Severe anxiety but already on multiple benzos what now? HELP

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bunchy, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    Hi all,

    I have been cycling meds for several years including Clonazepam, Valium, Ambien, Zopiclone and Soma.

    I have built such tolerance that I am having severe rebound anxiety between doses (try to take only at night for sleep otherwise no sleep :-(

    I need to stabilize on something that would be say one med for sleep (it would have to be a strong one) but have extra of something else (related drug) as benzos are the only thing that helps with episodes of severe pain and neurological unpleasant sensations such as presure feelings and buzzing in my whole body etc.

    Many here talk about Xanax as a good sleep med - how can I get my doc to prescribe this (I am in the UK) and how can I convince her that I need another benzo (like Clonazepam or Valium) for breakthrough symptoms mentioned above?

    My doc simply does not believe that I am in such a mess with this cycling of meds from which I get terrible rebound anxiety and panic attacks.

    I'm desperate for her to help but she has no understanding or belief about what I know helps me.

    Any ideas?

    If I get any good advice from some of you perhaps I could print this thread off and take it to her at my next appointment.

    I need to stop using so many meds and try to stick to one (strong) one for sleep and one for relief of symptoms metioned above. I need to stabilise.

    Sorry if this is confusing I am at the end of my tether and on the verge of a complete breakdown due to pressure from husband and family trying to make me do things I can no longer manage.

    Pleas help. I don't know where else to turn.

    Thanks and love Bunchy x

  2. WhoTookMyBrain

    WhoTookMyBrain New Member

    Have you ever tried Wellbutrin? Xanax is good for on the spot help but does not help for long periods. I'm on 300mg of Wellbutrin and it works well. It's not the cure all but it keeps me from exploding. I take Effexor for depression but it just didn't help with the anxiety and vice versa so I'm on both and I take them in the mornings. They both have a tendency to keep you awake at night so you may have to take clonazapan at night (it's an antidepressant as well). I hope you get some relief soon. I was in the hospital 3 times in Dec 2002 with panic attacks (I had a very taxing job). I swear that my nerves have a memory of that because everytime the least bit of excitment (bad or good) occured I was a wreck. It's well under control now, but I must say too I think it was a major contributor of the FMS. I just got hit with it although I've had many of the symptoms for many years, but not this severe. Good luck and let us know what happens with you.

  3. AllWXRider

    AllWXRider New Member

    Xanax modifies the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA doesn't cross the Blood-Brain-Barrier, and the amino acid Theanine pulls it across. The stuff works for me.

    I've even tried just the Theanine and it works too. I used 100mg. Theanine is found in Green Tea.

    I didn't see anything in your bio about toxic metals, have been tested for that? I had terrible anxiety and using a hair analysis found Lead, Arsenic, Antimony & Cadmium. I've been chelating and my anxiety is slowly going away!

    Best wishes!


  4. nightngale

    nightngale New Member

    I had several years of horrible anxiety was on .5 mg xanax 4 times a day. Then next doc put me on 4 mg of xanax xr, still no relief. meanwhile I was trying every antidepressant in the book, cannot tolerate anything! so I finally go to next doctor, she put me on up to 4 mg of xanax a day I usually take 3 spaced out, and up to 2 mg at night of clonopin. This stays in system longer. I always take the 2 mg. Still have sleep probs. sometimes. She just tried ambien cr but it did not work well. Now I am supposed to try Seroquel, it is a drug used for bipolor but used off label for anxiety and sleep and depression. I took half of a 25 mg pill one night and it seemed ok. I am afraid of new drugs and have to build up the nerve to take anything. I am lucky to have found this doctor. You need to find a good doctor who knows all the options out there. She does not belittle me for being med intolerant. Good luck!
  5. Lea5

    Lea5 New Member

    Lots of folks with fibromyalgia (I think 50%) have sleep disorders. It probably would be beneficial to consider having a sleep study. I've been having LOTS of anxiety for the first time and I was just diagnosed with a sleep disorder. I just recently been taking meds to help with anxiety. I'm hoping once I'm sleep right again, the anxiety will go away. Something to consider.
  6. romalaw

    romalaw Member

    Please be cautious and taper off your current drugs very very slowly, getting off benzos too quickly can increase any anxiety you have. Soma also requires a slow tapering. Xanax is also highly addictive and habituating. Some people have a very difficult time coming off of it.

    Benzos also seem to work well for me, my body really responds well to them, but I'm very careful with them, since I had bad withdrawals from Xanax even though I was on a small dose. I am currently on a very small dose of klonopin for nasty neuro symptoms.

