dr. says xanax is very addictive - really need your input

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by bamboo, May 4, 2003.

  1. bamboo

    bamboo New Member

    hi, all. yesterday i posted a very long message about pain involving ribs, etc. and received lots of support. will be seeing gp tomorrow, but called psychiatrist over weekend because he's the one who knows meds best. it was suggested on the message board that i take xanax for the pain til i get dr. help in person - i checked book and see that devin starlanyl recommends it, too. so i asked dr. today if okay to take (i already have xanax on hand for anxiety, but seldom use it), and he said it's very addicitive, that
    people can become addicted to it in as little as 2 days or a week, some people can go a month. i took one friday, one saturday - he said to go ahead and can take 3 or 4 today, but. . .so, please let me know what the experiences are of those on the board here - you are all SO VERY HELPFUL!!!! (i don't know what i would've done without your help this weekend, by the way.)
  2. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Your Doctor is correct, Xanax is addictive. I hope Klutzo is on today, she can explain this better than I.

    I have been taking 0.25 milligrams of Xanax ONLY at night off and on for 15 years.
    I only take them during the day if I have a panic attack,or severe pain, then I only take half the above amount. But NEVER for more than two days in a row.

    I am very careful not to get dependent on them, as I do know they can be addictive. Klutzo made this very clear to all of us.

    I would not trust taking them four times a day, that would probably make me unable to function.

    One low dose lasts anywhere from 4 to 6 hours for me.

    Hope this helps, and I do hope you are feeling better.

    Shalom, Shirl
  3. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I have been taking Xanax for almost 18 yrs. since I got FMS. I could not walk without it due to muscle spasms along my spine that would throw me over. If I could take enough of it to stop the spasms completely, I would need zero pain meds, but docs won't let me.
    I am very careful not to increase my dosage, but I am aware that as I get better I am unable to cut the dosage down. I must have a small dose every 5 hrs. or I will have a panic attack, and yes, while xanax can relieve panic attacks, it can also cause them by rebound when it wears off. Even though it is normally dosed every 8 hrs., very little is left in the body after 5 hrs. That's why I changed from 1/2 of a .25 mg. tablet every 8 hrs. to taking 1/4 of a tablet every 5 hrs. This has reduced my panic attacks by 99.5%.
    I am not addicted,as my dose is less now than 18 yrs. ago, but I am dependent, which amounts to the exact same thing when it comes to stopping. Shirl would have the same trouble too if she suddenly stopped, since she has taken it every night at the same time. It takes months or even a year to slowly withdraw from it and it is not pleasant. I've done it four times, in order to reduce my tolerance so I would not have to raise the dosage. Doing it too fast can cause heart attack, stroke and/or seizures, so erring on the side of caution is best.
    I think the tendency to become addicted is genetic, so look at your family tree. It normally takes over 2 weeksto get hooked, so you just reduce the dosage very slowly to come off of it. Both of my parents were alcoholics, so I knew I would get hooked, but had no alternative if I wanted to walk or drive at all. I chose quality of life over fear of addiction.
    I have survived almost 18 yrs. of Fibro, and I have every confidence that if I get better tomorrow I can get myself off Xanax. As hard as it will be, it will be a piece of cake compared to life with Fibro.
    It sounds like this is just a temporary thing for your costo-chondritis pain, so take as little as you can stand, and use heat, and if you have to take it for awhile, remember the following formula to get off: Reduce the dosage by no more than 1/2 of a .25 tab per day, every week (I reduce it by only 1/4 tab per week and keep the dose the same on alternate weeks because my withdrawl symptoms are so bad).
    Regards,
    Klutzo
    [This Message was Edited on 05/04/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 05/04/2003]
  4. AC77

    AC77 New Member

    Xanax is addicting, maybe more so than others in the benzo class. They can be very physcially hard to get off of after a long time. No one gets addicted after 2 days use. That was plain ignorant for your doctor to tell you. I tend to think he was trying a scare tactic. As always, stay low and try not and take every day. I take Klonopin--in the same family. I understand I will be on it for the rest of my life. I am fine with that. It is safe. These meds have been around for over 40 years. Addiction does not mean a med is unsafe, just very hard to come off of. A lot of stigma is attached to this class of meds. By far, they have the least side-effects compared to other drugs for the same purpose.
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Ace, are we talking about psychological addiction or physical dependence here? There is a huge difference. I think a lot of people confuse the two. Addiction is a scary proposition.

    I do know that with many drugs, including the Klonopin I take, that one must wean off them very, very slowly and that in some cases, a person does have to take them for life. This is physical dependence, as you know.

