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Yes. My doctor prescribed Xanax for me and like you, I take it sparingly. And it does help take the edge off. I don't like pills but taking this one is the only way I can keep from losing my mind. I also have been prescribed an anti-depressant but I am kinda scared to start taking it because you can't just stop. You have to be weened off. But the depression is pretty severe and I also have horrible insomnia as well so something's got to give. As long as you are using the xanax sparingly and not taking a high dose you should be fine. A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do to survive the stress and anxiety. You came to the right place. This site has been a lifesaver for me! I found out that others are going through the same issues and feelings that I am, and that helps me to not feel so isolated and alone. Take care of yourself too. That's something I had to learn the hard way.
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My Doctor said to me, "Would You begrudge a cripple his crutches? Well, right now, you need crutches." I take the extended release otherwise I get a roller coaster reaction. I hate the dependency just like you but I hate the anxiety worse.
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I started having anxiety and depression in 2010 when my mom had back surgery and had complications. I thought I was going crazy. Some people thought I didn't want to take adult responsibility, including my mom. I had a friend who talked to my mom on my behalf to get her to understand. I also talked to a neighbor who was a psychologist who told me if I didn't get treatment then I ran the risk of developing a mental illness. I went to my doctor and she put me on zoloft. I took it for about two years. Then last year I went through some stuff not all of it related to my mom's health issues and went to my doctor and was out back on zoloft. It has really helped me.
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I agree with Kittybee entirely. Antidepressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety agents all saved my life. We all have different symptoms and each is so individualized that we can't say what is good for one would be good for another. I'll echo others who have said, Don't be ashamed of taking meds. Everyone has something big they have to deal with in life. Mine is dealing with MDD and GAD from an early age, annexed with an abusive childhood, narcissistic mother and absent father. We all have our own unique stories. Do what you need to for yourself and don't make yourself suffer because you're hesitant about taking meds. Some of us are on them for life. Be safe, be well.
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Xanax is good short term, klonipin is a better choice long term, however, have you considered trying CDB hemp oil for yourself and your mom? I’m a three year caregiver for my disabled mom. She’s had multiple health issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, BPH, brain shunt, stroke and dementia. She often has sundowners at night and wants her momma and wants to go home. Someone suggested the Hemp oil for mom. I ordered it from Amazon and give her a half dropper full at night and she’s a different person. Relaxed, not argumentative, and often sleeps through the night, it’s for anxiety, depression, nervousness and an anti inflammatory. I got the cream for use on my arthritic knee and hand and find it helps a lot. There are different kinds, different manufactures, different strengths. I started with the 500mg. One for mom and find it works like a charm.
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Hello, EP. I believe your posted question was about you taking medication to assist with the anxiety, stress, depression of being a caregiver, is that right? I read the responses with anticipation, because I have your same question about myself (my mom's caretaker). So far, most of the responses have been addressed to the misunderstanding that your query was about your mom, and not yourself. Am I on the wrong track? I'm so grateful for this group!!
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CBD oil by Charlottes Web is a wonderful natural side effect free way to deal with anxiety. It’s also addresses many other ills and helps the whole body get into sync.
Looks like I’m the black sheep here as I don’t believe in any type of pharmaceuticals.
There are also some great CBD Oils that can be vaped, Koi and Hemplucid come to mind.
Also essential oils work wonders wether they are applied to the skin with a carrier oil or atomized with a diffuser.
Pharmaceuticals will definitely make you feel better immediately, but it’s the lasting damage they do that with get you in the end.
For me it’s just not worth poisoning my body when Mother Nature has all the answers, which are cheaper, good for you and side effect free. *when used correctly.
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CHUCHY Feb 2019
You are correct and wise. Imediate solution is not the solution Snowcat 60. Everything I suggested is the natural part of what a seditive has without the chemicals that are used to extract the oils of the natural
substances which is what affects our organs and creates a new illness. I also take natural and pure Royal Jelly.
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Crutches are temporary. Caregiving to someone who is never going to get better - i.e. your mother with dementia - is not temporary. It's a chronic state of being until she or you dies. In my opinion, when caregiving brings the caregiver to the point of needing to chemically alter his or her brain chemistry in order to get through the day that's a red flag waving that something is wrong, demands are too great, expectations are unrealistic, and something needs to change.

