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Need help quitting xanax for good after 2.5 years of daily use
  1. #1
    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Default Need help quitting xanax for good after 2.5 years of daily use

    Hi people, new to the forum here so Ill just share a little background history Ive had taking this drug. So I was prescribed at the lowest dose possible (.25 mg) that I took daily at first and gradually increased the dosage to 1mg over the course of about 6 months or so.

    I was taking 1 mg of xanax daily for about 2 years and decided to tamper off the last 6 months, give or take, to which I am now taking a dosage of about .37 mg daily. I am prescribed 60 .5 mg tablets by the way, but do not even take half of that currently.

    I am also a big coffee drinker and have drank a cup of coffee every day for roughly 10 years. Should I focus on cutting caffeine completely before deciding to move forward with cutting xanax for good? I only ask this because coffee does increase my anxiety after coming down from the high and dont think that would be a good combination for the potential withdrawals Ill have from xanax.

    I am just worried about the physical dependent aspect of it. Psychologically, I stopped craving anything more than low dosage Im currently taking. So yeah this is my story and would greatly appreciate any advice on my current plan of quiting. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-23-2016 at 05:48 PM.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Good question. Coffee also increases my anxiety, and I have quit it before for similar reasons to yours. Back when the doctors had me on a cocktail of drugs, it was just one more thing adding to my anxiety. But now that I'm off all those drugs, I am back on my coffee and it does not bother me nearly so much. I think most of my anxiety was the benzos, antidepressants, etc.

    If you want to quit the coffee, if you do it cold turkey you may have "the" caffeine withdrawal headache. You can avoid that by tapering slowly over a week or so. But it depends on how much you drink. Is one cup the standard six ounces? Or is it a huge mug?

    Or you could not worry about the coffee and just taper the Xanax very, very slowly. You can do that by smushing it up into a powder and only consuming a portion, removing small amounts from the dose every few days.

    I would just recommend not doing both at the same time. If you quit coffee, keep the Xanax dose steady til you are past the headache danger. If you taper the Xanax first, keep the coffee the same amount every day.

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Thank you so much for the reply. I guess my main concern here is tackling both the xanax and coffee withdrawal at the same time. But what you suggests makes perfect sense. I was going to talk to my doctor to prescribing 60 .25 mg instead of .5 mg. My goal is to be able to get on a steady dose of .125 mg and then just quit it altogether after about 3 weeks of being on that low of a dose. Do you think that is the safest approach to getting off of it?

    Oh and to answer your question regarding the amout of coffee I drink, its usually those large cup sizes you find at 7 11, which is where I drink most of my coffee from. So I just started with a medium coffee size today and will gradually go down to the small cup size to half of that until I stop drinking it completely.

    I guess for now though Ill adjust my body to having a small cup of coffee and proceed with the xanax tapering. Do you think the xanax withdrawals will be comfortable at the rate Im going now? Im worried about going into a panic attack once it leaves my system completely.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    You've tapered from 1 mg per day to about .37 mg per day and your plan is to continue tapering until .125 and then jump off. I like your idea to ask your doctor for the lower dose pills. That will make it easier to cut to tiny doses. You can try jumping at .125 but in my experience that might possibly still be too high and you may want to continue tapering lower. Some people jump from that but others taper down to the .06 range which is approximately 1/4 of a .25 pill. You can even cut them in eighths for an even lower dose.

    Let your symptoms be your guide. The best approach is to make a cut and then experience mild withdrawal. Never tolerate severe symptoms or symptoms that prevent you from functioning in your normal life. Wait a few days until your stabilize at the new dose. Stabilize means you will feel better, more normal. Then make the next cut and repeat. Mild but tolerable withdrawal is ideal. It means you are making progress but it's not so uncomfortable you cannot function. You can jump from .125 and see how you do, and if after a day feel very bad, go back to .125, stabilize after another day or two, then make a cut of whatever amount you wish and go from there.

