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Avatar universal

Seizure after getting off xanax...

Hi....  I came across this forum today looking for some answers.  I have had severe anxiety and panic disorder for years...  After my last son it was out of control ( did not help I was out of country at that time)  My dr. perscribed Xanax.  Started off 1-3 mgs a day and went up to 6-8 mgs after 4 years.  I was also on Paxil, buspar and Ultram.  I wanted off all meds when I got back into a "routine"  in the states.  ( my hubby is military)  I thought I could ween myself safely.  I WAS WRONG....  I went from taking 8 pills to 4 to 2 to 1 to nothing in a matter of 2 months then just stopped.  The feelings I had were horrible.  Shaking so bad I couldn't sign my name, hold coffee or anything.  I also stopped taking the other meds with in the same time period.  I felt so strange and still cannot explain it.  A lil over a week of being off these meds I had a full blown seizure.  I was outside and fell face first on concrete, busting up the left side of my face, convulsing, foaming at the mouth and was clueless as to why I was on the ground.  I am still waiting for answers on to why this happened.  I have got through the hardest part of getting off the meds, but I am still feeling off.  I can't explain the feeling I have in my head/brain.  Anyone else go through this and what can I do now to control the increased Anxiety attacks I have and fear of another seizure?  TIA  God Bless
17 Responses
480448 tn?1426952138
I second what Debbie said...thank you for your sacrifice as a GI wife, and please thank your hubby for his service.

Sweetie, the more you add on, I have to say, I think you fell into the trap so many do (myself included)...about coming off meds.  The truth is, if certain meds were helping you, why stop taking them?  I strongly feel, that unless there is a significant reason (severe side effects, medical problems, financial reasons)...then if it isn't broken...why fix it?

I think coming off the Xanax was a good thing though, because of the tolerance issues.  You likely felt the effects of it more this time because you've been off it for a while, and to a POINT you can lower your tolerance by taking "breaks" (which is essentially what you did), but if you continue taking the Xanax regularly, your tolerance will likely shoot back up.  The brain has a "memory" of sorts.  

IF you're going to continue the Xanax, I would strongly advise ONLY taking it on an "as needed" basis...as a rescue med for when anxiety is very high.  If you take it like that, and not every day, you won't have to worry about tolerance and dependency.  I've been on "as needed" Ativan for panic disorder for 23 years, and haven't had any issues because I take it only when I REALLY need it.  There were a few times, when my panic was awful, where I DID need it more regularly, usually whikle waiting for an antidepressant to start working.  In those cases, I was carefully and slowly tapered back down to my prn (as needed) dose, and did fine.

Vistaril is an antihistamine, similar to Benadryl...some people report that it helps with anxiety, others say it's useless.  Like you said, everyone reacts and responds differently to meds...so it's basically a trial and error thing..you'd have to try it to see if it helped.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Is it Rx'ed on an as needed basis?

Are you working with a psychiatrist?  If not, I would recommend asking your PCP for a referral...you need to better explore your med options here, and decide how to proceed.   Especially if the meds like Paxil were helping...you may have made that decisions prematurely for all of the wrong reasons.

As for the EEG and Neurologist, it's great that you're following up on the seizure, but I'd bet my bank that was absolutely caused by the Xanax..especially with the higher dose you were on.  That's a GOOD thing in that it doesn't mean you will have a chronic seizure disorder.  Just be SURE that the doctors know about the Xanax.  Most likely, you won't need much of a follow up.

