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Xanax, is it a big problem?


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I have been having horrible and ongoing panic attacks for awhile...to the point that i have taken a medical leave from work. I have been prescribed Xanax but don't want to take it because i hear horror stories. The thing is, it works. If i take 1 mg. it will knock it out for several hours though it will return. Is it or is it not a good idea to take Xanax? Am i going to be hooked on it and have to keep increasing it?

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Yes. You are already hooked but don't know it. ;)

Xanax and other benzos are drugs that have help me and millions of other people. They can be used irresponsibly, but then so can aspirin. Your caution is reasonable. Certainly you would not expect to be taking them every few hours forever, and no responsible doctor would allow that.

1mg is a moderately low dose and considering that your anxiety/ panic attacks have put you out of work, reasonable. Do not be afraid to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Give it a try and see if things ease up a bit. You don't mention which form you are taking, immediate or extended release. I found the extended release to be more helpful with long term anxiety, once I learned to control the panick attacks.

Do you have a therapist? No pill will solve all anxiety, but learning how you can abort panic attacks is important and empowering. Talking out the other problems of life will work better in company with your other pdocs meds.

Hang in there.

a.m.

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I've been xanax, ativan, and now klonopin now for a few years. I know I'm addicted and so does my pdoc. BUT and that's a big but...they're the only thing that helps me get through the day without having total freakouts. So it's kind of a balance of good and bad. Do the beefits outweigh the side effects or addiction.

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Yes. You are already hooked but don't know it. ;)

Xanax and other benzos are drugs that have help me and millions of other people. They can be used irresponsibly, but then so can aspirin. Your caution is reasonable. Certainly you would not expect to be taking them every few hours forever, and no responsible doctor would allow that.

1mg is a moderately low dose and considering that your anxiety/ panic attacks have put you out of work, reasonable. Do not be afraid to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Give it a try and see if things ease up a bit. You don't mention which form you are taking, immediate or extended release. I found the extended release to be more helpful with long term anxiety, once I learned to control the panick attacks.

Do you have a therapist? No pill will solve all anxiety, but learning how you can abort panic attacks is important and empowering. Talking out the other problems of life will work better in company with your other pdocs meds.

Hang in there.

a.m.

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The biggest problem leading to my medical leave was extreme lack of sleep. I took Ambien, it would work for 4-5 hours (the 12.5 extended release) and left me feeling weird the next day. Lately I've been taking 1.5 mg Xanax and it works a lot better, but, again, I worry about taking it. If I know i can only do this for a short while, then am i not going to end up right where I started?

I have been to therapists for the panic but they don't seem to know much about aborting it. How do you find one who does?

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Linder, do you have any diagnoses? Are you taking any other meds?

Long term, most people are helped by taking other medications like an SSRI since they help the overall anxiety level, while the benzos only treat the symptom.

In discussing my concerns about using xanax too much a few months ago, my pdoc said to me: "AM, you aren't calling me on nights and weekends trying to get early refills! Use it!"

BTW, the normal maximum recommended dose is 4mg per day, which is 4 times higher than your current dose, so you have plenty of leeway.

It boggles my mind that 3 therapists would even admit they don't know how to help you reduce panic attacks. Incredible.

In my reading and experience the key points are:

1. Break the train of thought that is upsetting

2. Use controlled, slow, deep breathing

3. Relax your body and mind

The breath control is what I focus upon. Once you abort a couple panic attacks you realize that they aren't so scary and that you have control.

Here is one helpful article.:

Ten Commandments to Remember During a Panic Attack

Adapted from Fensterheim, H. and Doer, J. "Stop Running Scared!"

1. It does not matter if you feel frightened, bewildered, unreal, unsteady. These feelings are nothing more than an exaggeration of the normal bodily reactions to stress.

2. Just because you have these sensations doesn't mean you are very sick. These feelings are just unpleasant and frightening, not dangerous. Nothing worse will happen to you.

3. Let your feelings come. They've been in charge of you. You've been pumping them up and making them more acute. Stop pumping. Don't run away from panic. When you feel the panic mount, take a deep breath and, as you breathe out, let go. Keep trying. Stay there almost as if you were floating in space. Don't fight the feeling of panic. Accept it. You can do it.

4. Try to make yourself as comfortable as possible without escaping. If you're on a street, lean against a post or stone wall. If you're at the cosmetics department of the department store, find a quieter counter or corner. If you're in a boutique, tell the salesperson you don't feel well and want to sit for a while. Do not jump into a cab and go home in fear.

5. Stop adding to your panic with frightening thoughts about what is happening and where it might lead. Don't indulge in self-pity and think, "Why can't I be like all the other normal people? Why do I have to go through all this?" Just accept what is happening to you. If you do this, what you fear most will not happen.

6. Think about what is really happening to your body at this moment. Do not think, "Something terrible is going to happen. I must get out." Repeat to yourself, "I will not fall, faint, die, or lose control."

7. Now wait and give the fear time to pass. Do not run away. Others have found the strength. You will too. Notice that as you stop adding the frightening thoughts to your panic, the fear starts to fade away by itself.

8. This is your opportunity to practice. Think of it that way. Even if you feel isolated in space, one of these days you will not feel that way. Sometime soon you will be able to go through the panic and say, "I did it." Once you say this, you will have gone a long way toward conquering fear. Think about the progress you have already made. You are in the situation.

9. Try to distract yourself from what is going on inside you. Look at your surroundings. See the other people on the street, on the bus. They are with you, not against you

10. When the panic subsides, let your body go loose, take a deep breath, and go on with your day. Remember, each time you cope with a panic, you reduce your fear.

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I've been xanax, ativan, and now klonopin now for a few years. I know I'm addicted and so does my pdoc. BUT and that's a big but...they're the only thing that helps me get through the day without having total freakouts. So it's kind of a balance of good and bad. Do the beefits outweigh the side effects or addiction.

i took xanax at first, but it made me have night sweats and horrible nightmares, now i take ativan for almost a year it's hard to believe, and now my dr. thinks klonopin since i seem to get "used to" -i know, addicted, to the ativan, but i'm like you- it's the only thing that keeps me from freaking out. but lately it just makes the freak out less intense, not taking it away. i have been doing EMDR therapy i think that brings up a lot of anger and stuff. i know a lot of this chemical imblanace stuff has to do with eating right too, but when i get mad or anxious, my stomach tightens up and i cna't eat... is there hope to get off ativan? will klonopin be a good way to transition off meds altogether?post-3326-1158418840.jpg

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