Protracted Benzo withdrawal

Posted by aarniek @aarniek, Oct 30, 2016

Taken of 8mg of Ativan daily in 3 weeks and suffering terribly nearly 4 years now! Unable to walk ,have insane muscle tightness,no memory,tinnius is unbearable,unable to picture things in my mind ! After 45 months it’s worse than ever and 2 neurologists have tried only medications which all made me even worse!

@merpreb

@hopefull33250- Hear hear. I am not a person of faith, at least as most people know it, but I am well read and have a lot of friends who are of different faiths. I have never heard that, " I'll just wait for God to decide what is right for me" and have never seen anything come of it. We have to work for ourselves, take care of ourselves and heal ourselves as much as we can. No one is so special that they don't have to do this. Also, some people have a very tough life. Or, for some people, life is very hard. We all have to decide what kind of life we want, especially as adults. I don't think that we have any right to expect more than trying to make things better. But try, that we have to do.

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I have found that working in partnership with God is an important part of my faith, @merpreb

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@hopeful33250 – I'm very glad that it works for you. We all have to find our own way to handle life.

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As I read about the tapering off benzodiazepines or any other medication I have noticed how the process and rate of tapering varies. Many share what has worked for them and this can be helpful. There are similarities and yet many ways that have worked. We are all individuals with an array of differences. Try to listen to your mind/body.

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@hopeful33250

I have found that working in partnership with God is an important part of my faith, @merpreb

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Hi Teresa Thank for your respose. You are right we "all" have to work together. Sometimes I get so inpatient but keep on trying to do the best I can. Patti

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Hi there,
Just registered here. I am not a professional but I think I can help many in here since I have read quite a lot of posts. I am 50 leading retired life, majority of my life in past, I was volunteering for a D-addiction clinic. I have fair amount of knowledge on Benzos and Antidepressants through this route and if you people like I think I can be helpful.

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@elsa1000

Thank you, Parus. I'm not quite there yet but close. My doctor hadn't heard about the Ashton manual either. In fact, she knew nothing at all about discontinuing benzos. I've concluded that she DID know about physical dependance. Which is why she told me "these drugs are impossible to discontinue." And also, "stay off the internet!" If I had stayed off the internet I would never have learned about the importance of a VERY gradual titration. I've never considered myself a particularly naive person. But I was regarding the Healthcare Industry. It's based on a profit model not a wellness model. I am done with it.

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Let me say something of Ashton Protocols. It's not to be considered as the last authentic word, or Bible of addicionology. Professor Heather Ashton prepared it on the context of UK in a certain period..This not to disregard the above said manual as many patients should have helped by it. Still I say, there is "To give and take from it."

Ashton is insanely stubborn on tapering off any Benzo using Valium. Should we need to consider Valium is something Godsend? Does Valium effectively treat all benzo dependence? No is the answer. Valium (Diazepam) works for some, but it would be bumper foolish to use it as the gold standard Benzo to treat dependence.

Valium has its own problems and they are not trivial to neglect. In certain patient population Valium can induce or aggravate aggressive behaviour to a considerable level. Valium is more of a depressant than a mood elater for some. This will inflict suicidal behavior in many. Often this is seen in patients consuming high doses, but hey..Ashton recommends Valium in high doses during the switch.. ie..for someone dependent on Xanax 8 or 9mg.. the Valium substitution can go as high as 100mg of Valium. This is not the recommended dose of Valium but Ashton can't help it.

Besides Valium is a highly reinforcing drug in it's class. Its subtle sedative effect with euphoriant high can attract drug abusers to use it again and again that is causative of another drug problem on its own.

Then why it is a benzo du jor in Ashton manual?

Reason : It was the only Benzo with an almost unbelievable half-life when professor Ashton entered the field. She found the certain Benzo's availability in the tiniest dose too that would make it convenient to use in from very high to relatively smaller dose forms. Ashton is addictionologist so, it is normal for her to look upon everything through the prism of addiction and treat likewise. But in the real world we have seen people immensely being helped by Benzos for their ailments and withdrawing the helping chemical will be devastating in their case because stopping and reinstating Benzos or Antidepressants can prove almost lethal for them for the reason the withdrawn drug may not necessarily effective in second attempt. Patients are forced to double their dosage to suffer more and unnecessary adverse effects.

