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Ambien,benzodiazapenes and panick attacks/insomnia how to wean/taper off?

Ambien,benzodiazapenes and panick attacks/insomnia how to wean/taper off?

Long story short I have been taking 10mg of Ambien every night for the past 10 years. Two months ago I stopped taking Ambien cold turkey and switched to Lunesta and all hell broke loose about two weeks later; I started having severe panic attacks daily and ended up in the Emergency Room three times so my doctor put me on clonazepam 1mg twice per day + 10mg Ambien nightly which I am now weaning/tapering off of the clonazepam using the Ashton Valium Substitution Method(http://www.benzo.org.uk) and am down to 15mg valium + .25mg clonazepam in the morning and 15mg valium + .25mg clonazepam + 5mg Ambien at night

Now my big question is (assuming Ambien withdrawal after very long term nightly usage was the catalyst that started this whole panic attack/panic disorder 7 weeks
ago when I stopped taking it cold turkey and switched to lunesta) how do I wean/taper back off the Ambien succesfully? How do detox places wean/taper people off Ambien after long term use? I know detox places do get people off Ambien but I need to know how. I know I am not the only one experiencing this problem. I have seen others postings from other people describing my symptoms of Ambien withdrawal almost exactly and if you type "Ambien withdrawal" into a Google search you will get a listing for narconon describing anxiety and panic as one of the Ambien withdrawal symptoms although all four psychiatrists I have been to say they have never heard of panic attacks as a withdrawal from Ambien.

Is there a medication that detox places use to wean/taper people off Ambien successfully? Or do you just slowly wean/taper yourself off and when the seizures and anxiety and panic attacks hit ride them out?

Please respond to me directly at ***@**** any and all help and advice is much appreciated


Gregory Masley CNE,CNA,MCSE
719-649-7451
roxymuzick on aol, msn and yahoo instant messenger
***@****
http://www.masleyassociates.com
http://www.myspace.com/roxymuzick
http://360.yahoo.com/roxymuzick
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242532_tn?1269553979
I am not surprised re ambien withdrawal after that much for that long..ambien is a cousin to the other benzodiazepine drugs, and withdrawal means it takes time for your anxiety control system to get back to normal.  I would not risk seizures under any circumstances, but if you reduce the ambien first and finish getting off klonopin and valium after that you will have protection from seizures.  there are also a whole host of anti-seizure medications to take in case your doctor thinks there is a real risk.

So taper off ambien the same way you would xanax.  do it over three weeks, cutting the dose to minimal in first week, taking minimal dose every two days for second week, then every third day for third week , then stop; repeat for klonopin and valium after.
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

I'm sorry that you are going through a difficult time.
I was on Ambien for 7 years and successfully weaned myself off it without any side effects. This is what I did: I just started taking 5 mg. every night for a week, and then I cut it in half and took those for a week and then I cut those in half (I know the pieces are very small) and took them for a week. (I'm sure that you could modify the dosage and also take it every other day.) I'm not a doctor, but, as I'm sure you know, you really can't stop anything cold turkey...especially if you've been taking it for some time.

