Drugs Q & A

Does Xanax Help Paranoia?

What is paranoia?

Paranoia refers to an irrational and persistent feeling that people are ‘out to get you’ or that you are the subject of persistent, intrusive attention by others. This unfounded mistrust of others can make it difficult for a person with paranoia to function socially or have close relationships. Paranoia may be a symptom of a number of conditions, including paranoid personality disorder, delusional (paranoid) disorder, and schizophrenia.

About 2.3 to 4.4% of the general US population is estimated to have a paranoid personality disorder. It is thought to be more common among men. There is some evidence of increased prevalence in families. The cause of paranoia is unknown but genetics are thought to play a role. Treatment depends on the condition diagnosed as its cause and may include treatment by psychological therapy or medication.


Paranoid symptoms may range from mild to severe. They depend on the cause but, generally, a person who is paranoid may:

•          Be easily offended

•          Find it difficult to trust others

•          Not cope with any type of criticism

•          Assign harmful meanings to other people’s remarks

•          Be always on the defensive

•          Be hostile, aggressive and argumentative

•          Not be able to compromise

•          Find it difficult, if not impossible, to ‘forgive and forget’

•          Assume that people are talking ill of them behind their back

•          Be overly suspicious – for example, think that other people are lying or scheming to cheat them

•          Not be able to confide in anyone

•          Find relationships difficult

•          Consider the world to be a place of constant threat

•          Feel persecuted by the world at large

•          Believe in unfounded ‘conspiracy theories.

Three main types

Paranoia is associated with three principal conditions:

•          Paranoid personality disorder – considered the mildest type. Most people with paranoid personality disorder function well despite their mistrust of the world. The attitudes and behaviors associated with this disorder, when they become obvious, are often discovered to have been present for much of the person’s life.

•          Delusional (paranoid) disorder – characterized by the dominance of one delusion (false belief) without any other sign of mental illness. The person’s behavior depends on which delusion they have. For example, a person who has a delusion of persecution believes that other people are spying on them or plotting to harm them in some way. Stalking can be the result of delusional (paranoid) disorder – for example, the person believes they are in a relationship with a movie star they have never met. In another case, a person may imagine they have a terrible illness, despite repeated reassurance from doctors.

•          Paranoid schizophrenia – considered the most severe type. It is characterized by strange delusions, such as believing that one’s thoughts are being broadcast over the radio. Hallucinations, especially bizarre ones, are also common to the condition. A person with paranoid schizophrenia often finds the world confusing and functions poorly without treatment.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand of alprazolam a benzodiazepine that works by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Generic Xanax is also available as the brand-name medications Xanax and Xanax XR. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generic blue, green, and yellow Xanax are considered to be just as safe and effective as the original drug but tend to cost less.

Xanax is prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Xanax is also used to treat panic disorders with or without a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment (agoraphobia). Xanax is a federally controlled substance (C-IV) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Does Xanax Help Paranoia?

No, Xanax does not help with the treatment of paranoia although the drug may be prescribed to treat symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder which include symptoms like racing thoughts and speech.

People who experience paranoia abuse Xanax once in a while, as they trust it can give some relief from their diligent mental pain. The issue with utilizing Xanax for such a treatment is that it starts to reduce the symptoms over a long time but brings about Xanax addiction when the treatment is not handled by professionals. Studies have also shown that Xanax increases the risk of reversible brief psychotic episodes.

If you are experiencing paranoia, talk about your thoughts with someone you trust. You may find that talking about your thoughts with a trusted friend or family member can reduce stress and help you to question and challenge paranoid thoughts.

It is important you avoid self-medicating with Xanax because paranoia can be a serious symptom of mental illness.  See your doctor as soon as possible if you have experienced significant paranoid feelings—particularly if they have gone on for several days and you are starting to believe that others actually are against you.

What are the side effects of Xanax?

Common side effects of Xanax include:

  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Slurred speech
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

Xanax may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

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