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I am a 40 year old mother and wife.  I have been married 17 years and have a 10 year old daughter.  My journey to this point in my life began at age 23 when I was on my way home from college for the weekend and suddenly felt as though I could not breathe; My heart began racing, my chest felt tight, my sight became blurred, and I thought "Well, here it is; I am 23 years old with my whole life ahead of me and I am having a heart attack".  I pulled over and a kind man stopped and got me to the nearest town and called 911.  This was the first of dozens of trips to the ER and doctors.  Finally, after every test could be run on me, I was diagnosed with panic disorder.  This was actually a relief to me; embarrassing, but a relief.  I had a "mental problem", but at least I was OK physically. I was prescribed Xanax and Buspar (sp?) first, but the Buspar made me more anxious.  I was then prescribed Paxil; again the same as the Buspar.  So I somewhat controlled the attacks with a low and not daily dose of Xanax (probably .25 mg three times a week at first).  During this time I met my husband and we married in a huge ceremony with a huge reception (not so great on the nerves).  But we had and still have a lovely marraige despite the situation I find myself in now.  I continued taking Xanax at low dosages and not daily until we decided to try to have a baby.  I had my daughter at age 30 and did not have one single Xanax for 4 months before I got pregnant until 6 months after she was born and I had quit nursing.  Surprisingly, during pregnancy and nursing I had a few panic attacks and just dealt with them without Xanax (God, what I would have given to have just remembered those few times and not started taking the Xanax again).  I also liked my wine (not during pregnancy or nursing, but before and after).  Not a heavy drinker, but one or two glasses about 3 times a week.  And I never took Xanax on a day if I was going to have my wine that evening.  All of a sudden at about age 33 I began having the panic attacks almost daily.  I had to do something; I had a toddler to take care of.  My doctor prescribed Xanax and Zoloft (again the same effect as the Buspar and Paxil).  So Xanax became my solace.  He prescribed 3 mg per day and I quit drinking wine.  I have not had a sip since.  But little did I know that what I was taking was far worse than those few glasses of wine 3 days a week.  I probably don't need to go into the next 7 years.  Obviously I have become addicted to Xanax and have come to a horrible point in my life.  Until about a month ago I was taking 10 mg per day.  I am now taking 9 mg daily; trying to taper off with the help of my husband.  He keeps the "medicine" locked in a safe and hands it to me daily.  I "function" like a normal person outwardly.  No one would know I have this gigantic monkey on my back.  I care for my daughter; getting her to soccor, volleybal, basketball practices. I help my husband at his office four days a week.  I am envolved in our Church, my daughters school, and the community.  I exercise and look like a perfectly healthy woman.  But I am not.  I have to cross the border to suppliment the 4 mg. per day my doctor will precribe and I am living a lie.  I want to get off of this poison, but I need help and do not want to risk crossing the border anymore.  I have asked for help from my doctor, and told him what I am doing.  His only suggestion is a rehab center which is in a different state than I reside and lasts at the minimum of 90 days.  I will do that if I must.  But surely, there must be another way.  I need help.   
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Hello brkram, Welcome to BenzoBuddies!

 

Your story breaks my heart, I and many others here know your pain.  You're not alone anymore, we'll help you get off of this drug, you don't need to go to a rehab, that's the last place you should go.  They'll taper you too quickly and send you home to suffer for months wondering why you don't feel better after the promises and the thousands of dollars.

 

We'll help you figure out a taper plan, and hopefully your husband will see the need to go slowly to minimize the symptoms so you can care for your family.

 

Please ask questions, we're here to help.

 

Pam

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Hi brkram,

 

I am very happy that you decided to be free of this poison.  No need to hide anything, with a good taper you will be off of this med.  we are here to support you and help guide you through this process. 

Tonight is my 5th week anniversary of getting off of klonopin. .5 of klonopin is equal to 10 mg of valium.

So you see I did it, and so can you...

 

Lu

 

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Hi and welcome to BenzoBuddies, bikram.

 

You are on a pretty high dose of Xanax but you can get off it safely and get control of your life back. If I understand correctly, you only have a prescription for 4mg/day, are currently taking 9mg/day and have been getting the needed additional pills over the border, which you don't want to do any more.  It really isn't safe to go from 9mg to 4mg - there's a potential for seizures - so if you really can't get more pills, maybe the rehab center would be a good alternative.  If it's a 90 day treatment facility, that is way better than the ones we hear about that get people off benzos in 7-14 days and then send them home to go through withdrawals for months.  When do you plan to reduce your dose again and by how much?

