MY BENZO NIGHTMARE

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Hi there,

?I have been taking these "Devil drugs" for 22 years now, being a victim of involuntary addiction due to repeated prescriptions.

?I am now getting help and guidance for a very gentle reduction programme, so far, so good but I feel I need to communicate with others who are going through or have succeeded in coming off these dreadful tablets.

?This is my second attempt at weaning myself off these benzos and although this time I have the support of an addiction specialist and my GP I still find myself very anxious about the process.

?Is there anyone else who can give me some pointers as to how to cope?

 

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  • Posted

    I’m working with an addiction specialist, a psycho pharmacist, too. Was addicted to Lorazepam for almost 2.5 years. He got me off in two months by using 9 mgs of Valium a day with decreasing amounts of Loraz each week and after 2 months, I am off Lorazepam. I started with .75 mgs of Lorazepam a day when I started working with him though in those 2.5 years, I had been as high as 2.5 mgs a day. I tried twice to get off the Loraz and failed and my GP and a psychiatrist I went to just didn’t have the pharmacology addiction/withdrawal training to help me.

    Right now I am in the 5th day of Valium reduction having stabilized the week after no Lorazepam at just those 9 mgs and then moving the next week down .05 to 8.5 mgs. I am struggling this week at 8 mgs so I am not making a cut this week. I’ll do another week to try and stabilize. I just had a video conference with my addiction doc on 3/19 and before that on 2/9 as my husband and I have been away for two months. I have an inperson appointment on April 6th. This doc knows what he is doing and even though it’s going to take longer than I’d hoped to get off the Valium, he will guide me and for the first time I have confidence in a medical professional. I’m impatient and strong willed but my advice is stick with your addiction specialist as am I and do whatever he/she says no matter how long it takes. Btw, I am allowed to take hydroxyzine at night to help with sleep since insomnia is so prevalent in withdrawal. You can do it!

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    • Posted

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your reply and encouragement. I am taking things very slowly this time as more is known about the affects of withdrawal than when I was rather rushed down at an alarming speed 22 years ago and was very ill as a result.

      ​Yes you are right about finding the right help and I feel that I now have someone who listens to me when I contact him.

      Having said all that, there is no substitute for a chat with someone like yourself as it does seem that you are the only one at times.

      Best of luck to you and keep in touch,

      ​Kind Regards...

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  • Posted

    Hi Anne,

    Its coming up to 2 years since I successfully weaned myself off of 20 years of lorazepam.

    I took it slow...reduced my dosage by small amounts over a period of 10 weeks.

    For example:

    Week one: 2mg/day

    Week two: 1.5 mg/ day

    Week four: 1 mg/ day

    Week six: .5 mg/ day

    Week eight: .5 mg/ every 2nd day

    Week nine: .5/ every 3rd day

    I had a little insomnia and a bit nervous at times, but otherwise I felt pretty good.

    Make sure you eat regular meals during this process. It makes a huge difference.

    Lorazepam helped me with pts from trauma, and I would take it again if I needed it. Just don't ever go cold turkey off them.

    Best wishes!!

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    • Posted

      Hi there,

      ?Thanks for your reply, you have done very well getting free from Lorazepam, a tricky one to come off of I believe.

      No chance of going cold turkey for me, don't care how long it takes, with a little help from the experts I will free myself if it takes years to do it,

      Kind Regards

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  • Posted

    I've read about a story in the wakefield express about a woman who was prescribed diazepam for about 16 years and she ended up suing the GP for neglect and she was awarded over £17.000 as her GP kept her on it for so long and she didn't need them. 

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    • Posted

      How very interesting, certainly an ideaidea​. I have had a series of different GPs so I would have to seek compensation for the loss of some 20 plus years of my life from the NHS as a whole.....

