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Is tapering harder for older people or for folks with preexisting conditions?


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Hi, Everyone,

 

I thought I'd start a new thread for people who are either over 50 or who are perhaps younger but have other medical conditions. Getting off benzos is a serious challenge for everyone, whether younger or older because, when you're young, you should be in the prime of your lives having a good time with nary a care, and yet, when you're in withdrawal, you can't really enjoy your youth. So, please do not feel that I am in any way discounting the effect that benzo withdrawal has on younger folks. My heart goes out to you, too.

 

But, I sometimes wonder if it is harder for people over 50 and for people with other medical conditions to taper than for people who are basically healthy.

 

I have Graves' disease, was recently diagnosed with babesiosis, and this has affected my taper adversely. Actually, I think it is the FEAR of getting even sicker which has slowed me down, but I had to updose by 2 mg and I don't feel good about myself because of this. My doctor was upset with me, and he told me that I need to go down again this week in my Valium dose. He also told me he is treating me homeopathically for my babesia, although he knows that ANY treatment -- both conventional and alternative -- might not be curative. It's also possible the babesiosis might not really affect me for many years, although it could strike full force any day. The Graves' disease is being monitored and quasi controlled by medication. In fact, the last time around, my thyroid readings were indicative of a low thyroid, which is why it's so important that I go for blood tests every five to six weeks.

 

I guess that because I fear the dentist and know I need work desperately and also have developed a very minor heart condition, in addition to my other medical ailments, this time around the taper is scaring me. Every time I get a new symptom, I fear I am dying of one of my OTHER ailments. I know that withdrawal causes fear, but sometimes my fear is out of proportion to the severity of the symptoms. My doctor was upset with me for updosing, and he even mentioned the dreaded "dietox" word, so I assured him that, no matter what, I will continue with my taper and see how I do. I wasn't exactly tapering like a bat out of Hell, but I was making steady progress until last weekend, when an infectious diseases specialist literally scared the pants off me by telling me how babesiosis can be fatal and how I had to take Mepron and Zithromax. I refused the medication because my two other docs said they could kill me.

 

Does anyone else on the group feel that being older or having other medical conditions is interfering with the tapering process?

 

Love,

Genie

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hi genie - i was told i was mentally ill after caring for my dying father, raising a 13 yr, working full time and getting fibromyalgia - so i had that nut sign over my head - total exhaustion, depression, autoimmune disease - and got fired three times in a yr and a half because i developed bursitis and couldn't move my fingers to type.  then my significant other freaked and told me to move out - that he didn't buy a house so he could take care of me - well that just was the straw that broke the camels back - as he got into his car to lay rubber on the way to work - i opened the door and yelled - HEY DOES THIS MEAN YOU ARNE"T GONNA MARRY ME" - and then i just doubled over in laughter - cause ya know - who would of thought after all of that things could get worse.

 

so i had some serious issues accompanying my benzo use - i think most of us had pre existing outside strains that led us to benzo's - they may have only been situational - but then we got a labels of being emotionally disturbed - there is no room for tragedy/life events in our culture - there is only room for an automatic robotic response to everything - deviate from the norm and you will be labeled and the only treatment is "here take these for the rest of your life and don't call me."

 

so i am glad you doctor is being proactive going thru withdrawals is really hard on your body and the sooner you get off the sooner you can begin to heal.  i am not saying it will be easy - but after it is done the real healing can begin.

 

i am in cognitive therapy right now to help me deal with fear, anger and disassociation from drugs - the disassociation pretty much stopped a week or two off drugs.

 

so yes there are real issues to deal with - many of us have them - but working thru them instead of covering them up is more effective.  and trying to work through issues when drugged is like fighting in the dark with one hand tied behind you back.

 

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Hi Genie,

It's nice to see you posting, but I'm sorry to hear of your worries.  :(

Well, I'm 48, almost, but I was very healthy when the !@#$ hit the fan for me last year. So because of that, I think I'm coming thru wd relatively easy. But it does make sense that if you have other health conditions going on that wd would definitely be more difficult. It might even unmask  or trigger previously unknown health problems.

As for age, it would all depend on general health, but as with everything in life, things aren't as easy as when we were  puppies!

Hang in there Genie.

Come around more if you can, we'll help you thru your worries. :smitten:

 

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- i opened the door and yelled - HEY DOES THIS MEAN YOU ARNE"T GONNA MARRY ME" - and then i just doubled over in laughter -

 

God I love you Silver!  :2funny:

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::) just seemed like the right thing to do considering how fast my life fell into a 3rd rate soap opera.

