Benzo withdrawal? Ativan?? 3 years of use! PLEASE HELP!!!!
I'm 28 years old... I had a VERY bad anxiety episode in October of 2008. Couldnt sleep for nights, rapid heart rate, didnt know what was going on with me. Was pacing like crazy! Finally went to the Dr. after breaking down and crying...
He said I was having anxiety, which I was. He prescribed me .5mg of Lorazepam (ativan) to take up to twice a day when needed.
My anxiety came and went, it was very episodic throughout those 3 years. But I would take ativan when needed when I was feeling anxious or having insomnia.
I then started to develop strange sensations, jolts, electricity etc. and would have ANXIETY and go see my Dr., he assured me it was all anxiety and told me to just keep taking my ativan. Of course, the ativan helped the issues.
I do NOT take this pill EVERYDAY, but after going through my journals over the past 3 years (which thank God I've kept)
I have taken ativan ON more than OFF most def.
Symptoms at 1st were indeed anxiety... and the ativan helped me through it.
But as the years went by, I'd wean slowly over a 2 week period or so, and be great... then a new symptom would appear, and I'd freak out... like muscle twitching all over my body... or a stiff neck... my Dr. assured me it was all anxiety... so since these sensations were GIVING me anxiety... what would I do? Take an ATIVAN or 2. (.5mg)
To some this up... about a Month ago, I was doing great... I started a wedding videographer business on the side, and it exploded. I did get stressed out about it though.
Then all of a sudden... I was filming this girls wedding... 7-30-11 and felt my fingers and lips go tingly... it scared me... then my face flushed... and my heart rate was OUT THE ROOF.
I told myself it was just anxiety and to relax... well I couldnt... but made it through the day. I took 2 ativan to help sleep that night.
Over the next week... I kept feeling the tingling... so I went to the Dr. for peace of mind.. he said anxiety... it soon left... but what came next was CONSTANT OFF BALANCE AND LIGHTHEADEDNESS...
I'd move my head left and right and it would take things a second to catch up. Also, walking just felt WEIRD...
I was TOTALLY wigging out over this... my Dr. assured me it was probably an INNER EAR issue from allergies... or from swimming?
This feeling did NOT help my anxiety though... so I was taking 2 ativan .5mg before bed to help sleep.. b/c I could feel the spinning sensation in my head at times in my sleep. SCARY.
I called my Dr. and said that the ativan isnt working much anymore... and if I could switch over to Klonopin (I had some up in a cabinet) he said NO PROBLEM... just not too much. He said he wasnt worried about me getting addicted. Which I DON'T have an addictive personality at all.
One day of feeling off balance I decided to try a .5mg klonopin... and guess what? The OFF BALANCE feeling LEFT.
I called him and told him and he said great! But he wanted me to start Paxil for my anxiety... 5mg
I agreed and said it couldnt hurt.
Well, that didnt agree with me so I got off of it... only took it for like 4 days?
Then before bed I was getting these STRANGE electric JOLTS in my head and body before falling asleep... then my body would feel weightless as heck! Like I wasnt in it! I told myself over and over it was just anxiety.
The .5mg klonopin was not helping too much.
I called my Dr. about these sensations and he told me it's just anxiety, and that I have it bad.
He said he'd like for me to take .25mg of klonopin just before bed instead of .5mg. So I did...
since then I've had feelings of DREAD... electric jolt... the strangest 1-2 second panic attack sensations ever... depersonalization for seconds at a time... now I'm having insomnia...
2 days ago I called him CRYING and moping b/c of these feelings, and I told him that I thought I was having ATIVAN WITHDRAWAL...
My back has been achy too and just feels flu like.. I have had a couple bouts of diarhea too.. and ZERO appetite for the most part.
I can't keep still.... he told me to relax and take 2 ativan and to come see him next week... which will be this Tuesday.
I didnt sleep at all lastnight even with the .25mg klonopin... and I was a pacy mess today... and still am... I kept researching Lorazepam/Ativan/Benzo withdrawal... and I really feel this is what I'm experiencing..
