It's a GAD GAD World
Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thanks Ian for your comment. It's nice to know someone in the crazy community is reading. :)

Here's what I know about benzos. Standard disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, I have no medical credentials, read and use this info at your own risk, blah blah blah. I'm not an expert, I'm just writing from my own personal experience.

"Benzos" is short for benzodiazepenes, a type of psychiatric drug. Drugs in this class include Xanax, klonopin, & valium. There are probably others, but those are the ones I know off the top of my head. Benzos work by interacting with a chemical in your brain called GABA. GABA promotes feelings of calm and relaxation. Alcohol stimulates the production of GABA, which is why many people with anxiety problems tend to abuse alcohol--it takes the edge off the anxiety. Your doc and/or pharmacist will warn you to lay off the booze if you're taking a benzo. If you combine the 2, you could relax yourself right into a coma. That's what happened to Karen Ann Quinlan.

There seem to be 2 schools of thought among pdocs when it comes to the benzos. On one hand, some believe that benzos are like a band-aid. They can get you through a crisis, and it's ok to take them occasionally, but they're probably not good for long-term use. Others believe that they're perfectly safe when taken properly, & they're just fine and dandy for long-term use.

There are some concerns about becoming addicted to benzos. Generally, unless you have a history of drug/alcohol dependency, addiction is something you probably don't need to worry about. But it can happen. There was an article in Glamour magazine a few months ago about this very subject.

As far as side effects go, the biggest one is that they can make you sleepy. My personal recommendation is that if you're given a prescription for a benzo, take the first dose at a time when you don't necessarily need to be alert. That way you have a chance to see how it will affect you.

My introduction to benzos came in January of 2004. Xanax XR had just come out, and my now ex-pdoc had some free coupons. Like an idiot, he wrote the prescription for a whopping 1mg. It put me out like a light. If I take the XR at that dosage, I know I'm going to be down for the count for a good 12 hours.

Eventually I tried Xanax XR at 0.5 mgs, and I also tried regular Xanax at 0.25 mgs and 0.5 mgs. The XR at 0.5 still puts me to sleep, but not for as long. The regular stuff relaxes me right away without knocking me out, but doesn't last very long.

My dinner has just come out of the oven, so I am going to end my post here. More later...


I have just found this blog but it doesn't seem to work properly for me for some reaosn as I can only view posts made very recently.

Anyways I also suffer from GAD and just wanted to let you know I also have a blog. It'd be nice to here from someone else living with this and how they deal with the "relapses" as I'm currently having to do.

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