      Thank you very much

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  • Posted

    Hi Anne well done getting the proper support getting off these drugs.lf you want support join benzo buddies there is good support for people getting off benzos.Hope all goes well for you.
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    • Posted

      Hi Anne I am in the process of tapering off diazepam as of today I am at 3.96mg originally at 30mg a misdiagnosis 12 years ago. I was on lorazepam/Ativan first then managed to cross over to diazepam. I was also put on amitriptyline which I tapered off about 20 weeks ago thus the delay in getting off diazepam. I was a member of benzobudies and for a few years there I had a couple of great people who helped enormously but they left after they has successfully withdrawn and the rest can be a bit clicky so if you are not "accepted" then the support is very few and far between. They did teach me a lot about tapering and as where I live you don't get the best support or advice in withdrawing I have researched and experimented until I found a method that makes it very doable without the horrendous side effects. I have been a part of this site on another forum for ami withdrawal for about 10 months, and the support that all of us have given each other far exceeds benzobuddies IMO. Most of us on the ami group are all off successfully but we have decided to stick around to support those still going through their withdrawal.

      i have a titration method that I use for diazepam that is extremely slow and based on the symptoms you may be experiencing, plus it is extremely slow therefore a lot easier on the mind and body. I would be only to happy to post that method here.

      cheersxxxx

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Harriet 

      This is the method that I found to be most helpful, I got it from another lady years ago and it has served me and many others very well in coming off medications that we no longer need. Hope this helps.

      The approach is sometimes referred to as a 'symptoms based taper'. This is hopefully how you can withdraw without suffering. This approach basically calls for you to heal with your cut rate by trying to stay virtually non-symptomatic and if/when symptoms appear utilising a slow down, a hold, or an up-dose.

      REDUCTION METHOD

       1 ml  liquid amitriptyline and place in 100ml of water  which can be reduced over a period of time, hopefully giving you a slow and smooth taper with few side effects.

      Below are the number of mls you would need to reduce each day to achieve the required number of (approx) days shown. Of course most people will be taking more than a 1mg dose, so you would take your additional dose (ie if your dose is 6mg, you would use the 100ml solution for 1mg and take an additional 5mg in tablet or liquid form). 

      Reduce 100ml by 10ml per day = 10 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 9.5ml per day = 11 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 9ml per day = 11 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 8.5ml per day = 12 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 8ml per day = 12 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 7.5ml per day = 13 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 7ml per day = 14 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 6.5ml per day = 15 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 6ml per day = 16 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 5.5ml per day = 18 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 5ml per day = 20 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 4.5ml per day = 22 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 4ml per day = 25 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 3.5ml per day = 28 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 3ml per day = 33 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 2.5ml per day = 40 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 2ml per day = 50 days to reduce 1mg ******

      Reduce 100ml by 1.5ml per day = 66 days to reduce 1mg

      Reduce 100ml by 1ml per day = 100 days to reduce 1mg 

      So, using the amount I marked with asterisks as an example, this would be your dosing schedule (+ you would also need to take whatever amount you needed to take in tablet or liquid  form to make up your full dose).

      Day 1 – Drink the 100ml solution

      Day 2 – Make a new solution and drink 98ml (so with syringe take out 2 ml and discard)

      Day 3 – Make a new solution and drink 96ml (discard 4 ml)

      Day 4 – Make a new solution and drink 94ml

      Day 5 – Make a new solution and drink 92ml 

      Day 6 – Make a new solution and drink 90ml 

      etc etc…….. until you reach zero. Then you would start the process again, but reduce the amount of tablets you are taking by 1mg, because you have now reduced your dose by 1mg. 

      if any any part you don't understand please let me know and I will clarify for you.best of luck 

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    • Posted

      Hi Sammy-

      What's your titration method? I have a great addiction specialist doc who I'm going to see on April 6th. By then I'll be starting a week at 7.5 mgs of Valium after having working with my doc to crossover to Valium after getting off .75 of Ativan in two months.

      I've watched a couple of YouTube videos about titration. Some say to just dissolve the pill in water and let stand and then measure from there. Others say use a mortar and pestle to crush and then even but it in a little blender to make the liquid. What do you do?

