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!

Reply to @aarniek. I have gone through a similar experience which I can share with you. But for doing so I need to know which Benzo were you taking, and in what dosage, before you stopped taking it six years ago. I, too, suffered from tinnitus and severe pressure in the head, but it's gone now. Look forward to hearing from you. God bless you.

Liked by aarniek

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@pankaj

Reply to @aarniek. I have gone through a similar experience which I can share with you. But for doing so I need to know which Benzo were you taking, and in what dosage, before you stopped taking it six years ago. I, too, suffered from tinnitus and severe pressure in the head, but it's gone now. Look forward to hearing from you. God bless you.

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I think he mentioned 8mg of Ativan at the beginning and was “tapered” in 3 weeks. I just joined this group a few days ago I’ve been particularly concerned about this man. I myself am going through a benzodiazepine taper I’m glad to hear you’ve healed. God bless us all for the amount of sheer misery tapering benzodiazepines and symptoms created from them.

Liked by aarniek, Parus

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In reply to @aarniek and @hopeful123. Whether a benzo is needed or not depends on the severity of the illness. In certain very severe cases, a benzo, in addition to antidepressants, may be required for an indefinite period of time, perhaps for several decades, or even the rest of one's life. In such cases, it may simply not be possible to taper the benzo to zero. If that is attempted, as appears to have happened in the case of @aarniek, the result may be extreme, unbearable misery, as described by him. So one has to make a choice: live a miserable life without a benzo, or take a benzo–at the lowest necessary dose–and lead a normal, bearable, life. There are many people who have opted–wisely, in my view–for the latter. Quality of life is a very important consideration, and if that requires taking a benzo, so be it. Of course, the best option would be to stop the benzo altogether, but as explained above, that may not be possible in all cases. The case of @aarniek appears to be one such case. His anxiety appears to be very severe. In addition to a benzo and an antidepressant, his doctor could consider prescribing a low dose of Pregabalin, say 150 mg at bedtime. My doctor prescribed it to me about 10 months ago, and after taking it there was a significant improvement in my sleep. My anxiety was reduced, and my tinnitus was gone, after I had suffered from it for more than 5 years. I hope this is of some help to @aarniek and others suffering from severe anxiety. Reducing benzos to zero just for the sake of reduction, without considering its impact on the quality of life of the patient, is neither here nor there. It only inflicts more suffering and pain on him/her. This has been my own experience. I hope others will find it of some help. Thanks.

Liked by Parus, hopeful123

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@pankaj

In reply to @aarniek and @hopeful123. Whether a benzo is needed or not depends on the severity of the illness. In certain very severe cases, a benzo, in addition to antidepressants, may be required for an indefinite period of time, perhaps for several decades, or even the rest of one's life. In such cases, it may simply not be possible to taper the benzo to zero. If that is attempted, as appears to have happened in the case of @aarniek, the result may be extreme, unbearable misery, as described by him. So one has to make a choice: live a miserable life without a benzo, or take a benzo–at the lowest necessary dose–and lead a normal, bearable, life. There are many people who have opted–wisely, in my view–for the latter. Quality of life is a very important consideration, and if that requires taking a benzo, so be it. Of course, the best option would be to stop the benzo altogether, but as explained above, that may not be possible in all cases. The case of @aarniek appears to be one such case. His anxiety appears to be very severe. In addition to a benzo and an antidepressant, his doctor could consider prescribing a low dose of Pregabalin, say 150 mg at bedtime. My doctor prescribed it to me about 10 months ago, and after taking it there was a significant improvement in my sleep. My anxiety was reduced, and my tinnitus was gone, after I had suffered from it for more than 5 years. I hope this is of some help to @aarniek and others suffering from severe anxiety. Reducing benzos to zero just for the sake of reduction, without considering its impact on the quality of life of the patient, is neither here nor there. It only inflicts more suffering and pain on him/her. This has been my own experience. I hope others will find it of some help. Thanks.

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I agree. I cannot tolerate Lyrica I’m thrilled you’ve found some relief with it though. I can’t remember anything on it. I did add the antidepressant Celexa a few days ago because the quality of life I am experiencing is so poor. I also become tolerant to benzodiazepines very quickly for some reason so if I tried to stay on them for good I’d need enormous doses. I have high hopes for the Celexa which I could see being on the rest of my life. It’s possible he does need them for good as I think he said he’s in his 80s. Thank you for posting your thoughts.

