Weaning off of Xanax...support needed! — The Bump
Postpartum Depression

Weaning off of Xanax...support needed!

When I was in the throes of OCD last summer, my psychiatrist put on me on .5mg of Xanax daily and gradually increased the dose to 3mg a number of months ago. I am now trying to wean myself since I am feeling better, doing well in therapy, and am able to rationalize that the intrusive thoughts that come and go are nothing but stupid thoughts, not to mention we are thinking about trying for #2 at the end of the summer.

I went down to 2mg about a month ago, and didn't really notice much difference. I am now on 1.5mg and am starting to feel jittery and just generally edgy. I know that is to be expected when coming down off of a controlled substance, but it stinks! I am scared that the thoughts I had last year are going to come back...it was the worst time of my life as anyone with OCD and intrusive thoughts can attest to.

 Has anyone been able to plough through the discomfort of withdrawl and successfully stop taking xanax or any other type of benzo? Just looking for a little support! Thanks!

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Re: Weaning off of Xanax...support needed!

  • I quit my Lexapro and Xanax cold turkey last year (not the wisest move doing it cold turkey) when we started TTC.  It was hard but I was able to stay med free throughout my pregnancy. I wish I would have stayed in therapy through my pregnancy so that would be my only advice.
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    I used these meds for three months and that first few days/week off is really hard. It's been over 6 months since I've quit though. I've used the occasional one for really high stress situations  (12 hr flight with two kids - ack)!
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  • I think learning a few "Mindfulness" techniques could help. Look up a book on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I took a 6 week class and it taught me the relationship between My thoughts (emotions, negative self talk, worries) and sensations in my body. By bringing awareness to your emotions and intrusive thoughts when they come, you can begin to understand what triggers them. I also found something called "The body scan" to be an easy meditation technique that can calm me down in the middle of an anxious episode (I continue to struggle with PPA and OCD). You can look up "body scans" on YouTube. I like one by LifeLightCounseling.

    As for the withdrawal, I don't have any advice or suggestions, except that it's not going to be easy (duh, sorry!) 

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  • I don't have a ton of advice, but hang in there.  I was on 1 mg several times a day when we decided to stop taking the pill.  We werent trying to get pregnant, but I knew it could happen so I tried to wean myself off of it (probably a bad idea without a doctor overseeing it).  At the time, I felt my anxiety (history of anxiety for 15 years) was so severe that I would never be able to function without it.  Everyday got better and I actually found that I didn't even need it.  I truly feel it was making my anxiety worse and I think that can be one of the side effects.  I felt I was able to think clearer and even friends and family noticed a difference.  I am much happier to be off of it.  It will be hard and there will be times that you think you need to take it to get your anxiety under control, but hang in there and try to find other ways of coping with anxiety (therapy, meditation, deep breathing, etc.).  Good luck!
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  • Have you thought of going through a medically overseen withdrawal?  At my hospital, we use Klonopin to help people ease off of other benzos, such as Xanax.  Xanax hits you hard and fast, but wears off quick, in 1-2 hours.  That's why it's used for severe anxiety and panic.  Klonopin hits slow and lasts up to 6 hours.  Unfortunately, you'll have withdrawal symptoms no matter what.  I wish you the best of luck.
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  • I'm almost 6 weeks along.  I went to my doctor and she pulled me off my Xanax cold turkey.  I've been taking it for the past two years.  1mg 3x a day as needed, but I would only take one per day.  I'm going through some major withdrawal symptoms right now.  I'm really freaked out and scared that something might happen to the baby but also myself.  I'm having the twitching, out of body experiences, night sweats, insomnia.  Any advise would be helpful!!!
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