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361662 tn?1204239310
xanax withdrawl
I was given xanax in1991 for a panic disorder specific to driving, 3mgs a day. During the past 4 years i have reduced to 2mgs a day and was doing OK. I am wanting to get off the medication and tried tapering down .5mg earlier this month with extreme pain, disorientation and a bunch of intense side effects, twitching, nausea etc. The only thing I can compare it too was the side effects of chemotherapy, (am a 6 year breast cancer survivor). After about a week of this, with no lessining of the pain, headaches, body pain in every joint and muscle,I saw my psyciatrist. She advised me to go back to my 2mgs a day dosage and seek hospitalization for xanax de-tox.She advised me it was too dangerous to do alone, due to possibilty of seizure, stroke, neurological issues and more.She said I should be very closely monitiored..
It seems hard to understand why the tapering down from the 3mgs to 2mgs was not that bad, which I also did in.5 mg increments and stepping down a bit more was so awful. Actually I tried this about 6 months ago with similar symptoms , but for only 3 or 4 days as I felt horrible..
We are planning an in-patient stay at Peachford Hospital in Atlanta. I have already contacted them and researched the staff etc.My insurance will cover up to 15 days. I am not sure what to expect.
The counselor I spoke with at Peachford informed me that they can give me other meds ? to help.
I will find out more when I go for an assessment, but she also said to be prepared to be admitted the same day. I am getting things in order to be ready to enter the hospital sometime in mid-January.
Can you advise me as to what I might expect in this 15 day stay? I know they do alot of group therapy . The medical staff qualifications seems first rate.
By the way, I di not experience much anxiety tapering, just immense physical discomfort.
Thanks, peaches
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i am not trying to scare u but it is scientificly proven that xanax withdraws can kill you. i would NOT go any lower until u speak to your doctor and tell him everyone of ur symptoms.  good luck please keep us posted.. keep ur head up and stay strong.
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I just read your post, and it appears that you have great knowledge of Xanax withdrawls, etc.  I, too, have been on Xanax for about a year and a half (approx 18 months, give or take). 2 mgs per day. When I try to ween off, 1 1/2 mgs per day, I experience weakness on my left side, twitches, wake up with shakes, anxiety attacks etc. My Doc. just prescribed Paxil to help ween me off the Xanax, but I have heard of awful ghost stories from those on Paxil (20mgs).  I don't feel 18 months is an awfully long time to have been on Xanax, but I am scared of both drugs.  Do you have any insight???
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361662 tn?1204239310
Thanks for your post.
I have a good psychiatrist and as I mentioned I have been able to taper down , on my own, over a period of 3-4 years, without severe withdrawl.
When I go for the assessment at Peachford, which has an excellent staff of doctors, including a neurologist, several psychiatrists and other specialists, whom I have researched, I will bring up the suggestions and warnings which you mentioned.
When I spoke with the counselors there, they said I will probably be given medications as deemed appropriate and monitoed carefully. I also may just taper , rather than totally be off all meds. I will ask alot of questions. Thanks for telling me about Klonipin. I am also going to ask about pain management. I already know how intense the pain is from my attemps earlier this month to continue the tapering at home. I am also been made aware of the dangers.
Being, I live alone, with no close family near by, the idea of being in a hospital gives me some feeling of safety.The saftey factor is very important as well. This is why my psychiatrist suggested I go there. It is a difficult descion to make. And again i am very grateful for your input. IAlso it is quite likely, that I may spend the next year , after discharge as an out patient in a psychiatric facility in my town. The more information and support I have the greater my chances are for success.
Like Dodie, I did experience alot of weird sensations, especially in left side of my body.
The hospital may use Klonipin or valium. I have Dr. Ashton's manual and I believe that her method, and/or variations of it are widely used for Xanax tapering/withdrawl.
I believe i am starting on a much longer process than the 15 days at Peachford.For me that's a starting out point.
I had hopes of leaving there free of benzos, but that may be an unrealistic goal.

I hope to hear from you again. Could you tell me if you have directly experienced this process as a benzo user, or are you a professional in this field? Your experiences either way, experiencing and/or observing would be most helpful. You sound very knowledgable and articulate.

