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Author Topic: Xanax first time taking it more than once a month  (Read 228 times)

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Offline Bookgirl32

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Xanax first time taking it more than once a month
« on: December 21, 2013, 10:04:30 PM »
Hi. New here. I have OCD PTSD and GAD. I'm married and have one child. I've usually been able to deal with symptoms with therapy and prozac 60mg daily with the occasional Xanax of anywhere from .25-1 mg as needed, rarely more than once a month on average. I'm very good at dealing with anxiety triggers that I am used to: mg OCD (mainly pure O on hypochondria issues) and a vomiting phobia. However in the past two months I've been dealing with an adhd diagnosis and subsequent start of meds for my 6 yr old. I tend not to see real life situations as extremely taxing on my anxiety (my fears are usually catastrophic, so I don't make the connection when severe anxiety provoking things that are real life, like this diagnosis, are happening). I didn't deal with the stress from this the same way that I do the usual anxiety stressors, big mistake. I ended up forgetting my prozac for several weeks. I don't experience bad withdrawal symptoms so usually when I go off unintentionally I don't see the bad effects until the return of symptoms. I started to have severe health anxiety leading to the downward spiral of anxiety symptoms making me think I have a major issue (usually MS ALS or brain tumor) then higher anxiety then worse physical symptoms etc. I decided to not try to put myself back on the prozac until I could seey dr worried that initial side effects would contribute to the health anxiety if I took the wrong dose. I had to wait three weeks to get in so in the meantime I started taking smaller amounts of Xanax more often (during the day .125 or .25 at night anywhere from .5 to 1) but not on any specific schedule. I continued to do this for about ten days or so. I started to notice my feelings of muscle weakness and jitters/tremors (actually this time I felt real vibrating in my muscles, almost as if I had a phone implanted) along with a metallic taste in my mouth. I would take the Xanax and feel better, and normally when I take Xanax it cuts my anxiety enough that I feel calmed down the next day, but that was when I would take it once every few weeks, not every day at random times and doses. I stopped altogether about one week before my dr appt and that week felt extremely fatigued, chilled, even went to my primary doc to see if I had something. Finally saw psych doc and he started me back up on a prozac regimen build up. So for a day or two I was still feeling crappy but less anxious, even without meds. Last night I decided to take 1mg of Xanax to try to really knock myself out, thinking I would have the same effect as in the past where I felt better in the morning, especially now that I'm back on a dr approved plan and my primary doc has ruled out anything serious (of course I still have it in my mind that he missed something). Felt good when I woke up today. No shakes, muscle weakness, fully awake. I got halfway into running my errands (around 12-15 hours after the Xanax dose last night) and started to feel fatigue and week again. Tremors and wet noodle legs etc.

So after all that: can this feeling be effects of taking Xanax more often than I normally do? Even just for two weeks or so? I really have no experience with taking it on a regular basis (although again, no routine to taking it, even with doses, just that I pretty much took it at least once a day in one way or another). Xanax had always been my "friend" and usually never caused me problems. So I'm worried it now will. But I'm also worried that it's not the Xanax and is something worse (of course two months of sustained high anxiety can do all of this too, I know). Just needed some objective feedback from people who have been there. Thanks and sorry for the long post!
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Offline insights

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Re: Xanax first time taking it more than once a month
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 07:02:59 AM »
Welcome to AnxietyZone.

The feeling you're getting at 12-15 hours suggests you're noticing the Xanax dropping out of your system. Its half-life averaged around 11  (range: 6-27 hours). I don't think it is withdrawal because it usually takes longer than 2 weeks of taking benzodiazepines daily for dependence to develop, even with occasional use prior before that.

Xanax does not usually help much the next day even though it appears to have done on the past. I think that had more to do with your general state of mind at the time than any residual effect of the med.

I'm unclear of where you're at with the Prozac. How long have you been back on it, what is your current dose and how long have you been taking it?

You need to be careful about missing Prozac doses. Its long half-life means you may not notice a problem for several weeks, however, there is growing evidence that the likelihood of antidepressants working drops each time they are stopped and restarted and even a couple of med free weeks can have an effect on this.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline Bookgirl32

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Re: Xanax first time taking it more than once a month
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2013, 05:54:20 PM »
I've been anywhere from 40-80 per day since 19 yrs. old. I'm 37. I've stopped and started I don't know how many times in my life. They've recently put me back on brand name hoping that will be a more consistent effect. I think they're working back up to 60 or 80. Right now am on 10 for a week, 20 for a week, etc. I didn't know that about the more recent research, my doc has always made it sound like as long as I go off correctly (which this time was not) and back on correctly I'd be okay. I do feel better today, although still week and shaky. I find it really hard to convince myself, each and every single time I slip too far into the anxiety for too long, that it can ALL be the anxiety. I get a huge range of physical anxiety symptoms. I'm going to try to stay away from the Xanax for a few weeks and get back to just taking it as needed. I've never had quite that problem before, but like I said, I've never taken it in quite that way before. I did read about kind of a "hangover" effect when it leaves your system. If I do end up needing it more in the next few weeks while ramping up the Prozac, I'll take it in more consistent intervals. Unless anyone has a better suggestion for a good benzo. I've taken Lorazepam in the past, it doesn't seem to work as well as xanax for me, maybe just not as strong?
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Offline Bookgirl32

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Re: Xanax first time taking it more than once a month
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2013, 05:58:07 PM »
Also, I wouldn't say that it helped the next day in terms of still being able to feel it's calming effects, but more in that it helped to stop my ruminating cycle of worry if I took it soon enough. So that the next day, even thought the calming effects were gone, I'd gotten better control of my thoughts. But again, this is when I was either not very stressed and something specific triggered me, or when I was on my Prozac correctly and at the right dosage. Not when I was at a point where I'd like to take one that put me to sleep for two weeks.  ::)
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Offline insights

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Re: Xanax first time taking it more than once a month
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2013, 11:16:25 PM »
I didn't know that about the more recent research, my doc has always made it sound like as long as I go off correctly (which this time was not) and back on correctly I'd be okay.

The gradual loss of response was first noticed in semi professional drug trial participants (yes people do this for money, I hope they are well paid) which become a concern because it makes a nonsense of the results. According to one study the likelihood of antidepressants working drops by nearly 20% with each discontinuation/restart cycle. This seems to apply for all antidepressants, not just those previously taken. A higher dose may also be required than and the initial side-effects may be more severe too.

Quote
I've taken Lorazepam in the past, it doesn't seem to work as well as xanax for me, maybe just not as strong?

Lorazepam (Ativan) is one of the naturally occurring benzodiazepines and is a little less potent than Xanax, but it is longer acting which can be an advantage for some as the drop off in effectiveness is usually less abrupt.

Ian

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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

 

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