This is an interesting question. What are you prescribed and why are you prescribed it? When do you find yourself taking the pills?
It is to relieve anxiety and stress. My husband lost his job and we have had a rough 6 months. It helps me relax but I don't want to take too much to get the point where I can not go without it. I am just trying to be careful and looking for what others have experienced. Thanks.
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THIS TYPE OF MEDICATION THEN IT WOULD BE VERY AGGRESSIVE FOR A DOCTOR TO PUT YOU ON THAT MUCH OF A DOSE.
Yes, you're taking it as prescribed. Only take it as needed. the doctors are obligated to tell you to take it like the makers or the drug tell him because they want to avoid being sued. But everyone that I know who takes it NEVER eats as much as they tell you.
First Xanax is the worst of all the addictions. You can die from Xanax withdraw. It is worse than heroin so I have heard. It is also a dangerous withdraw / addiction. You also have to be careful what you eat and drink with it because almost everyone you hear of overdosing from pain meds or alcohol also had some anti-anxiety in their system. So just be careful not to mix it with other drugs or alcohol. Although it is the best come-down drug in the world. Just space it out and take as little as you need to get the effect you need.
I found that I could take 1/16 of the prescribed dose when i needed it to prevent panic attacks. Literally I would bite off the smallest piece I could and wait and if that didn't work take a bit more.
So less is more in the case of anti-anxiety meds. Take it only when you need it or feel an onset of anxiety or a panic attack and take 1/2 of what they tell you to take. You can always take more. Then you can save it for when you don't have a script and save money. One script I had lasted me 3 years because they prescribed me 80 with 3 refills. That was a ton of Xanax.
And be careful because chemical dependency to Xanax is the worst. I have a friend who was addicted for years and it took him years to ween back down. Another friend I had was addicted to Kolonopin which is very similar (like valium - better than Xanax) and he had a rough time coming off it and it's more mellow than Xanax. I tend to prefer it because the hang over is more subtle.
So the answer to your question is that is depends on what you need. if you need it 4 times a day - take it 4 times a day. if you can skip 1-2 doses or skip days all together it is much better for YOU. Your doctor wants you to take it as prescribed to protect his ass but there is no danger in taking less. It is not an antibiotic where you need a consistent dose. it is not an anti-depressant where you need a consistent amount in your system. And Xanax has a long half life. Research it further if you don't know these things. The long half life means every day you take it you still have some left in your system that has not been metabolized and you are building up more and more inside you - hence the horrible addiction and overdoses. You may not realize it but you might already have 10mg in your system when you start your day. You need time to metabolize all of the drug.
I would play it by ear and keep in mind that less is more in this case. If you don't trust me ask your doctor off the record and he will tell you not to eat Xanax 4 times a day unless you are seriously in risk of major panic attacks. Even then you won't need it every day. Start doing it every other day at first and you will see that after regular use you still have it in your system after taking it one day. The following day it has not completely metabolized. Research Xanax half-life for more info.
This thread was started a while ago, but let's correct some things so that anyone else reading this won't be confused.
First of all, Xanax has a short halflife. It has one of the shortest half lives of all the benzo class drugs. And this is the reason that so many long time users wind up getting interdose withdrawal issues. The drug lasts for hours (I am not speaking here of the XR version), and is usually taken in spaced dosages throughout the day.
Xanax is also highly addictive, given its shorter half life. If the original poster was indeed put on 2 mg a day (and this could only have been done by a doctor with no real knowledge of the how this drug works), and has taken this dosage for any significant period of time (months), she may expect to become physically dependent on this drug. And such an occurrence would be infinitely worse for her than the life issues that caused her to seek out her doctor's help in the first place.
Benzos are powerful drugs, and should only be taken by those truly in need, and only then for a very short period of time (weeks at the most).
Given that, if you have been on Xanax for a longer period of time, do not simply quit taking this drug. As other posters have pointed out, the withdrawal syndrome has the potential to be fairly nasty if the drug is simply discontinued. It is, besides alcohol, the only drug withdrawal that may cause death. That is worse case, but far more likely, depending on usage history, are seizures, sensory disturbances, nerve disturbances, major anxiety, depression, etc. This is no joke, and it is very real.
