Xanax Addiction and Treatment

Xanax Addiction and Treatment

Xanax is a Central Nervous System (CNA) depressant known as benzodiazepine which is commonly prescribed by physicians to treat panic attacks, nervousness, and tension. Xanax, also known as alprazolam and considered to be a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

Xanax has been used as a tranquilizer since the 1960s with strong opposition to the use of benzodiazepines in the 1970s. Today with approximately three million Americans (1.6% of the adult population) have used benzodiazepine on a daily basis for at least 12 months.

According to the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and under the CSA all controlled substances are rated on a five-schedule system. Schedule V, is the lowest for the potential for abuse or dependency and I, is the highest. Xanax is a Schedule IV. All Schedule IV controlled substances have the following attributes:

  1. A low potential for abuse
  2. A currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
  3. If abused, may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence

Other examples of drugs included in schedule IV are Darvon, Talwin, Equanil, Valium and Xanax.

Although there are many benefits to taking Xanax and other Schedule IV drugs many patients are becoming addicted and therefore require an intervention and drug treatment program to overcome their addictions. The patient’s body can also build up a tolerance to the drug and require larger doses if taken for long periods of time. With these increases in Xanax use come physical and psychological dependencies. Xanax is not a drug you should quit cold turkey.

The Journal of Postgraduate Medicine stated that up to 25 percent of patients who stop taking their medication experienced withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Moodiness
  • Crying
  • Dystonia
  • Paresthesia
  • Tremor
  • Vivid dreams
  • Myalgias

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found during a two-year treatment outcome study that fifteen percent of heroin users also used benzodiazepines daily for more than one year and seventy-three percent used benzodiazepines more often than weekly. Studies also indicate that from five percent to as many as ninety percent of methadone users are also regular users of benzodiazepines.

With this information in mind the Xanax abuse treatment involves careful monitoring and counseling in an in-patient or outpatient treatment facility. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) report on benzodiazepines revealed that eleven to fifteen percent of the adult population has taken a benzodiazepine one or more times during the preceding year but only one to two percent have taken benzodiazepines daily for twelve months or longer.

In psychiatric treatment settings and in substance-abuse populations the prevalence of benzodiazepine use, abuse and dependence is substantially higher than that in the general population. Treatment encompasses a patient’s thought process, behavior, and helps them to cope with everyday life. Patients suffering from Xanax addiction should be tapered off gradually. There are basic outpatient plans available for discontinuation of the drug including:

  1. Gradual discontinuance over a six to 12 week schedule.
  2. Monitoring and helping the patient to feel in control of their dosage
  3. Supplying a helpline when the patient needs reassurance.

Other plans include:

  1. Inpatient Treatment Centers
  2. 12-step programs such as:
    • Narcotics Anonymous
    • Drug Treatment Exchanges such as:
      • Clonidine
      • Propranolol
      • Carbamazepine

Although these substitutes can be dangerous an inpatient setting where dosages can be monitored by physicians until the patient can reach a zero dose of the benzodiazepine is recommended.

In conclusion Xanax and other benzodiazepines can be addictive drugs that are hard to discontinue however; they are also drugs of great benefit to patients who suffer from the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear of open spaces (agoraphobia)
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Panic attacks

The patient and the physician should work together to regulate long-term usage monitoring side effects and any signs of abuse.


  1. DuPont, RL, Benzodiazepines: The Social Issues. Rockville, MD, Institute for Behavior and Health, 1986.
  2. DuPont, RL, Abuse of benzodiazepines – the problem and the solutions. A report of a Committee of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 1988; 14 (suppl 1):1-69.
  3. Mellinger, GD, Balter MB, Prevalence and patterns of use of psychotherapeutic drugs: Results from a 1979 national survey of American adults, In Tognoni G, Bellantuono C, Lader, M (Eds): Epidemiological Impact of Psychotropic Drugs. Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1981, pp 117-135.
  4. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/publications.html
  5. The Controlled Substances Act: Chapter 1.
  6. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
  7. Salzman, C, for Task Force on Benzodiazepine Dependency, American Psychiatric Association, Benzodiazepine dependence, toxicity, and abuse: a task force report of the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1990.
  8. Ciraulo, DA, BF Sands and RI Shader. Critical review of liability for benzodiazepine abuse among alcoholics. Am J Psychiatry 1988; 145:1501-6.
  9. Busto, UE, MK Romach and EM Sellers. Multiple drug use and psychiatric comorbidity in patients admitted to the hospital with severe benzodiazepine dependence. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1996; 16:51-7.
  10. DuPont, RL, A Patient’s Gude to Getting Off a Benzodiazepine. Rockville, MD, DuPont Associates, 1989.

