Benzos/anti-anxiety meds

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Post  hollygolightly on Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:53 am

I have been using xanax for the past few years and had great success with it. I've tried many abortives---depakote, topamax, propolonal--and none have worked. But after my father passed away - I started having major anxiety attacks and insomnia. And OTC meds did nothing to help.

So I started using Xanax..and much to my surprise - my migraines and headaches stopped. I was getting 7-10 migraines/month (plus regular headaches around 10 a month) until I started using Xanax.. then after I started -- I had a few months where I had zero migraines.

After suffering for over 10 yrs and nothing helping -- Xanax proved to be a miracle for me.

But my doctors office doesn't seem to want to keep prescribing it.. I don't like having to take a scheduled drug daily.. and Xanax can be habit forming..

So two months ago - I quit using it..and my migraines and headaches are back tenfold. Almost daily migraines and/or bad headaches.. and the nausea that's associated with them.

Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

I really hate thinking about having to take a scheduled narcotic for the rest of my life to avoid the pain.. but at the same time, I hate thinking about having to wrestle with daily headaches/migraines and constant nausea.

Has anyone had a similar experience with benzos...and does anyone have any advice for me?

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Post  dcook60 on Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:59 pm

hmmm, holly, yes, i have had some experience with a particular benzo, ativan. aka lorazepam.

long story; you can write me if you like. for me, this drug was instantly physiologically addicting. what it did for me was allow me to sleep. but i had to keep upping the dose to make it effective, which is the definition of tolerance/addiction.

i know how tempting it must be to keep using it, since it made you almost migraine-free. the benzos are really very safe drugs, as long as you stay within a reasonable dose.

i don't see why a doctor with an ounce of compassion wouldn't keep prescribing it, since you are well aware of the addictive potential. and if you've taken it for several years WITHOUT becoming addicted, then what is the reason for the stinginess?

you didn't say how often you've taken it. maybe you could get away with a not-daily dose, as i've been doing with lorazepam. yes, it takes a bit of talking to convince a doctor of your reasons for wanting it.

if your primary doc won't do it, then go to a neurologist who will! best wishes, dianne
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Post  mombecky on Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:04 pm

I take Klonipin everyday. I use it more for anxiety than for migraines. I really don't see any relief for that purpose. My doctor prescribes it, and I am grateful to take it. I don't care if it is addicting as long as it is helping me and I am not abusing it. There are days when I know I couldn't function without it.

I hope your doctor will help you. Especially with the effect it has with your migraines. Good luck.

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Post  Guest on Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:05 pm

i'm on Klonopin 2mg and it's very helpful. it's not for anxiety or depression, but a tremor. it seems to help with migraines and some residual issues from a stroke i had a few years ago.

a good doc that's comfortable with the med is helpful. klonopin can be tricky to come off of, and it might need increasing doses if your body becomes too adjusted to it.

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Post  hollygolightly on Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:14 pm

Thanks for the responses. I had previously read them and actually written out responses, but didn't press the "send" button.

But to answer questions - I was taking xanax daily. I am still off of it and feel miserable.

I need to go in to see my doctor but I have been postponing and postponing it.. but I've been able to get away with it bc I've had tons of vacation time at work the past few months, but now in October - I am back to the grind.. and I can not go back to work in this condition.

Thanks for the responses - I appreciate them.

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Post  Almostangela on Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:08 am

I take Ativan for anxiety and panic attacks. I was really concerned about getting hooked and my doctor insisted that I wouldn't for the amount that I was taking. I am able to control the panic attacks now with a new antidepressant so now I take Ativan to help break a bad cycle of migraine and it works.

My doctor is not worried about the addictive properties considering what I have to go through, so maybe you need to see another doctor. Maybe a prescription to a similar drug?

