I used to take alprazolam (Xanax) for the daily anxiety that I would feel bubbling up to the surface by noon. But since the start of maintenance ECT, this level of anxiousness seems to have dissipated to a point where I’m no longer reaching for a pill to stop feeling like I’m crawling out of my skin. In fact, I haven’t taken alprazolam since June 29, date of the first maintenance ECT.
Alprazolam also happens to help with tremors, which has existed in my left hand for several years now (it’s not medication-related; I ceased all meds once and that has no effect). I was using alprazolam for that purpose as well. But alprazolam reduces the seizure length during ECT. So, right now, I choose having an adequate seizure over a minor discomfort from a trembling finger. It’s somewhat of a trade-off, I suppose. I really like having steady hands, probably since I used to play piano, and that I’m not a fan of thinking I’ll drop something. But during my first 15 treatments, the doctors seemed frustrated over my inadequate seizure length, so much that they once gave me two shocks in one treatment because the first one was too short to have any effect. Since I started maintenance ECT, the duration has not been a problem, easily adding well over 20-30 seconds beyond my average length from the first batch of sparks. A nurse told me the only reason why they’ve gone over so well is because I stopped taking alprazolam. When someone tell you that, then how can I go back to taking what would potentially put a damper on the procedure?
For now, I place my utmost importance on getting back my emotional well-being, and by extension, getting a good seizure. So, I guess I’ll just deal with the tremor and stay off the alprazolam as long as I feel fine without it.