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Author Topic: HIV, anxiety attacks, sleep apnea, insomnia and functional drug addiction  (Read 4244 times)

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Offline Torchwood

  • Member
  • Posts: 58
In 2004 I started having anxiety attacks I was put on Xanax for them. Around this same time I had sleep studies done that showed I had Sleep Apnea and Insomnia. For this received Lunesta 3mg per night. At this point in time I taking 5-7 Tylenol PM per night to sleep. With the Lunesta I was able to drop my Tylenol PM dosage down to 5 per night. Went on like this for a couple of years. A bottle of Xanax would last me all year or close to it. When it came to light that I was HIV+ while we were doing in vitro the world came crashing down. Daily anxiety attacks, anger, depression. All the normal shit that goes along with it. Anti Depressants turned me into an emotional zombie. So with talking to m psychiatrist we stuck with the Xanax. It worked. I wasn't a zombie. During those 6 years there were times that I needed to adjust my dosage from the original .5mg XR to 1mg, to 2mg. It wasn't just that big of deal back then. Whenever my stress level dropped, so did my Xanax dosage. Except for a few years ago. I could not drop down to 1mg. I tried to stair step it, tried to just drop the dosage. Nothing worked. This is when my worries started about being a functional drug addict.  As D-Day (Drug time..ARV's) got closer and closer, so did my anxiety attacks. 1.5mg wasn't enough. Not even close. I went up to 3mg. That was last August. I am down to 1.5mg again. I know I am not ready to drop dosage yet. There are still times (like the past week where I had my first blood test after starting the AVR's) where I am back up to 2.5mg. This is where I am now. Waiting for my ID Doc visit next week to find out if the Complera is working.

My mind isn't nearly as sharp as it used to be. I used to be great with numbers, accounting and could do the figures in my head. Now I am merely good. I can tell the decreased mental functions in my head and it worries me. Luckily for me I have a high IQ, so now I am still above average compared to everyone else, but the decrease really does have me worried. I've done the therapy, which instead of getting me deal with being HIV, seemed to dwell on my stupid childhood and feelings towards my family. It simply made me angrier. I am an addict. I have been since I picked up the first Meth addiction at 17. I say first because I have quit Meth repeatedly, cocaine, cigarettes and alcohol. (currently been off the Meth and Coke for 14 years..I quit cold turkey on every occasion)My current staples of life are Alcohol and Xanax. While I do not drink that much (really...4-6 times per year) but when I do, I have no ability to quit drinking any longer. I foresee quitting again this year, possibly in the next few weeks if my blood work comes back with good numbers. I have goals in life. I want to meet those goals. The largest one being able to enjoy my 3 daughters childhood, give them the father figure and the relationship I never had with my father and stepfather while watch them grow up healthy.

Mainly posted to just share and I just needed to vent a bit. Not asking for feedback or advice. My Dr's are all aware of what I am doing and the reasoning why. I go to great length to make sure that all my Dr's are fully aware of other medications I am on. There are many details I have left out to ensure my anonymity but the jist of it is here.
Discovered 4/2006
VL: 1600
CD4: 1005
Started Complera 10/2011
VL: 48,500
CD4: 570
1/17/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 890
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 895
11/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1193
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1461
11/13
CD4: 1273
VL: Undetectable
5/14
CD4: 1788
VL: Undetectable

Offline OneTampa

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,274
  • "Butterflies are free."
DELETED
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 09:37:43 PM by OneTampa »
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaíto frito."

Offline SANJUANDUDE

  • Member
  • Posts: 125
my id doctor just prescribed me xanax and paxil..??  I haven't take either yet, but my partner has discovered the xanax. :(  He says, "it helps my head issues."  I told him to stop taking it because when you run out, there is no more.

http://timehasshownme.com
10/2011-CD-4-598-Undetectable
01/2012-CD-4-758-Undetectable
04/2012-CD$-780-70 Viral Load
08-2012-CD4-846--20 viral load
02/2013-CD$ 865----20 Undetectable Viral Load
08/2013- CD4-898----<20 undetectable viral load

Offline denb45

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,051
  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
I'm no longer on anything type of Benzo's for my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I had a session with a Shrink back in DEC 2011, and he told me after reading my mental health history, that he didn't feel I needed to be on anything, and as for depression, he also told me that "You really don't fit the profile of depression"
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline SANJUANDUDE