Hang in there, let us know what's going on, okay?
Avatar universal
Hi Great that your off the meds :) its a horrid thing addiction So well done you.  Your in a great place here with us were all wanting / trying/ getting/ ARE clean I can't answer your question my DOC was methadone But there will be a lot of others that will help & answer them for you. What I will say is push on it only gets better ( so I'm told I'm at the same place your at) get aftercare go to meetings do everything you can too get & stay clean!!! Good luck hang tight!!!
1235186 tn?1549261219
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hello and welcome. Stopping xanax and ultram too quickly can cause seizures. Both of those drugs should be tapered slowly. After stopping ultram and paxil you can experience brain zaps.
The w/ d from buspar is also better tolerated by a taper.
You have stopped all of these meds one week ago?
How much ultram were you taking?
Avatar universal
Thank you both....  I actually wanted to stop the meds to make sure my body wasn't dependant, well it obviously was with the wd i had went through.  I actually have been off all meds since 4/27 and had a seizure May 3rd.  I have had very strange feelings in my head/brain that I cannot explain.  I am not sure of the dosage on Ultram Was on it almost 2 years)  I know it is not a controlled substance, but I believe it should be.  I didn't realize that until later.  You kind of go with the flow of what the Dr. tells you and perscribes you and think nothing of it.  I would tell ALL people out there who are perscribed these meds to be VERY careful especially when getting off.  Do as directed by a DR.  My biggest concern now is what do I do about my continued Panic/anxiety disorder?  It is not where I thought it was and am even more freaked out since the seizure.  Also should my Dr. should have given me meds to prevent any further seizures?  I have read on a lot of post yes, but is my case different?  Confused, wanting answers and am not getting them fast enough from my docs.  It has been a week and 1/2 since I have seen the Neurologist who wants an EEG and MRI but waiting for insurance to clear.....  What to do until then is frustrating.
Avatar universal
Hae jrock82679 how you feeling today?? Just hang on in there also get aftercare sorted out now because getting off & WDs are the easy part & I don't want u to have to go through all this again!!! You are defo going through the WD stages from your Doc I just spoke to sumone who said she was convinced she had cancer/going to die because of WDs!!! Its your mind fighting against everything you!! My minds like a burst coutch at the moment But find that higher power & work with I can't stress enuff After-care is imperative!!! Stay strong & conglats on 1more day clean & sober someone will be along very soon ;)
Avatar universal
By after care what exactly do you mean?  I am not saying I am an addict or that I am not.  Never actually looked at it like that before.  I have no urge to be on meds, actually would like nothing more that not to be on anything.  It has been 4 weeks 2 days w/o any.  I have been on meds since I was 21 years old ( now 33)  as much crap as I have been on I never concidered myself and addict and never abused the drugs.  Not saying my body was not addicted to them but my brain was not.  I wanted to change that because I don't want to be on medication to feel normal.  I have struggled with my aniexty from the day I stopped and after the Seizure it obviously has increased.  I am just wondering if my Dr.s are doing what they should be doing for my situation.  I had a full blown seizure and cracked my face open, went to the ER and was realesed 5 hours later with no answers no medication to prevent seizure or help with anxiety.  I actually Still have a full bottle of 180 pills of Xanax that I have not touched.  I do not want to do anything that would endanger me in having another seizure, so I have been doing the best I can to work through anxiety.  Multiple hypervenolating, staying home, and very irritaded.  But all on my own.  I am keeping my head up and believing in health care system right now.  Thanks again for all the help, comments and support!!!
Avatar universal
When you can't go a day hour or week without a pill & you suffer WDs from those pills then the cold hard truth is your an addict!! Just because a dr gives you it means nothing I get prescribed methadone for getting hooked on methadone I'm a addict because I went out & bought the drugs and couldn't stop. Me & you& everyone on here is an addict.. What you are going through is WDs from pills & iTs an illness a disease of the mind that can't just be stopped like the average joe who has a pill just once & leaves it We would keep on taking!! FACT horrid to admit but its the truth
After-Care is going to NA AA CA meetings getting a councillor talk talk & talk Honesty is a must as an adict we lie so well to ourselfs & loved ones because we are ashamed. Its scary but once its done it feels better.  Good luck!! god bless you !!
Avatar universal
Keep it up But get rid of the pills as the brain gets to a point where it forgets all about the horrible feeling we go through to get away from drugs & For no apparent reason you say " just one pill can't do much" Wrong 1pill will lead too 2 & so on before you know it your back up to 8 a day OR 12 a day because your tolerance will be a lot higher than it ever was.. Most off us who relapse usually get a worse habit than the first & so on so on.... 12yrs you've used That's why after care is so important as you will be with all kinds of recovering addicts, pill popers opiate users, uppers downers smokers, sniff, drinkers lawyers nurses doctors factory workers millionaires penniless people with ONE thing in common There getting clean or gotten clean & they want to help & they will help you Because they places are still open because of you & me & us!!!! Without us starting out on our new journey then there wouldn't be a THEM!!! It is that simple, I just forced myself to got to CA meetings last week for first time ever & I was soooo out of my comfort zone But somehow I got my *** there & its helped me get till today without going back or giving up, somthing greater than myself got me to go out my zone Because I know I can & will Never get clean without support,, I won't say it will be easy ( I still think they don't like or understand me But I know that's my illness & WDs that are making me think like that) but find that inner somthing to get u started & let the meeting do what u need them to do!! Take what u need from Forms like this & meetings to get u to a place you feel happy at. Well done again stay off the pills it will get better & speak to the dr about what's going on with you :)
480448 tn?1426952138
Hello there!  So sorry you have went through this nightmare!  Hopefully I can shed some light on the situation for you.

