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  1. SublimeTrip
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    I have been meaning to write this for a while now. I have discussed my issues with this addiction in the past but I decided to create a blog about it.

    As you can see, the title is pretty clear and straight to the point. I am heavily addicted to Xanax and have been for years now. I really feel that "Xanax Slave" is a good analogy of how I would assess the way I feel about this addiction.

    My apologies to anyone who has read any of my past writings about this topic or to those I have recently discussed it with through chat or direct messages, as some of my words may sound redundant. However, I really want to recap bits and pieces of my story as well as elaborate, extend, and update my current status as well.

    I was put on Benzodiazepines at a pretty young age and have been on them ever since. I started on Ativan, then switched to Valium, then Klonopin, and eventually Xanax.

    To put it simply, I am extremely addicted and totally hooked on them. I have been taking them every day for about five years now. I was started out on a moderate dose which increased as time went on. I am currently prescribed to 2mg's four times a day so my legal daily dose totals 8mg's.

    As if that is not a high enough dose already, I also I take much, much more than that. I abuse them like crazy. I go through them so fucking fast. I just keep taking more and more and more.

    I get my prescription filled once a month and it will be gone before I know it. It's ridiculous how fast that bottle is completely empty. Then I have to obtain it by other means until I can get my next prescription. I repeat this exact same cycle every month.

    Xanax has absolutely fucked me up both mentally and physically in so many horrific ways. I was fully aware of the danger and high risk of dependency from the very beginning... But I really didn't know or understand how terrible an addiction to this drug can actually be. I cannot stress enough how truly awful it is. I am so foolish for allowing things to get so bad.

    I honestly have suffered from chronic anxiety ever since I was a little kid. Discovering Xanax and the way it made me feel was amazing when I started taking it. I cannot and will not deny how incredibly remarkable of a drug it is. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and it does it very, very, well. Actually, in my case perhaps it worked a little "too well" as far as I'm concerned.

    I thought it was such a miracle drug when I started taking it. For those who suffer from terrible anxiety and severe panic attacks, and even those who don't but are just looking to feel good... In my opinion, it's pretty easy to fall into the trap it can lead you down if your not very, very, careful and vigilante about it.

    I still feel that Xanax can be very beneficial for temporarily helping people with serious and debilitating anxiety and/or paranoia issues. The key word in that statement is "temporarily". If the drug is prescribed at a reasonably safe dose for a brief period of time, the risk of addiction can be minimal.

    However, keeping patients on the drug continuously for long periods of time, especially for multiple years is a big problem that is very dangerous and harmful. Of course, that is just my opinion and it can obviously be debated and disagreed with... But the risk of becoming dependent on the medication(even for those who have never had any previous problems with addiction) is extremely likely to occur in some way shape or form if it is taken for a long enough time.

    My gradual progressive use seemed totally harmless in the beginning. I never really felt any signs of addiction for quite a very long time of using(and abusing) it on a regular basis. I never really noticed anything when it came to developing an addiction to it until much later on.

    But the one thing that was incredibly noticeable and undeniably obvious that happened very quickly after I started taking it(even in moderate amounts) was the tolerance. Before I knew it I had developed the need to take more of this drug in order to reach the desired effects faster than all hell.

    It was really almost kind of innocent at first. I didn't really put too much thought into it at the time other than, "Damn, why am I not feeling the way I did before when I took this same dose?" I didn't really see any other way around it other than taking a little bit more to feel the same effects as I had previously.

    I admit I was completely ignorant about it. Other than say, choosing to lay off of it for a while and not taking it as often, I foolishly continued taking them on a regular basis(daily or very often). What can I say? I really, really, enjoyed it regardless of the fact that the amount I began needing increased more and more in a very short amount of time.

    Eventually it finally dawned on me how big of a problem it had become. And yet I continued on and on. I made dumb excuses and bullshitted myself by thinking things like "I have a prescription... It's legally prescribed", "I need my medication!"

    Now when I look back at that point, I know I could have stopped. After all, I was certainly mentally addicted... But I hadn't began to suffer any of the serious damage that I would later on down the road.

    As I mentioned before, I did have bad anxiety throughout my life. The Xanax SEEMED like the solution, and for a long time it really was. Somewhere along the lines that completely changed. Before going on Xanax I had chronic anxiety and thought it was unbearable to deal with back then. But I was sadly mistaking. I now know that compared to before getting hooked on these pills, I pretty much had no fucking clue what chronic anxiety was. But let me tell you, I do now. God, how I know now.

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    This drug has seriously crippled my mind and caused me to become fearful of every day life. If I don't have it, being in a lot of social situations is like pulling teeth, and so I avoid them because I am in constant panic mode.

    I want to quit but the withdrawals that I have are absolutely unbearable. My body and mind go absolutely haywire in so many ways. I basically go nuts. I could probably go on all day about the withdrawal symptoms but I will just share some of the main ones.

