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Anxiety/panic attacks
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Anxiety/panic attacks

Hello everyone,  im a recoving alcoholic, 4 yrs sober now.  My Dr. dose not want to seem to give me strong enough meds for my anxiety and panic attacks. all i get is 1mg klonopin 4 times a day.  helped at first.  But then started waking up with panic attacks.  So i went to my family Dr, and he gave me xanax 1mg. 2 times daily.  which has started to help some but still having issues.  Any sugestions?
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Hello and welcome!  First and foremost, congrats on your sobriety!  What a wonderful accomplishment.  You should be very proud of yourself!

Have you been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder?  

I found your post kind of ironic.  On one hand, you're saying that your doctor won't prescribe you anything "strong enough" to treat your anxiety, yet on the other hand, you describe how your doctor has prescribed not one, but TWO benzodiazepines, and at very generous doses I might add.  Many doctors are hesitant to prescribe benzos, for good reason, one, they are habit forming, two, there is a significant amount of abuse and diversion with benzos, and third, they don't "fix" the problem.  

What other treatments for anxiety have you tried?  Have you tried any therapy?  Any other kinds of medications, like antidepressants?  Are you actively working on your alcoholism?  Do you attend meetings like AA?  Have you ever explored the drinking with a professional, to figure out why you were self medicating with alcohol?

Benzos wouldn't be the most optimal choice for you, with your history.  Even though your drug of choice was alcohol, benzos are contraindicated in anyone with a history of substance abuse.  You're going down a slippery slope with the benzos, IMO.

Anti-anxiety meds can be a very useful TOOL in a comprehensive treatment program, but they won't "cure" anxiety, and actually, because benzos come with tolerance (where you eventually need a higher and higher dose to maintain the same level of efficacy), they can end up making anxiety worse in the long run.  Especially the shorter acting benzos, like Xanax.  When tolerance develops and grows, the person will experience an increase in anxiety, especially in between doses.


I would recommend having a sit down with your doc and formulating a more realistic treatment plan that would include therapy, preferably CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), which is a kind of therapy very helpful for anxiety sufferers.  THAT'S where the real progress occurs.  You will learn about the anxiety cycle and you will learn coping techniques.  Unfortunately, you cannot just medicate away anxiety (we all wish it was possible, trust me!).  The meds should be used to help manage symptoms while the real work is done in therapy.  

Also, a more appropriate medication approach for long term would be an antidepressant.  While every medication comes with risks and considerations, an antidepressant would make more sense on a longer term basis versus the benzos.  I would encourage you to start working with your doc to start tapering the benzos down once you start seeing some improvement with a new treatment plan.

Hope this helps.  Please keep in touch and let us know how you're doing!  You're among people who understand and care!
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