 

linda the look of shock and indignation was so worth it :2funny: the only thing that would of been funnier is if he backed into the mail box  :laugh:

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thank you topical soul - makes life more interesting.

 

but genie - you were talking about how much harder it is to go through withdrawals when one is sick - i hear you on that one.

 

but it has been my experience that being sick on drugs is harder then being sick off of drugs - drugs really seemed to impede my immunity - they sucked the life right out of me and kept me in a state of anxiety and disconnected from the world - now i feel like i have a chance to participate in my life.

 

i don't know as i will ever be totally functional - and that is discouraging - but i am hoping to be more then functional in a non socially ordained way.

 

we all have something to add to this life - i don't think money is my part it in this life - but evolution is - if i can leave here more evolved then when i came - if i can make a difference - then i know that i am successful.

 

my life still has been blowing in the wind - but for now that wind is not blowing through me anymore.

 

it is unfortunate that doctors regard phycial challenges as a mental weakness - but i am not here for them - i just need to avoid their deadly ways.  but genie sounds like you have some very good doctors and some support - i am happy for you and sincerely hope that a excellent window can be found for your health and taper.

 

so i have to say - nope life is not fair - and yep it is harder for some then others and it kinda sucks - but this is what we have so what do we do with it - i hope you hear from others to.

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When I was tapering and titrating, I was 51 years old, perimenopausal, diagnosed with Graves' Disease and dealing with my thyroid dying off due to radioactive iodine treatment, and asthmatic. As I titrated that last bit of diazepam, I also had to taper off my methimazole.  I can't take betablockers because of the asthma so whatever tachycardia I had, I had to deal with using calcium channel blockers instead.

 

But now, almost 11 months off, I lead a normal life. I only take levythyroxine (thyroid replacement) in the mornings but other than that, everything is back to normal.

 

I made it through. And you can too.

 

rufus

 

 

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rufus - by normal do you mean you don't have acrophobia anymore?  and you energy level is normal?

 

i really hope some day i can be normal - mentally i am much better - and i am in much less pain - but still not where i want to be.

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Silver,

 

After I had C/T off Ativan in 2002, I was also labeled as a "nutcase." Most doctors didn't know about benzo withdrawal and thought I had GAD and OCD, not withdrawal. I am sorry to hear you had to deal with fibro and that you had to take care of a teenager as well as your dying Dad back then. I also had to take care of my dying Mom in addition to all my other woes. I do believe that it is very hard for us who have other medical issues and who aren't spring chickens anymore to deal with withdrawal, but somehow we muddle through. I figure that, if I am meant to survive the babesia, then I should be able to survive withdrawal, hard as it is. My doctor is trying to be supportive, but right now he is angry about my having updosed slightly. But, as long as he sees I'm still serious about getting off this poison, he will become empathetic again, I'm sure.

 

Speaking of CBT, I have to make an appointment with a cognitive behavior therapist next week whom my doctor had recommended. I hate leaving the house, but, if the therapy will help me, then it will be worth it. At least, now they are saying that, for now, at least, my babesia is not very serious. It's the kind of illness which can progress rapidly or pretty much stay the same. It's a little like fibro in terms of the fatigue and pain it produces. You could not have had an easy time of things with your medical situation and your family situation. And, to add insult to injury, having your man walk out on you is the absolute pits. My husband, although he takes care of his Mom on weekends as isn't with me, is VERY supportive otherwise. I guess we need to be thankful for small favors.

 

Love,

Genie

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Linda,

 

I was 52 the first time around and I was dealing with Graves' disease, but the disease was under control then, so my taper was not that troublesome. Things are very different now. I am glad you were able to taper without worrying too much about underlying illnesses. I do believe it makes somewhat of a difference.

 

Love,

Genie

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Silver,

 

I agree with you that being sick on drugs is harder than being sick without them. When I had a heart episode last year, before I reinstated on Valium, I calmly went to the hospital to face the music. Now that I'm in tolerance withdrawal, everything makes me nervous, so I appear and feel sicker than I probably really am. My life is like a xylophone -- blowing in the wind, too -- and I have no idea if I will ever be myself again. But, my feeling is that, even if I could feel 50 percent better once this is all over, I will consider myself blessed. I never expected to be completely functional in my 60s, but I did not expect to be hit with everything all at once. But, right now, my job is to try to get off these drugs and tell myself to take things one day at a time. Some days are better than others. Some days are the absolute pits. At least I don't think I'm dying right now. Last week, I thought it was curtains time -- the way the first specialist was talking. Glad I went for a second opinion.

