Just started Xanax...anyone have experiences to share?

Posted by alanism @alanism, Thu, Jan 31 2:41am

I recently moved to a new house I am not liking, and have always struggled with anxiety. My anxiety has spiked and has been out of control over this move which I feel was a mistake. My doctor prescribed sertraline, but I understand I will not feel the affect of the sertraline for 6-8 weeks. For the past couple of weeks I have been taking two .5 mg of Xanax a day, which has really helped. My doctor said Xanax is not a long term solution but that this is a safe dose. I am afraid of addiction and of Xanax, but right now it seems to be the only thing calming me down. Just wondering what others have experienced with Xanax.

@alanism For very short term as one can develope a tolerance for it rapidly and become dependent. If you read about some of the experiences of members here it may be helpful. Moving can be stressful and requires focus and a clear mind. Wishing you the best.

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Hi, @alanism – I'd like to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm sorry to hear about the spike in anxiety, and that you are not liking the new house you've moved into. In this stress inventory, you'll note that moving house is among the top 30 stressors https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/. Thus, very understandable.

We have a number of members who have mentioned alprazolam (Xanax) before, so I'd like to invite some of them into this conversation so they can share their experiences. Please meet @dianrib @annedodrill44 @pankaj @montana_mom8 @soliloquized @margot69. @gailb may also have some thoughts for you.

You might also check out this discussion on one of the brand names for sertraline, Zoloft https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/peoples-opinions-on-zoloft.

Has your doctor indicated for how long he or she wants you to take the alprazolam (Xanax)? Did they mention a taper at some point when the sertraline is having its full effect?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @alanism – I'd like to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm sorry to hear about the spike in anxiety, and that you are not liking the new house you've moved into. In this stress inventory, you'll note that moving house is among the top 30 stressors https://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/. Thus, very understandable.

We have a number of members who have mentioned alprazolam (Xanax) before, so I'd like to invite some of them into this conversation so they can share their experiences. Please meet @dianrib @annedodrill44 @pankaj @montana_mom8 @soliloquized @margot69. @gailb may also have some thoughts for you.

You might also check out this discussion on one of the brand names for sertraline, Zoloft https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/peoples-opinions-on-zoloft.

Has your doctor indicated for how long he or she wants you to take the alprazolam (Xanax)? Did they mention a taper at some point when the sertraline is having its full effect?

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My doctor told me it is for use in the short term only, and said that .5 mg of Xanax twice a day is a low dose. I don't know if that is true or not and am curious what others think. The doctor didn't say anything about tapering off. He also suggested Lexapro instead of sertraline as it is supposed to be more effective for anxiety, so I was planning on switching to that today actually. I had a friend who said Lexapro worked well for her, but it just made her too nauseous. Nothing has ever worked for me like the Xanax though, but I am afraid of it.

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Hi alanism,
I can suffer from anxiety also and it can become a walk down a very bumpy lane. What works for some may not work for you. It may take a trial and error period to see what helps. Some years ago, I was put on Prozac which did help but I had to decrease the dose as I was working and it made me feel tired. I eventually weaned off of it.
I am probably going to be the exception here but I have been taking Xanax daily for probably 10 years. Anxiety reared it's ugly head when I was/am having health issues and still had to deal with other fami,y responsibilities. My original prescription was .5 mg 3 X daily. I seldom took that much. For a long time, I was taking 1/2 pill at bed time, which didn't do much, but Instill do. I am sure I have built up a tolerance to it. Sometimes, if I feel anxious during the day, ir I am going to be in a situation that might make me uncomfortable, I will take 1/2 pill. There have been times where I need some medical procedure done, last being an MRI, I will take a whole one before. Let me add, I "always" check with the doctors first to make sure that is ok to do.
Usually, my prescription for a month's supply, lasts me 2 – 2 1/2 months. There are no refills so my doctor can see I am not abusing this med. All my doctors know I take this and how long I have been on it and none of them have suggested I stop it. They know I am under a lot of stress and this takes the edge off. I am in no way saying this is right or wrong. This is only "my" experience with this med. Always go in the recommendation of your doctor.
If you feel anxious, take a half a pill and lay down for a while, if you are able to do that. Sit down and count to 4 and take a slow, deep breath in. Hold it and count to 4. Exhale slowly and count to 4. My accupuncture Doctor suggested this and it really does help me and I can do it anywhere.
You can make yourself anxious just from feeling anxious!
One step at a time. You CAN do this. 👍

