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Desperately Need Help Weaning Off Xanax
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Desperately Need Help Weaning Off Xanax

I successfully weaned myself off Xanax (0.25 mg for two years) after a trauma and long battle with an eating disorder. Recently (three weeks ago) I had not slept for over four days and called on my doctor to perscribe something that could help me sleep but that wasn't addicting. The only options she gave me were antidepressants (which I refuse to take because they cause weight gain and a host of other problems) or the Xanax again. the docotr assured me if I took the 0.25 once a night before bed after a few days I'd be back to normal. Well, I'm not. I have weaned down to 1/2 of 0.25 in order to sleep, but I wake feeling anxious and alittle foggy too. I run, do yoga and pilates to help, but I have a great deal of responsibilities (single mom) and haven't a clue now how to get off the remaining neediness of the medication. I feel very disappointed in myself because I had been so strong to conduct my life in a sane and healthy fashion and now I have this to deal with all over again.

I want my level-mind back please.
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242532_tn?1269553979
I think you would be much better off using something like Ambien for sleep...so use this and decrease your xanax.
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
i, too, took xanax .25 mg every day for about 5 yrs. when the dr. refused to renew the script a couple of yrs ago, i was forced to go cold turkey. it wasn't easy i was cranky and irritable (much to my family's dismay) and lacked sleep for a few weeks, but i cranked up my exercise routine and managed to get through it. i've ALWAYS had sleep probs, so doc prescribed ambien of which i take 2.5 mgs per night which works sufficiently but now i am dependent on them but at least they're not benzos...i was also on serzone, paxil and remeron for about a year during the time of the xanax and the side affects on those are worse than the disease..was constantly drowsy, couldn't sleep, forgetful. i am a very hyper/reactive person but hey i live with it..i like having all my faculties clear and uninfluenced by drugs.

i think they typically recommend weaning yourself off instead of cold turkey but i didn't get the chance...hey good luck to you just hang in there -- this, too, shall pass....
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Avatar_n_tn
Everyone, Please don't go cold turkey off Xanax.  I did so and wound up in the hospital with severe withdrawal symptoms.  Going off abruptly can cause seizures as well.  It has to be tapered very, very slowly.
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Avatar_n_tn
I read on one web site an idea for weaning oneself gradually off medication when it is very difficult to do, this person used a one inch square of sandpaper and for a week he scraped the pill once across the sandpaper and took the rest of the pill.

The second week he scraped the pill twice across the sandpaper and took the rest, and so on week after week till he was off the med.  Of course the time comes when one would be able to stop scraping since one is down to half the pill and could then just cut the pill in half for a while.  Then go back to scraping the other half as before till one is weaned completely off the med.

This of course only works with a tablet that you can scrape.  One could also try to find a med that is like the one he or she is taking that might be easier to get off of.

For instance I take trazedone to help me sleep.  Every night I take it and without it I have muscle aches and can't sleep.  But if I have an extra busy day, or more physical activity than usual I have to take a little more of the trazedone to be able to sleep.  

I need to go back down to my original dose soon after because the new higher dose will become my new normal, and I would then have to take even more the next time I experienced a physically difficult day.  In order to do that I cut down by a very little till I'm back to the original amount I try to take as a maintenance dose.


If  a person were taking somethinglike Paxil for instance they could use the slow cut down method, or if that didn't work they could switch to trazedone which would supply them with the serotonin support they need (so they wouldn't suffer withdrawal).  I think trazedone is easier to cut down and get off of.

I have chronic fatigue so I don't expect to live without the little bit of trazedone I use until I can get better physically.

One person said she refused to take an antidepressant to help her sleep because they cause weight gain and I can understand that many do that because they make a person feel sleepy and less than energetic.

I'm pretty sensitive to hangover and I experience very little with trazedone, and I haven't gained any weight because of it.
If anything, it takes away my appetite all day, but it returns to normal in the evening.

I gain weight because of less exercise in the winter sometimes, but the person I'm thinking of does exercise.  If she eats foods that are healthy for her, and uses something else to help her feel better when she feels a little anxious, like prayer for instance and maybe keeping a journal, she might find that she would be able to switch to an antidepressant to get off the benzo without gaining weight.  Maybe a bit of SSRI would help her while she slowly cuts back her benzo.

I know someone who experienced severe anxiety, was put on medication, got better and now won't stop taking the med because he is using it as a talisman to ward off anxiety.  He had one episode years ago and because of the severity of that one episode he keeps taking Paxil and believes he won't be safe without it.

