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Does Xanax Cause Headaches?

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

May 2, 2023 (Originally Published)

April 26, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

For many, addiction to drugs called benzodiazepines, like Xanax, is a growing concern in the United States. While Xanax is used to treat anxiety, it has been known to cause other problems including addiction, physical dependence, Xanax withdrawal, and more. Along with these dangerous issues, it can also lead to a number of side effects. Many people taking this prescription drug may have questions about it’s side effects including: can Xanax cause headaches?

The most current data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) indicate that of the 46 million U.S. adults with diagnosable addictions in 2021, 7.4 million developed addictions to prescription medications like Xanax.

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Xanax and other benzos can be highly effective for the short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. As well as having a strong potential for abuse and addiction, Xanax can also trigger adverse side effects. This guide examines the Xanax headache side effect and answers two key questions:

  1. Can Xanax cause headaches?”
  2. Can Xanax cause migraine headaches

Can Xanax Cause Headaches?: Answered

A headache after Xanax is an uncommon side effect. Many factors influence whether or not you will experience a headache after taking Xanax, including:

  • Individual tolerance
  • Dosage
  • Duration of Xanax use
  • Scope of Xanax use

Xanax is a branded form of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders. Physicians also sometimes prescribe Xanax off-label to treat major depressive disorder.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says that the majority of abuse of benzodiazepines, like Xanax, is by adolescents and young adults.

Like all medications, Xanax is associated with an array of potential side effects, which may include:

  • Headache from Xanax
  • Appetite changes
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Light headedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is also important to note that mixing Xanax with other drugs can lead to dangerous drug interactions that can cause serious side effects like:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Heightened risk of liver disease
  • Coma and more

If used improperly Xanax can lead to life-threatening and dangerous problems including the development of a substance use disorder and benzo withdrawal.

an image of someone dealing with a Xanax headache

Xanax Migraines

Xanax-related headaches may become more severe and could in some cases be classified as migraines. A migraine is characterized by intense and throbbing pain, sometimes accompanied by other nausea and vomiting. If you experience a migraine after taking Xanax, speak with your healthcare provider.

Xanax hangover is a non-clinical term used to describe the mild withdrawal symptoms that sometimes present as the effects of benzos like Xanax wear off. Those misusing or abusing Xanax are more likely to experience a Xanax hangover. Symptoms are similar to those of an alcohol hangover and may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • High body temperature
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscle tension
  • Stomach cramps
  • Breathing problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you regularly encounter symptoms like these after taking Xanax, consult your healthcare provider and voice your concerns. They may adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative medication.

What to Do When Experiencing Xanax Headache Pain?

If you are experiencing a headache as a result of taking Xanax, there are a few things you can try to alleviate the pain:

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration is a common cause of headaches, and Xanax can sometimes inflame this issue. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated when taking benzos.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medications: OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help soothe the headache pain. That said, you should consult your prescribing physician before taking any new medication, especially if you are taking other medications or have an underpinning physical health condition.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Xanax is a medication that helps to calm the CNS (central nervous system), but it may also trigger headaches as a side effect. Try practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help ease any tension or stress that could be contributing to the headache.
  • Contact your healthcare professional: If the headache persists or is severe, contact your healthcare provider and seek medical help. They may recommend adjusting your dosage of Xanax or switching to a different medication.

While Xanax may cause headaches as a side effect, this is uncommon and not everyone will experience this symptom.

Overcome Xanax Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

If you have developed an addiction to a benzo like Xanax, ensure that you consult your prescribing physician before discontinuing use. A tapered reduction in dosage can mitigate Xanax side effects and cravings during Xanax withdrawal. we can help connect you with licensed medical detox centers.

At Renaissance Recovery, we have treatment programs and rehabs in Florida and California. You can engage with our addiction treatment program to learn to overcome substance abuse and get set up for long-term success. If you have a co-occurring mental health condition like anxiety or panic disorder, our dual diagnosis treatment program allows you to address both issues simultaneously at our luxury beachside treatment facility.

Our PHP (partial hospitalization program) is the most intensive form of addiction treatment outside of residential rehab, providing the structure and support you need when fighting addiction to benzos like Xanax.

All Renaissance Recovery treatment programs combine holistic treatments and evidence-based interventions that may include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Experiential adventure therapy
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Aftercare

When you are ready to eliminate Xanax headaches and other benzodiazepines from your life, call the friendly Renaissance team at 866.330.9449. We are here to help you from detox to discharge and beyond, call now to learn about all treatment options.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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