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I think that this website will help you a lot and i am wondering have you read the ashton manual yet as i think you are a very strong woman that you are doing all your usual chores and your life is still going on... Normally and i must say in my case  everything stopped and my with drawls kicked in and weening off any benzo is hard, but i still think with your strength that you can do it with out a detox centre as you are on a high dose of xanax and even 90 detox centre is going to be hard the ashton manual says 10 percent every 14 days so it can take months..I cant believe your doctor just takes the easy way out and go to a detox clinic instead of saying your options...1. there must be a benzo line in your part of the world where you are talking to experts that only deal with this drug.2. all the methods on here i have tried deep breathing, meditation, knowing i am safe, and knowing that yes getting off these benzos might take a year but with all the technology and help now that once you off them you might be worrying about worry that you ill have the panic attacks again when we know they cant kill you no matter how horrible they are.  THERE are so many people now that specialise in anxiety and panic that we don't need these horrible poisonous drugs... you are now feeling guilty which brings on thoughts that brings on anxiety, even depression and yet you still have to function..I think you are  a strong person and can do this and yes there will be waves and windows along the way, but it is time to look after number one.  i told my parents and people close to me and even they did not understand they new i was addicted to my drug and they knew that it was not working for me any more so i got a bit of support..I found this website the best support as it just feels good sometimes to write down what you are feeling and getting an answer back from another person in a similar situation.. No one understands unless they have been through this.
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I began tapering 6 weeks ago actually.  I started at 10 mg Xanax and now 6 weeks later today I am at 9 mg.  I have felt fine; no symptoms of withdrawal as of yet; but I do realize that can change anytime.  My husband and I have read Dr. Ashtons withdrawal schedule and a few others and thought that tapering .25 mg every 1.5-2 weeks would be a good start.  The re-hab facility my doctor is suggesting is where I would go only after hospitalization to completely withdraw me from Xanax while I am under constant care.  I am quite scared of this method, but you may be right.  And I might just have to do it.  I wish I could find a doctor who would support me in an at home taper supervised by the doctor and my husband, but I don't know if there is one that would even consider that.  I have only seen one doctor for panic disorder and he is the only one who has ever prescribed me Xanax.  I have been going to him since I was 23 years old (17 years).  I realize the ONLY alternative is to get off of this substance.  And I realize this even though I feel fine and am functioning in my life as any wife and mother would; well, besides having my husband go to the safe everyday and hand me my daily dose of poison; so, yes, I realize this is not a "normal" life.  I do not feel a craving for the drug right now; really I never have (it was really a crutch to keep the demons (panic attacks) away), but I realize that I am physically addicted and tapering off too quickly would be very dangerous. My increase to 10 mg was over 7 years and I just let it happen to myself and I realize I am the one who allowed this into our lives.  Any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated.   I am so glad I logged on to this site.  I hate to leave my family for over 3 months, but that is what I might have to do; and I realize that.  But what do I tell my daughter and my parents?  I am really in agony over this and I appreciate all of the kind words.    
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Hi bikram,

 

You seem to be doing well at .25 every 1 or 2 weeks, you are your best judge on how you will react. Some take it a little slower (smaller cut) when they get to the lower amounts, but see how you feel.

 

Will you doctor work with you at all with switching you to a longer acting benzo like Valium or Klonopin? Some people find xanax is tough to taper since it doesn't last as long.

 

I'm glad you found us, we'll support you along the way, you're not alone.

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies

 

Star

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Thanks for the comforting words.  I really do appreciate it.  I have spoken with my doctor countless times over the last two months about prescribing the higher dose and helping me taper at a slow pace and then possibly a cross over to Valium; I gave him a copy of the Ashton Manuel to read, but he said he would not be involved in that type of taper.  His only offer is what I have posted: hospitalizion to taper completely and then a 90 day minimum stay in re-hab facility in Florida or California.  I live in Texas.  I don't know if I should try to find a doctor more responsive to this type of taper or if I am just putting off the inevitable stay in re-hab.  I could continue to get the medicine for my taper accross the border, but it is not legal to bring it back accross and I have to hide it.  And I have no medical supervision doing it that way; except that my husband has been keeping a very good eye on me; making sure that I seem fine and am not experiencing signs of withdrawal.  But he is very busy and I know this is taking a huge toll on him and I feel like the worst person in the world for that.
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I'm sorry you're having this kind of problem with xanax, it can consume you, I know.

It would be best to search for a doctor that will help you taper and cross you over to a slower acting benzo. It's not impossible to taper straight from xanax, but many have found it easier to switch. I know that some doctors just don't want to be a part of helping someone wean off and then you're stuck with the alternative. Until you find another doctor, it's sounds like you're doing ok with your taper for now.

 

 

 

 

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Is there any information on this site listing physicians who are receptive to the crossover taper?  I really don't know where to start.  I have only seen one psychiatrist for this and I have asked him for a reference and he will not give me one.  I guess I could just run my finger down the phone book and pick one, but that might be like looking for a needle in a haystack; Now can you tell I am from Texas? :laugh:
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Hey,

 

I would keep trying ot find a doctor who will help you crossover. If, perhaps, you can't find one and decide to taper dry off Xanax, go very slow. You will be fine either way, just prepare yourself for a long road.

