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10w Pregnant, Can't Get Off Xanax
  1. #1
    jholliday is offline New Member
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    Exclamation 10w Pregnant, Can't Get Off Xanax

    Hey folks,

    I'm currently 10 weeks pregnant and trying SO hard to get off Xanax. I am 29 and I have been taking it for two years, 0.5mg-1mg a night before bed. I take it for anxiety-related insomnia. Some nights I could get away with just taking one, and some nights I'd have to take two. Some nights 0.5mg does nothing (my pills are 0.5mg alprazolam, the peach-colored pills with the score).

    Now that I'm pregnant, you can imagine how much harder this has become. My GP prescribes them but basically said, "Just stop taking them." Great. My OB recommended tapering down, which is what I have been trying. However...

    The first two weeks of tapering down from 1mg/night, I stuck to 0.5mg/night for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks (two days ago) I took none, and just a Unisom to see if would maybe take the edge off and help me sleep, but this was probably the WORST night's sleep (if you can call it that) I've ever had in my life.

    My heart was racing/pounding, my neck and jaw was stiffening (like I could't move it), I was sweating profusely, I cried off and on for hours, and I felt like I couldn't keep a thought in my head. I went to bed around 9:30 PM but literally tossed and turned until 1:30 AM when I finally just gave up and got up. I went about my morning ritual and then fell "asleep" (a very lucid, jerky sleep) for a couple of hours until I had to go to work. Once at work, for the next 8 hours, I basically spent half the time in the bathroom vomiting like a wino. When I finally got home, I dry heaved my guts out for four hours until I finally craked and took 0.5mg of Xanax. I slept like a baby that night and managed to keep all of food down today, without feeling nauseated.

    I just don't know what to do. This feels hopeless and now my baby is going to be born with some horrible defect. My OB is stressing the importance of going off this medication IMMEDIATELY but I don't think he understands what this did to me. Is there a better way to do this? I mean, I did the tapering thing like he said, and I still got violently illl. I was miserable all day long. I threw up so many times yesterday that I broke a giant blood vessel in my left eye and it looks hideous.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I am really worried about what this is doing to my baby, but I seriously can't live through these withdrawals. I've read some scary things online about Xanax in pregnancy but I have a full-time job and I am a graduate student, and I just can't afford to be THAT sick and tired and loopy and useless all day -- and for how many days?!

    I really would appreciate any advice you could give me. I just don't know what to do. I know I need to stop this, but how? How long will the withdrawals go on like that? Will I ever feel normal again? Will my baby be born with some horrible defect? I can't go through that kind of violent, forceful vomiting ever again. What are my options?

    Thanks. All suggestions are encouraged and welcomed.
    Aquamystica and Selinaw91189 like this.

  2. #2
    doc.rose is offline Advanced Member
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    Could you go down to a .25 dose? Take that for a while then maybe cut that in half to a .125 dose. It is just a suggestion. Maybe jumping from the .5mg to nothing was too big of a jump. Slowly taper down from the .5mg pill. You can do this! You have a beautiful baby to think about. We will support you through this, I promise. Keep us posted ok? Just try.
    Aquamystica likes this.

  3. #3
    terry120635 is offline Member
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    These withdraws are only going to be temporary and they will go away, but what you might be doing to your baby could maybe affect his/her whole life, and I know you dont want that. NO WAY. You mention you have a full time job and your a graduate student, and you can't afford to be that sick and tired and loopy and useless all day, please this is temporary for you and please think about what you are saying, this is sounding really selfish on your part. Stop taking and please find a solution quickly for the sake of your baby
    Aquamystica likes this.

  4. #4
    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    << I am really worried about what this is doing to my baby, but I seriously can't live through these withdrawals. I've read some scary things online about Xanax in pregnancy but I have a full-time job and I am a graduate student, and I just can't afford to be THAT sick and tired and loopy and useless all day -- and for how many days?! >>

    All you need to do is click on the link that came up on your post for "xanax" and the affect on pregnancy was spelled out by the FDA. This is clearly a very dangerous drug for pregnant women, and your baby runs the risk of "congenital malformations." I don't know how much clearer that could possibly be. The worst harm is said to occur in the first trimester; it's all spelled out there.

    It goes on to tell that the baby will be very likely to experience withdrawal symptoms, if the mother continues on this drug.

    Maybe you need to cut out a picture - of the most beautiful baby you can find in a magazine - and paste it to your prescription bottle. This is NOT all about YOU, honey - it's all about this innocent baby that is just beginning to form within you. The first 3 months of pregnancy are crucial to the development of that person you have created. For you to put sleep or vomiting (no matter how "violent") ahead of that child having a handicap the rest of their life - well, I can see why the previous poster used the word, "selfish."