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    The fact that Zanax is classified as a schedule IV Drug is an indication of the ignorance in the medical field of addiction. As an individual who has been substance free for a total of 15 years (10 yrs relapsed for 3 and then 5 years sober and a relapse both times on Pain meds) and "kicked" cold turkey everything from methadone 230 milligrams after tapering down to 40 and walking off, to kicking a habit on Oxycontin and Oxycodone 180 tabs 80 mgs per month and 480 mgs Oxycodone 30 mgs ( I had 2 doctors prescribing like any brilliant addict) I have to disagree totally with the idiots who make up the protocols for Zanax withdrawal which I am currently attempting to do on my own, because the protocol in any local Detox in N.Y. is 5 days!!! I have been on 10-12 mgs per day for a period of 2 years and have gone off cold turkey twice. One time almost lead to my death and the other to suicide. I differentiate Zanax from other Benzos because it is a more potent sedative then Valium has a shorter half-life and is life threatining at high dosages which I suppose is the same for all Pharmacueticals. I was prescribed Zanax because I wanted the extra boost with the opiates. I have found the Monster of all monsters as far as mood altering drugs for me and I know that it is a process that takes diligence and support. Wish me luck......P.S. All Medical Interns should be required to spend time in Detoxes to see the damage that the drugs that they dispense so freely can cost people their lives.

    • Addict

      I'm confused. You say you have been sober, but you are trying to kick 10-12mgs of Xanax a day for 2yrs. If you kicked the narcs then why did you start taking Xanax? It sounds like you are back on the narcs and getting a better buzz by mixing Xanax. I agree Xanax should be a schedule I or II like Adderal and Dilaudid or other narcs. I started taking Xanax off and on for yrs dating back to 95. I never had a problem getting off of them til I got the XRs. I started everything at a low dose and eventually kept getting bumped up by my Dr. When I asked to ween off I got bumped up to 2mg XR and 4 2mg bars a day for the past 2-3yrs + 10-20mgs of Valium to sleep. I am 39 and I had an 8x11 blank paper filled on both sides w/script labels. I got myself off of everything except for the bars. I was slammed off of my meds in Jan this yr by a nurse/doctor team and fainted, went thru dehydration, and 3wks off and on of hallucinations. I was not being detoxed properly, I was a guinea pig. I came home and was back on my bars gradually, but quickly. I don't get high or abuse my meds my doctors dropped me every month to check my levels. Ive been trying to ween myself for a long time in a fast manor which throws me into withdraw and failure. I decided to go to a reputable place and get help the right way because I was tired of failing and feeling like shit for so long. I call this place 3days in a row to make sure we were on the same page. I had to be in and out in 4 days because of school. They told me everything I wanted to hear on the phone which was all lies and they had me come in withdraw from 8mgs a day for 3yrs. By day 2 I had a 3min Grand mal seizure and went to the ER for 8hrs. I was put under a microscope for a week and was told the meds they gave me which I told them it was the same med in Jan lowered my seizure thresh hold and I do NOT have epilepsy. They weened me off now in the hospital w/Valium which gives me panic attacks and they did it so fast I came home and was back on my Xanax because I couldn't handle the panic attacks. I had over 200 bars when I went in and now I take random doses and I hate it because I'm already back to addicted w/starting out on .5 and some times I take 6mgs to sleep in a months time. I have asked for help and no one will help me. I'm so pissed I cant even ween myself anymore because its out of control w/cravings which I never had before. I'm calling a lawyer. GOOD LUCK

    • Addict

      HI, I don't know if you still come to this site or if you are still on Xanax. If you need help, I would gladly offer to assist you. I was weened off a 17 year Valium habit in 1999. My tapering was written and managed by Dr. C.H. Ashton. She is a British Psycho-pharmacologist and is known as the world's leading expert on benzodiazepines. She ran a benzo clinic for 12 years. She helped me in the U.S. and my taper was 2 1/2 years, but it worked. I am currently working on a very comprehensive book on benzos. I have dedicated my life to helping others come off these drugs. If you want to reach me and talk about anything, anytime, feel free to write me at [email protected] I hope you are well

      • Addict

        Please I need to talk to you I'm 55 on Xanax 30 years just taken off. I do take seizures. Been off 2 days. Need help. Been through this one time I almost dyed. He refuses to wean me off of 3. 1mg a day

    • Addict

      It's not ignorance about the addiction of Xanax (proper spelling) that the med. community is experiencing, although that may be the case for a few; it's the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical industrial "czars" that won't let Xanax be re-classified to a higher level!

    • Addict

      Richard, I have to agree with you about the time span to detox off Zanax. I did it on my own and it took 5 and a half months. I was taking .25 four times a day for a year and was unable to think logically, depressed and more anxious than ever. Zanax throws the chemicals in your brain so far off balance, that it can destroy the ability to think coherently.

      You were on much higher dose for much longer than I, so 5 days to detox could have been torture for you.
      Also, I supplemented during the detox time frame with GABA, Theanine, L-tyrosine and B complex. Zanax is supposed to be for temporary use so a patient can calm down and be productive in therapy for depression and anxiety. I was never told what could happen to me. When I started damaging my relationship with my wonderful husband, I knew I had to research and determine what was wrong and do it on my own. At a slow pace, it is not difficult to do. For anyone faced with this situation, do your research to decide what you are comfortable with and be good to yourself. You can do it. It is not so frightening at a reasonable pace, and you will be stronger for it.

