Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I don't know...

... as much as I want my chest pain to cease I'm still not sure I want to start taking Xanax for stress.

After having read the side effects and learning that it hard to stop taking it because of withdrawal symptoms I've been extra hesitant to pick up my prescription at the pharmacy... that, and I'm not ready to resign myself to mood altering drugs that won't help the stressors in my life, just make me not give a shit. I think not giving a shit might be a tad unhealthy.


Tom S. said...

So is being stressed out to the point of having chest pains. You probably won't stop giving a shit entirely. You'll just give enough less of a shit that it won't kill you are make you nuts.

So try it for a bit. You have to. You can't blog from the looney bin.

Or the grave.

doughboy said...

i'm told xanax is a drug you can take when you need it. a co-worker uses it & doesn't have a problem, but then again everyone is different. i personally have a difficult time moderating anything i put in my mouth.

Anonymous said...


If you do not already, please try to exercise at least three times per week.

Just 30-40 minutes quick walking or brisk bike riding, or what I find the most effective by far, intense weight training.

It does not take long and we always have 30 minutes in the course of a 24 hour day to work out.
This will really help beat stress in a MUCH healthier way than drugs.
God bless you,

eulogos said...

Ok, now I am going to offer you another perspective. First of all, I am NOT against psychiatric medication. But I have an onus against this particular medication, especially as a first line medication for anxiety attacks.

In the hospital, if a patient on Xanax was able to get out of bed, he or she, usually she, was hanging out the door of the room waiting for the nurse, 15 minutes before the next dose was due. If the patient could not get out of bed, he or she would call 15 minutes to half an hour before the next dose was due, to make sure the nurse would have gotten it out and be ready to give it to him the instant it was due. Part of a nurse's self protective time management plan for a shift, was getting those Xanax addicts their Xanax on the dot on time, because they were going to put that bell on every two minutes until they got it. Or stand in the door and call to you. Someone once tried to prescribe this medication for me and I said no thank you very much.

The other drugs in this class, benzodiazepines, are also very addictive,(Have you read "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can" about Valium withdrawal?) but they don't work so quickly or go out of the system so quickly. The MOST addictive substances are those which are absorbed quickly into the system and give the desired effect instantly.(ie nicotine as delivered by inhalation.)

I think first line treatment for anxiety is an SSRI antidepressant. They take a while to work, but then they keep you on an even keel so you don't get to that point of panic. They all have side effects and the drug which is wonderful for one person is horrible for another person, so finding the right one in the right dose for you requires working closely with a doctor, perferably a psychiatrist with a lot of experience with psychopharmacology, and also one who will listen to you. There is also Buspar, a long acting mild antianxiety drug. It made me dizzy and I gave up on it quickly, but it is another option.

I suspect that if you had time and found the right practitioner, biofeedback techniques for lowering your own pulse and respiratory rate might work.(They have worked for people whose blood pressure could not be controlled by any and every medication for HTN in the PDR. )

Good luck with this. But do think twice before getting into Xanax.
Also, it is a know thyself sort of thing. Will you reserve it for tru panic attacks? Or will you start taking it if you feel a little anxious and are afraid you might get a panic attack?

An example re myself; Aderall and that whole class of medications (amphetamines) are great for my ADHD. I never did exceed the generous dosage provided by my psychiatrist at that time. However, since it made me able to stay awake, I stayed awake. I have never wanted to sleep until sleep overtakes me. Then I got up, exhausted after a few hour's sleep, and took another Aderall to maintain alertness. Which it works for. That doesn't mean that it is the best quality of alertness, though. In fact it can induce anxiety and nervous habits.
Strattera, not an amphetamine but really an activating antidepressant(norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor)
doesn't work quite as well for ADHD,but it works adequately, and it doesn't tempt me down this cycle of voluntary sleep deprivation. I know the temptation to stay awake is too strong for me when I have the ability to do so with an amphetamine, no matter how legal.

You have to assess for yourself how you think you will use Xanax, keeping in mind those people hanging out the doors of their hospital rooms as the possible endpoint of dependence.

Susan Peterson

Mac McLernon said...

My grandmother (and mother) used to swear by valerian drops for stress.

You can get valerian from the pharmacist, though you might have to ask for it. It's a herbal remedy - the German's are big on herbal remedies.