 

When it comes to this kind of thing, New York isn't much better either.

 

In American, in general, there doesn't seem to be anywhere to hide. These people won't stop until we are all on their drugs. 

 

Leben

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Is there any information on this site listing physicians who are receptive to the crossover taper?  I really don't know where to start.  I have only seen one psychiatrist for this and I have asked him for a reference and he will not give me one.  I guess I could just run my finger down the phone book and pick one, but that might be like looking for a needle in a haystack; Now can you tell I am from Texas? :laugh:

 

You may have luck finding a doctor at this link (scroll down a bit for Texas); http://benzodocs.com/

 

Or you may find help through your insurance company, let us know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much Star.  I looked on that site and there are several in Dallas and Houston.  And thank you to all of you for your kind and comforting posts.  I feel like there might be a glimmer of hope and I might not have to be away from my family for months.  I will keep in touch and use this forum as support.  I can't believe I just stumbled upon this site; I am so grateful that my husband was out with a friend and my daughter was at a sleepover.  Otherwise I would not have been on the computer browsing.  Thanks again  :smitten:
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If you're worried about your supply, you could probably speed up your taper while on the higher amounts.  I've seen many members on your dose taper by 1 mg for a couple of weeks, since that would be well below the rate we usually see people taper by.  Of course, you'd have to slow it down when you get lower in dose.
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Thanks Pam,

 

I just sent you a personal message with a question and you have answered it here.  So disregard my message.  I think today I will cut 1 mg; I took 6 weeks to go from 10 to 9 mg and experienced no symptoms except a little anxiety (which could be due to my fear of future panic attacks and just the situation I have gotten myself in to).  I have coped with the anxiety with yoga, exercising, and meditating.  So today I will begin taking 8 mg and see what happens.

 

Thanks to all of you for your help.

 

I am going to call one of the "benzo-wise" doctors on the list provided tomorrow and make an appt.

 

 

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Hi bikram,

 

I'm glad you're going to be a little more of an aggressive in your taper, I'm sure you'll be relieved when you can use only legal means for obtaining your dose, this has to be causing you stress.  Please pay attention to your symptoms and if things get too uncomfortable, you can adjust as necessary.  We don't like to see people go up in dose, but dose corrections are a natural part of this process.

 

It's good to see you using so many methods to help you relax, if more of us used these instead of reaching for a pill, we wouldn't be here.  Try not to worry what the future holds for you, you can deal with things as they happen and spare yourself the added stress.  I promise that even those of us on high doses can heal, I'm living proof of that.

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I am going to try to get an appt. with one of the doctors listed and see what she says.  I have read in the Ashton Manuel that on a high dosage of Xanax like I am on, the best way is to taper down directly off of Xanax to 3-4 mg per day and then begin a Xanax-Valium crossover and then taper directly off of Valium.  I am unsure what is the correct way to do this. I think it might depend on the individual.  I am hoping and praying that I can get some help from this new doctor and that she will be open to some ideas.  I am scared because I realize that being at such a high dosage and tapering slowly I have not even experienced anything close to what most of you have.  And it will come as I taper down further; but I am determined and I am not going let this little oblong pill defeat me.
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I am scared because I realize that being at such a high dosage and tapering slowly I have not even experienced anything close to what most of you have.  And it will come as I taper down further; but I am determined and I am not going let this little oblong pill defeat me.

 

That kind of attitude will help you tremendously!

 

Let us know how the appointment goes.  :)

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Hi, you know all this time I thought u were on 9 mg of valium, i realize its xanax...

Apologies if I confused you in any way with my advise.

 

Yes, do not let a little pill defeat you :) 

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No worries LP; The introduction I posted was quite long and you have enough on your plate than keeping track of what my "poison" is.  Your words have been kind and I appreciate them.  I hope today has been a good one for you.  I know you have been on a very rough road.

 

I am still trying to figure out what I am going to do about my situation.  I did drop down to 8 mg. yesterday and so far I am feeling fine; But it is still a very high dosage of Xanax, so my road will be very bumpy as I move along.  I have phoned a place in Dallas, TX which is on the "Benzo-wise" list, but I was pretty uncomfortable with their mixed answers; outpatient detox for approximately 10 days and then send me on my merry way was one answer and then one promising conversation about a possible outpatient crossover taper; many mixed signals there.  I have been in touch with the Novis Center in Florida; A medical inpatient detox.  They use a more involved approach utilizing supplements, vitamins, and prescription drugs if needed during your supervised taper; very holistic and the conversations I have had with them have just seemed "right". 

 

Not really sure what I am going to do at this point; Just trying to find the right thing for me. 

 

 

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