  2. Addict

    I have been on 1mg of zanax a day for almost 5 years. I'm trying to taper off but i feel like i'm going to vomit and i come close to seizure type spells. Can someone tell me please if this will ever get better?

    • Addict

      I feel like I am an expert on this, so I hope you take my advice. I was addicted to Xanax for 12 years. I started taking .25mg and at the end was taking between 15-20 bars or 2mg pills a day. I tried to quit on my own dozens of times but it was useless. The feelings are unlike anything I can describe. It feels like someone was inside my stomache turning my insides out. It got hard to breathe when I didnt take any. I couldnt sleep,eat, concentrate and I got dizzy and sick to my stomache. As soon as I would take one, I felt the sensation start at my head and slowly go down my body till I felt "normal" again.
      My email is on here, if you want to know how I got off them, what I was winged off with, and how you deal with it. There is definately hope. I never thought there would be a day that I didnt have cravings. But I have none at all. I have been clean for over 100 days now. Not even the slightest craving.

      • Addict

        Can you please share how you did it?? Would love to know and appreciate any help I can get. Thanx

        • Addict

          I was taking 6 2mg bars at a time 4 times a day . It was complete hell coming off and took a couple of months ! I had to have my XanaX given to me in smaller doses by my mother . BAD DRUG !!!!!!!!!!

          James Dickdog Martinelli Florida

      • Addict

        Hi I am trying to stop taking xanex and was wondering how did you winged yourself off of them I really need to know I am trying to stop taking them and need help. I hate the withdrwal it is a felling I never felt before and never want to experiance again. Please tell me how you did it.

        Thank you,

        Kleen Hopeful

      • Addict

        Dear Scott, i would very much like to hear how you did it so i can help my husband whom asked my help, we are currently located in a country that does not know much about this drug but they perscribe it anyway he has been hooked on it for quite sometime . Your e-mail is not shown on the website but you can contact me on yahoo mail with the user name freeurmindnow , i would like to know how you did it. Many thanks.

      • Addict

        scott your comments on oct 19/10 interest me can you reply. and give advice on how you detoxed.i take 1mg 3 times day for 8 years need help

      • Addict

        Hello Scott,

        I would sincerely take your advice concerning the withdrawal of Xanax. My little sister has been addicted to it for over two years now. My parents are suffering like hell because of her changes of humor and nobody can take it anymore even if we are the only family she's got so we can't leave her. I'm afraid my mom is going to deep depression if we don't come with something up. The problem is that she refuses to go see anyone who can help her. The other problem is that we live in Albania (Europe) and in here Rehabs, or addict groups don't exist at all so if we are to send her in one of these centers (she has to agree first of course) we have to send her out of country :S I'm searching for all possible solutions but i admit that i'm exhausted.
        I really need an advice!

        My sister is been using Xanax for two years as i said and there are days where she's been taking like 40-60 pills a day... please help!!!

        • Addict

          I have been hooked to various doses of Xanax since 4 years now ... I have been clean for about a month and counting.. Not only did the drug damage my life but what users and their loved ones need to understand is that in high stress oriented personalities, the 'craving' for the drug never really goes away. You have to work hard at providing yourself or your loved one an environment where they can hope, be happy and live of normal activities. Combined as it usually is with other patterns of chemical dependencies, a strong will and support will be needed. With xanex, you need to reduce the dosage by 1/8th every 14 days (it sounds like a slow process and it is, NEVER discontinue cold turkey) and once close to 0, the user has to begin developing a pattern of undergoing the 'trigger' moments fully aware of their situation and making the right choice, moment after moment, day after day. Keeping a small note pad where they can write down what about any situation causes them stress really helps, it externalizes the situation and provides room for others to advise. It is VERY important that non-users appreciate the lack of any known substitutes to Xanax .... The need to experience the 'high' of xanax is very very strong because it is in fact a sensation of physical and mental calm the user cannot normally achieve otherwise. Encourage them to exercise, practice meditative techniques and express their feelings when they are feeling low , so that they learn to begin associating natural answers to their problems.

      • Addict

        You offered to give someone advice on quitting Xanax. My son is 26 years old, was addicted (or still is but not using, I believe is more correct) and has replaced it with Xanax. His mother and I are heart-broken, running out of funds and worried sick that we can't help him. He lives with us and is trying to kick it himself. I don't expect you to give medical advice but we would be very grateful if you would just tell us how you are doing it so that we might see a glimmer of hope. I'm intelligent enough to know that there are rarely two cases exactly alike but your description of your symptoms are almost a carbon copy of how he describes his own. Hope you will respond.

      • Addict

        Scott, I would like you to share your story with me. I have a daughter who is hooked and crying for help! We don"t have the money to put her in rehab. I don't want her to live this way anymore and I am so worried that it could take her from me permanently. I would greatly appreciate anything you could share. God bless you and I hope you will be free from this monster forever.....

      • Addict


      • Addict

        been on xanax for over 25 years tried to get off but was told by doctor i would have a anxiety attack or would have a server seizure that would kill me tried to get off my self it almost killed me. lost a high paying job because i'm on this stuff when i did try to quit indeed up in the hospital blood pressure shot up passed out and was bleeding out of ears and nose.

