facing problem with xanax use

i need urgent advice please.i use xanax the last 3 years continously for panick attacks and anxiety disorder.i didnt have a problem until the last months. when i take my dose that is quite low i suppose and its 0,25 three to 4 times a day, i feel great.. i feel energetic,fearless,happy etc. but between the doses i feel terrible. i feelsick, i have problem focus, i feel very very tierd, i can hardly keep my eyes open and people can see this and ask me if i am ok and if i want to go to sleep or i am tierd. but when i take my pill in few minutes is like i am awake and ready to fight! what is going on?? what can i do? i dont want to take more doses and i really want to start cutting them down instead of taking more. but when i feel like this i can not function in my work, in social places and with friends etc etc. i always keep a full or half pill of 0,50 in my pocket so when i feel tierd and sick and sleepy and sometimes fear ..i take half or full and in minutes i am in perfect state of mind and health. how can xanax make me to want to go explore the world when i take them but when after few hours pass by i feel so bad? is that addiction? what can i do? please advice

Hi Indy, The questions you

Hi Indy,

The questions you are asking are ones you absolutely should be discussing with the doctor or other healthcare professional who has been prescribing your Xanax all these years. So, PLEASE contact that person - or talk to your regular doctor or another medical doctor - as soon as possible, if that person is not available.

I will share my thoughts on the matter, but please do NOT regard this as medical advice, as I am not a physician.

Benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse and addiction. That is why, at least in the U.S., they are categorized as a "controlled substance". Generally, it is not recommended to take them for longer than about four weeks, because when people start using them for extended periods of time (and 3 years on a daily basis is a LONG time for this type of drug), they risk developing a tolerance and may also become addicted - both physiologically and psychologically - to the drug.

I am surprised (and also concerned) that any doctor would continuously prescribe Xanax for 3 years. Or, perhaps you have seen multiple doctors in order to keep getting prescriptions for it.

Therapy is a far better treatment (and more effective in the long run) for anxiety disorders than medication. Benzodiazepines are okay for a brief period, but not long term.

I'm not a medical doctor, have only a tiny snippet of information, and don't know your medical history or other history, so I don't know why you are experiencing the symptoms you are describing. However, it is very possible that you've developed at least a tolerance for (and possibly a full-blown addiction to) Xanax after all this time.

Whatever you do, please do NOT stop taking the Xanax without talking to your prescriber. Stopping it abruptly can be very dangerous, and potential side effects of sudden discontinuation include seizures, among other things. So, PLEASE contact the doctor who's prescribing it for you as soon as possible and let him or her know all the symptoms you are experiencing. Getting off of this type of drug typically requires a slow, gradual tapering off and you should always do that under medical supervision - don't do it on your own, it's far too dangerous.

You may need to consider drug rehab to get beyond this. Benzodiazepine addiction is not one to take lightly. There are many programs that provide medical detox (the first step), followed by treatment for the addiction.

I strongly encourage you (while working with your doctor regarding the Xanax) to find a therapist to work with regarding your anxiety and panic. Other medications, like SSRIs, may help (I'm not necessarily recommending them). They are non-addictive, although they can have side effects as well, and some people have serious withdrawal effects when they stop taking them. They don't provide the fast calming effect that Xanax does; rather, they take time to reach a "therapeutic level" in your system, which may be a few weeks. I don't, however, recommend taking SSRIs or any other medication as the sole form of treatment for your anxiety and panic.

I hope this helps. Please talk to your doctor as soon as possible to get his or her advice regarding your current medication. My opinions regarding the Xanax, again, are NOT intended as medical advice, as I said above; I am not a physician. Rather, this is just my professional opinion based on my limited training and experience regarding Xanax and similar medications.

Dr. Lane

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