BENZO STORY: Jane from Nova Scotia, Canada
Updated: Mar 23
A woman who suffers from fibromyalgia struggles with benzo withdrawal from Xanax after 30 years of use.
Key Topics: Anxiety, Benzos, Xanax (alprazolam), Dependence, Withdrawal, Doctors, Symptoms, Detox, Rehabilitation, Rapid Withdrawal, Financial Struggle, ER Visit
Listen on the Podcast: https://www.easinganxiety.com/post/the-science-of-benzos-gaba-and-glutamate-bfp018
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I am 68-years-old, a very active person all my life. In the early 80s, I developed fibromyalgia and eventually was prescribed Xanax for anxiety and sleep over the course of nearly 30 years. I had my rough and tumble days with fms — with days of more energy in which I overdid it and landed myself useless for a few days. Until I finally developed a routine, in which my quality of life was indeed better.
…was prescribed Xanax for anxiety and sleep over the course of nearly 30 years.
Over these years I took the Xanax and never used more than prescribed. In fact, I only took it at bedtime and odd time in the day. I was on a dose of 0.5mg.
Then, back in March of 2017, I felt the need to take more and did not understand why at the time. But, in hindsight now I know my body needed more to work and I recognized that I was taking more — still staying on my prescribed dose. I knew I needed help. I went to my family GP and asked him to help with reducing my Xanax dose with an aim of not taking any eventually. That led me down a nightmarish path that scared the living hell out of of me.
…I told him I have to call 911.
I was tapered by my doctor too quickly and was never told of the issues I would experience. I was on a path to hell on earth thinking I was loosing my mind. I woke on a Sunday morning in such a state that even though my husband was home, I told him I have to call 911. He followed the ambulance to the hospital. I was terrified, as I felt like I was gonna have a stroke or convulsions and that awful feeling one gets on a quick taper. My blood pressure when the EHS took it at my house was 200/100. I never had issues with high blood pressure.
Long story short, I was lucky to see a doctor in emergency who knew what the hell I was going through. I was prescribed 0.5mg, four times a day for enough days until I could see my doctor with this doctor’s recommendations. Still, he did not address the issues I was going through and it was impossible to get help in my area with the mental health issues I was dealing with. So, I had no choice but to go to a facility 8 hours from my home and family at a cost of 11,000 Canadian dollars. That was one thing, but this facility in hindsight was not the place for me. The doctor who represented this facility was 2 hours away and he was a GP. He wanted me off the 0.5mg in 30 days. I knew I could not do this
I was on 0.5mg once a day after a month of tapering, but the doctor wanted me off the Xanax altogether in the month, and assured me I would have no feelings like I did that Sunday morning a month before when I had to call 911. I went home on the 0.5mg twice-a-day and he, as well as my family doc, did not at any time tell me the hell I was to experience. With no help from my GP or mental health in my area, I had all I could do to stay on this dose. But I did. But not without a lot of suffering, feeling like a drug addict.
As of April of 2019, I am on one Xanax at bedtime — and doing not too bad considering. I read everything I could on the Internet about what I was going through and why, which helped me understand and survive those dark days. To see a psychiatrist in my area was a 365 day wait — but here I am, never seeing him, doing well on my dose now. But not without one hell of a struggle. And I am trying to address my concerns with a facility that cost me 11 thousand to listen to me. As I feel I was misled, and spent that money unwisely as they were not in tune with the issues of benzo withdrawal and insisted on ignoring my calls / emails regarding my concerns.
If I could afford a lawyer, I would have them handle these concerns…
If I could afford a lawyer, I would have them handle these concerns, but 2017 put me in one financial as well as emotional roller coaster. But, I am keeping my head above water. Still, I feel they should take ownership for my concerns.
I am awaiting again for a response from this facility without triggering anxiety and stress — but I am so angry that my issues I had with them are not being addressed. (and do not want another benzo person to experience what I did with them.)
Thank you for listening, Jane
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All stories shared on Easing Anxiety are done so with the author’s permission. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect those of Easing Anxiety or its founder. Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content for certain segments of the population. While provided as an informational resource to our community, some stories may not be beneficial to those who are sensitive to their content. Regarding benzodiazepine withdrawal or BIND, most people can withdraw safely, successfully, and without serious complications if they are informed and have a solid support system. Many of the stories shared on Easing Anxiety are extreme and should not be used to create any expectations of one’s individual experience. Please read the Ashton Manual formore information and work with your doctor. Withdrawal, tapering, or any other change in dosage of benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs), or any other prescription medication should only be done under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. View our complete disclaimer for more info.