    I get terrible anxiety, extreme paranoia, and horrible depression. My heart cramps up and pounds incredibly fast to the point where I fear I am having a heart attack. I get dizzy and light-headed, it becomes hard to breathe, I get muscle spasms, shaky, cold, and clammy hands, my jaw clenches up so when I try to talk it just comes out like gibberish nonsense, I get blurred vision and extreme sensitivity to light, sleeping is impossible, etc., etc.

    It's hard to fully describe what goes on mentally. My mind pretty much turns into mush. My brain's functioning is absolutely terrible. I won't be able to hold a conversation. I will forget what I am talking about in the middle of a sentence, I will forget the names of everyday things such as household appliances and stuff like that. It's so embarrassing and it's complete hell.

    But the worst symptom that I have developed(especially in the last year) are the seizures. I've had at least six grand mal seizures(that I know of) in the last four or five months. The first one I ever had was my own fault for making the incredibly stupid decision of going straight off of them cold turkey. The rest of them have occurred when I was in the process of trying to safely taper of of them very slowly. The scariest part about that is even while following a serious. medically advised tapering schedule, I really thought I was doing fine. There have been absolutely no warnings that they are about to happen. I will be going about my day and then all of a sudden I come too in the back of an ambulance or on the floor with paramedics surrounding me. It's so horrendously awful. Two of the times I hit my head and had concussions as a result.

    Just last week I finally checked myself into detox to solve this problem once and for all. To my total shock and horror, the rehab facility thought that three days was enough time before they stopped providing me with detox medication. I knew it was definitely wrong and I told them how I could really feel signs of possibly seizing. They refused to listen to me and so I checked out and went home.

    I knew I was going to have a seizure this time, I knew it. After getting home I immediately took some Xanax that I still had. To my dismay, before they even had a chance to take effect, it happened and I awoke to paramedics and two police in my living room(Side note: There's nothing in the world I wouldn't rather awake to than police in my house).

    Luckily this time I came out of it(I assume because the Xanax began to kick in) and I was able to have a family member drive me to the hospital instead of an ambulance. Regardless, another emergency room visit was made.

    Today I saw my psychiatrist and very regrettably filled my Xanax yet again.

    I know I have to get off this shit and I truly am trying, but right now it just seems like I am stuck in this vicious cycle.

    I am openly sharing this with everyone even though I am really quite uncomfortable admitting just how seriously this drug has negatively effected me and continues to do so.

    I am not trying to preach to anyone by telling them not to take Xanax or other Benzo's. I know that I am a very extreme case and only have myself to blame. I only ask that if you choose to use Xanax or any other Benzodiazepine, please, please, be careful! Don't take it too much or too often. Also, don't mix it with Alcohol.

    I don't really have many enemies in life but if I did, I wouldn't wish this on my absolute worst one. I don't want anyone else to unfortunately find themselves in this situation one day... This situation which I refer to as being a "Xanax Slave".

    Take care, everybody.

    Thanks for reading.

    -Peace

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Comments

  1. stressedgirl
    Hello. I just read your post and I am so sorry for what you are going through. I was physcally dependent on Lorazepam for 6 years. It is the most horrible drug there is as far as I am concerned. I managed to get off benzos 6 years ago by doing a very slow taper which took a year-and-a-half. If you Google Dr. Professor Heather Ashton she gives very good advice on how to taper off this drug. First you do need to get your doctor to switch you over to valium which is longacting and makes the taper much easier to do. You can get off this drug if you want to but it has to be done the right way. I believe there are also forums on the internet you can join for support as many people have the same problem that you do. Take care and know that you can get off this drug.
  2. SublimeTrip
    Thank you for the message, stressedgirl. I appreciate your kind words and inspiration. It means a lot that you took the time to share your experience with me. Thank you so much. :vibes:
    -Peace
  3. una_cavaletta
    The honesty of this journal is really inspiring. :applause: I wish you all the best.
  4. SublimeTrip
    Thank you very much, una_calvetta.:vibes:
    It really helps to know people care and want the best for me.
    -Peace
  5. Mr.Cr0wley
    Thats pretty messed up that a detox center would be so ignorant as to send you in to a seizure. It seems like maybe they are more geared toward the more 'popular' addictions like opiates and meth and whatnot.

    I was silly enough to try and wait tables through my detox. The people I work with had to have known something was going on when I couldn't remember a single order the entire night. I even had a sort of face blindness at some points in which people i knew seemed so distorted I could hardly recognize who they were.

    I agree that these drugs are crazy effective. But we forget that things like stress, and fear, and even anxiety, as uncomfortable as they might be, do serve a purpose. I quit giving a shit about work because I didn't stress about having money. I didn't care that I wrecked my car because I was barred out. I could've sat on some live train tracks and probably not cared that I was about to be ran down.

