1.5mg is not a particularly high dose for Xanax.
There is a great deal of debate about this medication. It is recommended that you don't take Xanax on a daily basis longer than 4 months. If you take Xanax on a PRN (as needed) basis only, you can take for your entire life. Some people swear that after 4+ months of daily use, it completely loses it's efficacy. Some people say if you take it daily, you will have to keep increasing your dose to get relief.
I was concerned, too. I've been on Xanax a very long time. I spoke with my PMM, (Psychiatric Medication Manager) about my concerns and he said, plain and simple, "if it's working for you, if it's controling your panic attacks, then stay with what is working for you!" I have been taking the same dose of Xanax for well over 5 years. Am I addicted? A junkie? Maybe. Maybe not. I honestly don't care. I'm living virtually panic free, so other people can say or think whatever the hell they want.
If it's helping with your panic/anxiety, if you're not increasing the dose, if you're free of anxiety, if you are functioning well at home, work, school, as a wife, mother..............then do what works for YOU.
If the quality of your life is better with it, that's your answer.
If you are really concerned, you can talk to your doctor about doing a cross over to Klonopin, a long term benzo.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Yes for lil over a year ???? Is that bad ??
This may sound crazy but i was really hoping u wud reply to my post cuz ur feedbacks are so helpful wen i read em on other peoples posts too. U r a blessing wen it cums to anxiety questions and relieve my worries so easily by ur words of wisdom.Really thank u from the bottom of my heart, this has been a long journey for me but its gettin a whole lot better.Plus i feel the same way about xanax as u do so now im even less stressed about it my phych said same thing but i like to hear it from someone with experience. THANK YOU SO MUCH GREENLYDIA !!!!
I completely understand your concerns about Xanax. I had no idea what I was getting into when my doc put me on .25mg to sleep at night. That didn't last long before i had to go to .50 mg and higher almost two yrs later i have to dissolve my Xanax at bedtime and I have to take 4 to 5 mg EVERY night to get any sleep at all. This dose for me is lethal I only weigh 96lbs and I have Hep C I have been trying to ween off of Xanax with no success. I get down to about 2 dissolved mg for 1 or 2 nights before I can't take the shaking and sleep deprivation. I also worry about everything 24hrs a day my doc wants me to take 1 mg Xanax every 8 hrs also. I said no way i HATE Xanax! I hate the color blue because of Xanax lol My advise is to start weening off asap if I had known what I know now I would have never said OK to starting this horrible med.
First of all, I seriously question your doctor's choice of Xanax if your only complaint was difficult sleeping. In my humble and non-medical opinion, he/she should have tried an actual sleep aids rather than a major benzodiazapine.
Secondly, does your doctor have any idea how much you're taking now? 5mg of Xanax IS a hefty dose for anyone, let alone someone who only weighs 96 pounds. If your doctor keeps telling you to simply up the dose, then your doctor is woefully undereducated about benzos and is essentially a drug dealer, not a doctor. ANY doctor with real knowledge of the use and treatment of benzodiazapines would probably never prescribed them to you in the first place, and if they had prescribed them, they sure as hell would never have allowed you to get to the point you're at now.
You do need to be very cautious when using Xanax, but in your case, I think you're laying the blame of the "mess" you're in on the medication when it rightly belongs on the shoulders of the quack who let you go this far.
Weaning off 5mg of Xanax is going to be a very slow and sometimes "painful" process and you should only undertake this with the help and guidance of someone qualified in psychotropic meds and withdrawal. I strongly suggest a Psychiatric Medication Manager. That is the main aspect of their job.
Your opinion is as valuable..........and valid, as anyones. I'm just sorry your doctor has put you in this situation.
I wish you the very best in your efforts to get off the Xanax. It won't be easy, but it CAN be done fairly painlessly with the correct help.
I have had a few doctors over the last few years they tried all the meds to get me on a good sleep pattern in the end they ruled out a sleep pattern being the problem. The cause of no sleep is my anxiety so one of my doctors put me on Effexor to start getting my anxiety in check but in the meen time gave me .25 mg of Xanax to sleep until the Effexor started working. It never did... they just kept upping my dose of Xanax and before I knew it I was and still am having to take 4-5mg every night to get any sleep at all. The doctor who started the Xanax transfered me back to my family doc and she is not at all happy with the dose i am on but isn't helping me to come off of it. I feel helpless at this point.
You say the doctors ruled out a sleep pattern as the problem. How, exactly, did they arrive at that diagnosis? Did you undergo a sleep evaluation at a sleep lab? Simply trying different medications only rules out THAT particular drug as not working for you. I'd really like to know what meds they tried before putting you on Effexor. The way YOU feel about Xanax is exactly the way I feel about Effexor! (Personal experience)
You apparently have anxiety that only interfers with your life by keeping you awake at night? Were you also diagnosed with a MAJOR depression? Which is what Effexor is primarily prescribed for. That, and what they call "end of life" depression. Were you THAT depressed?
Effexor DOES also have an affinity for anxiety and panic disorder. But if all you have is anxiety, why take an antidepressant so potent they give it to people who are dying?
There will undoubtably be many people who disagree with me and that's their right. Just as it's mine to disagree with doctors treating us with powerful medications for disorders we don't even have.
Two of the main side effects of Effexor are insomnia and anxiety. So they toss in some Xanax until the Effexor kicks in. You say it never did. Could it be because you were never depressed? If you take an aspirin when you don't have a headache, nothing happens. When you take a powerful antidepressant and you're not depressed, you feel all sorts of not very nice things. Perhaps even an increase in your anxiety and insomnia levels. Well then, up your Xanax dose............