I havent had ativan for almost a month now... just Klonopin... and I'm down to .25mg..
I'm a MESS. But I'm making it.
I broke down and had my Dr. paged again tonight b/c I was convinced I was having DEPENDENCY/Withdrawal from Ativan... and Klonopin was just hiding some of the possible withdrawal effects? But not really.
He said it's possible but he said "Why do you want to stop Ativan? You have anxiety and it helps..."
I explained "I think the ativan is causing more problems than good... and im developing a tolerance.."
He said "Well sometimes you have to take more... but that's okay..."
He said his goal is to get me off the Ativan safely and to help my anxiety.
I'M SO SCARED I'M GOING TO GO THROUGH WITHDRAWAL HELL.
Do you think I am or is this really ALL anxiety?
Do you think once I completely wean off the klonopin .25mg... are the withdrawals going to be EVEN WORSE?
Am I going to vomit shake? etc.? Be able to go to work? All these thoughts are going through my head... it's scary... I'm trying so hard NOT to take any ativan right now...
He said he'd help me wean off... but I havent taken it for a month... so will he take me off the klonopin more than likely then put me back on ativan? then wean me off???
I told him about the Ashton Method, he said he hasnt ever heard of it and said it sounded dumb to wean off ativan with diazapam.
I'm scared now he's not educated enough to help me wean off ativan correctly...
WHAT DO I DO? He's been a loving Dr. he really has... but I'm SO SCARED to go through this....
Hi.Well benzo w/d is tough but I personally think this is your anxiety getting the best of you.You are not abusing them and taking what I consider such a low dose I just don't think this is from meds.
That being said I really believe anxiety can be A LOT WORSE that w/d.The anticipation of w/d can be practically debilitating.I have been there.I admire the control u have on not taking medication when u have such anxiety.Having said that have you ever thought maybe you should continue with some sort of benzo.That is if you think you can't function like your used to w/o it.If your strong enough to stop go with your instincts.Your doctor seems to trust and value your opinion.People come off benzos all the time I'm sure your doctor has been down this road before but if your worried ask him if he has done this tapering process often/before if not maybe he can refer u to someone who has had more experience with the process.To ease your anxiety get step by step instructions written down to clarify exactly what your taper will be like including any side effects so you have NO surprises.good luck.your very strong you can get off the benzos for sure.
hello and welcome to the forum.
yes the jolts you felt were withdrawals symptoms. benzos can cause electric shock/brain zaps.
not clear, you havent taken the ativan in a month and have been taking .25 klonipin?
are the brain zaps gone?
all the symptoms you describe are from withdrawal.
you should not expect to feel any worse when you stop the klonipin.
that is right, fear of the withdrawals will be worse than the withdrawals themselves,causing much more anxiety than would be normal.
have you been to therapy to try to work on what causes your anxiety?
i had extreme panic attacks and had to be hospitalized a few times, my symptoms presented as strokes. nope all anxiety.
when the stress was reduced in my life my panic attacks got soooooo much better.
many times anxiety is also caused by insecurities.
have you tried any natural herbal remedies for anxiety????
Haven't had any zaps today. Really today just REALLY anxious and can't be still. I do think im regular anxiety. It could be a combo of the fear... ir that im already feeling it? I talked to several friends and family today and they recommended for me to take some ativan and get relaxed til Tuesday. The Dr will wean me. I've just heard so many bad bad horror stories. I've been having painless muscle spasms all over my body the past 3 days. I think I can handle the anxiety portion of it while seeking christian therapy. But I fear if throwing up and nausea and diarrhea. But that's me fearing the worst. I need to stop researching online about withdrawal. Its all I've done today. Terrible. And yes that is probably not good for me to do. GOD BLESS YOU for writing back! I hope the weaning process is easy. Im gonna keep working out at the gym while going through the taper. Will keep you up to date on my progress. Do you think my withdrawal should be minimal? As long as I follow Dr s instructions? I hear its better to wean SLOWLY than just over a couple weeks. I may do 3think months? Thanks again!
benzos are a slow taper... did you take some..... do that until you go to the doctors...