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@margot69

Hi alanism,
I can suffer from anxiety also and it can become a walk down a very bumpy lane. What works for some may not work for you. It may take a trial and error period to see what helps. Some years ago, I was put on Prozac which did help but I had to decrease the dose as I was working and it made me feel tired. I eventually weaned off of it.
I am probably going to be the exception here but I have been taking Xanax daily for probably 10 years. Anxiety reared it's ugly head when I was/am having health issues and still had to deal with other fami,y responsibilities. My original prescription was .5 mg 3 X daily. I seldom took that much. For a long time, I was taking 1/2 pill at bed time, which didn't do much, but Instill do. I am sure I have built up a tolerance to it. Sometimes, if I feel anxious during the day, ir I am going to be in a situation that might make me uncomfortable, I will take 1/2 pill. There have been times where I need some medical procedure done, last being an MRI, I will take a whole one before. Let me add, I "always" check with the doctors first to make sure that is ok to do.
Usually, my prescription for a month's supply, lasts me 2 – 2 1/2 months. There are no refills so my doctor can see I am not abusing this med. All my doctors know I take this and how long I have been on it and none of them have suggested I stop it. They know I am under a lot of stress and this takes the edge off. I am in no way saying this is right or wrong. This is only "my" experience with this med. Always go in the recommendation of your doctor.
If you feel anxious, take a half a pill and lay down for a while, if you are able to do that. Sit down and count to 4 and take a slow, deep breath in. Hold it and count to 4. Exhale slowly and count to 4. My accupuncture Doctor suggested this and it really does help me and I can do it anywhere.
You can make yourself anxious just from feeling anxious!
One step at a time. You CAN do this. 👍

Jump to this post

Margot69, do you take anything else for anxiety or just the Xanax? You mentioned you went off Prozac, wondering if you replaced that with anything. I started Lexapro today instead of sertraline, had terrible night sweats with sertraline so that is not helping my anxiety. Do you ever feel like you need to take more than the half pill at night and occasional afternoon pill, and if so, do you just power through it and not take any more?

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@alanism

Margot69, do you take anything else for anxiety or just the Xanax? You mentioned you went off Prozac, wondering if you replaced that with anything. I started Lexapro today instead of sertraline, had terrible night sweats with sertraline so that is not helping my anxiety. Do you ever feel like you need to take more than the half pill at night and occasional afternoon pill, and if so, do you just power through it and not take any more?

Jump to this post

Alanism,
I am on no other anxiety meds now. I take other meds but not for anxiety. I was taking the Prozac a few years ago. I think they tried me on a couple of others, amitriptyline for one, but I coukdn't take that but I am very sensitive to medications. I have never heard of sertraline or know anyone that has used it. If possibke, I don't like feeling doped up.
When I first started taking the Xanax, yes, I took more but still seldom more then two pills a day. Yes, I used to take a whole one at bed time. There have been days when I might take 1/2 pill twice during the day. There were a few times, very few, that I did take the allotted 3 pills in a day. I have been trying to cut down for some time and was down to just the 1/2 pill at night. Remember, I have been taking this for 10 years.
I will add that I have also gone for counseling on and off and that helped. Do you go for counseling or have you considered it? Half the battle can getting help to understand why this is happening. You get anxious, get focused on that which makes you more anxious and it escalates. I get it. Yes, sometimes you just have to power through it. The few times that can still happen, I take 1/2 pill and lay down for a while, might dose off, and it passes. Everyone is different so you need to see what works for you. Would I recommend being on this med this long? No, but for my circumstances , this is what has worked for me. Again, talk to your doctor about this, always. Do consider some counseling and try that slow, deep breathing. You will get this under control once you figure out the cause. 👍

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Alrighty then. Some doctors seldom listen, in my experience. Seizures for over 15 years, doctors said nothing was wrong. Developed aphasia, anesthesia of the throat, spontaneous swallowing without intent, went back to my neurologist, he said nothing was wrong, citing the recent tests I had, and threw me out of his office. Of course I went to another neurologist, he did a 24 hour, ambulatory EEG, and said from the moment they connected it, I had spikes indicative of seizure activity with the diagnosis being secured by the 24 hour EEG. Put on Phenytoin, and 15 years of misery went away over night.

During those 15 years of undiagnosed seizures, I had at times been on Valium, or Xanax, not at the same time, on an as needed basis. Too much for too long makes it hard to get away from, so I learned to live with anxiety. But during those 15 years, as a substitute for Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin etc.), they tried; you guessed it; antidepressants. But I had an undiagnosed seizure problem, and rather than make things better, the antidepressants made things worse. But they'd think I wasn't being truthful, I just wasn't trying, etc.

