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- 1 Post By jbrand3
Anxiety Disorder and Xanax
Anxiety Disorder and Xanax
About six months ago I went to the hospital with what I thought was a heart attack. I'm only 24 and I've never had any serious health problems. At the time, I was a few months away from mairrage and a surgery which had been stressing me a bit, but not overwhelmingly. Anyway, I came home from work one day and felt terrible. Then...out of nowhere...my heart let off several massive beats and a feeling of numbness and dizziness swept over me...kind of like I was in a completely different state. Not ever having experienced this, I panicked and went to the ER....by the time I got in the ambulance my limbs were numb and i had a terrible pain in my upper abdominals...I went through a series of tests at the hospital and everything came back normal except that my pottasium was low. This made sense becuase I had worked 12 hours that day and was surely dehydrated and pourly nourished. I believe the final diagnosis was indeed a panic attack. In the days following...the feeling returned....although never that intense. But it would sort of build up during the day and then a few times I would snap into "panic mode"...which if you haven't had it, is like someone flipping a switch and then all of the sudden you're in an awful, indescribable state. To shorten this up I'll get to the point. Eventually I went to a psychiatrist who seemed overwhelmingly convinced that I did infact have panice disorder. My current state is this. I take xanx every day and when I'm on it, I never have symptoms. When it leaves my system after about 10 or 12 hours, I begin to feel dizzy and as time goes on, it seems like my cognitive abilities go more and more downhill, until I get to the point where i feel like I could have an attack. Now ordinarily, this discomfort compells me to take another xanx, and then 20 minutes later, i'm fine again. My concern is that there is never a time when the xanax wheres off and I feel normal. Whether I'm thinking about it or not...when that chemical leaves my system, the symptoms start in. There was one time that I left my prescription out of town and didn't have access to it for 48 hours. By the time I got it, I was in a ridiculously pathetic state. I don't know what would happen if I just stopped taking it, but with work and now grad school, I haven't had the luxury of testing that out. Has anyone else had similar experiences? I would appreciate any and all thoughts on the matter.
Hi Im Sorry abt your attacks just wanted to let you know ,Dont stop this med,cold turkey talk w/your dr.first and Taper down ,dont please do not stop taking this med,abruptly,Tamm
Tam is absolutely right,don't cold turkey this med as is can be fatal.You need to see your doctor asap.In my opinion it's not a good thing to be on a benzodiazepine 24\7.There are other ways to deal with panic attacks.I had them in my 20's and they can come out of nowere and scare the hell out of ya.Xanax is to mind alterering and can cause blackouts after prolonged use.There is a docotr Ashton who has a manual on quitting benzo's.She suggests going to valium (diazepam) and then begin a slow detox.Google "The Ashton Manual" and you will get the address.Also make sure that you see someone about the anxiety attacks before you even try getting off the benzo's as they are your only defense to the attacks.I was lucky as I either grew out of them or whatever was bothering me went away.Good luck....Dave
Well, ok...I'll taper down then. I have no problem trying that. I'll check out the ashton manual as well. I spent the first 24 years of my life on no meds whatsoever, and I'd like to get back to that ASAP. The anxiety attacks are an odd thing, thats for sure. Thanks for the advice.
For panic attacks in particular, Paxil is a good medication. I have been on it since 1998, and have had no real side effects. My labido isn't what it once was, and you don't want to miss doses too often, but other than that you just feel normal again. I carried xanax around with me for awhile, as a security blanket so to speak. I took it if I felt anxious, just because I couldn't deal with that feeling anymore at all. But I had 3 attacks in one day when I was put on the Paxil, and my tolerance for anxiety was about zip for a long while afterwards. These SSRI meds are not like narcotics, but you do have to ween off them when you feel the time is right. I am presently going to be switching to cymbalta, but I am 47, with chronic pain from a messed up back and other stuff Cymbalta is used to treat chronic pain associated with diabetes neuropathy so my doc wants me to try it. I on the other hand would like help with my pain, but I don't want to go back to anxiety land either. I have xanax for now while I undergo the transition, and for a blood pressure problem I was developing, from pain and stress. Anyway. Paxil worked great for me for years and I didn't have to take anything else. It seemed to help my stomach, which I had always had problems with, my female cycle. Overall it really made my whole body more normal. Good luck.
Last edited by ddcmod; 05-19-2010 at 04:57 AM.
