Xanax ? - quick help, please!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by eekysign, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    This is so....partially off-topic. But god knows we've dealt with so many medications in this group that I figured someone might know.

    Good friend has a dad with brain cancer---she's been having trouble sleeping, anxiety, but functioning fine, otherwise. Mentioned that to her doctor at her visit, wanting something to help reduce stress. He prescribed Xanax. My background tells me that Xanax is not for regular, daily use for depression, and can be very addictive/hard to taper off. Anyway, this is what she says:

    well, he only wrote me a script for a quarter milligram. but i told him i'd been having bad weeks and didn't know if my fatigue/achiness, etc was from actually being sick or just from all the stress and anxiety and what not building up.

    so he ran all the regular tests and what not and talked to me about results and everything, and before i left i asked if anything could be done to help me be able to focus more and be less anxious, so he gave me xanax.

    and he told me to figure out the dosing myself. take it when i need it and figure out how much i need. start with maybe two a day and if i'm still anxious, take two in the morning and go from there taking it up to 4 times a day if needed, up to 8 pills a day if needed. that sort of freaked me out, i need boundaries, but the dosage is super low so maybe that's ok?

    8 pills would be a daily dose of 2mg, from a starting point of .5mg. OK, what do you guys think? This isn't a difficult child, this is a normal person who's a bit stressed out. I was expecting her to come back with an SSRI or something like that. NOT a benzo.

  2. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Hi :)

    I took xanax last year when my anxiety was thru the roof. I took one pill within a half hour I was totally calm. It was a low dosage also. I took it at my worst moments when I was really really freaking out. I haven't taken it in over a year now.

    It is highly addictive so tell her to be careful and to try to take it when she's really in need of it. It can provide great solace and calming.

    It's a bit scary he said just figure out dosing yourself?? yikes!!

    I hope she feels better.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    While xanax is addictive, if used properly it can be taken for years with-o any addiction. Just like narcotics can be taken for years with-o a person being addicted IF the narcs are taken for pain. If taken for other reasons, the risk of addiction is much higher. If taken just for pain, the addiction risk is about 1% from the last stats my doctor had.

    I have been on and off xanax for years, as has my mom. Neither of us has an addiction problem with it. We each take half of a .5 mg tab as needed for anxiety and stress. It beats curling up in a ball in the closet.

    At the time difficult child was at his worst, my doctor had me up to 1mg tab taken every 4 hours. I did taper back on that dosage gradually, simply because it is smart to do that with any medication. I also know people who take 2-3 times that much for anxiety problems.

    As she has a legit problem, she should go ahead with the medication. My doctor said it was a half & halfrule. Half of a .5mg tablet, give it half and hour to work, and things should be much better. If things are NOT better in half an hour, she should take another .25 mgs. When the tension creeps back in, she needs another dose.

    There is a LOT of addiction in my family. My bro has a very addictive personality. But I have NEVER had a problem with it from this medication. The big problem with xanax is that people take it for a high. it is fast acting and short lived, so it can give a buzz if you take it when you are NOT in need of it.

    but with a legit reason, there is no need to be afraid of this medication. This is just in my opinion, from experience and things I have learned from various docs (gyn, psychiatrists, tdocs, reg doctor, rheumy).

    Hope this helps
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Eeky, I'm moving this post to the Watercooler because it doesn't pertain to parenting a difficult child. Thanks for understanding.
  5. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    It's fine. I only put it there 'cause it was a medication question, not general chit-chat.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    It doesn't sound as if the DR was saying "Okay, prescribe the dosage for yourself". It sounds more like he was telling her to start out with the lowest dose and see how she feels - does it relieve her anxiety to a degree where she can function without feeling completely stressed out.

    A .25mg tablet is the dosage I have. I take HALF of that each night before bed. I used to have anxiety attacks and that was why it was initially prescribed and to help me doze off at night because I really REALLY do not like taking sleep medications. My prescription reads "one whole tablet at night", but I never take a whole tablet. The reason it is written that way is so that if need be, I can take a dose if I have anxiety during the day. Initially, the script read "1-2 Tablets a day as needed" but that was by my Dr's predecessor, heh heh - he was a bit free with the drugs.

    In several conversations my DR had warned me about addiction, but she does not feel that's a concern for me and trusts that I know how much I need to do what I need it to do. I mean, you take a medication such as this and you typically can figure out how much you need - all of us have different reactions to medications and dosages, right?

    I think if your friend is aware of the concerns about addictions and xanax she should be fine...she just has to figure out how much is 'enough' for her body.
  7. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    That's what I've been going over with her. She didn't know it was addictive/anything about it. She now says she doesn't care, as long as it helps her zonk out before sleep, "'cause maybe if I'm calm during the day, I'll be able to sleep easier, and then I'll have energy". Her mom and sis are on Wellbutrin, that's what she assumed she'd be getting--something like that. ;)

    The other half of the issue is that she's not getting any sleep right now due to sinus problems---so she's exhausted. She's actually handling her Dad's illness pretty decently, most of the time. If she describes her symptoms that made her ask her doctor for help, she says this: "Oh, I have no motivation at work, or to do chores, and I just don't have any energy". I asked her if she felt panicky-twitchy-worried, she said no..just makes excuses not to do her work 'cause she doesn't feel like doing it.

    I dunno. I just see depression, at most, and worry over her Dad + sleep deprivation at the least serious. I had her tell me what she told her doctor, and other than using the word "anxious" instead of "depressed", she didn't give any of the clinical signs of anxiety. No anxiety attacks. She's not losing it, she's just wiped out. I don't get the Xanax. Did any of you take it for generalized stress like this?
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Yeah, I have taken it for generalized stress like that. My psychiatrist (2 of them), my reg doctor, my rheumy, and my gyn ALL thought that it was a good medication for that.