Two or three drops in a glass of water.

Just make sure there are no cats in the vicinity. It drives them nuts, they really like the stuff...

Adrienne said...

I agree with Susan re: SSRI anti-depressants. That was my first choice when I had anxiety problems. I suffered for years with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For some reason it just kinda went away. After I was diagnosed with Adult ADD and tried Strattera which made me feel so normal I quit. I decided crazy was good. LOL Anyway, after that - no more attacks.

Try Calms Forte (otc). It's herbal and works quite well. All major drug stores carry it.

RJW said...

I've had a scrip for Xanax for two years now. I only take it when I feel an overwhelming anxiety building. I might take the prescribed dose for one day or two and then I won't need it for a week or two. I've never had any withdrawal symptoms. Everyone is different. Keep us posted.

RJW said...

I've had a scrip for Xanax for two years now. I only take it when I feel an overwhelming anxiety building. I might take the prescribed dose for one day or two and then I won't need it for a week or two. I've never had any withdrawal symptoms. Everyone is different. Keep us posted.

Roman Sacristan said...

From my reading on anxiety, depression, and stress, chemical embalances are rarely the cause of them. Usually they are a result of the anxiety, depression, and stress.
I think diet, exercise, and a good hobby would do much more than drugs. A good way to unwind would do wonders.
I cetainly don't want to go against your doctor's orders, however, you might want to seek a second opinion if you are that hesitant about taking the xanax.

Roman Sacristan said...

My first idea would be to ask you to make more of your comics. I find them pretty brilliant and always a laugh.

Jackie Parkes said...

Oh always go for the 'don't give a shit option!'lol

Snup said...

It also depends on the dose of the Xanax. Higher doses cause more problems.

My suggestion is to
1. Look at Bach's Flower Essences, especially Rescue Remedy. They have one made for anxiety, but Rescue Remedy is good for sudden anxiety causing situations.

2. Get a dog or other animal. Seriously. The day goes alot better petting a cute fuzzy something. Also forces you to exercise.

I would also talk to your regular doctor about your concerns. ER doctors don't really have a feel for your history....

ignorant redneck said...

Mac--Valerian is not in the US pharmocopeia. You can't get it from a pharmicist here.

If you use your zanx as directed you'r OK, cannon ball.

I, however, use a Hi Point CF380 and tin cans for stress relief. Works just as well, if not better.

Snup said...

You can get valerian at herb stores and Whole Foods and other natural food outlets.

However, don't take valerian with Xanax. There is some interaction between them.

Anonymous said...

First,you want to ask for st.Dymphna's intercession.It just so happens her Shrine here in the US is right a few feet over the hill from me..walking distance of 100 feet.my husband and I have great devotion to her as we are all(and our 4 kids)plagued with bad genertics when it comes to phyciatric stuff.That being said,IMHO..I have been on just about every single phyciatric drug there is over the past 9 years(not doing much for my reputation here,eh?lol) but..if your life is fast paced and busy,Xanax may make you SO relaxed that you will not want to take it for lack of functioning ability unless you really need it for an attack.My MIL has been on this/addicted for years...but of course,it is a know thyself kinda thing.some are better at moderation of substances than others.Remebering intentional drug abuse is sinful helps to not go that road....LOL.praying for you,I know this is rough.

Anonymous said...

In re-reading my post of a minute ago i see i am also plagued with bad proofreading/spelling skills.ha!

Carolina Cannonball said...

"I, however, use a Hi Point CF380 and tin cans for stress relief. Works just as well, if not better."

that sounds like more fun than pill popping. I actually started exercising more and a few days ago added some weights to the routine.

I do feel a tad better but there's really one 2 things that will help right now.

Anonymous said...

"I do feel a tad better but there's really one or 2 things that will help right now"

What are they?

God bless and feel better.

Sanctus Belle said...

Kat - chest pains caused by anxiety will not hurt, nor kill you. Anxiety is purely emotional. As much as folks want to believe there is an underlying physical problem, or chemical "imbalance" in the brain - this is totally false, don't buy this garbage.

I never prescribe Xanax, nor any of its relatives (valium, ativan, etc) due to their highly addictive properties (except in end stage terminal illness to help deal with oxygen starvation)

My advice - cope, don't drug. Drugs will not help.