    YES, I have taken xanax in the past. YES, I have overcome it, and gone through a horrific detox, as I was taking more than you. I'd hate to go through such a detox again. BUT... I'd go through that nightmare of a detox 1000 times, if it meant sparing my child "congenital malformations!!!"

    If you can't do it on your own, then set up a tapering plan with your doctor - write it out on paper and sign your name to it. And tell yourself, this is it - no matter what, you're going to do it. If you have to sacrifice work or graduate school, so be it. Hell, if you have to fail a class with an "F" because you are too sick to attend, then that's one small sacrifice for your child! You actually whine about how long this may go on??? If you think you have an anxiety-related insomnia now - how much worse with that anxiety be one day, if your child suffers from your drug use???

    Time to start acting like a parent - as you are soon to be one. Once we are parents, the world no longer evolves around us... we are solely responsible for the well-being of the child we have. That means sacrifice. I'm the mother of 14 children - although I only gave birth to two of them. The rest came via adoption, former foster children. Many of these kids had drug-addicted parents. Several are special needs children, with a litany of 'labels' and 'diagnosises' attributable to their mother's drug use. Specifically, my son (age 13) is moderately retarded. Is that what you want for your child, just so you can sleep a bit better for the next few weeks??? I'd love to hear how you justify that to him one day.

    As an "educated" woman, you must know that there are far healthier ways of dealing with anxiety than popping a xanax. There is meditation, yoga, exercise, counseling, to name a few. There is also the possibility of altering your lifestyle, so that there is less anxiety.

    By the way, you mentioned popping a 'unisom' to "take the edge off" -- hello? Every single thing that you put in your mouth passes into the tiny mass of cells that is now developing into your precious baby. If you can so casually take a unisom, without a thought to the child, I shutter to think what else you take so casually at such a crucial time in that child's development. ANYTHING can disrupt the amazing process that is occurring right now.

    Mothers have been prosecuted when it is determined that there are drugs in the newborn baby's system coming from the mother's intake. It's considered child abuse. For God's sake, THINK. Where are your priorities???

    If you were to scan through my other posts, you'll find that generally, I am about the most compassionate woman out there - for me to come on this strong is rare. But what you are doing right now, scares the hell out of me.

    Ruth

    nverrett likes this.

  5. #5
    no_more_tram is offline Member
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    I can see being afraid of W/D's, but tapering would only prolong the bad for the baby! If I were you I would STOP NOW, you will feel MUCH worse if you end up having a baby with serious health problems. A few days or week of you being sick should well be worth it for your baby. I hope you make the right decision and stop. You being pregnant could very well be God's of telling you that you need to stop these pills. Noone likes anxiety, but addiction and a sick child is much worse!! Take care!
    "If I NEVER use again, I will NEVER have to feel this way"

  6. #6
    EricaMarie is offline Member
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    I agree with Ruth's post ENTIRELY. I was on xanax years ago for panic attacks. And I, like you, was prescribed the peach 0.5 ones. You are not even on a high dose.....you take one to two a night!! You need to think of that child inside of you. I can't believe, or should i rephrase that to say, wow its shocking that after one night of not taking it you went into such heavy w/d as you explained?? That astounds me. You are on a low dose for such dramatic and intense withdrawals. I've been there. I am not trying to judge you but you need to think about this miracle God has given you. You seem to be more focused on your own "discomfort" and that is sad. If anything I've learned as a mother, it is to be completely selfless. It is not about you anymore......please stop for you and your baby's sake....and your futures.

  7. #7
    just_a_mom is offline Member
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    jholliday,

    i saw your post and the responses to it. obviously people here feel pretty strongly when babies are involved...

    my 2 cents... talk to your ob. ask to see a maternal fetal medicine specialist
    (they can follow you w/ ultrasound more closely w/ your history if necessary). the mfm specialist should have experience/knowledge w/ the meds & your options to get off them. you need help w/ this - get it from a super-specialized doc.

    i kicked my opiate addiction when i found out i was pregnant (hard to do), & now i type this one handed as i breastfeed my newborn. kicking meds can be done, but the fear of w/d, feeling cruddy while preg is awful. it is very easy to say to someone to think about their baby, but much more difficult in practice. You know you need off the xanax, find some real concrete help to do it (something more than "stop taking it")

    hang in there

    just a mom
    Last edited by Anonymous; 01-30-2010 at 10:40 PM.
    nverrett likes this.

  8. #8
    cartersmommy15 is offline New Member
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    Smile Do whatever it takes to keep you and your miracle safe no matter what!

