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Xanax (Alprazolam) For PTSD

Discussion in 'Medications & Substances' started by anthony, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Introduction

    Xanax (alprazolam) is an anxiety drug for oral administration. Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders. Xanax is primarily based for panic disorder.

    Suitability

    Xanax is suitable for those who are 18 years plus. Xanax is not recommended for adolescents or women who are pregnant. Whilst Xanax can be used on minors, the facts for increased seizure far surpasses it use over other drugs.

    Dosage

    The recommended dosage is 1 - 10mg per day, however; the more common dosages for treatment of PTSD could be much higher than the recommended dosage per day.

    Side Effects

    All drugs have possible side effect/s, which need to be taken into consideration when being prescribed.

    You have approximately a 1:2 chance of having side effect/s with Xanax from the clinical studies performed.

    Xanax has the following possible side effects:
    • Central Nervous System
      • Abnormal Involuntary Movement
      • Agitation
      • Akathisia
      • Anxiety
      • Change in Libido (Not Specified)
      • Cognitive Disorder
      • Confusion
      • Confusional State
      • Decreased Libido
      • Depression
      • Derealization
      • Disinhibition
      • Dizziness
      • Dream Abnormalities
      • Drowsiness
      • Dysarthria
      • Fatigue and Tiredness
      • Fear
      • Feeling Warm
      • Headache
      • Impaired Coordination
      • Increased Libido
      • Insomnia
      • Irritability
      • Light-headedness
      • Light-headedness/Dizziness
      • Memory Impairment
      • Muscle Tone Disorders
      • Muscular Twitching
      • Nervousness
      • Paresthesia
      • Syncope
      • Talkativeness
      • Tiredness/Sleepiness
      • Vasomotor Disturbances
      • Weakness
    • Gastrointestinal
      • Abdominal Distress
      • Constipation
      • Decreased Salivation
      • Diarrhea
      • Dry Mouth
      • Increased Salivation
      • Nausea/Vomiting
    • Cardiovascular
      • Hypotension
      • Tachycardia/Palpitations
    • Cardio-Respiratory
      • Chest Pain
      • Hyperventilation
      • Nasal Congestion
      • Tachycardia
      • Upper Respiratory Infection
    • Sensory
      • Blurred Vision
    • Musculoskeletal
      • Muscle Stiffness
      • Muscular Cramps
      • Rigidity
      • Tremor
    • Sensory
      • Blurred Vision
      • Tinnitus
    • Cutaneous
      • Dermatitis/Allergy
      • Rash
      • Sweating
    • Other
      • Decreased Appetite
      • Edema
      • Incontinence
      • Increased Appetite
      • Infection
      • Menstrual Disorders
      • Micturition Difficulties
      • Nasal Congestion
      • Sexual Dysfunction
      • Weight Gain
      • Weight Loss
    Warnings
    Certain adverse clinical events, some life-threatening, are a direct consequence of physical dependence to alprazolam. These include a spectrum of withdrawal symptoms; the most important is seizure. Even after relatively short-term use at the doses recommended for the treatment of transient anxiety and anxiety disorder, there is some risk of dependence.

    Spontaneous reporting system data suggest that the risk of dependence and its severity appear to be greater in patients treated with doses greater than 4 mg/day and for long periods (more than 12 weeks).

    Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy.

    Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they are breast feeding an infant.

    Read more from the fact sheets on Xanax:
  2. veiled

    veiled New Member

    Anthony, I know it is a locked thread but noticed the dosage on here. I have to just add experience here. I just want to point out it is extremely rare someone has to take 10 mg or more a day to treat. No doctor I have ever seen (except the one who dosed me so high and was a GP who did not warn of addiction and what that meant) has ever seen a patient who actually had to take 10 mgs a day and were shocked to see someone function on that much. My husband says they had me on 12 mg briefly but I do not recall that, I only recall 10 mg max. My doctors were experienced in PTSD and treatment but my main one with 25 years in the field almost fell out of his chair when he saw my dosage and it took that to make me "normal" and I was the first he saw dosed so high.

    To this day and on this forum I have yet to meet another who had to take this much or did. If you are on this much you need a good therapist as it can be brought down. While now I do not take it regularly and take it if just means it is so bad I need hospitalization to calm me with drugs from a trigger I still have to take a 3 mg dose. This seems to be more of the norm for someone's daily dose spread out over the day used to the drug.

