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Desperate to come off Ativan


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HI all,

 

Here is my story in brief. A few months back i started suffering stress/anxiety based insomnia and was put on Ativan to assist. i started out on 1mg and went down to .75/.5 and now am trying to get of them altogether. Have just switched to .25. I know i have only been on them for several months but i understand they are highly addictive and tolerance can occur quite quickly. I suspect i might be having withdrawal symptoms - the key ones that concern me are tinnitus (have this anyway.. but it has gotten worse in the last few weeks). i also get restless leg syndrome (from time to time) but this has gotten worse also (mind you it seems to have settled).

 

My GP didn't take me too seriously when i talked about these symptoms and thought my dose/duration were not sufficient to cause issues and suggested that i simply taper off the Ativan over the next two weeks. i don't like this idea because i understand that coming off short acting benzo's can be brutal and the way to go is to switch (gradually) to an equivalent dose of a long acting benzo like diazapem and withdraw this way.

 

So atm i am phasing in the diaz and phasing out the ativan over the next week (keeping the dosage the same) and then tapering off the diaz over say three weeks. how does this sound??

 

Also i want some assurance - has anyone had these issues after just two months? has anyone has tinnutis as a withdrawals symptom? is it temporary? i am really worried that the worsening of my tinnutis might be permanent? what is others experience?

 

i am feeling really low today. And would love some encouragement? thanks all

 

1966

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IMO,

Because you have been on the A only a short while (couple of months) I would scrap the idea of a C/O to Valium. No sense in making this more complicated than necessary. I would do my best to focus on, and get off the Ativan ASAP. After all your down to .25 already. I think your Dr has got this one right. Again this is just my opinion.

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It is possible to get symptoms from such a short time but it is extremely unlikely. Several factors could raise that chance, such as:

 

1) you are extremely medicine sensitive and reactive in general

2) you have struggled with depression and/or anxiety for many years

3) you have had substance withdrawals in the past, especially applies if it was a benzo

4) you have methylation issues (this is only if you already know about your methylation cycle genetics, I wouldn't run out and get the test rn)

 

The more extreme the symptoms, the more temporary (I have found). If you had RLS or tinnitus before, you might have them after, but probably not to the same degree.

 

I agree with Navita, stay on the Ativan. You haven't been on it too long. If it was >6 months I would switch over.

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IMO,

Because you have been on the A only a short while (couple of months) I would scrap the idea of a C/O to Valium. No sense in making this more complicated than necessary. I would do my best to focus on, and get off the Ativan ASAP. After all your down to .25 already. I think your Dr has got this one right. Again this is just my opinion.

 

Totally agree!  Many, many here do not handle Valium well, and it is overkill for your situation. The symptoms you are having are VERY common, and will go away as you taper down and get off the drug. If you are not having unbearable withdrawals, I would taper down fairly quickly, and don't drag this on too long. Make small cuts and see how your body handles each cut.

 

Valium is very long-acting, and the drawback to that is you won't have a good idea how your body is handling the cuts. Just not appropriate for your situation. Also--I would be careful not to read too much here and get yourself totally freaked out. You are a short-term user, and you can get off this in fairly short order with minimal issues.

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Hmmm not the response i expected - but will consider this. I have only just started taking Valium (last 3 mights 2/2.5,g) so i guess i could come of this quickly.

 

My concern tho is not just the tinnitus (the restless leg seems to have settled..). It is the insomnia. Not that the meds have really helped with that - i think they did intially but not so much now. atm i average about 5 hours per sleep every night but it's fairly broken/not refreshing..

 

I understand the benzo's interfere with deep sleep so you waked up more frequently (plus anxiety will do that)..

 

my other concern is that i thought that switching to longer acting benzo's would help prevent a protracted withdrawal and i worry about having this? i know i'm probs worrying too much - my gp doesn't think it should be a problem..?

 

so do you think then i should continue to taper off the ativan (over the next few weeks) and aim to taper off the valium sooner? of should i taper off the ativan over next few weeks and finish the valium a week later?

 

this is really my first experience of all of this..

 

and your right when you say not to read too many stories here about withdrawal - very discouraging..

 

Any further support advice would be greatly appreciated :)

 

geez if i had assurance that the symptoms would reduce in a reasonable time i would feel more confident..

 

 

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You know i also wonder how many of the "withdrawal" symptoms are a result from the drug. IMO some of them would be but others would be generated from our own anxiety about coming off the meds..