The problem with many professionals, (doctors, counselors, psychiatrists and pharmacists, nurses etc.) is that they have alot of book knowlegde but don't have the point of view of folks who are on these meds and dealing with getting off of them.

The money factor. Yes, Unfortunately alot of folks are making scads of money off of these meds in all sorts of ways.

Best regards, Peaches

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366811 tn?1217426272
Let me see if I understand. Peaches is going to Peachford in the peach tree state -right? How can you miss with a combination like that! Anyway, in terms of tapering, it is not just the amount you decrease, but the percentage of the total you are taking. Thus, if someone is taking 10 mg of something, and tapers by 2 mg, they've made a 20% reduction (2/10) the first time. But the next 2 mg reduction is against a toal of 8 mg (left over from the first time) which is 25% The next one is 2/6, or a third. And the next? 2/3 which is 67%!  That's alot!

I think you'll be able to do some realistic goal setting once you're in the program. Meanwhile, be careful about assuming too much or adopting any program in particular in advance of your treatment -and keep an open mind.

And you are right -the care givers and providers often do NOT have personal experience from which to draw. What they DO have is a wealth of exposure to MANY people who have all had the same/similar problems. THAT'S the stuff you want to draw on.

Good luck -you sound like you're mind is "together." I think you'll do well.
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Good luck, and may God bless you.  I'm not sure if you were asking me or Ryan regarding being professionals on Benzo..well I am not, but I feel like a victim.  I am so sorry that I didn't do my own research BEFORE I began Xanax.  As stated before, I am only on 2mgs per day (for about 18 months), but it is SO hard to lessen the dosage. I spend hours on the net trying to find an answer on how to get rid of this mess.  I want it out of my body for good.  I am praying more, learning breathing exercises, etc., driving my poor husband crazy, he can only stand so much. Only God can lead to the perfect answer. Sad, I called my Doctor the other day and He didn't remember who I was; I just had a visit with him 2 days before.  I know he's a busy man, but for crying out loud, He could at least pulled my chart!!!. After the phone call, I felt hopeless and helpless. I'm 52 years old, and after I hung up the phone, I cried like a 3 year old. I regret the day I first popped this little pill in my mouth.
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Hi!!
Im on the Xanax Merry Go Round...lots of praying here...Im on .50 mgs a day..in a constant state of withdrawl..so life is tough especially in the am...I hate getting out of bed...but I am not a quitter..I dont think my shrink will admit that this dosage is addicting..but what I have read..its not only the dosage its the length of time and I am now approaching a year..I wish I never was prescribed it...but hinde sight is always 20/20...I may try that Ashton taper method..Im in the ny-nj metro area...if any knows of a good shrink..let me know..
thanks and God Bless..
ps I feel for everyone...and I hear ya dodie
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361662 tn?1204239310
Hi everyone. I am feeling more optimisic after reading all your posts again.

As a recovered alcoholic I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT PEER SUPPORT IS.

HONESTY, OPENMINDEDNESS AND WILLINGNESS is HOW.

The fact that were are being all of those things is a great start.

Please, do your research. From what I have learned over the past months has led me to believe  I can be free of Xanax. After seeing my psychiatrist this week, we have embarked upon a plan.
PLEASE GET A GOOD PSYCHIATRIST. I FIND THAT I HAVE TO BE AN INPORTANT PART OF MY HEALING.
This includes bringing my knowledge, research and personal experiences to my doctor. She has alot of medical knowledge but I and y'all have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

I requested to continue a (what I hope to be) a REALISTIC TAPER . I have already tapered from 3mgs a day to 2 mgs a day, over the past 2 years. Now I wish to  accelerate the taper so i requested my pills be in .5 mgs  TABLETS and got a pill splitter .I AM ALSO KEEPING A MEDICATION LOG/JOURNAL.

Our plan is to reduce to 1.75 mgs over the next month. A .25mg decrease. I know this is more than the very slow 2% taper with another benzo for support, but I'd rather not take Valium or Klonopin as I don't think it would really help. After another month we plan to reduce by another .25mgs.

I know this will take a great deal of attention and if withdrawls symptoms get too much for me, I have the option of going to the hospital.

