Alone and isolated in benzo withdrawal - Anxiety and Depre...

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Alone and isolated in benzo withdrawal


Besides this message board plus the holiday depression time with the first year of my divorce from my wonderful wife who left me because of my addictions hard to stay sober.

17 Replies

Wow, that's a tough situation. Trust me when I tell you that alcohol will only extend the benzo withdrawal and make things worse. I've been there and know the hell it is getting off benzos. How long have you been off the benzo and how long and how much were you using?

I just started weaning from 4 mgs a day to 3.5 I've been on xanax for 30 + years quit alcohol hopefully for good 2 months ago I need to ease the pain but cant if I fail I'm afraid I'll die.

imo you have to stay sober in order to get off of the Xanax. If you were a heavy drinker and it's only been two months off the alcohol I would rethink the process of how to get of of the Xanax. 4mg to 3.5mg does not sound like much, but it's 12.5%. if you are going to reduce your dosage by .5mg each time you cut I would wait a month between cuts, so basically an 8 month taper. And if you have been taking benzos for 30 years, consider making smaller dose reductions, perhaps .25mg or .125 mg while still taking at least 8 months to taper, perhaps even up to a year. It takes a long time for your brain to heal from using benzodiazepines, especially if you mixed them with alcohol. Someple can taper quickly, others not so much. If you have a physician consider requesting that he put you on an equivalent dosage of diazepam. It has a much longer half life than Xanax and is far more suitable for tapering. Google Dr. Ashton benzo taper and you will get some great info on tapering. From personal experience I can tell you that stopping benzos after long term use is a beast, and despite my best efforts I have been unable to put them down although I was able to cut my dosage by more than 50%. In the event you are in unable to abstain from using the Xanax long term consider switching to a longer acting benzo. If you have a good doctor he will work with you, if not find a doctor that knows benzodiazepines and how difficult they are to stop. You said you are addicted and that's not the same as dependent. Addicted is abusing the medication, where as dependence is using only as prescribed by your physician for a legitimate medical necessity. Although it is preferable to stop the medication, and I hope you are successful in doing so, there is a small subset of patients who simply need this medication to function, however if you are addicted I hope you will seek out a doctor that specializes in chemical dependency. In any event, you will need a good physician to guide to becoming benzo free. I hope you are staying sober tonight, if not get back on that wagon tomorrow. You can do this!

In that case its dependance I only take what's prescribed,I said it before but I will never drink again not even a thought,I was a heavy drinker for 3 months after the divorce.I did drink on and off most of my adult life but I wouldn't say heavy daily sometimes 2 or 3 after work but 12 a day after divorce 3 months.Valium great idea using Ashton I hit the wall using the gabapentin after a week or so sleep got less and it actually started making me rather agitated the last 2 days so the switch to valium will be better longer taper most likely after tonight I needed to take 4 actually today from being so agitated.after a week of 3.5

You might wanna taper more slowly since you've been taking xanax for 30+ years. I say that because I've been taking Klonopin for 30 years. I've got the feeling we're the same age or close to it.

Klonopin was prescribed to me after I was involved in a horrible car accident. I was having meltdowns, nightmares, anxiety and sleep problems. At first, I was prescribed a low dose and I was only taking it every other day. When I told my psychiatrist about this, she was very mad at me and then told me that if I wanted it to work then I HAD to take it as prescribed. And I did just that 30 years ago, never thinking that I'd be physically dependent on it for this length of time.

It was working and I managed to get through some very tough situations. I even went back to college and got my degree with a very high GPA. I never thought I was dependent on it. I thought that I was just coping with my PTSD.

Anyway, several months ago...I tried to taper. I was supposed to be medically supervised. My dose was dose was dropped from 4mg down to 3mg. I stayed at that dose for a few months.

But the withdrawals were unbelievable. I ended up biting through my tongue and had to have reconstructive surgery. My PTSD meltdowns came on more frequently. It started with these seizure like meltdowns that lasted hours. These incidents came on with the slightest trigger.

At the 2 month point, these meltdowns became weekly to the point where I became disoriented and deeply cried for hours. My psychiatrist tried to lower the next dose to 2.5mg the following month and I began irregular trembling daily.