    Everyone's body reacts differently. A small dose of Zoloft has helped me both with sleep and anxiety. As a matter of fact it has helped me more with sleep than anything else I've taken.
  7. dc1980

    dc1980 New Member



    I don't believe that any doctor would prescribe Xanax while you are already taking Clonazepam, Valium, Ambien, Zopiclone and Soma. All of these drugs are depressants and very dangerous when mixed together and more dangerous if you try to get off any of these medications without the help of professionals. Get a face-to-face evaluation with an expert in your area so you can have the kind of comprehensive assessment and treatment recommendations your situation deserves.

    About convincing a doctor to give you what want...good luck. I would find another doctor who is willing to listen and be supportive of your condition. Be open and honest about everything your doctor now is prescribing you, it is scary all the downers you are now taking and I wouldn't risk my health trying to convince my doctor for another one.

    You deserve the best health care treatment available to you and I would fight the system until I found a doctor who is willing to treat your symptoms instead of drugging you with so many downers that it is possible that you probably don't even know your true self with all the rebound anxiety and panic attacks. All of which could be the cause of the combination of the drugs you mentioned you are now taking.

    Take care of yourself and trust your intuition because it is screaming for help right now. Get a second, third or fourth opinion.

    Everyone here is very supportive and willing to listen at anytime. Your health is very important, don't let anyone try to tell you any different.

    I wish you the best,
    DC

    [This Message was Edited on 03/28/2007]
  8. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    Check out the following website

    http://www.benzo.org.uk - They have a support forum and you might be able to locate a good doctor to help you get off the benzos and treat your sleep with another drug.

    This is an incredible website. I spent some time looking at the index of information, amazing.

    Check out on the left side column "The Ashton Manual" - This gives the most comprehensive information I have seen on benzo drugs and how to get off them.

    It would help to learn as much as possible about how these current meds you are using are affecting you, etc.

    I would find the very best doctor to help you. I know you must feel very frightened.

    Your doctor is failing to recognize you need help "now" and this is not going away.

    I read your bio and I can see you have really been through so much... and still can smile for the camera!!



    [This Message was Edited on 03/29/2007]
  9. blkkat

    blkkat New Member

    you look a lot like a friend i have named terry. you have a great smile ,to bad you don't feel as good as you look, right!

    I'm so sorry , it just seems none of use are getting the care we deserve. one thing i read in your post is you had this buzzing feeling all over! i too have that.

    a drug called neurontin has really helped with that but the DRS say the dose I'm on is such a very low dose-400mgs a day i guess most people take way more.

    but they say they don't know why that dose helps .but it does. clanozapam helps with sleep, restless leg and anxiety.

    also i take 5mgs oxycodone 6 x day plus 10 mgs Oxycontin 2 x day ,helps w/the pain also 30 mgs Prozac. you said you have severe anxiety, my husband has been dealing w/ that for over 15 years, went on every meds you can think of , well finally he has found that 60 mgs Prozac a day plus small dose when needed of Valium has changed his life for the better.

    hope i just didn't ramble but gave you something you could talk to your DR about. GOD BLESS -- BLKKAT
  10. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    Hi Bunchy & other PWSA,

    If you haven't had a recent complete thyroid workup, please do consider requesting one. That would include thyroid antibodies (3 diff kinds) plus levels of the FREE thryoid hormones, T3 & T4, tests aka Free T3 & Free T4.

    You can self-order such a panel yourself at a Healthcheck USA lab if your doc refuses. I realize this may be difficult for those in the UK, but people there have been known to hire independent docs, outside of NHS.

    Thyroid abnormalities are not infrequently a causative factor in anxiety. For the most part they are treatable, and if the cause, when treated, anxiety can nosedive.

    Best wishes.
  11. 4isfamily

    4isfamily New Member

    Sorry you may not want to hear it, but I would try wean off the medications - it is a wishes cycle with them. Have you tried accupuncture? Meditation - mindfull meditation is absolutely amazing. Try Bach's LARCH - homeopatic remedy, it is a British product and if I take it 4x a day (half dropper) it does wonderful things for my anxiety/tension/nervousness.

    Good luck.
  12. Clay2

    Clay2 New Member

    As well as thyroid levels, have your cortisol and DHEA checked. The most accurate tests are done by saliva 4 times during the day - although most MDs in the US dismiss that method. Check out STOPTHETHYROIDMADNESS.com
  13. springrose22

    springrose22 New Member

    It seems you are on too many benzos and they are likely causing you your problems. You need to get off of them SLOWLY, and there are websites that tell you how. Marie
  14. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Hi Bunchy,

    The most innately anxious person I have encountered in my whole life is my husband. His anxiety seems to be wholly internal---it's not that he gets anxious about particular things (or even has anything significant to be anxious about). It just comes on him, and is a lot worse when he is tired or otherwise under stress.

    He has been prescribed Xanax but is extremely afraid of taking it because of its addictive potential. He uses it very occasionally (a few times a year), when his anxiety is especially intense and keeping him from doing work that needs to finished right away.

