Depression/Mental Health Expert Forum
Getting off Xanax
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support pertaining to mental health issues such as: Anger, Dementia, Depression, Family Problems, Memory Problems, Personality Disorders, Phobias, Schizophrenia, Transitions and Work Problems.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Getting off Xanax

I have been on 1 mg of Xanax for 3 years.  I am now weaning off because my regular doctor will not continue to prescribe for me since I can't do office visits as I now have no insurance.  She gave me 30 .5 mg pills to "withdraw" with.  I am now on .125 mg in the morning and .25 in the evening.  I have panic disorder and am afraid that I am going to have bad withdrawals.  Is there any danger of having a seizure from weaning off Xanax?  I don't have any symptoms except for mild headaches and some diarrhea, along with a dizzy or "off-kilter" feeling sometimes.  I am going to reduce by a quarter over the next couple of weeks.  I am very concerned I will have a seizure or severe withdrawals.  Can you tell me what to expect and how long I can expect it for?  Also, any advice on how to deal with panic and anxiety with no medications?  I cannot afford therapy at this time.  Thank you.
Related Discussions
242532_tn?1269553979
Yes, there is some danger of seizures if you get off too quickly, and one way to do that is take some small doses of klonopin to cover you for the post week after you are totally off xanax.   Without medications you are still left with the most potent therapeutic agent of them all, your intelligent adult mind which can work hard at the moment the panic starts to think carefully and clearly about the difference between the 'predictive images' of disaster in your mind, and the reality of your situation in which none of those images can or will be realized. In the end, that is the cure.
12 Comments
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I meant to say I will reduce by a quarter every few days over the next couple of weeks.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi

I posted a simular thread as I too am also trying to get off benzos.  Your best bet is to crossover to benzo with a longer half life, namely Valium.  Valium has almost 5x the 'last' as Xanax does and comes in very small form tablets to allow you to taper off to the lowest possible dose.

Doing this, along with devoting time and PATIENCE is the key to getting a smooth wean off of benzos, with minimal symptoms.  Benzo tapering is a lengthy process, and could take up to a year to fully complete detox.  

You should talk to your doc about crossing over to Valium, and if they have a broad view of these benzos and withdrawal, they will go along with this.

I'd highly recommend you goto benzoisland.org and read the Ashton Manual all the way through.  Professor Ashton seems to have a good handle on benzos, and is very knowledgeable with withdrawal of them.

But see what the forum doc says.  I'm sure he will have some valuable information as he normally does which may help you further.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your advice, but unfortunately I can't get access to any medications since I don't have a doctor right now - at least not one I can afford to see!  So, I can't get on Valium as I have no doctor to prescribe it for me - I just have to go med-free.  Thanks anyway!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Cutting off 1/4 of the pill is a great idea.  Since you have no insurance and cannot afford a therapist, get one of Dr. Weeks books, she helped me to get 95% over my severe panic attacks, every day anxiety, and agorophobia I had for decades.  No pills (Valium, Xanax, Elavil, Paxil and others I can't remember) or a therapist could eve help me until I read her book.  

BTW, I did the same you did with the Xanax, I cut 1/4 off for one week, then 1/2 for the other week, and then 3/4 the next week.

Pills are only a band aid, and help some people to get over the rough edges of panic/anxiety, but they wont get to the bottom of it and help you overcome it.  As soon as you stop the pills most peoples anxiety returns.  Dr. Weeks helped me and many others to lose the fear, and live a normal life again.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Well I have definitely come to the right place. I have been on xanax for about 4 years...every time  I tell my Dr. that i want to get off...he ups my dosage..I am now taking about 4 to 5 mgs per day....Some days more,,,so as many of you know im sure , then you have to worry about running out before refill time,,,I have done that so many times that I am sick of it, I am sick of the feelings of detachment, feelings of lightheadedness, nausea, rapid heartbeat,,,and many more,, I hate that drug...it did help my panic attacks, when i began having them for no reason that i know of,, but my youngest sister and i are in the exact same situation,,exact...so at least i have someone to talk to who understands exactly how I feel,  I have tried so hard to wean off and I know that ultimately, I will have to maybe hand over my prescription to my husband...because when i first get them filled,  I want to feel so calm and good that I end up taking more than I need to ...God , I am so sick of this...sorry if i am rambling but i need someone to hear me, who understands, and from what i have read you all do...I have been doing some research and have found that 5-htp is a natural remedy, I have started taking it today...hopefully that will help in the weaning off process,,, dont know though....I am so tired of living this way, i have two children ages 6 and 8 and I live day to day....making sure i have enough xanax, it controls my thoughts All day everyday.....my days with my children are passing by like in a dream state and I dont want to rush my days away like I have been doing....waiting for night to come so that i can take my biggest dosage of xanax and just go to sleep...just waiting for my day to be over.. that is such a waste of my life and I am so tired of that...anyone else ever feel like that? I am 32 years old...my children are growing up so fast..I just really needed to share my thoughts with people who understand, i know what i need to do , I just dont know if i can do it,,the withdrawal symptoms are so bad, and i dread them so badly.....I need some encouragement please,,,i am so sick of it ....thanks for listening...
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Also..does anyone else feel like you just cant think... like it is affecting my memory and brain function...If i have lost any function,, i wonder if it will come back..like right now.. i have taken 1/2 mg xanax, and two excedrine pm....still i feel that feeling in my chest, stomach and head... i need more xanax...but i will run out if i take i t...I have been doing pretty good the past couple of days with staying busy after  I get home from work,,, like riding four wheelers and walking and playing softball...so maybe with all that and the 5-htp, i can gradually go down from the xanax from here... i just worry that my withdrawals will last a really long time..
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I was on xanax for 19 years and belive me it was the hardest thing i ever done to get off of them, they just cover the problem up and sometimes just makes more problems in your life, if  you cant aford a doctor there is alot of help in help centers who cant afford meds,  and there is drug rehab centers and they have medication to help to detox your system, you dont need to take another drug like valium because that is addictive too. you need a antideprsant and therpy, i have PTSD, and always will have it, but therpy helped me the most because it helps you find  what is causeing your attacks, and how to deal with them it took me 2 years of it  to help, i no longer take any meds for it but learned  how to deal with the panic attacks . but there is help out there for low income pepole, because i didnt have any insurance either, and i  got help but  you dont need to go on another addictve medication to get off  of the one you are on,  I hope you find some help, look in the phone book and start calling some agencys.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
have been on Klonopin o.5mg 1 to 2 x per day for about 2 years. I tapered off over a 2 week period and am now having blurrend vission, brain farts, stomich cramps and anxiety. I called my Dr. and her said that he was not sur I was going through withdrawl (withdrawal) because I was on such a low dose. When I see him tomorrow i am going to recomend he check out this web site.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not crazy .