      • Addict

        i started having panic attacks 8 months ago. i started using xanax to deal with them. now i don't know if i'm having withdrawal or panic attacks.thanks for your help in advance.. anything you can tell me to help get rid these things will be greatly appreciated

        • Addict

          You are not alone. I was hospitalized 3 x for panic attacks after i injured myself at work. I'm a ups driver. i had been taking xanax once in a while previously. now I'm taking .5 3x a day and lexapro 5 mg. I T HELPED FOR A WHILE BUT NOW STILL EXPERIENCING ANXIETY. IT SUCKS BIG TIME. HOPE I CAN GET OFF THESE MEDS ALL TOGETHER

          • Addict

            I just wanted to let you know that I also worked at UPS and had a Valium prescription for over 15 years. In my case I took two 10 mg. at bedtime for leg cramps and also the high amount of stress that a UPS driver has to endure. I had over 20 yrs. of safe driving with the company, but I was terminated because of the prescription. Benzodiazepines are not listed in the union contract as a prohibited class of drugs but I made the mistake of telling UPS about it and I was fired. I understand that you want to get off the drugs, but I wouldn't let UPS know about your situation if you want to keep your job.

      • Addict

        Would like to know how you kicked the addiction? I have not used xanax very long but I don't want to be one it forever so whats the best way to get off them?

      • Addict

        I am in similar situation , advice would help i started taking Xanax for panic attacks, and now at yr 11 taking them for every anxiety, md angry at me don't know what to do

      • Addict

        Hi Scott. I am struggling really bad trying to get off Xanax. It's the worst. Can you please reply to me and let me know how you did it? It would be a great help and very much appreciated. Thank You so much.


      • Addict

        i would like more information on how u were able to overcome this addiction as soon as possible. I'm trying to find help for a very close friend with same addiction over 7 year period. thank u

      • Addict

        i read your article on your addiction to Xanax ,and could use some good sound advise please ,and Scott thank you for your honesty .....thanks Dee

      • Addict


        Thank you for your email. I was prescribed Xanax for terrible pain in my stomach due to anxiety disorders. In August I decided to stop taking it and went through 5 days of hell. and had to start it again. What did you do?.

      • Addict


      • Addict

        If you can. Please email me. I will like to know how you did it. I'm on a small dose but nevertheless what was supposed to have been taken on a as needed basis turned into a everyday thing. At this point I don't know what is worst, the anxiety attacks or knowing my day will not be normal if I don't have one. Help please

      • Addict


      • Addict

        How can I help my daughter. She is in terrible shape because of Xanax and pain pills. she is off the pain meds but says i am killing her because of the anxiety. I don't want her to have the Xanax but am scared of the side affects of going off cold turkey. What do I do.

        • Addict

          I have been off Xanax since April of this year had to go to detox I hate to be the one to say this it's almost impossible to get off Xanax I'm still not going back but I still wish I could take it I feel like something is missing in me and I never feel good.

      • Addict

        Are you still interested in giving advice about going off Xanax? I need help bad. My doctor just doesn't seem to know what she is doing. Email me back if you're up to this.

      • Addict

        im up to 10-15 bars a day howd u get off

      • Addict

        I take 1.5 MG a day and have for several years. I need to quit!

        Thank you,

      • Addict

        I have been on Xanax for 8 months now. It started at 1 1mg a day than my tolerance has built up to 5 1mgs a day. I need them to go to sleep because I have insomnia. I have a serious issue with this and cannot sleep without them. I need some help helping myself get off of these. I used to b addicted to Ambien and took 15 a day to sleep. But they stopped working but now I'm back on the same track as I was when I was taking Ambien. Do you think the Xanax will also stop working as my body keeps building tolerance? I just need help in sleep and have tried everything natural but it does not work. PLEASE GIVE ME SOME ADVICE?

      • Addict

        I was a heroin addict for 18 months and doctor shopped to get Xanax to increase the high, I'd only ever smoke the H thought. Now I am on a Suboxone program and have been for 3 months so H is not my issue any more now at all. I am totally addicted to Xanax. I take about 6mg a day and simply cannot go cold turkey without having a seizure.

        Please help

  3. Addict

    I can tell you from going through alcohol, xanax and valium addiction that it will get better, however it takes time. I went through absolute hell if you wish to write me please send to my email. God Bless

    • Addict

      do not know your email address can send me one and talk about what to expect to get off this stuff thanks

  4. Addict

    I have stopped taking xanax for 1 year and 2 months. I was taking 5 mg per day of xanax and 10 mg of valium. I am still not right. I still have blurry vision, ringing in my ears, my tonge feels like it is on fire, my stomic still feels very sick. I have very little sex drive. I dont know what to do. Will I always be like this now? I am 41 alway in great health. im 5,11 160 pounds. I go to the gym and play soccer everyday trying to push through this but nothing helps. Can someone please help me I am scared. I think I have hurt my body forever. Kevin