I could have gone and on but long posts seldom attracts readers so, let me pause here now. One thing I learnt from my experience is there isn't any Protocols to follow in the case of Benzodiazepine addiction or habituation. First of all it is to educate people on their problems to the point of them having new insights on their own. This will help the needy to listen to their bodies. Working on this will help to target the goals to achieve.

And finally : Benzodiazepines are great drugs in the right hands. Many in the real world is being tremendously helped by them. The horror stories are mostly the aftermath of the medication being in the wrong hands. Users should recollect their state of mind prior to the medication, this is often impossible as the patient only look upon a drug after the drug being effective to the extent of them forgetting what led them taking it.

Liked by thankful

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@rauter

Let me say something of Ashton Protocols. It's not to be considered as the last authentic word, or Bible of addicionology. Professor Heather Ashton prepared it on the context of UK in a certain period..This not to disregard the above said manual as many patients should have helped by it. Still I say, there is "To give and take from it."

Ashton is insanely stubborn on tapering off any Benzo using Valium. Should we need to consider Valium is something Godsend? Does Valium effectively treat all benzo dependence? No is the answer. Valium (Diazepam) works for some, but it would be bumper foolish to use it as the gold standard Benzo to treat dependence.

Valium has its own problems and they are not trivial to neglect. In certain patient population Valium can induce or aggravate aggressive behaviour to a considerable level. Valium is more of a depressant than a mood elater for some. This will inflict suicidal behavior in many. Often this is seen in patients consuming high doses, but hey..Ashton recommends Valium in high doses during the switch.. ie..for someone dependent on Xanax 8 or 9mg.. the Valium substitution can go as high as 100mg of Valium. This is not the recommended dose of Valium but Ashton can't help it.

Besides Valium is a highly reinforcing drug in it's class. Its subtle sedative effect with euphoriant high can attract drug abusers to use it again and again that is causative of another drug problem on its own.

Then why it is a benzo du jor in Ashton manual?

Reason : It was the only Benzo with an almost unbelievable half-life when professor Ashton entered the field. She found the certain Benzo's availability in the tiniest dose too that would make it convenient to use in from very high to relatively smaller dose forms. Ashton is addictionologist so, it is normal for her to look upon everything through the prism of addiction and treat likewise. But in the real world we have seen people immensely being helped by Benzos for their ailments and withdrawing the helping chemical will be devastating in their case because stopping and reinstating Benzos or Antidepressants can prove almost lethal for them for the reason the withdrawn drug may not necessarily effective in second attempt. Patients are forced to double their dosage to suffer more and unnecessary adverse effects.

I could have gone and on but long posts seldom attracts readers so, let me pause here now. One thing I learnt from my experience is there isn't any Protocols to follow in the case of Benzodiazepine addiction or habituation. First of all it is to educate people on their problems to the point of them having new insights on their own. This will help the needy to listen to their bodies. Working on this will help to target the goals to achieve.

And finally : Benzodiazepines are great drugs in the right hands. Many in the real world is being tremendously helped by them. The horror stories are mostly the aftermath of the medication being in the wrong hands. Users should recollect their state of mind prior to the medication, this is often impossible as the patient only look upon a drug after the drug being effective to the extent of them forgetting what led them taking it.

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Hello, @rauter, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for your perspective on the Ashton Manual, benzodiazapines and use of diazepam (Valium) to come off of them.

Here is some Mayo Clinic information on diazepam (Valium) https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/diazepam-oral-route/description/drg-20072333, including side effects and precautions.

You mentioned volunteering for a drug addiction clinic. Wondering if you also have had personal experience, @rauter, with tapering off of benzos?

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@lisalucier

Hello, @rauter, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for your perspective on the Ashton Manual, benzodiazapines and use of diazepam (Valium) to come off of them.

Here is some Mayo Clinic information on diazepam (Valium) https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/diazepam-oral-route/description/drg-20072333, including side effects and precautions.

You mentioned volunteering for a drug addiction clinic. Wondering if you also have had personal experience, @rauter, with tapering off of benzos?

