Any positive stories about Benzo tapering?

Posted by sears @sears, Nov 9, 2019

Would love to hear some positive stories from people whom have tapered off benzos. Positive only please. Give me some hope. No horror stories! I need some encouragement!

@georgette12

My goodness, please be positive on the tapering of benzos . I recently got off ambien for sleep, tapered off an anti anxiety med and have previously gotten off klonopin from a rather high dose. I'm 75 and have taken these meds for 45 years. And gotten off successfully. Even had ECT and no side effects. Sure, everyone is different, but I've been around long enough to see some amazing things people can do. Sometimes it's a trial and error thing, but life itself is trial and error, don't you think?

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I too have been on Benzos for over 35 years. Great to hear your story. Will start my taper soon.

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@helenfrances

Thank you so much for writing! You inspire me and give me hope.
I visited the doctor who prescribed Clonazapam. I too am your age and I took this DRUG for decades. I am dependent (rather than addicted) to it. Is there a difference?!!
(I now have mild cognitive impairment.) He is referring me to a psychiatrist who will manage the the ongoing decrease in taking this drug… a neurologist has already prescribed a med that lessens the loss of memory..Escitalopram.

I considered what the consequences should be for a well meaning doctor who prescribed a medication that affects memory and mood!!
I also asked myself! .. why did I not read the pharmaceutical info!!

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I have taken for decades also.

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@georgette12

My goodness, please be positive on the tapering of benzos . I recently got off ambien for sleep, tapered off an anti anxiety med and have previously gotten off klonopin from a rather high dose. I'm 75 and have taken these meds for 45 years. And gotten off successfully. Even had ECT and no side effects. Sure, everyone is different, but I've been around long enough to see some amazing things people can do. Sometimes it's a trial and error thing, but life itself is trial and error, don't you think?

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Big congratulations!

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@lhspem

I too have been on Benzos for over 35 years. Great to hear your story. Will start my taper soon.

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That sounds like a long time on the medication, @lhspem. How did you happen to decide to taper?

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@sears

Do NOT try to do this in 3 weeks. Can you find another doctor? My doctor will be using the Ashton Method of tapering. Please google this and show it to your doctor. It can take months or years to safely taper a benzo. I’m still very nervous and anxious about tapering even though my new doctor says he’ll work with me as long as it takes.

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Thanks for telling me about the Ashton Method of tapering. I haven't looked it up yet, as I just read your blog. I am almost thinking about cancelling my appointment with the NP Psychiatry. I haven't even seen her yet. No one asked me how long I have been on Clonazepam. My Internist doesn't understand either and is going along with the NP Psychiatrist (since she has to bridge my medications until May). Actually, the NP Psychiatrist was supposed to call me back 2 days ago and she never did. I feel that I must really need this medication, due to my psychological/physical problems. I am also on disability due to my problems. I think my body is used to it but also must need it. I don't think to myself, "I can't wait to take it". I do not like this new Benzo rule from the FDA. Physicians seem scared about this and are now telling patients to get off their Benzo medication. They are afraid you are going to sell it on the streets. One time, I had to do a urine test to make sure I was taking my Adderall and not selling it. I asked a Pharmacist what I can take to help me get off Clonazepam. He told me to take a super B complex. He was perplexed though, because I have ADHD and anxiety. People ask me how I can take Adderall and Clonazepam together; they think each drug will cancel the other out. It is something my Psychiatrist did about 10 years ago. There must have been a reason for doing this. I am wondering (or I know) if some Physicians & Psychiatrists need more information on tapering or take a class about tapering. I am losing trust in Physicians. They cannot treat every patient the same with tapering. I think I know my body better and I can tell exactly what this is doing to me. It is actually a cruel thing to do to a patient. They don't seem to care, call you to see how you are doing, or have you come in for regular appointments. It is nice that your doctor says he'll work with you as long as it takes. I wish I could find someone like that. I am sorry, but I cannot say anything positive about tapering Benzos. I also think that if you do not obey the Physician's way of tapering, they will get mad at you or dump you.

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@grandmaj5

Thanks for telling me about the Ashton Method of tapering. I haven't looked it up yet, as I just read your blog. I am almost thinking about cancelling my appointment with the NP Psychiatry. I haven't even seen her yet. No one asked me how long I have been on Clonazepam. My Internist doesn't understand either and is going along with the NP Psychiatrist (since she has to bridge my medications until May). Actually, the NP Psychiatrist was supposed to call me back 2 days ago and she never did. I feel that I must really need this medication, due to my psychological/physical problems. I am also on disability due to my problems. I think my body is used to it but also must need it. I don't think to myself, "I can't wait to take it". I do not like this new Benzo rule from the FDA. Physicians seem scared about this and are now telling patients to get off their Benzo medication. They are afraid you are going to sell it on the streets. One time, I had to do a urine test to make sure I was taking my Adderall and not selling it. I asked a Pharmacist what I can take to help me get off Clonazepam. He told me to take a super B complex. He was perplexed though, because I have ADHD and anxiety. People ask me how I can take Adderall and Clonazepam together; they think each drug will cancel the other out. It is something my Psychiatrist did about 10 years ago. There must have been a reason for doing this. I am wondering (or I know) if some Physicians & Psychiatrists need more information on tapering or take a class about tapering. I am losing trust in Physicians. They cannot treat every patient the same with tapering. I think I know my body better and I can tell exactly what this is doing to me. It is actually a cruel thing to do to a patient. They don't seem to care, call you to see how you are doing, or have you come in for regular appointments. It is nice that your doctor says he'll work with you as long as it takes. I wish I could find someone like that. I am sorry, but I cannot say anything positive about tapering Benzos. I also think that if you do not obey the Physician's way of tapering, they will get mad at you or dump you.

