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Old 03-16-2004, 11:32 PM   #1
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Nuke59 HB User
Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Hi Everyone,
My name is Barry and I am 44, married, have children and am from Missouri. Now that you know me (lol) here is my question. I hope what I am about to say does not scare anyone but it is my story.
I have a question about Xanax addiction withdrawal. Has anyone here ever had to go through the withdrawal process from Xanax or other Benzo's ?
Here is a rundown of my situation. I suffer from Panic and Anxiety disorder and have for the past 8 or 9 years. In March 1995 I was put on Xanax and another drug which I can't remember what it was called. For about 7 years the Xanax did a very good job. I was able to live a pretty normal life. My wife and I opened a Taxi service in our town and did very good at it for several years. One day while out on a call I had a panic attack. It came and left pretty fast. Then came another one and another one so I increased the dose of Xanax I was taking. It got to the point that no matter how much of the Xanax I took it was not helping. We ended up selling the Taxi company since I was not able to go pick people up. I was turning down more calls than I was doing. I got to where I was afraid to go anywhere for the fear that I would have an Anxiety or panic attack. People look at you in a strange way when you have these attacks. I now have agrophobia so now I don't go anywhere.
Last July after doing a lot of research on the internet I decided that part of my problem was being caused by the Xanax. My body had reached the point that no matter how much of the Xanax I took I was going through withdrawal. I then started to tapper off of the Xanax and after a month or so I stopped taking it. That was July 15, 2003. The withdrawal was very hard and there was a lot of pain with it. Now I am doing pretty good but still find myself dizzy off and on. Part of the reasearch I did on the withdrawal process stated that it could take up to 1.5 years to go through it. Since I have stopped taking the Xanax I have not had any anxiety or panic attacks but find myself not feeling up to par. I still get dizzy and have stomach ache's pretty often and for that reason I talk myself out of going anywhere. Has anyone else gone through the Xanax or Benzo withdrawal and if so how did you do and how long did it take for the withdrawal to go away. I know that the withdrawal time is different from person to person but from what I have read the average time it approx 6 months give or take a month or so.
I hope I didn't write to much since it is my first post but I would really like to get back to being normal again. Thanks, Barry

 
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Old 03-16-2004, 11:41 PM   #2
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hanelo4 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuke59
Hi Everyone,
My name is Barry and I am 44, married, have children and am from Missouri. Now that you know me (lol) here is my question. I hope what I am about to say does not scare anyone but it is my story.
I have a question about Xanax addiction withdrawal. Has anyone here ever had to go through the withdrawal process from Xanax or other Benzo's ?
Here is a rundown of my situation. I suffer from Panic and Anxiety disorder and have for the past 8 or 9 years. In March 1995 I was put on Xanax and another drug which I can't remember what it was called. For about 7 years the Xanax did a very good job. I was able to live a pretty normal life. My wife and I opened a Taxi service in our town and did very good at it for several years. One day while out on a call I had a panic attack. It came and left pretty fast. Then came another one and another one so I increased the dose of Xanax I was taking. It got to the point that no matter how much of the Xanax I took it was not helping. We ended up selling the Taxi company since I was not able to go pick people up. I was turning down more calls than I was doing. I got to where I was afraid to go anywhere for the fear that I would have an Anxiety or panic attack. People look at you in a strange way when you have these attacks. I now have agrophobia so now I don't go anywhere.
Last July after doing a lot of research on the internet I decided that part of my problem was being caused by the Xanax. My body had reached the point that no matter how much of the Xanax I took I was going through withdrawal. I then started to tapper off of the Xanax and after a month or so I stopped taking it. That was July 15, 2003. The withdrawal was very hard and there was a lot of pain with it. Now I am doing pretty good but still find myself dizzy off and on. Part of the reasearch I did on the withdrawal process stated that it could take up to 1.5 years to go through it. Since I have stopped taking the Xanax I have not had any anxiety or panic attacks but find myself not feeling up to par. I still get dizzy and have stomach ache's pretty often and for that reason I talk myself out of going anywhere. Has anyone else gone through the Xanax or Benzo withdrawal and if so how did you do and how long did it take for the withdrawal to go away. I know that the withdrawal time is different from person to person but from what I have read the average time it approx 6 months give or take a month or so.
I hope I didn't write to much since it is my first post but I would really like to get back to being normal again. Thanks, Barry
Hi Barry

Welcome to the boards I just want to start off and say that yes, I have been through withdrawal from a benzo before. It wasn't quite as long as you, but I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed. The bad thing about all of this is that the doctors tell you that you can get off of a benzo cold turkey and your really not supposed too. Getting off after just one month was very fast and maybe that is why you are still experiencing some weird feelings. Then again, I'm not a dcotor, so I cannot say exactly. I am just speaking from experience. I am just wondering why your doctor didn't offer you something called klonopin? It is another benzo, but has a longer lasting life and is less addictive. I took xanex first, then ativan, then klonopin. I took the klonopin for about 4 months and I am now benzo free. Of course I am on an SSRI for my panic attacks, so that might be why it wasn't as hard for me. Have you told your doctor how you feel?

