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Old 08-29-2012, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Colorado
659 posts, read 850,047 times
Reputation: 507

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neemy View Post
He needs to taper off VERY SLOWLY under the supervision of a doctor. Benzos, particularly Xanax, are quickly habit-forming because of their short half-life, and how quickly they "kick in" compared to other benzos, such as Ativan. But it is extremely dangerous to come off cold turkey, especially from a high dose. He'll be at serious risk for seizures, and even death. I was told it was comparable to coming off heroine addiction, possibly worse. Depending on how long he's been taking it, it can take weeks to months (or more) to taper off, but it's the only safe way to do it, and the only way to minimize withdrawal. Of course, if he's not willing to admit he's an addict, then some intervention will have to take place to get him to see it.

I'll get personal, here, though it's not something I'm comfortable with discussing publicly; I'm speaking from my own experience. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder back when I was 20, because I was having debilitating, daily panic attacks. When I wasn't having panic attacks, I was having near-constant "anticipatory anxiety", which made me agoraphobic for an entire summer.

I was put on Xanax, .25 mg, and it worked at first, but when it would lose its effectiveness, my doctor upped my dosage, and kept upping it. At the end, I was taking 6 - 8 mg a day for years, 2 mg tablets, all prescribed. Please note that I was not taking this stuff to get high. I never got high on it. I was taking it to feel normal and at the end, the amount it took to feel "normal" was insane. I tried to drop down to "only" 4 mg on my own, and was nearly incapacitated for over two weeks, couldn't walk, slurred my words, couldn't get out of bed, had heart palpitations, vertigo - it was horrible. I stabilized at that dosage after two weeks, but it was a very risky thing to do, alone, and I was afraid to drop down any farther. I was so ashamed, afraid to tell anyone, even my family. I made an appointment with a doctor who specialized in benzo addiction. She had me taper down .25 mg every 2 weeks to a month (depending on how I felt). She made it clear I was not to go down any more than that at a time. It took over a year to come off.

My life completely changed once off. I haven't even had to deal with panic attacks (knock on wood), which was my fear (I was prescribed them for legitimate concerns, after all), and I learned safe ways of managing my anxiety without drugs.

The only reason I'm sharing my story at the risk of finger-pointing is because I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to try to come off Xanax, yourself, especially cold turkey. It HAS to be done under a doctor's strict supervision. Google Xanax addiction, and that should be enough to scare the crap out of anyone.

I wish you and your brother all the best. It's not going to be an easy ride for any of you.
My brother says the same to me, he takes it to feel normal and so he can function, but when he takes it he always slurs his words, super mellow etc... he may drink when he takes it all the time I don't know.

The question is, how did you keep getting prescribed so much of it? He gets a lot too when he has money. I had to beg for a Vicodin when I tore the ligaments in my ankle and my brother is getting Xanax thrown at him like M&M's.

Right now he is broke, he doesn't have the $90 for an office visit to see a doc, the xanax itself is cheap. He will eventually get the money and the doctor will prescribe the Xanax but I don't understand why this med is not monitored closely, because there are a lot of irresponsible doctors out there.

 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:15 PM
 
Location: ATL with a side of Chicago
3,622 posts, read 5,217,994 times
Reputation: 3925
Quote:
Originally Posted by PippySkiddles View Post
the prescribing doctor(s) need to be held accountable for this situation as well.
YES.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
My brother says the same to me, he takes it to feel normal and so he can function, but when he takes it he always slurs his words, super mellow etc... he may drink when he takes it all the time I don't know.
I was the opposite. When I took it, I was "alive". I wasn't sedated. I wasn't slurring. I was alert and on the ball. Without the drug, that's when I ran into problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
The question is, how did you keep getting prescribed so much of it?


A negligent, ignorant, and, as you said, irresponsible doctor, and my own naive trust in him. You have to be so careful, because there are so many out there. It was nothing for him to say "We'll increase your dose another 1 mg". And again. And again. And again. It was just a routine part of my 2 month med check. Renew the prescription without any thought, it's already filled out by his assistant, all he does is put a signature on it. Unless the dosage isn't working, anymore, of course, in which case, INCREASE...and don't mention any ensuing snowball effect.

