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Medically Reviewed

Does Xanax Make You Gain Weight?

- 5 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Xanax is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine medicine called alprazolam. Alprazolam is primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorder by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.[1] While it is effective in treating those conditions, it may cause several side effects that you should be aware of.

If you are taking Xanax, you might be wondering whether the medication will make you gain weight. While Xanax may cause a variety of adverse side effects, most of them will subside after your body adjusts to the medication. However, weight gain is something you will have to keep an eye on.

In addition to weight gain, Xanax can be habit-forming and addictive. According to the National Library of Medicine, 17.2% of all individuals using benzodiazepines like Xanax were abusing the substances.[2] You should never take more of your prescription than you are prescribed and only take Xanax for a short period to avoid developing a substance use disorder.

What are the Side Effects of Xanax?

Any prescription medication you take will cause side effects as your body adjusts to the medication. If you experience any side effects that are severe or cause significant disruption to your daily life, you should contact your doctor to discuss whether the medication is right for you. However, most side effects will subside over time.

The most common side effects of alprazolam include:[1]

  • Drowsiness and lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Talkativeness
  • Issues with concentrating
  • Dry mouth or increased salivation
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Joint pain

Serious side effects are possible. If you take Xanax and experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or reach out to emergency medical services depending on the severity:[1]

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Skin rashes
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Confusion
  • Speech issues
  • Coordination or balance issues

These symptoms could indicate that you are allergic or intolerant of alprazolam, making it vital that you reach out for professional medical assistance.

Why Does Xanax Make You Gain Weight?

One of the side effects of Xanax is changes in appetite and weight. Since this medication can make you feel more hungry, you might begin to eat larger amounts of food. Over time, this will lead to weight gain.

However, several factors can play a role in why Xanax makes you gain weight, such as:

  • Mood changes – if you are taking a higher dose of Xanax, you might experience significant changes in mood as a result of the depressant effects of this medication. Xanax can make you feel tired, depressed, or lethargic, so you might not get as much exercise as you used to, leading to weight gain.
  • Decreased energy levels – Xanax can make you feel drowsy or even exhausted.It can decrease your energy levels, causing you to spend more time in bed. As a result, you may begin to gain weight.
  • Increased appetite- Xanax can increase your appetite as well as affect your sleep. When you are not getting a healthy amount of sleep, your appetite might increase even further, causing you to gain weight.

How to Manage Xanax Weight Gain

If you are taking Xanax for anxiety and are concerned about the weight gain you are experiencing, there are several ways to manage it in a healthy way. You should never resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like over-exercising or substance abuse.

Some of the ways you can manage weight gain from Xanax include:

  • Adjusting your dosage to improve your energy levels
  • Switching to a different anxiety medication with less risk of weight gain
  • Eating healthily and more mindfully
  • Scheduling your meals
  • Increasing your exercise without overdoing it
  • Work with a dietician to manage your nutrition

If your weight gain is a serious concern for you, switching to another type of anxiety medication might be best. It is important to note that you should always consult with your doctor before you suddenly stop taking Xanax, as you could experience withdrawal.

Is Xanax Addictive?

Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a class of drugs notorious for being habit-forming and addictive. Even simply taking the medication as prescribed for a long period could result in physical dependency.

If you are worried that you have developed an addiction to Xanax, look for the following signs:

  • Running out of your prescription early
  • Taking more Xanax than prescribed
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription of Xanax
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges or cravings to misuse Xanax
  • Dealing with symptoms of withdrawal when you cannot take Xanax
  • Stealing Xanax prescriptions from friends or loved ones
  • Neglecting your responsibilities to misuse the substance

If you identify with the above-mentioned signs, you should seek help from a professional drug rehab program.

Find Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to Xanax, Carolina Center for Recovery is here to help. With a combination of evidence-based behavioral therapy, group counseling, and relapse prevention planning, we can help you achieve long-term sobriety.

To learn more about our Xanax rehab program, contact Carolina Center for Recovery today.

References:

  1. Medline Plus: Alprazolam, Retrieved July 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  2. The National Library of Medicine: Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Adults in the United States, Retrieved July 2023 From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30554562/

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