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Recently got a script from my doctor. He said daily use was okay, but he also knows I use it sparingly. In the past I've had this med for GAD and panic attacks, and used it with no problems but I only used sparingly. One script lasting 3 years.


Now things are different and I struggle to make it through each day and have terrible insomnia. I wake up at 2AM and the intrusive thoughts and worry take over. I HATE that I need meds to cope with this, but feeling like I'm losing it on a daily basis can't be good for me either.


I guess I fear physical dependency, which is bound to happen with daily use. I know my doctor would help me taper when the time comes, but it just sucks that I have been reduced to needing this. But I won't lie. It definitely helps to take the edge off. Not in a recreational high type of way, but in a "I can finally breathe" kind of way.


Any experience out there with this type of thing?

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I understand your anxiety I’ve thought about it taking it, for the same things but haven’t done it. I take lots of magnesium in the form of Calm And B vitamins to help with the stress. I also meditate .this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Inlist help even its only once a week an hour, what ever, you must take care of your self. If you fall apart who will take care of your loved one. Call the Alzhiemer line just to talk to someone if you can’t make it to a support group.
dont give up!
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I had a script but never took it for fear of exactly what you were describing. I now take suntheanine in the morning with my coffee and occasionally my grandma will have some coffee with me. I find it calms us both down tremendously.