      Thanks.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sammy,

      ​Thanks for the info about your experiences and benzo-buddies, still cannot get my registration to go through, probably just as well.

      ​I have a way to go as I am on 14mg daily, reducing by 2mg per day each month, very slow and I am getting specialist advice from an addiction centre. I was taking 19mg for nearly 22 years!!! prescription were repeated so life carried on, or rather life was wasted due to lack of energy. My new GP was the only one to question this and hence I have found the support I need at last.

      ​I must say you have done extremely well to wean yourself off these vile drugs. do you feel the better for it? I have noticed that I have slightly more energy even though I still take quite a lot. Have not reached the stage where titration would be needed but your info will be very useful.

      ​Yes slowly is the way to go, I was taken off rapidly 22 years ago and the results were catastrophic.

      ​I refused to take any antidepressants as I could see another addiction starting. I was offered Seroxat for my severe withdrawal and so glad I refused.

      ​I must congratulate you on the way you have got free, like one day I hope I will becheesygrin

      Have a great Easter

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    • Posted

      Hi Carol

      i crush it with a pill crusher, then add to the milk apparently it binds to the fat content in the milk so I always use full fat milk, I always measure the milk first then add the crushed v, I usually make in the morning and refrigerate if I don't need till evening. Then syringe out the bit to discard. 

      I do make up a chart and mark of the dose I am up to just so I don't make a mistake. Hope this helps 

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    • Posted

      Hi Anne

      This is the best I have felt in 13 years. Yes Drs become very complacent with these drugs, and unfortunately the ones tthat want us off often don't understand withdrawal and how horrendous it can be. I have tried cutting out 1mg, 1/2, and 1/4 pill which is doable until you get lower in dose as the percentage of the cut gets greater. 

      I have done it the Drs way but it is way too fast, and I don't believe in taking something else to help as you are then dependent on another drug, proved that one already LOL.

      With the ami I was not informed it was an antidepressant, it was taken for pain which was actually caused by dropping to much v. At that stage I was extremely ill with what I now know was acute withdrawal. 

      I also see a naturopath, and eat as clean as possible, fresh is best. 

      I now cycle 10km a day, every day rain hail or shine (just not lightning lol)

      My best advice is don't rush, slower is certainly better the snail definitely wins the race. 

      Have faith that you will get there it just takes times and patience, and better to be able to live life and function at the same time.

      Hope you have a great 🐣 Easter

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    • Posted

      I have followed your methods for tapering.  I am on dairy free diet and am at 5mg diaz at night for sleep (did that when got rid of zopiclone), and 2 pr 3mg in day.  Gp said it will take time to come off as i am just finished weaning off mirtazapine and still having some withdrawals, anxiety the main one.  Do you think i can start dryncutting the diazepam at night first by shaving off just small amounts every month or so?  I am so,scared i will find this impossible to do.   Or should i put it all on hold for now? I am very keen to get off this which was prescribed four years ago for back spasms but never discontinued after surgery.   I am so full of anxiety at the moment i just dont know what to do.
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    • Posted

      Hi there,

      ​Take a breath......one thing at a time. You have done so well so far, do not rush things. Your body will tell you when to slow down, mine did by giving me nightmares every night.

      ​Fortunately I have an addiction specialist who actually listens to me. we are all different .I am now stabilising on my present dose and like you feel anxious about taking the next step down. Your doctor seems to be very understanding, take the advice.

      ​Slowly, even slower....you have time. think of how far you have come on this journey. my advice, put it on hold for now and enjoy your Eastersmile

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Anne

      I definitely agree with the others. Slow down and let your body adjust first, When we rush that is when we have setbacks. When I was first learning how to wean off I was like you, couldn't wait to be free, and everyone else seemed to be going faster than me and getting off. Through trial and error I learnt to go at a snails pace so slow in fact that I have been doing this for nearly 5 years. Everyone's healing rate is different, and I found by going slow and steady and healing on the way down the outcome is so much more positive. 