Liked by Parus

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@pankaj

In reply to @aarniek and @hopeful123. Whether a benzo is needed or not depends on the severity of the illness. In certain very severe cases, a benzo, in addition to antidepressants, may be required for an indefinite period of time, perhaps for several decades, or even the rest of one's life. In such cases, it may simply not be possible to taper the benzo to zero. If that is attempted, as appears to have happened in the case of @aarniek, the result may be extreme, unbearable misery, as described by him. So one has to make a choice: live a miserable life without a benzo, or take a benzo–at the lowest necessary dose–and lead a normal, bearable, life. There are many people who have opted–wisely, in my view–for the latter. Quality of life is a very important consideration, and if that requires taking a benzo, so be it. Of course, the best option would be to stop the benzo altogether, but as explained above, that may not be possible in all cases. The case of @aarniek appears to be one such case. His anxiety appears to be very severe. In addition to a benzo and an antidepressant, his doctor could consider prescribing a low dose of Pregabalin, say 150 mg at bedtime. My doctor prescribed it to me about 10 months ago, and after taking it there was a significant improvement in my sleep. My anxiety was reduced, and my tinnitus was gone, after I had suffered from it for more than 5 years. I hope this is of some help to @aarniek and others suffering from severe anxiety. Reducing benzos to zero just for the sake of reduction, without considering its impact on the quality of life of the patient, is neither here nor there. It only inflicts more suffering and pain on him/her. This has been my own experience. I hope others will find it of some help. Thanks.

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In my case my tapering after 30+ years of 6mgs of Clonazepam daily, was suggested by my GP. After ending up in the hospital twice, because I was such a wreck, he still wants to try it again! so I asked to have a referral to a psychiatrist, to help me understand why 3 of us siblings suffer the same symptoms, only they are not being pressured into a taper. He did not even give me a reply to my request! So now I feel like I do not have a choice, but I know I could not go through this again!

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@lorraine59

In my case my tapering after 30+ years of 6mgs of Clonazepam daily, was suggested by my GP. After ending up in the hospital twice, because I was such a wreck, he still wants to try it again! so I asked to have a referral to a psychiatrist, to help me understand why 3 of us siblings suffer the same symptoms, only they are not being pressured into a taper. He did not even give me a reply to my request! So now I feel like I do not have a choice, but I know I could not go through this again!

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That is quite a predicament. Just wondering, @lorraine59, have you tried tapering off Clonazepam by using an antidepressant? Many people on Connect have spoken about that. Also, can you make an appointment with a psychiatrist without your GP's referral?

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He did not suggest any other medications and unfortunately, I do need him to refer me to a psychiatrist! I asked him if he remembered why he put me on this med all those years ago, and he told me I must have had trauma in my childhood. So now I still have the underlying issues and severe anxiety, on top of major withdrawal! Freaking out

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@lorraine59

He did not suggest any other medications and unfortunately, I do need him to refer me to a psychiatrist! I asked him if he remembered why he put me on this med all those years ago, and he told me I must have had trauma in my childhood. So now I still have the underlying issues and severe anxiety, on top of major withdrawal! Freaking out

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Perhaps you should ask about using an antidepressant that specifically deals with anxiety to help you with the withdrawal. Read some of the posts that are here and see what they have to say. Here is a post written by a Mayo pharmacist about withdrawing from benzos. This was written some time ago to another member who was in a similar process as you.

"The goal to be “addiction-free” is admirable! I commend your motivation to improve.
Taking antidepressants for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) shouldn’t be considered “addictions.” Antidepressants aren’t addictive, but missing doses or stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal-like symptoms including sudden worsening of depression. MDD and GAD are often chronic diseases that can require lifelong treatment. Sometimes people feel so much better with treatment they think they don’t need treatment any more. Your clinician can help you try to taper off safely. Communication with your healthcare provider is important in providing a personalized taper and options for resuming therapy, if needed.
Extra care should be taken regarding tapering from clonazepam. It will be important for you to get tapering instructions from your psychiatrist. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like clonazepam can be serious and may include tremors, anxiety, sweating, psychosis and seizures. The onset and severity of withdrawal depends on the which drug was used, for how long and other patient specific factors. If needed, you could ask about less addictive anti-anxiety medications."

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@hopeful33250

Perhaps you should ask about using an antidepressant that specifically deals with anxiety to help you with the withdrawal. Read some of the posts that are here and see what they have to say. Here is a post written by a Mayo pharmacist about withdrawing from benzos. This was written some time ago to another member who was in a similar process as you.

"The goal to be “addiction-free” is admirable! I commend your motivation to improve.
Taking antidepressants for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) shouldn’t be considered “addictions.” Antidepressants aren’t addictive, but missing doses or stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal-like symptoms including sudden worsening of depression. MDD and GAD are often chronic diseases that can require lifelong treatment. Sometimes people feel so much better with treatment they think they don’t need treatment any more. Your clinician can help you try to taper off safely. Communication with your healthcare provider is important in providing a personalized taper and options for resuming therapy, if needed.
Extra care should be taken regarding tapering from clonazepam. It will be important for you to get tapering instructions from your psychiatrist. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like clonazepam can be serious and may include tremors, anxiety, sweating, psychosis and seizures. The onset and severity of withdrawal depends on the which drug was used, for how long and other patient specific factors. If needed, you could ask about less addictive anti-anxiety medications."

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This is so true because I was able to get off of the clonazepam because I was able to get my anti depression medicine kicked up to the point where was taken care of the depression and anxiety so I didn't need the clonazepam anymore and that's why I got off of it. Every person is different so one size does not fit all. If no need and you have the metabolism, and have not been in a high dose it is possible to get off.

