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Unfortunately, it is addictive.

I am very cautious with the benzo family precisely because I don't want to wind up feeling like you are feeling now. The body develops a tolerance, and then you need more to feel "normal". When you don't get enough there is backlash anxiety because the body has adjusted to the medication by producing more adrenalin than it did before. The experience of anxiety actually gets more severe when coming off of or decreasing a dose of benzos than it was before beginning them.

I very rarely take them more than twice a week and sometimes take them only once or twice a month. If I have a panic attack I breathe through it and try my best to let it go using some of the mindfulness techniques that I've learned from self help books. I am a former drug addict because I was self medicating before I sought medical help, so I know how dangerous addictive drugs are. I treat them with extreme caution, now.

I know that last paragraph doesn't help you, now, but your doctor should have told you this. Taking benzos every day only makes you dependent on them and does not treat your anxiety. In fact, it makes it more severe because the anxiety will be worse when you try to get off them. You will need higher and higher doses, too, if you take them too often because the body will adjust to them in a way that is ultimately harmful to you.

The way you are feeling is ok, and it is to be expected. Try not to let it scare you. When you come off of or decrease a dose of an addictive substance there are going to be physical changes while the body adjusts. Most aren't very pleasant.

A better way of dealing with anxiety (and a way that will give you more of a sense of control and well being, in the end) is to do relaxation therapy. There are guided relaxation tapes, and progressive muscle relaxation is a good place to start for generalized anxiety and severe stress.

Another way to bring down anxiety is to do a simple breathing exercise twice a day. I have a video for you, but the title of the video is in french. You only need to breathe in as the ball goes up on the wave and breathe out as it goes down. It was recommended to me by a psychiatrist, and it has been clinically proven, on its own, to significantly reduce cortisol levels for people who suffer from harmful effects of stress. Because the title is in french, I got some heck from the admin for posting it, though. There is no speaking in the video, and you just follow the ball with your breath. If you would like the link to the 5 minute, psychiatrist recommended breathing exercise for generalised anxiety disorder
Finally, mindfulness meditation is a great help, but it takes longer to help than those other things do because it take some time and practise to train your mind to be quiet, patient and attentive. It's not something that most of us have any practise in in our culture, but it's fantastic for managing panic attacks. It takes months of practise before it helps, though, I found.

Those things may not get "rid" of your anxiety like a big dose of xanax will, but they will help you to manage the feelings and live with them. They can give you back a sense of peace and greater control, even if you still have to live with anxiety.

For me I have gone from having a panic attack almost every day to having a few in a month by using those techniques, but my anxiety was quite severe to start with. I'm feeling like I can just now start trying to do things again, like go back to school or something, when that was a fairly terrifying experience for me before.

I think you need a second opinion, doctor wise. Ideally it would be good to see a psychiatrist, because they are specialised in helping with these conditions. A specialist can also recommend other meds that won't cause the same problems and can help you deal with the benzo dependence. Dependence isn't a solution, and you deserve to have some more freedom and some joy in life. I wish you the best, and I feel for you. I hope you can get access to someone who can better guide you towards greater freedom and peace in your life.





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