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Offline valleyplayer42

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I feel terrible
« on: December 28, 2012, 04:45:19 PM »
It's been a week since I posted on here... For me that is pretty good. But these few days I've just felt sick but I'm not . Like nauseous and honestly I feel panicky 24/7 I don't know why but it's ridiculous. My doctor has been lowerin my Xanax intake... I was at 4 mg at most a day for a month or two. He now prescribed me 60 pills of 0.5 mgs for 3 days. That's 1 mg a day. Last month it was 120 pills at 0.5 mg and I made them last the 30 days. But I just can't function without takin them.. I feel once I ween off this I'm going to be back at square one like the last 8 years and be anxiety crazy daily because the Zoloft is doing nothing. I'm getting random headaches and random dizzy spells. There freaking me out and I have no clue what there from.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 07:09:33 PM »
Tapering xanax too fast can certainly make you feel ill.  If you went from 4mg a day to 1mg a day that is MUCH too fast in my opinion.
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Offline seychelles311

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 07:51:09 PM »
I agree with gcalex.  I've been using Xanax for my anxiety and panic attacks for many years.  I used to use it quite frequently, but now I'm down to only taking it when I really need it.  I can tell you from personal experience that it can be an awful process tapering off of benzos like Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), etc.  Benzodiazepines are pretty habit forming, and you never want to stop taking them abruptly or taper too quickly.  Some of the symptoms I experienced when tapering down my dose included headaches, nausea, dizziniess / lightheadedness, irritability, muscle tremors, and increased anxiety / panic attacks.  I felt like crap!  And I was just tapering from 2mg a day to 0.5mg a day!  You've been taking twice that amount!  You should talk to your doctor about taking a little more time to wean yourself off of them. 

Also, talk to your doc about maybe taking a natural supplement to help ease the process.  Xanax alters the GABA levels in our brains.  Because you've been taking it for a while, your GABA levels have been heightened for an extended period of time.  So, naturally, when you start tapering off the Xanax, your brain's GABA levels are getting lower and lower, and even if they're just coming back down to a normal level, if they've been higher for a sustained time period, normal levels can feel too low.  This is very much like weaning yourself off of SSRI's (such as Zoloft or Celexa), but instead of the drugs altering your seretonin levels, they're altering your GABA instead.  The withdrawal symptoms can be very similar though.

There are GABA supplements you can find in the vitamin / supplement section of most grocery stores, online, and at supplement specialty stores.  They may ease your symptoms a little bit, and eventually you may want to switch to these completely.  Also, Sam-e, B Vitamin Complexes, Valerian Root, and melatonin are some other great natural alternatives to prescription benzos.  Of course, you should always talk to your doc first before you start any new supplements or before you take anything new in combination with meds you're already being prescribed.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 08:02:19 PM »
Seychelles you are absolutely right about possible benzo withdrawal experiences but you have the biochemistry a little oversimplified, it's about GABA receptors not GABA levels, changes in the sensitivity of those receptors, etc. 

From Wikipedia:

The neuroadaptive processes involved in the dependence and withdrawal mechanisms implicate both the GABAergic and the glutamatergic systems.[80]
 
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system; roughly one-quarter to one-third of synapses use GABA.[81] GABA mediates the influx of chloride ions through ligand-gated ion channels called GABAA receptors. These receptors are bound to the post-synaptic nerve cells. When chloride enters the nerve cell, the cell membrane potential hyperpolarizes thereby inhibiting depolarization, or firing of the nerve cell. [82] Benzodiazepine potentiates the action of GABA, [83] by binding to the γ2 subunit of the receptor.[84] When potentiation is sustained by long-term use, neuroadaptations occur which result in decreased GABAergic response.
 
