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Sat, Feb 16 1:04pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

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.

Thu, Feb 14 4:46pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

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.

Thu, Feb 14 1:06pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

I can relate regarding the retreating fog. It's a huge relief but kinda sad too. I thought I was treating chronic anxiety but it's become abundantly clear that the medication was causing anxiety. For many years I would have fought against this idea. And fought strenuously. "It's not dependance or addiction. It's my anxiety disorder reasserting itself!" Hey, my doctor agreed so who am I to question medical advise? I wish I had known.
What really stands my hair on end is how many rehab facilities pop to the top of the list when googling benzo info. I've seen everything from a one week to a 28 day withdrawal process. That's criminal, IMO. My heart breaks for people so misled for profit. I've taken 8 months to safely and gently d/c. Thank god for the Ashton Manuel.

Thu, Feb 14 12:03pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

I've been trying to practice good "sleep hygiene". (such an odd phrase!) This includes going to bed at the same time and going to bed only to sleep. This goes against a long habit of mine to always fall asleep to the background of the T.V. Also, no coffee after noon. I thought insomnia would be the biggest obstacle in d/c'ing the benzo. Turns out, I'm getting better sleep than I've gotten for too many years to count. I wish I'd known the medication was messing with my restorative sleep as much as it was. I don't know whether the a.m. supplements I started taking during the titration have helped with sleep but just in case: 2000mg fish oil and 2000mg Vitamin D3. And a decent multi-vitamin.
Regarding my titration, I am down to .5mg Valium (diazepam) once a day for another week and a half, then done. I was going to jump off at 1mg but had enough medication to do .5mg for two weeks. So what the heck. I haven't had to deal with much withdrawal (if at all) so I'm erring on the side of caution. Happy Valentine's Day to us all!

Sat, Feb 9 1:25pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

The quantity and quality of my sleep has improved markedly as the level of diazepam in my system has decreased. In hindsight, I can say that the benzos had been negatively effecting my sleep for many, many years. It really is appalling. But I had been convinced that all my symptoms were a manifestation of a disorder.
You're correct, I have not taken Seroquel. My understanding is that it is an atypical antipsychotic developed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is not a sleeping aid. It is a powerful psychotropic drug that has sedating properties as a side-effect. It's off-label use for insomnia is controversial. Do I remember you saying it made your heart race?

Fri, Feb 8 4:10pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

I should have prefaced by comment with "for me". My interdose withdrawal from Xanax was intense so that's what I'm comparing it to. I am so sorry you're struggling. I was using diazepam as a titration tool. If someone is taking it as a muscle relaxant then apparently the withdrawal can be entirely different.

Fri, Feb 8 2:05pm · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

Just to give you an idea of equivalencies: https://www.benzo.org.uk/bzequiv.htm So if you take 1mg klonopin twice a day, the diazepam (Valium) equivalent would be 20mg twice a day. You can then reduce by 2mg (or I did 2.5mg) every two weeks. If you stay with klonopin and reduce by .25mg, you'll be reducing exactly twice as fast as I did. IMHO, this is an unnecessarily traumatic route. Initially, I tried to discontinue directly from Xanax. Holy cow, what a mistake! Not only did I keel-haul my nervous system, but I failed as well. The benefit of valium/diazepam is that it has a long half-life, meaning it leaves your system very, very slowly. So there is no "between-dose" withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is something you want to avoid. I think it can be avoided if you are careful and gentle with yourself.

Fri, Feb 8 11:28am · Protracted Benzo withdrawal in Depression & Anxiety

Yes, my sleep was terrible on Xanax. Light sleeping at best and waking with a startle response at 4am no matter how exhausted I was. And yes, also tension headaches all the time. Insomnia was (and is, truthfully) a huge concern but it's turned out better than I had hoped. I take 50mg of amitriptyline in the evening which helps in actually getting to sleep. Reducing the benzodiazepine in my system has only helped the length and quality of my sleep. I had steeled myself for the exact opposite so it's been a happy surprise.
I really can't recommend the Ashton protocol highly enough. By switching to Valium (diazepam) I was able to do the SMALL reductions necessary to avoid acute withdrawal. As an added benefit, Valium is also used as a muscle relaxer and sleep aid so my tension headaches disappeared and sleep has been a non-issue.