    I feel so sorry for you because this thread is meant for positive advice and not ppl like ARTIST658 to sit and judge you and tell you that you are selfish! You do whatever is best for both you AND your baby because the withdrawals from trying to stop cold turkey could not only kill you but actually could cause you to lose the baby and would that be worth it? Absolutely NOT! So just try to wean yourself down as much as you can and try spacing out more and more days from your last dose! I know your pain and how confusing it is but don't let others influence you to do something that you aren't ready to do or just know it isn't the right way for you! I hope this helps even if just to make you feel a little better!

  9. #9
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    That's not a high dose. You should stop NOW. What is a week or two of discomfort versus a life of looking at your child knowing you harmed them?

  10. #10
    Commonsense1980 is offline New Member
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    Default Don't listen to these judgemental uneducated ppl

    Quote Originally Posted by jholliday View Post
    Hey folks,

    I'm currently 10 weeks pregnant and trying SO hard to get off Xanax. I am 29 and I have been taking it for two years, 0.5mg-1mg a night before bed. I take it for anxiety-related insomnia. Some nights I could get away with just taking one, and some nights I'd have to take two. Some nights 0.5mg does nothing (my pills are 0.5mg alprazolam, the peach-colored pills with the score).

    Now that I'm pregnant, you can imagine how much harder this has become. My GP prescribes them but basically said, "Just stop taking them." Great. My OB recommended tapering down, which is what I have been trying. However...

    The first two weeks of tapering down from 1mg/night, I stuck to 0.5mg/night for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks (two days ago) I took none, and just a Unisom to see if would maybe take the edge off and help me sleep, but this was probably the WORST night's sleep (if you can call it that) I've ever had in my life.

    My heart was racing/pounding, my neck and jaw was stiffening (like I could't move it), I was sweating profusely, I cried off and on for hours, and I felt like I couldn't keep a thought in my head. I went to bed around 9:30 PM but literally tossed and turned until 1:30 AM when I finally just gave up and got up. I went about my morning ritual and then fell "asleep" (a very lucid, jerky sleep) for a couple of hours until I had to go to work. Once at work, for the next 8 hours, I basically spent half the time in the bathroom vomiting like a wino. When I finally got home, I dry heaved my guts out for four hours until I finally craked and took 0.5mg of Xanax. I slept like a baby that night and managed to keep all of food down today, without feeling nauseated.

    I just don't know what to do. This feels hopeless and now my baby is going to be born with some horrible defect. My OB is stressing the importance of going off this medication IMMEDIATELY but I don't think he understands what this did to me. Is there a better way to do this? I mean, I did the tapering thing like he said, and I still got violently illl. I was miserable all day long. I threw up so many times yesterday that I broke a giant blood vessel in my left eye and it looks hideous.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I am really worried about what this is doing to my baby, but I seriously can't live through these withdrawals. I've read some scary things online about Xanax in pregnancy but I have a full-time job and I am a graduate student, and I just can't afford to be THAT sick and tired and loopy and useless all day -- and for how many days?!

    I really would appreciate any advice you could give me. I just don't know what to do. I know I need to stop this, but how? How long will the withdrawals go on like that? Will I ever feel normal again? Will my baby be born with some horrible defect? I can't go through that kind of violent, forceful vomiting ever again. What are my options?

    Thanks. All suggestions are encouraged and welcomed.
    I myself understand what your going through its beyond throwing up you and the baby coulkd die if you stop taking it so what ever Dr said that should be fired sudden with drawl can kill you it more than some pain you can have a seizure hurting or killing you and the baby even weeks after stopping you can still get them you can suffer so much worse than throwing up and Idk if ppl realize how hard it is to stop Xanax when u need it to live. I am 2 weeks and so worried but you can take benadryl which helps but you do have to ease off them. I am scared to death I take them for panic disorder from my thyroid I'm not looking forward to this battle I hope you get through this work with your Drs and maybe get new ones. Not promoting this but I know a girl who drank smoked took >>>>>>e and Xanax and had a healthy baby she s 6 now and amazing obv grandmother has custody but do what you can n try the benadryl good luck sending prayers and I am an advocate against mother's who harm unborn baby's from smoking drugs etc but I understand this battle bc you need it to live and could burt the baby withdrawing too fast . Good luck
    aslin122 likes this.

  11. #11
    Commonsense1980 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jholliday View Post
    Hey folks,

    I'm currently 10 weeks pregnant and trying SO hard to get off Xanax. I am 29 and I have been taking it for two years, 0.5mg-1mg a night before bed. I take it for anxiety-related insomnia. Some nights I could get away with just taking one, and some nights I'd have to take two. Some nights 0.5mg does nothing (my pills are 0.5mg alprazolam, the peach-colored pills with the score).

    Now that I'm pregnant, you can imagine how much harder this has become. My GP prescribes them but basically said, "Just stop taking them." Great. My OB recommended tapering down, which is what I have been trying. However...

