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OK guys
I dont want to scare anyone - but perhaps it needs to be done.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine along with Ativan, Klonopin Valium etc. They are highly addictive. Highly. And extremely difficult to get off. Its not a matter of 1 or 2 weeks with benzos. No chance of booking into detox for 6 weeks here!!!! They should not be c/t. Can take from between 6 months and 2 years to taper off. Seizures (and these can be fatal) often happen if they are withdrawn suddenly. Tapering is the only way to go. I have to tell you that I managed to taper off benzos - took me nine months to withdraw from 3 mg ativan. I did it as suggested in the Ashton Manual. Please, please, please inform yourselves. The Ashton Manual is now freely available on line (has only become so in the last few months). Type it straight into your search engine and it will come up along with the url of a very informative site. This Prof Ashton is a leading recognised world authority. The information is all there for you on the net - just go and look. "Withdrawal from benzodiazepines" too will produce lots of info.
The taper is grindingly difficult but it can be done. Dont let yourselves get into a position where you need to taper off these drugs. Dont believe for one second that the doctors are informed in this area. Generally, they are clueless. Utterly! I am in the UK - xanax cannot be prescribed here (thank goodness - I think it is a banned drug - not sure though - just know doctors cannot prescribe it). But all the others can. Generally Ativan and Klonopin have been the usual suspects. Prof Ashton states that Ambien and Sonata (altho not the same class as benzos) work in a similar fashion and are equally difficult to withdraw from.
Add politics to this equation.......... Xanax makes the most obscene amount of profit for its manufacturer............ so it is pushed like mad. (remember valium?) I dont understand the control of drugs in the US - but I imagine that there are less controls over drugs for business reasons?
But - no matter. Doctors will prescribe you a benzo (say, xanax) because - yes - it reduces anxiety and allows sleep. But it is only effective for a short time. When the patient then becomes tolerant - the dosage is just upped - or another benzo added to the situation. It is a vile vicious circle. The drug actually turns on you (becomes harmful in its effects) and then you have to withdraw by taper. Now - so few doctors understand how addictive these substances are and have very little knowledge of how to get their patients off. In the Uk it has now become a very "high priority" matter. Benzos are no longer prescribed except in very specific circumstances. Patients who have used them long term are now being invited into their doctors surgeries with a view to tapering off. There have been personal successful litigations against doctors now. the British National Formulary (BNF) can be accessed online too - and the guidelines for withdrawal are the same as Ashton.
I am telling you all this in an attempt to prevent anyone who has now managed to come off opiates to end up with a much much more difficult drug to withdraw from. Believe me when I tell you that getting off opiates is just a picnic compared to getting off benzos. Just not comparable. I had to get off opiates which I had been using following an accident - just did a c/t - and was out of the woods after a week or so. Anyone can put up with a week's hell to get off - but this is not an option with benzos.
Yes - sleeplessness is so debilitating - I know only too well. I have four children and dont know how I coped some days. But if I had known then what I know now - I would NEVER have taken ativan or any benzo. Hopefully anyone reading this will only have used occasionally or for a short while and so I would urge them to stop completely. If you start taking xanax, ambien etc you are going to end up in a very very dark place. I did. You will too.
Why not read the Ashton Manual - print it out - then take it to your doctor? This is what I did - she responded wonderfully - and together we worked out my taper schedule and I am now free of the grip of them.
Well done to Lisa and everyone else for getting off the opiates - but for goodness sake - dont go down the benzo road - it leads straight to hell.
If I have scared anyone - then go look for the info - I cannot apologise - I dont want anyone to have to go thro what I did. Information is power?
Should anyone want to ask me anything personal about my taper etc - feel free to pm me.

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