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Lorazepam help
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Lorazepam help

Hi around 1 month ago I was prescribed 2mg of lorazepam to be taken at night for a mild bout of insomnia. After 1 week I was dropped to 1mg at night. A week and a half later my doctor told me to stop taking the medication and I did. Within a day or two i stopped sleeping then went through bouts of dry retching and sever shakes with weird 'brain zaps' and increasingly felt very unwell. I contacted my doctor who reinstated the lorazepam at 1.5 mg taken equally throughout the day. Since then I've been having severe derealisation extremely fitful and broken sleep and I'm now struggling to taper my dose down. My doctor doesn't have any answers as to what is happening to me and I have no history of mental illness or use of any prescribed medication. I'm starting to feel very desperate as I'm in my 5th week of being on these and getting any helpful advice is extremely difficult. Is it possible I'm having a bad reaction to the lorazepam? And would switching to something else help? Thanks in advance for any advice.
Tags: lorazepam
28 Comments Post a Comment
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4898964_tn?1381261499
It sounds like you're suffering withdrawal symptoms.  I'd stop taking them and just deal with whatever Cold Turkey effects you have to before you get properly hooked.  Trust me it can always get worse, even if you think it's hard to deal with now...  I've taken lorazepam before on a side not and they are gnarly I thought, a give you memory blanks type benzo I wouldnt' want to take for any amount of time.  When I did take them I'd have days in between doses because of that.  
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10720611_tn?1439045634
I must disagree with the above post.   Do not ever abruptly stop taking any medication, especially benzo's, unless under a doctor's supervision.

Do you take any sort of anti-depressants?   Stopping them can cause the "brain zaps" you describe.  They're scary but usually benign.

Let me ask you:  Is the prescribing doctor an internist or GP?   Here is what I would do if I were you:

1. I'd take the medication as prescribed (1.5 mgs in 3 even doses.   do not take any more than this).

2. Get an appointment with a psychiatrist; they are basically the psyche med people and may be able to more properly evaluate you.

3. What is your general health like?   Are you due for a physical?

4. Do you drink?  Did you stop drinking when you started the Lorezapam?

5.  You ask if you're having a bad reaction...it isn't likely, but anything is possible.   You might want to ask a pharmacist, as they have more training in pharmacology than most doctors.  

The de-realization you describe can accompany panic disorder.   Do you feel anxious, short of breath, sense of impending doom, panicky?  

Good luck hon...

-Robin
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1696489_tn?1370825574
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine, and all drugs in this class will cause tolerance, dependence, and possibly addictive behavior in ALL people.  I'm quite surprised that your doctor chose this, and at such a high dose (for you), just to help you sleep.  There are MANY options for sleep-aid that are NOT addictive.  Melatonin, a natural sleep aid, can be bought at your pharmacy, and you only need 2 mg at bed time - this chemical is created by your brain when it gets close to bedtime, and if your brain doesn't make enough of it, supplementing it with a bit more can do the trick.  There are other over-the -counter sleep-aids as well.  DO NOT TAKE MORE THAN A SINGLE ONE OF THESE AT A TIME - mixing them can cause respiratory depression and/or death.  This includes that benzo you are trying to get off of - YES, you should taper off of it, however slowly to allow it to leave your body without causing withdrawals - and you may have some withdrawals anyway.  I think your doctor is a quack, and that you should seek one that has your best interests in mind - not one who wants to throw some strong and addictive med at you for sleep, just because he gets kickbacks from the company who makes them.  Keep us posted! - Blu
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I agree with what everyone has been saying this far. I took lots of benzos and I stopped cold turkey. Even a short amount of time will cause sleeplessness for a while. Besides the health effects listed above stopping suddenly, I warn that when I didn't taper, I started hallucinating and ended up in the psych ward. I basically went crazy for 2 weeks and did some very dangerous stuff. And the zaps were prominent in my brain and all over my body.

