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I am a 58 year old working man. Former Marine, father of five wonderful daughters and 31 years with my wonderful wife. Prescribed Xanax .5 mg 4 x a day or as needed currently. Prescribed about 10 years ago for generalized anxiety. Started out for the first five or six years with about .25mg in the morning, and maybe another .25 once or twice a week depending on work related anxiety issues. I have asked many times  over the years for my GP to help me get off this poison. The answer is you can take the drug or you can suffer anxiety. I resigned myself to the fact that i need this drug to provide a semblance of a normal life. slowly over time the dose needed to be increased to keep me feeling "normal" up until last year I was at about 1.5 mg spaced out over a normal 14 hour work day, seven days a week with no ill effect (unless i missed a dose) about six months ago I started having rapid and/or irregular heartbeat on a not regular basis. I would take .25mg and "chill for a while and all would return to normal. In the last month I have had regular bouts of Afib to the point of an ambulance ride with a 260bpm dropping me to the ground in my yard while working on the lawn. I have daily afib now, and the only thing that "fixes" it is .25mg of xanax. I am now at about 1- 2.25 mg per day to function and keep the afib at bay. I have been addicted to nicotine for years and love my morning caffeine, but now thanks to a trusted doctor I am addicted to a drug that it appears there will be a long journey to get off. I have read the ashton manual cover to cover and researched many many benzo sites. I am SURE that my afib is benzo withdrawal and as the only breadwinner for my household I cannot afford to be incapacitated nor do I have the ability to take off for months to enter a treatment program. I plan to follow the ashton taper without the Valium backer. I hope to find people with similar circumstance that have made it out of this hell. 
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Hello Dan1234,


Welcome to Benzo Buddies and thank you for your service. You certainly have a full life with 5 daughters and a full time job! You are not the only one who was prescribed a benzo and subsequently assured that you 'need' the drug for the rest of your life.  Benzos work, that is, until they no longer do. It clearly sounds like you've reached tolerance to the medication. At this point your desire to come off the drug is your best choice.


I will suggest that you get a good check up to make certain that there is no other reason for the afib. This is not an uncommon result of long term benzo use but it's best to be sure. 


I'm glad you've read the Ashton Manual, it is a good resource. You'll also find good information here about tapering and withdrawal. After such long term use a slow taper would be recommended.  Generally, a reduction of no more than 5-10% every 10-14 days is suggested.  Remember, this is your taper and you should make changes to it so that you can continue to work and take care of your family. I'll give you a link to the Planning Your Withdrawal Board for more information.


You don't need to cross over to valium, many people have done a direct taper from xanax.  I'll give you a link to the xanax withdrawal support group. You can connect with others there and see what their experiences are.


Many people have made it out of this hell. Withdrawal can be challenging but it is doable.  While my recovery took a while, it was the most important thing I've done for my health and wellbeing. We're here for you so let us know how we can help.


Planning Your Withdrawal (Taper Plans)


The Xanax Club


pianogirl  :)

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