Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: Withdrawals or mood stabilizer?

Posted by Torrey on June 5, 1999, at 21:13:56

In reply to Withdrawals or mood stabilizer?, posted by Susie on June 4, 1999, at 11:24:06

Susie, I empathize with what you're going through. These medications are definitely a two-edged blade, and the problems with dependence and long-term side-effects have not been adequately studied. It seems pretty obvious, looking through forums like this one, that antidepressants are often VERY hard to get off of. Semantic hairsplitting over the meaning of addiction doesn't help people who are dealing with the withdrawal.

Technically speaking, the benzos are not "addicting" either, although they certainly qualify from a common sense point of view. Xanax, in particular, is extremely hard to quit, and I agree with your suspicion that the once daily dose is destabilizing emotionally. Prescribing Xanax once a day is just foolishness - you are being subjected to the rebound anxiety of an especially difficult withdrawal DAILY. I know, I've been there. A longer-acting benzo like Valium or Klonopin could be used this way, but not Xanax. I strongly suggest you find another doctor.

The question of a time-frame points to one of the real problems with these drugs - you are certainly looking at a good week or so, for the worst part of the withdrawal. But to reach any kind of neurological baseline - to truly find out where you are at without the meds - takes months. At least. The temptation to deal with the rebound depression by going back on meds is hard to resist, especially if you are trying to have a life.

If your (new) doctor will prescribe a longer-acting benzo, the tapering-off would be easier on you. You might consider switching to a longer-acting antidepressant - such as Prozac - also. It would have a much more gradual withdrawal than something like Effexor.

Good luck and best wishes.




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