    • Addict


    • Addict

      I am 60 years old and have been taking Xanax (mostly as needed but for the last 3 months 2 to 3 times a day) for a little over a year. I take .25 mg in the morning, .25 mg at lunch then sometimes but rarely .25 mg in the evening. I really hate the short half time and recently have been getting break thru anxiety between doses. I also feel the awful stomach sensations and extreme tension in muscles and anxiety feelings between doses. i called my doctor just yesterday and told her I wanted help getting off of xanax. She told me that since i never took it regularly, I shouldn't be hooked, and to just decrease the dosage to half a tab instead of a whole tab for a while and then quit taking it. I am very reluctant to do that because I know that going cold turkey too soon can have devastating affects. I stopped taking xanax once before with little or no side effects, but I was taking a lower dose (one half .25 tab) for only two or three months. I did it on my own that time. The only side effect I got was occasional tremor. It was not fun, but not as bad as I have been feeling. My sex drive is zero.My husband doesn't understand and is not at all supportive. It has really affected my life adversely. If you have stopped taking xanax, it would be a good idea to have a doctor monitor your symptoms, and then maybe prescribe a med that isn't addictive like xanax to take the edge off. I will be talking to my doctor about a new med next week. One thing that makes things more difficult for the patient is that doctors neglect to mention the side effects and potential addiction when they prescribe this drug. I thought because I took the same med before with little or no adverse reactions, it would be safe to take it again. I will ask questions from now on and do research before taking any drug. Hopefully if you work closely with your doctor, you will feel normal and never need that awful drug again. Good luck, Mia

  5. Addict

    I would recommend a good B complex for anyone trying to recover from this drug. I prefer sublingual B-12 from Nutronix.com. I have a friend that is getting ready to start weining off the xanax and this is what I recommended for him prior to starting. It has been very effective for me in treating anxiety, panic attacks, heart racing, etc... From the research I have done, these problems result from a lack of B vitamins. I know it worked for me.
    Good luck to all of you!

  6. Addict

    just logged on to view comments. My aunt is addicted to xanax and we will do an intervention. Just wanted to see how her recovery would be. Now I see it will be HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pray for Dianne please!

  7. Addict

    I've tried many other non-addictive medications and none of them helped my anxiety the way Xanax does. After several other medications, (and hesitation on my part) my doctor finally prescribed me Xanax 1 mg 2-3 times daily depending on my level of anxiety that day. I ended up breaking most of the pills in half and only taking 0.5 mg usually 3x a day, and find it relieves my anxiety without the level of sleepiness a whole mg gives me. I usually only take a whole pill if I feel a panic attack coming on. But, I'll take the mild drowsiness any day over the level of constant anxiety I had prior to starting the drug, and a couple cups of coffee usually does me good. I can definitely tell when a dose starts to wear off though, some withdrawal.

  8. Addict

    I have been using Xanax for so many years I cant tell you. However, I wouldn't think about coming off these little helpers of stress. They help me sleep and deal with all kinds of stuff. I only take 1- 1mg before bed and I'm fine. If I need an extra I don't think twice about not taking a half during the day or at night. Sometimes I really get stressed & that extra half helps a lot. Yes, I know I'm hooked, but its better than having to take something else to relax me. I don't want to come off. I can control the amount I take and I do skip doses. Because of this I am able to control the tolerance levels. I wish I could feel normal all the time, but that's not the way God made me, so He made Xanax to help and many others. Good luck to all of you out there who need to be free, I don't. I quite smoking and that was the only thing I considered dangerous and controlling. I don't drink, so the Xanax is my only helper..... maybe its controlling but I am in control and that's the way I like it....

  9. Addict

    My long time boyfriend and I have been hooked on xanex for I don't even know how long, He had a huge issue with pain pills to I don't care for those as much as a xanex. My 16 year old daughter told me today it is the pills or her. I was prescribed them legitimately I was born in a mental institution because my mother had a nervous break down while she was pregnant with me so I have suffered with massive panic attacks my entire life. I know that I will panic without them and I am so afraid of figuring out how to live without them in my life. It is ruining my relationships with my children and my boyfriend we are both addicted and I don't want to be. I have 22 footballs left should I taper down or cold turkey? I am so afraid of not having that crutch, However I want to NOT have any kind of crutch anymore. Please help me I can't afford rehab I am willing and in need of rehab but no means I am out of school until January I want to do this now. HELP!!!!

  10. Addict

    I recommend a good B complex for anyone trying

  11. Addict

    I started taking Xanax 10 years ago for stress and sleeplessness, I worked really great . i started at .25 mg 3 times a day, but only took 2. after a few years I upped my dosage to .5 mg 2 times a day. This went on for 7 years. I never increased my dosage and only felt the drugs effect if I didn't take it. I thought I was taking a very small dosage ( see other letters describing "real addicts"). I must say that the last 10 years have been kind of like living life from the sidelines, no big highs no big lows, just equilibrium. I wanted to feel life again, so after eliminating the giant stress in my life ( my construction company) I began to taper off my meager dosage. I went to one .5 a day which I took in the evening to help with sleep. after a month or two, I just stopped. Every once in a while I will have a mild panic attack, during which I will take one .5 tablet. These attacks have only happened 2-3 times during the last 2 months of no Xanax, and only at night. I never really got a "buzz" from the drug, I got the sleep and calm I needed, I just wish I had been able to experience the highs that life had to offer during those 10 years. I am waiting to see how my life feelings change during the next months off Xanax.

