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Avatar universal

Xanax every day for sleep

I have always had issues with anxiety and occasional insomnia but recently things have spiked badly.  The worst part is that as soon as I start to drift to sleep, my fight or flight response kicks into high gear and jolts me awake.  Pounding heart, tingling in my arms, chest and face.  I tried 5mg Ambien and it didnt work.  After 3 nights in a row of zero sleep I begged my PC doc to help me.  He prescribed .5mg xanax, "as needed" at bedtime.  At first I was scared and only took half of it.  It helped me get about 2 hours of sleep before the fight or flight emerged.  I have taken it 12 out of the last 14 days, never more than .5mg in a day.  The most sleep I got was about 4 hours on .5mg taken 30min before bed.  I think I am already addicted.  I took the pill at midnight, was up at 4:30am and by 5pm the next day I was on fire.  Tingling, rapid heart beat, depressed, shaky.  I feel as though my life is ending.  I have to choose between sleep and a possible addiction to one of the most horrible drugs to stop.  I am beyond desperate.  If I cannot figure something out soon I feel like my entire world is going to crumble.  Wife, kids, job.  It's like a nightmare that I cannot wake from.  Xanax will help me get minimal sleep so I can function but how does the story end?  Please help.  Has anyone else ever had this fight or flight response when just falling asleep?  What are my options?
13 Responses
1235186 tn?1549261219
Hello and welcome. You have only taken the xanax for 2 weeks, ambien only once? Have you had addiction issues before?

Have you been treated for your anxiety? Through therapy or put on an anti anxiety med? Besides xanax?

There are over the counter natural sleep aids, melatonin, alteril,
Valerian root, sleep by nature made, sleepy time and kava tea.

The symptoms you describe sound like a panic attack. Does this only happen when you try to sleep?
Are you using a CPAP machine? If not, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which will cause panic attacks at night because your breathing stops and you are abruptly awakened. Your doctor can order a sleep study, which will determine if you have OSA. A CPAP machine fixes that..
Avatar universal
YES, YES, AND YES. I totally relate to your situation and your very smart to be doing your homework before going deeper. Can I ask if you have hight BP?  Does your BP rise when your in the panic mode? 12 days in your body may have twinges of dependency, but in my opinion your anxiety  and on fire feeling is from a different cause. Have you tried any of the natural remedies for sleep…..soft music and hot baths before bed, sleepy time tea, rescue remedy lozangers, no TV watching in bed, catching the early morning sun and avoiding the early evening sun to reset your body clock? Are you exercising at all? Sorry for all the questions, but these are what helped me. I would not hesitate to call your DR. and tell him your concern. There are other rx, but non addictive alternatives out there. More will be along to give you more suggestions. I know the no sleep thing is very wearing.
Avatar universal
yes I have been where you are.  google The Ashton Manual - it is written by Dr Heather Ashton a benzo specialist in England.  I'm sure you will find answers there.  Take it to your dr and see if they will work with you on her advice.  There is a large forum out there for benzos but I'm not allowed to say the name. Google benzo forums and you will find it, there are many buddies that will post to you.

you haven't been on long and are having issues already, you need to make changes and get off with help. Do not cold turkey whatever you do, I was advised to do that by my pharmacist and former dr and it is hell beyond hell, plus dangerous.

Remember the Ashton Manual.
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding.  I have been treated for depression but not specifically anxiety.  I was feeling down and anxious in early December.  Started Zoloft.  Side effects started up and I tapered off after 3 weeks but anxiety, restlessness and insomnia spiked anyway.  I was better before the Zoloft so that is why I tapered.  I have some very stressful events coming up with work and I cannot afford to be "off".  But I am more off now than ever in my life and I am scared to death and spiraling downward.  My nervous system is going haywire.  I have tried melatonin and other otc sleep aids, no effect at all on this thing.  Right now I feel ok, a little jittery but not fight or flight.  But as soon as I start to drift to sleep, BAM!  My ancient reflex is telling me danger is near and you cannot sleep.  Xanax .5mg (or soon more) is so far the only thing that can tame it.  
Avatar universal
My last dose was midnight.  .25mg.  It is now 14 hours later.  I am feeling prickling on my face and arms.  Mental fatigue, although last night I got exactly zero sleep.  extreme depression.  Hopeless.  Scared.  I need sleep desperately.  Xanax is the only thing that suppresses the fight or flight response well enough to allow for it.  If I don't take enough xanax I won't be able to sleep.  If I take enough xanax I will be that much deeper into this nightmare.  If I don't sleep, how can I perform my job?  My Dr. prescribed Paxil and instructed me to take .5mg xanax before bed for 3 nights and call if I am not better.  Does anyone have any thoughts about this advice?  
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding.  I have not been treated for anxiety before but I should have been.  I have hyperhidrosis and I am in a virtual constant state of anxiety during business hours for fear of sweating from my face.  I took ambien 2 times.  The first time it gave me about 4 hours of sleep.  The next night less than 2 plus I felt very depressed the next day.  I have not ever had any addiction issues before.  I get small attacks during the day and I use deep breathing to cope fairly well.  But at night these things jolt me awake just as soon as I start to sleep.  Then, my panic escalates because I am afraid I wont get sleep.  I believe that .5mg xanax will allow me to sleep for a few hours but is it worth the price later?
1235186 tn?1549261219
i am sorry that you are having such a tough time.
I do believe you are having extreme panic attacks. you are in a catch 22,
afraid of sweating, anxiety over not sleeping, panicky about being alert enough during business hours.
your just got the paxil from your doctor today?
you stated you have tried otc meds for sleeping, have you tried valerian root?
magnesium and  L-Theanine is also effective for anxiety and sleeping.
this info is from the web md.

