Benzodiasapines - any one go off? (esp : Xanax)

cathie54December 22, 2007

Wow - If anyone has quit benzos - XANAX - I certainly would love to hear. I stopped after at least 15 yrs low dose, & what an experience! My head seems more messed up now! Would love to hear from long-time benzo users who don't anymore?!!!

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When you say that your head seems more messed up now, what do you mean? Also, how long ago did you stop taking Xanax, and at what dosage were you taking at the time?

I am curious, as I am currently taking Klonopin,(2yrs. now) and I am also woundering about getting off it. Currently, I take 2/3 milligrams/night - I use them to sleep.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 6:08PM
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My head is like a 'wobbly type' feeling...not like an even spinning, and not exactly like 'drunk'. (Sorta like when you get off one of those carnival rides like the 'scrambler'(?)) It's been pretty constant,sometimes it's mild enough just to be a bother, and sometimes it's so bad I can't stand or walk, as it's hard to balance. Not so bad while sitting or laying.

I've also had a lot of confusion, forgetfulness, and anything that takes planning or organization, for example, seems to be especially difficult.

I 'stopped' taking it the last Tuesday in November '07. I did finally break down and took 1/2 of a .5 mil tab Saturday (Dec 22) @ 7pm - after suffering all day long with bad anxiety/panic. (I just couldn't stand it anymore)

I had been on .5 mg - two to three times/day. (ttl 1 - 1.5 mg ttl /day.) On really bad days I would take 4 each, which wasn't very often, and on a really rare (maybe about 5 times total), I have taken 5 tabs in one day.

I was told that the 'dizziness' was from anxiety, however, I don't agree - not THIS type of 'dizziness'. When I took the 1/2 pill Sat, most of the symptoms finally subsided, but not the wobbly feeling. It also seems to get worse as the day progresses.

I was in a situation I was low on meds with no refills - earliest time Doc could see me wasn't till Dec 27th (didn't have enuf to last that long), so I started waiting as long as I possibly could go without taking them. (The idea was I'd rather 'go without' while I till had a small supply as 'back-up'...just in case)
It was literally a moment by moment thing...monitoring myself constantly. Curling up in a ball in front of TV with phone in hand and water/pills right there... for a week straight and doing absolutely nothing! After the first 1-1/2 days, I figured I'd try for 2 days...after 2, try for was a long week.
Essentially, I quit cold-turkey, which I've found is a very bad and DANGEROUS thing to do. And STUPID, too.

Now I'm looking for long-term side-effects, and from what I've found, nobody has ever followed patients for long term studies. Well, if they have, I'm not finding anything on it. The Docs keep telling me it's 'just' anxiety/panic attacks. I think there's something else going on.

Many years ago, when this first started, I was on Klonopin. I took it for about 9 months, I think. Doc switched me to Xanax because the Klonopin didn't seem to work too well. I don't remember any side effects...probably because I was immediately given the xanax. (BUT, now that I think about it, I wasn't on a very high dose of Klonopin! Musta been the 'year' to push xanax?)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 1:51PM
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I have been on Xanex for many many years now. I started on Klonopin and it made me MEAN. Dr changed me to xanax and have been on it ever since. I recently moved to a new state and new dr who didnt want me to be on it so he put me on elivil. I had weeks of dizziness(exactly the same way you described it, kinda like drunk or dizzy but really neither one), major mood swings, just total wack case. I begged the dr to put me back on it and he did and I quit the elivil. or EVIL as I called it. lol. So I kinda think you have something there on the withdrawl of Xanax. I have MS and panic disorder. My dr wants me to start Lexapro but Im scared to.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:56PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I understand that Xanax can be a problem, and doctors often prefer other drugs. This is a very sensitive subject since my knowledge comes from someone I know. Whoever needs the medication has a different reason for taking it, and this is one area where internet information may not be safe.

A criticism I heard is that you can become dependent, and continue needing more to get the help you need. But with certain conditions, you cannot begin to recover without the help of these drugs.

