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Xanax Addiction-Withdrawal?-Please give advise
  1. #1
    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Post Xanax Addiction-Withdrawal?-Please give advise

    I am a 37 year old female (who has never been on a message board or blog before). I have been on Xanax for over 2 years and have become phobic and paranoid. I feel as though the medication has made things much worse....to the point where I am not functioning normally...normal daily tasks and routines are a chore and often aren't done. It was perscribed by my personal physician for panic attacks. I am taking 0.5mg approximately 6 x per day. I have rapid heartbeat, fluttering feeling in my heart, chestpains, shakiness, lightheaded, inability to concentrate, afraid to drive (I have 4 teenagers so it makes it very difficult..I feel extremely inadequate), insomnia, headaches, no longer socializing, I won't even shop anymore. I am unable to decipher what is a panic attack and what is possibly a withdrawal? Two years ago, I would spend 2 hours on my hair & make-up...would never go out in public without trying to look my best. Now I can't get enough energy to shower 4 days a week let alone put on make-up or do my hair (my heart pounds so hard every time I get up). My life is no longer in my control. As my husband and kids go on camping trips, bowling, movies or to dinner I stay at home afraid to leave. I'm feeling very depressed, sad and have up until about a year ago been a very motivated, ambitious, outgoing person who wouldn't miss out on being with family & friends...now I seclude myself.
    Does anyone have any suggestions or may have experienced some of these symptoms? Desperate to talk to someone who knows what I'm going through.
    Thank you,
    Tracy

  2. #2
    Dave87666 is offline Member
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    Tracy--I have panic attacks as well and they are how you describe yourself now(except that I do leave the house and function)but that is because I am on benzos(what xanax is)..Sounds like that you're just on the wrong med..Talk to your Dr. either can put you on one like me(klonopin) or it might even be able to get straighten out with the correct anti-depressant...Its really going to be a hit or miss type thing and you may have to try other meds to help you out...Good luck,and go see your DR.!

    Keep coming back here its a great place with plenty of helpful people...OH yeah and MAKE SURE that you dont just quit taking the xanax because the w/d can actually kill you so we wouldnt want that to happen to you!

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Default Xanax Addiction-Withdrawal?-Please give advise?

    Dave87666...Thank you very much for your reply and advice. I will contact my dr. Monday morning. I believe you're right about the anti-depressants...I had been on them (every one under the sun) for about 13 years and decided I wanted to get off of them....that is when I began having the panic attacks 2 years ago & was put on Xanax & Ativan. My dr. did perscribe Cymbalta last month he thought it would help me taper off the Xanax but I did not do well with it so stopped taking it.

    I donated a kidney to my sister 10 yrs ago & only have one kidney so I'm very apprehensive about adding medications. But will look into & talk to my dr. about klonopin as you mentioned.

    It's such an awful feeling being dependant on a pill that alters your life.

    Thank you again & will let you know.
    God Bless.
    Tracy

  4. #4
    Dave87666 is offline Member
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    BUMP for Tracy...I tried to answer this for you already...

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    mpvt is offline Platinum Member
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    Hi Tracy: Xanax is really only good for people who get sudden and short panic\anxiety attacks.It does not last more than a couple hours but is very brain numbing.I would agree with Dave in that you should be on a longer acting benzo like valium, klonopin is another long acting one I believe.
    The other thing that bothers me is it sounds as though you may be suffering with more than just anxiety.You really need to be re-evaluated by a specialist have have your meds re-adjusted.Good luck and keep coming back,we will offer our support and kowledge as best we can....Dave

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    Dave87666 is offline Member
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    Yes klonopin has a long half life of 48-50 hours...so it does'nt "kick in" as far as xanax,but it lasts longer,and has always worked for me...I agree that you need to have your meds changed around....

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you very much. I definitely agree with you on needing to be re-evaluated. I have started to keep a journal on how often I am taking the Xanax each day (time & amount). I am really trying to see if the symptoms are actuall withdrawals rather than panic attacks...I think the withdrawal symptoms actually cause an anxiety attack. The dr. has also perscribed Valium & Ativan....to take one or the other...for me to take at night because of the insomnia...I haven't taken the Valium because I'm so afraid to get hooked on another pill. I have taken 6 Ativan this month (which is nothing).

