Xanax for Anxiety

Updated on December 05, 2011
M.. asks from Appleton, WI
14 answers

My Dr prescribed Xanax .5mg when needed for severe anxiety attacks and for insomnia. (my appt was for anxiety not insomnia??) She also has me changing my diet and exercise plan to help with anxiety. The only time my anxiety is a problem is when I am in public. My problem is that when I take this medicine I get so drowsy. I cut the dose in 1/2 and I still am somewhat drowsy.
So I called and spoke with a nurse today and she informs me that I am only suppose to be taking these before I go to bed and for SEVERE anxiety attacks only. So basically only take them at night so that I get a restful sleep. So will this medicine last throughout the next day when I'm having these attacks? How do I know if I will have an anxiety attack the next day. I would rather not take one if I don't need to.
Has anyone ever been prescribed this medicine for this kind of situation? and how did it help?

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all your wonderful insight! I appreciate everyone's opinion! I have since made a phone call to my Dr. Thank you again Mom's!!

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answers from Chicago on

I take Xanax occasionally (because it is addictive, you know) to reduce my PMS symptoms. So I need it about once or twice a month. I take it before bed on the evening of the day that I anticipate high activity with the kids and I feel that my patience is very thin. It helps me sleep very well and the next day I am calm and sort of have this "nothing rattles my cage" attitude. So, for me - it does carry over the next day and it does make me sleepy. I only take 0.25 mg though.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Honestly I WOULD NOT take this med, it is one of the most highly addictive meds. I know others will say it's not, but if your ask your doc this and if he's a good doc he'll be honest with you and tell you the truth.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If I have a panic attack and need to take a xanax I will still feel the effects of it the next day but it is not in a pleasant way... it is more like a hungover feeling. I only take them when I have full on panic attacks, I would not be able to function if I took them daily. I have found that taking Valerian root helps me immensely and does not make me too tired. I can take it in the middle of the day and it cuts the anxiety without putting me into a coma like the xanax.

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answers from Redding on

My husband takes these for the same reason. He would fall asleep right after taking one in the middle of the day, so he took them at night for a few nights in a row and then he got used to them and is now able to take one during the day without getting too drowsy to do things. Give yourself about a week to get your tolerance leveled out. Just take a half if that's all you need.

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answers from Milwaukee on

I take it for insomnia. 1/2 a pill and I am out. There are other pills out there. You just have to find the right one for you. Explain to your doctor how the pill makes you feel. You have to give it some time to work also. Are you still having the anxiety during the day? I was taking a pill for Post Tramtic Stress Disorder that wasn't as bad. I am sure there are other options out there for you.

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answers from Houston on

I was prescribed xanax for a similar reason, the panic attacks, but not for being in public. They do make me sleepy and I only take one when I am really really upset and my blood pressure spikes. I can take it during the day, but would rather not. You may need an anxiety medicine that is more long-term. I take Buspar daily and it has really helped. No sexual side effects like I had with depression/anxiety medicines, and no drowsiness. I hope you find some relief :)

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answers from Wichita Falls on

I agree with what Carrie said. It is highly addictive and I would get a second opinion.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I take propranolol (a beta blocker) as needed for anxiety in social situations, like giving speeches or interviews. I don't have anxiety all the time, but the physical symptoms, such as blushing, shaking, sweating, can be dibilitating during these times and lead to more severe anxiety that people are are noticing and staring at me. The drug doesn't take away the nervousness or mental anxiety, but does mask my physical symptoms well, which is often enough to take the edge off and help keep me calm.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet has also helped a ton with my anxiety symptoms and I can tell quite a difference when I stick with an exercise routine.

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answers from Iowa City on

Perhaps you could try lorazepam? It tends to be better for general anxiety rather than full blown panic attacks (alprazolam takes effect more quickly but doesn't last as long). It also has a longer half-life. Pretty much any benzo can make you drowsy. You could also ask your doctor about a SSRI (like citalopram) sometimes those are prescribed for anxiety. Good luck.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I was once prescribed xanax, for sever anxiety. It also made me very sleepy. I also had another reaction, which worried my doctor and I was switched to Zoloft. I do not believe that your taking the xanax at night will have any effect on your tomorrow. It will help you sleep, but not help your anxiety the next day. Try and learn the symptoms or triggers for the attacks and take your xanax then. Or when you feel yourself about to have an attack then take it.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

You are misunderstanding the instructions. They want you to take one every night before bed, please check to make sure that is what the pharmacist wrote on the bottle, if not then check with the doc in person, it could be a communication error.

