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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5824
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate, did you get my question from last night asking you

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Hey Kate, did you get my question from last night asking you about if anxiety was experienced by everyone going through withdrawal or just someone like m who has Panic Disorder?
Usually I hear back from you before this . Please let me know if you got this because I have some things to tell you.


No, I did not get that question. That is quite upsetting. I don't like missing questions!

It seems that Just Answer has been having some difficulties lately. If you do not hear from me within the usual amount of time, please let me know. It's important to me that we talk whenever you need to.

Yes, I do believe that it is common for people withdrawing from medication to experience anxiety. The medication covers the symptoms of the anxiety so once you begin to withdrawal, the symptoms would come back. Not necessarily the same as before because since you starting taking the medication, you have been working on your anxiety. So you should be feeling better than you did before.

The medication helps to control the symptoms while the person can treat the anxiety with therapy and self help. That is why we have been talking about methods you can use to help you cope with the anxiety. Studies have proven that therapy and self help are the most effective methods for eliminating the anxiety permanently.

Let me know what else is going on. I'll stay close until I hear from you.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Dear Kate: Yesterday was one of the worst yet. Day 4 of withdrawal. Joe called Dr. Hernz to make sure he called back.

Hernz said the reason I was having such bad reactions probably was because I was weaning off too fast from one dose to another, that it takes your body 10 days or MORE to adjust to the new dose. Yet it was him who told me before I started that I could go down a dose every 5 days! Then when I checked in with him, he said I should wait 7 days, which I did and started weaning down my second dose.

So here I am 5 days in my second wean down on top of 5 days of my first wean down, which adds up to 2 wean downs in 10 days instead of one in 10 days! Did I say that so you can understand? This is not right!

He also told me he told me to wean off so fast because I complained so much about the sedation aspect and said I wanted to get down as soon as possible and he wanted to please me!! I told him he was the doctor and he should have been honest with me and told me NO, he wouldn't recommend fast withdrawal and why. Besides, I never told him how fast I wanted to do it, just that I couldn't bear living with the sedation much longer. He started increasing my dose in late March, that's how many months?

On top of that he said I was catastrophizing and talking gloom and doom. Maybe I am but from those who've I've talked to who have been through weaning have felt and said they felt just like I did. He also said in so many words that I'm sort of like a little baby. Well, maybe I am but how many 76 year olds has he dealt with who had the guts to wean off meds? Even he said most people can't handle the anxiety aspect of withdrawal and go back on the meds. Unless or until someone has gone through panic attacks and/or weaning off drugs, they shouldn't judge someone else. He knows from experience I am extremely sensitive to medication and need only baby doses of anything.

I went to be really early last night and got a good night's sleep. I didn't email you because I just didn't want to talk about it before trying to go to sleep.

Oh, and by the way, I told him he never told me that I would experience really bad anxiety or even that everyone does when going down or off meds of this sort. Nor did he tell me about anything else I would experience, like upset stomach, loss of appitite, etc. The more info I have the less it bothers me.

In spite of how bad I felt yesterday, I am feeling much better today anxiety-wise but I feel like I have been wrung out to dry. Sedation is practically gone.

I have made the decision to stay at the dose I'm on for now. Not only do I have to give my body a chance to recuperate but I'm not doing anything else until after I see the endocrinologist.

I am never going off Xanax completely. I have suffered from panic attacks for too many years of my life from an early age on and I'm not going off because people say this is an awful drug. People who have abused and misused the drug for the wrong reasons have given it such a bad name that sufferers like me are going to doctor's who refuse to give them the drug.

In 1988 I was on Trofinal for maybe 5 years or less and using .25 xanax sparingly and did pretty well but I decided I didn't need it anymore and went off the med. I went downhill pretty quickly and waited too long to try to get back on and when I tried I went through hell. My neuologist wasn't in the city anymore and I went from psychiatrist to psychiatrist and one was worse than the other. I didn't know then how overly sensitive I was to meds so of course I had bad results.

Dr. Hernz was the only one who told me if I was having certain symptoms after three days on Effexor, I would be having the same symptoms 12 weeks later and why waste the time. None of others did that. I was on Xanax .25 (XR wasn't out yet) when I went to see him for the first time and he did ask if I wanted to get off them and I said I didn't. I had just gone through 3 years of nighmare and had just finally allowed myself to take the Xanax and was afraid to take the Effexor without it and he went along with me.

Do I wish I had never taken the drug knowing what I know now? Yes and no. Before the last 5 months it gave me the ability to live 12 years of life without suffering one panic attack and the ability to just live life in all it's wonder. For years I never even need to take a .25. I'm 76 on August 25th and I'm too old to wean off completely. If, after a long while, I decide I want to wean off one more .5, then I'll consider it but not now and not lower unless it's absolutely needed.

Both my husband and my daughter have Hernz's telephone emergency number and know that it's imperitive to tell the doctor's immediately that I'm on Xanax and what dose - the same with Effexor XR in case I have a stroke or heart attack and can't speak for some reason. So I have the bases covered, Which reminds me I need to give the info to my son, Michael, the P.A. to keep with him.

I know this is long. I'm sorry but I had to tell you what happened. BTW, between just you and me, are you ever allowed to speak to people on the phone? I know you get paid for your work and you deserve to but there are ways around that, too. Just curious and had to ask.

Until I hear back from you,

God bless,



What an awful experience! I am so sorry. It sounds like there might have been a lack of communication going on here, with the doctor assuming some things based on what you have told him about how you feel. You may have felt uncomfortable about feeling sedated, but I know you also did not want to experience panic attacks. So a slow wean would have been much better for you. Weaning twice as fast as normal is overwhelming!

