Author Topic: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs  (Read 573 times)

[Buddie]

Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« on: April 30, 2022, 12:28:41 pm »
I mistakenly believed (through the internet information) that i could cold turkey xanax and go through the withdrawals over a period of a few days.  Agh.
I had stopped ambien and codeine and those withdrawals did peak at 3-4 days and started to subside. After 7 days I was able to sleep without any aids and no longer have rebound headaches.
I dropped xanax from about 1mg -1.5mg a day to .75mg (.25 at 3x/s a day).  Iíve been at the current dosage for about 2 weeks. Iím not where i go from hear for tapering.  Everytime I drop the dosage down further, i get severe withdrawals, -that seem to get worse with every attempt at reduction.
Last week was very tough for me, as the anxiety was horrible, especially when anywhere away from home.- sweating, trembling, involuntary muscle movements, anxiety.   I really donít want to add in diazepam or anything else.  Is it normal to feel extreme withdrawals inbetween dosages and should i go with the way I feel to slow down tapering or ride it out?
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[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2022, 05:54:52 pm »
Hello, [...].

Per the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition (link below), alprazolam/Xanax has a short half-life so some individuals find they need to dose 4-6 times a day (or more) to address interdose withdrawal.

If you have not already done so, you might want to check out our support group for individuals who are discontinuing alprazolam (link below). The group hasnít been very active of late, but reading past posts can be helpful.

Links:

Interdose Withdrawal - Benzodiazepine Information Coalition
https://www.benzoinfo.com/interdose-withdrawal/

The Xanax Club
http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=74309.msg987285#msg987285

Edit: Added link to BIC interdose withdrawal
« Last Edit: April 30, 2022, 07:08:35 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2022, 12:45:15 am »
Welcome [...]. Congratulations on deciding the quit Xanax! 😃.

 I just finished my Xanax taper 4 days ago.  I was on it daily for 23 years and started at .75 -1.0. My taper took a total of 30 months and itís be ďrelativelyĒ smooth.  Not, easy, but not unbearable ether .  I took it very slowly and reduced at about 10% every two weeks, depending on how I felt.  If I had a rough time I held it longer but never went backwards and updosed. There were a couple of times during stressful periods that I held it for months until I felt ready to start again..  That gave my system a long stretch to really adjust.

Itís good to space your doses evenly and go back and forth to cut a little off one and then cut a little off another and hold, etc, so that youíre  keeping the cuts even.  When they get small enough you can begin dropping the one you want to eliminate by stretching the dosing time out slowly while shaving it to nothing. 

It sounds like you reduced by quite a bit to get to the .25 3 times daily.  You might want to consider taking a break and holding however long it takes until you feel stable enough to begin again. Stay positive. You can do this. 
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2022, 03:14:53 pm »
Thank you very much for the input.

Iíve noticed that googling this issue isnít the best idea.  The power of benzoís over a long period, -in my case not very high doses- really plays tricks on your mind.  Iíve diagnosed and panicked in the last month-during a concerted effort to reduce/stop- myself with heart disease, tumors, lupus, ALS, MS, brain damage, parkinsonsí- to name a few.

Forums like this are much better for encouragement and a reality check.

The involuntary muscle contradictions and movements are very alarming, typically it happens while Iím out in public.  Itís of course much worse when Iím in between doses. Iím going to hold at where Iím at now for awhile.  I take it that the inbetween doses issues is my body adjusting and healing???

I find that exercise works great, itís when I have the least amount of symptoms.

Iím troubled and trying to accept that the weaning process is very slow- months maybe years- the medical websites say much different. 

Iím hung up on the fact that seizures can happen if tapered or stopped too quickly.  Has anyone experienced this?  Iím worried about going in loud busy public places right now over that possibility.  That position of course begins the vicious cycle of avoidance and limiting my exposure to the outside world.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2022, 09:24:40 pm »
Hello again, [...].

Decreasing your dose from a range of 1mg to 1.5mg  to 0.75mg is a 25-50% reduction of a very potent benzodiazepine. Assuming your withdrawal symptoms continue to be tolerable, holding at your current dose is a sound decision.  (To give you an idea of the potency of alprazolam, Professor Ashton substituted 20mg of diazepam for 1mg of alprazolam when crossing her patients to the longer half-life drug.  Consequently, many/most members of this forum would not consider 1mg of alprazolam to be a Ďlowí dose.)

The interdose withdrawal you are experiencing is due to the short-half life of the drug and physical dependence.  Per the document from the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition I referenced upthread (linked again below), interdose withdrawal is typically resolved in one of three ways:  (1) increasing the frequency of dosing of the shorter half life benzodiazepine (2) switching to a longer half life benzodiazepine; (3) tapering off to reverse physical dependence.  To learn more, read the section titled ĎHow To Resolve Interdose Withdrawalí.

