Catastrophic Increase in Loudness Hyperacusis from Quitting Benzos — I’m Terrified

Discussion in 'Support' started by scared8, Oct 7, 2023.

    1. scared8

      scared8 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma (mri)
      Hi everyone,

      I got loudness hyperacusis from an extremely loud MRI 6 months ago. Around the end of July, I (out of panic) quit Xanax & Zoloft cold turkey. The Zoloft was sort of new (maybe a year in), but I’d been taking Xanax for probably over a decade. I knew better than to do this, but I let fear of ototoxicity take over which makes no sense because any effects would have show up years ago. I still don’t understand why I did it. Please judge me because it is incredibly stupid.

      Since quitting benzos (and the SSRI), the loudness hyperacusis is catastrophically worse. My tinnitus shot up quite a bit as well. I’ve heard that symptoms from benzo withdrawal can dissipate over time, but it’s not always the case. I’m also concerned that because I already had hyperacusis, any ear related withdraw symptoms might be less likely to heal.

      Has anyone here worsened from benzo withdrawal and did you get better?

      I could be sick thinking about what I’ve done. I have severe panic attacks every day and the anxiety lasts for hours. I keep asking my mom to come into my room because my panic is uncontrollable. I’m terrified to start anxiety meds in case it makes the hyperacusis/tinnitus worse. I drove myself crazy trying to decide if I should reinstate Xanax/Zoloft, but I scared myself out of it after reading about how some people got worse and/or had to withdraw again after they stopped the second time. This is a common theme with me - panic while reading scary comments and make irrational decisions. It has been my downfall.

      It is common knowledge that you don’t stop benzos cold turkey and I will die with regret. My hyperacusis before was scary, but it was manageable and might have improved. My stupid decision ruined any chance I had of healing and made everything worse in the process.

      I started to get severe nerve like sensitivity as well. When I hear a noise, it feels like my nerves are being messed with. It’s so intense that it almost makes me want to jump. Even the smallest sounds do this. There is an echoey aspect to sounds (my ears being clogged might be the reason) and I’ve started to get zapping/shock sensations when I hear sound. It is very disturbing and extremely uncomfortable.

      I’m honestly terrified and don’t know if this is survivable at this point. Has anyone experienced any of these changes to their tinnitus/hyperacusis from benzos and is there any hope to improve? It’s gotten so bad that I have suicidal thoughts pretty much every day. I do not see a way out because I painted myself into a corner. Is there hope?

      The stories I’ve read on here and other places mostly point to terrible outcomes. Why did I make such a stupid decision?

      Thanks everyone.
      • Hug Hug x 4
    2. slc

      slc Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      I developed catastrophic hyperacusis and tinnitus more than a decade ago. About 2 months in I tried Klonopin. After using Klonopin for about 4 years, I titrated down from 1.5 mg to zero over perhaps 2 months. It was a while ago so I'm not sure of the timespan.

      Two months after stopping the Klonopin, the tinnitus increased from moderate back up to severe. I eventually titrated back up to 1.5 mg. I now take 1 mg and have been for several years. The tinnitus I now experience is moderate much of the time. I define moderate as not having to wear white noise devices to make it through the day.

      I do however wear them most of the time, 24 hours a day, as in addition to providing relief, the tinnitus seems to subside if I use them.

      Your situation may change for the better. It would probably useful to speak to a doctor who is familiar with the benzos you were taking and might be able to recommend a course of action. Some ENTs are knowledgeable about various drugs. Others less so.
    3. AUTHOR

      scared8 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma (mri)
      Thank you for your response. I’m terrified that I did permanent damage. My hyperacusis/tinnitus were mild before this, and now the tinnitus is worse and the hyperacusis is severe. I will never forgive myself. I read on BenzoBuddies that some people get better and some don’t.

      In your opinion, there is a chance I could get better? I’m losing my mind right now. I tried to find a benzo doctor but the two providers I saw didn’t think I was going through withdrawal. My original provider wanted me to go back on at the original dose after being off for awhile (maybe a month or so?) and that made me nervous. He declined to lower the dosage or do a taper. I should have tried harder to see if he would discuss it. I’ll maybe start looking for doctors again next week. Unfortunately I was told that the symptoms don’t always get better if you reinstate and they can possibly get worse as well.

      Thanks so much for your help. Would you say you’re glad you reinstated?
      • Hug Hug x 1

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