Benzos and Tinnitus: Help or Hindrance?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Lisa88, Aug 9, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      ARE BENZOS A HELP OR HINDRANCE? Lorazepam cut my sounds in half and helped me sleep. Now months later, a week into trying to wean off very slowly, the sounds have come back to what they were when I first started t 9 months ago. Others who developed t around the same time as mine are seeing their t fade, developing their gaba to work naturally, rather than aided by meds. Gaba is the inhibitory action to the excitatory neurons overfiring causing us to hear our t. What do you think? Do meds hinder us with t in the long run? @Markku , @Steve H , any comments would be greatly appreciated.
       
    2. R. David

      R. David Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Sept. 2009
      Hi Lisa88,
      I've had experience with this issue and here is my unequivocal opinion in an abbreviated format.
      ...Anti Anxiety Meds were a direct detriment to my recovery. They were a short term fix followed by the exact reverse effect as they wore off. I actually came to believe they created anxiety, albeit in delayed fashion. When I was on them things were "briefly fine". When I didn't take them everything got worse, and in very multiplied fashion.........Subseqently, I got off of them altogether........All of my anxiety symptoms at first got much worse. Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, I was really off to the races then....But, I hung in there "off of the Lorazapam". About 4 months later things started to turn for the better and improve gradually. This was 5 years ago and all of the negative issues have been lonnnnnnnnng resolved. I had to get off the Lorazapam and let my brain take the full brunt of this on it's own and habituate naturally though.........And I'm very glad I did. Things got much worse for me before they got much better.....So brace yourself. But I'm convinced that I would be still dealing with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis today had I not. To Answer your question "By choosing to help the gaba action and thereby negating our own gaba production, wouldn't benzos therefore hinder t rather than help it?" I personally believe YES, absolutely.....And I believe that if you wean off Lorazapam your anxiety in all of these area's will be higher than ever. But over time your gaba receptors will return to 100% normal. For me I was suprized how bad it got and how long it took before it finally got better.....So brace yourself....But stay the course and it will get better.
      God Bless,
      R.David
       
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    3. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks, @R. David
      That is very helpful. I guess I will try the taper again even slower when I have stabilized. It is frightening how much louder my t has become. But there is hope that it will go down again.
      May I ask how long you were on the lorazepam? And at what dosage? Plus did you use exercise etc to recover natural gaba? And how is your t now?
      So sorry for all the questions. But so glad I have found you :)
       
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    4. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      I didn't have anxiety when T began it was when I was placed on these meds for allergies that began my anxiety off.what helps one doesent have the same affect on another it's how it is as to why is a mystery,put it down to our genes.Intuition takes over,did for me.its a call only really you can make.Weve all got mixed views.
      Took me a while to get it into my thinking. This anxietys not going to harm me ,slowly it did get better,less anxiety don't get me wrong I'm not home free far from it .somedays it raises it ugly head but as day wears on it drops,I know this so I perservere.I know it will finally give up the ghost less attention I pay to it.Its hard,but do what you think is best way for you to go.How do you feel when you get this anxiety? Mine stomach and the need to walk,again it's odd how were all different in symptoms to anxiety.Wish you well in whatever you choose to do.
      Will ad this my T changed on meds,altered it's pattern.still the same med free for what it's worth
       
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    5. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      In my case, it is not anxiety that is causing the raised t, it is the change of gaba receptors caused by trying to wean off the Lorazepam. Lorazepam aids gaba, which gaits t, so when I changed the aid/brain chemistry, t upped again. Going to try to wean even slower next time.
       
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    6. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      I've been on alprazolam since 1987. I got off once over the years which was a hell in itself. The withdrawals were another world altogether. However, once off, as R. David wrote, Satan came at me like a hateful stepmother. The anxiety went through the roof. For me, I could not bear to be without alprazolam in my system. I know I will be taking it until my last breath.

      What made things so conclusive were additional health issues, particularly fibromyalgia. It is an all-over-body pain that is as unendurable at times as T at its worst. For it, I take three meds, one of which is alprazolam (xanax). My life functions better on these meds, without a doubt.

      I know one man who's been on klonopin for T since the early 80s. He's thought about coming off of it at .75 mg. daily, but fears the withdrawals.
       
