The Benzo Roller Coaster

Discussion in 'Support' started by I who love music, Nov 29, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      It's been a couple weeks and I'm off Ativan for good. The T is no worse, no better. I was put on Ativan 10 years ago. Somehow this short term drug became part of my life and 3 different doctors just kept it going. A few years ago I expressed concern to my current doctor and she agreed that yes, I needed to get off it. It was HELL. I went very slowly, like a quarter of a pill less over several months but my body started bitching. I'd wake up hyperventilating, or shaking and just plain icky feeling. Daytime and night time panic attacks etc... I had a choice, I could keep taking it and feel ok, or fight it. I white-knuckled my way through many days and nights of awful feelings. Also, the T was wacky during these months. It would go quiet, then fire up awful loud. But I had faith that if I could get off this rotten pill there'd be light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, a few weeks ago a was down to a little crumb once daily ... then the day came- no Ativan. It felt good but a little scary. Then, after 4 days without, I started to feel very alert, very confident and a big hole seemed to open up in my belly area that was like a big area of relaxation. I remembered that I felt that way years ago. It's been great.
      I wasn't put on the Ativan for T. A doctor put me on it for cardiac arrythmia and my new doctor assured me that condition was gone (probably caused by working the night shift). So I told myself no matter what my T did, I'd never take Ativan again. Like I said, my T is no worse, no better without this Benzo. I'm almost sure I had the dreaded, and dangerous "Protracted Benzodiazempine Withdrawal Syndrome." Whew, glad it's over.
       
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    2. cullenbohannon
      Thinking

      cullenbohannon Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2014
      It's great to see you back. I think you're another person who people struggling should look at. A lot of newbies might not know what you have been through but I would go through all your old posts and I hope they can draw some courage or inspiration from them like I did.
       
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    3. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I am on that same rollercoaster. Cutting down about 5% every 2-4 weeks. Very slow. I was only on the initial .5mg per day dose of ativan for 4 months. The withdrawal is taking longer. I am at 40% of the original dose. Same as you - quieter days followed by crazy t days. Insomnia and very vivid dreams and some other stuff. Took ativan to treat t. Really helped at first. But think with daily use I reached tolerance perhaps quicker than others. I didn't want to stay on it for too long. Should really only be taken short term if daily use.
      Ashton Manual and Benzobuddies are good online resources for info on benzos.
      @I who love music
      You said your t was up and down during withdrawal. Where I am now. Have you found it settled down to more of a baseline since off it? Sounds though like you have not been off it for too long. Cheers.
       
    4. kmohoruk
      Nerdy

      kmohoruk Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise, Ear Infection, TMJ
      Wow @I who love music . That is a crazy story - you are one tough man and I am very glad that you made it through it!

      I won't lie, after reading that story it definitely gave me some new perspective in adapting to my T. Thank you for the extra bit of inspiration my friend! :)
       
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    5. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Wow...great stuff getting off the drug after so many years! :)

       
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    6. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hi Lisa,
      Ya, back to baseline. It was during the final months of withdrawal that the T went nuts, whistling, back and forth ear to ear, as if my body was begging for the drug, talking through my Achilles' heel, my ears.. Oh ya, crazy dreams - Whew.
       
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    7. dochoppy
      No Mood

      dochoppy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure, drug combo?
      I have been on clonazepam for about 6 months. I am trying to taper off clonazepam, I am currently down to 0.125mg daily, have been on that dose for several weeks, I tried going a day without this and did fine for one day, but the next day started feeling it. Benzos are hell to get off.
       
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    8. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      @I who love music
      Having really bad insomnia. Cutting lorazepam about 5 percent every 2-4 weeks.
      Currently on about .2mg daily before bed. Started at .5mg about 8 months ago to treat t. Long term usage was a big mistake.
      Insomnia now for weeks, which of course is causing t to be much much worse.
      Did you have insomnia? Do you still now? How long have you been completely off benzos?
      Thanks! Can't believe this is happening. T almost as bad as it was in the beginning for me with these benzo withdrawal symptoms.
       
