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Long term effects Zoloft/Xanax
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by jimmyc, Jun 16, 2004
Hi.  I posted here before about Zoloft and Xanax XR about the detachment feelings I've experienced.  I've been on the 2 since Feburary of this year.  I'm 21 years old, and lately, I've been experiencing memory lapses, where I forget things I've done 5 minutes ago kinda thing, where I have to focus really hard on what I did during the day, or the previous day.  It feels something like ADD.  Do you think its time to try to start cutting down on the benzo or the SSRI, since they may not be for me, and stick to the theorpy?  On a positive note, they are keeping the anxiety down, but I know that Xanax is addictive and is a short term treatment drug, and theres no way to tell if the Zoloft itself is doing anything.  What can I do about these memory lapses?  And after hearing things about these meds causing brain damage, insanity, etc, I'm getting a little nervous.  Please give me your imput on this.  Thanks.
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by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank, Jun 17, 2004
My very clear preference is to use no medication, or the minimum if necessary, and only one if possible. Try therapy alone..its your best bet.
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Member Comments (11)
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by debi0926, Jun 22, 2004
I have been taking Xanax for the past few months for severe panick attacks. I usually take no more than one of the 1.0 mil pills a day and I won't let myself take anymore, if anything I will only take a half of pill first to see if that works, and if not I take the other half later in the day. My doctor is now suggesting that I slowly stop taking Xanax and replace it with Paxil. With all of the horrible stories and side effects of Paxil, is there a reason that I just can't continue taking Xanax as I have been? I do realize that it is habit forming, but with Paxil, you can't just quit taking that either and I don't see that Xanax has the same horror stories attached that Paxil does. I don't feel that I am in anyway abusing Xanax as some people do, where they keep increasing their dosage etc. Does anyone have any suggestions or comments?

Thanks
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by jimmyc, Jun 22, 2004
Xanax is more of a short-term treatment drug, and is not meant for long term correction of anxiety/panic disorder.  It is usually given as a temporarly relief along with SSRI's such as Paxil and Zoloft until the SSRI gets a chance to settle in.  Do not rely on Xanax to be your long term treatment drug.  Alls it does is induce your GABA (stuff that calms the brain down).  SSRI's actually restore balance to imbalanced nerve cells, which contribute to anxiety/panic disorder.  

Did you ever try theorpy?  Cognitive and behavioral theorpy is the most effective tool for anxiety/panic, since it will teach you ways to deal with the problem on hand, as well as deciper the underlying causes of your anxiety that you aren't aware of.  If you aren't in theorpy, go with it.  And you can always combo up with the meds and the theorpy which seems to be the best way to go.

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by CARUU, Jun 24, 2004
I've had multiple problems over the last several months (gallbladder, hepatitis C treatment, widespread body pain, memory loss) and took different meds to help.  The SSRI's I tried made me very tired and foggy.  Took Wellbutrin for about 4-6 months and was recently advised to switch to lexapro (to help with sleep and body aches that are possibly fibromyalgia).  I stopped the Wellbutrin and was going to start the Lexapro in 3 days.  Well, the days I was off of Wellbutrin are so fuzzy and blurry that I have NO memory of the better part of 48 hours.  I attended meetings, shopped, talked to friends etc. and have NO memory of it.  Could this be from wellbutrin withdrawl???? Now the docs have put me through a brain MRI, EEG and blood tests and there is no mental disfunction.  There is high ANA 1:320 and I now have to see a rheumytologist.  This is getting rediculous!  Could it just have been the wellbutrin?
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by Prettykul, Jun 29, 2004
What do i do about the xanax i am taking for panic attacts/phobias...........they have escalated.(attacts/phobias)...i have been taking xanax (6-8).5 for years now,my shrink has tried many drugs,i carry an epipen,i get extreme reactions to most medication....almost died twice.......how do i get off this xanax w/o going to the "ward"....i am addicted to taking the pills.........not what they do...........which is NOTHING!.....i cancelled my appointment at the doc yesterday because i know he would want to admit me...i pretend i am fine.......
Feel free to e mail me at ***@**** one knows about my problem,i just can't fake it anymore........now i feel stupid for posting here.....i guess i am desperate
Bev
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by imdying, Jul 02, 2004
Whatever you do, DO NOT TAKE PAXIL.
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by imdying, Jul 02, 2004
Whatever you do, DO NOT TAKE PAXIL. If they withdrawal symptoms you are feeling now are bad, imagine them 10 times worse with paxil. If you have ever taken X (party/club drug) and experienced the withdrawal symptoms from that, then you know 1/10th of what paxil withdrawal is like. It starts, and you feel very hungry, but you neither have the willpower nor the energy to make yourself something. Then little "tics" go through your body, like sticking a 9 volt battery to your tongue. Those increase to 9-12 every minute. This will last for months. I wasn't able to work for a while because the "tics" were so bad. I would blank out and not remember anything.
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by Sirmodgod, Jul 29, 2004
I agree not to go on paxil. The withdrawl symptoms have been compared to kicking heroine. I know quite a few people who have lived through it and they had a rough time going off Paxil. I tried Paxil for a few weeks and even at different doses my body had untollerable side effects. The medicine never had a chance to work so I never felt any withdrawl symptoms. I had severe panic attacks that left me in the ER. Usually in the early morning 3-4 am. After the ER visits I went to a very good doctor who proabably looking back saved my life. Thank God he wasn't one of those arrogant uncompassionate late night ER types. (They didn't give a rats *** about me and where very obvious about it. Especially when they found out I had no insurance!). Hopefully they will suffer greatly and be treated terribly someday. The biggest thing I learned from this doctor after the ER was that I wasn't living right. I was living a life with too much stress, pressure and danger for what my mind could handle. Some of it I could control, some of it was outside forces I could do little about. So I used the Zanax at first for a few months. I was prescribed 2, 2 mg bars daily and beta blockers. I was such a mess during this period I can't tell you much to help. I nearly had or had a total mental/nervous breakdown. Once I stayed in the Zanax clouded haze for a while the panic attacks and worries all but disappeared which was a life saver! Really. The betas kept the heart from being able to "run away". In the ER it was up to 200 beats a minute at one point! Then I could start working on the causes/stresses and treatment. I made a lot of lifestyle changes and went to a professional phychiatrist. Those two things were the key factors. But without the Zanax it wouldn't have been possible. I had let my life become a house of horrors with no windows or doors out. It took about 1 year to get back to feeling about 90% which is what i refer to as when I felt good and "normal" without doctors or Zanax. About 1 more year and I was 95% which is close to what I would say my state today is. It fluctuates between 95-98%, NOT bad! : )