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Hi Lisa, thank you for your input and links.

Yes, I had issues with Benzos..and still I am on Gaba-ergic drug Lyrica in its moderate amount. I attended the D-Addiction center after being on two benzos simultaneously. Xanax and Klonopin. I was on 3 mg of each when I felt like something disciplinary should is due in my habit. In effect I was on 6 mg of Xanax since both are equipotent. I could tide the usage and say bid adieu to Xanax after 3 week stay. I left them with two months supply of Klonopin 2 mg.

After sometimes clinic contacted me, this time with information of a new Gaba drug's arrival. It was Pregabalin (Lyrica). I got involved in an outpatient research in which I could come off Klonopin 2 mg by being myself to the maximal therapeutic dose of Lyrica (600 mg daily in two doses)
I didn't experience withdrawal horrors from Klonopin. But I think Lyrica has its own problems long-term. Memory getting mixed up. Klonopin was better in the cognitive department. I am thinking of ditching Lyrica for the old-fashioned Klonopin. I will make it slowly. Lyrica doesn't need a tapering as we observed in patients.

Thank you once again

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@rauter

Let me say something of Ashton Protocols. It's not to be considered as the last authentic word, or Bible of addicionology. Professor Heather Ashton prepared it on the context of UK in a certain period..This not to disregard the above said manual as many patients should have helped by it. Still I say, there is "To give and take from it."

Ashton is insanely stubborn on tapering off any Benzo using Valium. Should we need to consider Valium is something Godsend? Does Valium effectively treat all benzo dependence? No is the answer. Valium (Diazepam) works for some, but it would be bumper foolish to use it as the gold standard Benzo to treat dependence.

Valium has its own problems and they are not trivial to neglect. In certain patient population Valium can induce or aggravate aggressive behaviour to a considerable level. Valium is more of a depressant than a mood elater for some. This will inflict suicidal behavior in many. Often this is seen in patients consuming high doses, but hey..Ashton recommends Valium in high doses during the switch.. ie..for someone dependent on Xanax 8 or 9mg.. the Valium substitution can go as high as 100mg of Valium. This is not the recommended dose of Valium but Ashton can't help it.

Besides Valium is a highly reinforcing drug in it's class. Its subtle sedative effect with euphoriant high can attract drug abusers to use it again and again that is causative of another drug problem on its own.

Then why it is a benzo du jor in Ashton manual?

Reason : It was the only Benzo with an almost unbelievable half-life when professor Ashton entered the field. She found the certain Benzo's availability in the tiniest dose too that would make it convenient to use in from very high to relatively smaller dose forms. Ashton is addictionologist so, it is normal for her to look upon everything through the prism of addiction and treat likewise. But in the real world we have seen people immensely being helped by Benzos for their ailments and withdrawing the helping chemical will be devastating in their case because stopping and reinstating Benzos or Antidepressants can prove almost lethal for them for the reason the withdrawn drug may not necessarily effective in second attempt. Patients are forced to double their dosage to suffer more and unnecessary adverse effects.

I could have gone and on but long posts seldom attracts readers so, let me pause here now. One thing I learnt from my experience is there isn't any Protocols to follow in the case of Benzodiazepine addiction or habituation. First of all it is to educate people on their problems to the point of them having new insights on their own. This will help the needy to listen to their bodies. Working on this will help to target the goals to achieve.

And finally : Benzodiazepines are great drugs in the right hands. Many in the real world is being tremendously helped by them. The horror stories are mostly the aftermath of the medication being in the wrong hands. Users should recollect their state of mind prior to the medication, this is often impossible as the patient only look upon a drug after the drug being effective to the extent of them forgetting what led them taking it.