One other thought: Is there any family history of panic disorder? I have it all down my Mom's side of the family. She was the one who first told me what was probably going on when I had my first one. I'm asking because you mentioned his girlfriend said his gums were turning black and his teeth were getting bad... is it possible he's on some other drug like meth or something, as well? Maybe he takes the xanax to relieve the meth (or whatever) crash. I'm just guessing, here. I don't know anything about meth/crystal meth, whatever it is, but maybe it's a possibility that his "panic attacks" are actually the result of coming down off of another drug?

Last edited by Neemy; 08-29-2012 at 03:36 PM..
 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:30 PM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,478 posts, read 15,469,535 times
Reputation: 19530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
My brother says the same to me, he takes it to feel normal and so he can function, but when he takes it he always slurs his words, super mellow etc... he may drink when he takes it all the time I don't know.

The question is, how did you keep getting prescribed so much of it? He gets a lot too when he has money. I had to beg for a Vicodin when I tore the ligaments in my ankle and my brother is getting Xanax thrown at him like M&M's.

Right now he is broke, he doesn't have the $90 for an office visit to see a doc, the xanax itself is cheap. He will eventually get the money and the doctor will prescribe the Xanax but I don't understand why this med is not monitored closely, because there are a lot of irresponsible doctors out there.
if he's drinking as well as taking any medication then the drinking may be a bigger problem than the meds
 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
1,248 posts, read 1,879,018 times
Reputation: 2500
I would just like to say as a mental health professional that NO reputable doctor would prescribe xanax without also prescribing an anti-depressant. Good doctors are also hesitant to even prescribe xanax because of its potential for abuse. If he has such extreme panic attacks then he needs to be under the care of a psychiatrist and a therapist. Mental illness and substance abuse go hand in hand to the point that it is often hard to decide which came first. It would be nice if he could go inpatient to get off of the xanax, and then they could observe him free of medication and make a decision as to what treatment would be appropriate for his mental illness. Alcohol in combination with xanax is a recipe for death.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Colorado
659 posts, read 850,047 times
Reputation: 507
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neemy View Post
YES.



I was the opposite. When I took it, I was "alive". I wasn't sedated. I wasn't slurring. I was alert and on the ball. Without the drug, that's when I ran into problems.



A negligent, ignorant, and, as you said, irresponsible doctor, and my own naive trust in him. You have to be so careful, because there are so many out there. It was nothing for him to say "We'll increase your dose another 1 mg". And again. And again. And again. It was just a routine part of my 2 month med check. Renew the prescription without any thought, it's already filled out by his assistant, all he does is put a signature on it. Unless the dosage isn't working, anymore, of course, in which case, INCREASE...and don't mention any ensuing snowball effect.

One other thought: Is there any family history of panic disorder? I have it all down my Mom's side of the family. She was the one who first told me what was probably going on when I had my first one. I'm asking because you mentioned his girlfriend said his gums were turning black and his teeth were getting bad... is it possible he's on some other drug like meth or something, as well? Maybe he takes the xanax to relieve the meth (or whatever) crash. I'm just guessing, here. I don't know anything about meth/crystal meth, whatever it is, but maybe it's a possibility that his "panic attacks" are actually the result of coming down off of another drug?
My mom did have a panic disorder. She took lithium for years ago but stopped, but every time she drove she always had a can of coke or pepsi, it was because she was nervous. I worry about myself, I always have people tell me I talk to fast or seem frantic and my blood pressure reflects that, I don't know why I am that way? So I think I have a little of that panic thing going on as well, just not at the level my brother has it.

