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My Psychiatrist wants me to just STOP taking XANAX
  1. #1
    Kayroll03 is offline New Member
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    Mar 2017
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    Question My Psychiatrist wants me to just STOP taking XANAX

    SORRY THIS IS SO LONG, BUT IT'S THE FIRST TIME I'VE PUT THESE THOUGHTS TOGETHER AND I DESPERATELY NEED GUIDANCE.

    I'm a 48 year old woman and I've been on Xanax for 4 years. Widowed in 2009, taking care of 3 kids (who were 10, 11 and 16 when my husband passed) and trying to remain in the workforce to provide for my family. I started with .25 a few times a day but as the stress from my job as a credit manager increased and the kids started getting popular and having kids over (who thought it was ok to drink and smoke in my garage), my anxiety sky-rocketed to unbearable levels.

    I kept going to my primary care and they increased the Xanax to .50 ... then I had surgery last July to replace my thumb joint (arthritis) and then the other was replaced in December. Very painful recovery but I'm good now. I was on hydrocodone and ate them like candy while recovering from the pain (removed bone, replaced joint with rolled up tendon, it was horrible). When the pain diminished I tappered off the pain pills and was fine. I even had 9 left over for when I went to physical therapy but didn't need them and didn't take them - to me, that is proof that I have some control over what could potentially be a very addictive drug.

    I had issues going back to work, tried another job with another company and for the first time in my life was told that it wasn't working out. I just didn't feel like myself and I felt like I was in a brain fog. I was emotionally devastated by being let go after only 3 weeks and I experienced horrible anxiety. By then my primary care doctor had increased my dose to 1 mg Xanax 3X a day, but I only usually took 2 a day. At this time, I am still on the 2/9/17 Rx so I am definitely addicted/dependent on the Xanax but I do not abuse it.

    I have felt like my memory is slipping, I am so confused at times, scatterbrained, forgetful, tell stories to the same person twice without realizing I already told them, the list goes on and on and I feel like my brain is failing me. I did research and saw that these can be side effects to benzos. I also read where there is an effect after taking Xanax where you rebound and have just as much if not more anxiety while taking Xanax and it becomes ineffective but just causes side effects. I was terrified that I was rotting my brain - I'm usually very sharp and have a high IQ so being so mentally challenged was just horrible.

    I talked to my psychiatrist, an addictions specialist (actually Director at a large hospital here in Syracuse, NY) and he said to just taper down over the next week or so and then stop completely. He was very flippant about it, saying I'd probably have some side effects but it wouldn't be bad and I'd be fine. I felt that was bad advice, so I went to an addictions center and they said I needed to go to the ER for evaluation because they only helped people who were already off the drug of choice. My psychiatrist and primary care both agreed about the ER when I called them both.

    I went to the ER and a group of addiction specialists evaluated me -- I had not taken any Xanax for the previous 22 hours and was not showing any physical signs of withdrawal, so since I had no symptoms to treat, they discharged me and said that if I just slowly tapered down I would be fine, that I was strong and had a good grasp on what I needed to do. They were impressed that I was there and very supportive, but said that I was very capable of doing this on my own and that the only thing they would do there would be to keep me overnight since they didn't have a "detox" program anymore.

    So I am home, and feeling hopeful and actually have a clear head now that I'm taking .50 every 4-5 hours instead of the two 1mg pills 2 times a day. Spacing it out has helped me remain calm while not giving me as much brain fog. I've read about the water titration and a few other methods, but still don't know what would be best for me... I have an appointment with my psychiatrist Monday and I know he is going to say to cut back that week and just stop within the next few weeks.

    As an addictions specialist, I am puzzled that he would not have more concern about my withdrawal potential - that could occur weeks or months after cessation of the drug - and will just speed up the weening process and think I'll be fine. I'm scared and I don't want to have any surprises in the future from being on 2 mg of Xanax for roughly 8 months now, on Xanax at lower doses for approx 4 years. I'm terrified it will creep up on me and my anxiety will consume me again along with withdrawal symptoms and sickness in the future. I have to find a job ASAP now that my thumbs have healed and I can write again.

    So sorry this is so long... I hope that someone will read this and be able to help me. I'm usually so strong, but this is the first time in years that I have legitimate fears and feel like nobody is listening to me. Thoughts?

    Thank you so much,
    Carol

  2. #2
    Ricky71 is offline Advanced Member
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    Oct 2015
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    Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayroll03 View Post
    SORRY THIS IS SO LONG, BUT IT'S THE FIRST TIME I'VE PUT THESE THOUGHTS TOGETHER AND I DESPERATELY NEED GUIDANCE.