Fear of seizures is quite common among members of this forum.  Based on the literature Iíve read, my understanding is the risk of seizures is highest for individuals who have been taking supra-therapeutic doses of a benzodiazepine and then discontinue the drug abruptly (i.e. Ďcold turkeyí).  The risk of seizures is significantly lower for individuals who are taking therapeutic doses and discontinue (taper) the drug gradually over time.

Link:
Interdose Withdrawal - Benzodiazepine Information Coalition
https://www.benzoinfo.com/interdose-withdrawal/
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2022, 10:10:57 pm »
Martinika, Yes to everything [...] said! Those who have seizures are typically those who have gone cold turkey.  Just go slow and take a break if you need to.  Those WD symptoms wonít last forever.
You might consider downloading a breathing app to help you keep calm. I just downloaded a cool little kindle book on my phone ďA Pocket Therapy Guide to Anxiety ď by Dr. Edward Bourne.  Itís got useful exercises for stopping panic and anxiety episodes including an ďemergencyĒ chapter.  Please remember that most of us got hooked on these drugs because we were suffering with anxiety.  Oftentimes the anxiety we were initially treated for has long since resolved and the anxiety weíre currently dealing with us nothing more than inter dose withdrawal.  Either way,  there are much healthier and efficient ways of coping with anxiety and panic attacks.  By the time youíre done with your taper youíll discover a new feeling of empowerment as youíll have learned techniques to help you overcome this.  Very best wishes to you! 

Oh, and I advise to stay away from Dr. Google - He loves scaring the pants off people who have anxiety issues.  :)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2022, 10:33:42 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2022, 11:17:42 pm »
Thank you both.
The article was very helpful and insightful.  Not one time over the years did I ever think the symptoms that I experienced were related to tolerance or in between dose withdrawals -and itís occurred off and on for a few years.  I really just chalked it up to an anxiety/panic disorder.

Itís really too bad that benzo are prescribed so freely and there really is a lack of knowledge about coming off of them.  I was originally prescribed them for a micro toxin I had that went undiagnosed for about a year that caused havoc.  Same symptoms of severe withdrawals except i had very high fevers and my white blood count was high and a lab results that showed the infections. Regardless, antibiotics likely resolved the underlying problem and todayís issue is to stop taking xanax.

Iím going to take it slower now that i understand what half life is and fast acting. 

Thanks again for the support, it really makes a big difference.  Iím probably not alone in looking to this forum for real help and am gratefully finding it.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2022, 11:43:41 am »
Iíve read the article links posted and have readjusted my tapering based on what is said about interdose withdrawal.
Since Iím working with .5 mg Xanax tablets, 2 days ago, I weighed a tablet, (13 grams), razored in half and shaved a small amount to get to .5 grams.  Although I reduced the dosage, Iíve increased the frequency,  Iíve noticed that at about 4-5 hours my body begins to vibrate and I tense up, especially if Iím around people or too much stimuli.  Am I building up Xanax by taking it more often, for the last month Iíve been taking 3 xís a day, now Iím at 4 xís a day. (Although itís lower overall per day even though more frequency)?
 
My question is does this sound like the right approach and it is typical for the symptoms to subside or lessen has my body and brain adjust to the new regime?  If the symptoms persist and are intolerable for a period of time should I increase ?
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2022, 03:43:51 pm »
Martinika, Your plan sounds good to me. Youíre shaving off just one (not all) of the doses right?  If you look at my signature youíll see my starting daily dose was .75 and  I was dosing 4x daily. But I had been taking an extra.25 at bedtime so my first goal was to taper the bedtime dose to equal the other 3.   After that I tapered the early morning dose off till I reached 3 doses that were .125. 

Can you get your doctor to prescribe.25 mg for you?  It would make it a lot easier to cut.
 
Withdrawal between doses is uncomfortable but it shouldnít be unbearable.  Listen to your body and go as slow as you need to between your cuts.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2022, 03:54:37 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Low dose Xanax over 5 yrs
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2022, 06:19:11 pm »
Hi again and thanks for the response

I shaved all the doses so that I could add a 4th dose to my day without adding the total mg. Iíve noticed by early evening, i feel really good and could easily not take the evening dose but then I feel very bad in the morning.  Probably fortunately for me, as I CT ambien over a month ago, Iím sleeping well with sometimes taking a melatonin.

Like many people, the most critical and important time for me to function is during work hours.  Iím trying to figure out a way to achieve how I feel in the evening during the day.  Logically, the xanax is mostly out of my system by the time I wake up as itís about 12 hours since my last dose.   Does it make sense to try to wake up with a stronger half life or adjust my morning and mid day dose?

Itís truly a shame I didnít find this site or the Ashton manual until almost a month of doing my own tapering based on medical sites that really promote a fast taper.   Are we suppose to be feeling withdrawals symptoms while tapering is that a sign of healing or suffering for no good reason? :/
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.