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Depression

Question
Posted by: Samantha | 2020/01/22

Q.

Withdrawal from Xanor Sr

I have been taking Xanor SR for the last 4 years. 0.5mg per day. Prior to the Xanor SR I was taking Alzam for about 5 years but developed an addiction to them and had 3 seizures when I stopped taking them (I stopped cold Turkey) I am unable to get Xanor SR at the moment, the supplier does not have stock. I have therefore been 'forced' into cold Turkey withdrawal. I last had a tablet 5 days ago, is it safe for me to continue withdrawing. The doctor wanted to prescribe Alzam again but I am too scared to start taking them again after ending up in hospital because of the seizures. I was abusing the alzams, at times taking about 10-15 mg a day and don't want to go back there.

Expert's Reply

A.

Depression expert
- 2020/01/22

Hi Samantha,
Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience with Alzam, which in my experience, like all its related drugs, the benzos, including Xanor, is seriously over-prescribed.  Real expert opinion is that none of that family of drugs should be used for more than a couple of months, due to the risk of dependency ; also they don't solve anxiety problems, only temporarily relieving them.  I'd prefer that they not be prescribed except by specialist psychiatrists.  If someone has chronic serious anxiety, they are better helped by using different drugs also used to treat depression,  or by CBT style counselling which is very effective.
If one does get stuck on one of these drugs, its best to avoid going Cold Turkey, and rather to plan the most gradual withdrawal possible.
It's also highly irresponsible for any drug company supplier to run out of stock of any of their products, as this could have serious consequences for people on many types of drug.
You may be alright to continue withdrawing from the Xanor, though any time you are withdrawing from such a drug, especially with a history of seizures on previous withdrawal, to do so with the advice of a suitably expert doctor who can help you do so as safely as possible, and to cope with any consequences. 
I wonder whether it might be wise to get a second opinion, from a specialist psychiatrist who can not only help you get off the benzo's permanently, without encouraging you to go back on them ; and can help you to master your anxiety, by referring you to a suitably skilled psychologist for CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) to learn to control the anxiety and it's triggers yourself, and if medication is also thought necessary, to use antidepressants rather than the much less desirable benzos.

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