 

Love,

Genie  :smitten:

 

 

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Dear Rufus,

 

Who knows? If I had been in the US instead of in Canada when my thyroid problems resurfaced, I might have taken the RAI, too, and I might never have seen a benzo again. I can tolerate beta blockers but, because my blood pressure is very unstable, I am only supposed to take one if I have high blood pressure and a headache. If my BP spikes and my head does not hurt, this usually just means I need to meditate and usually the blood pressure goes down on its own. I hate having to take my blood pressure, though. My husband is lucky in a way. He has essential hypertension, just takes his pills and never has to worry -- so far. I am so glad for you that you're off the drugs except for the levothyroxine for your underactive thyroid. It sounds as though you had a tough time with perimenopause, Graves' disease and asthma. I guess some of us just aren't lucky, but you made it and that shows how strong you are!

 

Love,

Genie

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Hi Genie,

 

I just want to encourage you to keep tapering. Withdrawal is scary but once it's over-it's really over. Being on the benzos will be one less thing you have to think and worry about. Part of the freedom is not having to take the meds, refill them, spend money, and worry about what they are continuing to do to your body and mind.  

 

The meds in my tag line are just what I was taking when I c/t. I had bee on a stable of others before those. I was on klonopin for 9 years and the rest was mixed in. At one time I was on Xanax with the klonopin.  Another time Cymbalta, which made my hair fall out.

 

During the 9 years I was constantly at Dr. offices with one problem or the other.  Fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, anxiety, acid reflux, foot and heel pain, and the list goes on. My ANA (autoimmune) blood test always came back really high. The Dr. told me I had lupus and that I was going to die. That was in 2001. The joints in my fingers were always inflammed and my fingers are bent and disfigured. I was told it was all hereditary.  No one in my family has these problems.

 

Almost all of these problems have either gone away or has decreased greatly since being off the meds. I find it unbelievable but it's true. The meds are poison. I'm not saying your illnesses will go away but they can only get better once  you have the meds out of your system.  I think you will also be able to think more clearly about them.  I still have the memory problems, brain fog, and foot pain but I think they are from the w/d.  I have been checked out by the drs. and they all want to give me meds. I, like you, refuse them.

 

I am 52.  From the post I have read I don't think I'm having harder time withdrawing than most. I think the way I quit has made it harder and that is depressing to me. I just didn't know any better at the time. I'm starting to get angry that I am in this situtation. The dr. assured me each time I saw him that the meds were perfectly safe and that I could take them the rest of my life. They were not addictive. He also said he would never have to worry about me abusing drugs because I hated taking them so much. What a joke. I didn't abuse them--he did.

 

After joining this forum my hopes are higher and it seems my spirits are lifting.  Getting off the drugs--even though w/d is a pain--is a feeling of such freedom.  

 

I am pretty new to this and am still have a hard time getting around on the forum but I just want to encourage you to stay the course and things will get better.  I will be praying for you.  

 

TS

 

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i have spent a lot of time thinking i was dying of cancer (never been diagnosed) but i was sure i had it - then i had an ache in my upper arm and was sure i was going to die of a heart attack.

 

now i may be sicker then a dog - but my health care sucks so bad i would never know - i guess it is a relief i can't even get a thyroid panel run and i checked my thyroid test and it had a warning that i needed an adjustment - that test is from OCT - and my doctor sent me a letter saying everything was great.

 

so i self medicate health issues - maybe it will work maybe not - who knows - but today and for some time i have not felt like i was dying.

 

in fact i was shocked to realize that i will be a sr. citizen soon - that never dawned on me -

 

i remember being depressed in my 20's and 30's thinking i would never get my life together and life is just passing me by - now i think i have enough time - when who knows maybe i don't - we never know.

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I have to believe we are entering the best years of our lives. What else can we hope for?  I would like to have grandchildren to what all the fuss is about!!!

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I remember being flat on my back this time last year. I couldn't watch tv or movies, listen to music or read because it would agitate me and I was terrified of the tachycardia.

 

Still perimenopausal. Ha! You'd think it'd be over by now but no...........

 

I'm actually doing things I like to do and planning the things we want to do when we retire. Last year I wasn't so sure I'd make it. Things are so much better now.

 

rufus

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when i was 40 i had wrist braces, walked with a cane and wore a cervical color - and i just gotta say i felt way older then i do now.

