I am wondering has anyone taken Xanax for over a year on a continuous basis for anxiety? Also has anyone had to increase the dosage to get the same effect and did the increases stop at some point? I am on a minimal dose and it has definitely helped (1.5 mg/day), but lately I feel the anxiety creeping in again. My doc says it may take a couple increases before the correct dose is found. Anyway, I am just curious to see how Xanax is being used on a long term basis because this is the only viable option for me since I can't take SSRI's. They give me way too many side effects.
I am not concerned about the addictive properties since all meds for anxiety have addictive properties. SSRI withdrawl I hear is no picnic either. Anyway, just looking for some people who have long term experience.
A couple of months ago I posted my VERY LONG story about my Panic, Anxiety and OCD.
I think in that post I went into my use of Xanax.
If you want to read that "novel" just search my name...anyway to answer your question.
I was like you, nothing else worked for me except Xanax.
I took 1 quarter MG twice a day everyday for 7 years....never in all that time did I take a crumb more.
I don't have panic/anxiety problems anymore and I was able to wean off the Xanax with no problems at all.
When I didn't need it anymore my Doctor told me to go as slow with the weaning as I needed to, he said it wasn't a race and it didn't matter how long it took me to wean off.
I've been off now for almost 3 years.
I can't even remember what the bottle said I could take, but I never took that much...I knew that what I was taking was working so I didn't see a need to take what the prescription called for.
I mentioned that I have OCD for a reason...BTW Xanax does nothing for OCD..but I've had it for so long...since I was a little girl that I don't know what I would do without the OCD.
Anyway I really believe that the OCD really helped me in only taking the low dose that I did...with the OCD once I get something in my head I can't get it out, so I knew the low dose worked and would have never taken more.
I even asked my Doctor to change what the prescription bottle said so that it said to take 1 quarter MG twice a day.
Wow! Our stories are very similar. I also had a really hard time in 1st through 3rd grades with stomach problems and school anxiety. I don't even know the number of times I was sent home with unexplained stomach problems and many other symptoms of anxiety. Anyway, after that, I had no problems until I was 22 I think. Then it all came back with a vengence and the OCD and Panic was debilitating. I took all types of SSRI's looking for a cure and all I got was increased anxiety. Anyway, I vowed then never to take drugs and quit all drugs and decided to do it holistically and I was able to maintain some assemblance of a life until I quit drinking. See the problem now? The alcohol intake that I was consuming was actually helping my anxiety. Anyway, I am married and have a daughter and another child on the way, so needless to say the days of partying are long since gone and now I have anxiety and panic again. I know the OCD will be with me forever, I just wish I could tame the anxiety thing. Thus far, (2 months), the Xanax has been wonderful, but I started working out again about a week ago and I now have been feeling the twinges of anxiety again rearing its ugly head. I do have a lot of stressful events in my life now, but I would still like to gain more control. Consider yourself lucky in that you were able to succeed with a very minimal amount of Xanax. I hope I don't need to up it past what I am taking now (1.5 mg/day). Thanks for your post. It was really good to hear from someone who really can relate. Best wishes to you and your family.
I take xanax, less than 2mg. per day, usually 1.5 or 1.75mg. A year ago I was taking 3mg. per day, so it is possible to reduce the dosage. I have had anxiety for many years and it works just fine.
Your 1.5mg. is a small dosage and you may need to updose a bit to get more anxiety relief. With OCD, you are right xanax does not help but the SSRI Luvox (one of the oldest if not the oldest SSRI) can help. It is also one of the most sedating of the ssri's I believe. Asking your physician is the best. I would rather take the Luvox as an augmentation to the xanax than upping the dosage of xanax. It is doable but not fun withdrawing from a benzo.....despite what you have heard most people have a harder time withdrawing from benzos than ssri's.
Maybe the withdrawl thing is true, but I have a severe reaction to all SSRI's. My anxiety spikes to levels that I don't experience regularly. I think the OCD problem is relatively simple. I just have to work on changing my thought pattern and I am well underway with that. The OCD hardly bothers me anymore, but the anxiety is crippling when it is in its full effect, so maybe you are right. Maybe I do need to increase my dosage. It is a relief to hear of other people who have been on Xanax for so long and not had to increase in dosage infinitely. Here comes and OCD thought, "What if I keep having to take more and more Xanax until no dose will work for me?". This is my major fear at this point, but from logic, and reading others posts it seems that most poeple find a level and plateau comfortably and usually even taper down later in life. I will speak with my doc this week.
I was the same way ocdengineer, I had very severe reactions to all SSRI's.
My OCD is pretty bad...my Doctor said on a scale of 1 to 10 I'm about a 8 and 1/2 as far as the OCD.
I'll clean, count and sort things for the rest of my life before I'd ever touch another SSRI...but that's just me, some people have great luck with them.
Even though the OCD is bad, I'd rather live with that for the rest of my life than to ever have the panic and anxiety come back....but if it does I'll go back on my trusty Xanax because I know it works for me.
Good luck to you and let me know what your Doctor has to say.