DO NOT GO ON ANY ANTIDEPRESSANTS!!! I don't care what anyone says, . ..Whatever you do - DON"T do that, it is hell for many people, whether they had a bad reaction or not, going off the meds is horrible... I had a terrible reaction, and with Xanax combined, nearly killed me... --- I have had panic attacks before, but DO not let someone just label you with an 'anxiety disorder' .... things like that happen for a reason.. My panic attack came from an unknown bad reaction to sleeping medication, -- so you need to check out what you were on at the time of the first panic attack - any kind of medication (sleeping meds will do it for some, wow, it can be bad I know.. just over the counter kinds..) even for the last 3-6 months (some 'reactions' to drugs, including especially anxiety, don't show up until 3 months later -- then the patient/doctor, misdiagnosing the problem, will prescribe more meds, when the brain is actually attempting to heal at that time)... as some meds stay in your system a very long time... Going off Xanax will give you panic problems, you have to find out how to taper, but get off right away - Once you are free and clear of any drugs for at least 6 months to a year, then if you have any panic/anxiety problems, check out the multitudes of advice, prayer, etc.. to understand truely what may be going on and work through it properly - otherwise you are setting yourself up for a really awful time!!
I KNOW that panic attacks can be terrible, I fully understand the pain... but one has to understand that the human body doesn't just flip into a panic attack for no reason, and if you were fine for 24 years, something (not a 'life issue most likely, as you have plenty of experience to overcome things by that time) triggered it (though I KNOW it seems like it's in your own head, it's not!) - check all meds taken at that time, and do some research - if any mention 'anxiety' as a side effect, that was probably it -- I never would have thought that sleeping med could produce such a incredible attack, and delayed at the time -- several weeks later even... but now that I have been clear for months, there is no anxiety ever, and I feel completely normal again... But just be careful, as doctors seem to love to prescribe those meds for anything, and they can wreak havoc on your system -- I unfortunately am still having seizures from my drug reaction ... no fun, but learned some good lessons! At least my mind is at peace though and normal again...
Sorry to write so much, but I just want to help, and make sure you don't get off on the wrong path like so many others - (me included for a while) -- I'm just 28, and know that there is stress in life, but we can handle it just fine - just watch those meds!! Research, research, research --- on the adverse effects of Xanax and other drugs, and I'll keep you in my prayers...
lots of love,
Last edited by ddcmod; 05-19-2010 at 04:56 AM.
I definitely have empathy for you as far as quitting prescription drugs. I'll keep my story very brief, but basically I had to give up alcohol at 25 years old. I had my driver's license suspended for a year. Slowly, things began to turn around - I got a job as an assistant store manager for a great retail company, and I was enrolled in grad school for my MBA. One morning I was dead tired from work, school, AA meetings, etc. This girl handed me an orange capsule and I swallowed it without hesitation. She said "oh, that's adderall xr. It will help you concentrate." Oh did it ever. I can't tell you how many doctors I visited in order to stockpile my prescriptions with no intent to sell anything. It was all for personal consumption. I got fired from my job for an unrelated work matter two years ago, and although I've abstained from alcohol, I cannot recall many days where I didn't take dexedrine, adderall, or xanax - often times together at the same time. Now that I've finished my MBA and graduated, I know that it's time to ween off of these mood-altering chemicals for good, not to mention having to give a urine sample for prospective employer(s). Good luck and you're not alone.......
No way I can really keep this short & sweet but kinda need some elbow room to tell MY story in hopes it may make others feel more at ease as yours have made me feel.
My Major anxiety & panic disorder started about 10 years ago while driving into town one day with my now EX-wife.
Driving along minding my own biz when suddenly I couldn't catch my breath, throat felt tight, started getting nervous, then freaked out, then went flush. At that time I was around 35-36y/o & you know what was going through my head......HEART ATTACK..HOLY CHIT! I floored it ,passing a police car w/no care at all, right into town to the ambulance/fire dept. Rand in, told 'em "think i'm having a heart attack". They strapped an EKG machine to me, did my pulse,heart rate the works. The one tech said at the time" your heart IS racing but honestly, everything is actually BETTER than MINE and your the one freaking out here!" " Welcome to your first major anxiety attack".
I was like WTF??? Anxiety attack? THAT"S what those feel like? O_M_G!