  12. Addict

    Hi, your blog really hit home because my boyfriend is "physically" hooked to an average of 2.0-4mgs a day. His main goal with this addiction is to get adequate sleep to get up for his day job , which lately he goes in late and comes home early due to being tired from pills. I know for a fact everyone else in the world can do that without the amount of Xanax he's justifying taking before bed, He's right here he knows I'm writing you, what can he do to stop and come back to reality for himself and our family??Any honest opinions are appreciated, he's wondering how he can get through his withdrawals? any help?

    • Addict

      I too am also having some questions regarding my boyfriend who has been taking xanax for 8 years now due to postpartum depression and issues that happened with his family. He is going to be 32 and has finally told himself that he needs to get off of this nasty drug. He was taking between 4-8 2 mg bars a day, then decided to taper off and is now no longer taking any more of these pills. It's going on 3 weeks now without any xanax and he's having a rough time. he's currently staying with his dad and i haven't seen him in 2 months due to no transportation on his part and I hardly ever hear from him via the telephone, his reasons are always that he pretty much locks himself in a room and doesn't come out. He doesn't want to be around people as his anxiety has gotten very bad. It frustrates me to no end because I don't know what's going on. I really would just like some good advice from a loved one who has dealt with this issue or even someone who has gone through the who xanax withdrawal situation. I feel like I'm coming unglued and am extremely depressed all the time because of this. Can someone please help? Thank you so much!! :)

      • Addict

        Hello Nikki, I see that this post is a few years old but I wanted to ask you how this turned out for you. I too like your boyfriend went through benzo withdrawal (Xanax) 8mg/day for 9 years. What stood out in your comment was that you said he locked himself in his room and that kind of brought flashbacks to me from my own experience. I lost a lot due to the withdrawal, my girlfriend, job, etc. because nobody understood what I was going through, as if I had the flu or something. It sounded like you might have been misunderstanding of your boyfriend. I know that my withdrawal lasted 2 years. The worst part was the first 3 months. The first 3 weeks I locked myself in a dark room and WOULD NOT come out for anything. Everything scared me even my own reflection. I went into treatment a few months into withdrawal because I could not handle it, it was getting worse it seemed like. Did your boyfriend recover ok? I'll bet your relationship did not last through his withdrawal. Not to be mean but my girlfriend left me while I was in it. She just did not understand and would not let me get through the program. If you did make it through it that is great, and rare. Thing is about Xanax, things become clear, MUCH more CLEAR, and feelings get enhanced. If he loved you, and you him, you are most likely married by now. If not, then I would guess you were not patient and left him. Understandable, it is not an easy thing to watch someone go through. If you are together, how long now has he been clean, is he having any side effects still? Mine went on for over 3 years. Just wondering if anyone else has gone through the same thing. Free advice, if you're not together, contact him, I've been there, he cares about you and the withdrawal was the culprit. Good Luck

  13. Addict

    I too sometime have panic n heart get heavier

  14. Addict

    I have been off Xanax for almost 3 yrs. I does get better but it has to be done slowly. Unfortunately I went into Rehab and had to throw all pills away just to get in. Stayed a month, went home and that's when the "HELL" started. Thought about death everyday (yep that bad it can be). I had to find a Higher Power to do this. Still have some things going on with my body and mind. But it can be done. All I can say is it has made me a stronger person. GOOD LUCK TO ALL

  15. Addict

    Well, I can maybe share my story. I was addicted for 6 years to high amounts (20mg - 100mg/day) of Xanax and quit cold turkey (after contemplating rehab, but I decided that it wouldn't work for me). It was sheer hell, but I survived (otherwise I wouldn't be writing this of course). Expect the worst but also the euphoria of being yourself again, perhaps in years. Epilepsy, strong hallucinations, deep depressive moods, feeling of worthlessness and so on for 15 days.

    It's possibly one of the worst addictions in the world. Nothing I've been addicted to was so extremely altering, devastating and hard to come off as Xanax was and that includes cocaine and alcohol. Xanax alters your very self, your perception and subsequently ALL of your actions. It induces deep depression, great fear (although it's subscribed for that, oddly enough) and lack of sleep. Please keep this in mind, since doctors often don't tell you this. Loads of people have permanent scars (literally) and permanent health problems thanks to (excessive) use of Xanax. It SHOULD be prescribed only for a very limited time but in reality this isn't exactly the case, hence all addictions. It's extremely addictive as well; don't believe anybody who tells you otherwise. You will crave for more and more since it induces euphoria due to total lack of fear. Sounds great, but some fears are functional and indicate your (moral) limits.

    Remember that everything you can get on the street once was being used in medical science and that you are an addict.

    Wouldn't exactly recommend cold turkey, but for me it worked since I was extremely fed up with it and I'm extremely stubborn as well :-)

    Good luck everyone.