It has been postulated that when benzodiazepines are cleared from the brain, these neuroadaptations are "unmasked", leading to unopposed excitability of the neuron.[85] The exact reason for the reduced responsiveness has not been elucidated but down-regulation of the number of receptors has only been observed at some receptor locations including in the pars reticulata of the substantia nigra; downregulation does not appear to be a general mechanism at other locations.[86] Other hypotheses include changes in the receptor conformation, subunit composition, receptor phosphorylation, decrease in GABA production, uncoupling mechanisms between the drug and the receptor, or compensatory increased gutamatergic activity.[80]
 
Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system.[87] Increased glutamate excitatory activity during withdrawal may lead to sensitization or kindling of the CNS, possibly leading to worsening cognition and symptomatology and making each subsequent withdrawal period worse.[88][89][90]


Also, from everything I have read taking oral GABA is only a placebo because it doesn't cross into the brain and in any event the issue is not low GABA levels in people withdrawing from benzos, it's much more complex than that.
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Offline seychelles311

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 09:50:09 PM »
Yes, I've heard it that it is a placebo as well, but I've also heard that it's debatable.  The info I got was from my naturopathic doctor, and you're definitely right, it was oversimplified.  She gave me a bunch of information verbally and I tried to repeat it here as best I could but I couldn't remember a lot of the details.  I'm actually currently in the process of obtaining my doctorate in naturopathic medicine, but I'm only 2 years into my degree and have many years to go and a lot to learn.   ;D
 
Your info on GABA was great!  Very informative!  I definitely learned a lot more about it.  My naturopath recommended taking GABA, Sam-e and a B Vitamin complex to help with anxiety and to ease my transition from daily benzo use to periodic use, but I also have a western medicine doc (a D.O. actually) in agreement with you who claims that these supplements are ineffective.  I've gotten opinions from both ends of the spectrum, but I know that both were professionals and both went to medical school, so I'm a little divided on what to believe, and I suppose I just have a tendency to lean more towards the natural approach. 

Also, I noticed your post mentions glutamate levels.  My naturopath did some bloodwork and a urinalysis on me as part of a neurotransmitter assessment.  She found that my gulatmate levels were extremely high.  She said that this could definitely be contributing to my anxiety, and recommended limiting my intake of foods that contain a lot of glutamates.  I was really surprised to find that glutamates can be disguised in very common foods, such as carrageenan (a derivitive of seaweed found in many natural products such as soy and almond milk), broccoli and mushrooms. 

Oh, and one more supplement I would recommend if valleyplayer does want to consider supplements in the future would be L-Theanine.  This amino is so promising even mainstream western med docs admit to its efficacy.  Even Rockstar (the popular energy drink line) has come out with a relaxation drink containing the compound. 
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Offline gcalex

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 09:58:23 PM »
The folks on the benzo recovery boards, where I used to spend a lot of time in the day, are adamant that taking any supplements while the brain and CNS are still recovering from benzos is counterproductive, that receptors have to be left alone to heal. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not a mainstream medicine person at all quite to the contrary, as I am very anti-psych drug, but if there is any evidence that measuring neurotransmitters in urine is meaningful I would love to see it.  I actually read a lot about this at one point and was convinced, and remain so until proven wrong, that it is impossible to meaningfully measure neurotransmitter levels in the brain, much less what is going on at the synapse and receptor level.  I encourage your study of alternative medicine but I would really, really caution you about buying into "natural" treatments and theories just because they are natural, unless they are supported by evidence.  There is a lot of junk science out there on both sides, as I have learned the hard way. And there is a lot of money on the supplement side that distorts things, just as there is on the drug side. 

That said, I think there is pretty good support for l-theanine as a very mild anxiolytic. 
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Offline seychelles311

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 12:49:02 AM »
Agreed!  I feel like you've definitely done your research on the subject gcalex.  You are definitely right, both pharmaceutical and supplement companies may not always have our best interests in mind when marketing their products.  Research and the advice and care of a good, qualified physician is crucial!  I am definitely looking forward to learning more about these topics as I further my education. 
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Offline valleyplayer42

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Re: I feel terrible
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 07:44:45 AM »
You guys are good lol
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