    Psychological addiction would turn one into a drug seeking addict. Does Xanax do that? I realize that one can become addicted to anything, including food, sex, etc. I also realize that some drugs do seem to appeal more than others to drug abusers, but is Xanax addictive if used in the prescribed manner?

    There is a myth among some docs that Klonopin is "addictive," but that isn't true.

    Love, Mikie
  6. AC77

    AC77 New Member

    I mean physical dependance. Benzo seekers are much rarer than once thought. People don't usaully crave the drug, just relief from panic/anxiety. Many don't want to take them anymore and suffer the withdrawl which is almost purely physical and often prolonged. Opiods, tend to cause more psychological craving as do "uppers" stimulants. True physical addiction to stimulants, at least prescribed ones is rare and the withdrawl is mundane in comparison to opiod or benzo withdrawl.

    So in short: people may crave opiods more and also stimulants, but benzos cause more severe withdrawl which can be dangerous...ie, blood pressure changes, seeing things, seizures, tremor, weird taste sensations, increased anxiety, etc....

    If you are a life user of benzos, and do need them for chronic illness there is no shame in that and that is really between you and you prescriber.

    An addiction specialist wrote a paper on this, and I am basically reiterating what he said.
  7. bamboo

    bamboo New Member

    given the information here, i can make a better decision about the xanax. years ago, i was put on the smallest dose of valium, to be taken daily at bedtime, due to my inability to tolerate most other medications that would address anxiety. i have always been concerned about what would happen if i needed to stop taking it. . .the psych dr. has suggested switching over to klonopin, so i'll try a search here to see what i can find out about it (i'm pretty new to the message board). the one thing i can tell i am going to develop a dependence on now is this board - how grateful i am to have found you. after struggling for so many years on my own with fm, it feels strange to find community and support, just like that!
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I knew we could depend on you for good objective info.

    I tried counseling for my anxiety, but my psychologist and I decided it was physiological in nature and she suggested that I try the Klonopin. It really has been a God send for me. I feel no stigma in taking it (geez, I was taking Morphine in the beginning for the pain); it's just that I never thought I would be taking half the stuff I now need just to function.

    I know that Mel takes it for his tinnitus and has for years. He tried to very slowly wean off of it and had a seizure so has just decided it's going to be a lifelong medication for him.

    Love, Mikie
  9. Debgene56

    Debgene56 New Member

    The word Xanax always gets my attention. Some of you know, but for those that don't. I started on .25 3 times a day. Over the years it gradually got increased to 1 mg 3 times a day. It only stayed about 4 hours with me. I then changed the dose a couple more times. I was taking 2 mg twice a day towards the end and drinking at night to take it place. Some doc said if I was taking it for 6 years, I was addicted. So I weaned down to 3 mg a day. I was having trouble with that, so I went into detox. They took me from 3 mg to O just like that. They gave me librium frequently, my bp was thru the roof, they were ready to inject me with something. They kept pumping librium into me, and finally my bp went to 90/60. At that time they said my detox was over and sent me home. Excuse me?????????????? That is when the fun began. I had the most horrific and prolonged post withdrawal period imaginable.

    Mikie, how was it determined that your anxiety was physiological in nature? I really want to go on something again, because I am just so uncomfortable. But I am also scared to death of anything that could get it hooks in me like that and not let go. I have been doing therapy for the past year, it has not lessened my anxiety. My new doc doc dosen't believe in xanax or anything in it's class.

    Ace, how do I know what kind of addiction I had? The only thing I can say is that my dose would no longer cut it and I needed more, so what dose that mean?

    Love,
    Deb
  10. bre_ann

    bre_ann New Member

    Hi, My GP gave me a Zanax prescription because of heart palpatations and anxiety but I am supposed to only take it as needed which isn't very often. When my rhuemy found out, he said for me NOT to take it because it's so addictive. So went back to GP about it and she said that in the dose I take and as rarely as I take it, it was fine and for me to continue with it. So, I guess it depends on how much and how often you take it if it could be addictive or not.
    I will tell you what my Rhuemy suggested to take otherwise:
    Buspirone or Propranolol. Hope this helps.
  11. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    ...has a list of side-effects so long I won't bother repeating it. It robs your energy, causes depression and sexual problems, and sun sensitivity, and weight gain. It can make it harder to save you if you have an anaphylactic allergic reaction.
    These docs will prescribe any old thing to avoid giving something that may be addictive.
    Klutzo
  12. Debgene56

    Debgene56 New Member