Need thoughts on using Opioids to help with Xanax withdrawal

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Hey everyone,

I'm a 31 year-old male and I've been on and off Xanax for about 7 months now.

My problem started a year ago when I would get heart palpitations at night right after lying on the bed and closing my eyes to sleep. My doctor (a cardiologist) said that it was due to my smoking habit and prescribed me Metoral which seemed be working fine, but each time I stopped taking them the problem would come back a few days later.

So I became anxious a bit and went to another doctor, this time (a GP), and was told that I had anxiety issues. I was prescribed Xanax 0.25 before bedtime along with a beta blocker and it worked miracles, at first! After a couple weeks I realized that the dosage is not working as well as before and I’ve started to experience feelings of anxiety and irritation much earlier than the specified time I used to take them. I doubled my dosage for a few weeks and since it got me worried, I went to see a psychologist who got me on Zoloft which I had to quit just after 3 weeks of usage due to the severe and constant side-effects that were beyond my tolerance. It actually worsened my anxiety by scattering it throughout the whole day! It’d gotten to a point where I had to take 0.25 twice during the day and 0.5 at night and every time I tried to skip a dose or even reduce it a little, I felt like I would collapse! Just knowing the fact that I was a total stranger to panic attacks and extreme anxiety prior to taking Xanax (and Zoloft perhaps)!

So a few days ago, I had to go back to my psychologist to tell her that I wanted to taper off and quit Xanax once and for all! She switched me to Valium 2 and Metoral 12.5 twice a day which isn't helping me much at all! I'm relatively fine for like 4 hours after each take then all hell breaks loose!

I am deeply concerned about the fact that my functionality and well-being is now entirely dependent on a highly addictive pill that I don’t seem to be able to quit!

For the first time in my life I'm starting to feel afraid to even leave the house! I’ve become edgy and aggressive. People around me are starting to notice and even expressed their concerns a few times indirectly!

Since I’m starting to doubt the viability and veracity of this whole Pharma industry, I tried to seek consultation from an old friend who had a long history of benzo and opioids abuse (I know it wasn’t exactly a bright idea). He’s telling me to quit cold turkey and try using opioids like Tramadol pills responsibly and for a short period of time to help deal with withdrawals (Like 2 to 3 weeks at most with lowest dosages possible). I haven’t made up my mind yet, so I was hoping to receive some advice. Does anybody think it’s worth a shot? Or I should avoid doing it at all costs?

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  • Posted

    Opinion; If you would REALLY like to see "all hell break loose", quit a benzo cold turkey. DO NOT DO THAT. You have already proven to yourself that you're very sensitive to side-effects. 1st, completely educate yourself on benzo withdrawal and start a VERY SLOW taper. Get comfortable being uncomfortable for awhile, it's not an easy process. AND; now you want to get dependent on something else like opioids??? There are no meds that really help with benzo withdrawal, you just have to muddle through. ANY alcohol can really mess you up too. 

    There are plenty of people who've gone before you, listen to them. Ummm... not your pal, a cold turkey can kill you.  B.I.C.(benzodiazepine information coalition).  W-Bad org.  benzo org.  benzo buddies. benzowithdrawalhelp.  Read and print The Ashton Manual, you'll need a Dr to PROPERLY prescribe a Valium taper. Best of luck, stay the course.

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    • Posted

      First off, thank you for providing your thoughts on this. It’s been very helpful. Out of all the things you said, this one caught my attention the most “You have already proven to yourself that you're very sensitive to side-effects” which got me into thinking, what if I’m really making this all up? What if I’m subconsciously exaggerating all this? So I decided to go against all odds and quite cold turkey but this time with a positive mindset. By the time I posted this topic here, it had already been 6-8 hours since I last took a pill and I’ve already skipped another three doses, so maybe it’s a bit soon for me to be wanting to come up with a concrete conclusion since I’ve read here and there that withdrawal symptoms usually peak on the 3rd day of stoppage, yet again, I think I’ve come to a very important and crucial realization here:

      “Panic attacks are just merely a mental state where your mind is utterly convinced that it’s completely defenseless against anxiety attacks without an external help. “

      Every time I was struck with anxiety, I used to take Xanax immediately as a quick fix and never gave it much time. Now that it’s not an option for me anymore, I’ve been trying to fight them off naturally using some of the suggestions I received here like devising proper breathing and relaxation techniques etc. and I found out to my own surprise that my anxieties are just temporarily! they come and go, they rise and fall. They don’t gradually build up to a point that would give me a nervous breakdown or a heart attack like I used to think they would.

      Generally, I’m feeling much better than the last time I took a pill. As if my mind is already starting to clear itself up. At this point I’m very confident that I would be able to pull this off.

      P.S. I would also like to mention that I wouldn’t probably find it a good idea to go cold turkey if I’ve been on heavier doses and for longer periods of times.