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    7. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks, @UserID
      I know, sometimes we have no choice.
      When I first got t, it was like a car alarm, and I did not sleep for 4 months. When I took lorazepam just .5mg daily, I slept and my t sounds halved. I did not have any other health issue. But looking back, I think I should have stuck it out like my other friends did and not take the drug. Their t has already faded quite a lot, whereas I seem to have put a handicap on mine reaching that stage. The last two nights since the taper effected me, it has taken me back to those beginning dreadful months with t. There needs to be more statistics on this. i.e. Do people's t with aid of benzos fade in the same way as those without benzos? Where is all this very relevant research? I talk to doctors and they have no statistics. They say it is so hard to compile on a condition such as t. Hmm. Gotta start somewhere!
       
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    8. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Have you ever taken Flexeril for your Fibromyalgia? I've read this is a possible treatment and I am currently taking it for T. There's a study that was done that showed some positive results.
       
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    9. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I'm weening of Ativan after 4+ years of taking 2 mg a day. It sucks but I am at a point where I can go the whole day from 12 -14 hours with out touching it. It does chill out eventually.
       
    10. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      @SoulStation Thanks for your reply.
      How is the weaning effecting your t?
       
    11. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I really am lookig at it like this: the T was never actually going down while on Ativan. It is my reation to it that is mellowed out when on the drug. So if I can find other ways to distract myself or occupy my mind. The withdrawil is not as bad. The lexapro i take also helps tame the anxiety too. Along with exercise i believe i will be able to live benzo free. Its just a Ssslllow....
       
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    12. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      I'll look into it, SS. Side effects are my worst enemy, as there's more than just T that can be effected. Thanks for the tip.
       
    13. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      I'm not as convinced that a benzo is the wrong route to take, especially in regard to those things that may eventually develop due to the stress and anxiety, including panic attacks. I would agree to it being a dubious call, but not altogether a washout. I take 2 mgs. daily of alprazolam, split in three doses, with my usual pain meds, including lyrica (for nerves; which, surprisingly, can sometimes lower the ringing -- for me; I wouldn't suggest it for everyone, especially if you don't have nerve issues). But then, lyrica can turn on me too and make the stinging and burning in my arms and legs feel much worse. Odd, isn't it? One day it is the right pill, the next, your worst enemy.
       
    14. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      It's just like I feel I am at a handicap because of taking it compared to others who have onset around the same time. They worked on building up their natural gaba at a time when t was quite new, and had not yet set in to stay. 9 months in, I am using the benzo as a bandaid, which was made clear to me by my taper reaction. I think I would have fought it out benzo free, if I was to start over again. Seems better in the long term. But I could be totally wrong. There needs to be more research on benzos as treatment or hindrance for t.
       
    15. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      @Lisa88 I see benzos as a band aid, something to help in the short term if absolutely needed. They are no fun at all to wean yourself off and the symptoms can usually be counted on to return with a vengeance when you do.

      Unless you plan to stay on them for life I would always recommend trying all other options first, then if nothing else works you have them as a fallback. I don't see them as an aid to recovery, they don't teach you how to cope they just mask the problem.

      I used Lorazepam (Ativan) years ago for nerves before I went on stage, my dad gave them to me from his prescription. I had no idea they were addictive or that it would make it a lot harder to go up when I stopped them. If I'd just worked on managing the nerves I would have been so much better off.

      They also made me a lot more nervous as a whole, situations where I never would have thought about nervousness became difficult to deal with and I wanted to take benzos. It faded over time but took a lot of self control to get back to normal.
       
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    16. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      Exactly what they done to me Steve,regret to this very day ,looking back at that time I had a dr who simply didn't care,what he dolled out.On to next patient.Do I feel bitter,you bet I do.
       
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    17. undecided
      Fine

      undecided Member

      Location:
      Greece
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown.
      We all have similar stories to share in this forum.
      When tinnitus got the better of me (for a couple of months i'd say) a doc prescribed me 4 boxes of bromazepam (lexotanil). That's 120 pills, like he was giving away candy.

      I still have about 110 pills sitting inside the boxes. I do have to admit that they do work.
      They made me indifferent to the sound, which is nice.
      But to be honest, i couldn't stand looking at myself taking pill after pill (of what is essentially a 'legalized' narcotic) for 10 days.

      I stopped and started dealing with my anxiety the proper way: Eating gigantic amounts of food and working out like crazy. I ate completely unhealthy stuff, stopped wearing earplugs, went on with my life. It worked but that's just me.

