Re: Coming off Xanax after 20 years
Nice to meet you. :-)
I came off Xanax after being on it for ten years or so. I had been on Xanax and on various opiates. After tapering off the opiates ( Oxycodone being the last I was on), I took a short break and then began the Xanax taper. Truthfully, the Xanax was the more difficult. Whether we are abusers or following-the-rules users, we face the same issues coming off the drugs.
I was using 3-4 mg when I began the taper. After a very rough start where my doctor dropped me by over 1 full mg, I finally leveled off and began a really slow taper. Honestly, that first drop, which we know know was way too much, I actually had seizures over the next few days. I didn't understand what was happening to me or I would have sought medical help pronto.
The rule of thumb coming off any kind of benzo is the 5-10% rule. This means one cut of 5-10% only from one of the doses per day only. This often means crumbling a pill to eyeball the dose and saving leftover crumbs for another dose. After leveling off from the cut, which usually takes 10-14 days, another cut is made from another of the daily doses. Yes, itis slow and tedious, but it is not something to rush. We measure the time it takes not in days, but in progress.
There will be moments of anxiety... learn to breth through them, always reminding yourself that you will be okay. Walk around, dance, somehow use physical activity until the anxiety passes. One doctor told me to use a brusg to clean the back deck and use slow, circular motions to keep calm when any anxiety struck.
It took me months and months to get off the Xanax. At the end, I was taking mere crumbles and then started skipping days. In the end, I walked off and left the Xanax behind. In retrospect, I wish I had taken even longer to taper off them and I would have suffered less anxiety through it all.
Also, I took my tabs in 3 does over the course of the day. Slowly, I moved the morning dose to later and later in the morning and the morning and afternoon dose at some point turned into just one dose. Then I began backing up that bedtime dose tiny steps at a time. It is important to help the brain not depend on it to go into sleep mode. I used Melatonin 3mg to help with sleep.
While I had great faith in my doctors, I don't think any of them had a really good handle on what it is like to come off a benzo. The best of any advice i can give you is to really and truly go slow. After being on them for twenty years, there is no way we can come off them any other way.
I am ususally around so ask any questions and I will answer if I can.
Wishing you well