 

life is such a process - it is like a box of chocolate - never know what you are going to get till you (forgot the rest)

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TS,

 

It sounds as though you've been through the ringer, too. Right now, I have hives all over my arms, loose bowels, depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and I agree with you -- I think many of my problems are due to the benzo poison. The trouble is that the last time I C/T, I almost died, so tapering is the only option for me. I am hoping, however, to be able to taper faster once the winter weather subsides. I can't go out in the cold and that, in itself, is depressing. Plus, I really do have thyroid problems and possible babesia, but I think the babesia is mild and the one doctor scared the pants off me by telling me I could die from it. Frankly, we could die from anything, when it comes down to it. We could be hit by a bus, truck, etc. We can't worry about dying, but, when we're in withdrawal, we THINK we're dying every day. I just know it was easier when I was younger -- getting off this poison, that is. Maybe it's because I had a better attitude and naively believed my thyroid problems were a thing of the past. I congratulate you on getting off a high benzo dose and off other meds. I wish I could tolerate an antidepressant, but, after I C/T, they tried me on some, and all they did was make me hyper. What's worse, being hyper or depressed? Both are horrible and they aren't me.

 

Anyway, I thank you for your encouraging words. They mean a lot.

 

Love,

Genie

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Tropical Soul, Rufus and Silver,

 

All of us had our share of misfortunes, and maybe age isn't the key .. maybe it's having other pre-existing conditions or falling under the care of doctors who are prescription happy. I can't blame my doctor for my recent benzo fiasco -- I had a paradoxical reaction to Ambien, which another doc gave me, and, if my former doctor hadn't reinstated me on Valium, I would have landed in the loony bin. But, getting off the stuff is another matter. So hard. So frustrating. And, my personality is totally defunct. I am not me, and I know it. I know why, but all I can do is keep on tapering and trucking. I admire all of you for succeeding in getting off these poisons. I did it once, and I need to hope and pray I can do it again.

 

Love,

Genie

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Genie, you WILL get off this stuff and you WILL get back to being yourself. As you say, anything can kill us but I don't think we die until it's time for us to go.

 

I've had allergies all my life, big honking profound allergies, esp. to meds. As a kid I learned what antibiotics I could take and routinely spouted them off whenever I had a new doctor. Most docs hate that. LOL! So I guess you could say that was a pre-existing condition as well, esp. since I can't take any beta blockers.

 

But hey, here I am, still kicking. And you're here too, and you're gonna make it!!!!

 

rufus

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genie my old personality started to return a week or two before my final dose - that is how i knew i as ready - although unable to commit i knew i was ready - i did stop but didn't tell anyone in case i was unable to follow thru - it was a hard two weeks following  last dose - but it comes back pretty fast after that - that good things - the real us that has been buried in drugs.
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Hi Genie,

I think it is harder for older people to taper.  I did taper off valium when I was younger and in a short amount of time with no problem at all.  Now, tapering off the xanex is absolute hell.  It's horrible that you are under pressure from your doctor to taper more.  I decided not to tell my doctor when I started tapering.  I did the same thing when I got off pain meds (told the dr. after I was off the drug).  I was very afraid of the same sort of pressure you are talking about.  The only problem is that it makes it harder to taper because I'm using a bigger tablet.  I guess I'm just afraid that some event may arrise in my life where I am not able to taper as quickly as the doctor would like and that I would be cut off my pills. 

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Summer

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I hope I didn't come across promoting withdrawing c/t.  I wouldn't want anyone to do that. I don't know much about tapering, but I would think if someone could avoid major w/d systems that would be the way to go.  I was so sick while in tolerance that I didn't even think what would happen if I stopped the benzos. It never entered my mind.  God protects fools, and I fit right in.  :idiot:

 

Benzos really screw with your mind, even more so than the body.  Maybe I am in denial about what I can and can not do at this age.  I expect to be able to handle this better and get over it. That is part of my anxiety. I've been told I need to dial it down a bit and go with the flow. That is hard for me to do. You've heard the saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", well that would be me. :idiot:  And if you hear someone howling at the moon, that would be me, too. :laugh:

 

TS

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Genie,

 

Today I had a WINDOW!!!!  I could see the old me with all the imperfections I used to dwell on.  And you know what?  I was HAPPY:yippee: to see them.  I certainly wasn't perfect but I was me. And I can live with that now without the drugs. I no longer expect myself to be perfect. I may have to go live in a cave with a bear, but so be it........ I don't want that window to close, but if it does I now know it will open again.

 

You will find yourself, too.  You are in there, you just have to get well enough to come to the surface.  It's like being in the ocean and getting hit by a big wave that takes you to the bottom and scrapes you across the sand. You surface battered, bruised and bleeding, but you do surface happy that you can breathe.  And then you think "Damn, that hurt!"

 

Wishing windows for you,

TS

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