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@grandmaj5 I thought the same thing myself, but then someone on Connect sent me an article that informed me it was a suggestion. There are no government orders to get off of benzos. It is up to the discretion of the doctor what to do, but the government has informed doctor's that studies have shown benzos may cause physical problems in the elderly.

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@grandmaj5

Thanks for telling me about the Ashton Method of tapering. I haven't looked it up yet, as I just read your blog. I am almost thinking about cancelling my appointment with the NP Psychiatry. I haven't even seen her yet. No one asked me how long I have been on Clonazepam. My Internist doesn't understand either and is going along with the NP Psychiatrist (since she has to bridge my medications until May). Actually, the NP Psychiatrist was supposed to call me back 2 days ago and she never did. I feel that I must really need this medication, due to my psychological/physical problems. I am also on disability due to my problems. I think my body is used to it but also must need it. I don't think to myself, "I can't wait to take it". I do not like this new Benzo rule from the FDA. Physicians seem scared about this and are now telling patients to get off their Benzo medication. They are afraid you are going to sell it on the streets. One time, I had to do a urine test to make sure I was taking my Adderall and not selling it. I asked a Pharmacist what I can take to help me get off Clonazepam. He told me to take a super B complex. He was perplexed though, because I have ADHD and anxiety. People ask me how I can take Adderall and Clonazepam together; they think each drug will cancel the other out. It is something my Psychiatrist did about 10 years ago. There must have been a reason for doing this. I am wondering (or I know) if some Physicians & Psychiatrists need more information on tapering or take a class about tapering. I am losing trust in Physicians. They cannot treat every patient the same with tapering. I think I know my body better and I can tell exactly what this is doing to me. It is actually a cruel thing to do to a patient. They don't seem to care, call you to see how you are doing, or have you come in for regular appointments. It is nice that your doctor says he'll work with you as long as it takes. I wish I could find someone like that. I am sorry, but I cannot say anything positive about tapering Benzos. I also think that if you do not obey the Physician's way of tapering, they will get mad at you or dump you.

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So true about the doctors dumping you. I don’t know if you live in a small town or big city. I live in a large city, and it took forever to find a doctor to taper correctly. Keep looking. Or beg your doctor to please take a look at the Ashton Method. We’ll all be fine in the end. Let us know what happens.

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@sears

So true about the doctors dumping you. I don’t know if you live in a small town or big city. I live in a large city, and it took forever to find a doctor to taper correctly. Keep looking. Or beg your doctor to please take a look at the Ashton Method. We’ll all be fine in the end. Let us know what happens.

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I found a link from the National Institute of Health about benzos in elderly and the problems with it. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/despite-risks-benzodiazepine-use-highest-older-people

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@grandmaj5

Thanks for telling me about the Ashton Method of tapering. I haven't looked it up yet, as I just read your blog. I am almost thinking about cancelling my appointment with the NP Psychiatry. I haven't even seen her yet. No one asked me how long I have been on Clonazepam. My Internist doesn't understand either and is going along with the NP Psychiatrist (since she has to bridge my medications until May). Actually, the NP Psychiatrist was supposed to call me back 2 days ago and she never did. I feel that I must really need this medication, due to my psychological/physical problems. I am also on disability due to my problems. I think my body is used to it but also must need it. I don't think to myself, "I can't wait to take it". I do not like this new Benzo rule from the FDA. Physicians seem scared about this and are now telling patients to get off their Benzo medication. They are afraid you are going to sell it on the streets. One time, I had to do a urine test to make sure I was taking my Adderall and not selling it. I asked a Pharmacist what I can take to help me get off Clonazepam. He told me to take a super B complex. He was perplexed though, because I have ADHD and anxiety. People ask me how I can take Adderall and Clonazepam together; they think each drug will cancel the other out. It is something my Psychiatrist did about 10 years ago. There must have been a reason for doing this. I am wondering (or I know) if some Physicians & Psychiatrists need more information on tapering or take a class about tapering. I am losing trust in Physicians. They cannot treat every patient the same with tapering. I think I know my body better and I can tell exactly what this is doing to me. It is actually a cruel thing to do to a patient. They don't seem to care, call you to see how you are doing, or have you come in for regular appointments. It is nice that your doctor says he'll work with you as long as it takes. I wish I could find someone like that. I am sorry, but I cannot say anything positive about tapering Benzos. I also think that if you do not obey the Physician's way of tapering, they will get mad at you or dump you.