And surprise, Benzodiazepines are used to treat seizures, and also relieve anxiety. Taking Benzodiazepines for too long at certain doses can actually cause seizures, so doses are generally tapered off under those circumstances. But in my case, I knew Xanax and Valium did not worsen my undiagnosed seizure symptoms but antidepressants did. Later in life, on as as needed basis (PRN on American Prescriptions denotes "As Needed", and as needed gives a specific dose not to be taken more than a specific number of times per day) I started taking Klonopin.

Something that helped minimize my use of Klonopin is that the Phenytoin interacted with the Klonopin and produced overly strong sedation, so, with my Doctor's awareness, I took reduced doses very infrequently.

Xanax has the shortest Half-Life, around 10 hours, Klonopin's is around 35 hours, and Valium is around 100 hours. Big difference on how long the effects of the drug persists.

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@soliloquized

Alrighty then. Some doctors seldom listen, in my experience. Seizures for over 15 years, doctors said nothing was wrong. Developed aphasia, anesthesia of the throat, spontaneous swallowing without intent, went back to my neurologist, he said nothing was wrong, citing the recent tests I had, and threw me out of his office. Of course I went to another neurologist, he did a 24 hour, ambulatory EEG, and said from the moment they connected it, I had spikes indicative of seizure activity with the diagnosis being secured by the 24 hour EEG. Put on Phenytoin, and 15 years of misery went away over night.

During those 15 years of undiagnosed seizures, I had at times been on Valium, or Xanax, not at the same time, on an as needed basis. Too much for too long makes it hard to get away from, so I learned to live with anxiety. But during those 15 years, as a substitute for Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin etc.), they tried; you guessed it; antidepressants. But I had an undiagnosed seizure problem, and rather than make things better, the antidepressants made things worse. But they'd think I wasn't being truthful, I just wasn't trying, etc.

And surprise, Benzodiazepines are used to treat seizures, and also relieve anxiety. Taking Benzodiazepines for too long at certain doses can actually cause seizures, so doses are generally tapered off under those circumstances. But in my case, I knew Xanax and Valium did not worsen my undiagnosed seizure symptoms but antidepressants did. Later in life, on as as needed basis (PRN on American Prescriptions denotes "As Needed", and as needed gives a specific dose not to be taken more than a specific number of times per day) I started taking Klonopin.

Something that helped minimize my use of Klonopin is that the Phenytoin interacted with the Klonopin and produced overly strong sedation, so, with my Doctor's awareness, I took reduced doses very infrequently.

Xanax has the shortest Half-Life, around 10 hours, Klonopin's is around 35 hours, and Valium is around 100 hours. Big difference on how long the effects of the drug persists.

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@soliloquized so am I reading this correctly, you still infrequently take klonopin? I ask because you and margot69 seem to take the benzos on more of an as needed basis and I am terrified of becoming dependent. Presently am averaging one Xanax a day for the past 2 weeks. Also am wondering if Valium might be better based on your comments.

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@alanism

My doctor told me it is for use in the short term only, and said that .5 mg of Xanax twice a day is a low dose. I don't know if that is true or not and am curious what others think. The doctor didn't say anything about tapering off. He also suggested Lexapro instead of sertraline as it is supposed to be more effective for anxiety, so I was planning on switching to that today actually. I had a friend who said Lexapro worked well for her, but it just made her too nauseous. Nothing has ever worked for me like the Xanax though, but I am afraid of it.

Jump to this post

@alanism– I was given Xanax along with Klonopin 20+ yrs. ago for panic attacks & anxiety. The Dr. said to only use the Xanax in a pinch if a panic attack came on strong because it works real fast whereas the klonopin builds up in your system and works long term, but often not quickly (especially when I was newly taking it). Anyway I had taken once as I was driving on a freeway (not on my favorites list) and had a panic attack and decided to pull over and sat on the side of the road for over an hr. waiting to get the courage to continue driving. It ended up making things worst for me and I never took it again! I have had several friends take it and it worked better for them, but was very, very additing and ended up they were saddled with a long taper to get off of it. I would encourage you to stay clear of that one for sure!

Liked by Soliloquized

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@alanism

@soliloquized so am I reading this correctly, you still infrequently take klonopin? I ask because you and margot69 seem to take the benzos on more of an as needed basis and I am terrified of becoming dependent. Presently am averaging one Xanax a day for the past 2 weeks. Also am wondering if Valium might be better based on your comments.

