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Old 09-14-2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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anxietysucks HB User
Unhappy Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Short story. Xanax for 2 1/2 years. 2 mgs. per day for anxiety.

Ran out of Xanax last night. Doctor was not in today. He will call me prescription in tomorrow. So I have to wait until I'm off work tomorrow to get them (around 5:00 p.m.).

So I'm sitting here today withdrawing. I realized that if I had the Xanax with me, I would be taking one to get rid of what I'm feeling. So I realized, how many days (probably every day) I was taking a pill(s) when I wasn't having an anxiety attack just my body wanting more Xanax??? Now I'm wondering if I want to even pick up the prescription because I now know I am taking it for reasons other than what it was prescribed for. After reading on this board, I have come to the conclusion that I am an accidental addict.

I'm jumping off this horse. I can't taper my dose because I can't trust myself to do that. This uneasiness is already unpleasant and I know I would justify taking the Xanax telling myself its okay, because there isn't any sense in feeling this way. But why draw this out?? I was getting ready to post this in the Anxiety board. I don't belong there right now. I don't even know if I even have anxiety attacks anymore because I just took my medicine daily. Wake up - time for a pill. Mid afternoon - time for a pill. Mid evening - time for a pill. What's this? Can't go straight to sleep.....don't wait to see if you will.....take a Xanax and start it all over again the next day.

Who am I kidding?

 
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Hi just read your post I wish I had time to chat a few min, but I have got to go get my son from work... I will be back later I would like to talk more but have to run.... You are going to be okay.... Be back on later Felicia

 
Old 09-14-2005, 01:29 PM   #3
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man74 HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

I used to have the worst anxiety attacks a human could have. I was fortunate enough to have gone to a psyciatrist who would under no circumstances precribe me Xanax, Ativan, or any other tranquizer for my panic attacks. I never liked the effects of Xanax what so ever. I got over the anxiety disorder on my own over time without tranquilizers. I have a great friend who is forever addicted to Ativan, and the thing about him is the fact that he still has attacks even while on the Vans. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, and are making the right decision. I am a month clean from a bad Vicodin habit and I too could never be self diseplined enough to taper down. I did the cold turkey method and it was for the best. It sucked real bad the first week, but those lovely WD's will keep me from going back. You can do it and keep coming back to the addiction side of the boards. There are a lot of great folks here for support.

 
Old 09-14-2005, 09:10 PM   #4
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Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Hi Anxietysucks,

Sounds like you're on the right path. We'll be here for you everyday. The withdrawls will get worse before you get better over the next 4-5 days. Hold on and be strong. NA is a good place to go when you're ready to get out of the house. I'll look for you tomorrow.

 
Old 09-14-2005, 10:30 PM   #5
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Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Hi there! I came to these health boards for other reasons (about to have a liver biopsy) but was curious about this board as I too have a history of multiple addictions. I had a heroin problem for 13 years, went on methadone and went to rehabs (many) and finally got off all that yucky stuff just over 6 years ago. Later, after a sexual assault, I started having panic attacks and ended up first on valium and then on Xanax. Oh boy- that was a nasty one which I almost never escaped but I did get away from it in the end. I finally realised I was having greater anxiety from 'not enough' Xanax than from any other source which was kind of a clue that the Xanax had actually become the problem itself! After overcoming the opiates, I couldn't believe I was stuck on these pills. They were mighty seductive. Now, over 6 years later I am SO happy not to need them. All those anxiety attacks waiting to see if they'd give me more, relying on them to do anything at all (Oh it's morning- yay! Time for another Xanax...)and acting like a zombie in the end ( I was on a huge dose). YUCK! Today, I still drink about twice a week but don't smoke cigarettes or use any drugs. I'm about to stop drinking for good too as I have HepC from my past and recently my enzyme levels were raised so...bopsy and abstinence time. In any event- don't give up! Ask your doctor to watch you for signs of severe withdrawal because abrupt stopping of a very high dose can lead to seizures, blood pressure problems and so forth. But you will be able to do it. Have faith in yourself. And the very best of luck!
JJKoala

