Discussions that mention xanax

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My assistant and I have worked together for about 7 years and have become very good friends. Last Wednesday she came to me and asked for the afternoon off because she had a dr. appt. I asked her if she was okay and she tuned up and told me that she thought that she had a xanax addiction. That she has been taking 7 or 8 pills pd since the fall. I was floored and probably didn't handle the situation the best I could of. I went home and searched for anything about xanax addiction and was horrified about what I found.

On Friday when she was going to the Dr., she told me that she has decided to quit using it on her own, that since she had enough foresight to think she had a problem she thought she could handle it. I highly disagree. I have been around addiction enough to know that now that now she is regretting telling me and is trying to deny her addiction I also think that if she told me that she is using 7 to 8 pills pd she is probably using more. From what I have also read Xanax addiction is very hard to kick and that the stress and anxiety will come back 10fold during the withdrawl period.

Today, she came to work all happy because she didn't take any today. She told me that she did take some on Sunday, but by Monday at 8am she kicked the habit. She also told me that she thought I was hyper sensative about xanax and exagarrated her use because my son is in a rehab (doing wonderful!) for bars (samething?) and xtacy.

Yes, I might be hyper sensative, but during my son's use I learned everything I could about this and am scared for her.

She basically runs our business and while I don't ever think that she would steal or anything from us, I do know that an addiction can make you do things that you never thought you would do just to support the habit. I really haven't figured out how to handle this situation, but I told her that all checks / withdrawls from now on will have to be approved. What I am thinking about doing since she is convinced that she can kick this on her own is telling her that I am taking over these responsibilities until I know she is clean. Not because I don't trust her, I don't trust the addiction and mainly her denial. Then in 1 month, if she test clean I will give her back her responsibilities. If she test dirty then she either had to go to a rehab, dr. whatever for professional help to kick this.

Any ideas? She is a great girl who is sharp as a tack, just has had a rough time lately in her personal life and it really got her down.

Thanks, sorry for rambling!
B
bayougal11,

I think you are right to protect your business. Up to now, the xanax has been stronger than she is. That fact is not going to change just because she wants to change her life. Most people can't even quit cigarettes on the first try just by declaring that they've stopped. So does she still have pills at home? Does she get her pills from her doctor visits? My guess is that she will have to go to some counseling of some sort.

--Rheanna
Give her credit for telling you - I'm sure she was really suffering with this for quite a while and I applaud her for getting off. However, you should know a few things about Xanax - many people get accidentally addicted after their shrink begins prescribing to them. Some people are more sensitive to the drug than others, and if the doctor prescribes 2 or 3 doses a day (and each dose usually starts at about 1 mg) these people can develop physical addictions very quickly, and I know this from experinece. It can happen so fast, and the doctors often won't believe that you can become physically addicted to such a low level of the drug.

I'm not making this into a "poor me" story - but you have to understand the extremes. After being legitimately prescribed Xanax at 1 mg, 3 times per day by a well-known psychiatrist in my very upscale community, I developed a physical, though not mental, addiction within 2 weeks. I was not able to skip a single dose without developing "feedback", the sense of my heart being about to explode - I'd hear loud pounding in my ears and it was just terrible. The doctor kept insisting that it was the anxiety speaking, and not a drug withdrawl effect. I kept trying to decrease the dose and I couldn't, despite very specific and rational efforts. After 3 months, I really couldn't take it anymore - because I felt like I would die if I didn't have the medication around when the symptoms began coming on, and to my doctor's chagrin, I checked myself into another well-known and famous detox clinic in the same town. I was the only one there for a low-level Xanax addiction, and frankly, the detox climate wasn't really appropriate for me - because what I wanted and needed was medical supervision while withdrawing from the drug. I never wanted to see another damn Xanax pill again. The "feedback" symptoms were just horrible and I have never had another desire to touch that poison. Anyway, while at the clinic, it turned out that while the staff agreed with me that 3 mg a day could be addictive, they were surprised to see me there because typically they seem people for 14-20 mg of Xanax a day. Your friend was not in that region.

I expected a horrible experience with the detox process itself, but was shocked to find that Xanax withdrawl can be highly tempered by taking the anti-seizure drug Depakote. Though they took me of all the Xanax in 1 day, taking the Depakote allowed me to feel somewhat normal. I didn't feel any of the severity of the "feedback" that had kept me on the drug for 3 months. In fact, I was released at the end of the 3rd day, because I was totally functional by the 2nd day. I think I had maybe 6 hours of downtime where I felt a little sick - but no worse than the flu.

For the next 3 weeks, I felt slightly queezy - as if I had just recovered from the flu or pneumonia, but nothing horrible. I could immediately go about my business again.

So in retrospect, I discovered that Xanax is highly addictive, that you can remain very functional while on the drug and not engage in drug-seeking behaviors, that your biggest fear is being caught without your next dose given the horrible withdrawl symptoms, that Xanax withdrawl from relatively low doses is made remarkably "easy" compared to other withdrawls by Depakote, and that recovery is fast.

I'm sure your friend would have liked a few days off after this journey, but I think she is trying to show you that she is totally capable of continuing to work. Going back to work this quickly shows that she is buttoned up and really wants to just get beyond this chapter in her life. Xanax is a surprising and nasty little drug - there are many people who can detox themselves, and there are also other people with are much more sensitive to the drug who need Depakote-assistance in getting off of it.

I think what you need to do is ask her to tell you her story. Don't assume anything - let her be honest about what happened. I'm sure she'd like to talk about it - I can tell you from experience that it's totally draining being a nice, normal upper-middle class subruban married woman who seeks help for a little anxiety winding up with an addiction, when it's completely contratry to expectations and my personality. People tend to think of any addiction as showing a mental deficiency or flaw in the addict, but my case is exemplary of the fact that unwanted addctions can be developed in the most unlikely people, and the entire time I was acknowledging it but not receiving help from my doctor - who didn't want to admit that he got me addictied. I had to go to the clinic on my own to detox (even doctor didn't want me to do that - but he wasn't helping me any). The only reason that it took me 3 months is that I was trying to get off of it on my own by gradual withdrawl for 2 of those 3 months. I hated hated hated having to check into that clinic, but I had come to realize that the drug was very very powerful, and I was afraid of what could happen during a full detox without being supervised by medical professionals. If your friend was only on the drug for 7 months, that's not a long time and I'm sure she spent several of those months trying to get off it on her own. You should really give her a chance to talk about it - invite her out for a coffee.

3 years later, I've never had any desire to go near a Xanax again. What a nightmare.
She does not get the xanax from a Dr. She gets it from a "Friend". I have no idea if she has more at home.

What I am most concerned about is her denial of the situation. She does not want anyone to know nor is detox an option. SO FRUSTRATING!