Chantel

 
Old 03-17-2004, 12:14 AM   #3
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lori j HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

I do agree, that is an important point. Once a med fails to help you, then you can keep taking it & upping it, but instead of it helping you, you are going thru withdrawals. That happened to me with my anti-depressant last summer & fall. I hope you start to feel better soon, have you talked to a doctor since you went off the xanax?

 
Old 03-17-2004, 12:51 AM   #4
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Nuke59 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Hi Chantel,
When I decided to get off of the Xanax my doctor told me that I needed to take it just take more. I did a lot of research on it before I made my decision to stop taking. And you I should have tappered off of it longer but I felt so bad that I had to do something and getting off of it seemed to be the thing to do. I was on a low dose of Zoloft when stopped the Xanax so im sure that helped some. If I knew that the Xanax would do to me what it did I don't think I would have taken it. Xanax is a drug to be used short term and I dont think all these years is short term. lol. From what I have read the longest time to take Xanax is somewhere around 4 weeks. Thanks for the reply. Take care, Barry

 
Old 03-17-2004, 12:58 AM   #5
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Nuke59 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Hi Lori J,
I talked to my doctor before I stopped taking it but I didn't tell her that I had stopped taking it until a few months after I did stop.
You said that you went thru it also. What drug were you on? I am now taking Zoloft but not a large dose. Take Care and thanks for the reply. Barry

Last edited by Nuke59; 03-17-2004 at 12:59 AM.

 
Old 03-17-2004, 09:05 PM   #6
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purrsia HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Hey Nuke...I have been through the whole Xanax withdrawl and it was horrible. You never did mention the dosage you was on when you starting weaning. I took Xanax for 9 years and I have to admit that it actually gave me my life back because I too became agoraphobic. I've had panic/anxiety for 12 years and the first three years I just cried my way though them because I had no idea what was happening to me, and I was also too scared to talk to a doctor for fear they'd put me away because I was going crazy.
My doctor started me on a dose of .5 mg 3 times a day, which is actually quite a bit to start anyone on. But, it did help me alot and I also started cognitive behavioral therapy which helped alot too. I think I was on the .5 dose for about 3 years then I started feeling depressed a little, so she started me on Zoloft 100 mg. a night. By the time the 9 years was up, I was taking almost 4 mg. of Xanax and 150 Zoloft.

The main reason I wanted to start weaning was because I was starting to feel better about myself and going into public, but my main concern was my short term memory...which is totally shot now. I have no short term memory left so I keep the sticky note factory in business..LOL. Well, I found I could only cut down 1/4 mg. like maybe every month or every other....it took me a total of 1 year and I was down to .25 mg. I found out I was pregnant and completely quit, which wasn't a problem then cuz I was on the lowest dose. Thank GOD I had a beautiful baby girl who is now 3 years old. I have been off of Xanax and didn't have a panic attack ever since.

Recently, I had a panic attack out of the clear blue sky while my husband and I was driving home from another city. My GOSH...it was bad. I hadn't had one for so long, I forgot how awful they really were. I immediately went to a different doctor and he too swore by Xanax. I have never taken anything else but that for my panic. I'm only on 1.5 mg. daily and I try not to even take that unless I have too. Yes, Xanax is a powerful drug and extremely addicting, but it works. I'm starting to feel better already and I've only been taking this 3 months, so I'm talking to him about weaning, which he feels is a good idea since my last time was so horrible with withdrawls, etc.

I have heard through many many people that Ativan and Klonipin is very good for panic also, but since I've dealt with Xanax before, I think this time I know not to use and abuse, which may have been what I was kind of doing before.