Well, my husband was very worried about me and found me another psychiatrist. She immediately identified my severe withdrawals after my 6 month attempt to taper. Well, she decided that I postpone the tapering and added Rexulti for a new prescription. It's working for me. I haven't had another meltdown for the past 2 months now.

She said that my added health stressors were interfering with my tapering. She also told me that given that I have been taken Klonopin for 30 years that it may take as long as 18 months of tapering by .25mg per month or perhaps even slower to avoid detox.

I've decided to take her advice. I just had knee surgery on my right knee and soon to have physical therapy then I'm having surgery on my other knee and more physical therapy. I'm facing a busy few months.

Anyway, I thought by sharing my story of tapering that you may take more time to taper. With us, "old-timers", we have to very, very careful to pace ourselves slowly. I've decided to postpone my tapering until March. By then, my knees will be healed and stronger and I will be ready. Luckily, I've got the best psychiatrist I've ever had. Take care...and best of luck!

As Iay in bed trying to sleep that not coming I said screw it I'll read some more and came upon your post this has turned turned into a day in hell little sleep of late,nausea diarrhea panic attacks anger feel like I'm going to die so I got up threw away the gabapentin away and am really thinking of postponing this taper buisness until I find a new doctor being constantly miserable is sucking the little energy I have and there is no way I want to go through what you did.Im an idiot for trying to get off benzos around the holidays and the first year of my life since my divorce I've just got a lot on my mind and I need to be more stable to follow through and a doctor with a different plan well FWIW happy new year next year has to be better.

What is your motivation for stopping lklonipin after all these years?

I really need to slowly taper off Klonopin before I'm 60. I'm 57 now and already noticing a difference in memory skills and my memory for speaking. Perhaps it's age. Anyway, it may be time to stop. My psychiatrist says that she's not going to force a taper on me. But I think eventually big Pharma is going to clamp down on Klonopin prescriptions.

Currently I'm only allowed 30 days without any refills. I take it for maintenance and can't afford to emotionally be cut off by even one day. And it's driving me nuts. I get anxiety just worrying about running out. I can't even take one extra pill say if I'm anxious before a simple dental appt. or I will run out early. I'm just getting sick of the bs going on.

So I figure my new psychiatrist won't mind me slowly and I mean very slowly trying to taper off in tiny increments over an 18 month time period. Well it just may work without the horrible withdrawals. I can't afford for big Pharma to come along and cut me off cold turkey. Besides, who knows what other substitute meds will be on the market in 18 months.

Currently she put me on Rexulti (it's in the abilify family) and I haven't had any meltdowns in 2 months. I did manage a small taper from 4mg to 3mg within a 6 month time frame. Maybe I'll try again in a few months after my health problems clear up. I have so many other health problems at this point in my life that I feel 20 years older than my real age. Well, that's my tentative game plan. It's always good to plan ahead.

Agora1 in reply to anonymous-one

anonymous-one, yes it is always a good idea to have a plan. Coming off your

Klonopin (under your doctors care) should be done slowly and safely. In order

to extend the pills you have left, try coming off your tablets by cutting back

only 1/4 of mg at a time for a 2 week period (allowing your brain to adjust to

that small cut back. After 2 weeks, another 1/4 cut. The idea is never going

back up on the dose but rather cut slowly and consistently on 2 week intervals.

Hope this might help you feel less anxious about running out.

Happy New Year! :) xx

I think you are wise to take the 18 months to taper. 4 mg is a pretty hefty dose so the slower the better. When I last tried to come off I did it cold turkey which in hind sight was very foolish. I was off for I guess about 5 months but I was still suffering some pretty bad withdrawal symptoms and jus wasn't myself. When I went CT I had been taking 2mg daily which was the max I had ever taken daily. I reinstated the klonipin but now only take .50 to .75mg daily. I don't know that I will be able to stop as I am dependent on the medication to function at a productive level in my day to day life. I am pleased that I was at least able to reduce my dosage and am committed to keeping it under 1mg daily. I, like you, worry about long term side effects but at this time the benefits outweigh the risks. I've been prescribed benzos for about 15 years but have always taken as low a dose as possible. I understand your concern about not having access to your med at some point but I don't think it will come to that because there are to many people for whom this medication is a medical necessity, it's not like the opiate crisis where so many people are knowingly just abusing the medication where as people taking meds like yours to a very large degree are using the medication for legitimate purposes and as prescribed by there physician. I wish you the best of luck when you taper. I think at the least you will get to the point that you can get by on a smaller dose. It's going to be difficult especially if you are dealing with other health issues so please take it slow. I wish you the best of luck.......PS. Do you have any issues with insomnia?

