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What exactly is the REASON to stop taking a benzo?


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I know this site is dedicated to getting people OFF a benzo but I have an odd question.


What if a benzo is WORKING for a person and is not interferrring with their life? Also what  if it is actually helping a person be a more productive and happier human being?? SInce there are no real 'long term studies' on the affects of ativan in your body over a long period of time it would make sense to me to just continue on with the drug.


I was taking 1 mg of Ativan per day for a few years. Overall it DID WORK to help me deal with my panic attacks and overall anxiety. I was definitely a more productive person while on the Ativan, less paranoid, panicked and anxious. My energy level was high and although I still had some very bad emotional days I was better than I was withOUT the drug.


I then read some horror stories online about ativan, and especially long term use of the drug so I decided to try to taper off. I started my taper (going from 1 mg a day to a 1/2 pill----for a few weeks, then went to 1/2 pill every OTHER day--Ive mentioned this on another thread)----and although I was doing relatively well with my taper my anxiety and panic DID come back VERY SEVERELY for a few days. The doctor told me it wouldnt hurt me to stay ON the 1 mg a day because it was such a small dosage--and that it wouldnt hurt me in any way! It might just be the smart thing to stay ON the drug since it was obviously helping to calm me down. My BF went with me to the doctor and he also agreed that I was a much more 'pleasant, productive person' on the Ativan, then without it.


But.......for a few weeks I continued with my taper (.5 a day..then .5 every OTHER DAY) because I really wanted to be DRUG FREE and NOT be addicted to this drug!  I thought I was doing real well. I was having some VERY GOOD days. My mood was exscellent and my panic seemed minimal , even non existant.


But then this odd free floating anxiety started creeping in again. It seemed that every other day I would have these horrible symptoms again like I used to have. It was very bad at work yesterday. I felt PARANOID, SHAKY, AGITATED, FREAKED,SHORT OF BREATH, and also a feeling of IMPENDING DOOM , not thinking I could talk to ANYONE, wanting to HIDE.. etc. etc.


I had to close my art gallery and come home to be 'safe' in my house! I was even shaky driving home. My bf suggested I just DO what the doc said and take my one pill (or 1/2 pill) per day since it was working for me! He is wondering why Im so adamant about getting OFF this drug when its working?? What am I so afraid will happen to me? Where are these long term studies that confirm this so-called 'long term brain damage' etc.??? (The doctor told me theyve used this drug for many many years and it obviously has SOME bad WITHDRAWAL affects but actual negative affects of taking the drug is minimal ---iespecially in such a low dosage as 1 mg per day.


I went back to .5 mgs today and yesterday (after that horrible panic from the other day) and I AM feeling better already.



SoOOO at this point Im back to my Ativan and decided to just stop the taper.


Im sharing this HONESTLY with you all because I do want to know the answer to my question:




Thanks for listening and thanks for your responses.



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first off - if it is working there is no need to stop.


reasons to stop - if a person is building up a tolerance and experiencing into dose withdrawals that aggravate an preexisting condition - most likely the condition they were given benzo's for.


another reason a doctor refuses to renew you script w/o taking other meds that would be damaging and threaten your full functioning.


another your organs are stressed from taking drugs


another your memory is shot - your reasoning is to and through no fault of your own you have become addicted and the only relief you find is taking your dose and the dose really isn't working anymore.


so if you are doing fine - no problem - we are here because it was not working for us - we are all different - there is no reason to stop if you are doing ok ;)

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I think most of us here ended on this forum because the medicine stopped working for us. I have been on it for 14 years and the last several years were really bad. I was not increasing it nor was I decreasing it. Yet, my mental and physical health was declining. I was having anxiety coming out of nowhere, depression for no reason. My memory started to go really fast. I developed all the symptoms I originally took the medicine for, plus some. One day I found a book by Shirley Trickett "Cure (or deal with) Anxiety and Depression the Natural Way" and from it I learned about the other one she had - "Rid yourself of Tranquilizer and Sleeping Pills". When I read that one, especially the beginning where the concept of tolerance withdrawal was explained, I felt - THIS IS IT!!! Somebody was writing about me!!  It made perfect sense to me that I was in tol. w/d based on how I felt for years.


I don't think that there is any study that shows there's a brain damage from being on benzos  (where did you get that?).

As we always say - we are all different and you may be on Ativan till the rest of your life without any problems. I hope this to be true for you, but I have my doubts.


Your taper may have been faster than your body could heal itself. Who knows?!  Maybe that's why the aniety and the pre-benzo symptoms. To me, though, it's the classical story from doctor's books when you want to taper and symptoms reappear. They will always say - "See, your original symptoms are back; I told you you need to be on this!". I don't buy that.


Good luck to you Michelle. For me, even if I continue to have symptoms till the rest of my life I will, at least, be happy that I am not ingesting any poison in me. I will celebrate the day I am off even I  am bedridden. I will be liberated!!! No price tag to put on that.