    Do you think it would help to take the Valium in addition to the Xanax?

    I did take my twin daughters to the Library yesterday and talked myself through it...so I felt very good about that.

    Thank you again for the support.
    Tracy

  8. #8
    Dave87666 is offline Member
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    Tracy--Valuim on top of xanax(even though you're only taken like what?.5mg xanax) may just put you to sleep...I think the answer is either to up the dose of xanax,or switch to longer,mellow klonopin..This Dr. REALLY seems to be over medicating you on benzos though...If you dont mind,what is he/she giving you each one of these very strong,hard to get off of benzos for? If you can just list what he is giving you valium,ativan,and xanax all at he the same time for.....Before I would have LOVED to find a doc that would give me all of that,but after all that I've been through this just seems like you're way over medicated on the same type of drug just with different half lives...


    Before you hit the Dr. office I'd take your usual dose of xanax and as soon as you feel a panic attack take another one..If this works then there you go! If not then again try the konopin,but you really should consider dropping all the other benzos even just for your own good.....Let us know how this works for you!.

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Default Xanax Addiction-Dr. Perscribed Wellbutrin

    Dave87666....I talked to my dr. today and he perscribed Wellbutrin XL. Do you know much about this anti-depressant and the side effects? He said it's ok to take with the Xanax....and should help me while I taper off.

    He perscribed the Ativan and Valium for me to take one at bedtime (perscribed them at different times said to see which worked better for me). I've had this dr. for about 10 years and he knows I have never liked to take pills because I have only one kidney (donated the other) so I think he was comfortable perscribing to me and felt I needed them.

    As I said before I was on anti-depressants for about 13 years (Prozac, Lexapro,Zoloft etc and stopped taking them on my own 2 1/2 years ago and that's when I started having panic and anxiety attacks....along with a lot of other really terrible things going on in my life @ that time .) It was probably withdrawals from the anti-depressants & not panic attacks???? I honestly believe now that I'm not having panic attacks....I'm just having withdrawals from the Xanax..I've been keeping a log and it seems as though the Xanax is lasting 2 hours so I've been cutting a 0.5 in half and taking it every 2 hrs trying to stretch it to 3 hrs. I am just concerned about the side side effects of Wellbutrin XL and Xanax.

    I just want to feel alive again....you know...to wake up in the morning and have energy to do normal...daily things. To want to watch my 15 yr.old twin daughters play sports...to maybe take them to the movies or shopping. I have absolutely no motivation or desire to do anything. I'm 37 & Sicilian & there was a time when I wanted to have sex every day....& now I don't care. There's nothing that excites me anymore and that's a scary feeling when you've become numb.

    Please let me know what you think. Hope you're well. I'm in So Cal so not sure if there's a time difference.

    Thanks,
    Tracy

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    MartyFromSF is offline New Member
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    Tracy,
    This is my first time blogging a site like this. I hope I can provide some help. First, you're obviously suffering from depression and I would get a referral for a spychiatrist from your family doctor immediately. There is no need to go through what you are dealing with. I have been on Xanax, Valium and other benzodiazapenes many. Many times over the last 30 years. I don't know who prescribed you Xanax. You are at the recommended maximum dose of 3mg/day. People do go higher, but I would urge you to get off Xanax and try something else, like Valium. Now Xanax withdrawl is very, tough on some people and since you've been on it for such a long time, you would need to get off of it very, very, very slowly. I'm thinking no faster than reducing your daily dosage by 0.25mg from 10-14 days and continuing reduction by 0.25 mg until off. You can always remain at 0.25 for a long time before fully getting free of it. Your Doctor will probably recommend Valium as a substitute in a small amount at first and then raising it gradually as you decreasethe Xanax. Both are addictive, but Valium is the lesser of the two. I know from LOTS of experience – take it slow. AND remember that everyone is different in their reactions. I now takes Valium daily 5-20mg MAX. per day and ONLY when I really feel overwhelmed. DO NOT MIX ALCOHOL with either of these medications. Even Rum Cake will make you higher than hades. Also, tell your doctor ALL the medications you are taking – even aspirin or ANY over the counter. Cough Medicine and benzodiazapines are real trouble! Go slow. Get some family therapy. Don't be hard on yuorself – you've already been through enough. Ask your family for understanding. They probably do not understand. You might need to sit them down and talk, talk, talk. Please consult a doctor right away. Please let me know if this helped. Good luck and I can't wait to hear the good news!
    Marty From SF