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  • Posted

    Hi there. Personally I think that quitting cold turkey would be the worst alternative for you. Your body is already showing withdrawal symptoms when you try to taper down. What you might need to do is taper more slowly, try to find a level that is tolerable, stay there for 3-4 weeks and then do a cut again.

    some people can quit cold turkey, some can not and your symptoms indicate that you belong to those who cannot. You observed yourself that the original dosage was not enough after a couple of weeks. That is a good indicator for how you should do when going off. You need a gradual approach.

    you are probably going to feel bad from time to time even when tapering down slowly. But that will pass. Make a program and follow it, because if you do, you don’t have to think what to do next. Gives you less stress. If the dosage is not ok, add up a bit and then try again. Try not to feel guilt. It is ok and you are going to get off the pills gradually.

    there is NO wonder pill available. There is no anxiety or sleeping pill that works wonders, gives us a refreshing sleep with no side effects at all. There is NO such pill. Benzodiazepines are good but become bad after a while. And the symptoms you describe are probably withdrawal more than the original illness. That is why it is never a good idea to taper down with alternating, like taking full dose one day and then skip during the next. Gives you a rebound effect and leaves you body wondering what the heck just happened d there.

    there is a lot of info about how to taper down from benzodiazepines online. And please remind yourself that this is a serious matter, you are messing with your brain. So give it your full attention and full respect. It seems to me that you are a very intelligent young man, your way of writing indicated that. So I wish you luck and I am convinced that you will manage.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it very much.

      Normally I would write you a long reply trying to expand the conversation in a more detailed manner, being the kind of annoying person I am, but luckily for you, despite following my new protocol, I haven't been able to get any kind of sleep in the last 24 hours or so! as if my body is trying to shut down while my brain refuses to! 

      However, all I can say at this very moment is that you're absolutely right! My friend's proposal doesn't make any sense at all! You can't beat an addiction with another addiction! I don't know what gotten into me to even consider that for a second! Probably the thought of those goddamn xanax-induced panic attacks! ha ha ha...  

      Thanks again

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    • Posted

      Hi, you have been given very good advise here! The only thing I would add is to be sure to also do the things to support a slow steady benzo taper such as eat well, exercise, meditate, breath slow and deep and focused when feeling extreme anxiety. Lots of great and simple you tube meditations to use to help with sleep. Try downloading headspace app. Free.

      Know that you will have some rough days ahead. Know also that if you stay the course you will rid yourself of this horrible dependancy. I would also suggest you stick with your Beta Blocker. Will help with rapid heart rate.

      Absolutely do not add an antidepressent, sleeping pill etc. Do not get pulled into that viscious circle of hell any further. Good Luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks a lot. it's very heartwarming to find people who are willing to share their experiences with others and also provide them with support. Keep up the good work!

      I would definitely stick to my Beta Blocker for weeks to come! Actually getting off of it was the main reason I got into this mess! ha ha ha... I think i'll be fine.

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    • Posted

      Hi, things are going OK except for sleeping which is turning things into NOT OK! I was able to sleep for like 3 hours yesterday evening which I woke up from totally energized and feeling terrific, which led me into writing all those heroic things on how I am feeling confident about going cold turkey and stuff. My hands are shaking as I'm trying to type now and sleep deprivation is driving me crazy! I think I'm gonna stop being a smart a** and go back on Valium and taper down.

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    • Posted

      I should also mention that it's currently early in the night where I live, so I haven't been able to sleep for more than 26 hours now

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  • Posted

    Hi unmourned, you have got yourself into a trap like so many other people have before you. I don't know much about Tramadol but I do know what benzos do to people when they cold turkey. I would be looking for a benzo wise doctor rather than following your friend's advice or I would start tapering the Valium. It doesn't sound like you have been on all that long so you might be able to taper more quickly than most. The bottom line is that you can't solve a problem with a messed up brain and CNS with another mind altering drug - you have to allow yourself time to heal. A CT could end you up with a seizure in ER or even death.  Here is a link to The Ashton Manu8al - it is time to educate yourself. https://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzsched.htm

     

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    • Posted

      Hi there, thanks for commenting. I wish things were as easy as you said. I live in a country in Middle East and nearly 99% of people here don't speak or understand English including supposedly licensed professionals. So how exactly on earth am I gonna explain The Ashton Manual to a half-educated pill-prescribing machine? As you've read in my original post I used to take two 0.25m doses of Xanax during the day and a one 0.5m dose at night before I went to visit my doctor to ask for a taper off. She's put me on Valium 2m twice a day which is, according to The Ashton Manual, the Xanax equivalent of nothing! a placebo would probably have a better effect than this Valium dose!

      I think I have no other choice but to use The Ashton Manual to come up with a program myself, then find a corrupt money-grabbing doctor (which is not going to take me very long!) and bribe him or her into writing me a prescription of my own choosing. Unfortunately that's how things work around here!

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