Any good psychiatrist or doc probably won't ever prescribe benzos for a long periods of time. A month even is long. So, taper with a doc cause c/t with benzos is a bad, bad idea!
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2107676_tn?1388977459
Wow.  I agree.  I'm surprised your doctor would prescribe 2 mg. for a mild bout of insomnia.  I would do a slow taper if I was you and/or ask him for a milder benzo to use.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for quick response guys. Really appreciate it!
To answer your questions Robin.
I don't take anti depressants.
I was originally prescribed lorazepam by an out of hours doctor because I hadn't slept for about 3 days due to a sudden bout of loud tinnitus. It was then my G.P who continued to prescribe as the tinnitus was ongoing. As for general health, I suffered from glandular fever about 3 years ago and have had some fatigue since then but nothing major. I don't drink alchahol at all and haven't done for about 4 years (doesn't agree with me). I've never suffered from a panic disorder but had some minor bouts of anxiety for short periods. And as for the derealisation, I've noticed it occurs more and more as every time I take the 0.5mg of lorazepam and it wears off as the lorazepam does and I start to feel normal again. I've also noticed that when I take the meds I start getting very hot and my palms absolutely pour with sweat. It's starting to get quite disturbing as these symptoms only occur during the effects of the lorazepam. I know I can't just stop them but being on them is causing more symptoms than when I'm not.
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Now 2 hours into taking my last dose and my heart is absolutely hammering. Really agitated and finding it very hard to focus on anything. This has been happening more and more over the past week of taking them.
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Forgot to answer your question on general health fully Robin. Had a full physical by regular G.P about 2 months ago. Blood work which which came back with slightly raised liver enzymes and slightly raised blood sugar (not sure of exact numbers). Was sent for ultrasound of abdominal region and all was well. Second round of blood work and everything was clear. Out with that I was absolutely fine up until the bout of tinnitus and ensuing insomnia. For years I have practised meditation and other mindful practices and was generally quite content with life.
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4898964_tn?1381261499
Fair enough maybe don't stop cold turkey, but you really must observe the situation here.  You had no problems, mild insomnia is hardly a real problem (sure it's rough at the time but it's something you can easily get through with non-addicting substances).  Now you are hooked on Pams and suffering withdrawal and you've got people telling you to make an appointment with a psychiatrist...  From relatively fine to down the rabbit hole in a matter of weeks...  

What you need to do is stop those benzo's.  A month is long enough I guess to get hooked,  I have no personal experience with Pams.  I was assuming (note assuming) that you'd be able to cold turkey at this point without the full blown nasty effects of what they do to you in W/D.  You must get off this train.  It goes nowhere and the system we live under has screwed you over big time, it's up to you here how much control over your life you want to give it.  You don't have much time and you must decide now, before the claws really dig in...  However you have to get off it get off it.  Taper yourself or whatever, you're heading down a path that the yourself of a month ago would be horrified at.
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4522800_tn?1405696702
Taking benzo for sleep will whack out your natural sleep pattern. Many drs only prescribe a benzo for a short time if there was some kind of tragedy or such happen in your life. Using these types of meds will only cause more Anxiety in the long run.
I came off of 3 meds back in 2012 and one was klons. The w/ds were way different this time and much longer because of the benzo. I c/t it and that was NOT good. My heart pumped hard and my anxiety was on the moon. This detox took a very long time compared to other times and off other drugs.

I have to agree with the above. You can do this right with vit/min and the right kind of diet and exercise.
Wishing you the best!!
Bless
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Yeah I definitely want off. Now I can barely sleep and my mind just races all day, it's awful. Never been in this position before
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, in addition to what everyone above said, I just want to add that anxiety is a beast, and KNOWING that we will feel anxious can make us feel more anxious! You are probably making it worse by being obsessing over your anxiety. I know how hard it is, believe me, but this is where helping ourselves w/o a pill comes in handy. Tell yourself this is temporary (it is!) You WILL be fine. You will. Luckily you were on them for such a short time...in a way this is a great wake up call (no pun intended!) for you not go this route. More trouble than it's worth.

If you can't sleep, oh well. You will eventually and you won't die from insomnia. Watch funny you tube videos. Listen to your fave music. Breathe into a paper bag (sounds dumb but it does help.)

You'll be okay. Post as much as you need to. Someone is always here:)
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Thank you so much for the support
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Just one other quick question. Would I be better switching to diazepam as the Ashton manual suggests. I know this is for more long term users but it seems to be a milder benzo and I'd do anything to get away from this stuff
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm no benzo expert but I was on diazepam for a while and it's considered one of the more "mild" benzos. However, I agree w/ Jethro. Think of the big picture. Just taper off this junk and be done w it. It's now a matter of sitting w/ the discomfort. We ALL hate that!