See, prior to this, I thought of others having them.,it was a joke to me but no more as now 42 years old, I still have 'em and would not wish on my worst enemy.
I have been on and off Prozac ever since which also helped with my mild tourets (spelled wrong) which I've had all my life( the mild twitching kind). I also had Xanax as my "break glass in case of emerency" /plan-B.
Just this weekend June 4th, I had another attack. Pumping fuel at the station I had a throb in the side of my rib cage. Usually, little things like this set off an attack cause afterwhich I started thinking about it. Then got to the counter to pay for fuel and felt flush, dry mouth,etc..chugged my orange juice quickly and got to my truck asap. From there, I had a 2 hour battle trying to get to auction 100 miles away, which is the same routine every month & have driven it since 1995. By the time I reached auction, I didn't want to be there........paranoia, shortness of breath, generally you just don't want to be out in public when these occur.
Anyways, I ended up leaving after only 20 minutes. The trek home was the longest ever. I had to pull over 2-times to take a meditation nap. The feeling this round was that of extreme nervousness, anxious, just overall didn't feel normal or right in any way.Finally get home & was just not right for the remainder of Saturday as I constantly had to take little naps to calm down and I might ad was a battle just to try & take a stupid nap!.
Sunday morning came, and even before my cup of coffee & a smoke, BAM.....here we freaking go again! It always has a very subtle trigger like a pain of any kind, head rush, anything in my upper body which makes me worry of a heart attack, then it's a landslide from there.
Finally after 1/2 a Sunday enduring this, I went to a buddies house who's GF uses Xanax. She has a bottle of .05MG tablets. I took 1/2 and in about 20 minutes I felt soo much better.
With these episodes, I haven't had the sweats as before but had more of a "mental" breakdown. I believe this one was more of a nervous breakdown/panic attack hybrid. A new one on me! The 2-weeks prior to this episode have been filled with my wife & I butting heads over everything and I think it caught up w/me.
Yesterday I FINALLY called my previous doctor & also went to a new doctor told them of my episode & confirmed it was as I thought.
I have since scheduled a full physical to get completely checked out. I believe having the info will aid in my remaining cohesive in any future attacks.
For now however, I'm back on the Prozac bus & still taking 1/2 a Xanax every morning. Don't "want" to, but Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
I'm sorry if the story may seem out of whack a bit. I know I could have told it better & w/more info & detail but I'm just now starting to get my head clear again.
Anxiety disorder is a serious deal. Most folks will simply never understand you until they too have one. For now at least, I'm very thankful to have my life back.
Oh, sorry I failed to mention this & is actually very important you know!
Many years ago I tried smoking some weed thinking that would help. Well, certainly NOT for me! In my teens & 20's well it was a party, but anymore it's actually hell. It'll intensify the "bad buzz" by about x10. May not happen to some folks, but i'm just warning you up front! If your feeling the paranoia sensation while having your attack then don't smoke any weed..nope, don't do it! Weed of today is nothing as it was in the 80's.
If I can think of anything else to share in my experiences, I'll do so. And yes, I'll do so when i'm "all here". Man...this sucks!
Panic sucks, I have chronic panic. Long lasting all day anxious panic attacks. I was on Xanax .25mg-1mg a day for 9 months with no complaints until a Doctor took me off it cold turkey, and replaced it with Celexa and lithium (Big MIstake), then Lexapro(Bigger Mistake), then Exfexxor XR(Living Hell), then Zyprexa for 8 months with Vistaril the first 3 months then Buspar the last 5(I gained 100 pounds and got high BP, Cholesterol and Trigylcerides) then she took me off the Xyprexa, and put me on Bystolic for BP, Zocor for Cholesterol, and Seroquel XR(Horrid Panic inducer), she then switched me to straight Seroquel 400mg a day(almost killed me.) All because she was a Benzo Hating God wanna be. I switched doctors in January got back on Xanax .5mg 3 a day for 4 months and got back to good, but I had too take too much of it to quel my constant symptoms. I'm now on Klonopin .5mg four times a day and doing well. I wieghed 275 pounds in december. I quit the anti-psychotics January 1st and now weigh 215 pounds. (I'm usually 175lbs) With the Xanax I was bed ridden, but not in a ball. With Klonopin I'm alive again. It doesn't make me tired, and I actually get out of bed and move around, Benzo hating doctors need to have thier licenses revoked. All things are addictive, and usually sold over the counter with a heavy tax. BENZODIAZIPINES are saving my life. I will willfully take them for the rest of my life if need be without any regret.
living with panic/anxiety disorder
I feel your pain, and I want to assure you there is hope.