Long term benzo use - not abuse but regular use - has been associated with cognitive decline and that cognitive decline may not reverse itself when the benzo is discontinued.

What changes can you make to your daily routine? What changes are within your control to make so that she is safe and you can "finally breathe"?
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Harpcat Feb 2019
Yes...exactly what I pointed out about long term benzodiazepine use. I liked what you said about needing meds is a red flag. I still feel at times meds are appropriate but I steer clear of long term benzodiazepine use. They are an anticholinergic. Which means they act against choline needed in the brain for synapses and memory.
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I am very concerned about YOU. Why on earth are you taking on the responsibility for taking care of a narcisstic mother with dementia? That is a prescription for poison, leading to a painful destruction of YOU. First of all, I would never, ever under any circumstances accept the abuse and problems you get from her. If medical resources cannot keep her in check, you sure can't do it. And why on earth should YOU be made to suffer by taking medication for something you are not responsible for. That is insane. No one should have to endure this. It is time to place her somewhere so you can live in peace, without guilt and without medications for you, and lead your life in the best way you can. Please listen and look for a place to put her. She will destroy you emotionally and physically. Do you feel you deserve that? If so, keep her with you.
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My 91 year old Papa has taken a Xanax every night to help him sleep for years. He went off of them at one point with no issues.

He now is also prescribed 1/2 a pill in the afternoon for anxiety and restlessness from Parkinson’s.

Take what you need to take to get you through this terrible time. Worry about stopping them when you are not so stressed and you have the patience and calm to do it.
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Yup on CBD. xanax yes, I have a script too. I take a bit when all he'll breaks loose. By a bit, I mean a half of a half. Mine is refilled not that often. Yes benzos are very addicting. I was once prescribed PRN. Not a good idea. Klonopin is just as bad, if not worse.


Go with with water soluble cbd oil first. Irony is xanax cheaper.
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Yep, people never choose to become addicted on purpose but unfortunately it happens. Love your answer!
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Thanks for the post. Good responses with good choices. I think you have thought it out with both the pros and cons. Ultimately it is up to you to do what works for you. Since you have thought it thru and your doctor is ok with it, I think you need to take the edge off in the best way for you. Get a good nights sleep so you can face the day. Its better than the stress your body has to endure when dealing with the demands and the crazy.
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GAD = General Anxiety Disorder, am I right?
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Harpcat Feb 2019
Yes
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I take calm which has magnesium which helps for stress . Stress Shield Vitamin with B for emotional well-being. What you need is time for yourself. Massage once in awhile . Respite care. A hobby that you care about to distract you. Daycare for mom. Anything to give you a break.
meditation for 10 min. Just to breathe
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Not Xanax, but Diazepam after I got home to my home state because I was sad that my mother died. I had to leave my home, family, ant state and move in with my mother where she demanded to live alone in her own home in another state 500 miles from mine. Do what you must and God Bless You.
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It (Xanax) is a controlled substance, but the risk of dependence puts in a lower category, it's a Class IV on the list at the CDC (I just looked it up). Based on the fact that it took you 3 years to use the last prescription, it doesn't sound like you need to worry about addiction. You can trust yourself. Use it as needed.

I find that just knowing that I have the option to take the Xanax if the need arises is very helpful. There's nothing as horrible as having serious anxiety and having to white knuckle it.

I have some similar issues, including not being a great sleeper. The sleep is a problem that you can definitely address with your doctor. There are both behavioral and medication solutions to that, too. When I'm good I have a routine which includes a bath, soothing music, dark cool bedroom, sleep mask. I also do a slow yoga class once a week.

I worry about you because you are struggling to get through the day. Because of this, I would recommend you see a therapist, if you're not already. Sometimes I think of mine as the good fairy, sitting on my shoulder, guiding me through difficult times. It's so helpful to have an objective person who is experienced in how to cope. When you're tired and stressed out it can be great to have another person who can even just help you with problem solving.