    I have to strongly advise major therapy as the weaning process is nothing short of hell.
  3. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    I know of sufferers who take xanax like tic tacs! 10mg is a major dose, however; whilst that affects your body, it does not affect others the same. Some will be less, some will be more. You will find males are generally on higher doses as their metabolic rate is vastly different to a females. One of my own friends was on over 20mg of xanax with other drugs. I couldn't believe how much he was putting in his system, and how much the doctors where prescribing him. It was a death sentence IMHO.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  4. veiled

    veiled New Member

    That was pretty much how my docs felt, it could end up being a death sentence.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  5. tosatel

    tosatel New Member

    "Your docs" aren't the ones suffering the debilitating symptoms of treatment-resistant PTSD!! You are.


    Death sentence or not benzos are the only drug that work on some treatment-resistant PTSD. I should know. I'm one of them. If I'd not been on two of them for the last twenty years I'd have taken my life years ago - either that or put in the asylum (neither of which is too attractive a prospect). It's quality of life we want here those who've suffered acute PTSD. One's life is never the same. We all know that. But PTSD is very much individualized by the history pre the PTSD of the individual and his genetic make up. Some people have it worse than "four months of panic attacks and I'm cured doc"!! And if there's a drug out there which makes me able to function and interact socially with my friends I'll take as much as I need, even as my tolerance grows. And it will. I'll be on this stuff for the rest of my life along with time released Wellbutrin.
    Wellbutrin (a selective re-uptake seratonin inhibitor) is the only one of those crappy anti-depression/anxiety drugs out there worth its salt.
  6. BloomInWinter

    BloomInWinter Meeting My True Self Staff Member Premium Member

    The number of people chomping PCP prescribed Xanex while never having been assessed by a mtntal health specialist is frightening and disturbing to me.

    As is the steady stream of Xanax-dependent people coming to our 12 Step meetings begging for help.

    I feel fortunate that my T. has steered me clear of this given my well-documented alcohol dependence. Though I will admit, the lure is there. There are always people around me offering to share.
  7. tosatel

    tosatel New Member

    BloomInWinter: May I ask? Do you have treatment-resistant PTSD? I've had it for twenty-four years.
    If you do have it, what's you're recommendation if you don't approve of Xanax? Many things which work for some do not work for others. Each person much be addressed on an individual basis. I'd rather a benzo dependency than being six feet under. And I am NOT a fan of 12 step programs. You're replacing one addiction for another.
  8. simplekindofgirl

    simplekindofgirl New Member

    A benzo dependency can also lead to death. Any addiction can potentially lead to death. Xanax is also used by those without PTSD, and while the drug serves a valid purpose it is also highly abused.

    I am treatment resistant. I use no prescription medications.
    BloomInWinter likes this.
  9. BloomInWinter

    BloomInWinter Meeting My True Self Staff Member Premium Member

    I use ambien for sleep, but nothing but skills for the anxiety.

    12 Step programs and the people in them saved my life and the lives of many. But they aren't for everyone.

    I've likely had PTSD my entire life. I've been an alcoholic since junior high, most likely. I had signs of dependence back then.

    A 12 Step meeting isn't possibly going to risk giving me seizures or overdose the way Xanex will.

    So, given the risks, I consider my 1 hour investment in meetings every week or so - sometimes, just one every few months - to be time well spent.

    ...and free.

    ...and doesn't impair my driving.

    ...or require a prescription.

    ...or any withdrawal.

    ...and the only side effects for me have been friends, life skills, personal growth, and a support system that nature forgot to provide for me, which has seen me through the deaths of my parents, a sibling, my friends, coworkers, cousins...and worse.

    I owe my existance to my 12 Step groups. But to each their own. Whatever works.
    gamereign555 likes this.
  10. gamereign555

    gamereign555 Rabid Wombat!

    Lorazepam for me had a far worse withdrawal feeling than alprazolam did. I think these drugs should be taken with caution that a viscous cycle of withdrawal and tolerance can develop into horrible rebound anxiety and possible seizure. The bare minimum should be taken to try to achieve a state of lowered anxiety, do not take these drugs to feel some type of euphoria like effect, I can't explain how stupid that idea is. Also combining opiates and alcohol with benzodiazepines has killed a lot of people.

    I have noticed that .25mg of alprazolam (yes, only a quarter milligram!) is often enough on its own to calm things down, the rest I should be able to cope with and calm yourself down. There are .25 tabs and .5 tabs, I have heard of time released pills and have seen the famous xanax 'bars' which contain 3mg total and can be broken into thirds I think.

