Anxiety Community
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1243543 tn?1269127622

anti anxiety meds

Why are so many people against anti anxiety meds like zanax and klonopin?If someone can take a daily anti depressant why cant they take a daily anti anxiety med?I personally cant take antidepressants im to sensitive to their side effects and they make me worse than the horrible generalized anxiety that i already suffer so horribly everyday from or believe me i would take them and yes ive tried several and gave them all enough time to build up or do something besides make me 10 times worse.ive heard they can be very addicting and can build up tolerance but ive also heard the same about antideppresants. I know that zanax is more for short term anxiety but is klonopin too? Is it really that bad to take klonopin on a daily basis everyday if it helps you with anxiety and can help with the hell you suffer everyday? Which is better for long term?Ive only found a couple people who arent anti anxiety med?Dont you have to be weined off antideppresents when your better too?Im currently on zanax .25mg daily about 2 months now along with cbt which i just started about a week ago Im going to talk to the doc about klonopin cause they say it doesnt have the highs and lows of zanax so i was also wondering will i have to be weined off the zanax to be put on the klonopin if anyone has ever switched like that?I would appreciate any comment or help on this matter its just i hear so many negative things on the topic and would like some input cause i need some help hear.
16 Responses
480448 tn?1426952138
Actually, benzo abuse has bigtime gone on the rise over the last decade.....there ARE people who use and abuse them recreationally.  Actually a pretty high number of people.  But, in all honesty, that is another subject.  When WE are talking about these kinds of meds here...it is in the context of people taking them as directed, and not recreationally.  

Yes, benzos cause tolerance and physical dependency...but also, antidpressants aren't always the easiest thing to d/c either.  Its about weighing the risks and benefits for EACH individual person.  It simply isn't RIGHT for anyone to say that "medications shouldn't be used"...that's simply NOT true.  What works for each person is different. SURE some people end up on a med for the rest of their lives...but sometimes, those are the same people who may have been housebound for years at a time.  The choice?  Simple....if that med brings back that person's ability to live life and function...honestly, who CARES if they have to take a pill every day for the rest of their lives?

A word of caution...its great for us to share our experiences, but remember, we are on an ANXIETY forum..to make such a strong statement like.....

"I am very anti anxiety medication because i believe to completely rid this condition you must do so without medication"

......may deter someone from seeking out the RIGHT kind of help for that person.  there will always be a "medicate or not to medicate" debate...its unavoidable....but let's remember to respect others' choices, even if they're not our own, or we don't agree with them.  Also, let's not overexaggerate the negative because it falls in line with OUR opinion...thats again is not fair to the person on the other side of the fence.

Another clairification:

"There are always exceptions to the rule but the vast majority of those who start taking xanax,  klonopin and other highly addictive meds find they need to take higher and higher doses to reach a level of functioning once your body begins to tolerate them.    And in the end,  you will not have much of a life using these meds heavily.      Your ability to function will decrease over time as you begin using higher doses.      "

This statement is VERY misleading. You are speaking of "tolerance", which is when a person requires a higher dose to reach the SAME therapeutic effect as orignally obtained with the originally prescribed dose.  Yes, meds like Xanax, if taken regularly will cause tolerance...but the statement above infers that as a person increases their dose due to tolerance...it somehow leaves them in a non functioning stupor.  NOT TRUE.  Again, tolerance is where occasional increases in dosages are needed to obtain the same   outcome of efficacy as in the beginning of therapy.

And saying that someone who is on high doses of benzos don't have much of a life is also an ufair generalized statement.  I'm willing to bet that there are a whole lot of people out there that would STRONGLY disagree with that...and actually say that the exact opposite was true...that they did not have much of a life BEFORE starting these meds.

Lets just please not be overly dramatic to suit our cause in this topic...and be respectful of others' experiences...and open minded to listen to what others have to say.  This has always been a source of controversy.....that will never change.

