Can Xanax Help Me Beat a Lie Detector Test?


Did your boss ask you to take a lie detector test? Are you feeling on edge because you don’t know what to expect? Your friend or colleague suggested you take a Xanax before undergoing the polygraph, but is that a good idea?

Can you get in trouble if you use this medication before you take the lie detector? What happens if you feel drugged up and the examiner asks if you used Xanax? What if you take the pill and don’t have a prescription for the medication?

Is it worth throwing your job and reputation out of the window to feel less nervous during the polygraph? After all, it’s not like you’ve done anything wrong. This post discusses everything you need to know about Xanax and the polygraph exam.


What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a prescription medication and part of the family of “benzodiazepines.” Specifically, Xanax is a brand name for the chemical “alprazolam.”

Benzodiazepines include a wide range of drugs, including options like alprazolam (Xanax®), clorazepate (Tranxene®), chlordiazepoxide (Librium®), diazepam (Valium®), lorzepam (Ativan®), halazepam (Paxipam®), oxazepam (Serax®), quazepam (Doral®), and  prazepam (Centrax®). Clonazepam (Klonopin®), clorazepate, and diazepam, also have medical use as an anticonvulsant in specific applications.

Alprazolam is a common drug in the American and European marketplaces, and it’s available through a prescription from your doctor. Doctors prescribe Xanax to patients to help them deal with the symptoms of stress and anxiety in their lives. It’s a common drug, and data suggests 12.5% of Americans have a benzodiazepine prescription to help them manage their mental health.

Xanax is the most popular drug in the benzodiazepine family, and its brand name is synonymous with anti-anxiety medication and benzodiazepines in general. However, Xanax and benzodiazepines are also highly misused drugs in the US and the UK. Many people use them without a prescription, choosing to buy them on the black market.

According to data, around 2.1% of the American population misuse the drug, meaning they take it without having a prescription from their doctor. The reasons for the recreational use of the drug vary. Some mix it with alcohol to get a better buzz, and others use it in combination with other medications, like the cough mixture “lean.”

Around 0.2% of Americans have a benzodiazepine use disorder, meaning they’re addicted to the drug and require it to function. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines, along with alcohol, are one of the only drugs that can kill you if you come off it using a “cold turkey” strategy.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like Xanax using the cold turkey method of sudden cessation results in the user experiencing flu-like symptoms and potentially experiencing convulsions or seizures. The seizures could be strong enough to kill or put you in hospital.

Author Jordan Peterson experienced this firsthand. He was diagnosed with anxiety by his doctor and placed on a benzodiazepine medication to curb his problem. However, he returned to the doctor for a stronger and stronger dose of the medicine. In his attempt to quit the drug, he ended up in the hospital, with his treatment nearly killing him.


Xanax and the Black Market

Xanax is a highly misused and abused drug in the United States. It’s readily available on the black market from illicit street drug dealers and online sources. Unfortunately, black-market Xanax is not produced in pharmaceutical conditions. Some dealers mix the ingredients in their bathtubs and use pill presses to create pills that look like the originals.

Despite the visual appearance of these counterfeit drugs looking like the original, they are usually far from it. Analysis of black market Xanax shows much of the drug available on the streets comes mixed with the potent opioid Fentanyl in its formulation.

Fentanyl overdoses are now the leading killer of Americans aged 18 to 44. A dose the size of a few grains of sugar is enough to kill an inexperienced user, and it’s turning up in counterfeit Xanax sold on the streets. Many drug cartels selling fake Xanax in America mix the drug in vats where they previously mixed a batch of Fentanyl.

This process results in the cross-contamination of Fentanyl into the Xanax supply. As a result, people who assume they’re buying Xanax end up buying Fentanyl-laced alprazolam, resulting in an overdose and hospitalization or death.


Why Do People Use Xanax Before Taking a Lie Detector Test?

So, why do people choose to use Xanax before they take a lie detector test? Generally, people will take Xanax before a lie detector test for one of two reasons. The first reason is that they feel stressed and anxious and want the drug to help them cope with their situation.

The second reason why people take Xanax before their lie detector test is to help them avoid deception detection by the examiner. Xanax has a depressant effect on the central nervous system (CNS). The drug increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain upon the body metabolizing the drug.

GABA is a neurotransmitter promoting calmness in the user, giving them an intense feeling of relaxation. Xanax also lowers brain activity, which is why it’s so effective at treating anxiety disorders in patients. Xanax can also assist with alleviating muscular tension and relieving the effects of insomnia, allowing the user to drift off to sleep.

The drug also presents the user with temporary memory loss, reductions in feelings of hostility, irritability, and anger, and supposedly stops the user from having nightmares or night terrors. When individuals take too much of the drug, they experience side effects like clammy skin, shallow breathing, dilated pupils, and rapid or weak heartbeat. In the event of a Xanax overdose, the user might fall into a coma and die.

So, it’s easy to see why people with something to hide might choose to use Xanax to help them beat the lie detector test. Its potent effect on the patient’s physiology helps curb the “fight-or-flight” response that occurs when they lie on the exam.