    The first two weeks of tapering down from 1mg/night, I stuck to 0.5mg/night for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks (two days ago) I took none, and just a Unisom to see if would maybe take the edge off and help me sleep, but this was probably the WORST night's sleep (if you can call it that) I've ever had in my life.

    My heart was racing/pounding, my neck and jaw was stiffening (like I could't move it), I was sweating profusely, I cried off and on for hours, and I felt like I couldn't keep a thought in my head. I went to bed around 9:30 PM but literally tossed and turned until 1:30 AM when I finally just gave up and got up. I went about my morning ritual and then fell "asleep" (a very lucid, jerky sleep) for a couple of hours until I had to go to work. Once at work, for the next 8 hours, I basically spent half the time in the bathroom vomiting like a wino. When I finally got home, I dry heaved my guts out for four hours until I finally craked and took 0.5mg of Xanax. I slept like a baby that night and managed to keep all of food down today, without feeling nauseated.

    I just don't know what to do. This feels hopeless and now my baby is going to be born with some horrible defect. My OB is stressing the importance of going off this medication IMMEDIATELY but I don't think he understands what this did to me. Is there a better way to do this? I mean, I did the tapering thing like he said, and I still got violently illl. I was miserable all day long. I threw up so many times yesterday that I broke a giant blood vessel in my left eye and it looks hideous.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I am really worried about what this is doing to my baby, but I seriously can't live through these withdrawals. I've read some scary things online about Xanax in pregnancy but I have a full-time job and I am a graduate student, and I just can't afford to be THAT sick and tired and loopy and useless all day -- and for how many days?!

    I really would appreciate any advice you could give me. I just don't know what to do. I know I need to stop this, but how? How long will the withdrawals go on like that? Will I ever feel normal again? Will my baby be born with some horrible defect? I can't go through that kind of violent, forceful vomiting ever again. What are my options?

    Thanks. All suggestions are encouraged and welcomed.
    These medications can be spectacularly helpful when used appropriately. But their use comes at a price. When taken on a daily basis for more than a few weeks, the brain develops a dependency on them for normal functioning.

    Xanax has a very short half-life, which is a fancy way of saying that it goes into and out of the body very quickly. This property appears to make Xanax even more likely to cause emotional and physical dependency than other benzodiazepines. The short half-life means people will often start withdrawing from Xanax between scheduled doses, which tends to powerfully reinforce their psychological dependency of the medication.

    This property has, over time, made Xanax among the least popular of benzodiazepines among psychiatrists.

    If you take Xanax long enough, you will become physiologically dependent on it. This does not mean that you are an addict or that you are abusing it. It only means that if you stop the medication suddenly you are at risk for a very dangerous withdrawal syndrome that can include delirium and seizures and can be lethal.

    So the wrongest way to detox off Xanax is to just suddenly stop taking it. This can literally be a fatal mistake.

    Another very common “wrong way” of trying to detox from Xanax is to attempt to get off the medication too quickly, which can cause such discomfort that people become afraid to continue the detox process.

    It can take months to successfully come off Xanax, and often the last little bit is the hardest to get off.

    So patience is of great importance for successfully weaning oneself from Xanax. Under the guidance of a physician, the detox can often be made easier by switching from Xanax to an equivalent dosage of a benzodiazepine with a long half-life such as Klonopin or Librium, and then gradually tapering off that agent
    nverrett likes this.

  12. #12
    Anonymous Guest

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    Anyone attempting to w/d from benzos on short notice I’d recommend working with a doctor, or an ER, preferably the latter as a last resort. Having withdrawn from benzos myself, most often due to running out early (abusing), the effects are horrible. Passing this dependence on to a baby would be horrific.

    In my experience, hospitals are equipped to address and minimize side effects of rapid benzo withdrawals. My fear of asking for help and being cut off, or receiving other judgement, was largely unfounded. The ER’s concern was stabilization, then discontinuation. There were consequences, of course, but it was far better than developing arrhythmia and seizures. After two weeks, I was entirely grateful for my medical experience. The first week was hellish, mainly due to withdrawal from abusive levels of benzos, to medical levels of dosing, to no dosing of benzos. It was actually about a 10-day process, and wicked, but far better than continuing to try it in my apartment.

    Looking back, I think it would have been possible to withdraw without medical intervention, as I did not develop complications. However, the sheer insanity I went through, as well as the crazy blood pressure fluctuations and desires I had to abuse opiates, alcohol - anything to relieve my agony, would likely have ended up worse on my own.

    While there is always a risk of running into medical professionals who think it’s best to cut someone off, taking a moral view, know that there are people who are interested in your well-being and long term outcomes... in short - do not fear going to the ER or medical intervention.

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