You DEFINITELY need to manage this under the guidance of a doctor who knows his way around these meds.  You're SO lucky you didn't have more issues coming off those doses abruptly (not that it wasn't bad enough to have the seizure and get injured).  

Just a quick lecture before I continue..lol  This isn't a judgement either, lots of people find themselves in these situations, as a result of having TOO much trust in their doctors, and not doing enough of their own homework.  Anyway,  it is SO important to very carefully read the educational monograph that comes with every Rx...and if you're uncertain about anything, ask either your doctor, or a Pharmacist.  While it WOULD be nice if doctors would better educate their patients about meds, the responsibility always lies with the patient.  It's important to have a doctor you trust, but at the same time, not have blind faith in him/her.  Okay...lecture over.  ;0)

Tramadol actually IS a controlled substance in many states now, with more and more states changing it to a scheduled narcotic.  Tramadol has  antidepressant properties...it acts a lot like an SNRI, therefore coming off both meds, it will be normal for you to experience an exacerbation of the anxiety symptoms you were orginally put on the meds for.  

Meds for anxiety can be helpful as a tool, but if you don't do some real work, both in therapy, and on your own, to change your thinking processes, nothing much changes unfortunately.    Sounds like that may have been the case for you, where you were relying more on the meds to manage the anxiety, which is unfortunately why you're in this boat to a degree.  

This is why I say you need to be under the care of a doctor who not only is well versed in psych meds (aka a psychiatrist), but also one who can prescribe the appropriate therapy for you to start learning how to manage the anxiety, without meds.  CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a great form of therapy for anxiety...you may want to inquire about that.

As for the addiction vs dependency issue...there IS a difference between the two.  Dependency is where your body becomes PHYSICALLY dependent, and you suffer w/ds without it.  Addiction involves a much more complex mental aspect, where a person would have cravings, often take more than prescribed, and often take the meds for reasons other than what it was prescribed for (ie..seeking a "high").  Just from what you've said, it doesn't sound like you have an addiction problem, but rather were dependent on the meds.  That's something you will have to work out after giving it some thought.  If you took the meds as Rx'ed, and could walk away from the meds with no cravings, it's unlikely you were addicted.  If you do not have an addiction problem, then aftercare is not necessary.  If you do, then it is.

Very best of luck to you, PLEASE make sure you stay on top of your anxiety treatment.  The lingering symptoms you're feeling after coming off the meds really are probably just going to take some time to resolve.  If you can find a good doctor, they may want to restart you on a lower dose of one or both, then slowly wean you off, if your symptoms persist.

Keep in touch.
Avatar universal
i would say that you should see a Dr and get bloodwork and other tests to make sure that you are ok after getting off all of those meds. but dont let the dr give you any new meds
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comments....  Great to see people out there who care.  Some different views on here.  So have an of you had a seizure?  and had the electric shocks also?  I DO NOT want to be on Meds.  I have gone a month w/o them.  Also let me say I got off of these meds for my own peace of mind.  The Dr. had said we should ween off of them but weren't there yet.  I took it upon myself to start ween down.  As I do agree with some statements I do not believe I am an addict.  I don't think I am in Denial either.  I did go through physical wd as I was on Xanax, Buspar, Paxil and Ultram.  Paxil and ultram I was on the least bit of time.  Ultram was perscribed to me for Severe headaches.  I have and had a whole refill at my will when I decided I wanted to stop.  Not taking away from anyone on here.  Was just looking for people whi were informed on the after math of wd and seizures.  I honostly don't feel like I need/want those meds any more.  I still have my anxiety and panic attacks and have been working through them med free.  I keep having "electric shocks"  to the brain as a result of my seizure.  Just wanted to know from people with prior history how their Dr.s handle it.  As I think it is great all of the stories I have seen and their stories of recovery from all different type of drugs, I don't believe I me mentally an addict.  All of you are AMAZING and wish you all the success in the world, and great health, happiness anf living.
Avatar universal
So very weird and confusing.... Went to my PCM today to get some answers and possible help to why I have been feeling the way I have since being off my meds (4 weeks) .  He continues to tell me what I am feeling is "normal " a seizure of the extent it was and refills my Xanax and Paxil.  Really?  Is this normal???  I should be a DR I believe at times I have more knowledge than they do when it comes to things and also knowing your own body.  PS  Not going to take the Xanax, I have made it this far w/o it and do not want to go through the physical WD I had to endure before and continue to ( much less at this time.  What are your feed backs and comments to this?
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