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Unread 10-24-2010, 12:38 AM   #1
Dopeless Hope Fiend
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Default Am I a Benzo Addict??



I dunno...

I take them as prescribed.

I don't sell, steal, borrow, loan, trade, or otherwise misuse Xanax.

I get a little nervous if I'm away from home and don't have a couple in my purse.

I'm scared that if I don't take them I might have a seizure. Never had a seizure for any reason...don't want to put myself in a position to.

What does that make me?

-DHF
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Unread 10-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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Hi DHF, in my opinion, that makes you physically dependent and fearful of running out. Would you be as fearful if there wasn't the risk of seizure? It doesn't seem like you're engaging in addictive behavior - the uncontrollable, compulsive behavior despite negative consequences that is addiction. It, again, my opinion, seems more that you have a fear of seizure that gets you a little nervous about them.

Not sure if that helped. But wanted to toss that out there.

Nancy
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Unread 10-24-2010, 10:24 AM   #3
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Hi DHF,

Y'know, I'm kinda in the same situation. I think there are a lot of people like us who have a chronic anxiety/panic disorder and take benzos long term without actually abusing them.

I just wrote a long thread about my life story with benzo's, but what it comes down to for me is that I have a legitimate anxiety problem that has not been solvable in any other way.

I think I also have a bit of guilt in with the anxiety. I'm usually in the opiates forum because I'm on Suboxone, and I think for me that's a little simpler issue. I have pain issues, got caught up in the escalating use/abuse of painkillers, and ultimately became addicted. I can point to the leg that hurts and say "that's the root cause." My psychiatric disorder is far more complex and elusive. I have very real problems and the resulting anxiety is only manageable with benzos. Yet, I feel as though I should be doing something to get off of them, or something because I have the natural need to progress in life.

For example - I am also a T2 Diabetic. I took three medications and was overweight. I put together a plan with my doctor and targets to reduce weight and eliminate some medications. I lost weight and have eliminated one of the meds completely. My anxiety problems, however, seem unsolvable right now. Yoga and breathing exercises won't do it.

I guess what I'm saying is that life is what it is, and you are who you are. You need medication to manage your condition. You know the risks of stopping, so you mitigate those risks. You don't abuse, so you are doing what you should be doing. Only you know if you can improve your situation and ultimately get off your medication.

-Packrat
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Unread 10-25-2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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Hi NancyB and Packrat,

Thanks for your input. I never considered "physically dependent." Duh. That makes so much sense.

Guess I needed to hear it from someone else. I'm not sure that the fear of seizures is what keeps me taking them. Shoot, I'm not even sure they work anymore...seems like I've been taking them...same dose, day-in, day-out, forever. I think it's only been like three years.

In all honesty, I can't really feel them working. Sometimes I have a nice sense of calm. But maybe it's just 'cause everything at the moment is cool. Sometimes I feel so worked-up, even after I've taken one (or half of one). And maybe that's because I tend to blow things out of proportion...working on that.

EWWW. I just loathe the thought of going to my doctor and asking to try something new. Not that he would argue it. He's in recovery, too. He knows my whole health history and I trust him. I believe he'd be willing to try me on something else, but that's just it...I don't know that I want to deal with adjusting to a new med.

I don't know. I think Packrat said something to the effect of "what did people do before all these meds." Sorry if that wasn't you, or I got your words wrong. But I do have to wonder, what did people do? It seems these days there's a diagnosis for everything. Labels and medications to treat them...and side effects that make me question whether they are worse than the original problem.

I'm rambling, so I'd best better get to bed.

Goodnight y'all!

-DHF
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Unread 10-25-2010, 08:28 AM   #5
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Hi DHF, if you're not sure if they're working, have you thought about tapering off and seeing where you're at without them? It could give you a good baseline of where your anxiety is at and who knows, since it's been three years since you started them, you may find that things have changed and you may not need them, or you could cut down.

Yes, there are definitely so many labels and medications. But I keep reminding myself, when some of these meds weren't around, they institutionalized people for some psychiatric illnesses that are now more understood and easily controlled by meds. Or like when they gave ECT or frontal lobotomies. So I feel grateful that there is help and understanding for so many more brain diseases.