Lastly, to share my own experience....meds saved me from my anxiety on many occasions.  Times when I couldn't leave my house, or work, or function very well.  For me, it was with the help of antidepressants, occasional "as needed" Ativan use that got me to the point where I was able to GET to therapy, and then start working thru my anxiety.  So, in MY opinion, while they aren't for everyone, for some people, they are a godsend.
1272523 tn?1318916952
Meds like Xanax and Klonopin are highly addictive. I am very anti anxiety medication because i believe to completely rid this condition you must do so without medication. These medications only mask the symptoms of anxiety, when you take the meds away the anxiety returns. There is nothing wrong with taking them, if you use them the way that you are supposed to, just be prepared to take them for the rest of your life.      
1243543 tn?1269127622
i cant even get to my therepist or work the way i am without the meds i know there not the magic cure but they help till the therepy works in.I dont want to take them the rest of my life but i dont want to live like this the rest of my life either. you really believe that taking these meds will make you have to take them the rest of your life even with therepy and hard work because im a mess rite now i just want to live but i do take them as prescribed but i dont know what else to do maybe you can post how you were able to get through it on a daily basis and cure yourself without the meds cause i would love to understand this.
1272523 tn?1318916952
I am going to put together some steps that i took to rid this condition from my life. Look for them in the forum in the next couple of days.
1166402 tn?1303850656
I'm sorry you have GAD. I have it too so I know how you feel. I was given Klonopin to take with my AD for as needed. My doc said to take it and not worry about abusing it. The important thing is to stop the suffering. I didn't want to take a benzo either, but finally gave in and have been taking .25 mg daily for the last few months. I can take more but choose not too because I want to learn to deal with my anxiety as best as I can. I haven't taken the Klonopin in two days now and feel fine. If I need to take it, I know it is there. I've read that some people do take it long term and so on. You really should try more AD's for the long term treatment of anxiety. Have your tried Buspar? When my GP diagnosed me he gave me Buspar and Celexa, but I threw them both out and started to see a psych doc and then gave in and started the Celexa (didn't work), so I started Remeron and it has helped a great deal. But you see, I never gave the Buspar a chance and I wish I would have. Anyway, I hope you find an AD that works for you, but until then take the Klonopin and stop your suffering. Worry about getting off of meds later when your feeling better.
757137 tn?1347200053
You mention two medicines. I am only familiar with Xanax and I am very careful with it. I do not take it on a maintenance basis, but only as-needed. That is because it is highly addictive, even in small dosages. It has been banned in the UK. And, yes, if you take it daily, you have to wean yourself off it if you want to stop.
1291268 tn?1274814522
Meds like xanax are NOT 'highly addictive'.  
Can they be subject to abuse?  Yes, but I fail to see anyone abusing them unless they like to be put to sleep all the time.  With the narcotics available readily on the street, why bother?
Food, alcohol, chocolate, etc.  can also be addictive and are probably far more abused then Xanax..  
Taking .25 mg xanax a day can make your life much more bearable each day then it might otherwise.  Relieving stress may very well save your body from the certain harm unchecked axiety will take on it over the years..
Please keep in mind that the anxiety you may have had may in no way resemble what others experience.   Telling someone with the cold virus to 'tough it out' and take deep breaths may be fine, but that doesn't work for someone with the AIDS virus, except for maybe harming their ability to get help early.
There isn't any test for anxiety that I'm aware of.  It' s an individual thing.  So yes some people may be better able to 'cope' with it then others.  Yet it's exactly that that makes it so hard to treat.  One's coping ability is both leaned and inherited.  Our nervous systems are not the same and we really understand them so little.
I hope some day we can just be 'plugged in' like they do with cars today and tell us what's wrong with us.  Who knows maybe??
Avatar universal
Sorry about the above post.  All benzos are addictive in the true definition of the word.  Just as much as any other addictive substance.  Anti-depressants are not technically addictive, but they can be hell to quit so it's really a matter of scientific semantics.  The fact something is addictive is not a reason to not take it, but it is a reason to be very sure you need it before taking it and to be very careful about quitting.  Some benzos are more quickly addictive than others, namely the ones that leave the body fairly quickly.  Klonopin is used by so many because it leaves the body more slowly, but it is still addictive and can be hell to quit.  But the same goes for ssris, which are not technically addictive -- the shorter the half life, the harder to quit.  So what's most important is whether a given person truly needs the med or not.  To me, the question is, how disrupted is your life?  Has therapy failed to work?  Though meds do not cure, therapy usually doesn't, either.  Neither have a very good percentage of success when measured in the few double blinded studies that exist -- therapists get away with very few people actually measuring success rates, so these studies are few in number.  But in getting FDA approval, meds didn't do so well, either.  The trick is to avoid the generalizations and find what works for a given person, only take meds if therapy and other non-med techniques don't work or if life is so difficult therapy won't work without calming things down.  This is seldom expressed, but every one of these meds was only tested short term and was only supposed to be used short term in order to mitigate symptoms enough for therapy to work.  But because therapy doesn't work that well, most of us on this forum have ended up on meds long-term, and there is virtually no scientific study of the long-term effects of the meds we take.  Most survive unscathed, some don't; that has always been the case with medicine, and will continue to be the case until we have facts and not just theories.  May that day come soon, but in meantime everyone has to do the best they can so life isn't just bad all the time.  If that means medication for some, then sobeit, but it shouldn't mean medication for everyone, just those who truly need it because nothing else worked.  And of course, this is just my opinion.  I don't have the facts, either.
Avatar universal
There are always exceptions to the rule but the vast majority of those who start taking xanax,  klonopin and other highly addictive meds find they need to take higher and higher doses to reach a level of functioning once your body begins to tolerate them.    And in the end,  you will not have much of a life using these meds heavily.      Your ability to function will decrease over time as you begin using higher doses.      Your nervous sytem is being 'depressed'  (why they are called depressants) and in an effort to reach its normal functioning level,  your brain chemistry will speed up your nervous system as the drugs wear off.    When that happens,  you want to take more drugs to slow it down again.    That is the awful part of taking those drugs.
Avatar universal
Hello All,