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    MartyFromSF is offline New Member
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    Forgot to add: Xanax was terrible to come off of, as in 1986 they didn't realize the addiction potential. Go slow. Valium has a longer half-life and is easier to withdraw from. 20 years later Xanax made me anxious isntead of totally relaxed and confident, so your body does change and everyone IS different. Nothing else was strong enough for me. Good luck - don't drive when feeling high or tired.
    MartyFromSF

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Hi Marty,
    I agree with you, I believe hat I'm depressed. As I stated in an earlier reply, I had been on anti-depressants for over 13 yrs...Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro...etc and stopped taking them 2 1/2 yrs ago....exactly when the dr. said I have severe "Panic & Anxiety Disorder". As for your ? who perscribed the Xanax...it was my personal physician who has been seeing me for over 10 years and has given me the different anti-depressants throughout the years. Two months ago he recommended that I see a phychiatrist...have never seen one before (until I realized I was hoked on Xanax...& had gone crazy)went to see him, he said "I'm going to put you on Cymbalta, Ativan, Fish Oil, protein shakes and stop the Xanax tomorrow". Needless to say I didn't leave that appt. with much comfort....I never returned to him. I do believe that I need to speak to a therapist....."not a pill pusher". Like you said people don't really understand...I can't even talk to my husband...he says I just need a good swift kick in the a.. I am definitely becoming more withdrawn....not leaving the house much at all...had my own businsess...let it go...before that I worked for a company making great money.getting promotions...travelling...exercising..doing normal things with my family. A lot of things have changed and some traumatic things have happened but I have always been able to deal with things pretty well up until I started getting hooked on the Xanax. I freak out over the smallest things now...my heart pounds while I'min the shower & of course I think I'm getting ready to die. Crazy thoughts! My dr. asked that I pick-up WellbutrinXL but after reading side effects & drug interactions it doesn't seem like it should be taken w/ Xanax. I will talk to him about the Valium...I just so desparately want to feel ok....even for a day. Thanks for taking the time. Hope to talk to you soon.
    Tracy

  13. #13
    terenceoneill is offline New Member
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    Default Its Not Fun

    I can relate to what you're going through. I thought I had been on xanax for a short time, but didn't realize I had been using it for several years, including a start with ambien to go to sleep. I was using a short dose that started at .25 each day to 2 to 4mg daily. I would mostly use to go to sleep. When it no longer helped, I started using xanax, which worked wonders for me in the beginning. Eventually, I had to stop using xanax because it would actually create "panic" attacks, and as a person with epilepsy, it was difficult to distinguish the difference between having a seizure and having a panic attack. Not fun! I finally stopped the xanax a month and two weeks ago using valium to taper off. I think it worked, but it’s been hard getting off of the valium. I've been off of the valium for about 10 days with symptoms ranging to a cold to chest pain and difficulty sleeping to panic attacks that come and go. I went to the emergency room twice thinking I was having a heart attack, only to be told that my heart was normal. Now, the only thing I get is this feeling that I will never be the same again and mild panic attacks. My fear is that I might begin to uncontrollable seizures, but a friend of mine says that’s unlikely as the symptoms that show up tend to be those that you had in the beginning that caused you to get on xanax in the first place. In my case, it wasn’t seizures, but panic attacks, which are the symptoms I’m having for withdrawal. What really helps me is meditation (there some stuff on I-tunes that you can download for free that’s helpful). I also exercise and take valerian to help when I can’t sleep. I avoid caffeine products and sugar as well. I recommend prayer and joining a support group of people that have gone through the same thing. The one thing you need to do is get over the fear regardless of what you feel. Don’t listen to your brain, or your feelings, but listen to yourself and talk your way out of it and you’ll be surprised at how you can overcome this problem and win!