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    9. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hi Lisa,
      No, I don't have insomnia now. I sleep better off the pills. And I wake up calm and sleepy eyed and normal.
      I've been off them for around a month.
      Oh yes, near the end of my Ativan days, which was only a little crumb, like a quarter of a tab, things got bad. And of course when things got bad, I'd pop some more.
      Like I said in my long post, I white knuckled it on that small steady dose for quite a while but many days I was forced into taking more because of panic, shakiness, dreadful feelings, and other weird stuff. The worst was waking up in the morning all excited and shaky. And the awful white/black - up/down thinking. I'd mean to turn my car right but I'd go left. It was nuts. And going up and down even in small doses is BAD bad bad. I stumbled upon "Protracted Benzodiazamine Withdrawal" on Wikipedia one night and it got me thinking.
      Darn stuff.
      I probably would have gone another 10 years if the nurse at my doctor hadn't stepped in. She was writing little notes to the doctor basically saying, "He's got to get off that stuff." I knew I was addicted when I found out about the notes because I felt so mad at her. Nothing but anger. That's the dope talkin'. And I'm not a doper. I don't even like aspirin.
      I'm sitting here tonight typing, feel great, my arrythmia is long gone and my T is mostly gone. Nerves are steady as a rock. I went off the stuff slow and steady. I didn't have a problem with slow. My doctor even said, "Go as slow as you want." Like I said, I'd have anxiety problems FROM withdrawal, so I'd take more. The 'Steady' part was a little more difficult.
      I have to say, 10 years ago I was running into the doctor's office and my heart was skipping beats every 7 seconds and the only thing that straightened it out was Ativan. But when that heart problem came to an end, I was already hooked.
      Good luck !!
      Oh, did I say? - The only thing it ever seemed to do for my T was make me tired so I didn't care.
       
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    10. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hey cullen,
      That's very nice of you. Ya, I wish everyone here could find some relief. I'm glad I came here.
       
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    11. dochoppy
      No Mood

      dochoppy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure, drug combo?
      I was down to 1/4 of of klonopin 0.5mg daily for almost a month, had been on that for almost a month, now back up to 1/2 pill, this stuff is tuff to get off, I have tried going a day with out and the second day I start to feel it. If I just bear down and take it will it subside eventually?
       
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    12. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Different people take it for different reasons. Someone on the forum here told me I shouldn't have a problem stopping when I got down to 1. Well, I was on 1/4 for over a year. Whew. It's all up to the doctor I guess.
       
    13. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      t
      IWLM If they did not help your T Good for for you. I tried not taking benzos I got for T, thinking maybe it was all in my head (pun intended) bad move on my part, after not taking benzos T sounded like a Late Freight Train. Nice to see you back here...
       
    14. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Ya, my prescription was intended for cardiac arrythmia. I think that happens when you work the graveyard shift and don't sleep enough.
       
    15. dh42

      dh42 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      It should. Even .5 mg daily is a very small amount of Klonopin. If you are down to 1/4th of that, that's barely touching the CNS. Part of the issue could be psychological as well. After you got down to 1/4 for a month, why did you go back up to 1/2?

      One thing people have to realize: if you are taking a benzo (or even antidepressant) for anxiety, sleep, or depression and you want to wean off it - what you are going to do then? You need to have some sort of CBT plan in place because otherwise you are likely to simply revert back to the same condition that caused you to take the med in the first place. If it's just a temporarly life event, then no problem. But if it's a long term issue like Tinnitus can be, then that needs to be strongly considered. I plan on pursusing TRT if my Tinnitus lasts for several months longer. I am already getting a little used to it, but the buzzing is still too annoying; when it changes to a hissing sound that is usually much lower for a day or two and very tolerarable.

      I've been using about .5 mg of Klonopin since June for sleep and anxiety issues that started before my Tinnitus kicked in about three weeks ago. I did switch over to 10 mg of Valium (about equivalent to .5 of Klonopin) for a few weeks which has a longer half-life as is generally recommended as the best way to come completely off a benzo. The shorter the half-life of a benzo, the harder it is to come off. I find Klonopin also seems to give me more heartburn issues compared to Valium. Valium does make me a little more groggy during the day and gets me to sleep a bit easier; but I cannot say the quality of my sleep is any better on Valium - it seems to be a bit better on Klonopin.

      They say benzos quit helping sleep after 4-6 weeks as you adapt and they you just become dependent on it. It's also said they don't allow you to reach deep stages of sleep as often. I feel like though they relax me at night which in turn allows me to fall asleep. Without anything, it's harder. I still had some bad nights, but they are far better than when I was taking nothing last year. Anxiety has played the key role in my insomnia issues.

      I recently just read this sleep book and am considering giving it a shot and it has techniques on how to get off sleeping pills. It's also based on research and a very good read for anyone looking for better sleep. It's gotten very high reviews in general.
      Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School Paperback – September 15, 2009
      by Gregg D. Jacobs
       

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