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Am I addicted to Xanax?

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Posted · Report post

My pdoc gave me Xanax 1 mg tablets to take 2 a day. I'm supposed to take 1/2 of one for every panic attack, or one if I need it, then 1 mg at night to sleep. Well 1 mg at night doesn't help me sleep, so I don't use any during the day and started taking 2 mg at night. Then the other night, I really couldn't sleep and I remembered my pdoc saying up to 4 mg a day of an anxiolytic is fine so I took 4 mg of Xanax and finally fell asleep.

I am increasingly noticing NO EFFECT with the Xanax at 1 or 2 mg at all. But yet I still take it. I had clonazepam on hand and was taking that and Xanax together for a few nights because I couldn't sleep with just the Xanax. Now I have 2 mg Ativan tablets and am thinking of knocking off the Xanax and just trying the Ativan.

I dont know why she prescribed me Xanax as a sleep aid in the first place. Makes no sense. I won't have any insurance until June so I can't go back to the pdoc right now and just need to sorta hold out. I have Seroquel but that doesn't even put me to sleep. Neither does the Zyprexa or Trazodone I've tried. I just canNOT sleep at night. Then I can't get up in the morning. Not sure if it's rebound insomnia and then hangover from the benzo or what.....

any advice? am I addicted to the Xanax or just used to it now?

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Posted · Report post

Yes, I agree it was a bad idea to prescribe xanax for sleep. Your body gets use to it quickly then it takes more to feel the effects. It would be best to get something else for sleep then just use the xanax as needed for your panic attacks. It's not a good everyday med. And make sure you follow a good sleep routine, get exercise everyday, wake up at the same time everyday, etc. to help make you sleepy at night.

Croix

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Posted · Report post

did it ever help you? you could be habituated to it/ addicted or it could just be that xanax isn't a sleep med. (it's not very sedating and not usually used for sleep.)

do you have enough of it to last until June?

i don't know if you are addicted to it or not, it only lasts for 4 hours so if you were you'd probably notice rebound anxiety every 4-6 hours after taking it. if you are addicted, it's really best to work with a doctor to get off of it.

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Posted · Report post

I think I kept waiting for some magic thing to kick in where I'd feel not nervous anymore but honestly, I've always felt nervous with just 1 mg of Xanax and 2 mg is the only thing that really 'sedates' me. I'm also a big girl at almost 300 lbs, so I don't know if that has to do with it too.

At the rate I'm taking it, I don't have enough to last until June I don't think... but that's the thing too. I've went off of it cold turkey and felt nothing. No ill effects or weird withdrawal effects or anything. It was just like I hadn't taken anything at all. Like it just does not work for me.

I've asked for a Provigil prescription to keep me awake during the day and they look at me like I'm drug-seeking, but if I tell them I don't think the Xanax for sleep is a good idea, they look at me like I'm absurd! Totally whacked out. I was on Rozerem at one point and that probably helped the most. When I mentioned this, the pdoc's nurse says "why? is the Xanax not helping at night?"

Maybe because I told them I have racing thoughts at night they thought it would help? At any rate, it isn't and I still lay there and think of a million and one things. I took 2 mg of Ativan and 2 mg of Xanax last night and STILL couldn't sleep! What next? Horse tranquilizers??

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Posted · Report post

In my experience, weight does play a factor with dosing. When I lost a bunch of weight, that I have since gained back plus some, I needed less meds. Don't know what clinical studies show.

To me it sounds like you are abusing your meds. You shouldn't be mixing meds willy nilly and taking muliple different benzos at once. If the xanax isn't doing anything, don't take it. I understand that you want to sleep at night and be up during the day but there are other things you can try. As much as I hate to admit it, daytime activity helps. Yeah, yeah I hate it too. But you have to do something to actually tire yourself out. And some exercise could help with mood and energy during the day. Sucks, but works. You need to regulate your internal clock if it's all wonky. What about the sleep apnea? Maybe that's effecting your restfulness?

Really - you need to go to the doctor and straighten this all out. If you are having the racing thoughts thing, maybe you need a mood stabilizer or anti-psychotic. Seroquel knocked my shit OUT, even at 25mg, but people go up to 600mgs or more. I'm now on Risperdal and I like it, it really controls the thoughts. Doesn't sound like a benzo is cutting it. I currently take 100mg trazadone and it works well and hasn't pooped out. Not that it works for everyone.

