these people when they show signs like:

  • Takes more significant amounts of Xanax than intended
  • Tries to cut down unsuccessfully
  • Has intense cravings or urge to use Xanax
  • Uses Xanax in dangerous situations like when operating machinery
  • Spends a long time recovering from Xanax
  • Cannot do responsibilities at work, home, or school due to Xanax
  • Experiences withdrawal symptoms from Xanax
  • Has tolerance or a need to use more to achieve desired effects
  • Continues to use despite physical and psychological issues
  • Continues to use despite problems with relationships
  • Exhibits loss of interest in hobbies

Some people also show more physical signs of drug addiction to Xanax, such as:

  • Having a runny nose
  • Having nasal congestion
  • Frequently sniffs
  • Having recurring nasal or upper airway inflammation or infection 

If someone you love is exhibiting these symptoms, it’s best to sign them up on drug treatment programs to help detox them from the drug, reduce the risk of relapse, and treat the underlying addiction.

How to Get Help

A person abusing Xanax can experience dangerous consequences like long-term physical and mental health issues. They’re also at risk of overdosing every time. In addition, the risks associated with a withdrawal to benzodiazepine, the class of psychoactive drugs where Xanax belongs, include potentially fatal seizures. 

Getting help for Xanax addiction begins with a supervised medical detox that progresses to formal substance abuse treatment. This drug rehabilitation program for Xanax addiction treatment can be achieved in one of three settings:

  1. Inpatient Treatment

Substance abuse treatment for Xanax addiction can be in a hospital or inpatient facility. Individuals under recovery can temporarily stay in the facility where they are engaged in daily therapy sessions. 

Other forms of inpatient treatment like residential centers offer a home-like environment for longer durations for those who’d prefer this setting. There are also other amenities like nutritional guidance, exercise classes, equine therapy, and meditation.

  1. Outpatient Treatment

This form of treatment is a step down from inpatient care in a sense. It is usually recommended for people with less severe addictions, and they’re only required to make several therapy sessions per week.

This method of recovery work means the person can opt out from staying in a facility. They continue living at home and can still attend personal obligations like school and work. In a nutshell, it’s getting treatment while still being able to live everyday life.

  1. Medical Detox Programs

Detoxification is a process that manages the natural removal of Xanax from the body. These programs are designed to reduce discomfort and prevent the risk of severe acute withdrawal syndrome. 

This medically supervised detox is encouraged for people with addiction since abrupt drug use can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. In addition, these symptoms can be worsened by other substances like alcohol. 

Detoxification can be carried out in a hospital or facility where medical professionals gradually decrease the dose, monitor symptoms, and provide medication when needed.

Other than these three primary ways to get help dealing with a Xanax addiction, there are other therapeutic approaches a person can take, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Contingency Management
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Family Therapy


In most cases, people dealing and trying to recover from a Xanax drug addiction are also addicted to other drugs. It’s common for people to abuse alcohol, cocaine, or other prescription drugs when they have a Xanax addiction. 

Getting treatment addresses multiple addictions at once to maximize the effectiveness of the program. If you or someone you love has or exhibits signs of Xanax addiction, it’s best to enroll them in a treatment facility that can address the problem and stop dangerous symptoms before they become worse.