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Xanax - helpful or evil?


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Hi,

My doc just gave me some xanax to deal with pressure at work and in other areas of my life.  He said I should take 0.25 to 0.5 mg "as needed".  I'm kindov not so keen on taking xanax with the reputation it has.  I would have prefered klonopin but the doc said it slurrs speach and makes you sluggish.

The xanax works great on anxiety, but I am afraid I will build a tolerance to it and/or have a hard time discontinuing.  If I don't go over 1mg a day, will it still be hard to discontinue? Also, I find the anxiolitic effect of the xanax wears off quickly.  To anybody on this med, how long does a xanax dose last you?  Feedback on xanax would be appreciated.

PBF

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I took it for about six months and discontinued with no problems. Immediate release lasts 4-5 hours I would guess. I took 1 mg of extended release at bedtime (10-11) and it wore off around 3-4 the next day. Then I'd take .25 of immediate release (if needed) to get through the afternoon.

I was worred about tolerance, too. But like I said, I've been able to discontinue quite easily and am now only taking it as needed.

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Just my experience-

I took Xanax for a while to curb panic attacks and I took it very conservatively. Only took 0.25-0.50 mg. at a time and only when my anxiety got really bad (bordering panic). There were many days when I could have used something but I didn't take Xanax. It would be very easy to abuse this drug and build up tolerence.

I think it's a good drug if taken this way. It's a good emergency crutch but not a good full-time anxiety med. Only your doctor can dx your condition and rx the proper med. My guess is your doctor feels you need a part-time med for emergencies. If you feel you need a full-time med tell him/her so.

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My personal, honest view is that xanax should generally be the last choice to be prescribed of the popular benzos (ie valium, klonopin, atvian & xanax).

Its pros are : extremely effective, fast acting, nothing out there is stronger, short half life

Its cons are : extremely addictive - you develop tolerance and dependence quickly if used consistently more often than once per day, half life continually drops and can get as low as around 2-3 hrs, its strength does make some people feel depressed.

If used daily on a short term basis or long term say 3-4 times per week or less, its fine.

If you use it daily for an extended period, withdrawal can be a bitch.  Been there done that. 

I personally feel that valium or klonopin are better choices for most people - the extended half life means you dont need to repeatedly dose as often.

But having said that, nothing works as well as xanax for panic attacks.

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I also agree with whats already been posted. Chimp does make a good point, I needed xanax everyday while going thorugh a bad anxiety with med change (about 2.5 mgs total)  and within a week it started feeling as though it was wearing off faster and faster.  I started taking .25 ever 3 hours just to feel some sort of stability.  Yes that worked but made me really NEED that damn .25 mgs every few hours. Another few weeks of that crap and I wanted off of it.  I obviously tapered too fast and had withdrawal after being on it a total of 3 weeks.

I didn't touch the stuff for months. Now I can safely take it again prn, which is hardly ever.  I can take it once a day in my pms week and be fine. More than once a day and the roller coaster starts again.

Great drug. prn means just that, prn. Take it everyday and soon enough you will NEED it everyday. (only my opnion of course)

If someone is in a huge anxiety crush and needs instant relief, this is the med to help. No doubt about it. When you are in that state the last thing to worry about is

what it will be like going off of it.

So I consider it fabulous for prn and for dire going out of your mind crazy. For the middle area I would suggest one of the others.

CC~

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I use it for as needed basis. For a few months that was every night.  I did not find that I had any withdrawals or built up any tolerance.  I don't see it as a bad drug.  It really for me has been a godsend at times.  Everyone is different tho.  My mom takes this sometimes daily for a few weeks and then stops.  She is quite med sensitive but has no reactions when she does this.  Go figure?  Take care.  Kris.

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I found Xanax to be a lifesaver after suffering from panic attacks and horrible anxiety for years.  I would self-medicate with marijuana during the time I wasn't taking the Xanax (stupid and not recommended!) ;)

It CAN be very addicting and hard to get off of, but that is only if used in medium to high doses over long periods of time (in most cases).  I take .25 mg every day (for about a year now) during the week (skip weekends unless really needed) and have had no problems at all.  I went on vacation last month and didn't take it for a whole week, and did not experience any withdrawal effects at all.