I did think of meth as well when I heard about the black gums, but he thinks it's gum disease. Whatever it is, it's disgusting. So sad he is throwing his life away like this, he used to be uber popular and one of the top athletes at his highschool and college but his grades were always poor and hardly went to school. He has 2 ex wives and kids he just let the mothers adopt so he wouldnt have to pay child support, he doesn't care about the little girls at all. He really is a pathetic human being now.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,253,157 times
Reputation: 16829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylee11 View Post
He need's professional help ASAP. Check him into a hospital with a pscyh ward. Let them handle him detoxing off of that stuff. It is not good to go off all of a sudden because it makes things worse all at once and it takes days. He needs to be weaned off of it but not by himself since he's an addict! Get him help now!!!!!
This is very good advise. If his panic attacks are bad, or not, he'll never know if he's popping xanex and sleeping. Get him where the pros can detox him and evaluate him and the IF he's under control consider letting him move in. It sounds like the other time he was in the hospital it was for medical reasons, and those who are not trained in mental situations should not be treating it.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Location: ATL with a side of Chicago
3,622 posts, read 5,217,994 times
Reputation: 3925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
My mom did have a panic disorder. She took lithium for years ago but stopped, but every time she drove she always had a can of coke or pepsi, it was because she was nervous. I worry about myself, I always have people tell me I talk to fast or seem frantic and my blood pressure reflects that, I don't know why I am that way? So I think I have a little of that panic thing going on as well, just not at the level my brother has it.
Was your mother bipolar? I've never heard of lithium prescribed for panic disorder, but I could be wrong. As for your symptoms, I am not a professional, but just from my own experience and my mother's, her sister's, and her mother's, panic attacks are usually an acute attack that typically lasts a few minutes or so. They tend to "come out of the blue". But if you feel "frantic" most of the time, you could be having some kind of anxiety disorder, or it could be the stress of your brother's situation. Only a doctor (a well-researched one!) can tell you what's going on. I'm just playing armchair psychologist, here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
I did think of meth as well when I heard about the black gums, but he thinks it's gum disease. Whatever it is, it's disgusting. So sad he is throwing his life away like this, he used to be uber popular and one of the top athletes at his highschool and college but his grades were always poor and hardly went to school. He has 2 ex wives and kids he just let the mothers adopt so he wouldnt have to pay child support, he doesn't care about the little girls at all. He really is a pathetic human being now.
Very sad. I hope he is able to get himself to a point where he sees he needs help. I agree with the above posters in that it would be best to have him detoxed at an inpatient facility and get a baseline diagnosis on him, and go from there. Right now, the meds have taken him hostage.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,253,157 times
Reputation: 16829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ming Ming View Post
My brother says the same to me, he takes it to feel normal and so he can function, but when he takes it he always slurs his words, super mellow etc... he may drink when he takes it all the time I don't know.

The question is, how did you keep getting prescribed so much of it? He gets a lot too when he has money. I had to beg for a Vicodin when I tore the ligaments in my ankle and my brother is getting Xanax thrown at him like M&M's.

Right now he is broke, he doesn't have the $90 for an office visit to see a doc, the xanax itself is cheap. He will eventually get the money and the doctor will prescribe the Xanax but I don't understand why this med is not monitored closely, because there are a lot of irresponsible doctors out there.
I guess I was lucky when I ask if I could try it for the 'flashbacks' which triggered sudden mood crashes. I was told I was not a good canditate. Much of what others have said, anxiety wise, describes me. But my doctor didn't like using it unless it was all you had.

A friend of mine's husband was bedridden at home, and got a monthly big bottle of it along with pain killers. She was supposed to take care of him herself and the stress was so bad she started borrowing his xanex. I finally convinced her to talk to her doctor and she was backed out that way. I'm just glad she asked and I could do some research and give her the right advise.

The problem with so *many* drugs is they are given out like candy. A lot of the problem is regular doctors perscribing them without full knowledge of when and how and when its not working right. Most mental health clinics are fairly hard to get appointments so the family doctor is the next best choice.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: stuck
1,322 posts, read 3,774,384 times
Reputation: 1247
sounds like your bro will definitely need a medical detox. followed up by substance abuse treatment. wouldn't want to start having seizures due to withdrawal from the xanax. still that won't stop him from doctor shopping. not a good idea to have him living with you and your family while in the midst of this mess. there are some natural supplements for him to take if he is willing to try them.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Colorado
659 posts, read 850,047 times
Reputation: 507
I called my brother this morning, explained to him that he needed to detox and go on different medication. He started crying about how he cant even walk out the front door, white tiles in the bathroom scare him and he has not bathed in 3 weeks, he said he lost so much weight his calves and arms are wrinkly.

Then I told him I didn't think he should live with me until he agreed to get help, he just said I love you and hung up on me.

He needs to want help, I can't do it for him.
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