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I hope the NP is able to help you. Let us know.

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@grandmaj5

I have been on 3 mg a day of clonazepam for about 8+ years. I had to find a new Psychiatrist. It took so long to find one. I can get into a NP Psychiatry in May 2020. When I called her office, she told the receptionist that she wouldn't see me until I got off clonazepam. She gave me a tapering dose for 3 weeks. I feel that this tapering is for everyone. I tried the tapering and kept getting worse. I got so bad that my heart was going fast. I was unable to do anything. I could only go to bed. I feel like a Zombie. This is happening right now, so last night I started up clonazepam again (taking 1.5 mg daily) to get through the holidays. I believe that my tapering was incorrect. I have not met or talked to the NP Psychiatric. I am not sure that she knows how many years I have been on clonazepam. I get anxiety attacks, have anxiety, have PTSD, depression, and ADHD. I believe I should call her back, but because she said she can't see me in May until I am off clonazepam, I am afraid she will not give me a proper tapering schedule and not see me. I only have so many pills left, so I have to be careful. My primary care physician just gave me a prescription of clonazepam of 50, 1 mg pills. At this time, I am unable to function. I feel I am living a nightmare. I feel extremely irritated. I feel bad for my husband. I am trying to fake my way through these feelings. I read that clonazepam is worse to taper off than opioids. I believe that a pharmacist would know more about tapering. I really do not know what to do. I am worried that the NP Psychiatry will not understand me (which she should). I don't know if I should contact her office or my Internist first. The reason I am saying this is because I have never met or spoke with the NP. I cannot believe that some medical practitioners cannot properly taper clonazepam. I have been studying this on the internet and I believe it should take more than 3 weeks for me to discontinue. I have been wondering if practitioners have been fully trained in tapering clonazepam differently for each individual. There is no way I can do this in 3 weeks. I have never felt so awful. I wish they could experience this feeling for just a minute. I am having company for Thanksgiving and then a birthday party. I started out preparing; now I cannot do anything. I am very scared that this will not work out. I am actually very lost. I am also afraid of what my Internist and NP Psychiatry will tell me. I was thinking of asking a Pharmacist first to get an idea. Does anyone have suggestions? Thank you.

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It sounds like the tapering has been rough thus far, @grandmaj5.

Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

Pharmacists would be a good resource related to tapering questions.

Another discussion you might be interested in on Connect is this one on Klonopin (Clonazepam) tapering https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/klonopin-taper/.

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@helenfrances

I hope the NP is able to help you. Let us know.

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I am sorry to say that I will not be able to tell you about the NP Psychiatrist being able to help me. In the beginning, I was told by her nurse that I couldn't see her unless I tapered off my clonazepam. I decided I would, because there was no one else I could get in to. I am not able to see the NP Psychiatry until May 2020. I never met or talked to her. When the tapering was making me crazy, I called and never received a callback. I found out there is a new Psychiatrist at another clinic and I am going to try to see him. I am going to cancel my appointment with the NP Psychiatrist, as soon as I know I can get in to the Psychiatrist. I believe the NP Psychiatrist does not know enough about tapering benzos. Her nurse gave me the instructions for the 3-week tapering and I wrote them down. No one asked me how long I had been on clonazepam (8+ years). When I called back to her office, the receptionist or nurse?? told me that it could not have been a 3-week taper. I tried telling her I was. She asked who told me and I couldn't remember the nurse's name. I checked my notes and found her name and what I wrote down about the tapering. I am correct, but they don't want to own up. In the middle of all of this, I got a prescription for clonazepam from my Internist, which I didn't know about. She had different instructions for tapering in 4 weeks. I don't understand so many mix ups and then they deny what they told you. They really do need the "Ashton Method of Tapering". If I were a physician, I wouldn't even consider a taper unless I knew what I was doing. I also would be concerned about the patient. I got a free copy of "Ashton Method of Tapering" on the computer and was able to send it for free to my Kindle. I am able to listen to it. It is quite interesting and the woman who wrote it is so good and smart. I found out she passed away. She was a Professor. She knew everything about tapering. I just cannot comprehend why doctors would not want to know the best way to taper and personalize this to each patient. I am now doing the tapering myself. I am taking 1/2 of my daily dosage and I feel fine. I really feel that if you are aware of how your body reacts and how you feel, you should taper yourself. It is sad to me that I am unable to communicate with both of my providers.

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@lisalucier

It sounds like the tapering has been rough thus far, @grandmaj5.

Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

Pharmacists would be a good resource related to tapering questions.

Another discussion you might be interested in on Connect is this one on Klonopin (Clonazepam) tapering https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/klonopin-taper/.

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Thank you Lisa for your input. Many times I believe the Pharmacists are smarter than doctors concerning what medication to give a patient. I heard (no sure if true) that doctors only take 1 semester of pharmacology. I had a doctor that had to look up a drug in a pharmacy book while I was in the exam room.

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