Note, I am in CA where I have access to lab tested THC/CBD oil which I also add to my grandma’s almond milk at breakfast and more in the coffee so that could have an effect as well. When my grandma returns to her home state, I will be buying CBD oil from Bluebird as I hear good reviews on the quality of their product. They also have a discount offer for low income individuals. I will post back and let you know of the quality of their oil once we start using it.
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RellRell Apr 2019
Watch what you write on this forum since it deals with prescriptions and inadvertantly healthcare. My account just got locked out for adding an edit that I additionally also pop lemon balm capsules when things get rough, despite having a script for lexapro and klonopin, because it is in MY OPINION (for fear of this being deleted and being locked out again, I am re-specifying that this is my belief only) that although homeopathic alternatives aren't as a effective as prescription medication, the side effects from prescription medication outweigh its potential benefit. At 20, a doctor prescribed me lithium and respidirol that gave me a light tremor and muscles spasms in my leg, that could have become permanent had my mother not found out and got second opinions from different doctors. It turns out i had Thyrioditis that cleared up on its own and potential anxiety, and not bi polar.
After that experience, and from seeing people around me struggle with prescription withdrawals after following the doctors recommendation to the T and my own experience. I found it it to be in my best interest to find non prescription alternatives (exercise, meditation/mindfulness, homeopathic supplements) especially when it comes to mind altering prescriptions despite what my doctor recommends. That being said I don't think there is a cure all for everybody so you will have to do your own research or find a holistic doctor of which there are not many (i.e. Dr.Sebi) as I realized that my doctor can't recommend supplements unless there is enough scientific evidence. Though I did ask if L-theanine and Lemon Balm were safe and she said as far as she knew but its take at your own risk. FOR ME, the alternatives, not only all have bonus benefits, they are all readily available without a prescription and can't be patented, due to this they will not be recommended by your standard medical doctor. For me I find the alternatives are gradual and take time to build up before the effects are noticeable, I still have my script for when things hit the fan but as time went on, I felt better and the times I would need or want one tapered off. Hope that helps, sucks I can't get back into my account now.
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I am prescribed Zoloft and also Klonopin for anxiety.
I tried to not take Klonopin, afraid that my Doctor might
not prescribe it due to the government crackdowns. She
said that I need to take them,lol. Think she is afraid that
I might crack up. Big hug to you!
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Oh I just read a reply that mentioned CBD oil, please make sure it's absolutely legal in your area and if it has some certified ingredients. Some people in Utah have died and the tested vials have tested anywhere from plain olive oil to thc that would've landed that person in jail instead of the grave had the right dose been taken. See the US Gov't Bill says HEMP and CBD are legal in all 50 states but down here in Texas industrial hemp is just a farm crop not for ingestion and cbd oil is not regulated either and is a byproduct of hemp so therefore not legal but medical marijuana is legal only for patients with a double diagnosis of untreatable epilepsy. Tricky huh! Yep I'm an officer and my big old dumb butt ordered hemp gummies to combat upcoming sibling stress and hoped they'd help me sleep but basically they are cool omega 3-6-9, vitamins b,d,e gummies that say hemp so far!! Oh sorry Hawaiian hemp!! Lol. Yeah drugs shouldn't be the answer for anyone and is probably the reason we are sadly a weird bunch of mindless mobs these days. Maybe we are normal and it's just everyone else are the one's who are driving themselves crazy by being selfish not being caregivers?? See we shine!! Come on give it to me, it's already been an absolutely infuriating week and my family hasn't even arrived yet!! Trying my best to smile grin and bear it, hoping rain keeps them away! Maybe my hemp gummies will keep them away?? Really if I can find time, trust myself to leave the house, trust my Pop not to fall or try to get out of bed I go to Krav Maga down the street and beat up bags and crawl all over the floor, learn new and better self defense moves from Israel special forces and new Marines. I get home energized, soaked to the bone, happy, tired, sore but good. I bought this mat that simulates skating, I haven't hard hard wood floors since I was a kid 40 yrs ago, so socks on a freshly waxed old style hard wood floor or ice skating but in a hot house in Texas! I skate my little heart out and that's not hard these days. I know we work hard with our families but that little bit for ourselves sometimes is better than drugs and definitely better for you in the long run.
Best wishes,
Junior
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God I wish I could find a doc that wasn't afraid to prescribe xanax for me. My sister when she decides to show up with her rowdy bunch that doesn't help my anxiety one bit, sometimes slips me 5-10 pills she took from her friend or baby daddy. Sketchy I know but I'm so thankful and make them last as long as possible. The same with migraine meds. I hate my niece has them at 16 but at the same time I'm glad she has tried so many and none of them work and my sis has stock piles! Although she micro manages them to me too. I have a seizure disorder that presented itself while I was caring for our Mom, who passed 13yrs ago. Now caring for our Dad it's way more difficult or I'm just older and I don't take care of myself at all anymore so seizures are way off the charts. I thought hanging with Pop doing the bachelor pad hangout would be doable and he'd pass away (DNR) be with Mom, simple. Yeah, well he fell, healed, fell, almost had a heart attack as POA I gave the DNR kissed him and left the room as told by the nurse....Pop says "no I need to stay for my baby, she's divorced and needs me?" Really?? Yep, paddles away, Pop's staying alive because of my divorce?? Cool wait what but that's not the agreement, oh crap who's going to rehab and care for you, well crap I'm quitting my career and life again and going home for good. My older sibling have children, work, church, can't move, don't want to remember them like that, we're retiring now too.....4 years later we are broke and they are telling me to sell things, put him in a home before they will help me or him and I shouldn't be in this situation I needed to budget, grow up, it's just like having kids and a job they do it every day. I'm a cop I don't think like this, I'm one of the 1st female Marine pilots in combat zones I'm not a secretary or special ed teacher at a church like they are. They were born patient and Pop requires sooo much more patiences than Mom required. My fear of failure is not helping things at all. Everytime Pop falls, poops himself, or a dozen other things I end up hurting myself trying to hard then worrying, starring at the baby monitor, many sleepless nights, making budgets that will never work, laundry, dialysis and my own seizures so yeah I'd be glad I had them just to sleep a few hours without dreams or checking things all night. Most of the time I think I'm losing my mind these days but apparently I fit right in here and there is a thing called burnout and caregiver stress! Thank God I'm not crazy, I'd hate to break it to my patrol partners that it wasn't just an act! Lol. I'd say you're not an addict if your self checking yourself! That's a good sign. But also take you respite when and how you can safely! Best wishes!
Junior
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Exhaustedpiper; Yes it happens to so many of us I am so stressed out I am so afraid that my Aunt is going have something bad happen she gets sooo DIFFICULT sundowners is very hard to deal with i find myself in tearsall the time!Im afraid to go to bed Im worried about her ALL THE TIME!! I AM ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED TOO
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I may have been a little harsh. I have met people who could take them responsively. Very few. My aunt had agoraphobia and would trade them to me for giving her perms. I loved it from the first time I tried them. It probably runs in the family. I've had issues with all kinds of drugs through out my life but Xanax was the hardest drug I've ever gotten off of.
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Absolutely. I promise you are not alone. You got me with narcissistic mother with dementia! My doctor didn’t like the medicine I was on so he switched me to an as needed Med for anxiety. I try not to have to take them but they do help. Some days I wonder which one of us will die first. I’m exhausted,frustrated, guilty, angry, resentful, and sad.... all in a matter of 5 minutes. So, I hope you realize you are not alone. Please feel free to contact me anytime you need reassurance.
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Piper,

((((Hugs))))

I understand the crippling anxiety of caring for a narc mom with dementia. Got one of those. I've been on chronic antidepressants for decades for the same reason with no idea how to get off the merry-go-round. The antidepressants literally saved my life. But now, if only I could get off them! These prescription drugs are indeed lifesavers, but pushing yourself into likely dependency just feels wrong! Don't misunderstand. I don't condemn the use of benzos or antidepressants. They have their place.