Valerian is an herb. Medicine is made from the root.

Valerian is most commonly used for sleep disorders, especially the inability to sleep (insomnia). It is frequently combined with hops, lemon balm, or other herbs that also cause drowsiness. Some people who are trying to withdraw from the use of “sleeping pills” use valerian to help them sleep after they have tapered the dose of the sleeping pill. There is some scientific evidence that valerian works for sleep disorders, although not all studies are positive.

Valerian is also used for conditions connected to anxiety and psychological stress including nervous asthma, hysterical states, excitability, fear of illness (hypochondria), headaches, migraine, and stomach upset.

Some people use valerian for depression, mild tremors, epilepsy, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS

have you been in therapy for your anxiety? cognitive behavior therapy
has some very good results.
exercising, prayer and medication, deep breathing.

I  would do as your doctor recommended take the paxil with three days of the Xanax and then call him if you aren't better.
I think for now this is the best advice for now just so you can get some sleep.
I looked up "panic attacks during sleep" on google. have you done this?
there was a lot of great reading on the subject.
you are not alone in this.

keep talking to us,
many times talking about something and just knowing you are not alone
is very comforting,
sending support, peace, encouragement and prayers,
Avatar universal
I stopped xanax and was fine for 24 hours.  I thought I had dodged a bullet!  That night however was Hell.  Zero sleep for the second night in a row.  Then, at the 48 hour mark, I started to feel worse and became very fearful that the wd symptoms were just delayed, not avoided.  I could not face the possibility of a 3rd sleepless night in a row so I caved and took .25mg.  I was able to get about 6 hours of broken sleep.  Now I am beyond terrified.  My lows keep getting lower.  I have a major work event this week and I cannot afford to be non functioning.  Is it likely that my wd symptoms were delayed after only 2 weeks at a low dose?  Is this all in my head?  I want off of the xanax but I have to function or my whole world is going to end.  I do not dare start the Paxil right now as that will just add to my confusion.  I am literally at a mental breaking point and cannot see how this ends well.  Sorry for being so morbid and dramatic but this is killing me.  Literally.
Avatar universal
i've been on benzos for years never exceeding the stated dose, more often only as needed. My docs say take .50 at night or in the morning and stop worrying about the horror stories of pepole trying to come off it'. Why come of it if it's calming you down? What are the symptoms that force patients to go thourhg this 'hell' of giving up?
Avatar universal
Been there.  Very confused hx of various dx including PTSD, MDD, Apnea, etc.  Tried CPAP machines, CBT, others.  Now I polypharm using OTC and lunesta, ambien.  Not a great solution.  But I function.
Avatar universal
hey rockets just relax mate, when you start taking any anti depressants you well worst to start will but after a month or so you will start to feel better mate and the xanax are tops i think people who have problems with them take to many just do what the docter says you will be fine, take care
612551 tn?1450025775
I didn't read in detail, so sorry if I repeat or argue, just sharing not prescribing.

I find Trazodone 50 mg before bedtime to be better, not perfect but helpful with sleep.  Not sure it helps with other mental issues.   My wife takes 100 mg and I may ask to move to that level myself.  Wife was on ambien (generic) for several years, when she converted to Trazodone she got better results and none of the ambien risks.  seems she was not addicted beyond a dependence for sleep, and the Trazodone provided relief with sleep.  I think she sleeps sounder on Trazodone. Another benefit, it is a low cost generic.
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