    If your friend can use it to get some sleep she WILL feel better. and this medication CAN help with that. If she doesn't trust her doctor, then she should get another opinion. Otherwise, a trial of this medication may be a great thing for her. if not, she will know rapidly and it will leave her system rapidly, unlike Welbutrin or other medications. It really comes down to trusting her doctor. If she is uncomfortable, then she should seek another opinion.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    In your original post you said this:

    Good friend has a dad with brain cancer---she's been having trouble sleeping, anxiety, but functioning fine, otherwise. Mentioned that to her doctor at her visit, wanting something to help reduce stress. He prescribed Xanax. My background tells me that Xanax is not for regular, daily use for depression, and can be very addictive/hard to taper off.

    Xanax is the appropriate medication to prescribe for the symptoms your friend was/is dealing with, i.e., trouble sleeping, anxiety, [not depression].

    Are you saying that you see depression but that your friend is calling it anxiety? Often depression and anxiety go hand in hand, but if the anxiety is treated, the [situational] depression will often cure itself (without the added stress and anxiety, the symptoms of depression go away).

    I was taking xanax for anxiety and wellbutrin xl for depression - two separate illnesses were being treated. I guess I'm not understanding why you are questioning why the DR prescribed xanax. Is your friend depressed or is she overwhelmed and anxious? Or both? Do you doubt that your friend was honest with her DR?
  10. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    She's never seen this doctor before, so she was asking me what I thought of Xanax. It's good to know that some of you guys have taken it for generalized stress.

    She told me that she told this doctor "inability to focus, sleep, achiness," and that " i think he realized it was depression.". But she was also at the appointment to get tested for the fact that she can't sleep 'cause her sinus trouble isn't letting her breathe. She's not sure insomnia is a symptom, she thinks it's more from her sinuses 'cause she can't breathe laying down very well. That's my other worry, taking a CNS depressant with breathing problems.

    I dunno. Something doesn't sit right. And her regular doctor that she does trust doesn't come back til mid-Feb. I don't know what to tell her.
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    You may want to suggest to her that she speak with-her pharmacist in that her dr. seems...ah,....ah...
  12. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    That's a great idea. *smacks self on forehead* I always tell my friends to do that! I was just surprised enough this time that I didn't even think of it. I feel a whole lot better. That relieves me of the worry 'bout the breathing problems. The other, well, that's up to her, not me. :)
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have also taken Xanax on occassion for stress/anxiety/trouble sleeping---but unlike some of the other testimonials here...I had problems if I took the pills too often. I found that the addictive qualities of Xanax took hold very quickly--and if I took a few Xanax in a row (as needed)...and then did not take another dose...I would get what I describe as a "slingshot headache". I experienced a rebound of anxiety...coupled with throbbing in my head. Almost enough to force me to take another dose...

    Xanax may be just the thing...but use it very cautiously.

    --My two cents
  14. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I also want to point out that there is a big difference between addiction and dependence. I'm dependent on a lot of medications and if I miss a dose, I have withdrawal. And these aren't medications that you would consider 'addicting' - lexapro (AD), lamictal (seizure medication), prilosec, to name a few.

    When I was taking vicodin for pain during my last flare, I became dependent. I wasn't addicted. I wasn't seeking it out or getting a high. In fact, it was 3 days after I stopped the vicodin before I realized that my symptoms were withdrawal. I thought I was having a side effect to another medication. Do you see the difference? If I had been addicted, I would have been 'jonesing' right away instead of going 3 days without craving it or needing it before I realized I was going through with withdrawal.

    As long as she takes them as prescribed, she shouldn't worry. She should use the lowest dose needed for effectiveness.
  15. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I take a half (.25 mg) at night and it makes me zonk out. If I take it during the day, it makes me sleepy.

    I would tell her to start out with 1/2 pill and see how she feels.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are a very caring friend. She is lucky to have you to help with this. I can see the worry with the sinus troubles causing breathing difficulties. I did take xanax during several sinus infections. The most effective things for MY sinus infections were drinking 1 GALLON of water a day and using a sinusrinse bottle. You can buy them at most pharmacies and you make a saline solution that you squirt up your nose and let run out - you bend over the sink of course!. This sinus rinse bottle was given to my by my allergist and it was the first time I was able to get rid of a sinus infection with-o months of problems.

    I still use it any time I have sinus issues and every member of my family has one and uses it. It is similar to a neti pot in function - either will do the trick. Just thought I would mention that.)

    Pharmacists, esp ones with Ph.D's are AWESOME sources of info. And there is a HUGE difference between dependence and addiction. I am dependent on narcotics - with-o them I am in so much pain I can barely breathe it hurts so bad. If I am late applying the patch that I wear, I know it. I get some physical problems including digestive issues. BUT I do not go seeking out drugs, I insist that only ONE doctor does the prescribing, and I CAN get through if I run out. If I were addicted I would be stealing them from others, having multiple docs write rx's, etc...

    So there is a big difference. And if she tries the xanax and feels that there is an addiction risk, it does come out of the system VERY quickly.

    I hope your friend can talk to someone who can reassure her. in my opinion the rx was appropriate, but I do not have her whole medical history and do not know the entire situation. But from your description, starting with 1/2 of a tablet may give her a whole lot of relief very rapidly.

    Again, she is lucky to have a friend like you. I hope my description of the sinus rinse bottle wasn't too disgusting.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, forgot to mention this eeky. After the sinus rinse (or neti pot if that is your choice) I use a q tip to put some Ayr saline gel in my nose. For some reason it gets very dry after the cleaning out. The saline gel really helps. And it keeps the area moisturized, which means fewer cracks and places infection can sneak in.

    Just thought I would mention it.