You don't have very good luck with the doctors you end up with, do you? If this doctor you're seeing now is not happy with the amount of Xanax you're taking but isn't discussing a taper program with you to get off it, then I don't understand what the hell she's thinking at all. Or don't I have the whole story? She's unhappy and wants you to come off it, but you're freaked out about the withdrawal and not sleeping. If YOU have said "no" to a taper, then she can't force you. She could stop writing prescriptions for them, which would really put you between a rock and a hard spot. Don't know if you've ever run out of your Xanax, but if you have, then you've had a teeny-weeny taste of what cold trukey will feel like. The amount you've been on could cause you to go into seizures, sometimes life threatening seizures, if you stop the meds abruptly. From a 5mg a day habit, you absolutely MUST do a very slow taper under the close supervision and guidance of a qualified professional. I can't recommend strongly enough the wisdom and knowledge of Psychiatric Medication Managers. They CAN be a bit difficult to find, but if you look, you will find one!
I know this is easy to say, but don't feel hopeless. There is the right kind of help out there for you, so get pro-active, do whatever you have to to find that person and know that by just taking that first step, you're that much closer to your goal.
If you really have trouble finding a PMM, let me know and I'll ask mine if he knows of anyone wherever you live.
Please don't change your dose on your own.
If you need to talk, you know how to reach me.
Wow! You are like a medical dictionary ; ) I don't even know where to start hmmm I guess it would be easiest to answer all your questions if you read my journal post. I just found this website today after typing in How to taper down and stop taking 5mg of Xanax? I typed up pretty much the low down on whats been going on with my medical conditions lately. My family and friends are all very concerned for my health and I feel myself only slipping further away from caring. This website is pretty much my last hope for information. I have tried to talk to my doc about tapering down the mg and its like talking to a brick wall. My anxiety interferes with my entire life. I live in my own prison. There are no real mental health doctors where I live.
Have to go to work.........will pick this up tomorrow.
Please don't despair.
Doctors put you in that prison, doctors will get you out.
Be strong. What you have is highly curable. Think about the people who can't even dream that.
I AM at the point where I can't even dream of that....I will be back on here tomorrow morning have a good night can't wait to hear back from you. Thank you.
Just read your journal entry.
I'm totally stunned by what you've been through and how you've been treated. I can't think of a damn thing to say except how sorry I am this has happened to you.
I almost dread telling you this, but I work in a hospital and sadly, your story is all too common.
When you said that this website was pretty much your last hope for information, I got really scared because I don't think I can help you by myself.
We have a Crohn's Forum and a Hep C Forum where you can get good information and advice.
I can understand now why you need 5mg of Xanax to sleep. If it is still working to give you some rest, personally, I'd keep taking it. Rest is so very important for you.
I don't presume for one second that I can relate to what you're going through, but I do see what the family and friends of the patients are going through.........I see the fear on their faces and I see the tears in their eyes.
But I have also seen many people come in who have, like you, just about given up. And I've seen them walk out.........not "cured" but with thier various illnesses under good control, pain controlled, diet good, medication straightened out. I've seen how hard they have to fight and I just want for you to not give up and to keep fighting for yourself and your two boys but most of all I want to see you get some better doctors who won't pull out a hemovac and send you home with it bleeding and inadequate pain management.
I saw the pictures of Manistique and it's very beautiful, but the population is what......4,000? I mean that's great. I love small towns. Live in one now as a matter of fact. But I work in a large teaching hospital north of here and I'm only 45 out of Seattle. I'm sure your hospitals are adequate there, but I live in a town about the size of yours and the hospital here is very rural.....I'd definitely go there if I needed a few stitches or broke my toe, but anything more serious than that I'm outta here. Which is what I think you should do. I found a chart that lists the distances from your town to these llarger cities and I want you to think really really seriously about taking all your medical records and getting the hell out of Petticoat Junction and get hooked up with doctors who at least wash their hands!
Look............Madison is only 300 miles away and they have one of the best teaching hospitals in the country. Go online..........check it out. I don't like any of your doctors. I'm guessing they moonlight as bloody veterinarians.
Look at the chart below. Do you have friends or relatives in any of those cities you could crash with while getting some decent care?
Do you have a good support network at home? Family, friends, neighbors?
What are your plans? What's the next step?
If I keep writing I will keep rambling. I am so angry FOR you.
Keep in touch, as will I.
Chicago ..... 369
Detroit ..... 382
Duluth ..... 333
Grand Rapids ..... 340
Green Bay ..... 163
Madison ..... 295
Milwaukee ..... 278
Minneapolis ..... 436
Thanks for reading my story. I haven't been online since we last talked on here for fear that you would have bad news for me. My family doc wants me to go to The university of Michigan hospital or The Mayo clinic they are both many many hours from where I live. My insurance will not cover either places due to there location. I don't drive and hate being in the car because of my mental issues. I could find a ride one time. I have a hard time going to any hospital willingly. I have a very hard time leaving my kids for even a day and I know I would end up stuck at the hospital yet again. Or they would want me to come back in a few wks either way I have no way to get to any hospital more than once my family doesn't have the money for travel. I'm not sure where the mileage above came from but I know Grand Rappids is about 8 hrs from my house. Detroit is 10 hrs from me. Madison 6 or 7 hrs. The closest hospital to me that has a good reputation is Marquette general 100 miles to it and I have already been there and never going back.