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Author Topic: Been on Xanax for way too long, this is a nightmare, please help  (Read 271 times)

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Offline Myzrath

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Been on Xanax for way too long, this is a nightmare, please help
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:08:39 PM »
Hello everyone, thank you for reading. This post may be a bit long.

I've been taking Xanax for a very long time, around 3 years to be exact. Maybe even longer, I honestly can't remember. I was given the prescription by my family doctor/GP and she continues to advise me to take it every month. I started out on .25 mg 3 times a day... Then .5 mg... Now I'm at 1 mg 3 times a day, and I've been taking this dose for approximately two years.

I'm aware that this is pretty bad and I'm probably horribly addicted by now. I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago and she informed me that in a few months she wants me to taper off my dose of Xanax. The problem is, I still have a ton of issues. I'm just going to be madly addicted to Xanax, on top of having crippling anxiety. I have no idea what to do. I can't function without medication and I know this for sure.

I've been diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder, panic attacks, etc. I have severe heart palpitations when nervous and this is the reason I was on Xanax to begin with. I start to go insane if I'm not on the pills. I can barely eat because I'm so afraid of food poisoning. Every single day I think I have a new medical problem. I can't sit through class because I'm too edgy and my head feels like it's going to explode. Even on the pills I'm nervous all the time.

I saw a psychologist a couple years ago as well, and was diagnosed with: General Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and major depression.

I've taken antidepressants before and they did not agree with me at all. I tried citalopram and some other thing, I think Celexa. But it didn't help my anxiety AT ALL.

I'm supposed to visit my doctor again in a couple months to discuss tapering off Xanax. What should I do? I'm not going to be okay without this medication. I'm barely okay WITH this medication. If I ask for something else I think she'll just try to give me some antidepressant that won't do anything for my anxiety. I don't just have fleeting nervous thoughts, I have full-blown panic attacks that make me feel like I'm going to puke or faint. I need something strong and fast acting.

I am paranoid they'll think I have drug seeking behavior if I voice these concerns, but this is part of my disorder. I can't help but be worried. And even if this is perceived as drug seeking behavior, I feel they kept me on a heavy dose of Xanax for way longer than I should have been. I've heard good things about Klonopin and other medications for anxiety, but I really have no idea.

What do you think would happen if I see a psychiatrist? I really don't know much about this stuff. I've never been to an actual psychiatrist, only a psychologist.

Tl;dr: I've been on a heavy dose of Xanax every day for 3 years because I let my GP give me psych treatments. Now she wants to take me off and I have no clue what to do. Anyone have any advice or similar stories?

You can be honest, even brutally honest. But please don't tell me nasty horror stories just to try to scare me. I know I made a mistake by not going to a psychiatrist long ago, but I want to know how to fix this before June comes along and I have to go back to my GP and face the music.

Thank you very much for reading.
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: Been on Xanax for way too long, this is a nightmare, please help
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 06:04:31 PM »
I've been taking Xanax for a very long time, around 3 years to be exact. Maybe even longer, I honestly can't remember. I was given the prescription by my family doctor/GP and she continues to advise me to take it every month. I started out on .25 mg 3 times a day... Then .5 mg... Now I'm at 1 mg 3 times a day, and I've been taking this dose for approximately two years.

I'm aware that this is pretty bad and I'm probably horribly addicted by now. I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago and she informed me that in a few months she wants me to taper off my dose of Xanax. The problem is, I still have a ton of issues. I'm just going to be madly addicted to Xanax, on top of having crippling anxiety. I have no idea what to do. I can't function without medication and I know this for sure.

If you can't function on the Xanax, then stay on it.  You will need your doctor to refill your Xanax prescriptions.  Your doctor also wants you to switch to an antidepressant.  These medications are better than benzodiazepines (like Xanax) at managing anxiety over the long term.   She has a good point, since she's aware of each medication's pros and cons.  Technically, benzodiazepines were never meant to be taken long term.



Quote
I've been diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder, panic attacks, etc. I have severe heart palpitations when nervous and this is the reason I was on Xanax to begin with. I start to go insane if I'm not on the pills. I can barely eat because I'm so afraid of food poisoning. Every single day I think I have a new medical problem. I can't sit through class because I'm too edgy and my head feels like it's going to explode. Even on the pills I'm nervous all the time.

I saw a psychologist a couple years ago as well, and was diagnosed with: General Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and major depression.

I've taken antidepressants before and they did not agree with me at all. I tried citalopram and some other thing, I think Celexa. But it didn't help my anxiety AT ALL.

This link maybe of help:
http://anxietypanichealth.com/2008/09/26/questions-and-answers-antidepressants-for-anxiety-disorders/#more-452

Also note this answer:

My first antidepressant didnít work. What should I do?


It is not unusual for the first antidepressant tried either not to work or to have intolerable side effects. Finding the appropriate medication and dosage may take time. There are many antidepressants to choose from, and one of them is right for you.

The most frequent reasons for an antidepressant failure are that the dose was too low or the duration of treatment too short.

 :o


Quote
I'm supposed to visit my doctor again in a couple months to discuss tapering off Xanax. What should I do? I'm not going to be okay without this medication. I'm barely okay WITH this medication. If I ask for something else I think she'll just try to give me some antidepressant that won't do anything for my anxiety. I don't just have fleeting nervous thoughts, I have full-blown panic attacks that make me feel like I'm going to puke or faint. I need something strong and fast acting.

