Benzo Withdrawal Taking a Toll

Discussion in 'Support' started by ansku, Mar 8, 2011.

tinnitus forum
    1. ansku

      ansku Guest

      I have used benzodiazepines on and off for a while... regularly for the past 6 months.

      i am now getting off of them but it's difficult, the withdrawal symptoms are taking a toll and while I am happy for the fact that my tinnitus doesn't seem to bother me so much anymore after starting a low-carb diet, but i've heard horror stories about benzo withdrawal... some've gotten tinnitus due to it while others' tinnitus has worsened

      I know it is better to get off of benzos than continue using them (and increasing dosage...)

      it was my doctor's idea to start taking them when feeling super anxious, but i was feeling super anxious all the time thanks to my t.. so ofcourse i took them often and regularly

      I can help myself only by going through the withdrawal, i hope though that if you are thinking about starting benzos, you think twice.. it's a short term solution to a long term problem and at least i regret swallowing that first pill.

      anyone else here used benzos? i'd like to hear your story, happy endings are welcome x)
       
    2. Jim
      Happy

      Jim Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Francisco
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Ansku, Sorry to here about the withdrawal. I have taken Alprazolam (xanax), Diazepam (valium), for anxiety. Also Temazepam for sleep. I never took them for more than a week or two because of the fear of withdrawal (which I never had). I also took zoloft (SSRI), which really helped me deal with anxiety. I only took it for about a week because of other side effects but wow, it worked for me and haven't needed it since. I also take about 3mg of ambien nightly with no side effects. Can't sleep without it and masking sounds. Hang in there, I hope your withdrawal goes quickly. By the way I do consider myself to be a happy ending. Things are not perfect but they are lots better than a year ago. I'm back to enjoying life on a daily basis.
       
    3. Caralyn

      Caralyn Guest

      this is one of the reasons why i'm hesitant on using my prescribed sleeping pills frequently.

      for me the idea of having them just in case usually helps. i take one or two per month
       
    4. Pamela

      Pamela Member

      How are things ansku? _Feeling better?
       
    5. ansku

      ansku Guest

      My body is 100% clean now ! ! :) it was a horrible experience, so glad it's over now.
      thanks for asking!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. Seras

      Seras Member

      Ansku,

      > My body is 100% clean now !
      > my tinnitus doesn't seem to bother me so much anymore after starting a low-carb diet

      That's great news!
      What do you think caused your tinnitus?

      > anyone else here used benzos?

      Benzos weren't meant to be used each day for more than 2-3 weeks. I use them only in the extreme cases at low doses (Xanax 0.125 mg - it's by far the most addictive drug I've tried). Used sparingly it can be your friend. If you stay long, use big doses and go "cold-turkey" - they may cause tinnitus and hyperacusis, which may or may not go away.

      I'm gonna try L-theanine and Melatonin. The first one may help with anxiety and helps you to relax, the latter one helps you with sleep.
      Some people swear the L-theanine lowered their tinnitus. Anyone tried these?
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. ansku

      ansku Guest

      likely too loud music.. but onset did coincide with an ear infection.. maybe both combined?

      yeah.. but when you get relief from benzos once or twice, it's horrifying how easily it becomes a habit..

      I have tried l-theanine (suntheanine, i think it's a patented form and the most pure), it might have lowered the t but it definitely made me more relaxed.. i don't think it was placebo. maybe i should buy it again :)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. terry

      terry Member

      i have had this ear ringing for 5 yrs. now and it makes your life a living hell, it come's and go's
       
    9. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      I just ordered.

      Guess it'll take about a week to arrive. It was about $15. Will report whatever happens. Thought this might be good for some relaxation :)
       
    10. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Been taking this for a few days now, tried dosages between 150 and 600mg. No effect of any kind.

      Then again I haven't been that stressed lately, so it might very well have noticeable effects when stressed. Will keep the bottle for those times.
       
    11. Seras

      Seras Member

      Yep i didnt notice much of an effect. I accidentally mixed it with beer and it made me sleepy. The same thing happened when i gave theanine to someone else. The only stuff that i found works for me is melatonin for the night, the time released caps might be the better choice. Does nothing for the tinnitus but helps me fall asleep. I dont take it every night though.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    12. cowdodge
      Grumpy

      cowdodge Member

      Location:
      Seattle, Washington
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Tapering oft of Xanax .25 and been taking this does for nearly 15 years. I would like someone here to give some advice about the amount I should cut down to.. I take Xanax twice daily and feel like it's not really working all that well. So my question is how do I much should I cut a tab too. And when can I reduce that amount to the next taper? Right now I'm taking.25 at night and tapering my dose in the mornng. I asked m doctor but he stated to cut just one pill a month and at that pace it would take over 5 years! Ridiculous I would say! I have tried to find on the Internet the above question but only could come up with larger amounts of zanax to withdrawl from. Thanks
       
    13. The idea is the same regardless of whether you start from a high or (relatively) low dose. There are a couple of ways to do it. One is to cut by something like 10% and hold that cut for a couple of weeks then cut by another 10% and hold for a couple of weeks, etc. The other, liquid titration, is to crush your tablets and mix with say 50 ml of water or milk (I like water so I can see what is going on, but I think benzos are fat soluble so some people use milk so the xanax is more evenly dispersed.) Then you can use a syringe to remove a ml or liquid. This amounts to a very small percentage cut so you can reduce by very small amounts every day or two depending on symptoms.

      If you have been taking Xanax for 15 years, I would suggest you go slowly (though maybe not 5 years....).
       
    14. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I was on Ativan for a few years then realized I was getting over dependent on them. I asked my doctor how to get off them. She said go slow. It took a year. I tapered down and did it slowly, toughed it through some tough times. Then when I was down to a very low dose my whole body, especially ears, started bitching. My T got worse at this point but I was happy to endure it and get off the pills. When I finally was drug free my T went down to a tolerable but still annoying level.
       
    15. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Your doctor is actually doing you more of a favor than he would if he told you to come off it in a month or two.

      Once someone has been on benzos long enough to develop a significant tolerance/dependence (which is almost inevitable if you take them for more than a few years), coming off of them can be brutal, and it's very unpredictable.

      The Ashton schedules would suggest taking about 8 months to come off such a dose (~2 months to cross over from Alprazolam 0.25mg to Diazepam 5m, then another 6 months to reduce the 5mg down to 0). So, your doctor is being conservative, and he may be doing so because he's had other patients who were outliers and couldn't tolerate a "fast" Ashton schedule without serious side effects.

      On the other hand, some people can reduce more quickly than Ashton's guidelines; it's a crapshoot, and comes down to genetics and luck.
       
    16. cowdodge
      Grumpy

      cowdodge Member

      Location:
      Seattle, Washington
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      The Ashton schedule is set upupfor very high dose of which I'm not taking. It would b nice to see a schudual of .025 twice daily. I sat down last night and made up a schudual of dropping 1/8 of two pills every 1en days. Since I have never done this befor I'm just a little concerned on what to look for if this to much of drop in takeng this route for getting oft this drug. Do I get headacks? Does my anzity go up? Just what sings do I look for if I'm tapering oft to fast.
       
    17. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      Man, I stopped cold turkey....haaaaaardcore!
       
    18. Based on the above, I assume you are taking 0.25 mg twice a day. You could adapt the Ashton schedule. If you do as you are suggesting, your cuts will be 12.5, 14.3, 16.7, 20, 25, 33, 50, and 100 percent. Given that most folks doing cut and hold try to keep the cut at less than 10% (until you get to the very end where they necessarily become large), I think you are pushing it.

      If you want to do it that way, I would suggest cutting 1/8 of the morning pill and leaving the evening one alone. Then 10 days or two weeks later, I would cut the evening one by 1/8. You can then repeat that. Using that schedule, you get several cuts before you hit a 10% cut. This will give you a chance to see how you do with side effects before the cuts become large in percentage terms.

      Side effects can be all over the place. One of the most common is tinnitus. Others are increases in anxiety, "brain zaps" and other fun things. The most serious side effect is seizures that can be fatal. I think that typically requires high doses and going cold turkey, but I don't know where the boundaries are especially regarding dosage.
       
    19. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Yup, @Aaron123 nailed it, that schedule is more or less what I was trying to suggest.

      You might be lucky and get off without too much fuss -- many people do, perhaps most. But, for the sizeable number of people whose bodies are not well adapted to handle the discontinuation, 0.5mg/day Xanax is definitely within the realm of doses that can have long term neurological complications. I'm not trying to scare you, because I think you'll probably be fine if you just take it slowly and let your response to each reduction sink in over a period of a couple weeks, but if you do start to have any crazy stuff start to happen, it's good to keep in mind that benzos can do all sorts of wacky things to you (and in general they all peak and then fade away in a matter of weeks/months).

      0.5mg of Xanax is 'small' compared to someone who takes 4mg a day, but it's an incredibly potent drug. Consumed regularly, over a period of time, the brain reacts to it physically; GABA receptors are downregulated. Slow withdrawal (probably) allows this process to reverse at roughly the same rate, and it subjects your cells to stress at a cellular level if you try to just throw the switch and stop taking it suddenly.

      I know that the prospect of potentially spending weeks or months getting off a drug is no fun - my initial crossover dose to valium last time around was 7mg, and ultimately it took me a year and a half to taper that down to zero in a way I could tolerate. On the other hand, some people manage to go much more quickly with less serious side effects. It's a crapshoot.
       
    20. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I have read very limited reports of serious seizure events following cold-turkey withdrawal from relatively modest doses, but of course there may be any number of outside factors in specific cases.

