When I was 22 years old with a toddler, several extremely stressful events struck my life simultaneously, everything from the sudden death of my father-in-law to my husband being diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease. Looking back, the fact that a doctor told me a couple of years later that I was on the brink of complete physical and mental exhaustion was probably an understatement - I was burning the candle at both ends and in the middle. I was put on Valium for at least a year.
Almost 45 years later, I have been diagnosed at various times with depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Adult ADD which I highly suspect I also had as a child , and very recently anxiety. I've also been prescribed an assortment of sleeping pills, none of which I could tolerate for any length of time. I truly find the possible connection between benzodiazepines and SSRI's to be very curious I've recently read that thyroid disease is being diagnosed in middle aged women now in extraordinary numbers and the question is why?
I've read theories that it might have to do with dental xrays, maybe mammograms. What if it might have to do with the fact that back in the late 's and early 's, doctors were prescribing Valium and later to be proven dangerous weight control pills to so many women? The first home we owned was on a quiet street where many of my neighbors were young wives and mothers like myself I used to have a handle on life but it broke!
What are the medications you are taking and how are you weaning off? Cold turkey withdrawal could be very detrimental. I am a strong advocate in that NO ONE but a board certified psychiatrist should be prescribing these drugs. These drugs can be nasty. We all have different needs, but I sure wish more docs took the time to educate themselves further instead of just passing out drug rep samples.
And nutrition is such a big piece of all of this that is frequently overlooked, too. This was not long after the drug came on the market but I'm sure it was never recommended that patients be told just to stop taking it. Cold turkey or rapid taper can lead to horrific withdrawal and even death. Someone's done their homework. Unfortunately, most doctors and psychiatrists are not benzo-wise.
In other words, they do not know how to correctly taper a patient off in a safe and sane manner. For example, although my own pdoc has been kind enough to let me self-taper, she would still like me to remain on Xanax. She is worried about my "nerves". I am not here to make converts. But if you think you may have become tolerant and the drugs are losing their efficacy, or you have just felt ill without any diagnostic answers, chances are you are physically dependent.
For most, it is less of an addiction and more of an actual dependency. If you want to learn more there are a few good places to begin. The Ashton Manual, written by Dr. Heather Ashton of the UK, is the preeminent work on Benzodiazepines to date. It simply is a must read. Also, an online support group is extremely helpful. There are several still about; I chose BenzoBuddies but I believe all are excellent sources of information and support. You will get all the help you will need in the aforementioned.
It's all up to you. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul, and it ain't gonna be easy. You are right about Valium being used as "Mother's Little Helpers" in the 60's and 70's. The use of Benzos was temporarily suspended due to growing suspicion that the drugs were actually making people worse. So, not to lose a a captive audience and a significant amount of profit, Big Pharma re-tooled a whole new line of designer Benzodiazepines to include the shorter half-life Xanax.
Which is where we are today. Folks, they are still scripting this stuff like candy. Also, people are STILL being told everyday to "just stop taking them", or put on rapid tapers that are basically the same thing. I have been as high as 2 mg a day, which is equivalent to 40 mgs Valium. When starting my taper, I was at 1. If you want to know more, pm me. Back to the thyroid. I was worried about the dependence and possible addiction for taking them for so long, so over a three month period, I tapered off the medication.
Through out this time, and the time following after I completely stopped the medication, I never had any mental or physical withdrawal symptoms. Most of the stories I read from people slowing down and stopping the medication, did not taper off correctly. They would cut down the dosage to quickly and not give enough time between switching the dosage. I realize that every person is different, however people I know from both friends and family, who have tapered off medications benzodiazepines and pain killers never have faced symptoms of withdrawal.
After talking to a doctor, he stated that the biggest mistake is cutting the first dosage by to much, as well as eliminating the dosing schedule to taper off. For instance if you are taking 1mg 2x a day, it is better to keep with your schedule taking 2x a day, but decreasing the amount, rather than decreasing from 1mg 2x a day and then cutting down to 1mg 1x a day.