 
Old 09-15-2005, 05:10 AM   #6
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Felicia65 HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

aniixtysucks, Hello, I hope you are doing okay today, I think you should talk to your doctor and let him help you come off of these things, it does have some bad withdraws, Years ago I suffered from panic attacks, and took a high does of xanaxs, I went cold turkey off of them, Boy that was hell, I never abuse them or abything my body just got addicted to them, and boy was i in for a surprize when I tryed to quit, Any way there are meds that will help with the withdraws so you don't have to go cold turkey, I will be praying for you Felicia

 
Old 09-15-2005, 05:30 AM   #7
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anxietysucks HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Thanks to everybody for replying. I'm at work now. This is my 2nd full day of no Xanax. I haven't slept last night or the night before even though I took (6) Tylenol PM's each night. Well, I kinda slept but you know what I mean? I could hear the clock ticking.....

I have some slight shaking taking, can't focus on getting anything done, my senses are weird, like their extremely sensitive, I can't seem to talk without talking really fast and sometimes my tongue feels like its really thick and I end up biting it accidentally while I'm talking, clenching my jaw.......I guess you all that have withdrawn already know this.

I'm not drinking caffeine, lots of water, God please let this hurry up and pass or at least let tomorrow afternoon hurry up and get here so I can have the weekend to do this at home.

Thanks again everybody. Just knowing others are there is helping.

 
Old 09-15-2005, 10:47 AM   #8
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Arememom HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Keep strong. Just a few more days to go and the worst physical feelings will ease up and soon be gone. Have a good day.

 
Old 09-15-2005, 12:31 PM   #9
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Dave53 HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Hello anxietysucks. Good for you on what you are doing. You will not sleep for a few nights but it will get better. I think it is good that you are going to work and keeping busy throughout this process of getting clean. I have taken ativan for many years and I guess that I'm one of the lucky ones that can take this drug and not become addicted. I definately do develop a physical dependence on this drug but I don't have the psychological dependence that goes with addiction. You do develop a tolerance very quickly to ativan and so the only way that it works is to use it all the time, in continually larger dosages, or to use it hardly ever. I had anxiety attacks so severe that I believe ativan probably saved my life, however the anxiety problem can be solved and after 2 1/2 years, you may no longer have the problems with anxiety that you once had. Or there may be better ways to deal with it. Congratulations with your decision and you will feel so much better once you kick this addiction. You will soon begin to sleep much better than ever before. I wish you the best. Dave

 
Old 09-15-2005, 12:52 PM   #10
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anxietysucks HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Thanks to everyone. I'm just counting down the minutes until I can go home. I am whooped. Totally. I'm thinking I may have peaked. I sure hope so. Lord, I don't want on this horse again. I'll deal with my anxiety some other way. Anxiety attacks can be intense, but at least they don't last as long as withdrawing. And while withdrawing, I still have anxiety. I know this probably doesn't make much sense. Can you imagine what my co-workers (they all have been told) think? What do you do for a person who has gotten themselves in this mess? Thanks everybody for being with me today. Please hang with me throughout this. I have to work tomorrow (remember I can't take off) so I may need you again tomorrow. I promise to return the favor for others who follow. I know how important it is to not feel alone and I couldn't have made it without this site. I just want the weekend to get here so I can hopefully start coming down off the withdrawals.

How do you know when the worst is over?

 
Old 09-15-2005, 03:17 PM   #11
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Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Dear anxietysucks,
HANG IN THERE! After this much time, you're not likely to have a seizure. Well done on going to work. Remember that you are stronger than this little beast. That beast is not you, it is tiny and weak- just has a bark louder than it's bite and will die if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other! When will you know it's over? One night, you'll realise you're feeling more peaceful and start to just drift off. One morning you'll hear the birds singing instead of your teeth chattering. One day, very very soon, you will realise your whole body is as relaxed without the Xanax as it used to be when you took it. One day soon, you'll realise you beat that little beast. Then you can dance on it's grave.
Best of all, you will be forever stronger, not just than you were before, but stronger than those who've never been through it! So hang in there sister, you're on the home stretch! Every time you feel a shiver or a shake, every time your hands ball up or your legs go weak- remember it is the death throws of the beast. Welcome those physical signs of your impending freedom.
One day soon you will know the absolute joy of fighting that beast- and winning!
There with you in spirit,
JJKoala

 
Old 09-15-2005, 03:29 PM   #12
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anxietysucks HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Thanks. I have two post going. Was still new to this when I tripped upon Addiction, so I didn't know to post once and follow. Sorry.

