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19-01-2007, 09:30   #1
baguio
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xanax - concerned about its use..

I've been using xanax for just over a year now for social anxiety/general anxiety - and largely for a work related situation (i only use it at work - its a situational thing).

I have a lot of respect for my GP and he is monitoring my useage of the stuff. However, I have now got to a situation whereby my useage level is beginning to rise substantially. I started off at 0.25mg - and today for the first time, I found need at work to take 4x that amount. My useage up to this point had been rising so that for the last few months 2x was necessary.

I noticed last week heavy side effects of not using it ( i dont use it during non-work days ie 4 days a week). I have read up on the subject and know that this is the nature of benzo's and this was always coming.

The original plan - as discussed with my doctor - was that I was to find alternative employment - to fix this problem. However, whilst i have something in the pipeline, It remains to be seen whether it will actually be successful enough to get me out of here.

I dont have much in the way of transferable skills and despite a booming economy, the fact of the matter is - if you dont have the right skill set, its not a pretty employment market at the bottom of the pile. I cant afford to move to a less paying job (and im well under the national average pay as it is) or else I will simply lose my house.

I'm going to discuss this with my doctor once my current prescription runs out but I wonder if anyone else here has been in the same predicament?
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19-01-2007, 09:44   #2
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Do you feel an immediate relief when you take the pills, so it's a more mental relief knowing that you've taken something that is going to calm you, or does it take a while for the pills to take affect?

Maybe you can speak to someone more qualified to help you deal with the cause rather than the effects of your anxiety.

Every situation is unique, but if you put your financial well being over your health you somethings going to give.

Hope you feel better sometime.
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19-01-2007, 12:06   #3
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[QUOTE=MarkR]Do you feel an immediate relief when you take the pills, so it's a more mental relief knowing that you've taken something that is going to calm you, or does it take a while for the pills to take affect?
The pills kick in gradually within half an hour. They do exactly what they say on the tin and have been a godsend over the last year. They have the effect of slowing down brain activity - at a time when my thoughts are all over the place due to anxiety. Having said that, I've educated myself on them and benzo's in general and know that the writing is on the wall. They are not meant for long term useage - and I know I have already developed a certain level of dependancy on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkR
Maybe you can speak to someone more qualified to help you deal with the cause rather than the effects of your anxiety.
Yes, I am considering this now. I have no qualms about going that route. My concern with this has always been that I'm not so confident that a solution can be reached this way.....but I dont think i have much choice now but to try it.

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Originally Posted by MarkR
Every situation is unique, but if you put your financial well being over your health you somethings going to give.
Financial wellbeing...I understand exactly what your saying but my financial situation doesnt leave me with little in the way of disposable cash at the end of each week. The scenario of defaulting on my mortgage and sliding that way - is unthinkable.
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19-01-2007, 17:50   #4
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Benzodiazepines are quite addictive and really only indicated for short term use. They have prolonged withdrawal periods from them too and abrupt stoppage can cause significant rebound symptoms.

There are other medications out there to treat anxiety disorder which are not addictive, but it will take patience and time with determined gentle reduction of benzodiazepines as those are introduced for success. Talk to you doctor who may consider referring you to a specialist for their input.
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19-01-2007, 18:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrIndy

There are other medications out there to treat anxiety disorder which are not addictive, but it will take patience and time with determined gentle reduction of benzodiazepines as those are introduced for success.
I will definitely be bringing this up with my doctor next time i'm due to go back in.
I had asked him if there were alternative drugs when I first commenced taking xanax (i had read up on it and was concerned about reaching the point i'm at right now). He didnt seem to think there were any alternatives that didnt have bad side effects (or maybe it was just that he didnt think it necessary to consider alternatives in my case at that stage).

What other drugs are there out there DrIndy?
Just wouldnt mind getting some info on whats available and what would be in store for me if my GP decided one of them would be my best option.
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20-01-2007, 12:25   #6
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Remember it is your doctor who will decide what is the best treatment for you depending on your symptoms. Other alternatives out there are SSRI's such as fluoxetine or better again are SNRI's such as venlafaxine.

There are other drugs too such as buspirone.

However the main treatment for anxiety disorder (if that is what is diagnosed) is NOT pharmaceutical, but you need help to develop coping machanisms. This can be done through a psychiatrist.
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21-01-2007, 01:43   #7
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Am a MD, was dependent on alprazolam/Xanax...now not!

Quote:
Originally Posted by baguio
I will definitely be bringing this up with my doctor next time i'm due to go back in.
I had asked him if there were alternative drugs when I first commenced taking xanax (i had read up on it and was concerned about reaching the point i'm at right now). He didnt seem to think there were any alternatives that didnt have bad side effects (or maybe it was just that he didnt think it necessary to consider alternatives in my case at that stage).