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I do appreciate both of your responses. Thankyou.


Part of me DEFINITELy wants to be DRUG FREE. Im not really fond of being a 'drugige' (my mom has an entire pharmacy in her purse! She's on every drug known to mankind..and I DIDNT want to be like her!).


The fact that I might be taking 1 mg of Ativan or less per day for the rest of my life might not be too bad though.


I mean people take all kinds of other 'things' into their systems like booze, vitamins.. medications for diabetes, high cholesterol etc


If this drug DOES help me with generalized anxiety than Hey... whats the big deal?. 

I DO understand that when the anxiety symptoms come up again (out of nowhere) its very frustrating and hard to understand. I mean WHY are these symptoms re appearing? It seems to be its an underlying reason... spiritual? emotional? etc.. Its definitely ODD and hard to figure out!


Thats why Ive been spending a lot more time in spiritual study, meditation, afirmations, 'connecting with my soul' etc. Reading alot of books, learning to forgive, and to live in the NOW.


Thanks for being here you guys:)

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Hi Michelle,


Studies have shown that benzos stop having a positive effect upon insomnia after some weeks, and anxiety after some months. The reason that you feel anxious when withdrawing is highly likely to be a withdrawal effect, both physical and psychological. Other studies have also shown that people are better able to learn coping strategies when they have quit benzos.


The problem with long term use is that the side effects may occur after you have been using them for some time. People tend to report being somewhat fogged whilst taking benzos too. I didn't realise just how fogged I had become until I quit. If you feel fine, and don't wish to quit, then this is your decision - we certainly won't be badgering you to quit. If you have concerns now, or in the future, and would like to quit, we will help you.


I took Clonazepam for a neurological disorder, but when I tapered off for the first time, I experienced severe withdrawal effects, including everything you described. In my case, I had no history of anxiety and had no idea that Clonazepam was used for anxiety, so had no expectation of these withdrawal effects - I still experienced them though! I tapered off a number of times (in an attempt to make the drug effective again - I had become tolerant of its anticonvulsant effects), and each time I would become very ill during my six-week tapers, the 'clean' period, and until I had restored most of my dose. Even in my final withdrawal - over six months - I was still very ill. It was only after quitting for good, and still feeling ill from the withdrawal some months later, that I looked into Clonazepam and benzodiazepines.


My experience was pretty extreme, but not unique. Some have suffered even worse than me. From what you have described, you are very unlikely to experience anything as bad as I did, and most people do not, but a lot of people do suffer unnecessarily by following overoptimistic withdrawal schedules and consequently find withdrawal difficult. If you withdraw again, I suggest that you do it more slowly, with smaller cuts. We have a number of methods that allow for much smaller cuts. Many people can quit quite easily, but some of us need to take it much more gently to keep things manageable.



Edit: clarification.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hola Michelle,

Colin is right...this is your body and your decision to make.  The reason you felt bad is because she cut too much too soon. If you are going to quit you need to get educated about it (e.g. read the Ashton Manual) and do it at a slower pace.


Good luck!



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There are many reasons to stay off the drugs and ususally only one to stay on.  The one is that it makes you feel better quickly.  But even that will be only for a period of time.  Have you read the side effects of the med. you are on?  Our liver filters everything that goes through our bodies, liver damage, to various degrees, are pretty common in people who take medication over a period of time. 



  I just want you to really think about the long term effect of this medication.  There's other ways to help you through rough times.  Most of us have found that out the hard way.


Best of luck


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Thanks for this blog becasue this is something I am currently wrestling with myself...should I go off klonopin or not. I am just not sure that it is the klonopin that has precipitated all these fear symptoms I have...it could have been Ambien stoppage. Wish people knew more about this drug also. If it would stop my symptoms I might consider taking it for the rest of my life...if I could get it.


But I guess you have surely noted one thing quickly here on this board. Nobody is going to judge you no matter what you decide to do, and they are always here for you.


So, you are not alone in your doubts. My doctor keeps saying, "Your body just needs these drugs...period, take them and don't worry about it.


I have some Ambien, but am afraid of trying them. I went through a year of constant stomach cramps before getting here. Now I am left with fear, agoraphobia, and startle response to slight noises. Could that be the klonopin or still the Ambien...phew I know what you are going through about stopping the ativan or not. Such a tough, but most of all SCAREY decision.


Am going to follow your blog with interest.







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doctors used to discourage people from taking drugs and would tell them right up front - there is a trade off and drugs stop working after a few weeks.


now the market is flooded with drugs you need to stay on for the rest of your life.  do the research read the side effects and know that drug companies are not even honest about all the side effects listed - there are even more.


so you need to decide what is more important convenience or physical/mental health - that is if you have a choice.

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