I've been home from work for about 2 hours. I checked the answering machine and had a message from the pharmacy that my prescription was ready to be picked up. I got undressed, took a bath and did NOT and will NOT go to the pharmacy (which is just down the street) to pick up my poison.

I realize that this medicine could cause seizures. God, you all don't know how many times today I could literally feel lightning bolts in my head! Lord, that was awful. So....I have figured since I have come this far (thanks to you all), why not take it all the way and be done with it?? Don't want to ever find myself in this position again. Next to someone close dying, I can't imagine it being worse. That's truly how bad I think this is.

Thank you again. All of you. One more day of work, and then I can hopefully get some sleep and the weekend will be the downside.

 
Old 09-15-2005, 04:05 PM   #13
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Chaswick HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

You cannot quit a habit that you have had for that long with a medication like Xanax cold turkey.

It is very different from withdrawing from an opioid and worse even than withdrawing from a barbituate.

Seizures are a huge concern but they are far from the only ones. Something may not show up for a while but will all of a sudden. They go on month after month after month and there are people that have them develop 10 years later! Here is a paragraph regarding this;
-----------

"It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off. The other aspect is that with heroin, usually the withdrawal is over within a week or so. With benzodiazepines, a proportion of patients go on to long term withdrawal and they have very unpleasant symptoms for month after month, and I get letters from people saying you can go on for two years or more. Some of the tranquilliser groups can document people who still have symptoms ten years after stopping." - Professor M H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital, BBC Radio 4, Face The Facts, March 16, 1999. More Quotations »»

-------------

The best information can be found at www.**********.uk


Please take a look at this site and get some professional opinions before continuing this cold turkey withdrawal.

Chaz

 
Old 09-15-2005, 04:15 PM   #14
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JJKoala HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

Hi Anxietysucks,
I think Chad may have an extremely valid point. I know you can beat this, and you don't want to feed the Xanax beast- but maybe you could go to the doc and find some way to come off safely. My first attempt gave me a big seizure...and that was 'cold turkey'... My final time coming off, I was given Valium at quickly reducing doses and observed carefully. Why not get a doc to help you- just tell him you want off the Xanax NOW and let yourself come down a bit safer.I can totally relate to you, I ended up saying "I refuse" after around a week of tapering on lesser anxiolytics- but I got to a safer stage first. Do this thing and don't quit quitting because you can make it- but definitely get a medical opinion!
Take care of you, and stay strong. this nightmare will be over soon,
JJKoala

 
Old 09-15-2005, 04:31 PM   #15
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Chaswick HB User
Re: Left Anxiety Board - I Think This Is Where I Belong

JJKOALA,

Thank you for coming back and posting that last message. I think it shows a very caring attitude on your part.

Anxiety, I posted this on your other message as well in the hopes that you will see it.

Chaz



IS COLD TURKEY (ABRUPT, TOTAL DISCONTINUANCE OF THE DRUG) AN ACCEPTABLE METHOD OF WITHDRAWING FROM A BENZODIAZEPINE?

No. There is nearly complete uniformity of opinion both in the medical profession and in the benzodiazepine recovery community that cold turkey is a dangerous and unacceptable method of withdrawal. Cold turkey withdrawal may cause seizures, and is also associated with a higher probability of withdrawal psychosis. Seizures are almost non-existent in those employing a taper method, with the limited exception of people who have taken a benzodiazepine for a seizure disorder. Furthermore, psychosis is rare in those who taper their benzodiazepine slowly.