Majority of stories I read from people who face withdrawal symptoms come from the mistake of doing the latter. Again I realize everyone is different. I feel that the biggest problem comes from not tapering correctly. So you think that you, and others like you, simply taper properly. The rest of us a doing it all wrong? Why did you not have a private hell? I find it insulting. How do intelligent people get it so wrong.??
Perhaps you did not do the research needed to weigh in with such a blanket statement. I am insulted at the dismissiveness of that thought. Think about it ,Johnathan, how do you think that makes me feel? Your way was correct, and my way, wrong. I am a recovering alcoholic , sober 30 years. Do you honestly believe there , is a right way and a wrong way that decides the outcome of this journey? I did not use Klonopin recreationally. What a hell to go through for that.
Johnathan feel good that you were one of the Lucky ones,,……But I did not ask for this at 66years old, I did Everything wrong , while detoxing ,it was an LSD trip. You and your ilk cannot believe there are those out there that struggle for years. Four nights ago I determined to taper off the Clonazepam and transition to Melatonin. I visited my Sleep Disorder Physician yesterday, he counseled me to continue with the 1mg Clonazepam and 4mg Melotonin for one month, then return for another appointment.
He had no problem with my actions; and explained to me that those who experience major withdrawal symptoms with Clonazepam are taking much higher doses than 2mg which he stated was a low dose. After four days I am already feeling better emotionally and mentally. I had no anxiety issues when I began taking Clonazepam, and still have no anxiety issues. I am 7 days now w no klonopin.
My mind and energy are gone. I have muscle twitches and body aches. I feel completely useless. I began on these meds during my first major panic attack after having my third child. I had never had anxiety before that. I asked the doctor what that meant and she said that when I felt anxiety that i should take one.
So I did and i became dependent due to rebound anxiety. I switched to klonopin so my body could have a more evened out benzo w a bigger half life but it still sucks so much withdrawing! The only thing that gets me through other than my faith is reading through forums like this w ppl who have experienced this giving their stories. I cry when I read them because I understand and wish I had someone who understood as well.
God bless you all. Hi Krista, How are you doing now? I was put on Ativan before my parathyroid surgery this year in May. I am going on my 4th day of no Ativan. This is my second time withdrawing. I found a program that helps with the withdrawal symptoms when coming off the drug. Brooke, I would like to know more about benzos and pancreatitis. I hope you still look at this board. Wull you respond to my email address or here?
Ivy, I can definitely talk with you about my experience with benzos and pancreatitis. Wow, sorry to hear you went through that. I had many of those problems from taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic called Levaquin in conjunction with benzos, NSAIDs, proton pump inhibitors and several other drugs as well, all of which are not supposed to be taken in conjunction with FQs. Doctors are generally just clueless pill peddlers and Cipro is the other FQ they hand out hundreds of times too often.
For some reason beyond the comprehension level of my pharmaceuticaly damaged mind, the people who took FQs and benzos together got hit extra hard. I just wanted to convey my empathy for your suffering and to warn others about FQs. I suggest everyone google it and follow where it goes; you need to know this! Thank you, Brooke for your article. My husband tapered off Klonopin for two years. He totally came off of it a little over three months ago.
Neither of us was prepared for the withdrawal symptoms that would come. We both figured since he tapered so slowly, he would be fine. We were so wrong. He is having some windows, but mostly waves right now. I feel like if he could sleep, some of the symptoms would lessen. I know we are in this for years. He will not feel like this forever. What else can I do to help him? I wish there was more I could do. He asked me to just reach out and grab his hand and talk to him quietly even though he is verbally saying things that hurt me not in a horrible way, but almost accusing me of not doing enough, even though he knows I am doing as much as I possibly can.
