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Xanax Withdrawal and Sleep restriction Therapy

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#1 *guest

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 03:16 PM

Hi,

I'm new to the group. I've been on Xanax for about 5 years. The first
3.5 years I took it only when I woke up in the middle of the night to
get back to sleep but this was every night. It, of course, lost its
effectiveness over time so I increased the dose with my internist's
blessing. I then had a bout of mild to moderate depression in 10/04. I
started seeing a psychiatrist and somehow (great drug for amnesia)
between the two of them (damn them to hell) I got up to 7 mg a day. In
11/04 after not responding well to several antidepressants my
internist put me on Prozac. I looked it up on the Web and found out it
interfered with Xanax metabolism so on the day I started taking the
Prozac I halved my Xanax dose. Needless to say, by the second day I
was acutely and severely depressed. I couldn't get in touch with my
psychiatrist that day and she yelled at me the following day for
allowing the internist to start me on Prozac so I dropped her like a
rock. When I started seeing my current psychiatrist I think his jaw
dropped when he heard how much Xanax I was on so he at least told me I
should try to get on a lower dose. Duh! So I pretty quickly (several
months) got down to 3 mg per day. I'm now reasonably convinced all my
problems over the last 1.5 years all stem from Xanax. I wish I had
never started it and wish now fervently to be rid of it. I am
currently on 2 mg/day and realize that I'm just getting to the hard
part. I've felt a number of the pangs of withdrawal and I hope I'm
ready to feel a lot more before I'm finished. The one thing that
bothers me the most and I realize may be persistent is severe
tinnitus. Between it, the Xanax, and insomnia my life has taken a 180
degree turn over the past 1.5 years.

My current problem is trying figure out how to get completely off the
Xanax and still be able to sleep. I went to a sleep clinic last week
and the physician there told me to try sleep restriction therapy. From
looking at sites on the Web it seems like this sort of therapy and
being on a drug to make you sleep don't go together. However, I
decided to give it a go starting last Thursday night. My current Xanax
schedule is to take 1/4 mg every 4 hours during the day and 0.5 mg at
bedtime and when I wake up in the middle of the night. With that
schedule I'm used to getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep. The first night I
tried the sleep restriction I went to bed at 1:00 AM (the
recommendation by the sleep doctor who examined a 2 week sleep history
that I had compiled). I slept until 4:30 and then got up and took the
Xanax when I was awake. The last 3 nights I have taken the middle of
the night dose and have gotten about 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep. For a
lot of insomniacs that probably sounds like a pretty good amount but
for me my days again feel like I'm on 7 mg of Xanax. So far I'm
hanging in there. The first night I slept until 4:30, the next until
3:30, then 4:00, and last night until 4:30. If I can make it until
5:00 tonight I'll start to feel like this may be real.

So I guess I'm looking for any insight regarding Xanax withdrawal and
sleep restriction therapy from or anyone that has done
anything similar. Is it possible to get positive results, especially
long-term? I'm thinking that dropping my bedtime Xanax dose to 0.25 mg
is my next step as I don't have a problem falling asleep. Too drastic?
- if this is too complex and you think we need a
phone consult let me now. I'm more than happy to do it.



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