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05/06/2010 01:26 PM

What You Need to Know About Xanax

jojobear
jojobear  
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I know a lot of us use benzodiazepines (especially Xanax) to help with our anxiety and panic. I thought it would be good to just share a pretty good breakdown on it. I found this article and think it covers a lot of questions I have seen since I have joined the group. I thought it would be good to share!

Remember only your medical care provider can tell you how to accurately use medications!

A review of the literature in Germany showed Xanax to be the most effective benzodiazepine (or anti-anxiety agent) for panic disorder with agoraphobia (Bandelow, 1999). In other words, there were more controlled studies on the treatment of agoraphobia with positive results for Xanax published than other anti-anxiety agents.

Because it has been proven effective for panic and agoraphobia in studies since it was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1981, I thought I would write a little about Xanax, what it is and how to use it correctly to treat agoraphobia so it will help you and not hurt you.

First of all, what is Xanax?

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine, or anti-anxiety agent, prescribed mainly for temporary relief of mild to moderate anxiety, nervousness, or tension associated with anxiety disorders lie agoraphobia. It has also been used effectively for panic attacks. In some cases, it has been used to treat stress-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Xanax comes in two forms - Xanax and Xanax XR. What's the difference? Xanax XR is just the extended release version of the original Xanax which, if you are taking Xanax daily, lets you just take one dose per day rather than three or four.

What's the best way to use Xanax for panic disorder with agoraphobia?

Since Xanax, like most anti-anxiety agents, cause the body to develop tolerance and can be addictive, the best way to use it for panic disorder with agoraphobia is to keep it in your pocket. Take it only as needed to get through rough spots, times of unusually high anxiety, or when you are practicing desensitization or exposure therapy.

It's important to remember that no pill will cure agoraphobia. Not even Xanax. Pills only work as long as you are taking them. That's why Xanax is best used as part of a larger recovery plan for agoraphobia that includes a long-term solution like psychotherapy.

So how fast does Xanax work?

Xanax offers pretty quick relief for most anxiety patients. In healthy adults, it may take an hour or two to take effect.

Is there anything you shouldn't eat or drink when taking Xanax?

Yes. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking so he or she can make sure you won't experience a bad interaction. Also, you shouldn't mix alcohol with Xanax or any other benzodiazepine because it amplifies the effects.

Can you take Xanax if you are pregnant or nursing?

It's not recommended. You should definitely not take Xanax in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy under any circumstances.

How will Xanax effect your daily routine?

It may make you really drowsy, so don't be driving or operating dangerous machinery on Xanax until you test it out and see how it effects you.

If you feel Xanax stops working, should you just take more?

Never. under no circumstances should you increase your dose without talking to your doctor, even if you think it's not working and you need more. This is because even when used as recommended, Xanax can cause emotional and/or physical dependence. In other words, you can get extremely addicted to it.

Can you just stop taking Xanax if it's not working?

No again. It is not safe to just stop taking Xanax cold turkey. Do not even decrease your dose without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking Xanax or decrease your dose too abruptly you are likely to experience serious withdrawal symptoms. Many of the withdrawal symptoms are similar to the panic and anxiety you probably started taking Xanax for in the first place. In the worst case, you can have a seizure if you try to stop taking Xanax too suddenly.

What about side effects?

If you are going to have side effects from Xanax, you will probably have them right when you start taking it. In many cases, initial side effects subside if you keep taking it. Most common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue, impaired coordination, irritability, light-headedness, memory impairment, insomnia, and headache.

Hopefully after reading this, you can use Xanax to help you and not hurt you if you have panic disorder with agoraphobia.

Post edited by: jojobear, at: 05/06/2010 01:29 PM

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05/06/2010 01:47 PM
jmick
jmickPosts: 13899
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That memory loss thing can really happen. For several months I was on 4MG's a day, and I don't really remember much of anything from those months. I was getting out a lot though! lol

05/08/2010 11:10 AM
jojobear
jojobear  
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I think I am having the impaired coordination. I fell down the stairs three times since I started taking the Xanax XR on Monday night. OUCH!!!!!