    The label often says "take" 'as needed', but it is kind of up to you to decided what 'as needed' is. If I took one of my entire .5mg tabs of Xanax at the first sign of anxiety every time, I would have a serious problem on my hands. I also think this is a medicine that should only be taken in the event serious anxiety has taken hold. Yes it can prevent a panic attack, but how do you know you will panic? How bad will the attack be? You should try to see what you are capable of, I bet that monthly bottle of Xanax can be stretched to a whole three months.

    If the xanax is getting you high when you take it, you are taking too much and you will pay for it in unexpected ways.

    For those who are taking Ativan or Xanax for constant and persistent panic attacks and high anxiety due to the initial post traumatic stress, don't freak out about how much you might be taking if it is prescribed. This is also often a time that antidepressants are prescribed. Just know that soon you will need to ween yourself off eventually from the religious 3 times a day dosing, sooner than later preferably. We have to relearn how to feel because our nerves are shot but not all at once, that is the idea. Beyond this, a benzo addiction will only elevate your anxiety not lower it.

    This is a terrible time for people, some don't have a doctor yet and jump around until they can get taken in somewhere. I myself frequented a walk in spa and clinic until I found a doctor at an actual clinic. Keep track of where you are at, how long and what doses and medications you have been taking. If you have been on benzos for months and taking it 3 times a day and you go to see another doctor, they may see this as drug seeking behavior and decide to not prescribe anything to you. This is a devastating thing to go through, finding a doctor no matter the insurance or lack of that you will go to every time is important.

    I would go completely off Xanax but I tried once already thinking that my dose was low so I should be fine, however not having anything was not a good idea for me, I ended up in the hospital only to receive an Ativan shot in the ass. I make a bottle of 30 pills which are .5mg last 3 months. Sometimes I do good and sometimes I do not as good but I am noticing that the panic is getting less and less a problem as I dare to feel some of the anxieties. I am able to tell that "That's not a panic attack, but this, this one is a panic attack!" and slowly but surely I notice myself taking less and less of these drugs.

    I credit my success with Xanax and other benzos by being aware of the addiction potential and to the doctors who knew to keep my dosing at low levels. The less you have to take the better. Sometimes just having some stashed away is enough. The idea of having nothing to back you up but your own coping skills is a huge step for someone with panic.
  11. Solara

    Solara VIP Member

    Tosatel,
    Just out of curiosity, when you say you have treatment resistant PTSD, what have you tried that hasn't worked?
    gamereign555 and BloomInWinter like this.
  12. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Soldiers and complex trauma are often classified as "treatment resistant" to medications, as it doesn't matter what they throw at you, or how much, nothing "fixes" the problem... it's still there and often the medication will simply stop working and the symptoms will appear again, even at high doses.

    About 30% of PTSD sufferers are classified as "treatment resistant" according to statistics.
    gamereign555 likes this.
  13. All The Blessings

    All The Blessings New Member

    My husband has been taking lorazepam and temazepam since July 2010. His PTSD symptoms have increased so severely on these medications over the last eight months since his dosage was upped that it lead to near death.

    In the article Benzodiazepines: What They Do in the Body by Professor C H Ashton of the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, England, UK, it talks in depth about benzodiazepines. It was there, we found that risks as damaging as suicide are highly connected to long term use (as short as four months) of benzodiazepines. I am so scared of people using these medications because I almost lost my husband to them, that I urge you to read this article and become informed on all the risks that accompany benzodiazepines.

    I do hope that you are able to find something that helps you enjoy every day life without carrying the burden of all your anxieties and depression. It is an unfair world and I am sorry for that.
  14. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    I was temporarily prescribed Xanax the other day and know not to take any for my general anxiety. I believe I will always be subject to that, though I have had it feel as if it has mostly lifted for long periods of time, but not without effort and other constructive healing decisions.

    It's been only recently that I've been able to identify the word panic and call the sky-high anxiety that I can suffer and its manifestations, -panic attacks. I can't believe that I didn't know enough to use the proper terminology and what with my memory so bad and a very hectic life, I couldn't get any relief during these, or while rapidly escalating.

    Anyhow, I am very cautious with such an addictive medication and am so for a number of reasons, just one of which is, that I need to be able to preserve my ability and right to receive such relief from unexpected and too enormous anxiety/panic.

    Reading the above, I am very happy with my GP who recently helped me not die (this is what I felt like) or come totally undone, (and it was happeninig).

    I am pleased that he did allow me relief and yet he did so at a very low dose of .25. I won't even allow myself to take these daily, nor did I in previous times. In fact, I've thrown out prior other prescriptions, because the ultimate goal is what's best, healing and survival.

    I do apoligize here, if I shared to much.
    anthony likes this.

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