Feel free to write to me if you like.
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Try not to take it every day as the more you take them, the less effective they will be. Only when you are desperate take them...& try to find other coping mechanisms..maybe therapy, talking to friends, getting respite by having outside caregiver come to house..& you go out to library or movie. What about part time job? & Caregiver stays w mom while you’re at work? It can do wonders to be in a different environment! Hugs 🤗
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SparkyY Feb 2019
I'm really not trying to be an @ss but you can list all the alternatives to Xanax that Drs and people trying to help are pushing on the OP. Nothing will ever come remotely close to the relief and peace Xanax brings. Warning: it's true about not getting something for nothing. The withdrawal off Xanax is the worse I have ever experienced. It's not a schedule IV because it's abuse potential is low it's that way because Drs originally weren't supposed to prescribe it for more than two weeks at a time. The "take as needed but not more than three times a day" it always said on my bottle made it seem safe. Just remember when you take something that makes you feel so much better it changes your life you're going to have to pay for that relief.
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You may want to check into L-tryptophane and GABA. They are supplements that helped my dementia mom. It helped a lot with her sleep and anxiety. Health food stores can explain how they work.
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Yehoshua Feb 2019
Yes I use GABA Neurontin although I suggested she also try Bedtime Valerian root tea. This follows the same path as the Benzes, as Gaba does not. You might want to reply again to this woman - my typing was awful!
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Xanax is my friend. It has helped me a lot in caring for my parents. I was getting heart palpitations and severe anxiety, because of the stress in getting my parents into a facility, and dealing with the courts while getting legal guardianship.
Take the meds as prescribed, and you should be o.k.
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If you use it sparingly you will be fine. I also have a prescription and just knowing it is there helps me. I also break them I half. If it is big panic attack I take the whole pill. If my heart is just (ha) racing a mile a minute I take half. This is a huge ordeal on your mind, body, and spirit. It is okay to have something that helps.

If you find you are taking them multiple times a day. Then you reach out to your doctor, I think the fact that you are preworrying shows you have an understanding of the dangers. You will find other things that help. Personally I like to sit with my feet in hot water in the bathtub (2-3 inches) and read or play games on my phone. It gets me away and gives me comfort. You will find your own thing that you can use instead of the pills for everyday incredible stress.
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I take Zoloft 150mg & Klonipin as needed. Lately it’s needed. My Dad dislikes his caregiver & the only reason is that he thinks by getting him to leave, the lady that we had before, can return. No, that’s not going to happen. I stay with him Sunday evening until Friday. My home is an hour away & my Dad thinks that I should stay with him 24/7. When I leave for my home, he asks to come with me. I need a break!! I’m at my wits end, I’m taking my Dad to visit several nursing homes this coming week. I hate to do this but he isn’t leaving me any choice. Hugs appreciated!
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Can you research HUSH.Shuti program? It is available through grant only but is an excellent way to regain control over sleep naturally without meds. You seem ok and recognize how very dangerous Xanax is.
If you get a box of Yoga Bedtime Tea (It is Valerian root and puts you to sleep easily. Valerian follows the same pathway as benzodiazepines, which Xanax is however it is non toxic non habit forming.
Other than that, yo need to REST FULLY even if it means finding some one else to take your place for some hours.How involved are you with this person and do you recognize when you are doing far too. much, despite your feelings of caring & when yo need to realize a very real danger - that of becoming captive to your emotions & to your concept of DUTY.
wake up please!
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Urging everyone to read Loren Mosher's resignation letter from the American Psychiatric Association.
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I agree that sometimes you need chemical help to stay well. Many family caregivers tell me they drink a bit of wine or take an antidepressant. Sounds like you have been able to use Xanax in the past without abusing it. I never have but I do enjoy a glass of wine to keep calm and patient under the ongoing stress.
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I'm leaving. I love her, she is my mom but I don't deserve the abuse. I don't get anxiety or depression but rather mental anguish. And i don't think there is any pill for that. It's taken me 2 yrs in a half to realize this but I have to save myself.
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Yes and it helped me in more ways than you can imagine.
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Everyone reacts differently to drugs. Fortunately I have never been addicted to any drugs. I am not by any means anti drugs for when it is needed. I do think everyone has to be very careful about what drugs to take and for how long.