Hope everything goes well with you. Maybe you should try the cognitive behavioral therapy. It really really works! Good luck

 
Old 03-19-2004, 12:58 AM   #7
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Nuke59 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by purrsia
Hey Nuke...I have been through the whole Xanax withdrawl and it was horrible. You never did mention the dosage you was on when you starting weaning. I took Xanax for 9 years and I have to admit that it actually gave me my life back because I too became agoraphobic. I've had panic/anxiety for 12 years and the first three years I just cried my way though them because I had no idea what was happening to me, and I was also too scared to talk to a doctor for fear they'd put me away because I was going crazy.
My doctor started me on a dose of .5 mg 3 times a day, which is actually quite a bit to start anyone on. But, it did help me alot and I also started cognitive behavioral therapy which helped alot too. I think I was on the .5 dose for about 3 years then I started feeling depressed a little, so she started me on Zoloft 100 mg. a night. By the time the 9 years was up, I was taking almost 4 mg. of Xanax and 150 Zoloft.

The main reason I wanted to start weaning was because I was starting to feel better about myself and going into public, but my main concern was my short term memory...which is totally shot now. I have no short term memory left so I keep the sticky note factory in business..LOL. Well, I found I could only cut down 1/4 mg. like maybe every month or every other....it took me a total of 1 year and I was down to .25 mg. I found out I was pregnant and completely quit, which wasn't a problem then cuz I was on the lowest dose. Thank GOD I had a beautiful baby girl who is now 3 years old. I have been off of Xanax and didn't have a panic attack ever since.

Recently, I had a panic attack out of the clear blue sky while my husband and I was driving home from another city. My GOSH...it was bad. I hadn't had one for so long, I forgot how awful they really were. I immediately went to a different doctor and he too swore by Xanax. I have never taken anything else but that for my panic. I'm only on 1.5 mg. daily and I try not to even take that unless I have too. Yes, Xanax is a powerful drug and extremely addicting, but it works. I'm starting to feel better already and I've only been taking this 3 months, so I'm talking to him about weaning, which he feels is a good idea since my last time was so horrible with withdrawls, etc.

I have heard through many many people that Ativan and Klonipin is very good for panic also, but since I've dealt with Xanax before, I think this time I know not to use and abuse, which may have been what I was kind of doing before.

Hope everything goes well with you. Maybe you should try the cognitive behavioral therapy. It really really works! Good luck
Hi, The cognitive behavioral therapy is something I want to do. The only problem is there is no place around here that will see me without insurance. I do go to the VA Hospital for my treatment but they don't offer the cognitive behavioral therapy. There is a place in my town that does it but when I went to them last summer they told me that because of state funding being cut they could not help.
As far as the dose of Xanax I was on, it changed daily. It depended on how I felt. I never got up to the dose you were at. I think my largest dose was 0.5mg taken 5 to 6 times a day for around 8 years.
Today was a bad day for me. I wanted to take a Xanax so bad. I felt so unsteady and thought I was going to have a panic attack but I didn't and I did not take a Xanax. I do take Zoloft but the dose is small. I think if I could get into a local support group and also go through the cognitive behavioral therapy I would be ok. But again since there has been a cut in state funding they are not allowing any new people into the support group. Take care. Barry

 
Old 03-19-2004, 02:20 AM   #8
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lori j HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuke59
Hi Lori J,
I talked to my doctor before I stopped taking it but I didn't tell her that I had stopped taking it until a few months after I did stop.
You said that you went thru it also. What drug were you on? I am now taking Zoloft but not a large dose. Take Care and thanks for the reply. Barry
The med that failed after 7 years (not complaining) was one of the triclics rather than an SSRI. So my doc puts me on samples of Lexapro!! OMG, I was so sick, only took it for about 3 weeks & had every side effect & also had withdrawals from it, mostly racing heart, heart palpatations & panic attacks in the middle of the nite, plus insomnia.
Then he puts me on effexor xr, that only made my heart race even faster & I was totally on edge & hyper, also about 3 weeks on that & more withdrawal!'
I am now back on an older triciclic called vivactil (protrityline) it is working OK, but I have very dry mouth, nasal passages & throat, plus a horrible taste in my mouth. Since he was not able to up the dose due to the side effects, he added Luvox for obsessive worrying, it works great, only I have 100% of the side effect of nausea!! Yipee. I'm still working on getting it right. Next week have an appointment to see what next!! Feel like a lab experiment!