We were thinking that when I get down to 1 MG a day, the in-patient de-tox may be the correct thing to do. My doctor told me that weaning off the completely after maintAining on the losest possible dose is the most difficult. That may be the right time to get hospital treatment.

I am planning to consult Peachford and get an assessment as I wish to check out the facility and ask alot of questions. In the meantime my doctor will be getting in touch with the doctor/psychiatrist there who will be overseeing my treatment, if and when we decide it is most appropriate.

I am taking my 2mgs a day in 4 .5 mg dosages, which works very well for me,.Tomorrow i will begin to take 3  .5 mg doses and 1  .25 mg dose. I will take the lowest dose probably in the evening and try to maintain a low stress, peaceful lifestyle. Reading, meditating, prayer, all help. Thinking good thoughts and chatting with others helps too..

There are some good psychatrists out there, though many of them, in my experience are over educated idiots.MAKE PHONE CALLS EXPECIALLY LOOK FOR THOSE WHO HAVE HAD TRAINING WITH ADDICTIONS .Any dose of xanax over a period of time is addicting. Physically addictiong. I do advise you all to get the Aston Manual. It describes all the withdrawl symptioms and explains exactly what benzos do, and why it is so difficult to get off them.

For a fee you can download the manual and also buy the book which I did.
Also check out the The Road Back Org. they reccomend some diatery supplements which may help.

I know that a good natural, whole grain foods help me. As well as calming food such as yogurt, bananas  help and spicy stimulting foods, too much coffee, alcohol and sugar can be  counterproductive. Also the nourishment in fruits, vegatebles, protein drinks can help the body heal. Some excercise, especially walking out doors in a pleasant naural setting helps bring more oxygen into the body. Drinking water with a bit of not acid fruit juice helps keep the system hydrated and refreshed.

I AM NOT PROMOTING ANY FAD DIETS JUST GOOD WHOLESOME FOOD IN MODERATE  AMOUNTS.

We don't have to be victims forever.  I look forward from hearing from you and will let you know of my progress. Please let me know how you are doing.

God bless you all,
Peaches


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Good luck, Peaches, and God bless
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Hi Peaches:

How are you doing on your tapering? I have good days and bad days. Yesterday and today were good days; hopefully tomorrow will be yet another good day.  You are right about the exercise (walking). Getting out of the house and walking in a calm setting for about 1/2 hour does wonders for me, and probably others as well. I am slowly tapering from the 2mgs per day. I now (try)  to only take 1/2mgs 4 times a day, sometimes cutting the 1/2 into 1/4. If you wish to communicate my e-mail address is ***@****

God Bless,

Dodie
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361662 tn?1204239310
Hi I'm on my 12th day of tapering from 2 mgs a day to 1.75 and feeling fine. The first 3 days were rocky but I've made a medications log and keep notes. Tomorrow I will see my psychologist and psychiatrist. My plan is to maintain on this dosage for a month and start my new taper to 1.5 mgs a day the second week of February.
My doctor gave me a presctrion for .5mg pills. They are easy to cutin half.
It helps taking my meds in 5-6 doses a day either in.25 mgs and .5 mgs once a day , especially if i need to drive somewhere. mostly I stay at home, seem to have alot of energy now and am doing alot of cleaning and organizing on my good days.
I know this is a faster taper than the 2% recommended by others, but I seem to
able to deal with it OK.
I may do the last month of tapering in the hospital.
Wishing you all the best.
Peaches
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349780 tn?1309637558
Why on earth, in this day and age, are such tablets allowed exist? It is clear what they have done to so many people. Turned us into xanax addicts. Now it is up to us to try and get off the things. Am about to do the same thing myself. Reading of all the trouble people are having makes it sound like a long road back. I would seriously love to see somebody take a law suit out against their doctor for leaving them on these tablets and getting them addicted to them. It would be a landmark case and if the ruling went in favour of the patient you could imagine the amount of similar cases that would follow. As patients we depend on our doctors. We know nothing about these tablets when we are given them. It's only years down the line we find out the truth about them. By then we are hooked. Look at the pain so many people are been forced to go through. Simply because a doctor left you on a tablet he / she never should have left you on. Good luck to all trying to come off the demon drug.
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366811 tn?1217426272
You are a TOTAL inspiration. Total, COMPLETE. Seldom does one have the opportunity and privilege of watching a fellow human move toward his or her own health and well-being. A remarkable example of self-healing.