For these drugs more than any other, I think it is good to write down questions you might have and really interrogate your doctor, or even get a second opinion. If the drug is making your life more bearable while you address your problems, that is one thing. But if the drug is equal to drinking 2 or 3 matinis in the evening, that is something else. It is for sure that in the high school where I teach, there is far too much of it floating around. You need to be sure that you are not trusting your kids too much. It is a very popular drug for "pharm" parties.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 6:14AM
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I have teenagers, and I know that "Xanies" are a big thing to them. Mine stay tucked away and counted. I have panic disorder and MS, I dont think the drug will help me get over these things as they are physical not mental. I dont actually panic, they just diagnosed it panic disorder because it feels like panic, I dont have racing heart, hyperventilation etc. MS can do very strange things to a body. I am prescribed 1mg twice a day, that would knock me out. I take half a pill in the evening, thats it. 1mg pills are cheaper than .5mg pills, thus the reasoning for having the dr up the dosage.
You are correct, there are many people who use and abuse this drug, Im not sure why, to me its not a joy ride. This is a very sensitive subject because every doctor immediatly thinks your a druggy or something. I dont have an addictive personality or I could have been abusing all kinds of drugs. With MS pain is a huge issue and most of my friend with the disease are addicted to pain meds. I take Ibuprofen, nothing else. I periodically will even not take the xanax to keep myself from building a tolerance, and I found it interesting that this person had these withdrawl type symptoms.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:41PM
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Closest thing I can figure...this 'dizzy' thing is more like a 'balance'(or lack of) issue. Well, that's the closest I can describe it in "medical terms". 'Balance' problems are pretty common in older people, apparently.

I'm still having this problem as of March '08. It did subside for a bit recently, but 'hits me' still every now and again. I can be fine all day long...then, for example cooking dinner and up and about...then suddenly WHAM! DIZZY! I've never had this before, and think it odd that it would just suddenly appear out of nowhere, and while I was withdrawing from Xanax. I have found no reports of this on the FDA, NIH, etc, sites.

Nurse at Psych clinic insisted (three times in three weeks) it was 'anxiety'. I didn't agree, but she told me it was. Period! Sorry, but it is NOT! Not that I needed proof, but nobody knows our bodies better than ourselves. I finally gave in one day because I was feeling so awful for several hours. I took a pill. All the awful went away. But, I still had the dizzy/off-balance thingy going on. I've been 'doing' anxiety/panic attacks for too many years. This off-balance thing is not anxiety. Period!

(I started to write, but it was too long! LOL! I deleted it. Will write response later).
But, I too, had a total personality change - while on Xanax! I was MEAN also.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 10:03AM
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I had a similar effect when trying to get off Effexor several years ago. (dizziness) Can you break the pills in half? It took me months but I would halve the dose and then halve it again until finally I was just taking a tiny bit. I couldn't believe how long it took! I just looked it up on Google and found a whole bunch of complaints about this so-called benign and helpful medication!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Yes, I have 'pill-splitters', but mine can easily be broken in half, which is what I've been doing.

Needless to say, even tho I'm taking minimal doses, I've just these last couple months actually 'recognized' the subtle effects they have on me.

I'm not happy that I'm taking these again.

When I went "OFF", I felt SO MUCH BETTER mentally & physically after that first week...except for the dizzy thing! I went back 'on', because I actually had a really bad 'anxiety' day - to the point I was in physical pain and could do nothing but curl up into a ball and still not be 'comfortable'! (It was so bad I considered to call 911 again)

"I understand that Xanax can be a problem, and doctors often prefer other drugs"

Yes, they DO 'prefer' other!
"Xanax" was a 'prefered' drug back then. Every time I go to Doc, they tell me that what I'm taking is 'not good', and want to put me on yet another 'current modern' drug.

So, I've tried several others, with realy bad side-effects.
I actually had a Doc that flat-out told me that if I won't try these 'new drugs', he would not see me again.

I finally caved-in and took his 'new drugs'. They messed me up SO bad, that 'He' (the Doc) actually 'booted' me out of the office...TWICE!...because I was so messed up on those drugs. (He put me back on the Xanax)

I'm not so crazy to be a guinnea-pig when it comes to 'new, improved drugs'.
Another thing, they tell you to "just call" if you have any problems with the drug. Call WHO? Nobody is ever 'open' when the time comes.
I'm so sensitive to ANY drugs these days - even last bout of anti-biotics made me feel so bad I curled up with phone - afraid to sleep yet afraid to be awake - and contemplated 911 emergency many times.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 5:56AM
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Question: I have an avaricious sister who is profoundly selfish, nacissistic and just an obnoxious know-it-all.
She's been on 4 mg (the most she'll admit to) of xanax for 20 years for her so-called panic attacks.
My question is this: does xanax cause or exacerbate bad personlity traits?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 4:42PM
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