for the diarrhea use immodium.
yes as you continue to read you are building up more fear. hun try to relax dont overthink this.
that is great you are going to the gym, the exercise is very beneficial.
chrisitan therapy wonderful. sounds like you have all your ducks in a row.
keep posting we are here to support you and encourage you.
praying for you
My post here is not meant to be heartless or show lack of concern. I have been down this road over a 14 year period in order to treat my terrible symptoms from fibomyalgia. You were trying to treat your own symptoms and it all started like it usually does.....""He said I was having anxiety, which I was. He prescribed me .5mg of Lorazepam (ativan) to take up to twice a day when needed.""....that is how it always starts. The doctor sees the patient and prescribes whats hoped to be the big solution. It is not! These chemicals disrupt the brain and body's own natural chemicals. The result the brain begins to rely on these artificial chemicals and pushes aside our natural ones. The result is addiction. Attempts go get off these artificial chemicals results in not having what the brain craves. The brain has a lag period until it realizes it needs to start producing its own natural ones again. That's withdrawal and its not pretty. To sum up, we are better off facing the lesser of two evils. In my case I am surviving my fibromyalgia symptoms which make life tough but its better than the addiction. In your case, it is better to have anxiety than anxiety and addiction. You can re-train the way you think everyday. Thoughts produce anxiety and it requires re-training your thoughts. Neverless, if you cannot solve that, having anxiety is the lesser of two evils.
Benzos should never be stopped abruptly - you're supposed to taper off of them slowly.
You need to get your Dr. on board with you here as far as getting off the drugs for good. Stopping a benzo cold turkey can cause seizures so it's nothing to mess around with. And you can print out the info you found on the Ashton manual and bring it to him. Remember YOU are the patient here and need to speak up on behalf of yourself. I know you said you love this Dr. but has he mentioned even once the option of therapy?
Therapy can help you find out what's causing these attacks. The pills are only a bandaid and until you get some counseling to try and find out what's causing these attacks, this rollercoaster you're on will continue.
Yes my dr has recommended therapy before and I did do a few sessions but was taking ativan then too. Im gonna figure this out. I don't think its going to be like heroin withdrawal or anything unless I stop cold turkey. Lasting I took 2 ativan around 10pm then before bed took my. 25mg klonopin. my dr does want me off the klonopin. So im weaning slowly. Maybe tonight ill start cutting my klonopin smaller. Im gonna get through this. You're right about retraining your brain how to think and be calm. My wife explained it to me this way... "honey so you have an achy back.. your all of a sudden freaking out over that... and your loss of appetite.. and your lack of sleep... if that were me id think hey I've got an achy back and move on... you ponder and ponder on it thinking you're going through terrible withdrawal. You need to stop researching it and listen to your dr."
So sorry you are so stressed out. I have been where you are, emotionally. I got myself so worried once regarding pill use that I thought i was going to die, it was terrible.
Fact is you are experiencing very strong feelings. You will be okay! I don't want to comment on taking or not taking, other than to say, listen to exactly what your dr says. Be clear with him about your goals and your worries, but then follow his advise to achieve those goals.
I have lots of people in my life with big anxiety feelings ( my husband, my son, and my mom) so I know how scared you are! I wish I could hug you and rub your shoulders and let you know it's going to be okay!
Try it. Good thing is if it becomes too uncomfortable, you can just go back up and the issues should resolve. Problem with valium is once u start, theres no going back. Id try this first...then if it doesnt work, go the valium route.
Come to find out... I have been EXTREMELY letting this get to me when it shouldn't be AT ALL.
I have done NOTHING but let ANXIETY get to me...
Today I went to the Dr. as you can read above, and he said he'll do a wean... he was against my wean... The reason why... is b/c while even though I've been taking Ativan for almost 4 years.. almost every month for 4 years... I have came to realize, I WAS NOT taking THAT MUCH. My brain kept telling me that I was "hooked and screwed for good." I should say my ANXIETY was telling me that.
