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669357 tn?1225720542

Anxiety and medication abuse???

I have been on xanax and anit-depressants off and on for the past 7 years. ) I went off them during my two pregnancies).  

Recently I have experienced numerous life stresses and have been taking about 1-2 mg of xanax a day along with my anti-depressant.  Problem is I am prescribed to take 1/2-1 tab every 12 hours as needed.  My doctor prescribed 0.5 mg.  I experience PTSD relating to recent life stresses and take a xanax to relieve the panic attacks associated with the flashbacks of those events.  I ran out of xanax and my doctor would not refill it.  His staff told me I was given a 30-day RX (30 pills) and that it should last me a full month.  Well if you do the math, obviously taking one tablet every 12 hours will not last 30 days.  When I went in to see him, he gave me a speech about using them as a crutch and to only take them when I only need them.  I was insulted and felt awful when he said that to me.  I feel like he is accusing me of abusing the medicine.  Then he told me that I am not on enough anti-depressants and increased the dosage.  Also switched me from xanax to ativan, since I was complaining that I needed the xanax so much.  He explained that the ativan works better and longer and I won't need it as much as the xanax.  I left his office feeling miffed and a bit uneasy about switching to ativan.  Is he right or do you think I should get a second opinion?
2 Responses
370181 tn?1428180348
Welcome to the world of doctors who don't know a damn thing about these conditions or prescribing the correct medications.
Who diagnosed you with PTSD? Whomever it was should have suggested, strongly, that you to get into some therapy with a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist to deal with this. Especially if you are experiencing flashbacks to the event(s) surrounding this DX. You say you have been on these meds for the past 7 years! Have you gotten any therapy during that time? While giving you Xanax or Ativan to deal with your current anxiety, your past history of this condition should have been taken into consideration and, in my humble opinion, he should have put you on a much longer acting antianxiety med like Klonopin. (And there are numerous others out there.....Klonopin is just the one I am most familiar with) I think he failed you by not encouraging you about the therapy. All the drugs he gave you are simply stop-gaps in dealing with the REAL problem, which is the original event that caused your anxiety, be it the recent one or the one from 7 years ago. Until you deal with THAT, drugs will only mask the symptoms and your problem will still be there. I am not saying that you don't need or should not use an anti-anxiety med to help you get through this ordeal, but they should be used in conjunction with therapy. Both of these meds will do essetiantly the same thing, one just works a bit faster and stays in your system longer, both carry the warning that you can build a tolerence to them and both meds cannot be stopped abruptly after long term use, which is considered to be the four month maximum periond of time that you should be on them.
That your doctor gave you a bit of a lecture regarding using these meds as a "crutch," while that does carry SOME truth, the person with a broken leg uses a crutch while their leg heals, is that wrong or innappropriate? Neither is using an antianxiety med while you heal your mind! It should have been at this point that he encouraged you to seek out therapy and I feel he dropped the ball at this point.
I am not qualified to second guess your doctor, but since you have doubts about his treatment, I would, personally, seek out a second opinion. I would also find a therapist and begin the work of getting to the root of your anxiety issues, past AND present.
Take the Ativan and antidepressant, AS PRESCRIBED, and get that second opinion. I think it will ease your mind, which is in need of some "easing!"
Please let us know how you're doing OK? And if you can find the time, give us a little more information about you in your profile. Makes us feel like were talking to someone we actually know rather than just a name.
669357 tn?1225720542
Hi there thank you so very much for the response! I'm doing fine and agree that I should go have some counseling to talk through the past events that have happened.  I just don't want to go. That sounds lame, I know.  I talked to my mother about it and she said, "you can talk to me".... but she works and I have two small children.  :) So that wouldn't really work out all that perfectly. LOL  I'm going to call my insurance company for a list of doctors that provide mental health counseling and go from there.  
Thanks again, I really appreciate your wonderful response.

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370181 tn?1428180348
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