      I used to have anxiety so bad I was agoraphobic, I could barely function, if I knew I was going somewhere I would worry and fret for weeks because I knew it was going to be hard, I hated being in a car it was just so stressful.

      It was extremely difficult for friends little alone family to accept the way I was so my 'friends' dwindled away. I am sharing this so you can see how important it is to heal which the human body can and will do but it does take time. Patience is the key.

      I am only just starting to taper diazepam after being free from amitriptyline for 20 weeks which doesn't sound like a long time but thats nearly 5 months.

      in that 5 months I have concentrated on good diet and slowly built up an exercise regimen, I have only just started to titrate again after that time but I am doing it so slow it will take 50 to 100 days to be rid of only 1mg of Diazepam, so you see slower is by far much better.

      The reward for going slow in my tapers is that I now look forward to going out I still have anxious moments but I can cope with them, I am healthier and fitter now than I was in my 30's now 2 decades down the track. I have a life now which I love, and I think as you heal and get better your appreciation for life changes, you no longer worry what others think and you learn to always put yourself first, my journey has been long and hard and challenging but I'm still going and I wouldn't change it, I have learnt so many life lessons through this journey.

      Be true to yourself 

      Slow and steady wins

      Take care xxxxxx

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    • Posted

      thank you for the very pertinent advice.  I see you were 20weeks off amit. I am only 7 weeks off mirtaz and feeling pretty bad.  My whole system is in turmoil, stomach, bowel, brain.  I dont know how long this will continue but was afraid the diazepam was making it worse but from what you say that is not the case.  It is just time.  I know it will take a long time to come off these but im afraid psych will try to put me on another anti dep when i tel him how bad i feel and how im not sleeping or doing much at all.  If i knew i could get through this mirtazapine withdrawal, which was very slow, tthen i might have the confidence to go slow on diazepam.   For instance i am having bad ibs this week, i assume caused by my withdrawal, and i took my 5diaz at bedtime then woke at 5am so anxious i needed to take 2mg and hold onto my hubby.  I have dozed since then but i just feel unwell and want all this to stop so i can get a normal life.  Some take diazepam and you would never know, others like me are just in the grip of anxiousness.  Do you think the withdrawal of thr anti dep will be the cause of this extra anxiety and if so when will i ever manage start a slow detox from diazepam.  This half life is so awful and i heaar of your success but cannot see it in my future as i am ove 60 now.
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    • Posted

      Hi there....Glad that the other posters feel the same as I do. what you are going through is enough to cope with at the moment.

      ?Don't worry about being 60. I am nearly 62 and still trying to get off diazepam but this time will be different. anxiety can take many forms,. when I last tried to come off the benzos I developed severe OCD which was just my body and mind trying to cope with the anxiety,

      ?I fully understand what you mean about living a half life as I was for nearly 20 years. But I have resolved that things will be different. I am only part way along the journey and I will be taking things very slowly, years if necessary.

      ?I refused the anti-depressant Seroxat and years later it was found to be highly addictive, so glad I didn't go near it. Any mind-altering drug is going to take time to get off. by their very nature they affect the chemistry of the brain and it's pathways but the body is a wonderful thing, it has it's ways of healing given time.

      ?The medical profession have a lot to answer for in my opinion because the benzos were the drugs mentioned as "Mother's little helpers" by the Rolling Stones were supposed to be the cure all at that time.

      ?Hope you have good support at home and are getting advice on how to cope with anxiety in it's many forms. If not go back to your GP and tell him, take someone with you if necessary. Help is out there but as mentioned GPs are not experts in this field by any means. I went private for hypnotherapy and counselling for mine and it really worked for me.

      ?It helps to get your story out there, you have come so far, think of what you have achieved and give yourself a pat on the back. There is light at the end of the tunnel

      Bless you.

       

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