I wish the public knew about these drugs and the effects and that even though these drugs have been on the market for so many years, mental health disorders have sky-rocketed. I wish we had a voice. Have you researched anti-seizure medications such as Oxcarbazepine or Gabapentin? They have been shown to be very effective at tamping down benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms in many cases and they are non-addictive drugs. In two months I was completely off of the Valium without any of the horrifying symptoms that I had expected to experience.
My anxiety soared, but it was manageable compared to the sweats, vomiting, chills, nerve pain etc. Apparently, anti-seizure meds work by attaching to parts of the GABA receptors that are not exhausted from benzo abuse and prevent the receptors from going wild when the benzos are stripped away, and the receptors can slowly recover their functioning. I also believe the physical numbing effect of Gabapentin helped me not feel any nerve pain. Unfortunately what you are saying is not totally a fact.
It worked for you, but I know many people who suffer extra from the Gabapentin and also developed withdrawal syndrome getting of Gabapentin. Maybe you have been one of the lucky ones, getting of Valium relatively easy with the Gabapentin. If this would work for everybody we would recommend it to all, but it is trial and error to see what works for every individual. Just responding so people realise this… we are suffering enough as it is in benzo withdrawal.
You are doing great right now, bless you. Best you can do is just be there for him, one day at a time. Day by day he is busy healing, no doubt. My Mom tapered off Lorazepam after 30 years use, i. Looking forward to see her get her health back, i can see the improvement already!! Be strong and have faith, it will happen. Mine month and still holding on. The worst part os to awaken in the morning and feeling sick!!
Its like a voice telling you: Does anyone know when the morning nauseas go away, or do all symptoms fade away together? Thank you for sharing with me!!! I have made it through and am on the other side.. What a horrible nightmare. I never thought the anxiety and depression would go away. I had horrid nightmares, all relating to death, either death of me or me killing something.
My husband even had to take me to work because I was so scared to be alone. I was afraid to brush my own hair, I had long hair and just laying on it at night made me horribly anxious, I felt like it was strangling me, so I went and had it all chopped off. I cannot believe how these doctors can put people on this toxic drug and not know a thing about it especially how hard it is to get off.
I was put on it because I had some stomach surgery and was a little anxious one night because I thought my stomach was healing wrong. My husband took me to the ER to have my stitches looked at. Well 6 hours later the doctor walked into the room and had me take a pill Ativan 1 mg. I had no idea what I was taking. He told me to take 3 a day and to follow up with my doctor, who by then had to write me out another months supply to start weaning me off of them with Zoloft and cutting back the Ativan.
I immediately started researching what the heck I was taking and how dangerous it was, I jumped off cold turkey for two days and about went crazy.. I was so scared of how I was feeling. I wanted to die to make the pain and fear and horror go away. I was so terrified! So I went back on them taking my own doses. One day 2 mg. The next day 3 mg. I was so out of my head not knowing what I was doing.. I was so horrified.. I completely lost track of time, days, I even lost my identity.
All they wanted to do was give me an assortment of pills that I kept refusing. I was a prisoner behind locked doors. I did everything I was told in there to get released. After I got home I was completely drug free and felt so good.. I have never been so sick in my life. I screamed and begged God to please help me or kill me. The horrible anxiety and depression were the worst. I was so afraid. I was pretty much forced to go to classes, see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD, put me on Paxil and made me come in for weekly visits.
I thought I was losing my mind. I did this for awhile and started feeling better on the little 10 mg. At the same time, I found out I was in the middle of menopause.. I finally went to a hormone doc and she is taking care of me now with herbs and vitamins.. These drugs should be banned!!! God Bless and stay very close to God. He brought me through it. Jan, what an awful experience.
How long was your withdrawal before you felt better? Benzo withdrawal put me into perimenopause. Jan, if you are still around I would love to talk to you and get some information. Hope you are continuing to do well! Sad to hear your traumatic experience. Your terrible experience sounded exactly like my horror story from till I quit Paroxetine 20mg and Clonazepam 0.
