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!

What symptoms are you experiencing due to post withdrawal?

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@sears

What symptoms are you experiencing due to post withdrawal?

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Hi Sears.
A lot of pain in my arms, hands and fingers along with pins and needles. My doctor opined that it may be carpal tunnel syndrome and has organised a nerve conduction study but I'm not sure that's right as in the last few days I've started to get similar, but not as severe, symptoms in my feet and toes.
Also, really nasty cramps in my legs especially in my calf that tighten every 20-30 secs for an hour or so.
And painful eyes – like they are really swollen. I've had them checked out and they're fine.
From what I've read these are often associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal but then what isn't?
Cheers,

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@johnhans

You do not mention how much benzodiazepene you were taking. Did your doctor ask you to get off of the benzodiazepene? Is he gradually tapering you off? I was able to successfully get off of Klonopin but it did take a while and I did slowly taper off. I am sorry you are having such a bad time of it now, but if your doctor wants this it most likely is a good idea in the long run. Keep on and you can get through this if done slow.

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in reply tto @johnhans " I am in the process of getting off klonopin, I've only been on for 5 months, .5 tablet , but was so panicked after getting a divorce and being on my own, I needed klonopin. Had been taking lexapro for a few years after trying many different antidpressants.
My doctor hasn't prescribed anything else with it, just upping my lexapro at night.
Did you use anythng to help calm your nerves?

Thank you

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The problem is you will become dependent on the Lexapro. Antidepressants cause a ton of problems. Tapering can be a nightmare. The doctors got us into a mess with the Benzos and keeping us in a mess with the antidepressants.

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@barbra

in reply tto @johnhans " I am in the process of getting off klonopin, I've only been on for 5 months, .5 tablet , but was so panicked after getting a divorce and being on my own, I needed klonopin. Had been taking lexapro for a few years after trying many different antidpressants.
My doctor hasn't prescribed anything else with it, just upping my lexapro at night.
Did you use anythng to help calm your nerves?

Thank you

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Welcome @barbra. It sounds like you are tapering off Klonopin under the guidance of your doctor. Having not taken it for long should work in your favor. You may wish to connect with others like @donnacarp @cduncan123 @stanof53 and others in this discussion:

– Klonopin taper https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/klonopin-taper/

Have you considered non-medicine approaches to calm your nerves and give you support as you taper, such as using a meditation app like CALM or yoga?

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@basilfawlty

Hi Amanda.
Thanks for moving my post to the appropriate area and thanks also to Sears for your advice 🙂
I officially started my taper in late November 2021 and completed it in the first week in June 2021. I say 'officially' as I spent some months prior to that structuring my dosage to get it to a regular amount per day. Until then I had been taking Valium on an "as required basis" which would be often 1x5mg tablet per day, sometimes nothing for a few days, and up to 6x5mg tablets per day when in "a crisis". This was discussed over many years with my treating GP and psychiatrist.
Looking back, and having read more in the past 6 months, I realise this means I would regularly take nothing then something then nothing then a lot. I'm sure this meant that along with underlying, untreated anxiety I was also regularly dealing with withdrawal symptoms before rebounding by taking more. This was not my intention and it took my wife and I many years to figure out that using Valium in this way for so long was not good. I hasten to add that I only got to this point after my treating doctors assured me this was an acceptable way to use Valium.
As a result, when I decided to get off these things I had to first get to a point of having a regular dose that I could taper from. By November last year I settled on around 7.5mg per day (3 half 5mg tablets).
The tapering schedule was agreed to with my treating psychiatrist and I mapped it all out on a spreadsheet with reductions of about 0.5mg every fortnight. I only up-dosed on 2 days (by a total of 2.5mg) and this was early on.
Incidentally, it was my GP who suggested I had to get off Valium but gave me absolutely no advice of how to do so. So much so that I first tried in August 2020 by going cold turkey. 12 days into that adventure I had massive brain zaps etc and subsequently whacked another "crisis" dose into my system when I had one of the worst panic attacks I'd ever had. Anyway, this caused my wife and I to read up on how to get off safely – the first time I came across Prof Ashton's work. And that is now, history. Except the ferocity of the post-withdrawal stuff is not what I was expecting 🙂
Cheers

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What are the post withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing?