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@lorraine59

I'm so sorry to hear that you are having a hard time getting help for your withdrawal from Clonazapam. It is very difficult to get off of benzodiazapines, and it takes a long time to slowly taper off the drug.

– One alternative to your physician helping is to talk to your pharmacist about how to withdraw from the drug.

– If you are not satisfied with your current doctor, you need to tell your insurance provider that you are not getting the help you need and ask for a new physician.

– Let the insurance provider know that you are tapering off Clonazapam and you want a referral to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist but your doctor won't do it. Insist on getting the help you need.

-Tell your doctor or Psychiatrist that you want a DNA test before taking any new medication. It involves a swab of your cheek, and let's you know which medications will work best for you.

You're paying for your health insurance and you deserve good health care. It sounds as if your current doctor, who you indicated has been your doctor for at least 30 years is not serving you well. I had a very negative experience with my pain doctor after I had back surgery. I wanted to stop taking my pain medication, and he told me to just stop it. He seemed mad at me for wanting to stop it. I knew that was wrong so I asked my pharmacist to help me with a schedule for withdrawal and he did.

So, ask for 100% of what you need right now. It's hard enough to withdraw as it is, without feeling that you are not being supported by your physician.

Please keep us in touch with what's going on. If you have any questions please post them here as there are many people here who have experienced tapering off of various medications.

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Magnesium citrate 400mg pd, with a small amount of cannabis has given me small quality of life compared to the seven years of never ending hell Xanax dropped me in. Don't be affrwid of setbacks if you're six years out, you can't go any further back than you already are. This combined with walking four miles per night has given me very good windows. The cannabis is only taken in a window (twice a week) as it can have negative effects in a wave

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@lorraine59 Withdrawal is uncomfortable. I did so cold turkey and without a doctor’s help. There are no words to describe the horror of that experience. All I know is when doing so it is important to have support. As I read about so many deciding to wean off of benzodiazepines and other psych meds I can empathize. Doing so gradually is the best. There is a lot of good information that has been shared. I had no idea how scary it is for many. The way I did was not wise. Fear kept me from reaching out. I am sorry your doctor is not being supportive. Must have you feeling alone. As @gailb pointed out-advocate for yourself even if it means being assertive. Doctors that are not willing to help are not worth wasting time with. Some can be total jerks.
I can say that the world is brighter on the other side.

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@aarniek

After almost 6 years off my benzo ,I am actually getting worse and if I didn't have friend on other benzo sites,I would not believe it's still protracted benzo withdrawal! My muscles are so tight It takes all I have too get to the bathroom and my head pressure along with the severe tinnitus is maddening, What I want to know is has anyone found any food or drink that helps even a tiny bit or any OTC medicine that helps? If I had the ability to get to the Mayo Clinic in Florida I would go there but I don't think there is anything they could do as I have seen 4 neurologists and the best one did was tell me to go back on klonipin for 30 days and my symptoms would abate and I could stop it after 30 days !( did not do that) and my normal neurologist has done thousand of dollars worth of MRI's and MRA's plus blood tests,all normal and has scheduled a 72 hour EEG and wil comment on the results next month!

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Have you tried CBD oil without THC? I am wondering about trying this myself. 6 months out from C/T on Klonopin for over 3 years and kindled with Ativan for 10 years prior. My legs are still aching and tight to the point of difficulty standing/walking.

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@jennykl

Have you tried CBD oil without THC? I am wondering about trying this myself. 6 months out from C/T on Klonopin for over 3 years and kindled with Ativan for 10 years prior. My legs are still aching and tight to the point of difficulty standing/walking.

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Hi, @jennykl – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Apologies for the delayed reply to your post. I can imagine having aching and tight legs to the point of having difficulty standing and walking is really challenging.

I noted you are considering CBD oil without THC, and I'm hoping that members like @cdcc @parus @gailb may have some thoughts for you.

You might also want to check out this discussion on CBD oil and depression/anxiety https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cbd-oil-and-depression-anxiety.

Just wanted to clarify: are you still taking the clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan) currently, or have you tapered off of these medications?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @jennykl – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Apologies for the delayed reply to your post. I can imagine having aching and tight legs to the point of having difficulty standing and walking is really challenging.

I noted you are considering CBD oil without THC, and I'm hoping that members like @cdcc @parus @gailb may have some thoughts for you.

You might also want to check out this discussion on CBD oil and depression/anxiety https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cbd-oil-and-depression-anxiety.

Just wanted to clarify: are you still taking the clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan) currently, or have you tapered off of these medications?

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Thank you for getting back to me! I am off the Benzos (5 months now) but am still on 40 mg of Prozac. I think CBD will be useful after I have healed but lots of damage in my nervous system from long term use. With my pain being concentrated in leg and lower back, I am unable to exercise past light stretching. This is nothing compared to Acute but it is preventing me from functioning most of the time. Any suggestions?

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