There is a misconception that cold turkey withdrawal, though it may cause more severe symptoms, will bring about a faster remission of symptoms. This is based on the idea that a slow taper "prolongs the agony of withdrawal." This notion is erroneous. In fact, there is some anecdotal evidence that cold turkey withdrawal may lengthen the course of the withdrawal syndrome, and may even cause the Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome (see below).

15. OK, IF I AM GOING TO TAPER MY BENZODIAZEPINE, HOW SHOULD I STRUCTURE THE TAPER?

There are two very general rules, and one exception to the rule that is discussed below. The first rule is, the slower the taper, the milder the withdrawal symptoms. The second rule is, the smaller the cuts you are able to make, the milder the withdrawal symptoms. These are related, though separate, issues.

For example, you might decide to cut your dose by 1/4mg every month, or alternatively, cut your dose by 1/8mg every two weeks. Either way, you are tapering at the same rate. In this author's opinion, the second option is a far superior method of tapering. Any cut is a shock to your brain and body. Cold turkey is the largest cut of all and the shock caused by such an abrupt withdrawal is so severe that even after resumption of your drug at the previous dose, it may take weeks or months to "stabilise", and in some cases, you may never stabilise from a cold turkey withdrawal until after you have completed your taper.

This logic further extends to the size of your cuts. The smaller the cuts you make, the less the shock to your system, and the less pronounced the withdrawal symptoms triggered by the cut. It is not recommended that any individual cut represent more than 10% of your total dose at a given time. Thus, it is preferable to make smaller and smaller cuts as you go, though this can be very difficult as you approach the end of your taper.

Always make the smallest cuts possible. That means taking the smallest dose size available and splitting it into 4 pieces, which can be done easily with or without a razor blade or pill-cutter. For example, with Valium, you can split the smallest (2mg) tablet into 4x0.5 mg pieces. With Klonopin, you can split the smallest (0.5mg) tablet into 4 pieces of 0.125 or 1/8th mg. If you are on a high dose and feel that you are able to taper rapidly at first because you are above your tolerance point (see above), space your cuts close together (no closer than 1 cut every 3 days), but make the smallest cuts possible. If or when you begin to feel withdrawal symptoms, you can start to space your cuts further apart (up to about 4 weeks). Generally, the higher potency benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan force you to make larger cuts (see below), and therefore you must space your cuts at least 3 weeks apart toward the end of your taper. Of course, even where you are able to make very small cuts with lower potency benzodiazepines such as Valium, you can make these small cuts relatively far apart if this is your most comfortable method of withdrawal.

There is a method of tapering that involves mixing the drug with either water or a dry carrier like sugar to produce a "titration" which allows for very minute reductions, such as 1% every other day. This method has been employed with success by some people. In England, doctors have created a liquid titration kit to assist users in withdrawing comfortably. There is some promise that this method can substantially diminish the withdrawal syndrome. Unfortunately, these titration kits are not available in North America.

If you are unable to use a titration method, you may wish to consider switching to Valium, assuming, of course, that you are not already using that particular benzodiazepine (see below). This method has been used with success, particularly in England, for many years. Professor Heather Ashton has detailed taper schedules available that are based on switching to Valium (see below).

There seems to be a limited exception to the slow taper rule where people find that they have a "toxic" reaction to taking the benzodiazepine (see "paradoxical symptoms" above). There is a tricky distinction between toxicity and withdrawal symptoms. The usual way to tell the difference is to try increasing your dose. If the symptoms reduce or stay the same, your symptoms are likely attributable to withdrawal. If your symptoms increase, you may be experiencing toxicity, and should probably consider a faster taper (6 to 8 weeks). However, do not make a hasty decision to taper fast. Make certain that you are experiencing toxicity first. Generally speaking, your symptoms are far more likely to be related to withdrawal than toxicity.

One cause of toxicity may be the taking of more than one psychoactive drug simultaneously. For example, taking a benzodiazepine with an antidepressant and a narcotic or pain killer.

 
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