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Author Topic: Can taking Xanax once or twice per week lead to dependence?  (Read 299 times)

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Offline Andrew90

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Can taking Xanax once or twice per week lead to dependence?
« on: March 02, 2014, 05:44:53 PM »
I'm currently on the regimen of 1 mg Klonopin (0.5 mg 2x a day), 2.5 mg Guanfacine, and 1800 mg of Gabapentin for treating my anxiety. While these medications are certainly helping me, I still have occasional flare-ups of free-floating anxiety that causes me to feel very uneasy. I tend to overthink how I am feeling at a given moment, which makes me feel anxious about, often times nothing. It can be causeless...this is why I believe it is "free-floating anxiety."

My psychiatrist has also prescribed me 1 mg tablets of alprazolam to take as needed to treat panic attacks or highly anxious moments. At my current rate, I have been taking 1 mg of the Xanax about once a week, sometimes twice per week max, to supplement my current medications in handling my anxiety. I am just wondering if it is safe to do this, in that I won't risk developing a dependence to the Xanax. My psychiatrist, who also directs a rehabilitation clinic, has assured me that taking it at this rate won't provoke any added dependence (since I'm already on the Kpins); however I would just like some additional input from the very insightful and intelligent people on this forum.

I think perhaps part of my anxiety is happening at a sub-conscious level, and maybe I am worrying that I might be lessening the effectiveness of my Klonopin because of the occasional use of Xanax. I really plan on avoiding taking any additional Xanax for the next 2 weeks if I can, to limit it to 4 times a month....but at the same time, if I am feeling very uncomfortable at work or something, I don't want to make a scene or something.

I'm really just trying to keep it at a healthy balance. If any of you could perhaps assuage my worries, that might really be of great help. I realize that much of the worry is psychological in nature, which brings out the physiological symptoms. I think if I focus on other things, I won't worry so much.
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Offline insights

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Re: Can taking Xanax once or twice per week lead to dependence?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 06:52:19 PM »
At my current rate, I have been taking 1 mg of the Xanax about once a week, sometimes twice per week max, to supplement my current medications in handling my anxiety. I am just wondering if it is safe to do this, in that I won't risk developing a dependence to the Xanax.

Taking Xanax once or twice a week on its own would not usually induce dependence because of its short half-life, however, you are already dependent on benzodiazepines because of the Klonopin. Adding another BZD occasionally won't make much difference.

IMHO, the more pertinent concern is that you are now taking 4 meds for anxiety. As an adherent of the KISS principle I wonder if this is the right strategy. Furthermore, I suspect most of the load is being taken by the two BZDs.

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 Andrew90

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Re: Can taking Xanax once or twice per week lead to dependence?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 08:57:21 PM »
The gabapentin was added into the mix in part because I am planning to begin weaning off of the Klonopin within the next 2 months, and so this medication might help with getting me off of the BZD. I do notice that the gabapentin is definitely helping my anxiety symptoms - it has a nice calming effect. The Guanfacine is also in its rightful place at this point, because the MAIN cause of my anxiety was related to the physical symptoms (increased HR and blood pressure, dizziness, etc.) and so this has really helped in that regard. Keep in mind, BZD's raise my resting HR, so that component chipped away at the efficacy of the Klonopin. The Guanfacine solves that problem.

4 medications may be alot, yes, but I have a lot of faith in my psychiatrist, and he intends to taper me off of the Klonopin in a safe, strategic manner. Also, I take 3 everyday, not 4, but yes - I am most certainly on more than 1 medication to treat my anxiety. In my own experience though, this regimen has really given me so much relief. Everyone responds differently to meds, and has their own regimen that works for them. In my case, this regimen has been working well. Am I happy that I am dependent on the Klonopin? No. But, I know that I will soon start getting off of it, and these other medications will help me to do so.
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