Good luck to you!
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Avatar_n_tn
I guess my issue is Xanax alone...I have only taken it here and there for the last year. maybe 30 pills in that time.  I have tried to take them every so often but think for anxiety is it better to take them with more of a schedule for a little while.  I only take 1 .25 a day maybe 2 .25 a day if know there is more to the day to provoke anxiety.  The anxiety for me is pretty bad on some days to the point of not wanting to drive or go anywhere by myself.  I guess I am scared to death of having a problem when I want to wean off of these when I am ready...I seem to hear more bad stories than good but believe thats only because most humans tend to like to vent about the bad then give hope for those that need it.  I always get the answer that anti-depress are the way to go for any problem and that withdrawl (withdrawal) is not an issue for those....but I hear more bad about withdrawl (withdrawal) off of AD's then Xanax I think.  I tend to air on the side of caution when taking any med....I don't take anything else at this time except for birth control pills and vitamins.  I guess I am looking for someone to give me the OK when it comes to Xanax...like some good stories...I know if I could just get a few good weeks or months under my belt without anxiety or panic coming off won't be an issue for me especially on such as low dose...I know what causes the anxiety for me...it's basically mind over matter but right now I have a hard time controlling the mind not to take over.  I have tried all other routes AD's and natural fix's nothing else works except the Xanax...I feel so great when I do take it a pill on a day that I have to get things done and go out and drive and fuction but then try to do it without  the med and have hard time that it just sets me back...again I only take .25 for 2-3 days then try to go without...thinking I have the upperhand..,I think I am rollercoasting too much to get on the other side of this issue.. please someone out there give me some good stories.  No bad...I know you mean well but I think I am pretty informed whenit comes to the bad.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been taking Xanax for about 5 years for a sleep disorder. I started out with an occasional .25mg and now average 1.5 to 2mg a night. About a year ago I started having some health and depression problems that didn't make sense until a week ago when someone suggested Xanax might be the problem. I should also state that I have been drinking 3-4 beers or glasses of wine a night. I started cutting back on the Xanax by .5 mg and cutting out the alcohol this week and I have really been feeling awful: night sweats, occasional memory impairment, sensory sensitivity, insomnia, tremors, sadness/feelings of isolation and abandonment, etc. I've spent a couple of hours googling xanax dependency/withdrawal and am beginning to think this is what I'm going through. Although the answers may seem obvious, my questions are:  is Xanax normally addictive at that level/period of time; and, am I cutting back too much too quickly? Honestly, I should have figured this out a long time ago but I really thought Xanax wouldn't be a problem at this dose. My doctor didn't warn me and I didn't do the research. Now I'm not sure if I'm just scared about the possible long term consequences or if it's just Xanax withdrawal. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
You can see my full story at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-nVGw2Z0jdL62LO4M6h1dEiVG?p=33 as their was not enough room to write it here. I stopped attivan 2mg and caffeine 200mg on december 1st. I stopped buspar 5mg and lunesta 3mg on December 2nd. I got on Valium 30mg on December 8th I found a psychiatrist who agreed to put me on the Ashton Method Taper and stopped klonopin 2mg on december 15th. I stopped ambien on december 16th. I started exercising, walking two miles per day on a treadmill, on december 18th. As of december 18th all I was on was 30mg of valium per day; 5mg of valium in the morning, 5mg of valium in the afternoon, 5mg of valium in the early evening and 15mg at bedtime with 6mg of melatonin, 4 calms forte tablets and two over the counter sleeping tablets for insomnia. As of December 23rd I dropped down on the valium to 25mg; 5mg in the morning, 5mg in the afternoon and 15mg at bedtime with 6mg of melatonin, 4 calms forte tablets and two over the counter sleeping tablets for insomnia. I still don't feel like myself, and it has been very very difficult but at least I haven't had any more full blown anxiety panic attacks like 4 that landed me in the ER in November. I tried to check in to three different detox centers here in Colorado Springs and none of them would take me in for sleeping pill and benzodiazepene withdrawal. I saw four different psychiatrists who all tried to put me on anti-depressants including; zoloft, seroquel, trazadone, and effexor none of which I took. I am determined to get completely off all pills and be back to my normal self again and completely pill free the best way possible. If you have any advice, suggestions or information for me please contact me directly at ***@**** thank you

Gregory Masley CNE,CNA,MCSE
719-649-7451
roxymuzick on aol, msn and yahoo instant messenger
***@****
http://www.masleyassociates.com
http://www.myspace.com/roxymuzick
http://360.yahoo.com/roxymuzick
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Avatar_n_tn
my paradox valium dosing timing question and taper

ok my invaluable helpers here is where I came from in October 2005: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-nVGw2Z0jdL62LO4M6h1dEiVG?p=33 and here is where I am at as of December 26th, 2005:

It's so hard to get moving in the morning and then to be a zombie all day on 30mg of valium. Now is the valium far better than multiple trips to the ER for panic attacks and how horrible and awful I felt on 2mg of lorazepam(attivan) and 2mg of clonazepam(klonopin) a month ago? - Most definitely yes. Still I don't feel like myself, I feel unmotivated, lazy, slow, headaches and backaches, hard to laugh, hard to work up the energy to do anything, hard to smile or find enjoyment in anything, down, sad, blue, afraid to be alone which I am, I live alone, afraid to stray from the daily routine I have set up for myself of taking my valium, going to work, eating at my desk, coming home, seeing my kids(which I won't now for two weeks while they are on vacation back home in California with their mother which is going to be very hard for me) and fast walking 2 miles on the apartment complex treadmill.

Right now I take 5mg of valium three times a day and then 15mg of valium at night with melatonin and calms forte since the whole snowball that started this was insomnia some 20 years ago when my father died and I lost my whole family. Back then though tryptophan worked great for me and was all I needed for insomnia until they pulled it from the market.

In between this time 1992 to 1999 I should mention I was not only taking ambien 10mg per night for insomnia but also zoloft 100mg per day for depression due to my father's death in 1992. I should also mention that since that time doctor's have switched me off  ambien to remeron which gave me mild seizures, back on ambien and then off ambien to paxil which I took for 6 months and it made me mean to everybody around me so I stopped taking it cold turkey although the paxil database support group at yahoogroups warned against it, for me somehow I was fine and didn't suffer getting off paxil cold turkey and going back to ambien. However each time I went back to ambien I found it worked less and less. I should also mention this was about the time my daughters were born 8 years ago 1997 and the ambien wasn't working as well after being on it for 5 years so I added in attivan 2mg and valium 10mg nightly which I was living in California and making routine trips to Tijuana Mexico to buy since you don't ned a prescription there. I was able to stop both attivan and valium cold turkey back at this time(with no problems whatsoever but again I was only taking them at night time).

