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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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I’ve been on Xanax daily for years. I never abused it & stayed within the prescribed dose. It changed my life for the better. I know I will be on it until I pass & that’s ok with me. My experience doesn’t mean this is the right choice for others. Presently I’m dealing with a husband with mild/moderate dementia & I’m on hospice care for metastatic cancer. I hope you find the right medication for you & do add meditation a few times daily. Sometimes all I can do is 3-5 minutes daily but even that brief a time is helpful. And don’t forget gratitude! Takes no time to say thank you for the sunny day or the email from a friend...things like that can change your outlook quickly. I’ll be thinking about you & wishing you the best!
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Kittybee Feb 2019
((((hugs))))
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I’ve read through all the posts but didn’t see any mention of the connection of taking a benzodiazepine with dementia. For that reason alone, I would not want to take it on a daily basis. Having said that I had PTSD from a car accident and took Klonipin (clonazepam) for around a year along with Lexapro. It was a tremendous help. My psychiatrist weaned me off both with no ill effects. I still have a Rx for Klonipin which I will take one when I know I can’t sleep due to anxiety over dad. But it’s rare.
My dad has GAD and he was put on Buspar (Busparone) which is not a benzodiazepine and Celexa. Medication is important and works. Tapering off correctly is important.
Talk with your doctor about safer alternatives. Try CBD and meditation. Good for you for exercise too! Talk therapy is helpful. But also letting your mom get her care from LTC May help as well.
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Yes but once doctor agreed to give my mom a Xanax a day things got a bit better. She also is on Wellbutrin and Celexa.
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Absolutely! Only it does put me to sleep so doesn’t help when I’m with her.
That narcissism is hell isn’t it?
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Unfortunately I take Ambien, Xanax on occasion help sleep and reduce my anxiety. I'm 56 years old and also tried smoking pot lol (Didn't like it though lol) I'm always looking for something else that will help with my feelings of taking care of my Dad, who has LBD and Parkinsons. I finally said to myself enough is enough of the self medication and I started to take better care of myself. I went to see a nutritionist and we changed my diet and it has helped. I occasionally still take the Ambien but I do the best I can.
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My doctor has put me on a very old anti-anxiety drug a couple of times. It is called Buspar, or Buspirone. This worked miracles for my anxiety, and when I felt I no longer needed it, he weened me off of it. I took 2 halves per day, mornings and evenings. For some people this may work better than some of the newer meds. The only side effect I had was to watch my depth perception while driving and stopping with the car in front of me. Luckily no problems occurred. This got better as I adjusted to this medication. This medication may be an alternative for some people.
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Yes my mom has taken it for years and can not get off of them. I read an article that once you become addicted coming off the xanax addiction was the same as coming off a Heroin addiction. I have taken it as you have Sparingly. I take sometimes half of one. There are other natural thing you can take for nerves and anxiety such as: a strong Linden tea, Passion Flower drops, you can buy at amazon Calm by Highlands you can also use Boch products. All theese you can find at a health food store or through Amazon. I have tried all these and they work. You have to build yourself a daily an hourly regimen until they are in your system with whatever you choose. I hope this helps. I would try Calm first it gives you a well bieng effect
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Xanax is very addictive.  There are other meds that are not as addictive, like Busbar (not sure of the spelling).  If you are worried about becoming dependent, ask the doctor for an anti-anxiety drug that is not prone to being abused.  I totally understand the waking up during the night and being terrified about all sorts of worried.  Busbar helps one of my loved ones with this.  One thing that is very important is to avoid focusing on the fact that you have been reduced to taking something to help.  It is not your fault and there is nothing you can do about it at this time.  It is the responsible thing to look for something to help you deal with this overwhelming responsibility.  You have to take care of yourself and thank God there are meds that can help with that these days and not be addictive or prone to abuse.  Talk to your doctor about that if you are afraid that you cold possibly become dependent on Xanax.
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Dear Piper, yes I am there with you. I use Xanax maybe once a week, and more often before care meetings or when my mom is not doing well.
This is a difficult time and you are doing the best you can to handle the caregiver stress on top of having a life. Please be kind to yourself and know and believe you are doing your best.
Perhaps seeing your pastor, a grief counselor or therapist would offer some comfort, as i have come to learn that accepting the ugliness of the situation gave me a certain peace. If none of those are available, perhaps confiding in a trusted friend would be helpful.
Is there an Alzheimer’s support group in your area? If so, attend. I also go at least weekly to a yoga class for stretching and the meditation, which I call upon those frequent nights insomnia takes over. (A cup of warm decaf tea, and a good book read with very low lighting to tire the eyes works wonders, too.)
You didn’t mention if you are caregiving in the home, or if Mom is in a care facility. If home, finding a respite caregiver to come so you can get out might prove helpful. If in a facility, which is my situation, don’t go every day. Take a break by sending someone else or just trusting the caregivers there.)
You ARE doing the best you can. God bless.
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Not Xanax, but another AD. Began not long after we were economically forced to move the mother-in-law in with us. She was aggressive (even hit me, sprayed Lysol in my face — would barge in our home office and scream at us, slam doors - terrible judgment, reckless behavior that could damage our condo - serious hating on me, the daughter-in-law, and pretty awful to her only child.)

My wife, too, is ill w/rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Any attempts to help the MiL were aggressively shot down. This was not sustainable. No money, no family — small and scattered that it is — will take her in. Wife said she gets back on her Zoloft or she must move out. Never seen my patient, loving wife so angry.

All resources we reached out to said we had to “bring her” (what, tie her to the roof of the car? Because she wasn’t getting IN the car with us) to a hospital psych ward — or wait ‘til something awful happened and call police (important: let them know you’ve got a mentally ill person that needs help).