If caring for a toxic parent means reliance on a highly addictive substance, this is too great a sacrifice on anyone's part. I strongly suggest you consider an alternative plan her care. No way should you be caring for someone who makes you ill to the point you have to take a drug.

You needn't sacrifice your own well being to care for your mom. There are other ways!
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Thanks for bringing up the dark side. There is a dark side.
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If you think you have depression, Zanax is not going to help. Was it a family doctor who gave you the Zanax? It seems like your condition has gone beyond the care of the family doctor. Talk to your doctor again. Make sure you tell them all that is going on not just "I have some anxiety". Most people don't want to hear this, but you should consider actual mental health treatment. See a psychologist to discuss your situation. The psychologist can send you to a psychiatrist for the medication you probably need. Is there another way to have care for your mother? It seems like you are undergoing serious harm while doing this. Should you allow yourself to be harmed like this? I've had several relatives with narcissism with and without dementia. I understand what you are experiencing. Please take action before you are broken. Others have given practical advise for how to get away from this.
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Right, and short term.
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First, my heart goes out to you.

I was my mother's caregiver and she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I developed severe health problems, due to the stress of caring for her. Now that my caregiving responsibilities are over, I have had time to take care of myself and most of the health problems I got from caregiving have resolved themselves.

If at all possible, *do not provide day to day care for a parent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder*. Even if that parent leaves you a generous inheritance, you will pay dearly for it. Yes, caring for this person can (and many times, will) shorten your life. It is not worth it.

These people generally do better being cared for by professional caregivers, not family. The best place for your mother is in a facility specially designed for people with memory disorders, one that can handle someone who has pre-existing mental health problems. So, you're probably going to be looking at an Assisted Living that has a special wing for those with memory problems or a nursing home.

You don't have to go this alone. The first thing I would do is contact the Alzheimer's Association office closest to you. They can be very helpful. Next, I would contact my local senior center and arrange to meet one of the social workers. In this situation, a good, traditional social worker is worth his or her weight in gold. A good social worker will understand that your mother is *really* too much to handle, that you are no longer able to provide day-to-day caregiving. This person will know what resources are available, help you with paperwork (which can be confusing). A good social worker will think short, medium and long term... that is, how to reduce your burden now (that can be helping you get paid caregivers, having your mother 'try' assisted living by spending a week or two there, perhaps arranging your mother to go to a senior daycare).... then getting your mother moved into a memory care unit in an assisted living and making financial arrangements for it. My Alzheimer's Association sponsors caregiver support groups, and so does my senior center.

Most states have an Office of Elder Affairs, with someone who can connect you to local senior services. My state senator has a staffer whose job is constituent relations--and that person knows how to connect people like you with information sources, such as Elder Services (my area actually has 2 elder services groups, one through the local senior center and a regional group). Sometimes, the most helpful group might not sound obvious. I have a friend who just had a stroke and is having vision problems. In her area, you go to the Cystic Fibrosis people when you need to borrow durable medical equipment. Her case manager (a social worker) is from an organization unrelated to what's wrong.

A good social worker will understand that you, as caregiver, are 'the other victim'. This person will help you reach out for care.... care you (and every other person who is caring for a difficult person) really does need.

If you can afford it (they are not cheap, but worth it), you can hire, privately, a geriatric case manager. I've used one. This is usually an experienced geriatric social worker or geriatric nurse. This person can do more for you than the social worker at your local senior center can do. This person can: run a family meeting where you sit everyone down and talk about your mother's needs (and deal with siblings who don't want to spend 'my inheritance' on expensive care), arrange for professional caregiving and supervise them, keep an eye on your mother, help you locate appropriate living situations and help with the admissions process, deal with paperwork, etc.) A geriatric case manager is especially useful when you come from a dysfunctional family.

Hope that helps.
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I like having some xanax around just in case they are needed for a really, really bad day when I really, really need to chill or get sleep. Other than that, it is probably best to look for other ways to take care of daily stress. Taking a walk around the block seems to really help me "clear my head" and feel better. It is a good way to find a little peace. Especially if I need to be on top of my "game" as far as dealing with whatever issue is presented for the day. I'm not good in my role as caretaker if I'm not completely "there". I need all my available brain power to deal. Getting some exercise helps with sleep as well.
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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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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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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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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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Yes and it helped me in more ways than you can imagine.
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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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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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Urging everyone to read Loren Mosher's resignation letter from the American Psychiatric Association.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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GAD = General Anxiety Disorder, am I right?
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Harpcat Feb 2019
Yes
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