I wish you all the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you to everyone for all of you valuable input. It seems the responses from fellow "users" has proven more beneficial than the one-line reply from the online forum staff.

I'd like to know more about Ambien so I'll do some research on ym own then contact my doctor.

Just to clarify; I have extreme concerns of a medication causing weight gain not mainly because I work very diligently with running, yoga and pilates to ward off any setbacks (an old eating disorder issue) and really won't let myself take an anitdepressant for any reason as they classically cause weight gain and drastically slow down a person's metabolism.

I wish I could have heard back from a forum doctor with a more informative and specific answer as to what one can do- thanks anyway to all of you for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
hey - just as an aside...serzone does not cause weight gain and i had no sexual side effects, just drowsiness & forgetfulness. i actually lost about 20 lbs while taking it and never re-gained it (i am 107 lbs 5'4") in 5 yrs..so IF and i say ONLY IF you find it impossible to continue with your situation without the temporary intervention of anti-depressants, serzone might help but i developed an allergic reaction b/c i was taking xanax too so had to come off it..

ambien leaves no hang over effects as long as you sleep at least 5 hrs but the dependence can increase over time to larger doses so i only take 1/2 of a 5 mg nightly. if i wake up during the night am usually able to fall back to sleep but sometimes just doesn't happen so i just stay up. life aint perfect..

good luck to you
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Avatar_n_tn
I say address all these issues with a civillian doctor of your choice.  There is an alarming number of posts from non qualified medical know alls that may as well exchange scripts in the mail - this is not safe guys! Just because a medicine works well for one person does not mean it will do so for another person with the exact same complaint/diagnosis.

I know you are really trying to shed the weight you gained while on anti-depressants but do you really think taking pills is the most sensible way to do this? While you are researching weight loss medication it may be prudent for you to research how much weight is regained when medication is finally ceased.  Chances are that there is no magic pill for weight loss - but many people have gotton wealthy with pills that claim to help battle the bulge.

Exercise and healthy eating may not be the answer you would like to hear but, untill you do, you may continue to have problems with weight gain and loss. Metabolisms need to be stimulated by healthy food to burn off excess fat.  This is further assisted by excercise.  You say that your diet and excercise are fine, then keep it up and you will slowly get the results you want.  If you loose too much too fast - you could wreak havoc with your metabolism and suffer serious health problems like depression/anxiety, fluctuating weight, lethargy, chronic fatigue syndrome, increase your risk of heart attack and all kinds of other dangerous  health problems.

You will be no good for deployment if you are not healthy, so I suggest your health should be more important to you than weight gain. If you don't get help with this - things will only get worse. Be carefull not to develop any eating disorders or to address them with a trained professional if they ever do arise.

PS: Have you considered that anti depressants didn't cause your weight gain?  Usually anti-depressants treat the condition and appetite returns.  Is it possible that your diet became indulgent when you were feeling better and that is why your weight gain correlates with the time frame in which you were taking medication?  Just a thought.

Good luck to you, please feel free to talk to civillian doctors if only for a second opinion. They are every bit as good and not nearly half as bias.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello to my American (mostly, it seems) counterparts. As most of you would guess, treatment for Panic or related 'disfunctions' varies from country to country. In Australia, the use of SSRI(s) is common - however far cheaper than in the States. Nonetheless, the effects are, obviously, the same.

After 9 years on a cocktail of Xanax (Alprazolam), Citalopram (SSRI) and, now, Clonazapam (usually used for seizures), I want out. I have discussed this option with various Medicos, the answer seems to be reducing by half, once a week. So: 60mg SSRI (20mg Tablet)= 50 in week 1, and so on. So too with Xanax or your particular brand.

In the past I have failed, largely due to (get this!) not breaking the pills in two. My advice is to follow the reduction of half/one week and break the bloody things in two. There is a slight, very slight, irritation and maybe waking up a bit earlier (try and take evening meds as late as possible), but that's about it - no climbing walls. I'll keep in touch. Good luck to you all.