I read off to my brother tonight, who is an addict (been sober now for 3 or 4 years now? YAY!) He does get prescribed Klonopin though... but that's a different reason, and a whole other story. My brother is a BIG inspiration to me. And all I've done is researched the WORST of the WORST on the INTERNET. BAD IDEA. But Mr. Anxiety likes to do that. lol.
After I told my Brother how much Ativan I was taking even for 4 years... he laughed at me and said "Chris, I can't believe you told your Dr. that he was trying to hook you on these. Your Dr. was doing the RIGHT thing by giving you the MINIMAL AMOUNT that's even out there! YOU HAVE NOT ABUSED THIS MEDICINE like most "addicts" do. You may be getting somewhat tolerant in a way... but maybe you arent? Sometimes you gotta let the meds work with you and if you are working against them as you are taking them, you WONT FEEL THE EFFECT."
He was right b/c tonight I was relaxed, and took a .5mg ativan and was relaxing off of it. Today I was stressing about this whole "what if I get sick from withdrawal etc. etc. etc." I couldn't get it out of my MIND! So the .5mg ativan I took this morning DID NOTHING for me b/c I wasn't letting it.
Going back to where I was telling you about how I was reading off the amounts of ativan I was taking over the past 4 years. I kept reading numbers off like:
.5mg once a day
.25mg once this day
.25mg once this day
1mg once this day
.5mg once this day
.25mg once this day
2mg once this day <--- there were only a few times I took this much, and it was b/c of HIGH HIGH HIGH ANXIETY.
So after reading all of this and REALLY putting it into perspective... my brother said, Chris, You are not going to have a problem weaning off this. That's why your Dr. doesnt want to put you on Valium halfway through b/c that stuff is some pretty good stuff. lol. And your Dr. knows you arent going to have any withdrawal really.
So my Dr. called me tonight to check on me. I asked him, Dr. "" Can you tell me what I'm going to experience through this withdrawal process? Everyone online says it's worse than heroin to come off of. He laughed at me, and said "How many times do I have to tell you to stay off the internet." lol. He said "Chris, the only symptoms you are going to have is ANXIETY. That's it.
I replied "I'm not gonna be convulsing, or having crazy muscle spasms, or vomiting, or diarrhea etc.?
He laughed and replied "Chris calm down. This is your anxiety getting to you. You havent even started weaning yet. If you do get diarhea or vomiting... or muscle spasms... it won't be from withdrawal... it will be from your ANXIETY I promise.
I felt really bad... b/c today I was acting like he's putting me through this hell b/c he has kept prescribing it to me for years. Now I realize I wasnt abusing or taking too much.
He said his wean will be comfortable... but he says chances are my anxiety will come back, and he agreed that the Ativan is just a band-aid and I really need to seek therapy. He has mentioned therapy to me in the past... but I only did it a few times... never stuck with it. Why? B/c in my brain was... I'm feeling better now b/c I have ativan at home. Thank you.
This time once I'm off... and if Im still having anxiety issues, I will FACE these issues through THERAPY... not PILLS... THERAPY! I TRULY believe I can reverse the way my thinking patterns are. It is going to take WORK. I just can't go to a therapist for 2 treatments and feel better then not go back. I HAVE TO KEEP GOING BACK, even when I'm feeling GOOD.
I'm also starting this Friday to go to my churches "Road to Recovery" night they do every week. It's not for addicts necessarily, b/c I'm not an addict. But my pastor said it's for people how have been through dependency before, people who are addicted to food, sex, pornography etc. And hey, I bet I can help a lot of people. =) I bet I walk in there and say "I'm not dependent on ativan... I'm addicted to anxiety." LOL. Which is true.
God Bless you ALL.
I lost trust in my Dr. for about 4 days... now I have full trust back in him. My wife has an appt. tomorrow with him, so I'm gonna drop in with her and apologize to him, and let him do his job.
