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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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Customer Question

I was in a detox last week for 6 days trying stop Xanax I was taking for 25 years. They gave me anti seizure meds, Ativan and Trazodone.
Was up to 1-3 mg PRN. I also stopped alcohol. Now that I am home and not taking anything, I had severe withdrawal symtoms coming off Xanax. Hot, cold, sweaty, mucsle twitches, pounding heart, sensitivity to noises, funny feeling in my head like electricity, weak, nightmares, nauseous, shaky, headache. I feel they should have done a slow taper. I went to the ER two nights ago because I couldn't stand the symtoms. Doc gave IV Ativan and everything went away. He gave me a script for Xanax, 2.5 mg twice a day. I took that dose last night about 10 pm and this morning about 7:30 a.m., all the symtoms came back. I had to take another dose. I have GAD and social anxiety disorder. Do you know if I need another drug instead ie. Ativan with a longer half life or just a higher mg of Xanax right now to feel normal and get rid of these symtoms. I am VERY scared.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 4 years ago.

Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I am sorry to hear that you are struggling through this period of detox; the symptoms that you feel seem to be scaring you even more, and it sounds like the Ativan was the most helpful. I definitely would speak to your Dr. about a very low dose of the Ativan to help you sleep, but beyond that, you might benefit from learning some relaxation techniques that you can do yourself right at home to get in touch with your body and it's natural ability to calm itself. As the saying goes, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and once we learn to manage the bodies "fight or flight" response, life becomes much more manageable. Counterbalancing the stress hormone, cortisol, that the body produces with the naturally-produced endorphins and serotonin through exercise or any physical activity, and by giving/receiving hugs, having a pet, laughing, can make the symptoms lessen, as well. Here is a link to some simple relaxation techniques to start with: http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm

Heidi LPC :

I hope you know that you can overcome this period of time and can get better and stronger by taking control over this issue and making the choice to not be a victim of anxiety any longer! :-)

Customer :

I need to address what I am feeling right now. The symtoms...not the answer after the symtoms subside. Will these symtoms kill me?

Heidi LPC :

Of course, this venue is not meant as a physical diagnosis... were you able to ask the Dr. about any of them? I would say that any detox will set your body off balance, yet the stress and anxiety you feel about the symptoms will make it worse... which is more of what it sounds like to me.

Heidi LPC :

I am wondering, if you can stop for a second, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that you are safe, that your body needs time to adjust to the physical changes.... do any of the symptoms decrease?

Heidi LPC :

Or is it just too powerful?

Customer :

I am sorry but it is the physical symtoms that come after the small dose of Xanax wears off. I am calm until the withdrawal symtoms come back. After going too long without a small amount of Xanax in me. They came back when I first opened my eyes this morning and it was not stress that brought them on. It doesn't sound like you are too familiar with handling Xanax withdrawal and the physical symtoms it causes.

Customer :

I thought you were a psychiatrist, not just an LPC. I need a doctor.

Heidi LPC :

I apologize if I haven't been much help here... I would definitely call your doctor and ask advice... I will opt out to see if another expert can help further here, and I wish you all the best in getting past this!! Take good care!!

Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 4 years ago.

Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic. Your Expert has opted out and I wonder whether you’re still waiting for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will do my best to find another Expert to assist you right away. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!

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