I think ( at this point it's very difficult) that Dr's are very uneducated on Benzo withdrawl (withdrawal).

Stay away from them IF YOU CAN, I know some of us dont have a choice.

Sorry for the sp & grammar cant think very well

C
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
withdrawl syptoms (symptoms) of xanax are HORRIBLE! The sweats, chills, flu like symptoms, you feel lke you wanna die. Is there anything you can with treat these detox symptoms with herbs, like homopathicly?  
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I was on Xanax .25 two to three times a day for about 3 weeks for anxiety over chest pain which took time to evaluate as Acid reflux, not heart related.
Since then I have resloved chect pain problem I decided to stop the pills, taking 1/2 dose less over three days.  Evening of third day my body went into the shakes, spasms, nerve twitches, cloudy vision etc.
Started taking .125 every hour till about 1.00 consumed that night.
Since then I went to, .125 every five hours ( total of .50 for day till sleep )
Twitching and terrible fatigue continued, just not the spasms of body. Been taking same dosage for three days now, but no energy, poor coordination, weak, cloudy head.  What did  I do wrong, can I have permanent nerve, muscle damage now ?  Is there any antidote to get better ?  Muscle twitching and spasms very scary from head to toe icluding buttocks muscle weakness makes sitting hard.  Could this all be from discontinuing the Xanax.  My doctor said that maybe I just need to tax Zoloft now....
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I had been on xanax for about a year when I suddenly stopped because I didn't realize the amount I built up to taking daily, since my life is so incredibly stressful right now.  I was taking from 6 to 8  1.0 mg tablets per DAY, which is far above the normal RX dose.

When I stopped so suddenly like that, I got the sickest I've ever been and actually thought I might die.  I could hardly get out of my bed, had the worst nausea of my entire life and threw up uncontrollably barely able to hang on to the toilet, crying the entire time.  

The pains in my back, neck, chest and head were so horrible that it felt like they were in a vice grip being squeezed by a giant muscle man.  I was awake for 4 days and 3 nights total with this horrible illness, and could only cry nonstop, and I never cry.  In total it took about 5 entire days to even remotely feel semi-normal again, but still very weak, shaky and have a constant headache.  I could at least sleep and start to eat a little after that.  I'll describe my symptoms to see if anyone else has experienced this or something similar...

The first day of withdrawl (withdrawal) was bad enough, then the second day was actually worse because the dizzy spells and super charged anxiety set in, extreme paranoia, extreme confusion, lack of food and sleep, happened along with suicidal thoughts that turned into a death phobia as the symptoms worsened.

I became more afraid in addition to the physical manifestations of extreme dizziness to the point it felt that I was in a dryer spinning around and around, nearly throwing up and vision turning white feeling as though I was really going to die.  I was even hallucinating and shaking, although I never experienced any seizures that seems to be the big concern with Xanax withdrawl (withdrawal).

I overcame that extreme dizziness (which was super scary), by going Zen and taking long breaths and using my mind to overcome it, but it was also physical in nature as well because I was so incredibly sick and couldn't even tolerate the smell of food, perfumes, even normal smells that naturally occur!  To me, these symptoms mimicked a super migraine.  Needless to say, the nausea lasted until towards the very end of these extreme symptoms, but the dizziness finally improved but was still there very slightly.

All I could really do was sip water and hope I would live, lay on the bathroom floor which hurt, but I needed to close to the toilet incase of vomiting. I can't describe the severity of these symptoms and illness adequately because if you have never experienced it, you don't want to!  I also had to keep the TV, computer, and lights OFF.  I had to turn off my ceiling fan because if I looked at it, it would spark a dizzy spell.

My advice is, f you can take Lexapro or some other anti-depressant to help cope with your life, instead of benzodiapines, please do so!  But remember, you are not alone.  All of us have problems, stress, issues, financial problems, etc. that are hard to cope with, especially if you're also feeling lonely or have any kind of despair, or tough situation to deal with.

I have actually stopped taking Xanax in the past with only mild withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms of illness, but this time was so severe, if I had medical insurance, I would have had a family member or friend take me to emergency care, or straight to a detox center.  But I stayed home and rode it out, which I do NOT recommend!  If you do, you could be putting your life in danger.  I honestly felt that this was it and I was certain to die... but I didn't.  

The moral of this true story is, be very careful with Xanax, or any other benzodiazapine (tranquilizers).  Taper off to reduce the serious side effects from stopping suddenly, drink lots of water to prevent dehydration, and have someone with you at all times.

Good luck.

Yours truly, Kicked.
Blank
This Forum's Experts
351246_tn?1379685732
Dr. Kokil MathurBlank
Consultant
,
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank