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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody been through this? Or kicking any short-acting Benzo?I was put on 1 mg. of Ativan a year ago -- that's part of the regimen during Chemotherapy, because it causes insomnia. Didn't work, so with permission, I upped it to 1 1/2 at night. I was told I'd get addicted, but would be weaned off it after four months. Somehow, that never happened, and by spring, the drug had stopped working altogether, but I was still addicted (I curse the fact that the doc never insisted I get off). Last January, I tried to go cold turkey. After four days I was light sensitive with blurry eyes and shakey. The doc scolded me, saying I could get seizures, so I went back on.Now I decided to get serious and have started the weaning process --a quarter of a mg. off every two-three weeks. Am experiencing symptoms. I've checked out the Benzo.org website from Britain -- based on the theories of a doctor who ran a benzo addiction clinic for 12 years. They really know over there about withdrawal from these short-acting Benzos -- say it's harder to kick than Heroin. Scary -- some longterm users (6-12-24 years) have never succeeded --lots of lawsuits. My doc gave me the name of a GP to help and this new GP gave me my choice of Paxil, Elavil, Trazadone or Buspar (well, how am I supposed to know? My CHOICE?!) Her even suggesting Paxil horrified me -- there are lawsuits against the maker (Roche?) in the news right now because people are getting electric shocks and hallucinations trying to withdraw. On the British website, they say that Buspar is veritably useless for withdrawal. As far as Elavil, the GP was taking my pulse and even said I had too fast a heartbeat! (yet suggested that). I chose Trazadone by default. The sleep has returned after a week, but I'm still experiencing some nervousnessness (less over the week), feel like bursting into tears half the time, no appetite, and I was shaking in the doc's office. She said I was probably "drug-sensitive." Anyway, cutting only 1/4 mg every two weeks, that's another 2 1/2 months!(The best and most effective way to go, btw, according to that British organization, is to introduce a longer-acting benzo, i.e., Valium at an equivalent doesage, as you're tapering off the Ativan, then taper IT slowly -- since Valium's withdrawal is milder and comes on much slower. This doctor said, "That's a ridiculous idea," so I realized I wasn't dealing with great expertise here. Sigh. Yes, it WOULD be tricky. I'm too loggy in the mornings right now from the Trazadone to start doctor-hopping so -- guess I'll stick with what I got. Anyway, just wondering if anyone else ever had this experience. Reading these case histories of Britains who never succeeded getting off because of years-long "protracted withdrawal symptoms," I get really scared. But, sigh, I'm a pretty determined person. [This message has been edited by Persistance (edited 09-02-2001).]
 

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Persistance, I have been in your shoes and sure feel for you! I did succeed in quitting cold turkey but it was the worst two weeks of my life. I wouldn't recommend anyone try just stopping but I'm as hardheaded as a mule. The only reason I succeeded was that I had gotten rid of the pills and couldn't get more without begging the P/doc. Trust your MD and slowly wean off the Ativan, and I agree that it doesn't make sense to substitute another benzo to make withdrawal easier. If you wean down slowly as you're doing there will be no serious physical problems, almost all the problems are psychological dependency anyway. You have to want to quit and don't be deterred, and I know you can do it. Your senses and brain have to readjust to not being on a drug, sounds will be too loud, smells will be rotten, you will feel a little shakey and jittery but in a short time it will all disappear with no desire to go back. Good luck, Norb
 

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Persistance, I have been in your shoes and sure feel for you! I did succeed in quitting cold turkey but it was the worst two weeks of my life. I wouldn't recommend anyone try just stopping but I'm as hardheaded as a mule. The only reason I succeeded was that I had gotten rid of the pills and couldn't get more without begging the P/doc. Trust your MD and slowly wean off the Ativan, and I agree that it doesn't make sense to substitute another benzo to make withdrawal easier. If you wean down slowly as you're doing there will be no serious physical problems, almost all the problems are psychological dependency anyway. You have to want to quit and don't be deterred, and I know you can do it. Your senses and brain have to readjust to not being on a drug, sounds will be too loud, smells will be rotten, you will feel a little shakey and jittery but in a short time it will all disappear with no desire to go back. Good luck, Norb
 

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My doctor gave me a prescription for Ativan last December, a 3 month supply and I still have most of the prescription, I have never taken more than 1 or 2 a day and have gone for months without taking it with no problems. I quess this just proves that everyone is different and reacts differently to different things.
 

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My doctor gave me a prescription for Ativan last December, a 3 month supply and I still have most of the prescription, I have never taken more than 1 or 2 a day and have gone for months without taking it with no problems. I quess this just proves that everyone is different and reacts differently to different things.
 

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Persistance, I took Ativan years ago for over a year. I don't recall the dose but I recall stopping. I did what you did, went down by cutting the pill into quarters. Every few weeks I decreased the dose by 1/4. When I was down to 1/4 of a tablet a day I took it every other day for awhile then every third day for a short time and the quit. I had no withdrawal effects and I was on no other medication at that time.I recall my Doctor saying there was absolutely no reason for me to do it so slowly but that was up to me. As I recall he said the "half life" of Ativan was short, meaning the drug stayed in your system for a short time. But that was the thinking years ago. I know Prozac stays in your system (blood level) for days!As was said and as you know, everyone reacts to medication differently and also the psychological factor should be considered.If you want to do it I know, as do you, that you are strong enough to do it slowly without suffering. Good Luck and know that my thoughts will be with you.------------------Take care, Forever Vikee
 

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Persistance, I took Ativan years ago for over a year. I don't recall the dose but I recall stopping. I did what you did, went down by cutting the pill into quarters. Every few weeks I decreased the dose by 1/4. When I was down to 1/4 of a tablet a day I took it every other day for awhile then every third day for a short time and the quit. I had no withdrawal effects and I was on no other medication at that time.I recall my Doctor saying there was absolutely no reason for me to do it so slowly but that was up to me. As I recall he said the "half life" of Ativan was short, meaning the drug stayed in your system for a short time. But that was the thinking years ago. I know Prozac stays in your system (blood level) for days!As was said and as you know, everyone reacts to medication differently and also the psychological factor should be considered.If you want to do it I know, as do you, that you are strong enough to do it slowly without suffering. Good Luck and know that my thoughts will be with you.------------------Take care, Forever Vikee
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Norbert and abcdefg, thee all I applaud. I really didn't think anyone would respond to this. ABC etc., thanks for the website. I did do a web perusal before seeing the doc, but it did seem funny to be given a choice! I'll look up Trazadone again when the list of side effects it won't freak me out. Thanks, especially Norbert, for such kindness. I'm pretty determined, too (a Taurus, you know!). I know what you mean by running out of pills or you'da been tempted. When I started the taper, I was taking 2.5 mg. Ambien, OR 1/4 mg. Xanex (till the bottle ran out), or Sonata (till that ran out), and then Tylenol PM along with the Ativan just to get some sleep. And over the months, I'd occasionally up the Ativan to 2 or 2 1/2, but only when I had to get up and drive. Yup, I know about the loud sounds and even the freeway slanting funny as I tried to drive after that cold turkey experience. No seizures though, eh? What about that indefinable feeling of "impending doom?" Question to you both: how much were you on and how long had you been on it? Punkin -- I wonder how much that applies, about "everyone being different" when you haven't been on the drug every day, for a period of at least four months (which is the period for addiction they give in the literature). I don't THINK there'd too many exceptions, which is apparantly why thousands were involved in a class action suit in Britain in the 80's against the makers of Ativan.P.S. Dear little Vikee -- just saw your response. So you were on Ativan, too? I liked that idea about, when you're down to the last 1/4, do it every other day. No, they didn't know much in those days. I also know you've been on Trazadone (or was that you?) I got kind of freaked when I read that you have to taper off THAT one, too, even though they tell you it's not addictive, but I'm not even going to think about it. Thanks for the support. BTW, it IS true the psychological factor is strong -- all those scare stories I read may have influenced me. On the other hand, when I kept insisting to the doctor I was cold and she kept shaking her head and saying, "It's not cold in here. You're shaking"-- I guess it wasn't in my head. [This message has been edited by Persistance (edited 09-02-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Norbert and abcdefg, thee all I applaud. I really didn't think anyone would respond to this. ABC etc., thanks for the website. I did do a web perusal before seeing the doc, but it did seem funny to be given a choice! I'll look up Trazadone again when the list of side effects it won't freak me out. Thanks, especially Norbert, for such kindness. I'm pretty determined, too (a Taurus, you know!). I know what you mean by running out of pills or you'da been tempted. When I started the taper, I was taking 2.5 mg. Ambien, OR 1/4 mg. Xanex (till the bottle ran out), or Sonata (till that ran out), and then Tylenol PM along with the Ativan just to get some sleep. And over the months, I'd occasionally up the Ativan to 2 or 2 1/2, but only when I had to get up and drive. Yup, I know about the loud sounds and even the freeway slanting funny as I tried to drive after that cold turkey experience. No seizures though, eh? What about that indefinable feeling of "impending doom?" Question to you both: how much were you on and how long had you been on it? Punkin -- I wonder how much that applies, about "everyone being different" when you haven't been on the drug every day, for a period of at least four months (which is the period for addiction they give in the literature). I don't THINK there'd too many exceptions, which is apparantly why thousands were involved in a class action suit in Britain in the 80's against the makers of Ativan.P.S. Dear little Vikee -- just saw your response. So you were on Ativan, too? I liked that idea about, when you're down to the last 1/4, do it every other day. No, they didn't know much in those days. I also know you've been on Trazadone (or was that you?) I got kind of freaked when I read that you have to taper off THAT one, too, even though they tell you it's not addictive, but I'm not even going to think about it. Thanks for the support. BTW, it IS true the psychological factor is strong -- all those scare stories I read may have influenced me. On the other hand, when I kept insisting to the doctor I was cold and she kept shaking her head and saying, "It's not cold in here. You're shaking"-- I guess it wasn't in my head. [This message has been edited by Persistance (edited 09-02-2001).]
 

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Persistance, I actually ended up also taking the trazedone for sleep and even at a low dose it worked good. After a while you can easily quit the trazedone. Hold onto your hat for this!!
I was taking 5 mg. of Ativan when I quit. Like I said the brain has been "dumbed down" on the Ativan and it has to readjust to the senses when it becomes more "aware" of everything. I did pace the floor a lot and there was a few days of "terror" or "impending doom" but that disappears. Do it the easier way and wean down similar to how Vikee quit. I feel that would be better, cold turkey is a bad shock on the system. Good luck, Norb
 

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Persistance, I actually ended up also taking the trazedone for sleep and even at a low dose it worked good. After a while you can easily quit the trazedone. Hold onto your hat for this!!
I was taking 5 mg. of Ativan when I quit. Like I said the brain has been "dumbed down" on the Ativan and it has to readjust to the senses when it becomes more "aware" of everything. I did pace the floor a lot and there was a few days of "terror" or "impending doom" but that disappears. Do it the easier way and wean down similar to how Vikee quit. I feel that would be better, cold turkey is a bad shock on the system. Good luck, Norb
 

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I was also taking 5mg. of Ativan (Lorazepam), when I decided to quit. I realized that it wasn't helping my IBS. I remember very clearly the evening that I quit. I had a severe panic attack when I tried to lie down to sleep and felt strong "impending doom", I was so scared that I called my sister and asked her if I could go over to her house. I got there and it made me feel less panicky when her friend showed up with her dog, and we were all talking. Later that night when I felt calmed down I went back home. I didn't have any more incidents after that, and I'm glad I got off of the stuff. -JOHN
 

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I was also taking 5mg. of Ativan (Lorazepam), when I decided to quit. I realized that it wasn't helping my IBS. I remember very clearly the evening that I quit. I had a severe panic attack when I tried to lie down to sleep and felt strong "impending doom", I was so scared that I called my sister and asked her if I could go over to her house. I got there and it made me feel less panicky when her friend showed up with her dog, and we were all talking. Later that night when I felt calmed down I went back home. I didn't have any more incidents after that, and I'm glad I got off of the stuff. -JOHN
 

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I've been on every benzo known to man for over 30 years. Started with Librium went to Valium then Ativan, Xanax and now Klonopin. Atitvan was not the most addicting to my system, Xanax was. That was the most horrible withdrawal I ever went through. Klonopin is what a specialist gave me to help me through the withdrawal from Xanax. Of course, I'm now addicted to Klonopin, but it's much easier for me to back off the dosage on Klonopin than on any of the other benzos. I was down to .25 mg of Klonopin while using Mike's tapes, then my life got very chaotic with family crises and I had to stop the tapes and up the dosage of Klonopin. I'm now back down to .50 mg and am using Mike's tapes again and plan to go back down to .25 mg again. I honestly don't know if I can get off them completely, but will frankly be real happy to just get down to that level. Good luck, it is not easy. I understand what you are going through.
 

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I've been on every benzo known to man for over 30 years. Started with Librium went to Valium then Ativan, Xanax and now Klonopin. Atitvan was not the most addicting to my system, Xanax was. That was the most horrible withdrawal I ever went through. Klonopin is what a specialist gave me to help me through the withdrawal from Xanax. Of course, I'm now addicted to Klonopin, but it's much easier for me to back off the dosage on Klonopin than on any of the other benzos. I was down to .25 mg of Klonopin while using Mike's tapes, then my life got very chaotic with family crises and I had to stop the tapes and up the dosage of Klonopin. I'm now back down to .50 mg and am using Mike's tapes again and plan to go back down to .25 mg again. I honestly don't know if I can get off them completely, but will frankly be real happy to just get down to that level. Good luck, it is not easy. I understand what you are going through.
 

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I've been on ativan for 3-l/2 yrs now and know that I need to go off of it. My rheumatologist wants me off of it, but I find that it is the only thing that helps me get a good night's sleep. I know that I'm addicted to the stuff. I tried going off of it last spring and had a hell of a time. There have been times when I've gone to bed without it and wake up in the middle of the night remembering that I hadn't taken it. Then I rush to pop one under my tongue. Persistance wouldn't it be great if we both could get off of this stuff.
 

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I've been on ativan for 3-l/2 yrs now and know that I need to go off of it. My rheumatologist wants me off of it, but I find that it is the only thing that helps me get a good night's sleep. I know that I'm addicted to the stuff. I tried going off of it last spring and had a hell of a time. There have been times when I've gone to bed without it and wake up in the middle of the night remembering that I hadn't taken it. Then I rush to pop one under my tongue. Persistance wouldn't it be great if we both could get off of this stuff.
 

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I am going through exactly what you all are already went through right now! I am in my 3rd day of trying to quit xanax and it has been damn hard--weird eyes(bugging), extreme anxiety, insomnia, tachychardia, dizziness, nausea, etc. etc. I try to take as little as I can to keep my body somewhat within normal limits. I'm down to .25 per day which I think is pretty good. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 
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