    During the twenty years that I have known him, he has tried everything we could find that seemed like it might help. Pharmaceuticals (everything available othere than the addictive stuff), all kinds of western herbs, homeopathy, counseling on how to reduce anxiety, biofeedback (e.g. to increase blood flow to his hands or to cause his brain to figure out how to slow down), talk therapy, acupuncture, relaxation tapes, acpuncture, aromatherapy, distractions of all sorts, all kinds of massage devices as well as professional massage, warm baths with various stuff in them, steam room, exercise at various times of the day, removing every single stressful element (except work that is only occasionally objectively stressful) from his life, having thorough regular physicals to make sure that some other problem wasn't causing the problem.

    I know I'm forgetting some things, but you get the idea.

    None of those things made more than a small dent in his anxiety problem. However, he continued on most of them over the years. After a huge amount of experimentation, he settled on a drug combination of small amounts of Buspar, Prozac, Lamictal and Ambien. This only helped a little though.

    Recently I started seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor for my own illness. I was impressed enough that I persuaded my husband (who was so exhausted from his anxiety that he was rarely leaving the house except to work) to accompany me to see him.

    The doctor prescribed a variety of herbs, including a tea that he said would address the anxiety. He said that if no improvement was observed within two weeks, my husband should give him a call.

    We came home and my husband drank the tea. Within an hour, he said that all the anxiety was totally gone and that he felt normal in a way that he never had in his entire life.

    This effect has continued for a number of days. I would be slightly suspicious that this was a placebo effect, but the fact that none of the other things that he tried ever had that sort of effect makes me doubtful.

    He seems gradually recovering some energy (a lot gets used up from being anxious!), which is really good to see too.

    I have no idea if this would work for many other people, although I'd be interested in hearing experiences.

    Unfortunately, Traditional Chinese Medicine is a little complex in that it doesn't just treat symptoms (e.g. "anxiety"). The doctor bases the herbs prescribed on physical factors, including pulse (they have a special way of taking it) and appearance of hands and tongue. Thus, different people with the same Western-defined symptoms may get totally different herbs.

    It's thus better to pursue this sort treatment under the care of a TCM doctor---and, because it is a complicated field, a really good one. It is my belief that relatively few TCM practitioners who were not traditionally trained in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan (or maybe a couple of other Asian countries) really understand this sort of medicine enough to practice it well. Those individuals who learned from their fathers (this doctor is a "7th generation" practitioners) seem to me to be especially good.

    It's my impression from living in England for a summer that there is enough of a Chinese community there that such doctors probably practice there. And even better, since most would be from Hong Kong, they likely speak English. It's probably necessary to kind of infiltrate the Chinese community to find them, though.

    In any case, I will give you the information about the tea that helped my husband so much.

    Chinese Name: Deng Xin Cao

    English Name: Soft Rush Pith

    Function Clears Heart-Fire, calms Shen and Heart, promotes the discharge of water and smoothes urination

    Main Usage in China: 1) Insomnia 2) Anxiety 3) Sore throat due to Heat-Fire 4) Painful, burning and difficult urination 5) Morbid night crying of babies

    Note: My husband does not suffer from sore throats, and his only problem with urination is that it customarily been much too frequent. Insomnia always has been a big problem.

    As I've said before, every time I think about the myriad of health problems you've experienced over the years, I feel very bad for you. Good luck with this problem and at least some of the others as well.

    Best, Lisa


    [This Message was Edited on 03/29/2007]
  15. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    You are all fantastic!

    Yes I agree weaning slowly is the way to go.

    As someone said the Ashton Manual is good, I have yet to convince my doc this is the way to go so going to see a different doc who is more up on these drugs after my vacation. Stabilising is my first step I think!

    Also the Gaba-theanine from Prohealth sounds like an option as it is more natural.

    Many good ideas here - I will check them all out.

    Thanks, love you guys :)

    Love Bunchy x

  16. dannybex

    dannybex Member

    I agree with the others above, that heavy metals, thryoid issues, etc., can be causing the anxiety -- there is ALWAYS a cause -- and the benzos may actually be depleting your gaba levels...but I would also suggest testing for candida, or reading more about it -- as anxiety is OFTEN a symptom of fungal overgrowth.

    Also -- have your serrum ferritin (iron stores) checked -- anxiety, esp. social anxiety can be due to low iron.
  17. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    The addictiveness of Xanax of overdone. Some people take the same dose for years without a decrease in effect. I once asked a psychiatrist how Xanax compared in addictiveness to alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. He said it was less addictive than alcohol or nicotine and that he didn’t know how it compared with caffeine. I’m not saying that it would necessarily be the right drug for you. That is for you and your doctor to decide.

    Another alternative approach idea:
    Using a rebounder is supposed to reset the autonomic nervous system. Maybe this would get rid of your anxiety. If you are interested, a title search will bring up a good amount of information.