I'm not just saying all this to hear myself speak (although that happens sometimes). If you -if ANYONE- reads all the responses to your post, they will immediately discern that you not only had the challenege of the withdrawal and re-entry into a new life, but also the challenges of some of the scary material in the posts themselves, which you handled with grace, dignity and aplomb. And, there is the background is your old relationship with John Barleycorn, whom you've sent packing!

Peaches, you've got ia all together, altogether! The spiritual grip, community support, nutritional component and magical ability to handle the psychiatric cases who treat you! Promise me, PROMISE me you'll hang out here to keep us abreast of your progress and insights -and to begin the work of helping others to whom your example alone is the 24 carat evidence that, yes, it CAN be done.
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361662 tn?1204239310
Thanks again,

Regarding lawsuits, in Jack Hobson_Dupont's "The Benzo Book", he does site a lawsuit, successfully won in UK.

The main problem is NO INFORMED CONSENT.  Doctors have a responsibility to inform you of all the pros and cons of any treatment.

I di not get this information in 1991. In fact when i told my psychiatrist, after the first mont of bing on xanax, that I was only taking it on work days ( I don't remember if I mentioned I had a driving phobia, and at 47 I had to learn how to drive, for my family's sake, to get a good job)
Anyway that's how I started on Xanax. I was desperate and xanax helped me overcome my  paralyzing fear of driving. I only wanted to take it PRN, an hour before I had my commute. My shrink told me I needed to take it EVERY DAY, 3X A DAY.

I still don't drive in cities. Thankfully now that I am retired , no longer living in Northern California, and live in outside a small city/town in Georgia, I don't need to drive much and everything I need is within 10 or less miles of where I live.

Also I've been getting alot of help from Benzoisland.org. They have forums there and I would recommend it to anyone here. Nice to have 2 places to go.

My greatest sense of strength is my unflagging faith in Higher power, whom I call THE LIVING GOD, cause that's true. Having a strong spiritual focus is essential for me to grow and be what I was intened to be. Certainly not a victim.  Maybe God had a reason for all of this, another big challenge to overcome. I can see why some folks refer to xanax as SATAN.. Cunning baffling and powerful. Promises release from anxiety, at what cost.

My soul, all souls are precious.These drugs are just another way to entice  THE VERY SENSITIVE ONES AMONG US to become enslaved.

We are ultra-sensitve people. That can be a great gift.The world as it is, is harsh and cold often. To numb ourselves from the harsh realities of a dog-eat-dog society,panic of isolation and alienation,  many people . feeling that they are "sick" or emotionally un-sound ignorantly look for help from doctors who ignorantly prescribe these drugs.

As Jack hobson-Dupont states
" The signpost on the road to Hell reads " Heaven Straight Ahead".

I'm doing pretty good. Day 18 of taper. God Bless you all.
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361662 tn?1204239310
I have one question, the consensus on other benzo sites and benzo books seem to be the only way to taper without incurring damage to oneself is the Ashton method. This recommends using valium, a longer acting benzo in the weaning process. There is a detailed shedule for this process in The Ashton Manual, which can be read on-line or purchased. I have one and it is excellent.

Another person here suggested Klonopin for the same purpose. Dr. Reg Pearl discusses this in his article, Valium vs. Klonopin in Benzodiazipine withdrawl. I plan on giving this to my doctor.

However nobody has informed me of specific DANGERS in slow weaning off of Xanax without using another  longer acting  Benzo.

I do understand fully that Valium is easier to reduce in tiny doses beacause of the size in mgs of the tablets.

Thanks so much again.

Day 19 of direct taper.Maintaining 1.75 mgs, down from 2.0 mgs. Slept 8 hours last night as did the previous few nights. Woke up feeling good
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366811 tn?1217426272
Well, aren't you just moving right along! Day 19! It will be interesting, I think, to see what kind of reponses are made to your tapering question, but I caution you to bear in mind that personal opinions are just THAT -personal opinions. The value of experiences people share is that if we run into some of the same, we can take some assurance from the fact that others have been there before us.