To me, it's all about quality of life. If a medication provides that, then so be it.
You weren't rambling, but I am now, so I'll stop! lol

Nancy
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Unread 10-25-2010, 09:54 AM   #6
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I am totally a benzo addict...i am not prescribed them, but only because of all the doctor shopping i've done, they know i'm an addict and wont give me anything, although i'm positive having SOMETHING would probably help me out tremendously...so i buy them off the street, and as soon as i take them, it feels like my problems all melt away, and i can deal, with people, with life, whatever.
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Unread 10-25-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
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I've been prescribed Xanax for about eight years.
I've been at my current dose for about 4 years. I sometimes skip one dose, but for the most part, I take them as perscribed. I never take more than I'm supposed to. I only carry my mid-day dose with me, as I'm home for the other two. Most of the time I take my mid-day dose, but that's the one, in my mind, that's "as needed", so I don't take it if I don't need it. (Most of the time I do).
My anxiety attacks are so much milder at this point. No more bent-over, gasping for air, hyperventilating type of stuff anymore.
Now my anxiety attacks just start with my heart racing, and just that panic feeling.
It makes my life much more manageable, and since I don't buy, sell, trade, or anything of that nature, I feel as though I am certainly physically dependant, but not addicted.
J
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Unread 10-28-2010, 03:42 PM   #8
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Hi MaJaBe,

You sound so much like me...how you take your Xanax and have panic attacks.

Panic attacks suck. I haven't had a severe one for some time now, thank God. Glad to hear you haven't either.

Hi NancyB,

This sounds lame, but yes, I have thought about tapering off to check my baseline anxiety...

And I'm petrified at what I may find.

So, the creature of habit in me just keeps taking them...as needed.

But not really, because if I took one every time I thought I "needed" one, I'd take more than 3 a day.

I just won't let myself. So I sometimes try other things...deep breathing, meditation, etc.

I'm not good at any of it.

And I think that's part of why I'm always tired and can sleep easily. I sleep a lot.

Should exercise way more...

I don't know if it's the Xanax, or my head full of past experiences, but I've been having some intense using dreams lately.

But using is just a small part of the dreams. The other details are so vivid it's disturbing.

Really, I could spell out in great detail the dream I just had last night/this a.m.

You'd think I'm crazy...maybe you already do.

I'm pretty sure I am, at least in my nightmares.

I did run out of Lexapro on Saturday. I haven't told my doctor.

I don't feel depressed like I expected, just feel out-of-sorts, but that's my usual feeling.

If we dream in our REM sleep, then I'm getting deep sleep. But if I can remember my dreams with such detail...am I really sleeping?

I wish I had health insurance. I'd love to do a sleep study.

I'd probably be some medical-journal oddity.

Have an awesome, dopeless day,

-DHF
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Unread 10-28-2010, 04:52 PM   #9
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Well running out of Lexapro will certainly make you feel yucky. Any AD med is to be tapered off of. I did the same thing when I was younger, with Paxil, and I felt VERY odd, and had nightmares. I would do this weird shakey thing, it was not cool. Do you not want to be on Lexapro anymore? Did you stop at a low dose like 12.5 or whatever the low one is? Just wondering, as this may have something to do with you feeling a lil weird. Hope you feel better soon.
J
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Unread 10-29-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
Dopeless Hope Fiend
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Hi MaJaBe,

No, I really don't want to be on anything for depression.

My dose was low...10 mg a day. I'm pretty sure that's the lowest.

I didn't taper off as I should have. My bad.

So I guess I brought on the icky feeling myself.

I sometimes wonder if part of it is hormonal...

These cramps and monthly matters aren't helping any.



Umm, sorry guys.

Have an awesome, dopeless day,

-DHF
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Unread 10-29-2010, 09:39 AM   #11
MaJaBe
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Well if you don't want any AD meds, then you just have to kinda tough out the yuck feeling for a few weeks. That's how long it took me, anyway. I didn't miss any work or anything, but I could definitly tell that I was w/d-ing from the AD.
10mgs is, I believe, the lowest dose, so you shouldn't have a real bad time.
Yeah, monthly matters (love it) will certainly add to the yuck, !
But, this too shall pass.
Best,
J
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Unread 10-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #12
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Hi crazy lady, I mean DHF.

I absolutely do not think you're crazy! It's natural to be petrified and you're doing ok with it, so why rock the boat-type-thing, right? But, I agree with your observation that it could be why you're always tired. If you could exercise more, that might be helpful. I know how hard that can be - fitting it into a busy schedule. Even a ten minute walk would help.