      I've never felt so much fear in my life as when I was withdrawing from diazepam. On the other hand, I think I'm stronger and more introspective in some ways as a result.

      I think that people who don't have (or develop) the fear response to withdrawal, might be less likely to get or worsen tinnitus as a result -- tinnitus seems to often function in concert with an overly aroused cortical distress network and corresponding surges of adrenaline.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Just curious where you learned about this? Source? I guess I ask cause I am on Ativan and have been for years. I want to get off but I only managed to get from 2 mg a day to 1 mg a day and I may start taking 1.25-1.5 mg a day because a hard time going on currently with my career. Are you saying that if I'm afraid (fear response)of making my T worse by carefully tapering off that it will get worse? And do you have a source on that if it is the case ?
      Sorry if this is confusing.
       
    22. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      if that's actually the case, I've not found empirical evidence to support it. I'm not a doctor, and this is just my own conjecture based on my experience with my own anxiety and tinnitus. For me, anxiety in general is a feedback loop, which I can actively participate in consciously (escalating the anxiety) or distance myself from (decreasing, but not eliminating the anxiety). Being more anxious clearly subjects the body to more stress at a cellular level, so I think it's entirely reasonable to assume (and personally believe) that conscious response to anxiety disorders in general (and probably tinnitus as well, at least in some cases) can affect the way the progress or stabilize o
      ver long periods of time.

      These are just my beliefs; they are the reason I've managed to be somewhat diligent about regular meditative practice, and that's probably helped me cope with this stuff more than anything else I've tried over the years.

      Tinnitus sucks, anxiety sucks, but I'm pretty grateful that I found a way out of the benzo haze I spent some years in.

      If you want to learn more about the neurology and actual science behind a lot of this, this book isn't a bad starting point, though it's very dense (and I have yet to finish much of it):
      http://www.amazon.com/Selfless-Insight-Meditative-Transformations-Consciousness/dp/0262516659
       
      • Like Like x 1
    23. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Thank you for the thoughtful response. I have read many of your posts and very much respect your views on things - I try to do mindful meditation but struggle in silence as my T is on the loud side.
       
    24. Soulstation,

      It's a great irony that wanting to get off anti-anxiety medication produces anxiety which can increase T which can increase anxiety, etc, etc. It's an even crueler irony for us that tinnitus can lead us to benzos only to find out that tinnitus is a withdrawal symptom of benzos....

      I'm sorry to hear about difficult career times. I'm sure that can affect anxiety and T which can then affect career, etc, etc.

      By the way, don't say "only" going from 2 mg to 1 mg. That's a 50% reduction. Those of us who have done it or are doing it know that is an accomplishment right there.

      I do wonder how much "bang for your buck" you would get from increasing from 1 mg to 1.25 or even 1.5. I mention this because I have thought about bumping my dosage of clonopin back up when I have had career or personal challenges during my benzo withdrawal. I don't know the scientific answer, but I wonder if going from 1 to 1.5 has the same effect if you have recently reduced from 1.5 than it did when you went from 1 to 1.5 on the way up. My gut tells me it wouldn't, but I can't back that up with any science.

      Given those suspicions, I have gotten though the tough times by pausing my withdrawal for awhile rather than increasing my dose. I just hang out at the lower dose for awhile until the dust settles. That said, I don't mean for any of this to suggest that there is anything "bad" about bumping the dose back up if you need to! You know what you need to do get through whatever it is you have going on.

      Good luck!
       
    25. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Thanks @Aaron123.
      Just one more question ....for any who can answer-
      again-I have been on Ativan for many years and managed to ween myself down to taking 1 mg per day and have been on that doseage for about 12 months. last night I had an incredibly bad night and broke down and took an extra .4 mg making a total intake of 1.4 mg - out of fear withdrawal TONIGHT I took 1.3 mgs instead of my regular dosage of 1 mg. Do I need to ween back down to 1 mg from 1.3 mg after only taking the increased dosage for 1 - 2 two nights max? I am just so terrified at benzo withdrawal that I don't want to do it the wrong way. I mean could my body get used to an extra .3 - .4 mg or ativan over 48 hours so much that it would cause withdrawal if I went back to 1 mg tomorrow. I do not want to end up on a higher dosage again and back track but times have been hard. Any help would be appreciated !
       
    26. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      You should be fine Soulstation going back to lmg and you have done well reducing down...lots of love glynis
       
    27. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      If you can't deal with silence right now, you don't have to... I spent months listening to guided body scan meditations before I tried just focusing on breath, and, when tinnitus was very intrusive I would put on cricket sounds or running water in the background.

      I think it's a lot more important to find a way to stick to doing it every day, than to worry about doing it perfectly in "silence".
       
      • Like Like x 1

Share This Page

Loading...
If you have ringing ears then you've come to the right place. We are a friendly tinnitus support board, dedicated to helping you discuss and understand what tinnitus treatments may work for you.