    I found it very helpful to write down my doses, and write how I felt that day on a scale of 1 to 10, because it is easy to forget. That way I could track my progress. If you find cutting the pills gets too ridiculous you can go to liquid titration. One benefit of that is that it is easier to divide the doses into several per day. Xanax is fairly short acting so you may notice symptoms well before 24 hours are up if you only dose once per day.

    I see about the coffee. I have a huge mug and my "one" cup is more like three cups by traditional measurement. Ha ha!

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Yeah believe me, I used to chug a lot of energy drinks back in the day as well as many cups of coffee until I balanced my caffeine intake down to one large cup of coffee per day. I think my anxiety stemmed from all the caffeine I was consuming over the years which questions if I really need anxiety medication in the first place lol.

    But youre exactly right about asking for a lower dosage as it will be so much easier to taper off of by eventually taking a quarter of a .25 mg pill. I also want to space out the hours in between of each doasage. For example, i take my dosage around 2 pm every day. Thats roughly 24 hours that I wait. If I can gradually space out the dosage to every 48 hours I imagine that would help a lot in the detox process right? And once I get my .25 mg pills I will definitely take your suggestions of eventually stabalizing myself on 1/4th of that dosage for the least amount of comfort possible. I mean .06 mg is so low if I can be comfortable with that amout every day then that should be a good sign to jump off for good. I swear once Im off this drug Im never going back on it again!

  6. #6
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Agree completely once off the benzo, I will never get back on. I mean I've been off it more than two years and I will never get back on daily benzos again. I never abused them or used them to get high. I only took them as ordered by my doctor to help me sleep at night. Had no idea that physical tolerance means quitting gives you bad withdrawals, even if you are not an abuser. Live and learn!

    Also with the coffee, in my younger days I would drink it all day long at the office. I don't know how many cups. And if was awful office coffee, disgusting. I really think people just "do" coffee at the office like it is a drug, which it is, the caffeine, and not at all for the flavor. Or maybe a cultural thing, everybody has a mug of coffee on their desk. Now I limit myself to one mug or occasionally two, and always in the morning only. And my coffee is fresh, I grind whole beans right before I brew it, actually good tasting coffee. It's not about the caffeine anymore, it's about the flavor.

    You can try spacing it out and if that works for you, great. But Xanax is so short acting, you might find that is too up and down. You'll have interdose withdrawals. As opposed to splitting the dose and dosing more frequently with gradually smaller doses. That way might keep you more stable throughout the day. That might be important if you need to function during the day at work or school, yet you need to sleep at night also. On the other hand, splitting doses can get fussy. The doses get too small. Nothing wrong with trying it and seeing how you do. If you go more than 24 hours and feel tolerably well, then go for it! You can always change and adjust your plan as you go.
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-24-2016 at 10:47 PM.

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Oh yes coffee is most definitely an addicting drug that the majority of people overlook it as a culutural habbit for some reason haha. I think for now Ill maintain my caffeiene addiction while getting this damn monkey off my back which is xanax lol.

    I never thought taking xanax every day would ever be this difficult to get off. I mean ive been on ativan before for a couple years everyday in my mid teens (Im 25 now) and dont remember having that hard of a time getting off of them.

    I just dropped from .37 mg to about .30 and I think the withdrawal is hitting me a bit. I got roughly 6 hours of sleep but when I woke up Im not nearly as tired and sluggish as I usually am. I feel slightly light headed too, but that may be due to my nasal congestion I developed in the last few days.

    Ive been through the ringer to withdrawing from anti depressants cold turkey to leaving ativan with virtually no life threatening withdrawal effects so surely I can survive this crusade that is xanax.

    I think the hardest part about withdrawing is my anxiety taking over focusing on the worst case scenario as far as withdrawals go. But right now with 6 hours of sleep I feel more clear headed than usual after dropping to around .30 mg last night. Once I get the .25 mg pills Im hoping tje withdrawals will be even smoother from here on out.