      All i have left from my tinnitus experience is a bit of a noise, 2 months I'd rather forget and 330mg of a very potent benzo for future recreational activities :whistle: :thankyousign:
       
    18. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks @Steve H
      I am 9 months in to t. If I take the next 6 months to wean off with my t raised, I wonder if I risk the chance of t fading. Don't they say that t fades for most in the first year. If I pass that point, doesn't plasticity set in and I am stuck with the loud sound? Most my friends from the forum who got t around the same time as me, now have their t faded. I am so worried I have blown it.
       
    19. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      Hi Lisa. The benzo does not work on your T loudness, but your limbic system anxiety. At least according to http://www.tinnitus.org/readers_email.html (see first text in red).
      I also try to live without them. But I have lorazepam here and if it becomes really critical, I take one. But this is very seldom. In the beginning of T, my GP gave me several times valium when I panicked and this was a great relief.
      I am lucky for your friends that T faded. Mine has not faded yet. I hope it will. But it is very shrill and cannot be masked. I hope that one can also habituate to a dog whistle sound.
      So best would be to get off from the benzos and only take when really needed (panic).
      Regarding the time of habituation/fading, Dr. Hubbard says that most habituate between 12 and 18 months. Serious cases can take longer.
       
    20. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks for the link, @Martin69
      That is very helpful.
      As I understand it, the main mechanism of action for lorazepam attaches to the gaba receptors which acts as an inhibitory response to the excitatory neurons overfiring with our t somewhere in the central auditory cortex. I used to try to take it as needed, but the interdose withdrawals were too difficult for me. I have been on it daily now at .5mg for nearly 5 months. When I started to wean, albeit very slowly, the change in my gaba receptors I believe caused the louder t. I never really took lorazepam for anxiety, but to treat t. Of course other mechanisms of action address anxiety and the limbic system.
      I think I will try to wean off again. Even after reinstating the full dose, my t is bad again, because even changing up, changes the action of gaba. That is how I see it, anyway.
      Looks like we got this horrid t at the same time. My thoughts go out to you to be well on the road to habituation. I am still hoping for a fade to black, as it were! :)
       
    21. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      @Lisa88 I can't think that you've blown your chance for it to fade. I wish we knew for certain how and when the plastic changes happen, but we don't.

      Your approach to it is really important; if you set your mind on an all or nothing outcome (must lose the t within X timeframe or I have it forever) you are heaping pressure onto yourself and putting an unhealthy focus on it. It'll become a self fulfilling prophecy as you will be constantly monitoring it.

      The relaxed state that the benzos bring is pretty much what you are aiming for your normal reaction to it to be: It's there but so what. You ideally need to find your most comfortable ways of coping in different situations to help get there.

      Have you been able to carry on normally, have you kept going with your music? I always find that mine is better when I'm making music, feeding the brain or something like that I imagine.
       
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    22. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks, @Steve H for always being there for us. I needed to hear that. You, Marrku and the gang are really wonderful!
      I hope to get more fully back into music this coming semester. No matter what :)
       
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    23. R. David

      R. David Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Sept. 2009
      Lisa,
      Please don't feel bad about asking the questions at all. And forgive me please if I don't get back sometimes.
      I'm away from the computer sometimes for weeks. Here goes:
      ...First, let me jump forward to the end of my story and what I wholeheartedly believe will be the end of yours as well.......And that is 100% recovery....Not 70% or 90%, 100%. And once you've recovered from these issues you feel better than you ever did.
      ...I'm telling you this because I believe that you knowing where you are going with all of this is going to make the whole challenge along the way much easier......Now, to you question:
      ...I was only on Lorazapam a brief time, but being as i was already in my late 50's at the time I had a very swift onset of the negative effects......It was quite frankly horrible. And it was the withdrawal from lorazapam which effectively "trained my focus on tinnitus". Lorazapam or more accurately, stopping usage of it was the very culprit itself, for me. I do not recall the dosage.........These things I know:
      1. I'm VERY glad that i decided to get off of it.....I would never have gotten better had I not. It was not the solution, it was the problem.
      2. I went cold turkey and that made it much worse for me.....Your approach of a slow taper is much wiser. So go slow, take your time. Be patient.
      3. It gets worse before it gets better, prepare yourself for a long haul.
      4. But, you will eventually start to "slowwwwwwly heal" Painstakingly so. But in the end you will heal to 100%.
      Your old normal before all of this began will be you future as well.
      5. I didn't excercise nearly enough.....But I do think that is an excellent route to go. I would have recovered faster had I done that......I have to stress this. Do the things you've enjoyed in the past, even if you aren't enjoying them now.....Keep your feet moving and stay full engaged in life......Do normal things. Do not hunker down. Get out and do things....
      6. And i cannot stress this enough. My tinnitus was never the problem. My problem was my reaction to the tinnitus......If you asked my how my tinnitus was 5 years ago, i would have said
      A. Loud. and
      B. It bothers me 100% of the time.
      ...If you were to ask me now
      A. Loud. as loud as ever. And
      B. It bothers me "never"
      ...And that's where i believe you are going.....I would not worry at all about the volume level of the tinnitus. I was told that the more persistent tinnitus is easier to habituate than the interemittent and I believe from my personal experience this is true....
      7. When you are hearing your tinnitus and it is loud just tell yourself that that is good because everytime you hear it and respond to it you are one response closer to a weaker response, followed by another weaker response still.
      8. My opinion. You do not need to rid yourself of tinnitus to be whole. You just need to bide your time as your response weakens over time. And it absolute will.........I tell you two things with that i believe with all of my heart to be true.
      1. This will take longer and be harder than you care to envision....(Both aspects of it. Getting off of Lorazapam an habituating Tinnitus) (I know because I've been there on both)
      2. And you here's the good news..........You will be 100%............Even the painful memories will dissapear over time........
      So Hang in there.....
      God Bless,
      R. David.
       