What other drugs are there out there DrIndy?
Just wouldnt mind getting some info on whats available and what would be in store for me if my GP decided one of them would be my best option.
I did go through counseling for approx. three months. I used to take Xanax in anticipation of panic/extreme anxiety. I have found that a beta-adrenergic blocker, in lowish dose ( e.g. propranolol/Inderal 20mg) is great in preventing the physiological sequelae of anxiety attacks. Good luck.
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09-02-2007, 14:37   #8
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baguio, I have and still am in the same position as you in regards to xanax.
I've been taking them for a lot longer though.
The first think you need to do, and I'm mean as soon as you possibly can, is to seek pstchiatric treatment in the form of a therapist/ councillor.
I've suffered from severe agorophobia for 14 years and have been taking xanax for pretty much most of the past 9 years. They are highly addictive (as you already konw) and the only way to solve your problem is to seek therapy.
You can become too reliant on the medication and this only exacerbates your problems. It's only in the past 6 months that I have begun to recover and return to my former self.
I too was taking far above the recommended dosage of xanax. Some days I would take 5 or 6 mg. It had gotten to the point that my mind and body actually needed that much to function normally. I have, under my own power, and with the help of a therapist, been slowly weaning myself off them and some days I can get by without taking any. This has taken a long time though and only really began when I faced up to my problems and started therapy again.
I am assuming that you are now getting monthly prescriptions for them. If that is the case, then I suggest you start getting them weekly instead. That way you will be more aware of your intake levels and will be better able to cut down. It feels good to have a few left over at the end of the week. You know that you have made it through that week mostly on your own will power.

Anyway, go see a therapist. It will be worth your time. You might not see it at first, because these things take time, but over the course of a few months, you will feel a difference.
I would also suggest keeping a log of your anxiety levels. Your therapist will probably suggest this too.

Mods, I know there is a thin line here in regards to medical issues. Please notify me if I have crossed it. I've tried my best not to.

p.s. alcohol is not your friend. It will make you much worse. I know this from experience. Try to stay off the drink until you are completely better. (that's if you do drink at all).
Edit: Add caffiene to that list too. anything that angries up the blood.

Last edited by Terry; 09-02-2007 at 14:58.
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09-02-2007, 14:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry

Mods, I know there is a thin line here in regards to medical issues. Please notify me if I have crossed it. I've tried my best not to.

.
No it's cool, Terry, as far as I can see, you're just giving your experience which is grand. I'd be interested to hear how the agrophobia came about and how you dealt with it, if you ever feel like posting here in future.
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09-02-2007, 15:01   #10
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It's a very long story that I will post about at some stage. possibly later today.
It's fairly personal, as in it's pretty much all about me being dealt a crappy hand early in my life. I don't have a problem sharing my story though, if you really want to hear it.
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09-02-2007, 15:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry
It's a very long story that I will post about at some stage. possibly later today.
It's fairly personal, as in it's pretty much all about me being dealt a crappy hand early in my life. I don't have a problem sharing my story though, if you really want to hear it.
It's just a condition that I've heard a lot about, but never from anyone who's ever suffered from it. I don't want to pry or anything, but if you felt starting a thread about it would be therapeutic, I pretty much guarantee there would be a good few people who'd read it and get value out of it. I've a lot of respect for someone who can fight against their instincts like in this situation. So, don't do it for me, but if you feel like it's useful for you, you're very welcome on this forum


I'm sure we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding some abusive posts I'd like to make on AH
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09-02-2007, 15:10   #12
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Ok. here's the deal. You get to call 5 people the abusive name of your choice and I get to pour my heart out.
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09-02-2007, 15:14   #13
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Terry I for one would like to hear your story. Don't know if its allowed on this thread but if it is not then another thread is cool.
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09-02-2007, 19:00   #14
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baguio, sorry for going off topic in your thread. This will be my last off topic post here.

I'll write up a rough draft on word tonight and work with it tomorrow.
I want to get it right. It pretty much covers the last 24 years of my life, so there is a lot to fit in.
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22-02-2007, 17:25   #15
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Where are you based OP? I know a place that does counselling based on what you can afford. We all go through difficult times in our lives and bad anxiety is a small word for a very big thing. A full on panic attack is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I understand what it's like to go through it heavily and can say with absolute conviction that counselling has the potential to completely deliver you from it's grip and turn your life around back into a happy place to be. It can truly be one of the best things you could ever do. If your GP hasn't recommended counselling as a course of treatment I would say consider getting another GP. In my opinion it is the only course of action that really works. Although every situation is of course unique.

Despite their genuine usefulness in some situations I would suggest that med's are a slippery slope. Be thankful that you are aware of this. Many aren't and can find themselves at a point where none of their underlying anxiety hasn't been dealt with one iota and they have now got a years old reliance on meds to shake off too. Try make sure you're not one of them.

As for being stuck in a work situation that is making matters worse? I'd say be careful about your actions. Anxiety is caused as much by how we react to situations as the situations themselves. It is also the great deceiver. As such an untangible thing it takes its form by hanging itself on the weak/bad sides of our life. People with anxiety can beleive that they actually have a lump in their body where there is none or that a certain situation is the sole cause. It morphs into the cracks in your life and then starts pushing. You may feel that changing job will remove all anxiety whereas that may not be the case. Again, I beleive counselling can do alot either way. And don't feel trapped by having to stay for the money, there is always, always a way out of these viscious cycles. People break them everyday of the week even in today's money mad society. Counselling again will help you find clarity in your thoughts and see beyond how you feel trapped and help you see what you really want.

So where are you based?
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