  16. Addict

    I am amazed at the medical profession's dispensing of XANAX . Constantly, I hear of another case of young people being prescribed this drug without a true diagnosis of panic disorder or its possible underlying cause. I have a loved one with panic disorder. When it became severe, luckily, he did not increase or abuse the XANAX dosage. He was referred to a psychiatrist who prescribed zoloft and discontinued the XANAX . It was clear the XANAX made him worse. Zoloft and therapy were a life saver. Every case is different. People should avoid XANAX because as the dosage wears off, the panic feeling returns! And I heard recently of a young mother having chest pains. The emergency room found no physical cause. And the doc sent her home with XANAX . XANAX will not improve her quality of life, physically or mentally.

    • Addict

      I have been taking Xanax for 30 years 3mg a day, never had to increase dosage, and I used to be Agoraphobic, this is the ONLY drug that helps me, if it were not for Xanax I would have been six feet under years ago, in fact at 20 years old I was in a coma for three days from a suicide attempt because I gave up hope that anything could help, I am 51 and doing well!

  17. Addict

    great post

  18. Addict

    And the doc sent her home with XANAX . XANAX will not improve her quality of life, physically or mentally.

  19. Addict

    Hello all.

    I was on Xanax ( alprazolam ) for 14 years. It took me over a year to get off of this garbage.

    The best way that I got off of this med is by using the Dr. Ashton method. It is also the safest.

    There is many sufferers that are going through this program on the 'benzobuddies" support group.

    Never wean off too fast...that can be very dangerous and make you very ill.

    With the Dr.Ashton method, you start off taking 60 mgs Valium a day, which seems a lot, but it is easier to wean off of the Valium. Believe me, it works.

    Hope you all the best.

  20. Addict

    I have only been on this for a couple days.

    0.25 Per day. It was a lifesaver for me.

    After reading this...I am going to use just half a pill a day and then in a few days...see my Dr. and get on Valium instead. This drug sounds awfully dangerous. I was hospitalized for 24 hours because I felt like I was having a heart attack....at times I felt like my chest would explode....I can't drive anymore.

    • Addict

      I been taking Xanax 1 mg 6 times a day and I want to come off them. I have major anxiety and fear of being without them and the few days I am I start losing my mind seriously help me. Is it possible to come off them please serious help.

  21. Addict

    Tell me of a Dr. in Kentucky or Tennessee that will help a family member tapper back...mom

  22. Addict

    I've been in and out of thanks for over 2 years. My tolerance to benzos is high. I can easily take 5 Xanax bars at once. I don't know who I am anymore!! I am not the type of person to be controlled by any substance. I could quit anything!! After my first time in rehab (April 2010), I left with the same amount of benzos, except they put me on Ativanís and Ambient to sleep. I was mad!! I went into rehab to get off the pills, not to substitute. So Miss Brilliant (me) decided to just throw them away. I went through so much physical and mental pain, and could not sleep. I kept persevering but eventually after not sleeping for 17 days ended up having a seizure and a heart murmur. I had no choice but to go back on them. They put me on 10 mgs a day of Ativan a day, but the seizures would still hit me every so often. Anyways, I've been back in rehab 3 times since then and I don't know how many times in the hospital. I figure if I can get rid of the addiction, then the seizures will stop. I'll be going back into the hospital. I'm not aware when a seizure is coming on. At least before I could feel it drawing near, but not anymore. Sometimes I wonder why I'm on the ground, or why does my mouth hurt? I basically can't even talk for about 12 hours after having one. In my opinion, this is the worst drug out there!! They say it's a class IV med, but crack, cocaine, oxy's, heroin, etc... is easier to quit!! I'm writing and putting this on my Facebook wall in hopes that someone just might learn from me. I don't look like an addict, but I am. I'll let you know how it goes when I come back from the hospital.

  23. Addict

    I agree with all your statements above. XANAX must be slowly tapered off if you must stop it. I have a psychological disorder and have been on lamotrigine and 4 mg of Xanax per day for 10 years. Upon reaching this level of daily Xanax and lamotrigine, I have never had to increase my doses of Xanax and at times even take 3 or 3 1/2 mg per day instead of 4. In my case, I do not abuse any other narcotics. I take my medication as prescribed and NEVER increase it. I do not; quite frankly understand how anyone can take the massive amounts described above, unless of course, looking for something extra other than necessary medical reasons. For me, it would definitely take time to withdraw from Xanax. But I do know that for anxiety, panic attacks, and other medical reasons, Xanax can be taken without abusing it for a long period of time. Once your precise dose is medically reached, there is no need for an increase, nor a craving for one. Maybe I am an unusual case as I don't drink or get high. I hope this helps some to know that once a working dosage of Xanax is obtained, there is no necessity to increase from that point on. At this point I never feel high from it, as in the beginning, but the calmness I must attain, as I am always on the hyper side bi-polar disease, works with Xanax. For those who do not know about bi-polar illness, if you are on the hyper side, your doctor must maintain you at a level with your medication to keep you slightly hyper vs. normal, or you will think you are okay at some point and go off your bi-polar medication, which is a tragedy as I did this once. I am not a pro-Xanax activist. I am just telling my story.