One thing I learned in school was to ask about how does the person feel when they have the drug dreams. Theoretically, if the person is upset about them, that's a good thing as it's part of their life that they do not want to come back. If someone is angry that they woke up and it wasn't real, then they have to do some soul searching to find out why. Not sure if that helps, but wanted to pass that along.

Hang in there and get past the Lexapro WDs and then you'll probably know better what part of it is from them.
http://depression.emedtv.com/lexapro...ithdrawal.html
Withdrawal Symptoms From Lexapro
Symptoms of Lexapro withdrawal can include but are not limited to:

Irritability
Agitation
Dizziness
A burning or tingling sensation
Anxiety
Confusion
Headache
Insomnia
Tiredness


Hope you're having a good day today.

Nancy
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:17 PM   #13
Dopeless Hope Fiend
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Hi NancyB,

Thanks for posting what you learned about drug dreams...it gave me a good way to look at them.

When I've "used" in my dream, I wake up FREAKED OUT, in a panic, thinking OH F*** WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DO!!???

It takes a few minutes to settle myself down and realize it was only a dream. But those few minutes of panic are AWFUL.

And the feeling I have all day is just a really haunted, creepy feeling.

When I don't "use" in my dream, the dope is still there, very vivid and prominent.

The last time I dreamed of it, it was in a pencil-sharpener. The kind with the little container that snaps on to catch the shavings.

It was a red one. Packed full of dope. Dope I didn't "use" because I was busy in my dream...there was some drama going on between people I know who don't know each other.

How weird. Wonder what that means...

We have a red pencil sharpener like that. Maybe that's why I dreamed of it.

Too many "drug dreams" lately...

And I have all the symptoms listed for Lexapro withdrawl...except the burning and tingling.

It's getting better though.

-DHF
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:30 PM   #14
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How long since you took Lexapro? It took me a couple weeks, but it wasn't horrible. But then again I wasn't on any other meds at the time, so it may be different.
Best,
J
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:39 PM   #15
Dopeless Hope Fiend
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I took the last one on Sat., 10/23.

So today is the 9th day without them.

I wonder if the combination of other meds, or in your case J, lack of...

Makes a difference in the duration and intensity of the withdrawl.

This much is certain...

My head, and all that's in it, makes things worse!

-DHF
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:40 PM   #16
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The intensity, maybe, but probably not the duration. I would think you'll be in the clear in a week or less.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:51 PM   #17
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That would be good.

I can handle another week of being an irritable, sleepy slug.

But the more I sleep...the more I dream.

Ugh.

Oh well, if I'm at the half-way point...I'm almost there!

-DHF
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:58 PM   #18
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That's right, and the beginning is usually worse than the end, IME.
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Unread 11-06-2010, 01:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bqb247 View Post
I am totally a benzo addict...i am not prescribed them, but only because of all the doctor shopping i've done, they know i'm an addict and wont give me anything, although i'm positive having SOMETHING would probably help me out tremendously...so i buy them off the street, and as soon as i take them, it feels like my problems all melt away, and i can deal, with people, with life, whatever.
B -

Sounds like you are self-medicating and in the process you are trying to circumvent the process and doctor shop. Now many states have centralized databases to prevent that so you should be careful.

Have you thought about finding a good psychiatrist, telling them the entire truth including that you are positive that "having SOMETHING would probably help" you out tremendously? A good shrink will try to reel you into a program of therapy, give you your meds legally and help you work through your issues and when the time is appropriate evaluate getting off benzos.

I mean, do you go out on a weekend and buy up 10 sticks and take them all, or do you buy a supply and take them to help control your anxiety? What are you taking, when and how much?

-Packrat
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Unread 11-26-2010, 02:55 PM   #20
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i have an opiate problem, i was perscibed benzos but never liked them. My doctor had me on a really high dose and when i came off it sucked so bad i went into detox. One thing i did find though was like pain meds, anti anxiety meds like benzos make your anxiety worse (long term). Just as taking pain meds on a constant basis make pain worse, zans and kpins do the same for anxiety. I had very bad anxiety i currently use anon narcotic forms of anti anxiety meds, its not the same but they do help. If you arent taking benzos everyday and you are only using htem for acute anxiety and dnot abusing them i dont see a problem. For most people who take them everyday, they eventually stop working and you have to keep upping your dose. I am not bashing zanax and i have friends that use them as prescribed and they really help, but i think its important to have therapy or something like it to help deal with anxiety, because you cant contstantly rely on a pill to take of everything for you.
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