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lorazepam withdrawal?
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lorazepam withdrawal?

I've been battling anxiety since July. I've had a whole lot of symptoms, seen a bunch of doctors, had A LOT of tests done, and they all point to one thing - ANXIETY. Even if I did not want to admit it in the beginning, as my symptoms were/are too physical in nature, the tests say otherwise. Now, ever since August I've been taking lorazepam 0.5 mg as needed, and for the past 2-3 weeks I almost needed to take it daily. (all in all I probably took 30 pills)  From what I've been reading, most people experience withdrawal after months or years of continuous use, or after much higher doses (which is not my case) , but then again, I realize how everyone's body is different, and how we all react differently to pills.
Is it possible to experience withdrawal symptoms if I decide to stop relying on the pills?
My PCP doesn't seem to have a definitive answer for me, yet I feel sometimes like reaching for the medecine bottle at the slightest sign of anxiety, and I feel like if I don't take the pill I'm going to face yet another attack.
I'd appreciate any insight/comments/thoughts.
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1880256_tn?1322573508
I have Ativan 0.5mg 3 x a day as needed.I usually take one maybe 3 x a week. But lately I feel like I could take one every day. My doctor and therapist said to take it if you need it. But only if you need it. I have learned to not wait to take it once the panic attack happens.I try to take it before it goes into full blown panic. And from what I've been told,0.5mg will not hurt you,and if you need it every day,so be it.I also am on Zoloft,and the Ativan helps the anxiety more than the Zoloft.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks Carmen,
I appreciate your answer, and I'm glad to hear that you found the ativan to be of help.
I guess given my recent experience with lots of doctors and lots of different prescriptions I am too afraid that the ativan would do more harm than good.
I won't deny the fact that it helps me, particularly if I take it before I go into full blown panic, like you said, it's just that I don't want it to become a habit.
I am not trying to argue wth you, it's just that I have heard of people who have experienced withdrawal symptoms after taking very low doses of ativan for a very short time. To be honest, even if I am not the addictive kind, right now with all I've been through lately I am unsure as to how my body (nervous system mainly) might react and honestly I wouldn't want to add to my already existing problems.
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1880256_tn?1322573508
I don't know about withdrawals after taking it for a short time.I've been taking it on and off since last March. I can take it up to 3 x a day if needed. This dose is very low,and from what I understand it is not an addicting dosage. I see a phyciatrist and he has told me that.So has my therapist.
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Avatar_f_tn
Carmen,
thank you for clarifying that.
I'll see my family doctor soon and see what she thinks.
all the best to you
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Avatar_m_tn
Follow this technique to calm the brain down, naturally. You will not feel the need to reach for the tablet. Share your experience, so others may benefit.
Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close little flap of ears with thumb,place  index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Repeat this  5 to 21 times.
November 18, 2011
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1260255_tn?1288658164
Carmen:

Ativan (generic lorazepam) is in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. All of the drugs in this class have the potential for dependency after 2 weeks of usage.

You write "Now, ever since August I've been taking lorazepam 0.5 mg as needed, and for the past 2-3 weeks I almost needed to take it daily. (all in all I probably took 30 pills) ." The need to take multiple doses may have been due to dependancy, given the short half life of lorazepam, where withdrawal symptoms mimicked anxiety, with you taking that second dose to ease the symptoms.

I would definitely recommend not discontinuing this medication cold turkey. Speaking from experience, cold turkey withdrawal from benzos is extremely difficult and painful.

Information on Dependency is pasted below:

Physical and Psychological Dependence

The use of benzodiazepines, including Lorazepam, may lead to physical and psychological dependence. The risk of dependence increases with higher doses and longer term use and is further increased in patients with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse or in patients with significant personality disorders. The dependence potential is reduced when Lorazepam is used at the appropriate dose for short-term treatment. Addiction-prone individuals (such as drug addicts or alcoholics) should be under careful surveillance when receiving Lorazepam or other psychotropic agents.

In general, benzodiazepines should be prescribed for short periods only (e.g., 2- 4 weeks). Extension of the treatment period should not take place without reevaluation of the need for continued therapy. Continuous long-term use of product is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms (e.g., rebound insomnia) can appear following cessation of recommended doses after as little as one week of therapy. Abrupt discontinuation of product should be avoided and a gradual dosage-tapering schedule followed after extended therapy.