Anyone else having problems like this?


05/08/2010 11:21 AM
jmick
jmickPosts: 13899
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only when I drank with it Tongue

05/08/2010 11:44 AM
Rea
Rea  
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This drug does not sound like something I want to take. Helping one problem and getting another is never a good idea to me. I already have an addictive personality. Both parents are alchoholics and so was I till I stopped drinking about ten years ago. So I do not think this would be good for me.

05/08/2010 03:09 PM
jmick
jmickPosts: 13899
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Rea, you're absolutely right. Benzos are very addictive narcotics, so there's always a danger there. Even if you take them as directed, your body does become addicted to them and it can be brutal when you stop taking them. They have to be tapered off slowly.

I'm not saying they don't have benefits... personally it is the only thing that helps my bouts of severe anxiety... but there are certainly many risks to be aware of.

Post edited by: jmick, at: 05/08/2010 03:09 PM


05/08/2010 03:48 PM
PerryM
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I've been very lucky with Xanax. After taking it for many years it still works for me and I have never abused it. In fact a few months ago I was able to cut back on the amount I take (did this after consulting with my doctor first). The plan is to cut back even more in the future.

05/08/2010 04:11 PM
jojobear
jojobear  
Posts: 6115
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That is great Perry. I too have been lucky with benzodiazepines for the most part. I did have a doctor once when I was in the hospital who did not want me on them force me off. It was hell. I was doped up on phenobarbital (a barbituate) sleeping my expensive hospital stay away for about the first 5 days.

I did stay off for quite awhile after that. But they are the only thing that has helped me with my panic and I do need them when the anxiety and panic come back in my life. They are the only thing that can help me to function and allow me to do things. I have never abused them and take less then I am allowed in a day.

I have actually had a lot of times in my life where I did not need them and did not take them. I know that in the future this anxiety and panic I am currently going through will subside and I won't need them again. Until then I do and that is pretty much that for me.

We all have different levels of panic, anxiety and agoraphobia and all have different methods to treat those problems. What works for one and is best for one is not always the case for another. The key is finding out what is best for you!

Post edited by: jojobear, at: 05/08/2010 04:12 PM


05/08/2010 06:18 PM
saymelyn
saymelyn  
Posts: 527
Senior Member

Also I would like to let other people who don't know this about Benzodiazepines.No one tells you this but,if you take them and you drive you can get an OVI.I was driving last May when a cop got a bur in his ass,he wanted me to go down for a urine test instead of a breathalyzer and even though I have a valid script,I got an ovi.My doctors and counselor could not believe this,but it's the law..I went to court over it and lost my license for a year.I couldn't believe that I had my first panic attack while driving that someone wouldn't tell me you can;t drive when this is in your system.Klonapin is in your system for I think they said 5 days,so I am saying,so this means I have to wait 5 days after taking the meds to drive?It is just crazy..

05/08/2010 06:31 PM
LadyBunnie
LadyBunnie  
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I have suffered severe panic attacks since I was 9 years old. In the last 5-6 years they had gotten so bad I was petrified to even leave my home. (agoraphobia) The antidepressants DO help to keep me from having waves of panic all day but for actual attacks the ONLY thing that works is a xanax or a shot of vallium. Otherwise I have panic waves for days, weeks or even months. So if this means taking the drug the rest of my life.. so be it. As long as I HAVE a life. Before xanax I wasn't able to function. My body has gotten used to it enough that I don't get sleepy or anything with it and I don't abuse it. I actually take less now than I did in the beginning and like Perry plan on cutting down even more, but chances are I will have to take some kind of benzo for the rest of my life.. unless they come up with some miracle cure.

As long as you don't abuse it or take more than what is prescribed... well you should be ok.

That is such BS sayme that they did that to you! damn, I have NEVER heard of that. I do know that I can't donate blood or plasma because of my use of the drug.

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