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Attempting to slowly stop taking Xanax
  1. #1
    KCJ506 is offline New Member
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    Default Attempting to slowly stop taking Xanax

    Looking to get some advice and tips as well as share my story.

    A couple months ago I started to feel bloating constantly and had trouble sleeping. I took Xanax 1mg. I never took the whole pill though. I would always break it in half. And would take one and the other half the next day or so. about the next week I started to feel better and I stopped taking them. The week after that I went to the doctor about my bloating beforehand and they couldn't find anything wrong. The blood work came out normal.

    I felt fine until the next week or so, I started to have these pains in my chest. I thought they way go away, but days later it got worse. I'd sometimes feel nauseous and couldn't eat a few bites of meal without feeling full and again had trouble sleeping. That night I took some Xanax and almost instantly felt better afterwards. However I assumed that it was a side effect of another med I was taking. Because I hadn't took any of that med that day.

    For the next two weeks I took Xanax daily.(Again not the whole pill just half) and now that pain I had before is coming back and I am having trouble sleeping. I learned about the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax recently and realized that must be what this is. As well as why I was cramping the last time. I haven't taken a dosage since early Tuesday morning

    So can anyone that has went through this tell me how their experience was and how they slowly they went off taking Xanax? I'm definitely not gonna cold turkey. I've read that will make this a lot worse. I'm thinking about taking half a piece every 3 days now for about a week or two then going down to two afterwards. Considering I've been taking them for less than two months(and I believe the dosage was low), will it be awhile before these symptoms subside? I've read stories about how people have been on Xanax for months and years and when they tried stopping they had symptoms for months. I've also read about cutting the 1mg pill into four pieces. Should I do that when I take the next one or wait a little bit before reducing the dosage?
    Last edited by Anonymous; 04-10-2015 at 03:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    It's hard to say whether your symptoms are withdrawal. Two months is a short time to be on them, if this is the very first time you have taken them. If not, that's different. Also, it depends on the other meds you are taking and whether or not you drink alcohol, and your general health history. But indeed taking 1 mg every day for two months can result in withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly. Yes it is okay to cut them into quarters. Because you have not taken them very long, it would be best to try to get off them fairly quickly, not all at once, but a fast taper. The longer you take them the harder it will be. We usually advise a slow taper for those on them a long time, but avoiding being in that situation in the first place is preferable.

  3. #3
    KCJ506 is offline New Member
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    Well like I said, I actually never took the whole pill. I'd break it and take one half and then the other the next day or so. I believe that would then make it .5mg. And after about two weeks I stopped. However about a couple weeks later my stomach started to cramp. I took a piece of .5mg and almost instantly felt better. I started taking them everyday for another two weeks. And the only time I took some before was over a year ago when me and members of my family flew to Florida. That was my first time flying and I have a fear of that. Same dosage IIRC.

    I asked this on another board and the people there mentioned that a dose of .5mg daily was pretty low to have withdraw symptoms and mentioned that anxiety could be what's causing me to feel like this. And I think they may be right. For a little while when ever I would sleep I would always have dreams. I know everyone has dreams, but I was getting them every night and that seemed weird to me. Whenever I tried to go to sleep without taking a Xanax, I could never stay asleep for more than a hour or two. For the last two nights, I tried taking ZZquill and neither time did I feel the slightest bit drowsy. The night before, I managed to fall asleep, but woke up about an hour later coughing and my mouth was really dry and scratchy. And last night, I couldn't fall asleep period. I wanted to try to go at least one more night without Xanax, having then learned that .5mg being a low dosage and how anxiety causes many symptoms I decided to take one and finally got to sleep for more than just a few hours and that was also the first time in weeks that I fell asleep without having some kind of dream. It was hours after taking the ZZquill though and I know that those meds can interact together, but I think it was long enough in between the times that I took them.

    Lately I've started to become hypochondriac. No matter how hard I try, I just couldn't keep myself from foolishly googling my symptoms and coming across various types of diseases and thinking that I could possibly have one of them. I would think that I had things such as an ulcer, appendicitis and even that dreaded C word.