  • Member
  • Posts: 125
I thought I was having anxiety attacks, but then I was just being stupid.  I am not having them.  I got a prescription of Xanax and Paxil for nothing.

http://timehasshownme.com
10/2011-CD-4-598-Undetectable
01/2012-CD-4-758-Undetectable
04/2012-CD$-780-70 Viral Load
08-2012-CD4-846--20 viral load
02/2013-CD$ 865----20 Undetectable Viral Load
08/2013- CD4-898----<20 undetectable viral load

Offline denb45

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,051
  • "1987 Classic Old School POZ+"
I thought I was having anxiety attacks, but then I was just being stupid.  I am not having them.  I got a prescription of Xanax and Paxil for nothing.

http://timehasshownme.com

jamesd1967 whenever I feel a panic attack coming on, I have learned to start doing deep breathing exercise, you might wanna try some yoga as well, it sure beats taking all them dam drugs that makes you numb and makes your dick shrink  ;)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline newbieguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 197
Re: HIV, anxiety attacks, sleep apnea, insomnia and functional drug addiction
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 06:27:02 PM »
I can relate I have bouts of anxiety and have for several years, but just didnt really recognize them and am only now coming to terms with them. Sometimes, medication does help, and that shouldnt be ruled out, but you have to decide what is best for you. Personally, I want to avoid the benzos due to their side effects and a prior bout of substance abuse in the past (I don't want to risk getting hooked on something else). I certainly am no expert but I know I have unresolved issues from my past which I cannot face right now, so it causes me depression at times. I find that getting out and working out or stretching helps relax me, or drinking some tea or taking a hot bath. I totally relate to the sleep issues too, not sure if this is HIV-med related, but it could be a variety of things.

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,988
Re: HIV, anxiety attacks, sleep apnea, insomnia and functional drug addiction
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 12:39:05 AM »
I began seeing a new therapist, who I think I will like.  However, once again, I got the big lecture about Xanax.  I told him I take no more than 1.5mg a day.  The script is written for 4mg a day, so I let many refills expire.  Well, he acted totally shocked.  He said he was surprised I was able to function and be coherent.  Then, he asked how my memory is.  I think he must not have ever taken Xanax, or has a low tolerance.  I know people who pop 4 at a time. 

Without being able to get my depression, anxiety, and panic attacks under control, Xanax has been very helpful.  Perhaps he thought I take 1.5mg at one time.  I never take more than .5mg in a single dose.  If I need another later, I'll take another .5mg.  I've not gotten addicted, where I'm taking more and more.  But, in those who've had addiction issues, I could see the concern.  And, the goal should be to get to a place where they are no longer needed--or, just every once in a while. 

I know you said you weren't looking for feedback, so I'm just sharing my experience.   

Offline osric

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
Re: HIV, anxiety attacks, sleep apnea, insomnia and functional drug addiction
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 04:48:00 AM »
I took Klonopin for a couple of years for anxiety along with my anti depressants but noticed I was taking more and more over time. I stupidly tried to wean myself off it without the help of my doctor and went through horrible, horrible withdrawal over a couple of months. But my thinking got clearer and I started to feel more level headed.

When I was diagnosed with HIV, the doctor sent me home with a bottle of Xanax for my anxiety. I took one and it made me so sleepy that I didn't wake up for a good 14 hours. I only took one more and had the same result. That bottle of pills got relegated to my junk meds drawer and I haven't taken any of them again.

I can't imagine trying to function during the day while taking Xanax, but we all have different tolerances and chemical things going on.

Offline Torchwood

  • Member
  • Posts: 58
So...An update.

I have quit smoking. Bought a rowing machine and have started using it daily. I'm up to 5 minutes (day one was 30 seconds) before the pain gets me. (Perm Partial Disability in left ankle/shoulder and wrist...bad joints and all separate injuries over the years). I'm taking it easy so I can continue to work on conditioning and stamina. I am not on any pain pills. As soon as I get over the smoking thing (doing the Nicorette gum..2mg), I am dropping my Xanax dosage down again. Doubt I'll ever get off of the Xanax due to the sleep issues, but I can easily get down to .5mg again. I haven't felt this positive about my life in long time.

