Crawling out of my skin; all the familiar symptoms rush over my mind and body. Weakness and fatigue beating me down. My body fluctuating from hot to cold. The inability to think or focus because my mind is clogged up and foggy with thoughts that don’t serve me well. Restlessness and irritation. The bloating and stomach pains. The night sweats. All this evidence leads me to one conclusion: I’m going through withdrawal.
My doctor has prescribed me Xanax for several years now. I have been using it to fall sleep on a regular basis for the last 18 months. I’ve tried many other natural supplements and sleep techniques over that time period with little to no success. I know its not the best option, but it’s worked for me.
I’ve slept horribly for the better part of 15 years. I wake up numerous times every night. A myriad of factors effect my ability to get enough sleep. Having to urinate during the night, body pains, anxiety and the inability to shut off my mind are the main culprits.
I decided several weeks ago that it was time to wean myself off Xanax. I have become dependent on it for sleep, but my body has developed a tolerance to it. Continuing to take it this medication in the future isn’t a sustainable option.
Coming off of benzo’s can be a very difficult and dangerous process. Quite often people experience very adverse side effects including seizures. I tried kicking cold turkey when I was in California a month ago and the withdrawal symptoms were too great. I didn’t want to ruin my vacation.
When I returned home from vacation I decided it was time to come off. I cut my usual dosage in half for two weeks; then in half again for another two weeks. I should have kept taking it every other day for another week or two, but I was ready to come off.
It’s been over seven months since I had to kick opiates. I’m employing many of the same supplements and methods I have in the past to mitigate some of the side effects:
- Plenty of water with fresh squeezed lemon – Withdrawal makes me very dehydrated. I’m drinking at least 1.5 gallons of water a day. This keeps me hydrated and the lemon is a natural way to detox the liver.
- Vitamin C – Keeps the immune system healthy. There’s been studies showing mega doses can ameliorate withdrawal symptoms in opiate addicts.
- Magnesium – It calms the nervous system and lessens anxiety.
- Getting plenty of sunlight – This is important for vitamin D production. Being in the sun makes me feel invigorated and my mood appreciates. Taking a walk in the sun is shown to release oxytocin which is known as the “happiness hormone.”
- Exercise – No matter how weak I feel, partaking in some sort of exercise always aids in this process. It gets the blood flowing, endorphin’s going and takes my focus off of other symptoms.
- L-Tyrosine – This amino acid helps immensely with energy. Unlike with caffeine or other stimulants, L-Tyrosine does not make me jittery. It gives me nice, smooth, prolonged energy. It can also increase dopamine in the brain to counteract depression.
- Alleve – To deal with all the body aches and pains.
Last night I tried smoking weed to counteract how miserable I felt. Getting high completely wiped me out to the point where I could barely function. It took me 20 minutes to walk my dog around the block. My motor functions slowed to a crawl. I lay on my couch half paralyzed until I fell asleep.
I stopped taking Xanax seven days ago. The last two days my symptoms have been the most intense. As I write this I’m not sure if it will turn out to be intelligible. My brain is barely functioning and my body would like to shut down. However, I feel like am nearing the tail end of this debacle.
This experiment didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Nonetheless, It’s a surreal feeling knowing what I’m going through internally and still having the ability to be in control of my feelings and emotions. Having a clear head and being in a more stable place in my life makes handling this situation much easier. It’s a completely different experience then kicking drugs I was using recreationally.