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Xanax withdrawals from as needed use?
  1. #1
    bm3
    bm3 is offline New Member
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    Default Xanax withdrawals from as needed use?

    I was prescribed Xanax 1mg for panic attacks related to my agoraphobia among other things.

    I take half of one, 0.5mg, usually when I feel a panic attack is imminent, but sometimes preemptively and it works great, honestly it makes me feel normal again, although I have concerns.

    Over the last 35 days I've taken half a pill as needed. Sometimes once a week, sometimes 3 days in a row, it just depends on when I need one. But, the total is 7mgs. That averages to 0.5mg every 2.5 days for 35 days.

    Am I looking at developing any withdrawals with this kind of usage?

    The reason I ask is because the last few days I've had trouble sleeping and intrusive thinking. Could I be experiencing mild withdrawals between doses even at such a low dose? Can I quit cold turkey after my aforementioned usage?

    I'm not going to quit completely, but I want to stop taking it unless I absolutely need it. Which should limit it to a pill a week maybe less.

    Is klonopin a safer alternative for long term therapy?

  2. #2
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bm3 View Post

    Am I looking at developing any withdrawals with this kind of usage?

    The reason I ask is because the last few days I've had trouble sleeping and intrusive thinking. Could I be experiencing mild withdrawals between doses even at such a low dose?
    Yes.



    Can I quit cold turkey after my aforementioned usage?
    Yes, that would likely not be dangerous at this point yet.


    I'm not going to quit completely, but I want to stop taking it unless I absolutely need it. Which should limit it to a pill a week maybe less.
    That would be an extremely wise thing to do. The problem is that the more often you take it, the more often you will need to take it, as you will insidiously build a tolerance. There is also a mental aspect to it. It fixes the problem, and that becomes a draw making you want to fix the problem again, if that makes sense. You gradually find yourself coming to depend on it being there, rather than tolerating the symptom and letting the panic attack pass on its own.


    Is klonopin a safer alternative for long term therapy?
    Absolutely not. It's a benzo just like xanax. All of them are the same, basically, as far as dependency, tolerance, addiction risk, withdrawals, danger of seizure.

    My recommendation for benzo "as needed" use is to keep it very occasional. Less than once a week, preferably only once a month. Use of it will start to creep up on you. Once you get to daily use, you're sunk. Now you're facing either withdrawal or a long slow taper. Now you must take it daily or you might not be able to function at all, and get virtually no sleep if you don't take it. Now you worry about the doctor continuing your prescription, the pharmacy filling it, taking it with you when you travel, and so on. Eventually it no longer works to stop the panic attacks. Then you must increase the dose. You get the idea. I support daily use only if your disorder is so severe you cannot function in life. Otherwise, don't go there.
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  3. #3
    quagmir is offline New Member
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    I just want you to know that you sound like me 10+ years ago. I started as needed for panic attacks which grew to agoraphobia and here I am today taking it 4 times a day feeling like I am tolerant to my current dose and I am only getting back to normal and it does nothing for a true panic attack now, even taking an extra dose.

    Your tolerance will rise the more you take it. Please don't follow my path and do try to work through the panic without xanax. It is easy to take a quick fix pill, it is hard to deal with an attack until it goes away, it is even harder to get off the xanax later in life when you could have learned techniques to help you manage and possibly make you condition almost non existent.
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  4. #4
    bm3
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    I appreciate the reply thisweekforsure. I suspected that I might be feeling rebound anxiety between doses. I will definitely try to use it as sparingly as possible. I was beginning to rely on it every time I left my comfort range away from my house.. and sometimes even at home.

    I made it a point to not take my xanax this week unless I absolutely needed it to stop a panic attack.
    It's been 5 days off it and I'm able to sleep a bit better now and my general anxiety has gone down. The first 2 days I couldn't sleep hardly at all though. I did go to the store once without using it this week, which feels good.

    Thanks for sharing your experience quagmir. I do think I've relied on it too much. It got to the point where I wasn't even trying to get through it myself, when going to the grocery store or something, because the pill could do it for me. It's interesting to reflect on how quickly this mental dependence happens. I'm definitely going to make a conscious effort to limit what I deem 'needed', in my 'as needed' prescription. I wish you the best of luck in tapering your own usage.

    It's a few years that I've had this and it's really draining. Seems like all I want these days is to just be normal enough to have a job and be able to support myself. I will try an SSRI soon with CBT and see if that helps me not rely on xanax.

    Thanks again.

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