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I've had GAD for about 5 years now. I've been on just about every medication and even natural remedies and everything you could think of, throughout those years. But I was prescribed xanax when I was 20 (I'm 25 now) and it has been the only thing that has worked for me. I've had periods of times of trying different things or different medications or being off of any kind of benzo's but xanax (or klonopin) is the only thing that actually helps. My parents don't understand any of this and basically say I'm addicted to them and that I can't deal with life or stress and that its all in my head and all. They just look at it like I can't deal with normal life stresses and so I rely on a drug to take away all my problems. When in reality, I can barelly function without this drug. There are days I go without it, I'm not physically addicted or anything, and I only take them when needed. But after 5 years, I am on a very high dosage. I was on 2mg of xanax twice daily when needed. I had to switch psych dr's recently and not only did i have to go to urgent cares or primary care dr's to get refills of this medicine in the time I was waiting for my new psych dr's appt, but I finally got to have my first appt with my new dr last week and he was a very egotistical dr that thought his way was the only way. He would say he's an expert and knows exactly what to do, and I kept saying "I'm sure you know what your doing but I am technically the expert of my own body and know what works and doesn't work for myself". He put me on Lamictal which I've taken twice before and it never worked and gives me migraines but he didn't care, and even worse, he-against my wishes and concerns-changed me to klonopin and lowered the dosage dramatically. He told me he was going to prescribe 1mg of klonopin twice daily but when I got home with the already filled prescription, I realized he had prescribed .5mg of klonopin twice daily. now first off, klonopin has never helped or worked for me very well and is not as effective as xanax is for me. Secondly, I was on a total of 4mg of xanax daily, which I know is a large dose but after 5 years thats my tolerance and I wouldn't go any higher but it worked perfectly. Him changing me to klonopin .5's put me into withdrawal and everyday I've been in constant anxiety and having panic attacks right and left. I'm a full time student at Paul Mitchell Cosmotology School and am taking my first clients this Saturday. I cannot function like this. I have called my new psych dr about 4 times and each time they say they will email or contact him telling him to call me and he hasn't. They also said that he wont even be in that office til late January seeing that I think he works in other cities and hospitals and such too. I have even gone so far as to call a million urgent cares/primary care dr's who all have said they will not help me or prescribe me what I need. I can't function at school, I'm terrified about taking clients on Saturday, my parents are acting like this all is just me being dramatic and not knowing how to deal with things, and everything is horrible. Each day from the minute I wake up til night, I feel a lump in my throat, my chest is tight and hurts, my hands shake and get sweaty, I cry easily, can barely hold normal conversations with people, I can't concentrate in school, I have full blown panic attacks where I can't even describe how aweful they feel, etc.
I'm sorry for such a long post but I'm desperate and don't know what to do. I need help. I need to know what to do about this medication problem, as in how can I get back to my regular dosage? Should I see another dr? They will probably just think I'm dr shopping. How can I force my psych dr to get in contact with me? And also, how can I start showing my parents what its like to have GAD and that this is a serious thing that isn't just "in my head" or "me being a drama queen"? I need factual types of things to show my parents so they can understand this more rather than thinking I'm just addicted to pills or just relying on pills to solve my issues.
Any help or advice would help so much. Thank you to all who reply!
 

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Listen, prescribing Xanax for 5 years was a horrible decision on your original doctor's part. This is not a long term drug. There are thousands of horror stories of coming off these drugs and detoxing. These drugs are addictive and they make your anxiety even worse when you don't take them. Listen I know you feel good but you would feel good on Heroin too and you would be telling people it's the only thing that makes you feel normal. You need to detox off the drug maybe go to a detox center. Alternatively you can possibly try alternatives like Baclofen and come up with a plan to get off of it with your psychiatrist. These drugs were meant to be PRN, as in maybe you have some huge social gathering, but the more you take it the more you realize how normal you are on it and you end up doing way worse when not on it.
 

