Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Hi Joan, thanks for writing to us. My name is***** am sorry you are having these episodes of panic surrounding your oxygen needs. i can understand that this is frustrating for you and also scary. Your brain is sending you warning messages when it is fearful that your safety is at risk and unfortunately, these warning signals are not always accurate. This is where anxiety can come in.
To address you question, yes - Xanax can be a very useful drug for combatting an onset of anxiety or panic. However, Xanax can be addictive if sued consistently for a steady duration, so while it is a great medication fro combating the occasional episode of anxiety/panic, it may not be the best choice if you find yourself suffering from more chronic or ongoing anxiety. For that ongoing anxiety that exists most days, you'd want to talk to your doctor about a medication like buspirone that treats generalized-anxiety disorder or an SSRI, that also treats anxiety symptoms. These medications are taken daily with a goal of preventing anxiety in general. Xanax and the other benzodiazepines take effect quickly and are therefore taken re-actively to calm you once in an anxious state. If you only have sporadic anxiety, they can be useful although doctors are on the whole prescribing these benzos less and less due to their risk for abuse and addiction..This is probably why your pulmonary doc prescribed such a low amount of pills for you to begin with.
Does that answer your question?
No, prescribing it for one month would not be considered excessive and could be really helpful for the occasional calming. Generally, ongoing use of benzos for greater than 8 weeks starts to get risky for addiction and would result in the need to taper off the medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be unpleasant. However, if you come to rely on it all day everyday for a month, then that would lead me to believe that there could be a better medication choice for you, like the buspirone or the SSRI.