That said, I wish you well and am so GLAD you've kept us up-to-date.
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361662 tn?1204239310
Hi,
Just wondering if any folks have successfully gotten off of xanax and how you did it.Today is day 29 of the 1.75mgs dosage, down from 2.0 mgs.

Am feeling pretty emotional today and confused, as far as the future. I spoke to a friend who had withdrawn from xanax cold turkey 19 years ago in treatment. She reported that she had bben taking huge amounts of xanax, prior to treatment, abusing the drug. She reported that they only gave here phenobarbitol to prevent seizures and she suffered from withdrawal symptoms for 14 months after that. That sounds pretty awful as a cure. That was along time ago  and seems rather barbaric.

I called a hospital that she recommended and asked a counselor about their treatment plan. She advised me that they typically use Tranzene  for rapid 1 week inpatient de-tox. Then they do out patient follow up treatment for an intermined lenght of time.I have never heard of Tranzene and wonder if this is a realistic option.

She had not heard of The Ashton Manual either. On Benzoisland.org, that is the only system that they support.

I know the next taper is going to be pretty rough. Sorry, am not teribly cheerful today.

Thanks for all your input. It really helps alot.

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I tried switching from xanex to valium and had a horrible time.  I then switched back to xanex and am withdrawing from it.  I have so far gone from 4 mg down to 1 mg.  I know it can be done, but I only know of one other person who did it.  The Benzoisland site is good as is Benzobuddies.  I think Benzobuddies is a little more tolerant of different methods used to withdraw and can help you withdraw at your own rate in a way that is comfortable to you using whatever benzo you are on.
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361662 tn?1204239310
Thanks for your reply.I've visited benzobuddies too. It seems that the only thing they reccoment is The Ashton Manual. Your post is quite interesting. How and over what time period have you tapered down?

This gives me renewed hope.

Is your taper supervised by a doctor? In what amounts do you reduce and over what period of time?

I spoke to one lady tday, who did a cold turkey de-tox from xanax, several years ago with only phenobarbitol in a hospital. She reported have severe withdrawal for 14 months afterwards. Sounds awful. But she said she somehow dealt with it.

I think I found a good recovery program and doctor,today, in a nearby town, who does a compassionate approach to prescription drug withdrawal. I spoke to one of the counselors and may see the doctor for an evaluation on Monday. They have an outpatient program, and it appears they favor a slow  taper. I hope they take my insurance. I'll find out more in the next few days.

It seems like I've been spending hours every day , looking for help. I also found an in-patient program that does a faster de-tox using Tranzene. I don't know anything about that one.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.You some like an awesome lady.
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361662 tn?1204239310
I wanted to thank you for your advice. So far I've gotten about 5 opinions.I have contacted several local recovery programs by phone and today after contacting BREAKTHROUGH ADDICTION RECOVER, neatr Atlanta, I am feeling optimistic. They have an out patient program, and favor the slow taper. I'm not sure what method or medication they use but their philosophy is compassionate. The counselor I spoke with today took alot of time with me, and gave me some good information. I can find out more when I make an appointment.  I don't know if they will take my insurance. The billing department has to check that out

My psychiatrist here, is very nice, but she is not that knowegable in this area, although she did bring up the subject of Klonopin during my last visit.

Another place I researced uses a transition to Tranzene, which I know nothing about. However the counselor there assured me that I would not go through a painful withdrawl and would get follow up care. This place does take my insurance.

Summer's post seems very optimistic.

I truly appreciate all your support and advise.

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In July I was taking 3 to 4 mg of xanex daily.  In Sept. I started a crossover to valium and was taking 1.5 mg xanex and 15 mg of valium.  Between Oct. and Nov. I got down to just about 22 mg of valium, but wasn't doing too well.  Then I went back to the xanex at 2 mg in November.  In the mid of Dec. went to 1.5 mg and now at 1 mg and thinking of going to .75 mg soon.   It is NOT dr. supervised.  I am doing this on my own.  From everything I've heard and read, it is not good to detox in an inpatient setting.  It is best to do it on an outpatient basis over many months.
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