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!

AarnThis is WAY TO FAST in coming off benzos. Not sure how long you have been on the benzos, but I have been on either xanax or klonopin (3-5mg. per day) for over 25 years. I have tried 3 times to get off of them in the past 10-years and psychiatrist just don't seem to "get it" when it comes to HOW TO SAFELY TAPER!
I got fed up with the "mental health industry" as a whole when I went in-patient for the 3rd time in October 2015 to taper off 4mg. of Klonopin & they took me off in less than 14-days. The withdrawal was horrific. I was delusional & felt like I was going crazy.
End result: Just like the 1st 2 times I tried to taper & it was unsuccessful because it was too fast, my psychiatrist but me right back on them. I am now on 1mg. of klonopin 3 x day (am, noon, pm). I am going to my PCP & they are going to start a very slow taper by adding Valium. You could do the same thing with the Ativan.
Check out "The Ashton Report" taper schedules. Just google "The Ashton Taper" & it will come up. It is from the UK, but I swear the UK seems to be so educated & knowledgeable about benzos. I have done extensive research on this tapering schedule & it won't hurt to check it out. There are different tapering schedules for all of the different benzos.
There is a 6mg. Ativan taper schedule in the Ashton Report Taper Schedule. I strongly suggest you talk to your doctor about this. I know you said you are on 8mg. Ativan, but they can always "tweak" it to add that extra 2mg.
Wish you the best of luck! I sure hope it works for me!

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I have been on klonopin for approx 16 years for a neurological condition Dystonia. I decided to try to go off of it this year and it been beyond horrible. I decided to go back on a couple of weeks ago because I realized it was helping my condition but I can’t seem to get reestablished. Had to go to the hospital over the weekend Cedar sani medical center in Los Angeles. All this time I’ve only been on.5 I’m jittery wobbly no appetite. Any suggestions.

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@vickyann

I have been on klonopin for approx 16 years for a neurological condition Dystonia. I decided to try to go off of it this year and it been beyond horrible. I decided to go back on a couple of weeks ago because I realized it was helping my condition but I can’t seem to get reestablished. Had to go to the hospital over the weekend Cedar sani medical center in Los Angeles. All this time I’ve only been on.5 I’m jittery wobbly no appetite. Any suggestions.

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Hi, @vickyann, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm sorry your experience going off Klonopin has been beyond horrible and you ended up having to go to the hospital.

I'd suggest you might want to look through this Connect discussion specifically on Klonopin Withdrawal and perhaps post there, if you'd like: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/klonopin-taper/bookmark/?ajax_hook=action&_wpnonce=dcf1f5dbae

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Wondering how it's going for some of you who were in the process of tapering off of benzodiazepines (benzos) or after your taper. Hoping your experiences will also help other members in this discussion on this journey.

@mel6415 – how is the very slow taper adding diazepam (Valium) going so far?

@lesbatts – how have things gone being off of the benzodiazepines?

@aarniek – are you still experiencing muscle tightness and spasticity you had after stopping the benzo?

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@lisalucier

Wondering how it's going for some of you who were in the process of tapering off of benzodiazepines (benzos) or after your taper. Hoping your experiences will also help other members in this discussion on this journey.

@mel6415 – how is the very slow taper adding diazepam (Valium) going so far?

@lesbatts – how have things gone being off of the benzodiazepines?

@aarniek – are you still experiencing muscle tightness and spasticity you had after stopping the benzo?

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Now over 5 years off and this year I lost my long term memory,and I didn't ever know what 9-1-1 was until my wife told me! I will be getting a 3rd brain MRI and a second MRA of my neck to check blood flow to my brain! Last one showed a 50% blockage in one of them! My neurologist says 50% is not a problem,and I have not lost long term memory,just the ability to access it! Not that I see a difference,just maybe some day I will be able to access it again ,I guess!

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I don’t know if you are still suffering, but if you are look into IV NAD+ treatment, it’s shown efficacy for treating PAWS especially from benzos. It can be pricy depending on where you go but the results have been very promising.

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@mel6415

AarnThis is WAY TO FAST in coming off benzos. Not sure how long you have been on the benzos, but I have been on either xanax or klonopin (3-5mg. per day) for over 25 years. I have tried 3 times to get off of them in the past 10-years and psychiatrist just don't seem to "get it" when it comes to HOW TO SAFELY TAPER!
I got fed up with the "mental health industry" as a whole when I went in-patient for the 3rd time in October 2015 to taper off 4mg. of Klonopin & they took me off in less than 14-days. The withdrawal was horrific. I was delusional & felt like I was going crazy.
End result: Just like the 1st 2 times I tried to taper & it was unsuccessful because it was too fast, my psychiatrist but me right back on them. I am now on 1mg. of klonopin 3 x day (am, noon, pm). I am going to my PCP & they are going to start a very slow taper by adding Valium. You could do the same thing with the Ativan.
Check out "The Ashton Report" taper schedules. Just google "The Ashton Taper" & it will come up. It is from the UK, but I swear the UK seems to be so educated & knowledgeable about benzos. I have done extensive research on this tapering schedule & it won't hurt to check it out. There are different tapering schedules for all of the different benzos.
There is a 6mg. Ativan taper schedule in the Ashton Report Taper Schedule. I strongly suggest you talk to your doctor about this. I know you said you are on 8mg. Ativan, but they can always "tweak" it to add that extra 2mg.
Wish you the best of luck! I sure hope it works for me!