Just treat it with the respect it deserves.  It really is the best benzo out there.

Just my 2 cents...

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I take .25-.5mg PRN. Like everyone said, I think it can be a life-saver if your anxiety gets out of control, like mine was when I was prescribed it.  I took it almost everyday for a while but now that my other medications have smoothed things out for me, I rarely need it.  Effects lasted about 4 hours or so, which is the perfect amount of time to get me through a crowded concert or football game, etc. ;)

I was kind of surprised my psych prescribed this as it is the first benzo I have tried, but so far I have nothing but good things to report about this drug.  I feel no desire to take it constantly at all.

Good Luck, I hope you find it to be as helpful as I have!

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I take .25-.5mg PRN. Like everyone said, I think it can be a life-saver if your anxiety gets out of control, like mine was when I was prescribed it.  I took it almost everyday for a while but now that my other medications have smoothed things out for me, I rarely need it.  Effects lasted about 4 hours or so, which is the perfect amount of time to get me through a crowded concert or football game, etc. ;)

I was kind of surprised my psych prescribed this as it is the first benzo I have tried, but so far I have nothing but good things to report about this drug.  I feel no desire to take it constantly at all.

Good Luck, I hope you find it to be as helpful as I have!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a note: do not use xanax XL and think you can mix it with alcohol.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I didn't even know there was an extended release of Xanax.

Has it been around for long, anyone know if it's available under the PBS in Australia?

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My pdoc had me on 1 mg 4xday, although if I felt I needed less, I could certainly take less. How the hell would I know, I was always sleeping! Started tapering off (I did take it for a while, so it's been a build-up in strength) - not pleasant or fun. I asked for something less sedating today, he wants me to try Ativan. Said it's not quite as strong.

One thing I did in the beginning was to deliberately (if possible) not take it at the same time every day. The more variance, the better.

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My pdoc had me on 1 mg 4xday, although if I felt I needed less, I could certainly take less. How the hell would I know, I was always sleeping! Started tapering off

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It has been my experience that you NEED to be physically addicted to get best results from Xanax.

As long as I take 0.5mg every 2nd day (perhaps I could take less but I have 2mg bar's so it's too difficult to get them smaller than 0.5mg) then I do not get sedated when taking them in urgent panicky situations or every 2nd day. If I were to not take them for a week, then take 0.5mg I would become severely sedated.

The way I see it is that you gain a tolerance to the sedating effects of Xanax but not to the anti anxiety effects. To get best results from Xanax you NEED to have a tolerance to it, or as you've experienced it works more like a sleep medication.

I would be interesting to hear if anyone agrees or disagrees with that.

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It has been my experience that you NEED to be physically addicted to get best results from Xanax.

As long as I take 0.5mg every 2nd day (perhaps I could take less but I have 2mg bar's so it's too difficult to get them smaller than 0.5mg) then I do not get sedated when taking them in urgent panicky situations or every 2nd day. If I were to not take them for a week, then take 0.5mg I would become severely sedated.

The way I see it is that you gain a tolerance to the sedating effects of Xanax but not to the anti anxiety effects. To get best results from Xanax you NEED to have a tolerance to it, or as you've experienced it works more like a sleep medication.

I would be interesting to hear if anyone agrees or disagrees with that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi BOB, just a note on your terms.

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Guest buspar queen

I think I'm going to have to join this board!  You guys are MY people.  Thanks for being here. 

I've not felt sleep or sedated with Xanax unless I take too much for the situation.  I have taken as high as 1mg and NOT fallen asleep because I was just too amped up.  Conversely, I've taken as little as .5mg and fallen asleep (at a bbq!) because the situation was not as stressful (anxiety provoking) as I expected it to be.

Xanax is not a daily thing for me unless the week is one of those icky weeks that are racked with insecurities and anxiety.

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