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I'm glad you found your own path but I don't understand why you think it would be helpful to discredit another path that has helped so many? Honestly, your post is so packed with misinformation it takes my breath away. Ashton is not "insanely stubborn" regarding the use of Valium in a titration. There is a reason it is used.
Also, the following quote is NOT true. "This (diazepam) will inflict suicidal behavior in many." Many? Really? The only black box warning on diazepam is concomitant use with opioids, NOT suicide.
Also, regarding this quote, "One thing I learnt from my experience is there isn't any Protocols to follow in the case of Benzodiazepine addiction or habituation." Yes there is. You don't like it but that is not the same thing as "there aren't any." People are looking for hope. And there IS hope. It is possible to discontinue all benzos without trauma or debilitating withdrawal.
And finally, this quote sounds like shaming: "The horror stories are mostly the aftermath of the medication being in the wrong hands." Sorry to sound dogmatic but this is absolutely, positively NOT true. Benzodiazepines, if taken daily, cause physical dependance. One does not need to "abuse" their medication to become dependent on it. If the effects are worth the dependance then I think people should be allowed to continue on their medication of choice. But this thread is about people discontinuing benzos.

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@lioness

@gingerw Thinking of you today stay safe really pouring here

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@merry and all of us A lot of people have no idea how God is real and can change your life. This is not a LIe. There are a lot of people that will never have the Holy Spirit dwell within them. This is a fact. I believe God protected me as a child and without his love and understanding – I would have never been blessed or even able to help others. Read the Picture under- Footprints in the Sand-We all carry one another till we die. Why is it so hard for others to try and receive this Blessing. no matter the reason -I will always pray for everyone on these sights I pray for myself Now that is a big change for ME. Let Go and Let God This is a strong statement. We carry each other all the time. We get to points in our life -Where we get carried and it is ok Education is the key to growth.

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I do not know what will help but you can not use caffeine, any NSAIDS,no alcohol, no marijuana, no anti depressants, no medication, herb, oil or food that works on the GABA receptor site. That means no B or D vitamin supplement or magnesium supplement. No Epson salt bath( magnesium). Any of these things will trigger your symptoms. You can take hydrocodone for pain as it works on the MU receptor site. My husband has been in prolonged benzo withdrawal for nearly 2 years,(he had been on Xanax for 22 years for headaches). He might get a few good days and think he is coming out of it, then it comes roaring back. None of the local doctors were any bit helpful, but neither were the neurologists that we traveled 5 hours to see, they all deny this exists. Dr. Ashton's of Great Britain has a web site with information and Wikipedia has a lot of information under prolonged benzo withdrawal syndrome. Good luck.

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@aarniek

Anyone found anything that helped this brutal condition so you could have any sort of life again? I am on 8 different Benzo withdrawal sites including benzo buddies and found zero help!

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I have been looking for 2 years. No help from local does or neurologists that we traveled 5 hours to see who were really brilliant but refused to read any information given to the on prolonged benzo withdrawal syndrome. Wickepedia , under prolonged benzo withdrawal syndrome,has a fair amount of info. I just today discovered that hydrocodone works on the MU receptors so my husband can use it for muscle ( fasciculations, spasms)and bone pain. He had many other symptoms but he needs something for pain and this works. He had been on a prescription NSAIDS for arthritis and I discovered a year into his withdrawal symptoms that you can not take NSAIDS. Today I found out that any medication, herb, drink, food or supplement that attaches to the GABAreceptor site will worsen the withdrawal symptoms, so that means no caffeine, alcohol,vitamin B or D, magnesium, no anti depressants, also there is a group of antibiotics,Cipro is part of that group, that will intereact poorly on any one who is on benzos or in withdrawal symptoms from them. I hope this can be of help to you. Good luck.