My appologies for skipping about... Anyway I used Zanax for a few years straight after the 2 months of large dosage treatment. I would take a 1 mg tab if i felt panicy BEFORE I got into full blown panic attack status. I used exercise, diet, lifestyle changes and the shrink to eventually stop having these God aweful attacks and it worked. When I stopped using the zanax I did notice some withdrawl symptoms. I just stopped taking the stuff one day. At the time I didn't know it was wrong to do that. I had a rapid heartbeat for about 10 days. I couldn't sleep. I was very tired and would lay there feeling my heart pounding away. It was pretty miserable. Especially after 4 or 5 days of no significant sleep. I would nod off for an hour or so and then wake up by a jolt. That was the only bad part and that was miserable I have to admit. Everyone in the house would be snoring away and there I was just laying and listening to my heart pounding so damn tired but unable to drift off. Eventually, Like in about another week I finally could sleep for 4-5 hours and each week it got progressively longer until I could get 7-8 hours a night.

A few years of no zanax and I let my stress levels get to be too much again. Mostly financial and legal stuff. Things that are hard to remedy quickly if at all. I decided to go back on Zanax when I was having really bad days or weeks anxiety/sleep wise. It really helped me. I used .5 mg's and rarely 1 mg, I weigh 210lbs. On this dosage I could function quite well and noone noticed any derogatory behavior or work performance. My family life was very good as well. I worked towards getting things back in a more balanced state and this time I looked forward to not having to use zanax. I had strong miserable memories of the last time I stopped using zanax and this time I decided to taper instead of just stop. It was a miraculous difference. Not too bad at all. I took .5 mg for 1 week and then 2&1/2 mg for ten days and then none. I felt a little insomnia and the rapid heart beat. This time it was not nearly as bad and I also knew exactly what and why I felt it so it wsn't so bad to deal with. What does any or all of this mean? I don't know to you what it will mean? Hopefully it will just help some of you. Compassion is what I feel for people dealing with this stuff and there are not a lot of people who even understand it. Especially some of the doctors! I hope I can help the way my doctors and friends helped me. Forgive my english/spelling if you will. I am writng this in my second language. My blessings and bestwishes for you all!   Mr D
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by susiemelindy, Jul 29, 2004
I'm responding to the post about Paxil being a dangerous drug.  Paxil is a wonderful drug, used for the long haul, especially when it comes to anxiety, especially found with panic attacks, or panic disorder; panic disease.  This panic problem is very real and seems to run in families.  Also other things can bring it on, like smoking pot or doing other drugs like cocaine.  It seems like one day it just "comes out of the blue".
I suffer from what I call, panic disease, and have for a number of years; 30, to be exact.  I take xoloft and xanax, and have taken them together for over 10 years.  I took Xanax exclusively for a number of years before that.  Let me just say, there may be memory loss in association with taking this medication, but it allows me to live a somewhat normal life; not housebound, and able to attend church, weddings, etc.  
Write directly to me at ***@**** if I can be of any further help.  Help is out there now......get it, don't stay afraid forever, because you don't have to anymore.  
Be well, everyone, Susan