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Just wanted to report that even though Im experiencing interdose withdrawals, Im trying to push through to make sure to take my first .25 mg dose on the 24 hour mark and my second .06 to .1 mg or so dose by night time. The withdrawal is definitely noticeable and my brain is craving a .25 mg dose around the 22 hour mark. This schedule seems to let me sleep and make it through the entire day without waking any panic attacks which I assume means Im on the right track.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Yes, you are on the right track. If your symptoms are mild to (at worst) moderate, you can push through them and not dose early. You may be having more symptoms than you did with Ativan because each time you are on a benzo as you get older, the withdrawals will be worse. This is because each time you are on the drug for a period of time, your brain sets up more and more neurotransmitter changes, and then the next time, it "remembers" pretty quickly from the last time. The changes are cumulative over your lifetime, at least that is my opinion from the hundreds of people posting to forums and from my knowledge of the chemistry of how these drugs work. If you continue to get six hours sleep that is excellent. When I was withdrawing from a benzo I was lucky to get two or four hours.

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Thisweekforsure, You make a good point to why my withdrawal symptoms are worse now. I also think as I grew older I became more self aware about things in life which I believe contributed to more of the anxiety I feel currrently and probably mistake my symptoms as a withdrawal side effect.

    But this slow detox process has definitely started to impact my sleeping patterns as of 2 days ago. When I go to sleep, I wake up 3 hours later, go to sleep an hour later for 2 more hours, wake up, then go back to sleep for 2 more hours. It basically feels like Im getting my sleep, but I feel like Im awake throughout the whole night. I hope that makes sense lol. Im also experiencing more frequent headaches than normal, but nothing ibuprofen cant fix.If I hadnto guess the mg Im taking now it would be close to .3 mg. I want to try to reduce it to an even low dose of .25 mg by next week to see if I can get my regular sleep patterns stabilized.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Your description of sleep is exactly what I went through. It was like I always stayed just under the surface and never really got into deep sleep. It was horrible, but it is temporary. Try to have patience and know that it will get much better. If you can stabilize your sleep during the reducing that would be great but don't be too disappointed if you continue to have marginal sleep until you're completely off the Xanax.

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    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Exactly, its definitely not a comfortable experience. I do find taking 3mg of melatonin seems to help knock me out and put me into a deep sleep. Im probably going to have to take a little more melatonin as I continue to lower my xanax dose.

    The good news is I am seeing myself increase the amount of time I take my first xanax dose on. I started at 2 pm every day now Im able to make it to 5 pm without much withdrawal at all. My second dose is only about .06 to .1 mg. Thats what I take at night. My plan is just to take one dose at night so itll help with my sleep, then Ill gradually tamper slowly from that point. Its 4 pm now and Im not even anxious to take my xanax pill, so I think Ill wait a few more hours before I take it.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    This sounds like it's going very well. I like your plan. 3 mg melatonin is the most I would take unless it was just for a few days. You don't want to take high doses of that, it's a hormone. You might try valerian root too.

  14. #14
    SoberSoldier91 is offline New Member
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    Ive been taking melatonin for a few years now and usually take 1.5 mg of melatonin every night. Ill have to look into valerian root as I dont know much about it. Im guessing its a natural herb that can help with sleep from the sounds of it.I honestly think the reason I need melatonin is my daily intake of coffee, but dont have the willpower to give that up just yet lol. Thanks for all the feedback man.You really have helped ease my mind throughout this process and deserve a gold medal! I will try to keep this thread updated with my progress .Cheers my friend!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-30-2016 at 04:07 PM.

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    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Yes it's a natural herb and it does help with sleep. I've found that it gives me pleasant dreams also, and has no hangover effects the next day. But you have to play with the doses to get it right. Like all supplements and herbs, quality varies considerably. There is no standardization, and no hard and fast rules of doses. Typically you start small and if no effect, increase the dose until it works. For example, the first time I tried valerian root I took maybe 2 capsules. It didn't work, so I tried 4, that didn't work so I tried 6 and that worked perfectly.

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