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    terenceoneill is offline New Member
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    Also, you need to talk to your doctor, but be careful. I have learned that most doctors know nothing about depression and are very inclined to put you on an antidepressant rather than therapy. After everything I have gone through, my doctor still wants to put me on an antidepressant, which I refuse to do. Antidepressants are meant for people that are clinically depressed, and should be used for a short time only. Most of the people I know are not clinically depressed, but are unhappy over a situation or their particular circumstances. Unless you’re willing to examine your life and ask some deep and profound questions, you will never be content with life. I think I would have been much better had I seen a therapist first or put on something short-term rather than accepting xanax prescriptions for so many years. I’m grateful to my doctor for helping me when I needed help, but I believe xanax was not good. Most people I know that are on antidepressants have a difficult time getting off of them and have been using them for a very long time. Despite using them, they’re still unhappy. If you use them, create an action plan that will help you address the problems in your life that are creating your angst so that you can eventually live a life free of medications.

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by terenceoneill View Post
    Also, you need to talk to your doctor, but be careful. I have learned that most doctors know nothing about depression and are very inclined to put you on an antidepressant rather than therapy. After everything I have gone through, my doctor still wants to put me on an antidepressant, which I refuse to do. Antidepressants are meant for people that are clinically depressed, and should be used for a short time only. Most of the people I know are not clinically depressed, but are unhappy over a situation or their particular circumstances. Unless you’re willing to examine your life and ask some deep and profound questions, you will never be content with life. I think I would have been much better had I seen a therapist first or put on something short-term rather than accepting xanax prescriptions for so many years. I’m grateful to my doctor for helping me when I needed help, but I believe xanax was not good. Most people I know that are on antidepressants have a difficult time getting off of them and have been using them for a very long time. Despite using them, they’re still unhappy. If you use them, create an action plan that will help you address the problems in your life that are creating your angst so that you can eventually live a life free of medications.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I can totally relate to it. You bring up some very good points. My dr. now wants to give me Ativan and Wellbutrin XL to help taper off of the Xanax. After thinking about it and doing a little research on the meds I have decided not to take either one of them. I would like to be free from these medications and cannot see trying to stop one and adding two more that have a list of side effects and may be addictive also. Little by little...each day I am trying to do more..getting out...trying to talk my way through it. Praying and having faith that I can overcome this has been one of the most important steps in the tapering process. As I'm sure you know...there are good days and bad. Thank you again for the advice. God Bless!!

  16. #16
    JJ
    JJ is offline New Member
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    Default Good luck

    As others have mentioned take teh withdrawal slow. Search the internet for a FLCP in England called Heather Ashton. She provides schedules for how to withdraw from Xanax and otehr benzos and will give you an idea of what to expect. Also, if you put benzodiazepine in a search on youtube.com you can hear first hand accounts of how people tapered off of xanax.

    To me it sounds like you are going through inter-dose withdrawal and are starting to build a tolerance. I have quite a bit of history with benzos but don't have much time, if you want to talk more post again and I'll come back and give you my story. There are sepcific support groups for benzo withdrawal on the web yahoo and at benzo.uk.org

    Good luck I have to run

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    trayanne is offline Junior Member
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    JJ,
    Thank you for the reply. I also believe that I have bult up a tolerance for the Xanax. Please tell me about your story when you have the time. I would very much appreciate hearing it. Also, I will look up stories on youtube. Thank you again!
    Tracy

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    jeff92_lee is offline New Member
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    Default Regarding XANAX and insomnia

    I have a 44 yrs old friend, Ann. She has insomnia for the past twenty years, but there is nothing wrong with her health. During these twenty years, she would only sleep for three to four hours. Sometimes, she would never sleep for three to four days. Despite this, she do not feel tired at all. Her doctor prescribed Xanax and Nootropil to her and these medicines aided her in her sleep a little. However, her eyes have a yellow speck. She is worried that these medicines might affect her liver and bring further side effects, so should she continue to take these meds?

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    DeanieJ is offline New Member
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    Exclamation Xanax withdrawal

    I've posted on this before, but can't find the thread. Does anyone have any info on xanax associated with anger outbursts? The person involved sleeps more than previously and his demeanor has changed. He's more withdrawn and short-tempered.
    Thanks.

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    I feel EXACTLY how you described. I recently became pregnant with an unexpected child and have had to stop the Xanax I was on for 8 years (off & on) and 2 years straight..... I was RXed 3mgs a day ............ I don't feel right at all, function well, and have even become suicidal at times..... I know how you feel & YES it is WITHDRAWAL.