    I wish I had some great advice to give. Alas, all I have to offer is an ear and a few kind words. If the earlier tapers failed it might do you some good to look at them and see what might have went wrong. And if your memory is shot then perhaps write it all down. Where your mind fails use pen and ink and keep it in a place you cannot miss. If you tapered slow and still seized up then go even slower. If the doctors are ignorant then be stubborn. It's your life. Be a dick if you have to. Make the doctors earn their big salaries. Don't let em' push you out the door. Lay down on the floor and scream "I WANT TO LIVE!!!!!!!!!!" :mad:

    Perhaps a little meditation as well? It certainly helped me. When the world starts screaming itself to life it will be good to handle it on your own terms. Meditation was/is a powerful tool for me, during withdrawal and in regular life, and might even help you fight the seizing up if you committed enough of your time to it. Just a thought.

    I wish you all the best and I do check this thing pretty regularly.

    D
  6. SublimeTrip
    Mr.Cr0wley,
    Thank you very much for reading and leaving such a helpful and supportive response. I really appreciate it, man.
  7. Beenthere2Hippie
    Oh, Sublime...now I feel like the stoopid member. Although I have a few blogs of my own, I've never really look over other people's blogs or taken the time to read them. Don't ask me why because I simply don't have a sensible answer. Perhaps it's because I think of my blogs as open diaries that I never think anyone would even bother to read. Perhaps it's because I'm usually so busy with other aspects of DF that I just never seem to get around to the blogs. Either way, I just stumbled upon yours today (Feb. 16, 2014) and my heart aches for you and your situation.

    Of course I would love to see this dependency of yours go away, but I also know from experience that Xanax, like alcohol dependency, is a nasty drug to get off your back. I know you to be a good person, a solid friend and a kind soul. That's why it hurts to think of you in continual pain. I wish there was something more I could do except offer my sympathies and my friendship.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and wish you well with this and your other struggles. Do keep in mind there is always hope. Hope that things will change for the better. Just like bad luck, good luck comes about when we least expect--and for no apparent reason. Keep strong, my friend, and don't ever lose Hope. You Keep Rockin,' Mark~ :vibes:
  8. ZenobiaSky
    I'm so glad to see you starting your own blog! There were times I felt like I was reading my own story, especially those horrible social anxiety's. And the evil Xanax, My shrink was a firm believer in Xanax, even after I purposefully OD'd on them, he wrote for more. After that I had to be on it scheduled for a month to prevent seizures from the OD. After I went to treatment my VA doctors took away my Klonopin, which I was hooked on, and carefully tapered off of, and put me on Buspar and Risperidone for Anxiety, they don't do shit and the long term side effects are scary.

    I know how bad you want to be free of the Benzo hell, but please don't let them put you on Buspirone, the side effects aren't worth it, and it didn't help my anxiety, didn't help me get over the fear of leaving my home. They also put me on small doses of Risperidone (an anti-psychotic), it helped some, but made me a zombie.

    So I went back to my old shrink and got back on Klonopin. I can relate to your long term effects from benzo use, I still have lasting effects from my OD. Memory loss, and short term memory problems. I'm lucky enough to have not had problems with seizures (yet anyway). As much as I hate to admit it, what my doctor does could be considered criminal, but I'm hooked and don't know how to survive not to mention no other shrink will touch me. He has me drugged from day to night... Ritalin to wake up, (this does help with the social anxiety) Seroquel and Klonopin to sleep, and Klonopin for anxiety. I tried it for a year without the meds and I can't function.

    It's a vicious cycle we live through, and what makes it worse is, our doctors promote this kind of thing. And yet, I trust him more than any other shrink, does that make sense?

    I believe deep down you will get through this, you already made the first step and told us how bad it was. I hope you reconsider treatment, and find an inpatient one that can help you out. I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for treatment... in a nursing home, drooling on myself and wearing diapers probably. Oh and BTW, yes I have awoke to police and EMT's in my house too,,, it's not fun, especially when don't know what happened and why they are there.

    Just remember, your not alone!!! You have lots of support here!!!!!
  9. D0pe
    I have been on Xanax for over a year now... It has been a miracle drug. Though i have not found any signs of dependence yet ""Probably because i take it daily"".. I start off with .05 mg in the morning.
    Then another 2.5 mg through the day and night..

    My anxiety hit me hard at first. I was in such a cluster fuck that i thought the world was falling apart around me.. Then Xanax---- Ahhhhhhh.. No worries about stupid stuff, And no debilitating anxiety... Yea i still get anxiety attacks, But if i take xanax they go away fairly fast.. I can go most of the day without even taking them... Just forget if i am busy.. But when the anxiety hits, It usually a result of nicotine and to much caffeine.. For now xanax is not the issue and had helped me this last year. Especially as i have been taper down on my Suboxone.. Life is allot easier, and im able to talk to people, And sleep better....

    But i can see the pull of this drug, Seems so harmless.. It actually works unlike other drugs.. And its pretty cheap compared to Suboxone..

    That is my opinion.. I will not let my doctor trick me into thinking i need a higher dose "Which he has" the anxiety i have now i just deal with.. And exercise makes that anxiety go away fairly fast.

    Anyways.. I hope i am able to continue to use it as a medicine. I do not see it as a drug because it does not make me high at all. Just takes away my anxiety and helps me function normally.. Which i was not able to do very well prior to that...

    But still your warning is noted, and i appreciate the blog.
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