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 Post subject: Anxiety Meds in Recovery
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:49 am 
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Hi everyone.

I'm posting because I've been suffering from panic disorder (diagnosed) and GAD for about 5 years now and being an addict in recovery it's hard to adequately treat axiety and phobias/panic without addictive medications (benzodiazepines mainly). My psychiatrist has me on Klonopin because my last psychiatrist had me on Xanax and it only fueled my heroin relapse more and more. My pdoc is trying BuSpar with me right now which I understand is non-addictive but subsequently less effective.

How well do those of you in recovery do while on a medication for your anxiety? Luckily I have great support from my parents and keep a strong routine of accountability (pill counting) with any medications I'm on these days, and will refuse to take any narcotic (opiate/opioid) medications besides buprenorphine ever again. Or maybe methadone if my life let me down that horrible, horrible path again. (unrelated: since last posting here around 2 years ago I've been through 2 rehabs, 2 hard relapses and tried MMT and it was one of the scariest things in my life...)

I remember taking my first prescribed 0.5mg pill of xanax and I was instantly buzzed and knew that I was going to like it too much. That is one medication that as an addict I cannot take. I just can't. A medication like clonazepam that I'm taking works so much slower and when I take it I don't "feel" any euphoria it just helps with my social anxiety and phobias. This goes along well with what I've read online too about many other people that klonopin really doesn't produce a euphoria in a lot of people, especially those who take it daily. Just like how with suboxone sometimes your very first dose may provide a warming small buzz, but euphoria is impossible after that.


Anyway, thanks all for your input :)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Hey :) I hear what you're saying. You're in a difficult position. I know that people who have anxiety disorders struggle to find their treatment to be accepted in 12-step recovery circles. It's probably no coincidence that you came to love Xanax so much. I think instinctively we love the drugs that correct whatever imbalance we have in our brains. I could always take or leave benzos. I did get a bit "hooked" a couple of times, though I'd say it was more of a dependence than an addiction, or a want to take them. I just happened to have a supply at the time and found myself taking them a bit longer than I should. But taking myself off was never that hard.

There are some non-benzo anxiety treatments. I'm thinking of the SNRI medications like Pristiq and Cymbalta. I've known some people with GAD who, once they've found the right anti-depressant that curbs their anxiety, have been really grateful. Also, benzos have a habit of losing their effectiveness, and needing larger doses to get the same effect.

But if you can manage your benzo consumption and it's working for you, then that's what you need. I often consider that psychiatric meds are still in a relatively early stage of evolution. There's still a lotta learning to be had with the brain. Because of that, we gotta make do with what we have at this point in history - using opioids to treat opioid addiction, benzos to treat anxiety etc... Hopefully in our lifetimes the treatments will improve.


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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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