 

re the tinnitus - i know this is a common symptom of withdrawal but it is also something that is naturally made worse by stress/anxiety and fatigue (ie regardless of the meds) so i guess getting these under control with time should also help with that..

 

any more support/advice you can provide would be great. i am scared and confused and need lots of support atm :)

 

thanks guys

 

Lov and hugs from down under

 

 

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Hmmm not the response i expected - but will consider this. I have only just started taking Valium (last 3 mights 2/2.5,g) so i guess i could come of this quickly.

 

You should be fine to just stop the Valium and go back to the normal Ativan dose within the week. I think holding the Ativan for another week to stabilize is smart. I've done a lot of Ativan to Xanax to Klonopin switches and been fine within a week or so and I am very sensitive to med changes by even the smallest degree.

 

Do you fit any of the criteria listed above? If not then it may very well be your anxiety that is causing physical symptoms. My anxiety always compounds whatever symptoms I am feeling. Take a deep breath!

 

In terms of symptoms and time... You will experience the most severe symptoms at the beginning, and then they will begin to drop off like an asymptote curve (generally, because windows and waves is how you will experincence symptom relief). Since you've only been on for a couple months, I doubt you will experience symptoms for a super long period of time unless there are other complications like other medication, substance use, poor eating, etc.

 

*edit for typo

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Thanks Petiterouge :)

 

The only one that really applies to me i think is the anxiety one - that is i do tend towards anxiety, for the most part it is not a problem but every so often - like every 10/15 years (i am 50) i might develop a serious problem with anxiety (usually stress related) and yes it can get out of hand in that i obsess... had sedatives on occasion - but never regularly.. so never a problem before now.

 

don't quite understand what you are saying re the taper - excuse my ignorance.. lol

 

but what i think i might do is aim to be drug free in two to three weeks. I am on around .25mg av atm (only been there for a few days tho) - before this it was around .33mg av. only done v 3 last three nights (2.5mg) in addition to the .25 av. so I might taper the v down to nothing over next three nights while still going with the .25mg of av for next week, then cut down to one quarter with a view to stopping that altogether a week later, or maybe in addition .25mg every second day for the week after that - what do ya reckon?

 

your awesome for responding so quickly :)

 

luv and hugs from down under

 

1966

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So what I'm trying to explain is you probably should get off the Valium but not decrease the total amount of benzos overall until all the valium has left your system. I think 2.5mg Valium is .2mg Ativan so that means you should stop taking the Valium and take .45mg Ativan (since you said you were at .25mg). Stay there for a couple days until you feel stabilized from going off the Valium, then start tapering down the Ativan.

 

Tapering off one while on two different benzos at the same time is not a good idea, especially since they have very different half-lives. Maybe you can manage- as I am not you- but from my experience it's been rough to cross-titrate.

 

I would check out the anxiety thread for tips on managing that, as it will probably bring down symptoms overall. Since it doesn't seem like you have too many complications that would give you problems, like medication sensitivity, I don't think the symptoms will be too extreme. This is coming from someone who does meet a lot of the criteria I mentioned, and I didn't even get as bad as many of the horror stories on here.

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but what i think i might do is aim to be drug free in two to three weeks. I am on around .25mg av atm (only been there for a few days tho) - before this it was around .33mg av. only done v 3 last three nights (2.5mg) in addition to the .25 av. so I might taper the v down to nothing over next three nights while still going with the .25mg of av for next week, then cut down to one quarter with a view to stopping that altogether a week later, or maybe in addition .25mg every second day for the week after that - what do ya reckon?

 

If I'm reading you correctly, you've only done Valium for 3 nights? If so, I would stop that immediately. I'm not thinking it is necessary to compensate with extra Ativan, as it has been such a short amount of time--but see how you feel on the Ativan. The rest of the plan sounds pretty good as far as time frames, but if you can make the cuts smaller (and more frequent to compensate), the ride will be smoother for you---try shaving the pills with a nail file, measurements don't need to be perfect.

 

Yes, many of these symptoms are also side effects of the drugs, not just withdrawal. You are going to feel SO much better as you taper down and get lower. Please don't get too anxious about the whole thing, the chances of protracted withdrawal with your usage are pretty much nil. Many, many people just cold turkey at that usage and have no issue besides a few days of being uncomfortable. You will have some anxiety, some tinnitus, etc...but you can manage it and get off, and it will go away.

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