 
Old 03-20-2004, 11:59 PM   #9
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billy7772 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuke59
Hi, The cognitive behavioral therapy is something I want to do. The only problem is there is no place around here that will see me without insurance. I do go to the VA Hospital for my treatment but they don't offer the cognitive behavioral therapy. There is a place in my town that does it but when I went to them last summer they told me that because of state funding being cut they could not help.
As far as the dose of Xanax I was on, it changed daily. It depended on how I felt. I never got up to the dose you were at. I think my largest dose was 0.5mg taken 5 to 6 times a day for around 8 years.
Today was a bad day for me. I wanted to take a Xanax so bad. I felt so unsteady and thought I was going to have a panic attack but I didn't and I did not take a Xanax. I do take Zoloft but the dose is small. I think if I could get into a local support group and also go through the cognitive behavioral therapy I would be ok. But again since there has been a cut in state funding they are not allowing any new people into the support group. Take care. Barry
Hi Nuke-
I hope you can get involved in CBT. I'm sure you have probably seen my other posts about how it changed my life I know the VA hospital in Los Angeles offers it so you may want to check again with your VA hospital. Many universities offer CBT groups for little or no charge as well. My favorite introductory book on CBT is "Been There, Done That? Do This! by Sam Obitz. You may want to see if your local library has it as it is a quick read and may motivate you to give the CBT tools a try

Take care!

Billy
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:22 PM   #10
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Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Hi nuke,
how much xanax were you taking? its a useful med but shouldnt be totally relied on

zoloft sometimes stops panic attacks and it seems to be stopping yours, so maybe up the dose and get back to work.

some antibenzo groups say xanax causes panic attacks but I dont believe this

 
Old 03-21-2004, 05:21 PM   #11
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ItWontGiveUp HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Well, therapy is really important. Teaching control to your mind is a tool you can utilize to help direct yourself. As far as drugs, I vote Klonopin vs. Xanax, less side effects, lasts longer(about 6-8 hours) and is less addictive. I would try it. And one month was too short of a period to taper off, you have to be gradual.

 
Old 03-21-2004, 10:55 PM   #12
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Nuke59 HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by hry33
Hi nuke,
how much xanax were you taking? its a useful med but shouldnt be totally relied on

zoloft sometimes stops panic attacks and it seems to be stopping yours, so maybe up the dose and get back to work.

some antibenzo groups say xanax causes panic attacks but I dont believe this
I was taking 0.25mg when I quit the Xanax. I agree, I don't think the Xanax caused any of my panic attacks. They prevented my panic attacks for several years but it did reach a point that it would not work anymore.

 
Old 03-24-2004, 01:39 PM   #13
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Elana HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Nuke59, I got involved in a cbt group last summer and learned how to retrain my brain through the simple exercises they taught us. My anxiety level is way lower than before. The tools teach you how to keep your thoughts from getting you all wound up and miserable. The two books we used in my group are really really good and I would recommend them both highly: Been there, done that? do this! By Sam Obitz and Mastery of your Anxiety and Panic-Third Edition by Michelle Craske and David Barlow which focusses on panic disorder which I also suffered from, but have not had a single attack since the group

 
Old 03-24-2004, 02:50 PM   #14
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accent HB User
Re: Hi, Im New Here, I Have Panic and Anxiety

Why is the world afraid of Benzos. They are not horrible. I have been taking them for 8 years and I have never abused them. The long acting benzos and an antidepressent are in my view the only thing for someone with a major panic disorder. The longer acting benzos help people with panic disorder. For some they are the only thing that works in conjunction with an antidepressent. Would one rather be suffering or find a good benzo and accept it. Many cases of panic disorder require benzos.

I went through 3 benzos. Xanax was way to fast acting and made me too tired. But when I found the right one I felt fine. Why do we shutter at benzos? Would you rather be housebound?

To use the cliche "Would you stop taking insulin if you were a diabetic?"
Accept what you have, get the treatment you need to function and be a part of your family. Why torture yourself? It is not withdrawal when you're panicing a year later, its called not getting treatment. So you might get tired here and there, there are ways of dealing with this. Find a good p-doc, there are plenty of studies to support what I am saying.

And for people with scary stories, the people have more than panic disorder and they would have flipped their respective lid anyhow. Get treatment and enjoy life, I don't have 3 years for withdrawal (not withdrawal) and yoga. I have 2 kids a beautiful and understanding wife, a job, and a house to take care of. They come first, my fears of benzos, which I don't have anymore, come dead last!

Until they come out with something better, I am a benzoman! All my p-docs have agreeded except one, and he was fired. I also found out his med degree was from Mexico and he is not Mexican?

Jonathan

Last edited by accent; 03-24-2004 at 02:59 PM. Reason: adding content

 
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