Try to stay in the present and not worry about what to do IF you feel bad "later." Can you hang in there tonite? I bet you can. We are stronger than we think. I know you feel like sh!t, as I said though, it will pass:)
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Yeah you've probably got a good point. I think my heads so busy trying to figure out easier ways out of this and doing research into all the symptoms and side effects that it freaks me out. Started eating healthier and taking supplements of magnesium and different vits to help so I'll see if that helps.
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10720611_tn?1439045634
You do sound as if you are having atypical reaction to the Lorezapams.  Again, I would get a second opinion if this doctor seems clueless.  

Lorazapam has a short half life.  Sometimes doctors will switch people who are trying to taper down to a longer acting one, like Valium or Clonopin.  

Your symptoms are concerning, though and I completely understand why you're sitting there thinking "omg what happened?"  

Let me get this completely straight:  The symptoms START after you take the Lor. and begin to subside AS IT WEARS OFF?  Is that correct?

Hang in there honey...
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10720611_tn?1439045634
And just to clarify something I said earlier which I believe might have been misquoted:

I never said you "need to see a psychiatrist."  Psychiatrists don't do therapy these days; in fact, almost never.  What they ARE good at are any sort of meds with potential addiction.  The side effects, adverse reactions, dosages, tapering, etc.    In doctors circles they are called "medicine men."(although I'm sure there are some very good WOMEN too!)

My first husband was a psychiatrist and he was often called in purely for "medicine evaluations."  

That was what I originally meant.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just managed to speak to a benzo support team in UK. Was advised that my symptoms are of tolerance withdrawal and i have formed a dependance quickly because of the strength of lorazepam. They gave me three options
1 - c/t (which with the way I feel, I'll be in a psyche ward within the week)
2 - rapid taper dropping 1/4 of my dose every week (again I reckon I'll be in the psyche ward within the month)
3 - do a fast switch to Valium which will be kinder to my system and then taper down..

Tough choices
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah NeverAgain127 that's what happens. I take lorazepam, my symptoms get worse. It wears off and I feel better for an hour or two the the w/d kicks in again...and so the circle goes. Been trying to taper for past two weeks and it gets worse in both ways.
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10720611_tn?1439045634
I'm glad you were able to speak to someone, but I'm a bit confused...if you are having "tolerance withdrawal" then wouldn't the symptoms get BETTER when you took your next dose?

Of those options I'd pick Door Number 3...but that's just me.  Good luck hon...stay here for support...
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Yeah I forgot to mention that. She did say a possible atypical reaction hence the advice to do a crossover. Thank you all for being so quick with advice. Called my doc and told to take a diazepam to see. Feel a bit groggy but no racing heart or sweaty palms AT LAST!!! Don't want to have to go this route but the alternatives feel too raw. Think I've lost about half a stone in weight the past fortnight and I eat like a hungry bear! Benzos are terrifying and when I get through this I'll never look back
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Avatar_f_tn
Half way through a quick crossover to Valium and feel much more stable. Even managed to drop quite a bit of the Loraz with no major withdrawal effects. So in a week I've dropped  from 1.5 Loraz to 0.6 and switched in 7.5 mg Valium. Overall a drop of  
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.15 Loraz and so far so good!
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Hi  if your looking for good information on the benzo drugs google dr ashton in the u/k  she is a expert on benzodiaspines
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Quick update. Doctor switched me over to Valium but didn't follow a crossover schedule and just did a direct switch. That was one and a half weeks ago and feeling pretty rough. Was that a bad move on my doctors part?
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10996785_tn?1432816577
So feeling pretty rough sounds like an improvement for you. I would stick with your doctor right now. I really don't see an option for you. Benzo's are the devil pill IMO. You're on your way and should be settling down some soon. De-realization is crazy and I know what you mean. When you know what's happening and you continue to use breathing techniques it should help you get by the best you can. I feel for you but I caution you to not bounce around with your meds. Stick to a plan and you will reach the sanity you so much need. Everything is ok so remember that. Anxiety is a beast that you can tame only if you breathe and talk your way through. Bless you and my Best Wishes Always and keep posting....ike
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks that makes me feel better. I can't wait to be free of this but I'm definitely getting a hold on the anxiety, I'll be a master by the time I'm off this poison. A hard road ahead but I'm feeling more and more confident I'll manage
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