I also read that, not all people become addicted. Plus, some people have addictive personalities and if you don't think you fall in that catagory, you could be okay.
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Post  dcook60 on Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:41 am

angela, i'm curious about what dose of ativan you take? my understanding is that the body can become hooked on needing this from ANY dose taken daily. if one doesn't take the drug daily, there is less chance of one becoming tolerant. "tolerance" is such a good word, isn't it? i hate to see it co-opted in a drug discussion.

also, i BEG TO DIFFER. not all people become addicted to things. that's because their chemistry and physiology is different, not because they have "addictive personalities". can we please lay the "addictive personality" thing to rest here?

physiological tolerance, aka addiction, is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT thing than.... "give me those drugs because they make me feel so wonderful i can't live without them".

personally, i have never felt a "high" from any drug on the planet, so i do not need my ativan for that purpose. i need it (twice/week) so on those nights i can get some much much needed sleep. i have multiple sleep disorders.

the other 5 nights i lie there exhausted but unable to sleep more than a couple of hours. i take heavy-duty antihistamines but they barely work anymore, as the body (most people's, anyway) becomes tolerant to the drug and needs more and more to accomplish the same job.

if someone disagrees with me, let's hear it. dianne
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Post  estre004 on Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:36 am

I've never used this type of drug so this isn't from experience. I'm basing this on what my opinion on the subject is.

If a drug can take care of your migraines (I mean really take care of them--not just barely improve them) who in the heck cares if it is addictive? What is worse--living what you can barely call a life or being addicted to what is giving you a life? I would rather put up with the addiction myself. Not only are migraines miserable, don't forget that they are darn right dangerous. If my abortives didn't work so well (thank God for that), I would take anything that worked to prevent them. So far I am fortunate to abort the majority of them before they progress, but I would not hesitate to take an additive drug as a last resort if it worked on the migraines.

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Post  Almostangela on Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:15 pm

dcook60 wrote:angela, i'm curious about what dose of ativan you take? my understanding is that the body can become hooked on needing this from ANY dose taken daily. if one doesn't take the drug daily, there is less chance of one becoming tolerant. "tolerance" is such a good word, isn't it? i hate to see it co-opted in a drug discussion.

also, i BEG TO DIFFER. not all people become addicted to things. that's because their chemistry and physiology is different, not because they have "addictive personalities". can we please lay the "addictive personality" thing to rest here?



I take 1mg dose when needed and that can calm me down rapidly. I was assured that if I took 4mg a day a number times a week, I should be okay, but I have always stayed under that. I found that just a few days of taking care of myself with 1 mg at night was all it took to get settled down.

Of course there is 'addictive personality'. I have many people in my life who are in rehab or should be, and many who never fall into that catagory. Some people have the propensity to want to get as high as they can, and often, for whatever reason, psycological or chemical. When it comes to addictive drugs, you have to know yourself and ask these questions. My stepdaughter, after being through rehab, won't even take anything higher than an asprin and antibiotics for a real bad toothache. No codiene because she knows it risks putting her straight on the path she was before.
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Post  dcook60 on Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:38 pm

i still disagree. it's the chemistry/physiology and emotional health of the person in question, not the "personality". maybe we're splitting hairs here, but i still dislike blaming the victim because they have a certain type of "personality".

of my five children, i have two sons who are substance-abusers. they inherited this tendency! yes, they may have been born depressed (and i think they both were) but still, i'm not going to blame them for choosing this path. i blame their genetics, inherited from both sides of the family. (me.....a teetotaler.)

never have i abused any substance. not because my personality is "better", but that my brain chemistry is different. anyone else want to chime in this civil discussion?

dianne *and believe me, just because i'm 7 decades old, this does not mean i think i know it all. i speak from bitter experience and constant heartache with these two adult children of mine.
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Post  hollygolightly on Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:13 pm

Thanks again for the replies. I had a really tough week/weekend. I decided to go back on Xanax. I just couldn't keep going like I was. I almost ended up in the ER over the weekend.

I stopped taking it for 3 months. I thought I would give it a fair chance and see if the migraines/headaches subsided and they didn't-- they just kept getting worse...and as I said I almost landed in the hospital on Sunday. What the heck was I thinking? My doc had no problem prescribing it to me.

I've had migraines for over 10 yrs and spent so much time searching for something that works.. And I finally found something that worked....and somehow I let my mind over-analyze things... I just hate that I have to rely on meds to just be normal..

Anyway I hope I will get some relief soon. Will fill yall in -in a few weeks.

Thanks again for the kindness and support...I don't have any family or friends who suffer from this disease, so it is nice to have people to talk to. Smile

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Post  hollygolightly on Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:28 pm

** another update **

I am back on Xanax but only take .5mg-1mg per day + propranolol. I have been faithful about taking my meds for the past few months and my migraines and headaches have decreased and I am back to working a lot and having a life. Although I do still get headaches and migraines - I guess they'll never go away completely.. but they have decreased substantially..