My brother also made a VERY TRUE statement... he said:
"Chris, if you weren't seeing your Dr. and you were seeing some other Dr. for your anxiety... he wouldn't be giving you .5mg ativan... He'd be giving you XANAX 3X a day and other things for as much as you see your Dr. for anxiety. lol. Your Dr. told you he's careful on NOT OVER PRESCRIBING meds, and he's not doing that to you. You are luck you have a good Dr."
cnote i dnt know what happened I posted b4u did 40minutes ago but its not here.Btw I got ur message+wrote u back.real quick I said please read my original post now that u talked2ur DR+brother.I was the only1who said I thought ur stress+anxiety was causing the symptoms every1else disagreed+said u were w/d.Thats such a low dose.I know now u did reread it.I was on 6-8mg xanax a day.Didnt wanna argue w/my dr i did my own taper+at2mg I jumped.Hes right other DRS wouldve given u xanax for sure those r what u should use valium2get off of.(I was taking10-15 10mg lortab,6-8mg xanax,soma,fironal,cymbalta EVERYDAY!!CRAZY).Anyway ur gonna rock this I know it.
I wont go in my long story but i was put on ativan in 2008..I KEEP getting worse severe dizziness,and the walkng like you said,,there were times i just felt i was in another world,and my legs would cave in.They never did.But in 2010,I went to a new Dr.and he took me off the ativan and back on xanax which i had been on dince 1990(except from 2007-2010) i have not felt that way since..It was the ativan.I hate being on benzos,but the dumb drs insist its anxiety instead of other things..i have since found out it was my thyroid and hornones..but Im still hooked and need xanax.So I would say try another benzo....but never stop any of them cold turkey even when going on another one/Hope this helps.
You are absolutely right. These benzos leave you in a place that's actually much worse than the place you were in when you took them for the first time. These benzos are like pushing down a spring which is your nervous system and brain. When you attempt to stop using them, this spring pops up which is your nervous system attempting to speed up to get back where it was before. This 'speeding up' is actually those awful symptoms you feel that cause you to want to keep taking the drugs 'to keep that spring pressed down'.
Rich thank you for writing. Im trying to figure out the best weaning regiment. Im obviously already tolerant to 1mg so I upped my dose to 2mg to help stabalise. Over the last 4 years I only took an average of 1mga before bed. Never during the day! Id fight my anxiety til I got home. My question is... can I wean the way I've been taking it at night before bed? Or should I take my pharmacists advice and take four. 5mg tablets 4x a day for 2 weeks then cut down. .25mg every 2 weeks. Anyone who can answer that question would be awesome. Even at 2mgnight right now my body is having painless muscle spasms. Im just scared. But I will make it.
I have been detoxing from Klonopin for 4 months now. I was perscribed some form of Benzo for the last 18 YEARS!! I am currently in residential addiction treatment for other serious matters. At my intake, I was advised that NO benzos were allowed in the program. I detoxed on my own, and the first three weeks were a complete living nightmare. All I have to say is it CAN BE DONE. THERE IS HOPE!! You just need a lot of time and patience.
Thanks for writing. I am 1 year + ativan free. =) No more scary withdrawal!!! Have not had anxiety for a year!!! It's amazing how awesome this feels. :) Thanks for writing though. People need to know the dangers of benzos. Benzos are the WORST thing to give to people with anxiety in my opinion. :) Hope all is good. Glad you are also Klonopin free. :)
(O_o) The panic attacks are by FAR your worst enemy at this point. You need to find a healthy & constructive way of controlling them. After quitting Lorazepam...your brain started sending withdrawal symptoms to your body telling you to step it up...get off your duff & go out & find "US" some more before "WE" die!!!!...lol, which of coarse is that little devil voice in the back of your head that lies to you to get what "IT" wants, but not necessarily what "YOU" need. I'm a recovering alcoholic & trust me...(o_0) I hear the jerk all the time...lol. It's obvious that you had this panic problem before you ever started taking Lorazepam & now the withdrawal symptoms have made it just that much worse. The trick is "Not To Panic"...that only makes it 10 X worse than what it has to be! Calm down...take a deeeep breath...you're NOT going to die, although it may feel that way sometimes...lol. Your body is pumping you full of adrenaline when the panic sets in. You need to dissipate it as quickly as possible to be able to start to feel better. Go take a brisk walk...that always helps me & has a calming effect too...makes me also feel connected & alive...one with nature. Try taking long hot baths right before bed with scented candles & drinking Calamine tea to help sleep. No Coffee, tea, sodas, sugar, TV, computer, or work 1 1/2 hours before bedtime, so you don't over stimulate your brain, unless you're like me & old history documentaries put you to sleep like a bat to the side of the head...lol! I think it's ok to do the step-down process using other weaker Benzos & it's been done with great success. We all feel for your pain & hope you feel much better soon as possible~: ) (ps-(o_o) Remember this..."IT" can't eat you!!!)
