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[QUOTE=redherring]I was addicted to xanax 22 years ago. Yes, I became dependent very quickly and at that time, the doctor's didn't think the benzo's were addictive. I was not tapered down but abruptly halted which caused god awful withdrawls. I would not want my worst enemy to go through a benzo withdrawal.

Having said that, I still use xanax these days VERY SPARINGLY. Maybe I'll take a .25 once every 4 or 5 months. The benzo's are very effective in knocking out PA's or reducing anxiety within 20 minutes. I recommend benzo's for PA's and anxiety over SSRI's any day. The SSRI's have side effects (like worsening panic attacks in the beginning of drug therapy)that are simply intolerable for most anxiety ridden folks. The long term effects like sexual dysfunction, weight gain was something I chose to do without. Yes, I was on SSRI's for 5 years, gained 30lbs and the withdrawal was equally, if not worse than the xanax withdrawal, IMHO.

People with panic and anxiety just need to make informed decisions on which drug therapy is the best. Benzo's have their place in the world after 40 years. If they didn't, they would be long gone.[/QUOTE]

Yes, I know they have their place, they are a form of anesthesia first used in surgery. They are good when someone is in shock. They are excellent for PA's, no doubt about that. But they have no place in each day of our lives.

But using them for your PA's in such a sparing manner is actually very wise!

Too bad some doctors are not as wise as you are and push the daily use thing which is what leads to trouble.

"As needed" basis is best to avoid those withdrawals and other problems of dependancy.

IMHO, SSRi's are the dumbest thing for PA's since serotonin is excitartory and a precursor to adrenaline which is a panic person's worst nightmare! I guess in some people the SSRi's work in a paradoxial manner at times but benzos like Xanax and Valium are definately more appropriate drugs for anxiety and panic.
[QUOTE=allen_dave]Index, I guess you're right or they wouldn't be so popular. However, I don't think they work on "severe" cases of "chronic" anxiety very well (just my opinion). When you get to the stage where your life revolves around panic attacks and extreme nervousness, benzos seem to be the only thing that really works, at least in my case.

Jennita, thanks for your insight on SSRIs, benzos, and barbituates. I think the main factor on whether you are "dependant" on benzos is how bad your anxiety condition is. In other words, if you don't have chronic anxiety, you can probably quit taking them relatively easily. If you have a bad case of chronic anxiety, it's extremely difficult (maybe impossible) to quit taking them. And yes, SSRIs can be addictive as you said. Even though paxil has done little (if any) to help my chronic anxiety, I can't seem to quit taking the darn stuff.[/QUOTE]

Prof. Ashton said that benzos after some time create their own anxiety issues or worsen pre-existing ones because of tolerance and dependancy.

I did myself know a guy through an internet support group who was a bodybuilder given Valium for his back spasms from an injury. Despite never having an anxiety condition, he suffered from severe insomnia and anxiety/panic upon discontinuing his somewhat small dose of Valium after only two months(time injury took to heal). The symptoms lasted a bit over a year, too! I'm not sure I would have believed her findings if not for that guy I suppose.

And I guess if the source of the original anxiety has not been resolved, things are even more impossible... :(

And yes, despite the less potency, some people even have a hard time getting off Valium, so you are not alone! A friend of mine was telling an addiction doctor about us both getting off Ativan; she said some of the newer benzos are so hard to get off of that the majority of people simply cannot do it, you have alot of company in that dept.

I don't think I would have been able to get off either, except that severe tolerance sort of forced me to look at the logic of my own situation and I realized I really had no choice. People who haven't developed such a tolerance(and maybe won't anytime soon) have more options than I do.

My options were:

#1take a pill, it does nothing or very little at best then feel withdrawal symptoms while the med still in my system.

#2 There is no #2, 3 or 4, etc.

That was about it. Nothing and nobody to save me.... :( except myself....

Not a picnic, more like being the picnic to a bunch of ants!

But, I did it :D

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