I stopped the lorazepam(attivan) 2mg which I was on for one year, buspar 5mg which I was on for one year, lunesta 3mg which I was on for two or three months, and caffeine 200mg which I was on for years to wake myself up from all the other drugs I was taking for insomnia, since December 1st.

I started 2mg clonazepam on December 1st(cutting straight over from attivan to klonopin)

I started my valium 30mg on December 8th

I tapered and stopped the 2mg of clonazepam(klonopin) which I was on for about two weeks, on December 15th.

I stopped the Ambien tapering from 12mg CR to 10mg to 5mg to 0mg, which I was on for 20 years, on December 16th.

I have been fast-walking on my apartment complex treadmill 2 miles per day every day no matter what.

I haven't had a panick attack since Thanksgiving weekend which now that I look back seems more like it was lorazepam(attivan) interdose withdrawals than a panic attack. See around Halloween was when I started having panic attacks; some people say this was from stopping ambien, other people say this was from starting lunesta, other people say it was reaching tolerance on the 2mg of lorazepam(attivan) I was taking nightly for insomnia. Other people say it was from listening to my doctor and adding in taking lorazepam(attivan) and clonazepam(klonopin) in the daytime as well as night time since before Halloween I only ever had to take medication at night time to go to sleep for insomnia but felt it slowly creeping up in me where I was feeling anxiety and started taking lorazepam(attivan) 1mg in the daytime PRN as needed when I felt a panic attack coming on.

So my first question is how should I space out my 30mg of valium dosage for best coverage in my situation?

My second question is I am apparently stable on the 30mg of valium and have been on it since December 8th(18 days) when do I start to taper and by how much 2mg per week? And which dose should I start tapering?

My third question is there are a lot of theories floating around about what caused my severe anxiety and panic attacks two months ago what is your opinion or should I just stop questioning and researching it over and over and let all the past go and just go on from here?

My fourth question is what is going to be the fastest, least painful method of getting off the valium? I've made up my mind I want to follow the Ashton method even though my Mom and sister are trying to push detox for me.

But like Monty Python says "Always look on the bright side" I haven't been on these medications very long now except for the ambien, lorazepam(attivan) and buspar. I was only on lunsta for two months or so, I was only on clonazepam(klonopin) for a month or so and I've only been on diazepam(valium) for 18 days so I may be able to do this faster than people on benzodiazapenes for years, then again I may just be an ignorant fool which is why I turn to you all(my experts) for advice. I want to be off the pills and back to my old self of 1992 or even just my old self of two months ago who did not need any medication in the daytime not just for myself but for my daughters who I left my lifelong home of Southern California to follow to Colorado Springs to be near and who deserve better than an out of it father who can't have fun with them like he used to.

Gregory Masley CNE,CNA,MCSE
719-649-7451
roxymuzick on aol, msn and yahoo instant messenger
***@****
http://www.masleyassociates.com
http://www.myspace.com/roxymuzick
http://360.yahoo.com/roxymuzick

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi everyone...as I was reading your posts I have a wonderful suggestion that has worked wonders for me.  I have panick attacks also.  Here is the thing...if u need medication for panick attacks dont be ashamed of it, and if u need medicine then take it.  For the sleeping problems, go to Health Journeys.com and order a hypnotic guided imagery tape for healthful sleep or one for anxiety.  This works wonders.  After listening to the tapes for about three weeks you will fall asleep naturally without needing pills.  It trains your mind to fall asleep.  I couldnt believe how well this works.  Right now, i have cut my zoloft in half and take a very small dose of clonazepam when i need it.  We all find it hard to accept taking medication, but if u get those tapes and really try listening to them for a few weeks...they WILL work and reduce your anxiety by half and probably eliminate all sleeping problems.  Just thought i would help...cauz ive been there.
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Avatar_n_tn
my husband is on Effexor and Zoloft.
has been on zoloft since 2001 the effexor was added about a year ago for PTSD symptoms,We are hearing from my dr, that he should not be on both, and he wants to wean off the effexor.
He bruises easily now, has high BP, high chol and is only 31. Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Anyone know how long teh re bound insomnia lasts for after cold turkey of Ambien? I quit taking it 8 days ago, and feel good now except for the insomina, then if you do not sleep like last night I did not, all night, till 9am in the morning, you get extreme Axiety from no sleep I figured out. Thought it was from Abien, but yesterday when I woke up, I was able to get some sleep teh night before on teh hour every hour I woke up, then fell back to sleep, woke up again in 1 to 1 1/2 hours then fell asleep, but when I woke up, no axiety! and felt great all day long. I expected to sleep last night then no problem, but it was one of my worst of 8 nights, I tried everything from tylenol pm to Migrane (migraine) knock me out medicines, no good sleep.
Anyway need to know how long re bound insomina lasts, you think 8 days is good enough, I was taking ambien for about 4 months 10mg's a night a couple of nights took 20mgs but maybe only 2 or 3 at teh end, that's when I decided to quit.
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Avatar_n_tn
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