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X it was 5-1/2 years ago when I was taken off in a few weeks and just a couple of months ago a new neurologist gave me KLONIPIN as he thought if I took it for less than 30 days it would relieve my symptoms and then I could just stop it! Wow was he wrong as I took 1 mg and I was screaming out and in agony ,so it looks like going back on and doing a proper taper is not going to help and most likely it's because of the 5-1/2 year time span ,so I may die from this withdrawal as it just keeps getting worse and now I am going on 81 ,so doctors ruined my life and my wife's life and there is no help out there as I have now seen 4 neurologists !

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@aarniek Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT )can help with Brain injury. I'm going through benzos brain injury myself (I don't think "withdrawal" is the right word for benzodiazepines. What kind of withdrawal last 6 months-years? When it comes to benzos, it's a brain injury. The recovery time/process from this drug is similar to recovering from TBI). It's extremely physically painful, not just mentally. My doctor prescribed me both Xanax and Klonopin at the same time (yes, I was on 2 benzos) daily for over 2.5 years… it's a miracle that I'm still alive. I did a quick taper (3 months) and now I'm about 6 months off-from the last dose. I'm still suffering and still in a lot of pain. Personally, I'll never ever touched benzos ever again. I have never been so sick and so scare in my life and I lost everything. I can't believe your doctor put you back on it….this called "kindling" and it will be more difficult next time you try to come off it. Please taper and take it slow. I'm so sorry you are going through this hell. This dangerous drug needs to be restricted.

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@cityoaktree

@aarniek Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT )can help with Brain injury. I'm going through benzos brain injury myself (I don't think "withdrawal" is the right word for benzodiazepines. What kind of withdrawal last 6 months-years? When it comes to benzos, it's a brain injury. The recovery time/process from this drug is similar to recovering from TBI). It's extremely physically painful, not just mentally. My doctor prescribed me both Xanax and Klonopin at the same time (yes, I was on 2 benzos) daily for over 2.5 years… it's a miracle that I'm still alive. I did a quick taper (3 months) and now I'm about 6 months off-from the last dose. I'm still suffering and still in a lot of pain. Personally, I'll never ever touched benzos ever again. I have never been so sick and so scare in my life and I lost everything. I can't believe your doctor put you back on it….this called "kindling" and it will be more difficult next time you try to come off it. Please taper and take it slow. I'm so sorry you are going through this hell. This dangerous drug needs to be restricted.

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It was another neurologist who tried to put me back on it as he said if you go back on for only 30 days,it will relieve your symptoms and as long as you only take it for 30 days you can stop with no problems!! I was so bad and I was so desperate after 5-1/2 years of pure hell,I tried it ,but I only took 1/2 of a two MG tablet and I felt even worse and never took it again! Doctors have ruined my life and I could tell you horror stories from what 3 of my doctors did ! Right now I am in physical and mental agony with severe head pressure,tinnitus,muscles in my shoulders,head,neck and back contracted so strong I can't walk,have shoulders pulled up to my neck ,and severe back pain upon standing ! ( and NO LONG TERM MEMORY) ( this symptom happened in my 5th year after stopping my lorazapam!)

Liked by littlecroissant

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My dad has been on valium for 20 years. I’m so worrie for him because of all the negative effects I read online. He tried to taper many times but failed. Is it ever possible to wean off valium without going to rehab? He says he needs the valium to continue to work and since he can’t take time off work he can not afford to quit valium. I’m very very worried for him and I wish he had quit earlier but he says in the earlier days ssris weren’t available so he got hooked on valium as an easily available anti anxiety pill. He refuses to go for therapy either so I’m a a loss. Pls give suggestions.

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I am not "hooked" on valium but I do know that "stress and anxiety" are a major factor for taking drugs period. Until you have experienced the feeling that your Dad is feeling you have no idea what it feels like. It is overwhelming to say the least. If Dad has found a drug that works for him….please let him be so he can live as normal life as possible.

Liked by littlecroissant

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@brit

I am not "hooked" on valium but I do know that "stress and anxiety" are a major factor for taking drugs period. Until you have experienced the feeling that your Dad is feeling you have no idea what it feels like. It is overwhelming to say the least. If Dad has found a drug that works for him….please let him be so he can live as normal life as possible.