AD has helped us cope — the right med is a relief — doesn’t take the problem away, but helps you make space for yourself, take care of yourself. Also helped us find our humor, again — so essential to well-being. Not to be unkind, but the wording of your Q made me laugh. Yes, we and 2 of our 3 kitties are on AD. And now, thankfully, so is the MiL.

Please seek help yourself. Try to find community, whatever form that may take (as in this forum), and with the help of AD, you’ll understand that somehow, someday, someway, this, too, shall pass. Meanwhile, you’ve got a life to live, in spite of your narciccistic mother. I hope someone can help you get — and keep (that’s the trick) her on the right meds. We’re not happy that the MiL is living with us, but now that she’s back on her Zoloft, things are better.

Better living through chemistry, indeed.
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My doctor prescribed Celexa. Later, when I asked if she had any better drugs (she is familiar with my situation), she explained that my anxiety, depression, etc. are situational, not chemical. Most anti-depressants like Xanax are intended to correct a chemical imbalance. She thinks Celexa is the best choice for me. I suggest you talk to you doctor about the best medication for your situation.
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I used Xanax for three years, taking 0.5 mg at bedtime to help me relax enough to sleep. I was waking in terror several times every night, fearing my parent would live so long I’d die first, the stress was almost overwhelming. No it’s over and I don’t need it.
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Agh! I know the feeling.
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I appreciate all the responses. I'm also glad that a couple people mentioned Gabapentin. I wasn't familiar with that drug so I looked it up and it seems like it would be a safer alternative to Xanax. I see my doctor on April 2 so I am going to ask about trying Gabapentin.
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Careful. Gabapentin can have terrible side affects. I understand it can help w/depression, but I understand that it’s really for physical pain and iflammation. (My wife is on a low dose of Gabapentin, due to R.A. and fibromyalgia.
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Something I have to say over and over and over and over to myself. Close your eyes and say - IT IS THE DISEASE. I also know that I have to attend group sessions in person. It is part of self care. This is the most difficult time of your life. No one ever prepared you for going through this. There is no book on this. I also know that I can see how people can drink alcohol or take drugs as they walk through this with their parent(s). I think what we go through is PTSD. Many of us are on antidepressants, are on other medications that we normally wouldn't be on. I think we just have to use caution. Personally, Ativan and Klonopin are two that I have during this journey kept and used on days when things were soooo stressful and I needed to sleep or calm down. I feel Xanax is a harsh drug. If I needed to sleep through the night- I would go for low low dose Ambien if I was looking for a prescription . It worked for me. Used it for one year. Didn't have to use it again. Presently I use Ativan when I need it. What concerns me is that insurance companies are cranking down on restrictions and I have seen on television where they have denied individuals coverage on their prescriptions then the people have to pay out of pocket. Try CBD with melatonin added capsules. It works sooo good!
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Me. The only thing that turns off my mind at night. One medium dose tablet at night about one hour before bed.
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I was given a prescription of Xanax during an after hard chemos for cancer. It not only helped the uncontrolled nausea and vomiting... it was a blessing for sleep. I never abused it, as it was only a 5 mg dosage. Although the dr was fine with giving me continued prescription, I weaned myself off over a few weeks, by breaking the tablet in smaller pieces.
I think the biggest Godsend was being able to sleep.
I understand the trepidation around some such meds, but you, exhausted, are not abusing the medication.
when life’s circumstances change, and the stress is not so rampant, you can wean yourself off this.
God bless you, and I pray your anxiety lessens and you rest well.
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Hey, oh boy have I been there! Alprazolam is very addictive and withdrawals could last for a long time. My advice and this worked for me, ask your Dr. to write you a script for Clonazepam, those two are benzos but act very differently ,this one wont give you such unpleasant withdrawal, most importantly love and believe in yourself! Good luck, you can do it!
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Midkid58 Feb 2019
Just an FYI--Clonzepam and Klonipin are the same drug.

I have found that the lowest prescribed dose is ALWAYS effective, for me. Xanax is too "harsh" but, to each his/her own.

I am also giving CBD oil a try, on the fence about it.
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I have GAD & PTSD as well. I was taking Xanax for a 1 1/2 yrs, however, I have replaced it with CBD and I feel much better not taking Xanax.

I want to start with that I think meds are good for people who need it. Sometimes life throws us just one to many curve balls and those of us with anxiety disorders needs meds to get through it. But please stay away from Xanax and klonipin they are highly addictive more than other drugs in the Benzo family. Taking Xanax on a daily bases can cause memory loss, motor skills problems, muscle loss, cognitive decline, make the anxiety worst, dependence for sleep, and etc. The small dose of Xanax is 2mg and all I took was .50mg to 1mg and can I say that the withdrawals were h3ll! There are better Benzo to take. I am not trying to scare you, but if I feel you might be going down the rabbit hole I feel the need to warn you. I understand that you were taking it here and there, but now you are taking it daily is a whole nother story. This is why I switch to CBD because there are no side effects, in fact, with all the different meds I have been on over 10 yrs I never felt like myself, but now I am getting me back.

People can say you can taper off with Xanax and klonipin but it is not that easy!

If you need medication find something else. There are better Benzo out there.

Sorry that you have found yourself in this mess. My mother is a NPD so I get it. I promise you that once you come up with a care plan for your mom it will get easier even as she gets worse, reason being is because anxiety is based on fear of the unknown. But once you have a plan-the unknown because a clear picture with an action plan!

Stay strong and do what is right for you. I think Joanne has the right idea, "if mom is making you medcate more it is time to find mom a new place to live." We are here for you.

Good luck!
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VeggieG Feb 2019
What brand of CBD oil do you use and where do you get it? There are so many types!
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