When this AD first started I wasn't aware of what was going on with my body.  My disorder came into play when I was taking diet pills.  I had only taken the pills 2 days when all hell broke loose.  I went to the doctor and they tried to give me Vistaril and after 2 days I had an allergic reaction then I was given Klonopin and a prescription for Zoloft.  I didn't fill the prescription for Zoloft only for the Klonopin.  In 2 weeks I had taken the whole bottle.  When back for my 2 weeks check up the the doctor said those 30 pills was to last me 1-2 months.  So he gave me another prescription and told me to take the zoloft.  After 2 days I had allergic reaction to the Zoloft.  At the hospital I decided that I didn't want anymore meds since I had 3 allergic reactions.  It was very hard b/c I quit the Klonopin cold turkey.  I had so many withdrawl symptoms I didn't know what to do.  I have been without meds since the end of January and it's a struggle but I go to therapy which helps and try to do what he suggest.  I know I can beat it without meds. I was real anxious one day and I was going 2 days without sleep so I had to go the the hospital b/c my pressure was up and my heartrate was up.  They gave me Lorazepam in the hospital to calm me and gave me a prescription with 10 pills and I have not taken any of them.  After those reactions I am scared to take tylenol when I have a headache I just suffer through it.  
1291268 tn?1274814522
They are NOT 'highly addictive'!!   Schd IV substances have 'a low potential for abuse'.
When is the last time you ran into a xanax addict?  

According to the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and under the CSA, all controlled substances are rated on a five-schedule system. Schedule V, the lowest, for the potential for abuse and dependency and I, the highest. Xanax is a Schedule IV. All Schedule IV controlled substances have the following attributes: a low potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and if abused, may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence. Other examples of drugs included in schedule IV are Darvon®, Talwin®, Equanil®, Valium®, and Xanax®4.
In conclusion, Xanax and other benzodiazepines can be addictive drugs that are hard to discontinue however, they are also drugs of great benefit to patients who suffer from anxiety, depression, fear of open spaces (agoraphobia), premenstrual syndrome, and panic attacks. The patient and the physician should work together to regulate long-term usage, monitoring side effects, and any signs of abuse.

Avatar universal
I agree with Paxiled in that one can become dependent on anti anxiety meds and SSRIs.  I also agree that we have to be careful about generalizing about these kinds of meds.  Blanket statements like.....'be prepared to be on them the rest of your life," and "to completely rid yourself of anxiety you must do so without medication" are extremely short sited and can be 100% wrong for some people to follow.  

While some people choose to confront their anxiety without medication, others choose to use it while they are going through therapy.  I do agree that these meds will not 'cure' you of anything, however I believe they can be a useful tool while confronting your anxiety.  Whether or not to use medications is definitley a personal choice...there is no right or wrong way in my opinion.  
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