Abrupt termination of treatment may be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms reported following discontinuation of benzodiazepines include headache, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, restlessness, confusion, irritability, sweating, rebound phenomena, dysphoria, dizziness, derealization, depersonalization, hyperacusis, numbness/tingling of extremities, hypersensitivity to light, noise, and physical contact/perceptual changes, involuntary movements, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hallucinations/delirium, convulsions/seizures, tremor, abdominal cramps, myalgia, agitation, palpitations, tachycardia, panic attacks, vertigo, hyperreflexia, short-term memory loss, and hyperthermia. Convulsions/seizures may be more common in patients with pre-existing seizure disorders or who are taking other drugs that lower the convulsive threshold such as antidepressants.

There is evidence that tolerance develops to the sedative effects of benzodiazepines.




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Avatar_f_tn
I am not trying to give advice on what you should take, but I can tell you my experience.  I began taking Ativan when I presented with my first panic attacks.  Like you I would reach for the bottle when I felt very anxious.  Usually the attack would begin before the ativan kicked in and I still had to go through the attack and then the ativan put me to sleep.  My doctor suggested that we treat the anxiety before the panic attacks even had a chance to escalate.  I started taking Klonopin two times a day and voila no more panic attacks.  I also lost that anxiety wondering when the next attack would hit.  I now take a small dose of klonopin and Celexa.  Hope you can find some relief and peace with your decisions regarding meds. Really talk to your doctor or therapist about your needs and concerns.  Good luck!
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1880256_tn?1322573508
I did not say I've been taking Ativan since August. I said I have a scrpit for it and take it as needed. And lately I feel like I could take one every day. Lots going on in my life. I also walk 1 to 2 miles every day and that helps too. But if I need an Ativan I will take it.It's better than having a full blown attack.
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks a lot for your suggestion.
I'll definitely give it a try.
The more books I read, the more breathing techniques I learn: I learned about the 7:11 technique where you inhale to the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 11;some suggest inhaling to the count of 3 and exhaling to the count of 6, a more challenging one (for me at least) is to inhale o the count of 10, hold to the count of 10 and exhale to the count of 10.
Honestly I'm willing to try anything, anything to help me overcome my anxiety and to make these annoying physical symptoms I have go away.
Peace
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Avatar_f_tn
Usually if I take an ativan early enough (which is as soon as I feel an attack coming) I manage to avoid the fully blown attack altogeter. Sometimes I had more success than others, so I guess it's my state of mind that plays a more important role than anything else.
I was recently given Cipralex by my family doctor, and honestly after reading bout its possible side effects I am afraid to start taking it, despitee the fact that the doctor said she has had positive reports from her patients taking it.
It could be that lately I've been prescribed so many pills for so many conditions and I've discovered that I have some very nasty reactions to some of them (could be my brain tricking me again as I never had an alergic (allergic) or adverse reaction from a pill ever before, but then again I wasn't the kind to rely on pills whatsoever).
I hope I am making sense here and I hope you understand my reluctance to try any pills at least for the time being.
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Avatar_f_tn
@ Carmen,
it's me that has been taking ativan since august, I guess there is a misunderstanding, but i got the message
@ Audrey_M
it's for the exact reason you mention: withdrawal symptoms that I am cautios and afraid of taking ativan, but at he same time I'm afraid of stopping it; and guess what, my family doctor handed me 20 more pills last night... and told me to continue taking one 0.5 mg pill a day as it's a very low amount and it shouldn't create dependency or difficulties withdrawing from ... which after all I have read I honestly doubt!
On top of that she also gave me cipralex/lexapro - another "friendly" pill which I am afraid to start taking. This is like yet another vicious circle - I go to the doctor for help for suggestions to relieve my stress, and I end up more stressed than before :)
I wonder what happened to good old herbal teas and remedies that my grandparents would just swear by...
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1880256_tn?1322573508
are you seeing a phyciatrist? When I started seeing mine I was very unsure. But after talking with other people and my therapist,they all told me I need to trust him. I am still intimitated at times with him. But I have told myself he has been a phyciatrist and MD for over 30 yrs,he should know what hes talking about.
Anxiety is not fun.And when you experiance it most everyday,then it becomes a problem. You can try all natural things etc,and I do take a natural herb,along with Zoloft and Ativan.(as needed)
Good luck to you,and remember if you don't trust your doctor,find on that you can.:)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,
no i am not seeing a psychiatrist, i will start though with a new psychologist/therapist tonight - the one i saw until now proved to be of no help :(
anxiety is no fun at all, so i hope you understand why i am scared of taking more medication when each one has countless side effects, and it is potentially addictive etc.
i am taking some herbal remedies as i have seen a naturopath for my condition - i am not yet sure whther they help or no; plus, certain herbal remedies that are recommended fo anxiety interfere with medication.
i might be so "scared" by pills simply because of the bad experiences i have had lately when i developed some pretty nasty side effects/allergies to medication that was prescribed to me.
thanks for your answer and keep in touch
good luck to you too
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Avatar_m_tn
That is correct .  Withdrawal symptoms can be severe depending on the amount you take. I have been taking Lorazepam for several yrs now. Not for anxiety but for insomnia. If you read up on benzodiazepines, the usually tell you to take diazepam(low doses) to gradually get away from Lorazepam. I don't know to many doctors that would prescribe both.  Anyway, there is material out there saying that Benzodiazepines will affect all organs of the body. I wish I would have never taken these but did not know all this at first. I've been pretty sick before, even disorientated, muscle cramps, blurred vision, irregular heart beats. I take 4mg a night which was built up over the years, from tolerence. Anyway, If you ever have a chance to get off these, I would .  It's harder the longer you wait.
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Avatar_m_tn
My mother began taking this as a aid to help her sleep.  I thought nothing of it as she was 78 an no medical problems and was taking no other drugs.  She was in excellent physical and mental shape.  We began noticing short term memory loss acouple months ago.  Long story short, she was addicted to this crap.  It went from 1 mg at night to amounts we have no idea of.  She went off it for one day and her memory improved, however she quit cold turkey and 48 hours latter I found her on the floor of her home having a seizure.  She is now in ICU with severe withdrawls.  She will be fine, as they are now working to wean her off of this.  Apparently she was a closet junkie.  Please be very careful with this.  She began taking this four years ago.  After reading all the info on this, she NEVER should have been perscribed this.  
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Avatar_f_tn
i have been taking xanex for about 10yrs...im taking .5 in the morning and a 1 mg at night...but anxiety seems to be getting worse so my doctor wants me to take 2mg of lorazpam in the morning and 1mg of xanex at night for a week then go completely to lorazpam after that , but i am scared of withdrawal effects from xanex, any suggestions???