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Hi Brit. Thanks for your reply. I’m worried because I see his behavioural changes. He’s become over friendly with women and has really bad memory lapses. He’s only 57. I read about terrible side effects do valium how you might be hooked to life support machines in your final days. I think the lexapro potentiates the valium and makes him sometimes behave like a teenager. His psychiatrist instead of reducing or maintaining the dosage or asking him to seek cbt or therapy keeps increasing the dosage. I’m just worried about his longevity. He doesn’t exercise and seems resigned to self destruct.

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@littlecroissant

My dad has been on valium for 20 years. I’m so worrie for him because of all the negative effects I read online. He tried to taper many times but failed. Is it ever possible to wean off valium without going to rehab? He says he needs the valium to continue to work and since he can’t take time off work he can not afford to quit valium. I’m very very worried for him and I wish he had quit earlier but he says in the earlier days ssris weren’t available so he got hooked on valium as an easily available anti anxiety pill. He refuses to go for therapy either so I’m a a loss. Pls give suggestions.

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Hello again, @littlecroissant

I just read your post about your dad's problem with Valium and the inability to get off of it. I can understand your concern. I have an elderly relative who has been addicted to benzos, including Valium, for most of her adult life and I know how difficult it was for her when she had to try to withdraw because doctors were no longer comfortable prescribing these meds for older adults.

I finally had to insist on an inpatient mental health stay (and even sign a court petition) because I was afraid of the consequences and she was not willing to see a psychologist or psychiatrist on her own behalf. It was a stressful time for me (as well as her), but more so for me. Our family had always accepted her mental health issues without insisting that she seek help. As I look back I see that we did this at her detriment as well as ours.

After the inpatient hospitalization she was put on two psychiatric meds as well as just a "smidgen" of Valium at bedtime and it has worked well for her. It takes a lot of courage for a family member to address this kind of problem, especially if you do not have support from others in your family. For me, it was worth it and while she still has days that are not the best I would say that she is 75 percent better than before.

I can only share my experience with you, you will have to decide what is best in your situation. Will you post again and let me know how you are doing?

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@brit

I am not "hooked" on valium but I do know that "stress and anxiety" are a major factor for taking drugs period. Until you have experienced the feeling that your Dad is feeling you have no idea what it feels like. It is overwhelming to say the least. If Dad has found a drug that works for him….please let him be so he can live as normal life as possible.

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You are so right. When anxiety becomes so overwhelming you will do just about anything. I am happy that your Dad has found a drug that works for him. My doctor and I are still (after 2 years) trying to find the best drug for me. I am a hypocondriate and it is so hard to put anything out of your mind once set on it. I try so hard to cope but sometimes it is so overwhelming. My husband is an angel and works
with me daily. God bless you sweetheart for caring so much but sometimes you have to just be so glad that your Dad has found the right medication for him. It sure doesn't look so good for me. But I will continue to keep "trying" hoping that sometime soon my doctor and I will fine the medication that works for me. God Bless

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@hopeful33250

Hello again, @littlecroissant

I just read your post about your dad's problem with Valium and the inability to get off of it. I can understand your concern. I have an elderly relative who has been addicted to benzos, including Valium, for most of her adult life and I know how difficult it was for her when she had to try to withdraw because doctors were no longer comfortable prescribing these meds for older adults.

I finally had to insist on an inpatient mental health stay (and even sign a court petition) because I was afraid of the consequences and she was not willing to see a psychologist or psychiatrist on her own behalf. It was a stressful time for me (as well as her), but more so for me. Our family had always accepted her mental health issues without insisting that she seek help. As I look back I see that we did this at her detriment as well as ours.

After the inpatient hospitalization she was put on two psychiatric meds as well as just a "smidgen" of Valium at bedtime and it has worked well for her. It takes a lot of courage for a family member to address this kind of problem, especially if you do not have support from others in your family. For me, it was worth it and while she still has days that are not the best I would say that she is 75 percent better than before.

I can only share my experience with you, you will have to decide what is best in your situation. Will you post again and let me know how you are doing?

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Thank you so much for this insight. This is what I’m worried about precisely. All of us will face the end one day but when it happens I do not want it to be undignified or in a comatose state for him. Is it even possible to wean off at all for someone who has been on Valium for most of their adult life. My dad is also taking lexapro 15 mg. Is there anyone here who has experience taking both – valium and lexapro? He only started taking lexapro I think about 6 years ago. Previously he was on remeron but the anti depressant effect wore off. My dad claims he has a genetic predisposition to depression which I think has a part to play but I think he may be using it as a crutch to take the harder road to be drug free through therapy. He himself is a doctor so I’m perplexed as to why he doesn’t want to explore other less harmful alternatives.

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