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Holistic Tips for Transitioning off Painkillers

answered 02:11 PM EST, Tue March 13, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I take 2m Xanax everyday to help me with panic attacks (have them often) and have been on them for at least 4 years. Now, however, I am about to start taking Suboxone to help with my withdrawl symptoms from getting off of pain killers. My body is so dependent on the Xanax because I cannot sleep with out them. Is it safe to take the Suboxone and Xanax in one day? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Dr. Karl Benzio Says...

Mixing one dangerous drug with another dangerous drug usually just doubles the danger. Unfortunately, mixing opiates(suboxone) with benzodiazepines(xanax) actually multiplies the danger by 4.  Both of these drug classes can lead to respiratory depression meaning you can stop your breathing, emotional depression, sedation, lethargy, lightheadedness, or passing out. The extra danger is in the fact that they multiply the effects of each other.

So the ideal advice would be no, you shouldn't take either of them, let alone mix them together. But in reality, you have probably already been mixing the Xanax and the painkillers and fortunately, have been surviving. Assuming all the history you gave is true and that you have no other medical issues or problems, and your mood is relatively stable and not depressed or suicidal, a doctor guided approach to taper you off the level of pain killers that you are on now could be very helpful to your long-term survival. Again, you need to inform your doctor of all your symptoms, all your issues, and any extra bonus doses of Xanax, painkillers, Suboxone, or any other legal or illegal drug you are using to help get you by. This information is essential for your doctor to build act in your best interest to get you to a safe outcome.

Obviously, this is just advice on your biological sphere of who you are. Further advice would be to see if you can find a safer and less addictive option for your panic disorder and anxiety issue. Ideally a medication that has no interactions and can be easily used with other medications if needed.

Working on your psychological skills to help you process situations in a more healthy fashion to allow you more fulfillment, happiness, and less dependence on medications would be a fantastic gift to give to yourself.

What I have found in my professional and personal work to be the most important treatment intervention is really developing your spiritual sphere. As in the 12 step model, being able to call upon divine power to help us in areas that we can't overcome on our own, is incredibly freeing and transforming. Bringing spiritual truths and principles to mold the lenses you use and the decisions you make as you engage in life on a daily basis will allow you freedom and peace that will far surpass anything a medication will bring you. Unfortunately, it does not come overnight but like any skill, practice practice practice and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in just 30 days.

Best wishes on your journey and remember to be open and honest with your doctor about all your activity so he can successfully manage this delicate and possibly dangerous situation.

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Page last updated Mar 13, 2012

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