    I forgot to mention that for awhile I would get this pain in my chest. When it first happened, I thought I was having a heart attack. It would just randomly happen every month or two for at least two days. It would happen once and then hours later happen again. I thought maybe it was something I had ate. I did tend to eat BBQ sauce with certain foods. But even after cutting down on the BBQ sauce, I would still get that feeling. I finally mentioned this to my mother and my sister and my mother thought perhaps it was heartburn and scheduled a doctor's appointment for me. I would have mentioned this to them sooner, but we had been going through some other issues.(which I'll get to later)

    Soon after scheduling my appointment, I started to google my symptoms(a BIG mistake) and thought I was having some kind of heart problem. A few days later is when I started to feel bloated. I thought it something I ate or that I ate too much and that it would go away. But the next day I felt worse and couldn't eat a meal without feeling full so quickly. So I had my mother take me to the ER. I explained my symptoms to the doctors and they thought perhaps I had Acid Reflux/GERD and gave me some Ranitidine. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I'm nowhere close to being overweight. However I did tend to eat a lot of high fat foods and drink a lot of pop. So I tried making some lifestyle changes.

    Even after eating more healthy foods and drinking more water, that pain where I felt I was having heartburn happened again. When I went to see my PCP, he said that I was too young to have anything really serious(I'm 30) and as I mentioned in my initial post, the blood work came back normal. He even used his stethoscope on me and couldn't find anything abnormal.

    I've heard that stress can play a factor to this and I have been going through some pretty stressful times the last couple of years. Around Thanksgiving in 2013, we had to rush my mother to the hospital because she had pneumonia. And last year, we found out that she had CHF and had to get a defibrillator implanted. Even with the defibrillator, I still worry about her sometimes. I also sometimes worry about my father. Who's diabetic and had a mini-stroke in 2011.

    My mother and my sister were telling me that nothing was wrong with me physically and that it probably all in my head. Turns out that they may have be right all along. I have been pretty paranoid. I never realized how much of an effect the mind could have on your body. Even when my doctor assured me that nothing was wrong, I'd feel better for a bit, but then start to feel bloated and have cramps. My mother is looking to have my doctor refer me to a counselor to talk to. Hopefully that'll make me feel better.

    After looking more into things, I think those pains that I thought were heartburn, were probably panic attacks.

  4. #4
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCJ506 View Post
    Well like I said, I actually never took the whole pill. I'd break it and take one half and then the other the next day or so. I believe that would then make it .5mg. And after about two weeks I stopped.
    I misunderstood, you said you took half at bedtime then the other half the next day or so. I was assuming you then took a half at bedtime again and the other half the next morning, but you meant you took the other half the next night, so only .5 mg per day. That's a low dose but really it's relative. It's a low dose relative to someone who has developed a tolerance and takes a whole lot more than they should and it is the "start" dose doctors start you on, but the milligrams being so low is an illusion. .5 mg is actually a full start dose, for example, if you take 325 mg of Tylenol it sounds by comparison that .5mg of xanax is "low" but in reality those two would be equivalent start doses of those respective drugs. So .5 mg of xanax is a "full" dose, don't be fooled by the low the number, that dose is fully capable of getting you completely dependent and being really hard to wean off.

    However about a couple weeks later my stomach started to cramp. I took a piece of .5mg and almost instantly felt better.
    It may or may not have been the xanax that made you feel better. It may have been coincidence. But even if it was the xanax that fixed it, does not mean lack of xanax was the cause of the cramp. I believe your digestive symptoms, sleep symptoms and anxiety have a root cause unrelated to the xanax.


    I asked this on another board and the people there mentioned that a dose of .5mg daily was pretty low to have withdraw symptoms and mentioned that anxiety could be what's causing me to feel like this. And I think they may be right.
    Yes and no. I agree you have a primary issue totally unrelated to the xanax. The xanax treats it, but then makes it rebound worse. Taking the xanax will exacerbate all these symptoms. It is very short acting, so you can feel rebound symptoms the next day.


    Lately I've started to become hypochondriac. No matter how hard I try, I just couldn't keep myself from foolishly googling my symptoms and coming across various types of diseases and thinking that I could possibly have one of them. I would think that I had things such as an ulcer, appendicitis and even that dreaded C word.
    Yes you are hyper focused on symptoms which some people would call hypochondriac and you have to be careful not to spend too much time out of your life worrying over things that are probably not there. On the other hand this characteristic can do you very well. If you do ever get a serious disease you'll catch it real early because you're so aware and so diligent learning about any symptoms. It also means you have a low tolerance to things being out of whack which I believe puts you at low risk to allow things to escalate before you address the problem.

    I forgot to mention that for awhile I would get this pain in my chest. When it first happened, I thought I was having a heart attack. It would just randomly happen every month or two for at least two days. It would happen once and then hours later happen again. I thought maybe it was something I had ate. I did tend to eat BBQ sauce with certain foods. But even after cutting down on the BBQ sauce, I would still get that feeling.....