"What if I keep having to take more and more Xanax until no dose will work for me?". This is my major fear at this point, but from logic, and reading others posts it seems that most poeple find a level and plateau comfortably and usually even taper down later in life. I will speak with my doc this week.
I can only speak for myself, but I have taken Xanax for 20 years and never had the need to increase the dosage due to "tolerance" of it. I have heard of people going through tolerance withdrawal but in my case, I never felt the need to increase it after I reached the right dosage. AND I was able to decrease down to 1/2 that dose in the last year, after all that time. I saw a specialist in Boston in May of this year who was the chairman of the task force on Benzodiazepines for the American Psychiatric Association, and he told me that xanax was a good med. for me, as I don't increase the dose, I don't drink much of any alcohol, cut down on caffeine, etc. etc. He said to keep taking it and that I could safely take it until I am 80! (Not that I will) He is a famous doctor with many publications and textbooks written and I had to pay $300 to see him as he does not take insurance. I hope this helps.
Actually, yes, that was infinitely helpful. 20 years is a long time and I have also quit drinking years ago, don't smoke, and can't drink caffeine either, so maybe I can take it until I am 80. LOL. We will see. Anyway, I have noticed that the 1.5 mg I am taking is slowly starting to lose its potency and I think it is as a result of me working out and increasing my metabolic rate. So, I will talk to the doctor this week and see what happens. Anyway, thanks for your help. Let's see if anyone else has taken Xanax as a long term solution.
Karen, I am so glad you told how long you have been on xanax and what that doctor told you. I am saving that drug for the last when the buspar does not work any longer and I always wondered if you could take it till your 80's. Thanks. Maybe I have a long life to look forward to after all.
Yes, you are smart to go with the Buspar first. I have to say I am not thrilled to be on xanax for so long, but it does help a great deal with severe anxiety.
The doctor I saw was Dr. Carl Salzman from Harvard University. I kept a copy of his letter to my doctor so that if I move and have any trouble obtaining prescriptions for my xanax, I can show them his letter. That is one concern I do have; many doctors are reluctant to prescribe benzodiazepines.
Last edited by karenmackenzie; 10-15-2006 at 04:48 PM.
i have been taking xanax for a little over a year.. i started out with a very low dose .75mg a day (.25 x 3 times a day) it seemed to work for about a month then nothing... My Dr played with dosages for the first 6 months until i finally started feeling anxiety free all day on 4mg a day (1mg X 4 times a day) i have been at this does for about 7 months now and i am doing fine with it.. dont feel the need for more or less.. ( though some days i can get away with only taking 3mg)
anyway i also have OCD and i found that it does help me with it.. (mind you i do not have a severe case of it) i have stopped alot of my compulsions because when i have the intrusive thoughts that would cause me to do my compulsions it was to settle the anxiety i would feel if i didnt do them... now that i dont feel that anxiety i dont do them.. so in that way it has helped my OCD a little..
i also have never had any luck with SSRIs... i hate them they just make me feel worse or i have major side effects with them..so your def. not alone there..
Gosh. It is great to hear others who have found relief using Xanax and have OCD as well. You are correct though. I have Pure OCD whihc is essentially ritual free, but the intrusive thoughts are still there. When the anxiety is low the thoughts don't get the best of me, but when the anxiety is hight they can and lead to panic attacks etc. Thanks for your post punkdizzle!
Just wanted to drop in and say, I have been on Xanax now for about 18 years and when i was on a higher dose ( 3 mgs a day ) i felt no need for anymore, Since it has been decreased (Dr didn't want me on Benzos and put me on Prozac) to 1 mgs a day... And now i have to go plead my case with him to up it back higher!
I think once you find the right level, Xanax is a great drug for anxiety! I just wish the Dr would see this!
yup thats the reason... but IMO its more because so many people abuse benzos to get a cheap high or to counter act the anxiety effects of street drugs... and its caused people like us that actually "need" them to feel normal and have a normal anxiety free life big problems in getting a DR to Rx them.. seems like most DRs seem to think if you ask for a benzo .. you must be a junky ...
Thanks Punkdizzle. When I was in the ER I refused Xanax (I had never taken it before and didn't know much about it, plus I wasn't there for anxiety). They treated me like I was the first person to ever refuse it When they discharged me they gave me a prescription for 9 "just in case". I'm glad because I had an awful panic attack last night and it really helped.
If you look at it from the doctor's perspective though it is almost humorous. You have this patient walk in and he or she is sweating, shaking, and down right agitated and asking to please refill their prescription for Xanax because they ran out. I mean I have to laugh at that. The doctor is probably thinking that the person standing in front of him is an addict. I mean, honestly, that would be my first thought. You just need to find a doctor who believes in the stuff and there are many out there who do, but you have to scope them out and may have to dig through multiple doctors before you find someone who will prescribe it. Sad but true. I still here horror stories of people trying to wean off of SSRI's and it sounds to me like they are all addictive.
Anyway, thanks again for all of your posts. It's great to hear of others who have used Xanax for longer periods of time. I really find the drug working and for the first time in a long time I have felt close to "normal". Anyway, i want to try and take it on a long term basis and this is why the thread was started.