Then I restarted and then quit. This happened several times over a period of one year as I was totally ignorant then of its terrible side effects. The ensuing terror that unleashed…oh God! Our worst enemy should not suffer from such a condition! I am 46 yo and was prescribed prn doses of klonipin for many years. I never took it more then prescribed, mostly less. However, I still developed tolerance withdrawal..
It was at that point I did not want to take this med anymore. I tried CT… Failed at day 4… Ended up doing a quick quick taper after being switched from 0. Tapered from 4 mg to 0 in 3 months…. The last dose was Feb 3, funny how we all remember the last day… such a traumatic experience. I had surgery and was placed on steroids for a short time….
After that I plummeted. I have been to the ER 3 times… Everything comes back normal.. I am back taking propranolol just so I can work. I also take a visteral here and there. Thank you for sharing with us, Becky. I am 9 months out and developed a sluggish thyroid and adrenals, and hormonal imbalances. I bet the steroids messed with your already taxed adrenals, another gift of benzo withdrawal. You may want to read a book on adrenal fatigue. Lam and James Wilson wrote good books on the topic.
Endocrinologists are useless for our type of adrenal issues. Since I have been taking adrenal and thyroid glandulars, large doses of vitamin c, rhodiola, and ashwagandha as part of my adrenal recovery plan, my fatigue has improved. I also had gastric issues during withdrawal. Oh, and, steroids can temporarily stop your adrenals so then when you come off them the adrenal fatigue is worse. Y gall bladder out August 1, I had several flair up over the years but have gotten through them with antacid and changing the diet.
But for the last several months I am experiencing sever stomach pain, acid reflex and sever a giant hard bloated stomach and acid reflex. I just recently had a sonogram and everything came back normal except for a abdominal hernia I have when they did laperoscopy trements for infertility treatments. Just went to see a gastro doctor and he wants me to do a Hida scan. Well I am very Leary about radioactive dye injected in the liver area. We only have one liver and if it is toxified we have a lot of serious complications or even die.
I was told that the Hida scan is like having five x-Rays. Also it is colored dye that is radioactive. Is there any other way to diagnose this condition? So thanks for all you help! Feeling frustrated and down too. I encourage you find a doctor from this SOD doctor list: Sometimes a hida scan can show delayed emptying which could be from SOD. Unfortunately, most people with SOD have normal test results. However, I honestly have never heard of them damaging the liver.
Our liver is rather resilient and can regenerate. Some doctors rely on bloodwork to diagnose SOD. If your liver enzymes and in some cases your pancreatic enzymes are elevatedd, then you could have SOD. It is a difficult disease to diagnose and treat. I am so sorry you are going through this and hope you find some answers.
Thank you for your honesty. I am about 6 weeks from my jump. I was on Clonazepam then Lorazepam almost 5 years. I suffer bipolar disorder so I had issues with my moods in trying to get off. It took me 2 years and one hospitalization. In the EU it is a controlled substance. It is considered and proven to be addictive here. I believe the more of us who speak out will help others. We need to get the word out! You can do it! Go slow and even. I wish I had followed one of the protocols like Ashton.
I have depression and anxiety and stupidly tried to wean from my antidepressant at the same time as the clonazepam. That was a huge mistake. Whatever will help someone through this nightmare should be considered. Once off the benzo for a time then and only then worry about getting off other meds. That is just my experience. Best of luck to you! Please let us know how you make out. Thank you so much for sharing. I want to withdrawn from years of taking 2 mg Klonopin at night but am beginning to realize I will have to do this under supervision.
Many years ago I had been taking Methadone for chronic pain and wanted off of it it is now known that Methadone has a very long half-life and is often the culprit behind accidental overdoses of people taking other drugs that cause sedation. I went through hell. Vomiting, shakes, you name it. And often when I thought I was finally free, these symptoms would return unpredictably for days at a time. Gradually they stopped altogether. I think patients should be made aware of what getting off a lot of these drugs is actually like.
Not to scare them, but give them the knowledge they need to make an informed decision and seek professional help real withdrawal experts, not like my doctor to safely remove these chemicals from our systems.