    I'm a 48 year old woman and I've been on Xanax for 4 years. Widowed in 2009, taking care of 3 kids (who were 10, 11 and 16 when my husband passed) and trying to remain in the workforce to provide for my family. I started with .25 a few times a day but as the stress from my job as a credit manager increased and the kids started getting popular and having kids over (who thought it was ok to drink and smoke in my garage), my anxiety sky-rocketed to unbearable levels.

    I kept going to my primary care and they increased the Xanax to .50 ... then I had surgery last July to replace my thumb joint (arthritis) and then the other was replaced in December. Very painful recovery but I'm good now. I was on hydrocodone and ate them like candy while recovering from the pain (removed bone, replaced joint with rolled up tendon, it was horrible). When the pain diminished I tappered off the pain pills and was fine. I even had 9 left over for when I went to physical therapy but didn't need them and didn't take them - to me, that is proof that I have some control over what could potentially be a very addictive drug.

    I had issues going back to work, tried another job with another company and for the first time in my life was told that it wasn't working out. I just didn't feel like myself and I felt like I was in a brain fog. I was emotionally devastated by being let go after only 3 weeks and I experienced horrible anxiety. By then my primary care doctor had increased my dose to 1 mg Xanax 3X a day, but I only usually took 2 a day. At this time, I am still on the 2/9/17 Rx so I am definitely addicted/dependent on the Xanax but I do not abuse it.

    I have felt like my memory is slipping, I am so confused at times, scatterbrained, forgetful, tell stories to the same person twice without realizing I already told them, the list goes on and on and I feel like my brain is failing me. I did research and saw that these can be side effects to benzos. I also read where there is an effect after taking Xanax where you rebound and have just as much if not more anxiety while taking Xanax and it becomes ineffective but just causes side effects. I was terrified that I was rotting my brain - I'm usually very sharp and have a high IQ so being so mentally challenged was just horrible.

    I talked to my psychiatrist, an addictions specialist (actually Director at a large hospital here in Syracuse, NY) and he said to just taper down over the next week or so and then stop completely. He was very flippant about it, saying I'd probably have some side effects but it wouldn't be bad and I'd be fine. I felt that was bad advice, so I went to an addictions center and they said I needed to go to the ER for evaluation because they only helped people who were already off the drug of choice. My psychiatrist and primary care both agreed about the ER when I called them both.

    I went to the ER and a group of addiction specialists evaluated me -- I had not taken any Xanax for the previous 22 hours and was not showing any physical signs of withdrawal, so since I had no symptoms to treat, they discharged me and said that if I just slowly tapered down I would be fine, that I was strong and had a good grasp on what I needed to do. They were impressed that I was there and very supportive, but said that I was very capable of doing this on my own and that the only thing they would do there would be to keep me overnight since they didn't have a "detox" program anymore.

    So I am home, and feeling hopeful and actually have a clear head now that I'm taking .50 every 4-5 hours instead of the two 1mg pills 2 times a day. Spacing it out has helped me remain calm while not giving me as much brain fog. I've read about the water titration and a few other methods, but still don't know what would be best for me... I have an appointment with my psychiatrist Monday and I know he is going to say to cut back that week and just stop within the next few weeks.

    As an addictions specialist, I am puzzled that he would not have more concern about my withdrawal potential - that could occur weeks or months after cessation of the drug - and will just speed up the weening process and think I'll be fine. I'm scared and I don't want to have any surprises in the future from being on 2 mg of Xanax for roughly 8 months now, on Xanax at lower doses for approx 4 years. I'm terrified it will creep up on me and my anxiety will consume me again along with withdrawal symptoms and sickness in the future. I have to find a job ASAP now that my thumbs have healed and I can write again.

    So sorry this is so long... I hope that someone will read this and be able to help me. I'm usually so strong, but this is the first time in years that I have legitimate fears and feel like nobody is listening to me. Thoughts?

    Thank you so much,
    Carol
    I'm sorry no one has responded to your thread as of yet. I see that you haven't logged in since March 25th? If you still need advice then leave a quick update, I'd be happy to help if you still need it? Take care... God bless us all!

  3. #3
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,128

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    I'm unclear why they sent you to the ER. Were you complaining about brain fog and forgetfulness and they wanted you to be evaluated for stroke?

    Anyway, slow gradual taper is what you need to do, and you have read about that and should be able to work it out. Don't let the doctors try to make you stop too suddenly.

    You have a lot of anxiety and worry about the process of tapering, about what the drug may have done to your mind and so forth. This is all NORMAL for someone in your position. Many people on a benzo when they make the decision to cut back and stop go through this anxiety. Part of it is the reduction of the drug doing it to you and another part is just the unknown. Read the stories on this site about people tapering slowly and assume yourself you are not alone and that you can do this.

    Best of luck, I think you will be fine in the end.

    PS edit: Good idea to break into smaller doses and take throughout the day. Keeps more even blood levels.

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