Insomnia isn't an issue anymore. But I have been using a CPAP machine for over a year now. My oxygen levels were getting too low and I was waking up with headaches. Now I absolutely have to have that CPAP machine. I'm miserable without it. Besides the CPAP and my ceiling fan create a type of white noise that also helps me. And my dog loves to cuddle with me until I'm deeply asleep. So he helps me too. I don't have the awful nightmares I used to have either. I do have strange dreams though. But it's no biggie.

My biggest concern is the daytime meltdowns. Without the Klonpin, they're awful. I cry uncontrollable, I can hardly breathe, I tremble and just totally disorient from reality. And it feels like it just won't stop. It will typically go one like that for several hours. But 1mg of of Klonopin and I'll snap out of it in 20 minutes or so. It's almost like it never happened.

I had a psychiatrist who once told me that I have difficulties processing emotions because a TBI and a fractured skull I suffered 30 years ago. I never had treatment for it. Well, I did have to get 30 stitches in my head. I was in a very bad car accident in 89. A 16 year old drunk driver hit me head on at 65mph and the rear view mirror was embedded in my head.

That area of my head still throbs from time to time after all these years. I had an 8 hour neuropsych test done 2 years later. I definitely have PTSD. But the doctor doing the testing claimed that I was making more out of it than it really was. To this day, I disagree. I truly believe that I've suffered a real brain injury from the impact of that crash. It happened before there were airbags and I was hit so hard that the bolt holding my seat snapped throwing me forward with a mighty force. I really wish the doctors had done an MRI on my head. I'm not making this up. My head was nearly crushed...and no one believes me. :(

You've been down a difficult road. It seems that you are going to need a well thought out plan on how to compensate when you start to taper the klonipin. Part of what contributed to my being unsuccessful in stopping klonipin was that I had no plan for compensating, I wasn't even on an antidepressant. Looking back I'm disappointed in my physician, I should have been put on a ssri or ssni when I stopped the klonipin. Depression was full force when I stopped the K. IMO anyone who takes benzos for any length of time needs to be on an AD because benzos reduce serotonin levels over time. I like to think I will stop the K at some point, but I would have to eliminate the stress in my life to do so, and that's not an option for me now. I'm in sales and sometimes I speak in front of groups of people making presentations and that is very stressful for me. Perhaps I will have to seek out another type of employment at some point........I googled the rexulti you are taking and that is a very pricey med, I hope that it is working for you.,

On the Rexulti, it is pricey. But your doctor will start you off with a starter kit that will cover the first 2 weeks. Then he or she will give you a discount card where you can get 90 day fills for only $15. And that's definitely worth it, especially if it works. For me, when I started on was like a light switch just came on and I just knew it was the right fit for me. I don't know how it works for other people. It's only been on the market for a few years. And there's no generic available yet. It's definitely worth a try.

Thank you


I been through a few withdrawals and its not easy doing it cold turkey. Giving you virtual hugs through these hard times.May I suggest some herbal teas, guided meditation and self pampering.

Sorry that you lost your dear wife thro-- alcohol, ---I Lost my son -- he was an Alcoholic, and at the age of 46, he lost his battle, he died alone,-- my heart will always ache remembering the handsome loving son, who from his first drink, became a changed person, , --- some condemned him, for his behaviour in drink , and MANY others loved the sober loving kind man---oh alcohol,-- it is either a friend or an evil enemy,-- only those who can control drinking can enjoy , but I believe --like my son, some are born an Alcoholic , -- you do not drink to become Alcoholic, it is a personality mental condition, that needs a lot of support , for many who sneer and loath Alcoholics !!! I can only say -- THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD ---GO YOU AND I ---- GOD'S Peace be with you , love , Lottie

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