I know my opinion on this is due to growing up with an addict. My oldest brother, now deceased was addicted to drugs since he was 13 and it was horrible to watch. No one sees it coming and they often don’t even admit it until they try to get off of a drug. Just be careful. I would try CBD oil first. I’ve heard lots of good things about it.
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I have found this doctor very helpful in dealing with a narc sister.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUp5iBYroBA&list=WL&index=112
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Toadhall Mar 2019
Hi I cut/pasted your link into youtube and got knitting videos! Please could you give the name of the doctor or some other search term to get me there? This could be useful for many of us.
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I need to amend my answer a bit. I have a habit of assuming the worst sometimes. Ok I tried bottom line the Xanax will work wonderfully. You won't remember how you ever managed without them. You have an extreme case and I feel for you but when you start taking drugs ( you can downplay it however you want) because of how someone else is making you feel...... You're setting yourself up for disaster. Sure there are a lot of people who just take one every once in a while and the suffer no hard ship. Your post just screens HELP!!!! some one posted that your caregiving is forever and the Xanax use is just temporary. Reverse that. I know they all mean well but you have some fear or you wouldn't post. Xanax will get you through spectacularly I can't say that enough. That's why it's so often prescribed. Problem is it wasn't meant to be taken indefinitely. But when one crisis ends there's always another one. Im probably gonna get crap over this because I am generalizing. I've been hooked on Xanax. I had a crisis I didn't think I could handle and my doctor gave me a prescription for Xanax. I was blown away! This was roughly ten years ago. I didn't consider myself a drug addict it came from a doctor and I wasn't one of "those" people who abused pain killers. So pretty soon I was an outspoken advocate I thought everyone needs to try this lol. I figured it would bring about world Peace in no time. Then my trusty doctor moved away. I was taking maybe 3 mil a day for about a year no biggie. Two weeks after my last Xanax I hadn't consciously slept yet and everyone was talking about me. My neighbors took control of my television somehow and people I hadn't seen in years were visiting me through a magic doorway in my room. I could not get one doctor to help me untill I went into Gran mal seizures and broke 17 teeth. In the hospital I was given Klonopin and finally found a doctor who properly detoxed me.
This ordeal was so much worse than what I had originally taken them for in the first place .
Bottom line if you get a prescription you'd be better off giving them to the people that are causing your anxiety.
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Sparky, thanks for sharing your experience, and I'm sorry you went through that, it sounds awful. Also you are right, my post does scream HELP! Five months in and I am still so overwhelmed.

I've long been familiar with Xanax. I had my first panic attack in my late 20's and went to the ER thinking I was having a stroke. I've used Xanax since to ward off a panic attack when I feel one coming. If you have never had one, they are very physical in nature, and they are horrible. I'm not sure why I get them. I don't even have to be feeling stressed, first time I was having lunch at Wendy's and it hit me out of nowhere. Although, they do seem to happen during stressful times. Like at that Wendy's I wasn't feeling overly stressed I was just having lunch, but my dad had cancer and overall it was a stressful time.

Through the years I've probably had 20 attacks. I'm 56 now. So my use of Xanax has never been consistent and never daily, or even weekly/monthly. Also I can't imagine 3mg a day. .5 will keep a panic attack away and then leave me exhausted. I don't like the feeling unless I am trying to sleep.

Since my original post I've rethought daily use. I'm not going to do it. The reason is because this situation with my mom is not temporary. This will likely go on for years. I'm only going to use it sparingly, and I'm going to talk to my doctor about an alternative. Something that doesn't mess with the GABA system. Gabepentin was mentioned so I plan to ask about that, and many have mentioned CBD oil so I plan to try that too.

Again, thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad you are doing better now.
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Anybody who is going to take any drug in the class of Benzo's: please read the side effects carefully. It is very easy to become dependent on them. Both of my parents took them daily for decades and thought they were harmless. By the time they were in their 70s they pretty much had all of the side effects listed. I blame them for accelerating my dad's decline into dementia (maybe he would have gotten it anyway). Both have significant balance issues, muscle weakness, etc. While only in their 70s resembling an age nearer to 90. Mom doubled-up on her dose last year to "make it through the day", ran out, had severe withdrawl and ended up hospitalized. Has fallen and broken shoulder and spine within the past six months. She is mid 70s. Was formerly a competitive runner. This stuff will mess with your brain.
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BlackHole Mar 2019
Holy heck, upstream. All this and the day-long wine-drinking, too. Your mom & dad are in a league of their own. I don’t know how you do it. Please take extra-good care of yourself. (((HUGS)))
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