patricia
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Avatar_m_tn
Be VERY careful about deciding to take this drug. My mother is suffering withdrawal, and I am not sure it won't kill her. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine_withdrawal_syndrome
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on Ativan for 4 years approx 2.5mg per day sometimes more. I started taking it for insomnia. I now am totally addicted, when I have tried to come off or taper off I pretty much get all the symtoms (symptoms) on the leaflet. Take the warning seriously - it has rueined the last 4 years of my life and is causing me extreme pain. I now have to take imovane to help me stay asleep - the pain wakes me up because the Ativan doesn't seem to work for longer than a few hours....Stay far away from it there are alternative meds for anxiety or insomnia. Pete
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone,

I have a very serious question here and looking for advise from someone in the medical field who has dealt with lorazepam a lot.  I do 24 hour care for a 92 year old lady who has MS and is bed ridden.  She has been having issues with memory which bothers her and it started when her other med was upped to a whole pill.  The Dr. had us stop that high dose of the carbamazepine for her MS pain and she seems a lot better but... she is having us take her off the lorazepam cold turkey in a week and I'm very concerned.  I've taken this med before in my life.  Her dose now is very low and far as I know she's been on it for a year.  She used to take 1/2 of a .5mg twice a day.  Now she's down to 1/4 of a .5mg at night.  I know the dose is low and my coworker doesn't think it will effect her to go cold turkey but I feel differently and don't want to over step my place there by saying anything to the dr. or family or even her because she is easily influenced by even an opinion to the point she will think she feels things that aren't there.  The dose is low but it seems to help her sleep which has been a problem for her many nights as it is.  Is she at risk of seizure or withdrawal?  I love this woman with all my heart and I'm very worried about this.  I think the Dr. is taking her off it thinking it's the cause of her memory issue but beings I'm with her so much I don't agree.  Looking for input or advice from a medical professional please or someone who has had a similar situation.  Meds seem to effect her more than a younger person hence her dosages of what she takes.  Thank you for reading this.
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