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if the xanax isn't working, then it is time to wean off, although i don't necessarily think that 4mg/day is large enough to warrant a detoxification centre, particularly if she isn't abusing the drugs. neither do i think that long-term benzodiazepine use is unwarranted in all cases, but that's another discussion. she does, though, need to find a psychiatrist who is experienced in tapering, perhaps using the ashton method, while placing her on another medication that will adequately control her anxiety. if the xanax is working and she's been on 4mg/day for a long period of time and has stabilised without dose escalation within the past, i don't know, year or longer (?), then i don't see any reason to take her off the drug.
 
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@basurearopea: Well you may not see a reason but the fact that doctors are now no longer wanting to prescribe it is reason enough. Most doctors will not be comfortable with 4mg/day. And it will get higher eventually it just tolerance slows down at higher doses. If you are having withdrawal symptoms of Xanax then no way was it used responsibly. Responsibly you could go off of it and only experience problems when really bad situations occur. Not being able to function at school sounds like a daily use problem. But seriously why use Xanax for such situations when long term anti-anxiety drugs exist?
 

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well, there is contradictory information provided in the initial post in that she states that 4mg/day of alprazolam controls the anxiety perfectly and also that she has extreme anxiety if she does not take the drug daily (at this point) - and i suppose those two statements aren't necessarily contradictory, but when read quickly, and as the initial post is a bit muddled, one might find them to be so.

regarding the relatively high dose, irrespective of whether or not the doctor thinks it necessary, beneficial, or detrimental to be on such a dose, it is, without a doubt, unethical to pull one off of the drug after having taken the drug for years without tapering (properly) by switching directly over to a laughably incomparable dose of clonazepam. i mean, she is clearly going through withdrawals, and they aren't unexpected given the time frame.

all of that said, there are other drugs available, certainly, although i don't know her complete psychotropic history and there are people who stabilise on benzodiazepines of various daily doses that may wander into the upper prescribing range and remain static. i'm not one of them, although there are members on this forum who have stabilised on upper-range dosages for long periods of time. important to note that she is still within the prescribing range typically employed, albeit at the upper limit.

i'm not sure whether it would be beneficial at this particular moment to begin the weaning process, if the psychiatrist were to deem that the most beneficial thing to do, as she is clearly unstable. rather, i think it would be best to stabilise her using adjunctive agents (that may well become primary agents), and then follow through with medication changes as deemed appropriate, e.g. benzodiazepine cessation via the ashton method. that said, the physician has to keep in mind that he/she will also likely destabilise the patient once again to a certain degree during the tapering process and he/she has to have additional room with the medication(s) having been added to move the patient up on or another adjunctive medication in mind to add, even if temporarily, as anxiety will invariably increase. the other option, which has been done in my case, is to leave the benzodiazepine well alone even if it's not doing much any longer to avoid relapse, particularly when upper limits of alternative agents are being used concurrently, taking into mind the severity of past relapses and difficulty in restabilisation, e.g. developed resistance to treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
basueraeuropea,

I agree with everything you said. The dosage of the xanax I was on was 2mg twice daily. It worked perfectly. The only reason it changed was because I had to switch to a new psych dr who was very egotistical and wouldn't listen much to me and no matter how much I told him that all the medication I was taking was working perfect and had been for over a year to 2, he was insisting on changing everything. He said he'd do 1mg of klonopin twice daily which I was not only not okay with switching to klonopin but especially upset that he was lowering it to half my normal dosage. Then, to make things worse, I don't know if it was a miscommunication or he wrote the script wrong, I got it filled and realized he had prescribed me .5mg twice a day. So I went suddenly from 4mg xanax a day to a total of 1mg klonopin a day. I was somewhat withdrawing but mostly having anxiety relapses like crazy. I was in complete anxiety from wake up to night and having daily panic attacks. Sometimes having random bouts of crying. It took 5 phone calls to his office and over a week later for him to finally get in touch with me. He raised it to 1mg twice daily and added depakote which I have taken in the past and it gave me suicidal thoughts. I told him all this and that I was not comfortable taking it but he said that was the only way he'd prescribe the 1mg klonopin so I said fine. I think I'm going to look for a new psych doctor AGAIN but this whole thing is just so annoying and obnoxious. Not to mention that a lot of dr's really are cracking down on benzo's and especially with new patients taking such a high dosage. But it's worked for me for years! So you'd think they would listen to me and understand that I just want to remain on what has been effective for me. I don't know but the whole thing is just so irritating and frustrating that it only ADDS to my anxiety.
 