I was diagnosed with panic disorder about 10 years ago. When I first started experiencing panic attacks, I had no idea what it was. The only way I could describe it was an irrational, intense, paralyzing FEAR! I just thought I was going to die. Period. After having the 1st attack (again not knowing what had happen) I began to have, what I realize now, was "rebound" panic attacks. These are brought on merely by worrying about what happened, and fearing it will happen again. Before you know it, you're having another attack. This went on for me, for 3 months. I was a hot mess! I was lucky enough to be referred by my personal trainer, of all people, to a WONDERFUL neurologist (anyone in the Chicago area, let me know and I can give you his name). He sat with me for nearly 2 hours (while I cried), asked me a million questions, and finally was confident that I had a panic/anxiety disorder. There are many different types of panic disorder. Some are short-lived (a few months or so) and resolve itself on their own. Some are more phobia-related (let's say a fear of crowds). Mine, however, is called "generalized panic disorder"; meaning - - there is no specific "trigger" that has been identified. I found that a bummer, because if we knew WHAT was causing them, it would be easier to treat.
However, good news. Panic attacks ARE manageable! I promise you. My neurologist immediately put me on Paxil, and Xanax. He also stressed to me HOW important it is to only use the Xanax when needed. It is highly habit-forming, and he said of all the addictions he's seen in his life, he's never seen any worse than xanax addiction, and that's saying a lot. Needless to say, he scared me enough that in the 10 years I've had my xanax prescription, I have NEVER abused it, and have NEVER had an addiction issue.
Here is what worked for me:
He put me on Paxil, which is an anti-depressant. Anti-depressants are also commonly used to treat anxiety. Do not mistake that if you are prescribed an anti-depressant, they are mistaking you for being depressed. Anti-depressants treat anxiety as well. Paxil is the most commonly used anti-depressant for anxiety. As with any anti-depressant, it can take 2-4 weeks to build up into your system, so you feel the full affect.
He also prescribed me Xanax, which act immediately. The purpose of the xanax is to only use them when you are having a panic attack, or feel one coming on. However, once you are on the anti-depressant for a few weeks, you will find that you need the Xanax less and less.
The goal is that the Paxil (or another anti-depressant) will keep you at a "steady" state. No peaks in your anxiety level. Then the Xanax is used only in what should become rare instances, of actual panic attacks.
The Paxil works so well for me, sometimes I go YEARS without a panic attack. I do always have Xanax at home. Honestly though, it's more of a security blanket. Just knowing that they are there, gives me a peace of mind that IF needed, I have them. But I typically can go on ONE 30-day supply for a year or more.
I understand the complete helplessness you feel when your anxiety is out of control. It rules your life! I get it. I've tried to explain to my family and friends that I wouldn't wish a panic attack on my worst enemy! It's like taking all the fear you've ever felt in your life, bottling it up, and drinking the entire thing in one shot!
Trust me, when I first was battling panic attacks, I felt like I was done for. I truly felt like there was no way I was ever going to be "normal" again.....fearing going ANYWHERE - even just to the movies - for fear of having a panic attack.
It's also important to know that each panic attack has a very short shelf-life. Your body can't "allow" the panic-mode for more than roughly 5-10 minutes. I can't remember the exact number off-hand. So take comfort in that at least.
Once you have the panic attacks under control with medication, it is so very important to learn as much as you can about the disorder. There are so many books that deal specifically with this topic and honestly, the more I feel I "understand" exactly what a panic attack IS, and what's going on in my body, along with thousands of methods you can try out, to help you, you will be amazed at the comfort you feel. The more you educate yourself on understanding what's going on, the better you will feel! Also find others that share your problem (like this forum). Sometimes there was no better medicine for me than just knowing that there are others that KNOW, truly, what I'm going through. All these crazy thoughts that the anxiety makes me feel......you're not alone.
So please try an anti-depressant. And give it a few weeks to work. Also sometimes you may have to go through a "trial-and-error" period, where you find one anti-depressant isn't working, and then you have to try another. It's frustrating, but SO worth it in the end to get back to "normal" and have your life back!