Jump to this post

I have taken Xanax daily for 10 years. I seldom used the 3 a day I was allowed. For at least the past year+, I was only taking 1/2 pill at bed time. IF I felt I needed sone during the day, I would take another 1/2 pill. A few times I have had procedures done that I felt anxious about, I would check to see if I could take a Xanax before the procedure, which basically makes me feel sleepy. My preference would be not to take any of these meds but, with my other medical issues, this is what works for me. As I said, all my doctors know this. I took Valium eons ago and would not take it again. What works for one person might not for another. Always work with your doctors and let them monitor you. It is good to research things but, even here, you are getting a variety of information that can get confusing. You will need to find out what is right for you. What questions you are asking here, make a list and ask your doctor. You are still taking a low dose of the Xanax but, yes, many of these drugs can be addictive. Some meds you can stop and others you have to wean off of.

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@thankful

@alanism– I was given Xanax along with Klonopin 20+ yrs. ago for panic attacks & anxiety. The Dr. said to only use the Xanax in a pinch if a panic attack came on strong because it works real fast whereas the klonopin builds up in your system and works long term, but often not quickly (especially when I was newly taking it). Anyway I had taken once as I was driving on a freeway (not on my favorites list) and had a panic attack and decided to pull over and sat on the side of the road for over an hr. waiting to get the courage to continue driving. It ended up making things worst for me and I never took it again! I have had several friends take it and it worked better for them, but was very, very additing and ended up they were saddled with a long taper to get off of it. I would encourage you to stay clear of that one for sure!

Jump to this post

@thankful. Thank you for your comments. Are you still on Klonopin? You say the xanax made it worse for you…The Xanax has been making things much better for me.

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@margot69

I have taken Xanax daily for 10 years. I seldom used the 3 a day I was allowed. For at least the past year+, I was only taking 1/2 pill at bed time. IF I felt I needed sone during the day, I would take another 1/2 pill. A few times I have had procedures done that I felt anxious about, I would check to see if I could take a Xanax before the procedure, which basically makes me feel sleepy. My preference would be not to take any of these meds but, with my other medical issues, this is what works for me. As I said, all my doctors know this. I took Valium eons ago and would not take it again. What works for one person might not for another. Always work with your doctors and let them monitor you. It is good to research things but, even here, you are getting a variety of information that can get confusing. You will need to find out what is right for you. What questions you are asking here, make a list and ask your doctor. You are still taking a low dose of the Xanax but, yes, many of these drugs can be addictive. Some meds you can stop and others you have to wean off of.

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@margot69. What was it about Valium that made you not want to take it? You are right, what works for one person may not work for another. I wish I could be confident I could control my Xanax intake like you seem to be doing. Right now I am only allowing myself one pill a day even though my prescription allows for two. It just seems to work like nothing else.

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@alanism

@margot69. What was it about Valium that made you not want to take it? You are right, what works for one person may not work for another. I wish I could be confident I could control my Xanax intake like you seem to be doing. Right now I am only allowing myself one pill a day even though my prescription allows for two. It just seems to work like nothing else.

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I took it years ago as they used to prescribe it a lot then. I felt like a zombie and I was working then. I only took it as needed for anxiety. I seldom hear anyone mention they take it. Are you taking a whole pill at a time of the Xanax or splitting it? I used to take 1/2 and if I still felt anxious after about an hour, I took the other half. If possible, I would rather take less of a med but I am very sensitive to medications. Just make sure your doctor knows how you are using the med. I used to keep a record of what I took when and why. Helps you and your doctor see what is going in. May help to see what is triggering the anxiety. Try the breathing. It was prescribed for a reason so, if you need it, use it.

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@alanism

@thankful. Thank you for your comments. Are you still on Klonopin? You say the xanax made it worse for you…The Xanax has been making things much better for me.

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@alanism– Yes, I have taken Klonopin (Clonazepam) for approx. 20 yrs. and have remained on the 1 mg dose since then. Not sure why I had such a extreme reaction, but that was enough for me to say I'm not going there again. Also as I mentioned, several friends had a terrible time with Xanax. Jim @thankful

Liked by Soliloquized

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@margot69

I took it years ago as they used to prescribe it a lot then. I felt like a zombie and I was working then. I only took it as needed for anxiety. I seldom hear anyone mention they take it. Are you taking a whole pill at a time of the Xanax or splitting it? I used to take 1/2 and if I still felt anxious after about an hour, I took the other half. If possible, I would rather take less of a med but I am very sensitive to medications. Just make sure your doctor knows how you are using the med. I used to keep a record of what I took when and why. Helps you and your doctor see what is going in. May help to see what is triggering the anxiety. Try the breathing. It was prescribed for a reason so, if you need it, use it.

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@margot69. I have been taking a whole pill. So far today I have just done half a pill and I am going to try to get by on that today. What is triggering the anxiety is a case of buyers remorse on a house, although I have always been anxious. I have to take care of my daughter though and have to function.

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