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    24. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      You've got a good head on your shoulders Lisa your thinking your options through,go with that gut feeling,what's that telling you,we've all got this some tap into it,that's what your doing now.along comes the what ifs ,it happens.
      I wish none of us who suffer with this terrible anxiety was placed in this position,,but as I was told ages ago by a nurse,that gut feeling will never let you down ,you have it for a reason.
      I wish you nothing but good,get back to enjoying your life your friends,we all deserve that.
      What ever you do. It will be right thing for just you,and only you.you will be fine,you' ll see Lisa. X
       
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    25. valeri

      valeri Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2011
      Lisa my dr recommended inositol for anxiety, maybe you can look into it or discuss it with your dr
      I haven't tried it yet

      Also just because t faded for some people it doesn't mean it would have faded for you with or without benzos, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.
      We are all different so is t from one person to another.
      Take care!
       
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    26. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Thanks, All. I am determined mine will fade again. :)
       
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    27. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      Happy to be here and contribute where we can. Everyone on here is either helping or in need of help, one day soon you'll be in the first category.

      Goes without saying, but protecting your ears in practice rooms when you get back is a must. I spent 4 years at college doing music and never once did I do that. Every time we came out of a practice session my ears would ring, just never knew the damage it was doing - you're in a position now to appreciate it and take steps to prevent that.

      And once you taper the benzos you should feel more musically creative too, I feel that they block that out of me.
       
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    28. R. David

      R. David Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Sept. 2009
      Lisa88,
      One followup thought that I think may be very helpful to you.........A website that helped me and many others with the benzo's was "pointofreturn" I cannot tell you how wonderful the people there were. I talked to Terry and he was just a great guy, with a great heart with excellent insights who helped me a lot. The testimony's of recovery there are very encouraging as well. Interestingly, many people withdrawing from Benzo's list Tinnitus as a side effect of that process, as it was for me. As time passes and the longer you able to heal, the response to tinnitus evenutally dissipates into thin air.
      Good luck and God Bless.
      R. David.
       
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    29. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      Everyone's T and experiences are different. I take Xanax. I've taken it for 9 months. I have taken my life back and am habituating. My response to my T is less and less. I am no longer anxious and I don't worry excessively anymore. I've not increased the dosage or frequency and have no side effects. I don't feel any effects of the Xanax either--I just feel like my old self. I had a thorough med exam and gave a complete history as my doctor wanted to be sure I didn't have any past substance abuse/addiction problems before he prescribed. My ENT and CBT therapist both agreed about taking Xanax for my anxiety, which I had long before the onset of T.

      I work everyday except weekends, I walk two to three miles a day. I go out with husband--help him with his business. We recently had a major medical emergency and I was able to handle it, T and all. I go out to family functions and with my friends for lunches and dinners. I have some bad days but they aren't like they used to be. I continue with my day/plans no matter what my T is like that day.

      There are people who are helped by these drugs.
       
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    30. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Gosh, just tried to start the taper by crossing over to valium via the Ashton Method. Immediately got a new constant high pitch "ee" sound. So scared right now. This is such a slippery road.
       
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