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Old 07-22-2007, 01:01 PM   #1
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Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Both my doctor and my counselor have told me to take my Xanax every day, as prescribed (.5 mg 3 times per day for a total daily dose of 1.5 mg)

I expressed to both of them my fear of addiction and other adverse effects.

My doctor says he would rather me take the pills every day than be miserable. He said my Generalized Anxiety Disorder is quite significant. He did say if the time came and I wanted to wean off he could wean me down and switch to a longer acting benzo like Klonopin.

The Xanax really helps. But I'm scared of it. I've heard horror stories about nightmarish addiction, withdrawal, even seizures?

I don't know what to do. Trust the doctor and counselor and take the Xanax every day, or not?

Does anyone else or has anyone else used Xanax long term? What is long term defined as? I've been on these meds since March.

I also take Celexa for depression.

Thanks!

Angela

 
Old 07-22-2007, 02:23 PM   #2
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allsorts HB User
Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

I'm not sure if there has been much study scientifically to be sure what the long term affects would be with xanax - but then I guess the same goes for anti-depressants. If it makes you feel guilty or uncomfortable being on it for long term use you could always wean yourself off.

The trouble with xanax (from what I have read and seen expressed in here) is that it can be very addictive, so in itself that can cause a new host of problems. So just be wary of that.

Ultimately, it's your decision, I guess just way up the pros and cons and see which you see fit.

 
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:53 PM   #3
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Angela,

Please don't feel scared. I felt just like you do about two years ago. Because of post-partum anxiety disorder, I was placed on 2MG Xanax XR per day in addition to a small dose of Prozac. I was petrified of Xanax but it made me feel normal. After 11 months of daily use, I slowly stopped taking the XANAX and stayed with the prozac. I had a couple of days of feeling crummy but nowhere near any of the stories I had heard about withdrawal. I felt like I had been scared into thinking I was going to become some addict or have a hard time quitting it when I was ready. I still have a bottle in my medicine cabinet and I like to know it's there for rare occasions when I would need it. Take it without fear or shame and live your life.

 
Old 07-22-2007, 09:35 PM   #4
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BeHappy2 HB UserBeHappy2 HB UserBeHappy2 HB UserBeHappy2 HB User
Smile Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Hi Angela,
If the xanax is really helping you, why be afraid ? Everyone reacts differently to medications. I am very sensitive to medications but i will say this. I have been taking xanax 0.5mg 4 times daily for 21 years. I know that seems like forever but i am not sensitive to the xanax, this is what helps me. Anxiety is a horrible fear in itself. If xanax is really helping you, and you still feel uncomfortable taking it, best that you talk to your doctors of other ways of uncovering your fears. I also take celexa 20mg daily. I hope this post can answer you question to the long term use of xanax, once again this is how it is for me and no one reacts the same to medications. You may also want to ask your doctor about breathing techniques for anxiety. Relax and do whats best for you.

BeHappy2

 
Old 07-23-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

I'm in a similar situation of fear. I take 80 mg of Paxil (moved up from 20 over a 16 year period) for an anxiety related disorder (OCD - I won't talk about it here), and I'm prescribed .5 mg Xanax up to 3 times per day for the free-floating anxiety. My Dr. recently stopped seeing outpatients, so I had to switch to a psychiatric nurse practitioner who scared me abit by telling me that a person can get used to the Xanax fairly quickly. The Dr. that I had was fantastic - the best I found in 16 years - he would tell me to take the medication and stop feeling guilty. He also helped me with meditation exercises. I was devastated when the office told me he wasn't going to be able to see me anymore. I'm glad I read the posting from the person who has been taking Xanax for 21 years. That's awesome that it still works and gives me continued hope.

Fred

 
Old 07-23-2007, 09:27 PM   #6
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Fred, I'm Happy my post can give you continued hope. That's what were all here for is to reach out and share with others.

BeHappy2

Last edited by ms_mod; 07-24-2007 at 07:05 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod

 
Old 07-24-2007, 02:45 PM   #7
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Angie, I was on Xanax for a few months about seven years ago (it might have been more like four or five months, I can't remember). My brother has also been on Xanax for about two years. Xanax was the only thing that helped my anxiety, so if it is helping you, you can't think about the side effects of long term use.

I think of it like this (I might be wrong, but it helped me get over taking medication on a daily basis)--additction is different from dependency. You might become dependent on Xanax after long term use, but you don't have to be some kind of junkie. When you and your doctor decide it's time for you to stop, you come off of it gradually. That's what I did. I went off so slowly that I didn't have one negative symptom, and I was really afraid of seizures, etc. So don't worry about the Xanax, just concentrate on getting better.

 
Old 07-24-2007, 05:12 PM   #8
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

I have used Xanax long term, first on a steady and then on an as needed basis and I know people who have been on the same steady dosage for the last 15 years. I think we've all bought into this fear and feeling that we shouldn't be on these kinds of meds. We never question our blood pressure medications or pain medications and I think it's the societal presssure. I know terminal cancer patients who were worried about becoming addicted! (except my dear Dad - he said "Who cares - as long as I feel comfortable". ) We have issues through no fault of our own where our brains are giving us symptoms that are very painful and distressing and we have a right to take our medicines without guilt and worry, especially when our doctors assure us that we can be tapered off them when the time comes, without a problem.
The doctor would not mislead you on this so take your meds as needed and feel good. Wishing you the best,
Andrea

 
Old 07-25-2007, 04:55 AM   #9
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Re: Long term Xanax use and Anxiety Disorder...have questions, need advice

Angela,i been on 1mg xanax 3 times aday for allmost 2 yrs and they calm me down alot i dont have any side effects at the beginning i would just sleep alot for like 2 mos then i was fine i take them to calm me down plus the dr who put me on them said it help with depression ,i dont have depression now but i did but that was cause my thyrold was skyhigh and i didnt know it once i started on the right dose i felt fine ,if i didnt have the xanax id be a nerous wreck .and my sister has been on hers 12 yrs but i think she over takes hers but me i only take 1 every 8 hrs or longer sometimes i need 1 at 6 hrs but not very often i never take 2 at the same time i allways take just the 1 then wait it out for 8 hrs but on days when im really nervous i take one at 6 hrs but they do helop me and as far as getting off them the psychiatrist said they have stuff for withdrawls if i ever get to that point.
vickie

 
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