  24. Addict

    Congratulations Corrine. I agree 100% with all your comments. I have been on Xanax 11years with a maximum daily dose of three milligrams. I suffered with anxiety, panic attacks ,ocd, depression, migraines of the head and eyes (where I would actually lose my vision) and chronic pain, that began in 1978 when I was paralyzed in a construction accident, and worsened in 1995 when I barely survived a head on car crash at 45 miles an hour. Through the years I have been to pain clinics, therapists, psychologists' eye specialists, heart specialists and others for all the various symptoms both physical and psychological. My physical problems are almost 100% recovered. My only savior for the psychological has been the Xanax. I also have never abused my meds. Tried suicide once before getting on Xanax, at the time they had me on Paxil, Depakote, Klonopin, Ritalin, and were starting me on lithium. I was in hell. It took 4 months to get that stuff and a divorce. I will most likely be on Xanax for the rest of my life, but it is the only med that has worked for me. My family has a history of anxiety on my mother's side and my father's side suffers bi polar manic depression with three suicide deaths, my cousin being the last a few years ago. An understanding family and friends who are willing to learn about mental illnesses and a good doctor go a long way. I have also kept diaries of my daily routine, diet, pains, feelings, exercise, etc. which helped through some of the toughest days.

  25. Addict

    I was addicted to Xanax for 7 years. I was taking anywhere from 20 to 40 tabs a day. There were a few days I took 60. Life was crazy and I am lucky to be alive. I give God all the credit. I quit cold turkey. I learned after the fact that that was a bad idea, but somehow I made it through. I encourage anyone abusing any benzo to seek medical assistance to get off of them. Addiction is bondage.

  26. Addict

    I've been on it for over 2 decades now at varying doses. Just initiated an extremely slow taper with no other medications. If you started on Xanax as a substance abuser then you'll probably have a much more difficult time because of what's known as having a "dual diagnosis." That's not the case for me.

    If you need help then keep trying to find a physician that will work with you and not against you. Avoid anyone who refuses to negotiate a schedule and set reasonable goals while taking your present stressors into account. Be actively engaged in some form of therapy during the taper. NAMI offers free support groups for people with depression and other disorders. Try their website. No group? Start one.

    Do your homework and research physicians on Health Grades, through word of mouth, and by checking with your state medical commission/board. This is your life we're talking about. The side-effects of withdrawal include everything from seizures to having a psychotic break. Read about Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome - that's what several of you appear to be suffering from and now you have a name for it. Find a physician who doesn't need to be told what it is. You should never taper quickly from ANY psychiatric medication.

    A good physician will encourage and never push you. They'll be the one you can talk to about anything without fear of having your medication cut off. Be willing to take urine tests and always take in your prescription bottles or subject yourself to weekly pharmacy pickups rather than monthly ones. It increases trust. Unfortunately, that's how most pharmacists and physicians see us - as junkies who don't want to get well.

    My taper is essentially the same thing everyone else is doing which is reducing the dose weekly by a set amount. When rough patches come up you go into a brief holding pattern where you continue the reduction schedule but don't attempt to reduce more until you're stable. I've met doctors who just want me off it and on something else and some who were willing to keep me on it if ultimately they found it to be in my best interest.

    For me, Xanax has been a wondrous thing but I wouldn't personally prescribe it if I were a physician because I'm apparently in the minority here.

  27. Addict

    My grandson was taking 4 Xanax a day and had to go to the hospital because of being confused and shaking. My son took him there and he was in the mental health part and they told my son they didn't give Xanax there and wouldn't give it to him. He was in the hospital from the 13th of Nov. till the 16th and . I am his grandmother and my x-daughter in law called and asked me to pick him up. I did and she was coming after him later and he said he wanted to stay with me. I had to go to work at 8:00am and we would go out and eat as soon as I got home. I only worked 4 hours. When I come in He was on my pull down stairway. I just thought he was just kind of out of it. I called my son and his mother and said we would have to take him to the hospital. When my son come in he said mom "he hung himself and he is dead" .My son said look around his neck. He had taken the cable cord and tied it to a dresser upstairs and hung himself.

  28. Addict

    I have been prescribed Xanax's for 15 yrs..!!! I recently went into recovery because I had a heroin addiction. I started out on 2 of the 0.25mg and I now am on 4 of the 2mg a day. I will tell you this. I am clean off of everything and have been for 2 months. BUT you cannot just stop taking them if you have been on high doses or any dose for a long period of time. I was hospitalized and everything from withdrawal because I wasn't taking them right and trading them off. I think if you have an addiction you are playing with fire with them. I got back up to my normal dose in a week. They are extremely habit forming and have the same withdrawal effect as alcohol. They are the two things you can actually die from withdrawing. Heroin you are NOT going to die from coming off of it. You may want to die but it doesn't even last but 7 days. If you aren't taking these DON'T EVER START...!!! WORSE DRUG TO GET ADDICTED TO

  29. Addict

    im scared but flying from mass to florida rto enter a rehab; that promises they can get me off benzos comfortably within a month?

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