You do have the Xanax.  It is the probably the most fast acting benzodiazepine on the psychotropic medication market.   You also should distract yourself as much as you can.  Although you don't feel this, and I relate because I have an anxiety disorder myself, and I know the chaos a panic disorder can cause: life is not as bad or catastrophic as it seems.  Your body however is stuck in fear, but if you take the appropriate medication, it can repair your brain from over-reacting.  That is why anxiety sufferers take psychotropic medication.

And if you know about CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), one useful tool taught is distraction:
http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/relaxation

Get your mind on something else.  Watch TV and get lost in a movie, become the main character who has a different life than what you are living now, go to Youtube and watch funny and inane videos, or imagine yourself on another planet where you are having fun on an island in another galaxy, getting a tan from another distant star, and you are having the ultimate space vacation.  Yes, you are ignoring reality, but you are ignoring the reality of panic, which seems to be very strong in your belief system.  It's not real, just your belief that it is, so just focus on something else.  As long as you don't  focus on the panic, then you'll be fine, and you won't be feeding that panic in your mind.

Remember, you get what you focus on.  Think panic and you get panic. Think something else, and you'll get something else. So why not think about something unrelated to your reality, that is fun and pleasant?   :angel-smiley-006:

Quote
I am paranoid they'll think I have drug seeking behavior if I voice these concerns, but this is part of my disorder. I can't help but be worried. And even if this is perceived as drug seeking behavior, I feel they kept me on a heavy dose of Xanax for way longer than I should have been. I've heard good things about Klonopin and other medications for anxiety, but I really have no idea.

What do you think would happen if I see a psychiatrist? I really don't know much about this stuff. I've never been to an actual psychiatrist, only a psychologist.


Psychiatrists can be very helpful.  For anxiety disorder sufferers, they are life savers.  Remember they are doctors with medical degrees and have an additional four more years of on hand psychiatry with patients.   If you fear them, then you may have a false perception on how to view them.  Remember the white rabbit in the Albert Ellis experiment?  When the child heard a loud clang, he initially associated that alarming noise with the white rabbit, and then became afraid of white rabbits.  Fortunately, Ellis was able to retrain the young child that there was nothing to fear about white rabbits. It was just a delusion, where the child falsely associated white rabbits with fearful noises.

Likewise there is nothing to fear about psychiatrists.   They don't make loud, fearful noises, and often don't even wear white.  Instead they're normal people, with a good education in mental health, that can help you in managing your brain disorder.   B-; :happy0151:

Quote
Tl;dr: I've been on a heavy dose of Xanax every day for 3 years because I let my GP give me psych treatments. Now she wants to take me off and I have no clue what to do. Anyone have any advice or similar stories?

You can be honest, even brutally honest. But please don't tell me nasty horror stories just to try to scare me. I know I made a mistake by not going to a psychiatrist long ago, but I want to know how to fix this before June comes along and I have to go back to my GP and face the music.
May I be brutally honest?  Your anxiety disorder is a disease, more specifically a brain disease.  At some point in your life, your brain shrunk, due to periods of prolonged stress and worry.  Unfortunately, your brain never recovered, but modern science discovered that antidepressants can reverse this process of atrophy.

This link maybe of help:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/heal-your-brain/201107/depression-and-anxiety-disorders-damage-your-brain-especially-when-untre

If you have further questions, you should follow up on how antidepressants, like Prozac (Fluxotine) and even Celexa(Citalopram) engage in a process called neurogenesis when interacting with the brain:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/2012/05/28/stress-and-antidepressants-by-their-powers-combined/

 :P

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Re: Been on Xanax for way too long, this is a nightmare, please help
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 07:24:11 PM »
Now I'm at 1 mg 3 times a day, and I've been taking this dose for approximately two years.

I'm aware that this is pretty bad and I'm probably horribly addicted by now. I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago and she informed me that in a few months she wants me to taper off my dose of Xanax. The problem is, I still have a ton of issues.

Firstly, you're not addicted to Xanax, but you are almost certainly dependent on it. What's the difference? Well people won't usually continue to take a med they are dependent on if it was killing them. The addicted will, as for example in these cases. This isn't a moot point because it affects the outcome when weaning off the meds.

The second problem is that weaning off Xanax without your anxiety being under control is a dumb idea. That needs to be addressed before even considering doing anything about the Xanax.

Quote
I've taken antidepressants before and they did not agree with me at all. I tried citalopram and some other thing, I think Celexa. But it didn't help my anxiety AT ALL.

Citalopram and Celexa are the same med. Do you remember what dose you took and for how long?

Quote
If I ask for something else I think she'll just try to give me some antidepressant that won't do anything for my anxiety. I don't just have fleeting nervous thoughts, I have full-blown panic attacks that make me feel like I'm going to puke or faint. I need something strong and fast acting.

Antidepressants are usually very effective anti anxiety meds. It may be that citalopram wasn't the right one for you, or that the dose was inadequate, or you didn't take it for long enough. Antidepressants need to be taken daily and typically take 3-12 weeks to begin working because they promote the growth of new brain cells which takes time. They are not almost instant drugs like Xanax.

Quote
I've heard good things about Klonopin and other medications for anxiety, but I really have no idea.

Both Klonopin (clonazepam) and Xanax are benzodiazepines. The main difference is that Klonopin lasts longer. But if your doctor doesn't want you on Xanax then Klonopin probably isn't an option either. While the benzodiazepines are very effective anti anxiety meds, more and more doctors are unwilling to prescribe them which means they should not be considered primary anxiety meds which need to be taken daily. They are now best reserved for occasional use to control breakthrough anxiety.

I suggest you ask your doctor to refer you to a psychiatrist to be assessed and then properly treated for anxiety and depression. Don't wait until your next appointment with your doctor. Go and see her asap. The sooner your anxiety is bought under control the better.

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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