Cheers from Down Under, and if you want to know how much we pay here, let me know.
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Avatar_n_tn
Mr.Med - I am also Australian.
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Avatar_n_tn
Suggestions needed:  Fellow Xanax addicts, I've been on Xanax for over 3 years.  Started after my son was in a severe car accident.  Trying to help him (19 yrs old), beridden, keep his credit up and his girlfriends, along with my own.  I hated my job, couldn't sleep and someone I knew had some Xanax.  I new nothing about it, except it would help you sleep.  This is how this all started.  Went to Dr.'s, convinced him that this pill worked for me with my stress along with my sleeplessness.  He prescribed me 2mg/day  0.25 x 4 day.  Than they came out with xanax XR (extended release).  I was on this amount for about 4 months.  It didn't seem to work anymore or as well anymore.  So I found how I could get more.  To make a long story short, I still take the extended release along with a 1mg tablet, than throughout the day, I probably take anywhere from 8 - 10mg/ day.  I can take 20 mg at one time, take a nap for about 2-4 hours, get up and still function.  The doctor also had me on Lexapro 30 mg at night for sleep and depression, he changed that recently because I've been feeling depressed again to Cymbalta, 60 mg/day.  Did not like that, so I took myself off it.  I want off the Xanax, but if I'm even a half hour late for my morning dose, I start to withdrawal...so bad that I can't even roll over in bed and reach for my purse to grab a pill.  I hurt all over, every muscle and bone hurts.  Headache is UNBELIEVABLE!!  I am a Christian, and God help me beat my addiction to alcohol and I've prayed about this addiction.  The craving for Xanax is sooo strong, it overrides the want to get off it.  Anyone with any suggestions.  I KNOW that I need to get off this medicine.  I don't want to go out anywhere or speak to people, (thinking that they can see that I have a serious problem).  I have no health insurance and where I live, there are no REAL detox centers.  I've already been in the hospital once (suicide attempt) because of this medicine and my messed up life.  My life is much better now and I really want to enjoy it, without the drugs.  Someone out there has got to have some advice...Please respond.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Bren1221,

I have found a web page you might want to have a look at regarding tapering slowly off xanax.  It also has alot of other really helpful info about this medication.  You will need to scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page to find the doctor's recommended method of gradually weaning off xanax.  I hope you find this information at least a little helpful, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Copy and paste the following into your address field:

http://www.dearest.com/educate/xanax.htm

Good luck and take care, from hangin'in there!
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Avatar_n_tn

Klonapiin is used to wean some people off valium; I'd assume its the same for Xanax. Ask you MD and do some research.

Lexapro - amazingly well tolerated antidepressant - at least for me.

Anxiety can have a multiude of complexities
   In children, they are thought of as ill-behaved and stupid.
   In some instances, at least, its a manifestation of anxiety
          Mind goes blank
          Taunts and teases others
          Gets punished for being ILL!
          The Wappingers Central School District "denies" to offer any assistance other than punishment.
          A request for NYU Medical Center evaluation was denied as unnecessary.

          There are No consequences to schol administrations; if pressure mounts, they get transferred.

          Even mistakes don't matter.

          Even erroneous approvals by the Wappingers Central School District on an IEP - are inconsequential.

          Even the new CSE prefers to lie!

          Life "ain't easy" out there; but there are alternatives.

          Senator Clinton's office was "useless"! I'm outraged at the lack of assistance or response.

          The Office of the Secretary of Education has been the most helpful so far; when I complained that one of the OSEP employees, the people who oversee the state compliance to IDEA,
Sarah menlove, wasn't interested in doing anything, I JUST went higher.

          The NY State Attorney General is also involved.

          Per IDEA, acts have to be willful - if a child is suffering from severe anxiety and ADHD and ODD - what is the liklihood that the behavior is willful? Educators are supposed to be trained in this - BUT that's a wish; not a reality.

          OSEP compliance is, apparently, rubber stamping paperwork.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, My name is Sandra. I am a Holistic Health Practitioner. I find it staggering how many people rely on drugs to get up, go to sleep, and ultimately cope with life. Taking good care through many modalities is the solution. Stop drinking alcohol, stop eating sugar, and find some practitioner like myself to assist you in your new life of stimulant/antidepressant's free. People that engage in drugs prescribed or otherwise never find soultions to thier problems, because they are only masking them with drugs. I do not mean to sound unkind but I deal with this regularly. People have to take responsibility for their health. Stop relying on pills to relieve your emotional problems. If you are not sleeping well get to the root cause! Is it easy NO, life is not easy. In order to feel well, and be well you have to live morally, and respectfully of your body. Filling yourself with quick fix drugs, alcohol, and sex are usually the culprits of unrealized peace. Brittney spears is a good example of a life run amuck. I am so tired of Dr.'s perscribing drugs to satisfy their patients. Resposible care starts with full disclosure...in other words be honest about what your problems are, and get help if needed to solve them. Stop being a victim!!
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