Also I recommend finding a neurologist to treat you for this issue. They are SO knowledgeable about the disorders of the brain - - and will treat you with attention this deserves.
Figure out what's going on
I agree that you shouldn't go onto antidepressants immediately. I had a panic attack when I was 20 and I had the same experience as you -- rushing to the ER going through a serious of tests, thinking I was having a heart attack -- but after a Chest X-ray, an EKG on my heart, blood tests, etc, they told me it was a panic attack and to go see my physician. So I did, and she gave me a prescription for Xanax and a 2 week trial pack of Lexipro. I took one lexipro and it ruined my day. I felt nauseous and dizzy. I had no appetite and all I could do was lay down in an almost vegetative state. I ended up going to sleep, hoping that the next morning it would be over. Luckily it was and I threw those stupid antidepressants away! So for the next 8 months I did some serious inner revamping, because I did develop anxiety that was almost constant. I rarely had full-on panic attacks, but I was very anxious 85% of the time.
Anyways, I made a cognitive decision that I WOULD NOT go on anymore antidepressants and would only use the Xanax for emergencies (Like panic attacks or severe anxiety). So for the next 8 months I went to a psychologist to talk about what was going on in my life (which wasn't very dramatic or anything, but I guess I'm much more sensitive than others) I talked about my fears, what triggered my anxiety, etc.
I quit smoking, started going to the gym, cut back on alcohol, joined weight watchers and lost the 30 pounds that I'd gained the first few months of my anxiety.
My point is, a lot of times, people turn to antidepressants and other drugs before even knowing why they're having anxiety. You need to work through your problems and try to figure out what's causing these attacks, otherwise you will always have anxiety. The drugs will only mask them temporarily, until you are in between medications, then you will go back to square one.
I am now 95% anxiety free. Of course occasionally I will have a bad day, but I know I can work through it.
Obviously for some it's a chemical imbalance and they do need to use antidepressants in earnest, but I believe 90% of the cases don't need drugs as much as psychotherapy.
i am 23 years old and ... let me begin by saying i never ever had anxiety or knew what it was untill like a year ago and didnt think to much of it.. now its basically taking control of my life... and its weird i dont get anxious by meeting new people or being in a crowed or anything.. its like going away in fear of having another attack ... i play baseball, softball basketball in leagues i'm very outgoing and i even get anxious there which is rare because i'm comfortable there but it happends... my g.f has been getting upset because she wants to go do things i recently went to yankee stadium and stuff and was fine.. its about an hour away and love baseball and being with her so i got a little anxious but wasnt too bad.. if im with her family and im like out of control like me not driving or whatever like going out to dinner further away then normal or if we go tubing and now she wants to go camping and stay for the weekend .. ive never been so nervous my entire life because of my anxiety... i play senerieos out in my head before i go and have different posibilities of what i would do its crazy.. i don;t know what to do or how to get rid of it.. its taking over my life.. i ask to leave earily all the time because i get such bad attacks .. i told my g.f im already leaving earily because of a dumb grad party i told her i want to go to.. its so hard because i want nothing more then to be there with her but my anxiety is taking me over and not allowing me to.. and i feel like more of an a-hole because shed do anything i ask and when she asks to do something with her i just get terribly anxious and i get it soo bad i start sweating and getting stomac sick and headaches all the time.. i don't know what to do or how to control it.. i just got laid off from my job and have no more insurance my friend takes xanax for his anxiety only .25mg i've asked him plenty of times how it works and i'm just scared to try it because i don't like doing anything without knowing what will happen... i also get terribly anxious when I'm drinking for some reason i used to have a great tome with friends and w.e but as soon as i feel buzzed and or drunk i get real anxious. so i cant even do that with my friends anymore.. my anxiety really is taking control of my life and i have no idea what to do.. its messing up my friendships and relationship.. I'm used to having a bunch of friends and never having a care in the world to all of the sudden this .. and i don't know how to handle it or what to do.. does anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of it or what i do wrong ,.. or something about it to say that could help me in anyway.. I'm so sick of feeling like this i just want to be able to do anything i want again without a worry in the world ... im happy i found this forum where i can talk about this with people that have somewhat the same problem.. but like other people said i could'nt wish this on anyone no matter what.. its such a pain.. its really like a rainy cloud or annoying bee just right by your ear and never goes away and follows u everywhere... thanks for reading hope to hear comments to help.. thanks again.. john