When wishing to discontinue usage, far better to switch to a benzo with a longer half life (such as valium) and taper down over a long period of time. And when I say long, I mean just that: some users take years to fully taper off of this drug.
Given all of this, think twice before you use this drug for an extended period of time. 2 mg is a hugely aggressive dose - I have no reason why any doctor would prescribe this dose to someone experiencing life challenges. To comply with the doctor's usage specifications will help in the short term, but will incur a much greater cost in terms of life challenges in the future. In other words, you are having a difficult time now, and I sympathize, but try adding an addiction to a very powerful drug to that list of problems, and then add the rather nasty and unpleasant withdrawal effects to that list.
You would be far better served attempting to cope with your problems without this drug. Trust me, I've been there. Diet, exercise, therapy, meditation - all of these things would be helpful to examine and to implement. It does not work as quickly as Xanax, but you will be far happier following this route in, say, a year than you will be after taking Xanax for a year.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax aren't very toxic unless taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol, but they are very addictive. I would be concerned about taking any amount regularly for any length of time. Most doctors only prescribed them for short-term use...if you are having constant anxiety and stress, a drug like Xanax is probably not your best option--some sort of counseling or therapy will serve you better in the long run. You should definitely talk to your doctor about your concerns and ask what the plan is for long-term anxiety relief--if Xanax is the only plan, it's not a good one!
Xanax w/d is unbearable- if you can take a break sometimes and not take it you should to avoid physical addiction. It's not something that you want to play around with and docs are great at not preparing you for what can happen when you decide to stop taking a pill (same goes for SSRI's- the withdrawal from cymbalta is supposed to be even worse)
I have been prescribed 0.25mg of xanax by my family doctor for panic attacks/anxiety. I have been on this for 3 years now and just wondering if this is something that I will have to continue for the rest of my life? After being on this medication for such a long period of time, I just wonder what would happen to me if I stopped taking it. My doctor has never mentioned taking me off of it and gives me a 3 months refill on every three month doctors appointment that I go to. I'm just wondering if it is safe for me and what is the long term effects of taking this drug for years at a time? I no longer want to rely on a drug to get through day to day. How long will it take me to get off of this and what are my options??? I take 0.25mg in the afternoon after lunch and then another of the same dosage in the evenings after dinner, is that safe?
I wish doctors would give more information when they give a prescription.
Before your doctor put you on Xanax, he should have given you the whole story, good and bad.
If you are using it and still 'needing' it, he should be counseling you a bit on the issue.
I have to ask to the original poster: is this the dose he prescribed or is it what you feel you need to take to get through the day?
If it is by your own choice, your doctor isn't paying much attention.
I would advise going to counseling to help with anxiety. I know it can be hell and it can really take over your life. I have dealt with it since I was 10 (I'm 41 now). I've only recently really begun to grasp exactly what it is and how much control I actually have over it.
I take Xanax as needed and I can go months without taking any.
One thing to remember about anxiety: YOU CAN CONTROL IT!
I wish you the best of luck and God bless.
I was on Xanax for 16 years, .5 mg 4X daily as needed. THe prescribing doctor was dropped from my medical insurance after two years The topic of eliminating Xanax never came up.
Fourteen years later I have the oppurtunity to see him again. First question he asked was "why didn't somebody stop the meds?" I replied no one challanged your prescription. His simply nodded his head in disbelif.
Six weeks later, under a plan he drew up for me, I was Xanax free, with little to no issues.
1.) I do not have an addictive personality. I don't smoke, drink or gamble, so I did not need counseling.
2.) I was phyically addited to Xanax. Thus the need for a scheduled withdrawal plan. I called in weekly to report my progress.
He called me weekly at first, then the contact waned as did the Xanax. I had scheduled appointment every ten days.
What made this work!
I made sure I had the best doctor in the area
when I elected to take a narcotic.
I used the medication as directed.
I was upfront on all issues in my life with my doctor, I reported all problems, often keeping a log to write down issues as they happened and what behavior I used to deal with it.
You have to step up and accept responsiblity for your own actions before you can start playing the name game.
I know many of you may lack the resources to succeed with a mental illness. You will find alot of friends when you are honest with your self, and your condition. Help is available if you make the comnmitment to win.
Best of Luck,
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