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    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_Lady_Brain_Bypass View Post
    I feel EXACTLY how you described. I recently became pregnant with an unexpected child and have had to stop the Xanax I was on for 8 years (off & on) and 2 years straight..... I was RXed 3mgs a day ............ I don't feel right at all, function well, and have even become suicidal at times..... I know how you feel & YES it is WITHDRAWAL.
    Dear Lady,

    Congratulations on the new baby. As for the withdrawal from xanax, I just wanted to mention that you should not quit this drug abruptly, as it can be dangerous. I don't know if your doctor already told you of its risks. You need to taper off it gradually - and probably a quicker taper than most, due to the pregnancy. A sudden withdrawal can result in seizures - plus a host of unpleasant side effects. Has your doctor helped you to gradually withdraw?

    God bless,
    Ruth

  22. #22
    tantor7 is offline New Member
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    Wink Know what you feel

    I know what you are going through, I had always had anxiety issues, but I was able to function. Then without warning I was not in control and there was a horrible feeling of doom that was always over me. I stopped going out...I stopped working out, avoided all contact with people, well as much as possible.I had gone to my Dr. because I could not stand the palpitations and the lack of sleep, and I felt I was getting worse everyday.
    He Rx Lexapro 10 mg per day. And Xanax 2x per day. At first it was a welcome feeling of rest finally. But then as the weeks went on I felt as though I was in a fog, no energy,and always a dull frontal headache. It was as if someone was squeezing my head. I told the Dr. But he said this should stop, but it didnt and the meds only masked the issues inside of me. I did a lot of reading and saw all of the problems so many people had with Lexapro and some with Xanax . I took it upon myself to stop taking them. I did the taper off fashion but not so that it would take me months or weeks, I did it in 5 days. The key for me was multi faceted :
    Water: I drank frequently but not over doing it
    No naps: even when I felt my worst from medication fatigue "find something to do"
    Fish Oil 1000 mg every other day
    If you can, walk for 10-15 minutes
    If you have trouble sleeping or staying asleep, dont worry, just remember to not sleep during the day, your body should eventually adapt to regular sleep.
    And for me one thing that I realized was that I was always doing for others ALWAYS and never any time for me. I put an end to that and I feel better about ME, If I dont take care of me .... who will ?
    And one last thing, if you feel you need a therapist, do it. Your friends and family cannot begin to imagine what you feel and have felt. Even if its for 2 sessions.
    I have my life back, and I am in control of me.
    Many people said they have gained weight when using Lexapro, I lost weight though wasnt trying . But I can say I look better now at 50 then I did at 35.
    Finally Lexapro will severely diminish your love life and that in itself can become a cycle that can spiral downward and leave you in a worst condition.
    Hang in there you can do it

  23. #23
    Canbrake is offline New Member
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    Lots going on for sure and that is part of the problem too many variables to reaxch a cause and effect. Need to get on one Benzo (xanax best for panic attack) Than keep a journal including dosage times taken and episodes etc. Keep meds on regularchedule and do not mess with doses unless planned and charted. You have to things for sure going on Panic diorder with agoriphobia (not wanting to leave your safe place) very common with panic disorder and can be treated with meds and counseling since it is caused by the panic disorder which is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Another issue going on which you are assuming is withdrwal is probaly anticipated anxiaty. Means your body knows what happens when your not on meds and you actually bring on an episode simply stated you worry about haveing an attack so you have one. Very complicated and very real. I have been battling this for 27 years one of the first xanax users. I HAVE BEEN STABLE NOW FOR YEARS ON .5 XANAX TWICE DAILY AND .5 MORE IF NEEDED WHICH RARLEY HAPPENS ANY MORE. YOU CAN GET THERE ALSO NEED EXPERIENCED THERAPIST TO COACH YOUR MD THEY KNOE LITTLE OF THIS ISSUES JUST HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED. SO FIND AN MD OR PYSCHIATRIST (THEY CAN PRESCRIBE MEDS) AND WORK WITH YOU MD TO GET TO BTTOM OF THIS. MOST OF ALL CALL ON GOD AND YOU WILL FIND GREAT RELIEF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST CAN AND WILL GRANT YOU PEACE OF MIND TRUST HIM GOD BLESS PRAYERS WITH YOU

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