The fight-or-flight response is what polygraph examiners monitor during the lie detector test. By using Xanax, the examinee assumes they can control this part of the autonomic nervous system, helping them lie about something without the examiner picking up their deception.


Can Xanax Help Me Beat a Lie Detector Test?

According to medical authorities, there is no unique physiological response to lying other than an elevation in the fight-or-flight response. So, Xanax does play a role in dropping blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration, making the user feel calmer.

During the testing process, the examiner assesses your baseline physiological response. Even the slightest move away from the baseline indicates that you might be attempting to deceive them, and they’ll pick up on that.

So, if they notice you appearing calm on their screen and then see skewed results in the questioning process, they’ll assume you’re using Xanax to help you mitigate the effects of the fight-or-flight response and its impact on your body.


What Happens If the Examiner Suspects I’m Using Xanax?

Officially, Xanax is listed as a “countermeasure” when taking a polygraph exam. What is a countermeasure anyway? A countermeasure describes a methodology or practice that intends to deliberately influence the outcome of a polygraph exam.

You can try several countermeasures during the test, but we recommend you don’t use any of them. For instance, biting your cheek or curling your toes before or while answering a question supposedly influenced the polygraph’s interpretation of your response to the examiner’s question.

However, the introduction of software systems to polygraph processes changed the industry and the use of countermeasures. Today, talented polygraph examiners, and there are plenty of these individuals, can detect if you’re using a countermeasure during the test.

If the examiner thinks you might be using a countermeasure like Xanax, they’ll ask you about it. Then you’ll have to lie about that, placing you in a downward spiral where you’ll likely fail the test. Using countermeasures like Xanax is an immediate failure, and you’ll face the repercussions of doing so.

If you reply telling the examiner you’re using Xanax, they’ll ask you if you have a prescription for the drug. If you don’t, you’re illegally utilizing the medication, which is a huge problem. You’ll fail the test, or in the best-case scenario, you’ll have to take it again when you’re sober.


When Is It Okay to Use Xanax in Lie Detector Tests?

The only time it’s okay to use Xanax in a polygraph exam is if you have a prescription for it. Most polygraph examiners will ask if you use beta-blockers or Xanax before the exam. If you do have a prescription, tell them. They’ll let you take the test anyway.

You see, using Xanax isn’t a problem. Contrary to what people think and what internet message boards say, the polygraph software isn’t affected by your drug use. If you tell the examiner you used Xanax before the exam because you’re feeling anxious and your doctor told you to take the drug when you feel their way, that’s okay.

The examiner uses this information, and they can get around your use of the medication, which won’t affect the test results. The polygraph technology is so advanced and sensitive that it can circumvent the effects of the drug on your body and physiological response.

Essentially, there’s no escape from the polygraph; it will still detect deception, even when using Xanax. The problem with intentionally using it is to deceive the polygraph and examiner. If they discover you’re using it with this intention, that’s a huge problem.


What Other Drugs Produce Similar Effects to Xanax in Lie Detector Tests?

The internet message boards are packed with misinformation about prescription drugs assisting with passing a polygraph. Unfortunately, all this information is incorrect. There’s no chance of you getting through the exam relying on the medication to help you cover up your deception. The examiner will catch you.

Some of the other drugs listed as countermeasures to polygraph questioning involve anti-anxiety medications like beta-blockers and benzodiazepines like Diazepam (valium) and others. Anti-psychotic medications and antidepressants are also popular choices.

Popping Prozac or Lithium before your polygraph is a bad idea if you don’t have a prescription for it. You’re in big trouble if you aren’t a legal, registered user.


Strategies for Achieving Accurate Results in a Lie Detector Test without Xanax

Let’s assume you don’t have anything to hide in the polygraph exam. If that’s the case, you don’t have anything to worry about. The exam process might make you nervous or anxious, but the examiner expects that. They’ll do the best they can to make you comfortable with undergoing the exam before you start.

It’s the examiner’s job to relieve the tension and anxiety you experience before taking the exam. If you end up feeling the onset of a panic attack before the start of the test or during it, you can tell the examiner to stop, and they’ll let you leave the room to calm down.

You have the right to terminate the exam at any point if you’re not feeling okay. So, it’s no big deal if all you have is a case of mild anxiety or nervousness before you take the exam. By researching the aspects of the polygraph before the test and asking the examiner questions about it, you’ll reduce that anxiety.

While using countermeasures before or during the exam is expressly forbidden, it’s not illegal or against policy to research the test or practice other strategies to calm your nerves before entering the exam room. For instance, practicing breathing techniques and meditation before the exam is perfectly fine.

The examiner won’t hole these practices against you; they’ll encourage them. Breathing and meditation put your mind at ease, reducing anxiety about forthcoming events. As a result, you make the examiner’s job easier, and they appreciate that. These strategies also make you feel much more confident and relaxed when taking the test.

So, download a meditation app like Headspace or listen to a free guided meditation on YouTube 30 minutes before your exam. Practice deep breathing before entering the exam room to calm your nerves. Don’t worry; you have nothing to be concerned about.