One of my downers though is that with the hormone therapy, vitamins and suppliments I had started to drop weight naturally. I was down 16 pounds at Thanksgiving..now I am back up to what I started at. Between reinjuring my ankle and the initial side effects and drug interactions of the Complera I put the 16 pounds back on. I had quit all supplements and vitamins because they were making me sick. I am still looking at the positive side of it all though. I have started part of the vitamins up again without side effects. In the next week I will try adding another then keep doing that until I find out which one was giving me the drug interactions.
Discovered 4/2006
VL: 1600
CD4: 1005
Started Complera 10/2011
VL: 48,500
CD4: 570
1/17/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 890
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 895
11/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1193
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1461
11/13
CD4: 1273
VL: Undetectable
5/14
CD4: 1788
VL: Undetectable

Offline TexasPOZ

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Congratulations on kicking the meth habit. I've struggled on and off for 20 years to try and stay off that crap. It's been really tough for me to quit and stay quit. I've been off it for a little over a year this time around, and I'm hoping that I'm finally done with it for good. I'm on antidepressants and benzos for anxiety, Effexor and Klonopin currently. I personally don't feel bad about being on benzos. I've been on them 17 years, but for me they are very helpful and improve my quality of life. I've been on the same dose for years, don't take any extra because the dose I'm on seems to work just fine. I try not to pay attention to the people with no medical knowledge who tell me how bad they are. I do pay attention to the doctor, and they are prescribed by a psychiatrist. I also have daily pain, and I'm on Vicodin for that. Same thing, I don't take extra, just what's prescribed seems to work just fine. There are days I would be stuck in bed without them. My own personal belief is that if a medication is going to improve my quality of life without causing me major harm, then I feel no guilt for taking it. For some reason, even though I had problems with illegal drugs in the past, I have always taken my prescriptions as prescribed.

Offline Torchwood

  • Member
  • Posts: 58
Congratulations on kicking the meth habit. I've struggled on and off for 20 years to try and stay off that crap. It's been really tough for me to quit and stay quit. I've been off it for a little over a year this time around, and I'm hoping that I'm finally done with it for good. I'm on antidepressants and benzos for anxiety, Effexor and Klonopin currently. I personally don't feel bad about being on benzos. I've been on them 17 years, but for me they are very helpful and improve my quality of life. I've been on the same dose for years, don't take any extra because the dose I'm on seems to work just fine. I try not to pay attention to the people with no medical knowledge who tell me how bad they are. I do pay attention to the doctor, and they are prescribed by a psychiatrist. I also have daily pain, and I'm on Vicodin for that. Same thing, I don't take extra, just what's prescribed seems to work just fine. There are days I would be stuck in bed without them. My own personal belief is that if a medication is going to improve my quality of life without causing me major harm, then I feel no guilt for taking it. For some reason, even though I had problems with illegal drugs in the past, I have always taken my prescriptions as prescribed.

My wife has issues trying to understand the whole addiction thing. She's seen me go through withdrawals several times from various medications. I will point out that I have only used drugs once recreationally since we've been together. It was a nice dose of Oxy while I was in Vegas. We have certain social circles that drug use is an everyday thing. With my close friends, I am up front about my addictions and flat out tell them "Do not offer me any nor start taking them around me. I don't care if you get high, don't do it in front of me. Hell, I'll still stand around, bullshit and drink to oblivion with you. Just keep the drugs away from me. I WILL relapse." When I first cleaned up, I had to drop all my "friends", change my lifestyle completely and get stability/routine in my life. Now I find myself on the bleeding edge of full blown addiction behavior once again with the Vicodin and Xanax. I do not have the option to quit the Xanax. I think I am going to force my wife to watch "House M.D." since the addiction behaviors are the same between myself and the character of House. Maybe then she'll understand.
Discovered 4/2006
VL: 1600
CD4: 1005
Started Complera 10/2011
VL: 48,500
CD4: 570
1/17/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 890
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 895
11/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1193
4/12
VL: Undetectable
CD4: 1461
11/13
CD4: 1273
VL: Undetectable
5/14
CD4: 1788
VL: Undetectable

 


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