I think anyone under the stress you have been would feel upset. If you talk negative, so be it. That is just how you are expressing your stress while you are going through a tough time. Lots of people do it. As soon as you stabilized you would have felt better.

If you are extremely sensitive to medication, that can cause all kinds of difficulties. I have the same problem so I understand how you feel. Most medications throw me for a loop and I have to be sure the doctor knows to give me the lowest dose possible. So I get what you are saying.

Deciding to stay on a lower dose of Xanax for a while to see how you feel sounds like a good idea. It will help you with the panic. Coping mechanisms can help you with the rest. As long as you do not feel sedated anymore, it works. That was your goal anyway.

Now that you know why you have been feeling panicky it must be a relief. I think some panic is normal but it may be that your body could not keep up with the adjustments and you felt worse than you should have. I still feel you handled it so well! You were even upbeat at times. That shows a strong spirit and a strong will. I think you can handle much more than you think, Rita! I know the panic is not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but you really faced it head on. I think you should be proud.

It would certainly be nice to talk with you in person. But Just Answer rules do not allow it. I am sorry. That is why I try to be available as much as possible so you can get a quick answer.

I will keep praying that this works out for you. I think with God's help, your family's support and your faith you will get through just fine. You have gained so much from this experience. I imagine you are feeling like an expert at this point on withdrawal from Xanax!

Take care, Rita.


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** your compliments.

I think the problem of communication comes from Hernz being a man who will tell you anything if you ask but has forgotten that the people he is dealing with are not doctors and don't have the knowledge he has. He's very busy, sees a new patient every half hour and he's 12 years older than he was when I first met him. Hard to tell how old he is but I do know he has young children.

It doesn't really matter because I've learned a lot about weaning off meds when it comes to me if I should decide later to go down another .5 Who knows, maybe because of age or something else that has changed, I might need this extra .5. Then again if my thyroid needs fixing, I might need less. Time will tell.

As the day goes on, the better I'm feeling. Please, Lord, let tomorrow be another good day. And the day after that would be even better. It has to come to that sooner or later, right? ; - )

God bless,


You are welcome, Rita. I can only speak the truth as I see it.

I agree with you 100%. Although I don't advise it, I can say that many patients end up knowing what is good for them more than the doctors. You know yourself best so if you feel you need to stay on this dose or lower it, then do what you think is best. Only you know how you feel.

Tomorrow will be a good day. I can see you getting stronger and more able to face whatever this situation throws at you. Everyday you get a bit better. The withdrawal may have thrown you some, but you get right back up. And that is what counts.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for the encouragement, Kate. It may take me a bit longer because of my age to bounce back but I'm too determinded to slow down for long.

Only 9 o'clock but I'm going to bed with my book and rest. Not that I've been doing much at all for a long time but bed just feels good!

Have a good night!


You're welcome! I know you can do this, Rita.

Have a good night. Sleep well.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Kate,

Feeling a little better as each day goes by but it's slow. Hernz said it takes 10 days or more for the body to adjust to a new dose. I'm on day 8 and it's pretty obvious it's going to take me a lot longer than that to feel like myself.

My main concern is shakiness and weakness in the mornings.

Please tell me, Kate, am I the only one you've worked with who has had the same problem I'm having with withdrawal symptoms or have there been others? And if so, do they have some of the same problems I'm having?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Kate, I just read

OMG, Kate, how am I ever going to get my life back? Why didn't Hernz tell me about this?

I feel like I'm doomed!



You are doing fine. I read the article and I understand your fear. But you are reading something on Wiki, which can be written by anyone and is not backed up by reliable sources. So this information can be written by someone who does not have a good grasp on the situation or someone who is not backed up by other doctors or sources.

Reading anything on the internet should be taken with a grain of salt. And your own personal experience can be hugely different than someone else's. That is why your own personal doctor needs to provide you the information you need. He knows your medical history and your issues. It is easy to see these things and get upset. You can find almost anything to upset you on the internet. So ignore this. You are fine.

I have had lots of patients go through withdrawal. I have been a drug and alcohol counselor so I've seen many withdrawals. It takes time and effort but it is very possible. You have done so well. Your strength is amazing. And you can do this, I have no doubt. I have seen patients do this and you can to. It takes support and a lot of pushing, but it is not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.

Deep breath, Rita. You are fine. I am here for you. And if I thought something was wrong, I would tell you. I will always be honest with you.

I was called unexpectedly out of town so if you write it may take me some time to get back. But please write as you need to. I will be checking my email frequently and I will write as soon as I can. I should be back this weekend so you know.

You are doing great, Rita. I will keep praying for you. Through God, you can do anything.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** You sound just like my daughter about WiKi. Thanks for the encouragement.

I am feeling extremely tired and washed out. Made myself get out and went to the store for a short time, just to get out and see people doing normal things.

Seeing endo doctor tomorrow. This is one time I hope a doctor finds something wrong with me that can be easily fixed but makes me feel better, although I don't know if she will be able to distinguish between thyroid symptoms (like fatique) and withdrawal symptoms. It's in God's hands.....

"All things work together for good to those who love God and who have been called together by His name" Is that right? It doesn't look like it but I'm too tired to look it up but you know the right ending.

God bless and travel safely,



Absolutely! I could not agree more. All things will work together and you will be fine. And you have many people that care about you and want to support you.

I am happy for you, your appointment with the endo is finally here! It must be such a relief. I think the doctor will be able to tell what is going on with your system, especially if she/he has your records and you tell them your concerns. This is going to give you some of the answers you have been looking for. And it will help to know what is anxiety and what is your body.

I am very interested in what happens tomorrow. I am praying for good things!

Take care, Rita.


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