Hi there. This is a really old thread. If you go back to the main page and hit the post a question link you can start your own thread. That way you can be sure to get lots of good support and answers to your questions. I don't have any experience with the benzos but there are many on here that do. I'm sure if you post a question they will be along to help. Good luck to you!
Well I have been taking ativan and temazepam for probably over 10 years. I am slowly, very slowly weaning myself off of the ativan. I was taking 1mg 3 times a day now I'm down to 2 mgs 0.5 and 0.5 and 1mg a day. And I am definitely getting the brain zapps. I am most certain it is the coming off the ativan because it is the exact feeling I've had when coming off anti depressants so I know it's a drug related effect. I'm going to continue on and hope it goes away.
Hey! I've been ativan free for over 2 years now and I'm NEVER looking back. :) Things were GREAT for 2 solid years! NO ANXIETY. I swear the pill did me MORE harm than good. It was a god send at first with my anxiety, but tolerance w/d and inderdose withdrawal bit me in the butt later. I had no idea my body was addicted to it. And the answer to all my crazy symptoms was "more ativan" back then. My crazy symptoms were always written off as anxiety b/c my Dr. could not figure out why I was having such crazy physical symptoms and CNS symptoms, including anxiety x100.
Once off the drug, no more anxiety symptoms. My anxiety left for 2 solid years pretty much. Last year I had one bout of anxiety that came back, but I kicked it to the curb.
No more drugs for this guy. If I do have anxiety again, it will be therapy only and NOT drugs. That's JUST MY STORY though.
I'm not condoning medicine to everyone. Just my personal story. Good luck on your ween!
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE. My taper took about 2-3 months. And withdrawal symptoms lasted about 6 months or so. But tolerable.
There is no small amount that is OK, your story is about the same as mine BUT I was on it 14 years and it took me all that time to figure out it was hurting me not helping, I have been off 2 years and still have withdrawl! Its crazy but true.... I hope someday to be back to normal, but not yet...... :-(
I HAVE THAT!!! In my hands, lips, and fingers!!! Like numb/pins and needles - totally the electric shock feeling. It comes in waves for me throughout the day - I have been on Xanax for 15 yrs, 4mg/day...and I am trying to taper off on my own - same exact w/d symptoms you are describing. My DR said the SAME thing to me - it was just anxiety. It's def a w/d symptom and I hope it goes away soon!
I was reading your posts, and wow it sounds like a similar story to mine. I was on Ativan for 3 years for sleep. every night. stupid doctor put me on it. well, same crap started happening to me. however, the only way I could get off Ativan was with the doc first putting me on Remeron. It made me sleep, and then it took 2 monthes to wean off Ativan. I was 1 1/2 years clean of benzos. Then, because of weight gain from remeron, they just recently did a slow taper off of that. after being off 3 weeks, I started getting the worst anxiety symptoms ever. Stupid GP gave me Ativan and I took it. ughhh. only for 7 days, but 1-2 mg a day. same stuff started happening to me again from it. turned out my "anxiety" was severe withdrawal from remeron. they put me back on that, and even though I only was on Ativan a week, I guess my brain remembered and got dependent on it again. now the psychiatrist is doing a quicker wean off the Ativan, but its horrible. I feel a difference from an 1/8 of a mg. I'm scared to death of having a seizure or something. but he insists i'll be ok since it was short term. but why do I feel so awful? and I recognize this as Ativan w/d. any suggestions? thanks for your time ...i'm just so scared. :(
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