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@sallycanuck

Hi @aarniek,
I am so sorry to hear of your troubles with Ativan and other benzo’s. I can share my story to provide some hope…please don’t be discouraged by anything I share. I don’t know why my withdrawal was relatively easy but here goes…I was on Ativan (2-3 mg daily)and clonazepam (2 mg daily) for over a decade. It was prescribed mainly to help reduce anxiety, although my primary condition was depression. I mainly took it at night (Ativan and Clonaz together) to put me to sleep and keep me asleep. Over the 10 yrs I was also on SSRIs. In the past 4 yrs, they added Seroquel to my drug mix to stop suicidal ideation.On top of all that, I was on hydromorphone and oxy’s for a chronic pain condition.
In the past 9 months, I decided it was time to try coming off of as many meds as possible-I was just so tired of feeling groggy and fuzzy and having little ability to concentrate and experiencing memory impairment. I met once with an addictions psychiatrist who designed a withdrawal schedule for me. I was too afraid to read anything on sites like benzobuddies because people had told me so many bad stories about how it might be impossible for me to come off the meds without terrible side effects. So, I guess ignorance was bliss for me-I really tried to go into the process without reading anything on it.
I decided to get as physically healthy as I could while starting to taper so I started Weight Watchers which really helped me stop eating junk food and highly processed food-I think this made a huge difference for me as I’d never really cleaned up my diet. I lost 35 lbs in the first 20 weeks and was getting lots of exercise- walking 45 minutes/day and swimming 2-3 times per week. In retrospect I think the change in diet and the exercise really helped with lessening any anxiety symptoms as I weaned off the drugs.
We started with weaning me off Seroquel and then we attacked the opiates. I weaned off the extended release opiates first and used the oxy for any breakthrough pain. Then I tapered off the oxy dosage and do not use it at all now. Amazingly it turns out that my pain is tolerable without drug intervention-I was just too stoned all those years to realize the pain wasn’t so bad anymore.
Then we attacked the benzos…starting with the ativan. I tapered off over a period of approx 6 weeks, and boosted the clonazepam while withdrawing from the ativan. In the past 8 weeks I have been tapering off the Clonaz (which was bumped up to 3 mg nightly) and am now down to .75mg nightly. I just saw my psychiatrist and we’ve decided to stay at the .75 level until I get through our rainy winter season here-SAD is an issue for me.
But there’s so much good news in all this. My energy level is good, I wake up alert most days after 8 hrs sleep, I have not had any suicidal thoughts for 2 months, no panic attacks, not clinically depressed, no longer wear plus-sized clothes :)…I’m still a bit overwhelmed by financial stresses but can at least start to problem-solve with some clarity (which had been impossible for the past decade-I would just cry when any of life’s little bumps in the road occurred).
I don’t know what kind of medical support you have available but I have to say that seeing an addictions psychiatrist to develop my plan was an important first step. I also suspect that changing my diet (for real) and getting more exercise played a huge part in my process.
I am mad at my previous psychiatrist (who is now retired) for never red-flagging the long-term impact of the drugs he was prescribing me, but I am so grateful to be off the Seroquel, Ativan and on the way to being off the clonazepam as well.
I still take SSRI’s for the depression but am so happy to be relatively drug-free. I never would have thought I could have reached this place, so please don’t give up. You will be in my prayers and thoughts.

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That is wonderful that you have a physician that is working with you. You mentioned that you cleaned up your diet of processed foods. Over the past two years of trying to find information that could help my husband who is in prolonged benzo withdrawal syndrome from 22 years of Xanax, I have come to think that the reason there is so much anxiety and depression is because our food is mostly junk and lacking in not only Vitamins but needed minerals. That was really smart to start off by improving your diet, wish I would have focussed on that sooner.

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@catcatanzaro60

@merry and all of us A lot of people have no idea how God is real and can change your life. This is not a LIe. There are a lot of people that will never have the Holy Spirit dwell within them. This is a fact. I believe God protected me as a child and without his love and understanding – I would have never been blessed or even able to help others. Read the Picture under- Footprints in the Sand-We all carry one another till we die. Why is it so hard for others to try and receive this Blessing. no matter the reason -I will always pray for everyone on these sights I pray for myself Now that is a big change for ME. Let Go and Let God This is a strong statement. We carry each other all the time. We get to points in our life -Where we get carried and it is ok Education is the key to growth.

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@brit What a wonderful informative email you wrote. I agree with you 100% but like you so wisely said you can't expect Him to do it all.
Patti

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I checked in to Glenbeigh rehab , they call a hospital, last April. I had been prescribed 1.5 mg.of xanax a day for 24 years and was abruptly cut off then oct my GP abruptly discontinued effexor. The post accute withdrawal was the worst experience of my life. no need to go into all of consequences of PAWS those who have experienced it know. with the help of an amazing psychiatrist who had been thru effexor withdrawals herself, i’m doing better. still have bas days but i’m becoming me again. You need to seek help from a good psychiatrist trained in drug withdrawal. there is help. 4 years is too long to suffer

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