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basueraeuropea,

I think I'm going to look for a new psych doctor AGAIN but this whole thing is just so annoying and obnoxious. Not to mention that a lot of dr's really are cracking down on benzo's and especially with new patients taking such a high dosage. But it's worked for me for years! So you'd think they would listen to me and understand that I just want to remain on what has been effective for me. I don't know but the whole thing is just so irritating and frustrating that it only ADDS to my anxiety.
Yeah, find a different psychiatrist, this guy is a turd sandwich. What country are you in? I have been on 30 mg valium/day and 5 mg xanax/day for over 3 years now. It has and continues to work great for me. Anyways, I have been through a handful of psychiatrists and none have simply decided to take me off of or drastically change the BZD's that I take. Well one psychiatrist did try to and he told me a bunch of lies, saying that xanax and valium don't actually do anything. So he switched me to a laughably low dose of Ativan even though I told him I had taken it before and found it ineffective. So in short only one psychiatrist out of five simply insisted a certain medical treatment on me. I stopped seeing him and found a different p-doc.

I have two thoughts about your situation though. Have you tried equivalent doses of benzos besides xanax? I am a believer in using a longer lasting BZD Such as Klonopin or Valium if you are using a benzo long-term for GAD. Alprazolam does have the problem of interdose withdrawals. I guess it depends on how well you like the 4mg xanax / day.

Also. your current situation. If you have been stable for with your current medication(s) and are happy with them, then for god's sake just do not take the Depakote.

My advice is to just find a different p-doc, give them the records of your former p-doc (the one who prescribed you the drugs that worked well for you) . Explain that these medications have been working well for you, etc. Then the new p-doc should just continue you on the medication that works.

As for your parents, you're 25 and what they think really doesn't matter. I have many family members who don't believe in mental illness at all. They think, "it is all in my head," and give me crap about taking any medications, even as benign as SSRI's back when I took them. There really is no changing anyone's beliefs. Hopefully they will love you enough to support you.

Also realize that you are addicted, chemically dependent on xanax/Benzodiazapines. It's not bad but you have been taking the drug consistently for 5 years so it is just a fact. That increased anxiety is withdrawals, don't fool yourself. You are not simply having more anxiety than usual. you are taking half of the benzos that you've been on for years and you are experiencing withdrawals which manifest as terrible, unbelievably bad anxiety.

Personally, If I were in your shoes, I would take whatever amount of that Klonopin I needed per day while I waited for an appointment with a different psychiatrist. If i had to call in prescriptions early I would and if your psychiatrist has anything to say about it then tell him/her that you are taking as much as you need to be able to function (which you are) Your doctor will say something disapproving but will ok your refill. It would be criminal for a doctor to simply cut you off of BZD's due to the potentially lethal withdrawals.

Best of luck to you.
 

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@basurearopea: Well you may not see a reason but the fact that doctors are now no longer wanting to prescribe it is reason enough. Most doctors will not be comfortable with 4mg/day. And it will get higher eventually it just tolerance slows down at higher doses. If you are having withdrawal symptoms of Xanax then no way was it used responsibly. Responsibly you could go off of it and only experience problems when really bad situations occur. Not being able to function at school sounds like a daily use problem. But seriously why use Xanax for such situations when long term anti-anxiety drugs exist?
what is good long-term anti-anxiety drug?

im a 23 years old man and have dealt with GAD for 5 years now, and try many meds like zoloft and others of the same kind who i dont even remember the name,remeron too, but none have worked great for me.