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Like many here the story is long, my wife started taking some of my sons Lorazepam (Ativan) to help her sleep about 6 months ago. She did this without telling me or her Dr. In time I noticed her acting sometimes like she was drunk and asked and she said it was just her sleeping meds. She also takes Trazadone (450 mg) to help her sleep which she has taken for years. Since being on the Lorazepam she has lost about 45 lbs. doesn't care to eat, do anything, shop, and many more things. She just is barely functioning. She has known for sometime something was wrong and she has seen her Dr. who has made some med changes but hasn't had any luck getting to see a psychiatrist. Last week a friend talked to me about the Lorazepam, saying it can be bad stuff and getting off can be hell. I looked into it and found info and discussed with my wife and she realized that this is probably been what was bothering her. Monday we will try to get ahold of her Dr. and see what we can do but here is the parts I know. She started say 6 months ago, she usually took 2 – 3 mg in the evening to help her sleep and at times she said for anxiety there was no real pattern to it. She said at times she may have taken up to 6 mg but would say probably averaged 2 lately. Prior to me finding this info she had started about 4 days ago she decided to go down to 1 mg so it has been rough but that is where we are at. She is very down on herself for getting into this but doesn't know where to go from here. A little background, our son has this med because he is severely handicapped and this was to help anxiety with breathing problems. Any Help is appreciated and best of luck to all. Tim

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@tim1950

Like many here the story is long, my wife started taking some of my sons Lorazepam (Ativan) to help her sleep about 6 months ago. She did this without telling me or her Dr. In time I noticed her acting sometimes like she was drunk and asked and she said it was just her sleeping meds. She also takes Trazadone (450 mg) to help her sleep which she has taken for years. Since being on the Lorazepam she has lost about 45 lbs. doesn't care to eat, do anything, shop, and many more things. She just is barely functioning. She has known for sometime something was wrong and she has seen her Dr. who has made some med changes but hasn't had any luck getting to see a psychiatrist. Last week a friend talked to me about the Lorazepam, saying it can be bad stuff and getting off can be hell. I looked into it and found info and discussed with my wife and she realized that this is probably been what was bothering her. Monday we will try to get ahold of her Dr. and see what we can do but here is the parts I know. She started say 6 months ago, she usually took 2 – 3 mg in the evening to help her sleep and at times she said for anxiety there was no real pattern to it. She said at times she may have taken up to 6 mg but would say probably averaged 2 lately. Prior to me finding this info she had started about 4 days ago she decided to go down to 1 mg so it has been rough but that is where we are at. She is very down on herself for getting into this but doesn't know where to go from here. A little background, our son has this med because he is severely handicapped and this was to help anxiety with breathing problems. Any Help is appreciated and best of luck to all. Tim

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Hi Tim @tim1950 and Welcome to Connect. Ativan can be a very tricky medication to become involved with, especially without a doctor's guidance. I am sorry you both are having to deal with this. I was placed on this medication at one point and didn't make it past a few weeks because of the side effects with my other medications.

You will see that I paired your post with a long standing discussion with over 25 pages of members discussing benzo withdrawal and all the trouble they have had with it. I want you to be able to connect with the other members on here so that you can find some help for your wife even if you just find someone who has been through something similar.

Can you tell me, is she ready to cut it out completely? Is it something that your son can stop taking so that you can get it out of your house?

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@amandaburnett

Hi Tim @tim1950 and Welcome to Connect. Ativan can be a very tricky medication to become involved with, especially without a doctor's guidance. I am sorry you both are having to deal with this. I was placed on this medication at one point and didn't make it past a few weeks because of the side effects with my other medications.

You will see that I paired your post with a long standing discussion with over 25 pages of members discussing benzo withdrawal and all the trouble they have had with it. I want you to be able to connect with the other members on here so that you can find some help for your wife even if you just find someone who has been through something similar.

Can you tell me, is she ready to cut it out completely? Is it something that your son can stop taking so that you can get it out of your house?

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I do think she is ready to stop. I just don't know how fast we can go down from 1 mg a day? As to my son, we have been taking him down for some time so yes I will limit what is accessable to her. Thanks.

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We have since realized that she was also taking Triazolam 0.125 about one a day too. Still waiting on family doctor to call back. Anybody have opinions as to if these are large doses that would require a more intense rehab or maybe something we could do together outpatient? Thanks in advance for any help.

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