I didn't want to be on xanax for the rest of my life. I am blessed to not have to take any narcotics for my headaches/migraines, because excedrin works for headaches and imitrex works for migraines..so there is no need. But xanax is what I have found that actually works for me.. So for now at least, I am sticking to the formula that seems to have worked for me for so long.

Propranolol by itself did not help me.

Xanax by itself did not help me.

It's only when I take both medications every day - that I get relief.

Just wanted to share my happy update!

Hope everyone else finds some cocktail to curtail this awful, debilitating disease.


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Post  estre004 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:42 pm

Holly - how much of a difference does it make compared to not taking anything?

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Post  Migrainegirl on Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:50 pm

Holly, I think it is great you have something that works. Too many people can't seem to find anything to stop the headaches, or even get them sort of under control. If it works and is not causing too many side effects or damaging anything then why not stay with it? Consumed by headaches is no way to live. We are all looking for a magic silver bullet like that.
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Post  hollygolightly on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:54 am

estre004 wrote:Holly - how much of a difference does it make compared to not taking anything?

The difference is incredible. Like I said, I went for three months without taking them. Luckily I had my vacation weeks in back to back months for the three months I went off of it. If I didn't have so much vacation time, then I would have had a lot of sick calls to work. I did have a trip planned with my mother in which I had to cancel, because I was bed-ridden. I gained a lot of weight too (because I was bed-ridden for so much of the three months) - which now I am struggling to work off.

Those three months were hades on earth.

So to break it all down for you.

I started taking xanax in 2007ish..added in propranolol around 2008ish, I guess.

And the migraines and headaches decreased. It seemed like a miracle for me. My doctor thought that was the link to my headaches -- stress.

I would still get my 9 pills of Imitrex every few months, in case something happened w/my job and I was left w/o insurance.. or in case I got a big cluster. I was averaging about 2-3 migraines per month and then maybe 7 regular headaches a months. (This is really ball park & of course depended on the month).

So I stopped taking xanax for three months.

The migraines came back almost DAILY..sometimes twice in a day.. In the few days I was migraine-free-- I still had a headache most days.. All the medicine that I previously had an overstock of - was used up. In all honesty, I was probably using way more Imitrex than was medically safe. But I would have rather had a bullet put through my head, then not take the Imitrex.

Now I am back to only a few migraines a month and maybe 7-10 regular headaches per month which excedrin takes care of.

This regime obviously won't work for everyone. But it has been a life saver for me. Like I said, I've struggled with the concept of taking a scheduled drug for the rest of my life. I do not want to do it. But I feel like I don't have any other option at this point.

And at least I don't have to take opiods or any other scheduled pain medications. I know triptans do not work for everyone and I feel blessed that they work for me and I don't need the other medicines that a lot of people need.. so I don't know why I am so weirded out by using the Xanax. Maybe it is because society frowns upon it.. or because it is a scheduled medicine..? It is probably just my own psychological issue which makes me hate that I have to use this stuff.

But it has worked for me. I am able to have a life now. I am able to go to work and enjoy it, rather than dread it.

Thanks for reading my posts. I appreciate all the support.


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Post  hollygolightly on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:02 am

Migrainegirl wrote:Holly, I think it is great you have something that works. Too many people can't seem to find anything to stop the headaches, or even get them sort of under control. If it works and is not causing too many side effects or damaging anything then why not stay with it? Consumed by headaches is no way to live. We are all looking for a magic silver bullet like that.

Thank you so much for the support and kind words, MigraineGirl. I wish I could give each of you a big hug and thank you so much for all the support and words of encouragement. No one in my world really understands this disease. I've sort of given up talking about it with my family. I am sure they are sick of hearing about it and since no one in my family else suffers from it -- not even cousins, aunts/uncles.. they just really don't seem to understand.

I just want everyone on here to know that when I read their posts on here - I "hear" them. I understand them. And I have absolute sympathy and compassion for the pain that each person on this board has experienced and posted about it.

This is an incredible place of support and love..and I am so thankful I found this place.

I love you

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Post  estre004 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:18 am

I'm so glad it works for you. I believe whatever it takes is worth it. I don't think there are any side effects that are worse than migraine. I pretty much had given up on preventatives but maybe I will pursue this at some time. What are side effects of Xanax?

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