Not many people know this about me, but I am an addict. Not the type that commits crimes to maintain a dangerous habit, but the medically sanctioned, socially acceptable type.
I should have never been prescribed Xanax. It’s both psychologically and physically addicting and doctors know this. But hey! It’s faster and easier than therapy and your doctor definitely recommends using it as an adjunct to talk therapy. So that worked for a while. That was over three years ago. I had been prescribed .25 mg to help with panic attacks and insomnia. I’m now being prescribed 90 2 mg bars a month. That’s 6 mg a day. For years.
What got me thinking about my physical addiction to Xanax was something that happened about two weeks ago. I stopped taking my meds cold turkey. During the day, I generally don’t need them as I’ve learned the skills I need to deal with my anxiety through a combination of DBT, CBT, and yoga. I’m a life long stoner, so I can usually rely on my good friend Mary Jane to put my out for the evening.
About 3 days without any benzos in my system, something very troubling happened. I started to withdrawal. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I was dependent on opiates after a bad accident so I’ve experienced junk sickness before, but nothing could’ve prepared me for abruptly quitting the Xanax.
Opiate withdrawal is extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable but ultimately, you’ll live you big fucking baby.
You can die from benzodiazepine withdrawal. Hallucinations, grand mal seizures, dead. The way benzos affect the brain is similar to alcohol.
I felt like I was going to die. Every muscle was tense; I was having horrible muscle spasms. I was constantly nauseous and having panic attacks every day. I was so irritable I locked myself in my room for an entire week. Had I not realized I was essentially kicking a very dangerous drug I could have had delirium tremins, had a seizure, and possibly died.
I did realize what was happening, refilled my Xanax and immediately felt like a new person.
But I know it’s gonna be a constant battle, my psych drugs and I. My current cocktail is Xanax, Adderall, Vyvase, Topimax, and Metaprolol. The plan is to eventually get me off the Xanax by switching to Klonopin/medical marijuana and tapering off of the benzos all together. But how progressive is my shrink??
In case you’re curious, Celexa, Prozac, Seroquel, Wellbutrin, Saphris, Carbatrol, and Ambien have done nothing but take away my orgasms and make me fat.
That’s that story….