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Posted · Report post

Really - you need to go to the doctor and straighten this all out. If you are having the racing thoughts thing, maybe you need a mood stabilizer or anti-psychotic. Seroquel knocked my shit OUT, even at 25mg, but people go up to 600mgs or more. I'm now on Risperdal and I like it, it really controls the thoughts. Doesn't sound like a benzo is cutting it. I currently take 100mg trazadone and it works well and hasn't pooped out. Not that it works for everyone.

i gotta second that. it really sounds like the xanax is a bad idea waiting to get worse, real fast. nobody "intends" to get hooked on that shit. but people do all the time. i know i'm paranoid with my benzos, to the point where i don't take them as often as directed sometimes. but it's because i've felt how fast the tolerance comes - and i don't ever want to get to a point where 2mgs of clonazepam doesn't calm my shit down.

i used to take trazadone for sleep too, and it was good. seroquel, zyprexa, and risperdal all also made me tired and not racy, it was good for sleep. maybe a dose adjustment of any of those? i'm trying to remember the antidepressant i took where i could hardly keep my eyes open all day.... what the hell was it? but that one is a good-nights-sleeper too for me. remeron, that was it! omg i was tired.

fwiw - i'm the same way with stopping the benzos. it's like i haven't taken anything at all. nobody ever believes me when i say that. i just don't get withdrawal symptoms - i don't get more anxious than before, i don't shake, i don't get more depressed - nothing. and i get withdrawal symptoms from dramamine, which isn't even close to that sedating (just mediocre treatment for my nausea, but it also makes me megatired).

but yeah i do think the xanax is a way bad idea for sleep. i'm pretty sure your doc can do better than that, and probably for cheaper too.

hang in there. i know messed up sleep sucks.

- rita

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Yeah, the scary part of it all is that my mother was a horrid alcoholic who drank herself to death and my sister was a drug addict and alcoholic who killed herself with those as well. As was my grandfather, all my aunts and uncles. They know addiction runs in my family and yet they just choose to ignore it it seems like.

The Zyprexa never really made me sleepy but was only taking 2.5 mg and with the weight gain issues I'm scared of it. Same with Seroquel. For some reason, Seroquel made me suicidal.. as did Cymbalta. I saw stars on Risperdal! LOL! She mentioned maybe trying Geodon next time but also said we were running out of options. ;)

I think I'm going to ask for a Rx for amitriptyline (Elavil.) I used to take 25 mg at night and it helped with the depression and the sleep. I did have a little hangover the next day but not like I do now. I think a lot of it is self talk too. I'm like "I HAVE to get to sleep, I HAVE to get to sleep" so of course, I don't. :) Double-edged sword.

I've NEVER been a morning person. Like, ever. My schooldays were hell on earth trying to get up and go. I stayed home a LOT. But I was also undiagnosed hypothyroid at that point and probably had sleep apnea then too.

As far as I know, my sleep apnea is okay and well controlled. It's gotta be something else. I took the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test to see where I was (it's a test where they determine what the problem could be. Anything above a 9 is narcolepsy.) I scored a 7. :)

Edited by leadinglady

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Xanax...pfffft! I can stop any time I want.

Now, seriously.....I've been on xanax now for over a year and at one point was in the 4-6 mg phase and yes, it often helped me, along with elavil.....to sleep. With chronic insomnia, that was a blessing. One or two mg before work made me capable of teaching and handing out papers without nervous tremors...

I've moved and since gotten a new pdoc, who wisely prescribed the .5 doses, so I really had to halve my daily intake , or risk going thru a box in three days. My system adjusted, and most days I take it for anxiety....daily, for over a year.

I would not think of going off cold turkey. When this prescription runs out, I am considering asking the doctor for klonopin because it is more of a flatline than the two hour peak of xanax and then the fade away after about six hours.

There are worse things to be addicted to given my dx, but I am not going to claim my body is not physically addicted. When a friend offered me a klonopin? I find it more steady and longer lasting....

Then again, I added benzos as a fifth food group years ago. They get me thru the day without being curled up fetal in the corner. Its all give and take. Should I deem it necessary? I would taper and move on.....but I don't see the reason for it, since benzos work to keep me sane and lets my explosive temper count to ten before I go ballistic.

Way better than the two quarts of gin a day to get relaxed.....just in terms of liver damage, the volatile and unpredictable aspect of boozing and the abuse coming from imbibing mass quantities of poisonous liquid.

If youre really worried, read the Icarus Projects book on coming off meds. Google the Icarus Project for the free download. Since everyone tells me in my BP forums etc.....I will never be safe going off meds. I take a benzo as part of my own maintainance and it never surprises me with blackouts, never went beyond the maximum allowed dose of 4-6 mg as needed, and now its more like 2-3 on a bad day. Sometimes one mg.....or even .5 if things go smoothly......

Cold turkeying any med is foolish and benzos are no exception. And the withdrawal is as dangerous as alcohol and more dangerous than most mood stabilizers and ADs......we make our choices to get thru our lives....consider me a benzo advocate, in spite of all the anti benzo literature. It makes my life more tolerable and I walk out on fewer jobs and rip people a new one less often.....tho valium and klonopin are even 'safer' cause they have such a long halflife......meaning they stay in your system a lot longer. The problem with xanax is it actually has a peak....which is powerful and pleasant at the required dose relative to your anxiety level. This makes it easier for dependance issues. Consider the smoother, more flatline benzos if you need em....personally I've tried valium, klonopin and xanax, as well as a couple of years on miltowns.....to date I have not had a full blown withdrawal even when circumstances led to missing a day or so. YMMV. Xanax is considered the most addictive because of its feel good effect and a short half life which leaves you dosing more often. Sleep wise, I realize the elavil and the xanax work well to let me drift off to sleep. Discuss your concerns with your pdoc and see what you come up with.

Hope that helps a bit.

Edited by Dr.Faustus

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