Then if you are having a anxiety/panic attack, out in public and life suddenly goes wacko then take one. That is what it means to take one when you are having a severe one. You are actually having one that is out of control and not able to stop, relax, breathe, and re-focus your mind to something not related to agoraphobia. I had the same issues when I had panic attacks. I would totally freak if I were trapped at a stop light or in a seating situation. I had to be where I could make a right turn on red in traffic and in a meeting I had to be right by the door. If not I would just sit and keep looking at the door and in my mind I would be imaging I would fall down and make an idiot of my self if I needed to escape so the actual content of the meeting was lost on me. At church I would sit in the foyer if the back seats were taken.

These are called avoidance behaviors and I do them so well. I used to do them, it doesn't bother me much anymore. I worked hard and flooded myself until it was not an issue anymore.

Therapy can really help you learn good relaxation and how to stop, recognize where the panic is coming from (the trigger) and stopping them from happening any more. It may take years to finally see the end of them but it is do-able.

Knowledge is wonderful and I can promise you that once you see what the trigger is it won't have this power over you anymore.

My triggers were being out in the wilderness away from medical care therefore I could not leave home without my safe person... agoraphobia, my dad died in the Arbuckle Wilderness.

Then I could not do traffic where I was trapped and could not get out...claustrophobia, probably from where we had an accident in Norman and a semi ran over our car during a wreck and that really tore me up mentally, duh, we were sitting 3rd in the row at a stop light.

Being alone especially without the ability to contact a person to talk to was a wild one, I had to be able to talk to a person one on one right away so I would know I was not alone.

Find your triggers and they lose power, you gain control. Then no more meds.

You need to sleep very well. Your mind and body will repair itself much quicker if you are rested.

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answers from Seattle on

I've tried / used several over the years.

You need to either switch doctors or speak with yours and get a new script with the understanding that these next few months (and possibly half a dozen or more Rxs are *experimenting* to find one that works for what you need it for.

MANY types just stomp on the anxiety without the side effect of knocking you on your tush. Your doctor should understand you're looking for something to manage WAKING hours. That you can't spend your life asleep, and to be working with you on finding a med that works with your needs.

Meds react differently with different people. For many people xanax doesn't knock them out. For myself? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Like being hit on the head with a mallet. But many other meds that are known as 'chemical mallets', I'm awake and aware and alert. Just not having a debilitating panic attack anymore.

NO it will not work next day (those meds are daily meds). Hence it's not what you need for your situation.

This IS an experiment process, because everyone's neurochem is different (or there'd only be 1 med for every disorder or situation, instead of about 80 per). DO NOT worry about what it's "for". The way drug companies work is that they don't compete with themselves. So if they already have a best selling antianxiety med (or antidepressant or adhd med, etc.) is that if they develop a new med that works even BETTER than their OTHER one (or as well, etc.), they do NOT label it as their other bestselling med. Instead they find another thing it does well, or at least okay, and label it THAT way. Antianxiety meds can be labeled as antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety, mood stablizers... DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE LABEL. It's just a chemical that they've paid tens of millions to label. Psychiatrists use meds 'off label' because professionals find out very very quickly which meds are actually best for.

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answers from Seattle on

I suffer from severe anxiety & generalized anxiety disorder(I have PTSD)and found that Xanax did nothing for me during the day. However, I did take Lorazepam for severe anxiety attacks during the day. In my case it did not make me drowsy nor have any adverse side effects. Definitely talk to your doctor about how your medication is making you feel and you may need to do a trial and error run to find which medication or course of action is right for you. Best of luck.

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answers from Roanoke on

I was going to say most of what Yarmatey said. Xanax is better for full blown panic attacks, and lorazepam (Ativan) is usually prescribed more for generalized anxiety. Citalopram could be ok, but since it's an anti-depressant, I'd try lorazepam first. I'd talk to your doc about switching.

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