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Hello Everyone -


I have tapered off Xanax and Valium (about 2 mg/daily for at least the last 5 years), my last was on July 22nd (exception of Ativan due to ER visit on July 28).  Beginning after July 22, there are 2 W/D symptoms that have me concerned.  The first is this numbness and tingle feeling I have in my entire body.  Most of it is concentrated in my head and face.  I am still unable to feel my front teeth and I have this rushing noise (ringing?) in my ears.  The best analogy is when you cut off the circulation to your arm or leg, and once the blood begins to flow your arm/leg is numb and tingles.    This is true for my entire body. 


I have posted about this issue before.  I did not ask any question aside from "is this normal?" My questions are now (1) how long will this last?--It seems to dissipate (BARELY) every day, but it is still very pronounced--(2) why does this particular side effect occur when WD off benzos? 


The second question is more psychological in nature.  Let me back up a bit: I am an "unconscious" addict.  That is to say, I have been so busy trying to make money that I never looked at how bad my life had become.  I was drinking almost every day (for the last 3 years) and I have traced my abuse of medication, alcohol and marijuana, cocaine, stretches back at least 13-14 years--likely longer. 


I have stopped drinking and all drugs except Xan/Val about 6 months ago.  I have had nothing in my system since July 22nd.    I am presently unable to work and by the time I get back to work I am certain I will have to work in an entirely different area.  I am (LUCKILY) still married.  However, I have this bizarre feeling that everything is okay.  Normally I feel and think that everything is going to fall apart.  I even have this feeling when things do not turn out the way I believe.  Am I in denial?  That is, is this normal for some of you and what should I do? 


I am a little concerned because I was not aware of my addiction(s).  Thank you     

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Head symptoms, which are numerous and sometimes bizarre, are hallmarks of benzo withdrawal.  Yours fall within that category, and they will go away in time.  No one can predict when that will be, but it will happen.  Many of us have a daily pattern of awful symptoms in the morning which get better as the day goes on.  Some have the opposite.  Withdrawal affects us all diffently.



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From GrayChapter:


"My questions are now (1) how long will this last?--It seems to dissipate (BARELY) every day, but it is still very pronounced--(2) why does this particular side effect occur when WD off benzos?"


1) How long will it last?


Unfortunately, no one can give you an answer to that question as the healing process is very individualized. You could have these symptoms these symptoms for 2 more weeks, 2 more months, or 2 more years. No one can give you a definitive handle on that. I can tell you that you are still in acute which means that these symptoms may just stick around for a little longer and then go away. However, there is definitely a chance that this could go on longer. For people on the longer and slower road to recovery, the timeline usually varies from 6 to 18 months with 14 months as an average according to one survey. As I mentioned before, you are in acute now and you will likely experience noticeable relief sometime in the next 4 weeks.


2) Why does this particular side effect occur when WD off benzos?


This is a great question and I wish that I had a great answer. The prevailing theory is that significant changes have occurred in your body that effects the number and makeup of your GABA receptors. These changes end up hindering the effectiveness of your parasympathetic nervous system to block errant nerve signals. In addition, there is also evidence that our bodies may have increased the number of AMPA receptors ( stimulatory receptors ) in an attempt to compensate for the depressive effects that benzos have on the central nervous system. The thought is that this AMPA change along with the GABA change increases the sensitivity of the Central Nervous System ( specifically your Autonomic Nervous System ). Finally, there is also some evidence that benzos can effect the normal course of breathing for adults either through increased anxiety or due to changes in the autonomic nervous system ( See GABA/AMPA discussion above). This change in breathing leads to hyperventilation which can cause the paresthesia / pins and needles that you describe. Hope this helps. Good Luck.

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