    However I did tend to eat a lot of high fat foods and drink a lot of pop. So I tried making some lifestyle changes.
    Lifestyle changes can take several months before you feel the benefit. I believe you have hit the nail but it's not the foods you think it is. For example, if you have a wheat sensitivity, it's not the BBQ sauce causing the problem, but the bread or the gluten in the sauce (flavoring ingredients.) Actually there is no scientific data supporting spicy foods being the cause of digestive trouble. Far more likely it is gluten, dairy, undercooked vegetables, fat (if you have gallstones) or sensitivity to particular foods such as the nightshade family (tomatoes, in which case it would be the tomato in the BBQ sauce, not the spice.)


    Even after eating more healthy foods and drinking more water, that pain where I felt I was having heartburn happened again. When I went to see my PCP, he said that I was too young to have anything really serious(I'm 30) and as I mentioned in my initial post, the blood work came back normal. He even used his stethoscope on me and couldn't find anything abnormal.
    You are not too young for gallstones which presents as a pain in the central area of the upper abdomen, just below the breastbone. (I had my gallbladder out at age 32.) You are not too young for celiac disease, gluten intolerance or dairy sensitivity. All of these start with digestive problems that DO NOT show up in routine blood tests or exams. Even if your doctor ran a celiac panel on your bloodwork there is a very high level of false negatives, and you cannot rule out that disorder unless your doctor does an endoscopy.

    Likely what your doctor meant is that you are too young for end stage damage caused by years of bad eating, for example, heartburn which is acid splashing back into your esophagus, will cause severe esophagus damage but it does not show up until middle age or later. This diseases of middle and old age don't magically appear overnight for no reason though. They are the culmination of a lifetime of pesky irritation exactly as you are experiencing. You're young enough to nip it in the bud and you are "hypochondriac" enough to worry about it BEFORE it is bad enough to show up frankly and severely to the doctor.


    My mother and my sister were telling me that nothing was wrong with me physically and that it probably all in my head. Turns out that they may have be right all along. I have been pretty paranoid. I never realized how much of an effect the mind could have on your body. Even when my doctor assured me that nothing was wrong, I'd feel better for a bit, but then start to feel bloated and have cramps. My mother is looking to have my doctor refer me to a counselor to talk to. Hopefully that'll make me feel better.
    The mind and body are totally connected. Problems in digestion affect the mind. If you are not properly digesting your food, then your body does not get the nutrients it needs to manufacture neurotransmitters that keep your brain happy. Seratonin, dopamine, endorphines and others, are necessary for you to not feel anxious and for you to sleep well and so on. If your stomach and intestines have suffered subtle damage over the years you might not be absorbing all the vitamins and minerals you need for your body to manufacture these neurotransmitters. Even if you eat healthy foods, you might not be absorbing them properly.

    Because your mind is so keen and sharp and you are so willing to investigate and get to the bottom of things, you have all the tools you need to investigate nutrition and get to the bottom of your digestive symptoms. There is something there, this is not caused by your mind and emotions but your mind and emotions are affected by it. Counseling may help you feel better but it is putting a bandage on the sore, not getting to the root cause.
    After looking more into things, I think those pains that I thought were heartburn, were probably panic attacks.
    They are both in my opinion, typically. Of course I cannot diagnose you on the internet. Your symptoms are CLASSIC digestive disorders; long standing, chronic, and progressive. These can be directly related to panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Very high doses of sugar (pop and soda) sends damaging glycating sugars all over your body and brain creating havoc on your nervous system, both your central nervous system (mind) and your peripheral nervous system (diabetic neuropathy when you hit middle age). Consuming high amounts of sugar and other carbs is directly related to sleep problems. Eat protein and good quality fat before bed, no sugar, no white flour and see if your sleep quality improves. You might have to give it a couple months to take effect, and get way past taking ANY xanax at all. Expect terrible sleep until the xanax is long gone. You need good fats and good quality protein for brain function. Eliminate trans fats, cut way back on sugar and carbs, and become a detective to figure out what particular foods you might be sensitive to. If a high fat meal causes severe epigastric pain, suspect gallstones. Avoid taking antacids, they make heartburn worse in the long run (unless told by a doctor you have Barretts' then you must follow his orders but its highly unlikely you have that yet). You can figure this out.

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