im currently back on zoloft, the one whos worked the best for me for the anxiety,even tho im not really satisfied. The main problem is the secondary effects, who affect my sexual life... more difficulty having a erection, even tho im able to have one most of the time,... difficulty having an orgasm, diminution of my sex drive etc...

so if one of u guys would have a good sugestion to me i'd help a lot, cuz at 23 its not really fun to have those problems with ur sexual life

And zoloft is the one thats worked the better with my anxiety, but like i said, im not really satisfied, i still experience anxiety very often, its just that i control it a little better but still would love to have new sugestions

thanks, and sorry for my english
 

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For anxiety medication, it's just a matter of what works best for you. It sounds like you've taken a lot of SSRI's and Remeron and they haven't worked for you. So talk to your psychiatrist and tell him/her that you would like to try a different class of medication. Lyrica (pregabalin) seems like a popular choice right now. Or listen and talk to your doctor about his suggestions. But you know SSRI's don't work for you so make it clear to your doctor that you want to try a different class of medicine so they don't keep prescribing you drugs that won't work.
 

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trust me my doc told me many times that its just a matter of what works for me. and i told him that ssri wasnt working great for me, but its been five years and i tried a lot of meds...maybe 5-6.

And its like he tries random medication and say well, lets see in a couple of months if this one works, and like a i said, its been five years that im doing this and im starting to be hopeless, like ill never find a good medication.

I've never seen a psychiatrist tho, just my regular doctor but last time he told me he doesnt know what to give me,to try, anymore so he put me on im a waiting list to see a psychiatrist but it can take up to 1 year until i get an appointment... im in canada, health care is free but real slow.
 

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trust me my doc told me many times that its just a matter of what works for me. and i told him that ssri wasnt working great for me, but its been five years and i tried a lot of meds...maybe 5-6.

And its like he tries random medication and say well, lets see in a couple of months if this one works, and like a i said, its been five years that im doing this and im starting to be hopeless, like ill never find a good medication.

I've never seen a psychiatrist tho, just my regular doctor but last time he told me he doesnt know what to give me,to try, anymore so he put me on im a waiting list to see a psychiatrist but it can take up to 1 year until i get an appointment... im in canada, health care is free but real slow.
damn, that sucks unbelievably. Can you afford to see a private psychiatrist? Mental health is more valuable than anything else, I think anyways.

Obviously your doctor doesn't know enough to help you. But I spent a long time with a psychiatrist who kept just changing me from one ssri to the next as they all failed. Eventually I found a new Psychiatrist and told them right away, "I've been on every SSRI and I am only willing to see you if you will offer alternative treatments." Within a month I was onto medications and began getting better.

Anyways I really hope that you get help soon.
 

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damn, that sucks unbelievably. Can you afford to see a private psychiatrist? Mental health is more valuable than anything else, I think anyways.

Obviously your doctor doesn't know enough to help you. But I spent a long time with a psychiatrist who kept just changing me from one ssri to the next as they all failed. Eventually I found a new Psychiatrist and told them right away, "I've been on every SSRI and I am only willing to see you if you will offer alternative treatments." Within a month I was onto medications and began getting better.

Anyways I really hope that you get help soon.
thanks. im already seeing a psychologist(shrink) in private, but no i cannot see a psychiatrist in private, it have to be by the health system to see one and it takes lot of time.

anyway if u could just give me a few example of others alternative medications, so i can talk with my doc about trying new meds, id be help
 

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thanks. im already seeing a psychologist(shrink) in private, but no i cannot see a psychiatrist in private, it have to be by the health system to see one and it takes lot of time.

anyway if u could just give me a few example of others alternative medications, so i can talk with my doc about trying new meds, id be help
Baclofen
lyrica
Nardil (This is a maoi but works on GABA and anxiety extremely well, but has some food restrictions)
Neurontin

If your psychologist can't prescribe drugs then just switch to a psychiatrist, unless of course you think that the psychologist is helping.
 
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