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Confused, lost- I have questions and need direction- liquid Ativan taper.


[Ju...]

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I began tapering with pills and looking back made a lot of mistakes. Switching medications instantly. Doses all over the place. Going too fast. Changed brands that made me sick. And I c/t off caffeine in the middle of all of it! When I first came to BB I was in a very bad place. I was desperate, scared and in paralyzing shock. I was literally out of my mind with fear and dread.  Since then things have settled down a bit. But I am looking for answers to help put this all together and move forward.

 

I have read through many posts in BB and have found a lot of great information.  I went back and re-read the Ashton manual (more than once). I am in a better mind set. Still scared. I am working with a counselor with CBT therapy and researched some coping mechanisms online, reading books on coping with anxiety. Any book suggestions are welcome.  I am getting to acceptance (still working on this to be honest but much closer). I am still anxious about doing this right and trying not to mess it up again too badly.

 

I started on a liquid 5/23 from a compound pharmacy. My first cut was an easy one of 5% and we moved some to a night dose.  It was recommended I stay there for 30 days. (I was in pretty bad shape until I got settled on the liquid) After reading many posts I decided holding that long was not the best plan and started tapering 5/31 but very very slowly.

 

I am currently .79, split  -    5:30-0.295, 1:30-0.295, 9:30-0.2

 

My first question is how important is it that my doses are even? I’ve read conflicting info on this. Today I started moving some of my 1:30 dose to the night dose to even this out and plan to take from the morning dose tomorrow.  So by Monday I plan things to look like this  5:30- 0.28, 1:30-0.28, 9:30-0.22.  Is this a good plan? I don’t want to overthink this.  I can say that after lowering my 1:30 dose I felt better and less dizziness and lethargy.  I am sleeping. Averaging 5-7 broken hours (I wake about 3 ish but usually go back to sleep).

 

My second question is how slow is too slow? What are the down sides of a very slow taper? Ashton recommends 5-10% every 7- 14 days. It has taken me 7 days to get down to .79 from .80. Less than 2% in a week. Symptom were very manageable an impacted my ability to work very little.  I think most of this has been psychological from my hellish beginnings.  Most of my support system is in favor of this slow reduction.  I have not been on Ativan for a little over 5 months. Should I not be going at least the 10%?

 

My third question is how is the best way to reduce on a liquid? Daily reduction, breaks in between. Or larger reductions planned over the weekend? I tend to feel my reductions within 48 hours. And I did feel a build up hit around day 5 but at my rate sx were minimal.

My last question is, it best to reduce one dose at a time or all equally?

 

As a history note-I have taken Xanax in the past. 2006 .25 mg 2-3 times/day for about 10 days then went on Lexapro for 5 months. c/t both no issues.  2009 for about 3 months .25 mg “as needed” occasionally. c/t. I believe I had moderate withdrawal written off as peri-menopause.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know it is a lot of info and questions but trying to get this started back up in a more logical way with a better plan.

 

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Hey Juju, you are doing so well. I think equal dosing is a good idea with Lorazepam, because it’s so short acting. The steady flow of the drug in your bloodstream will likely make for a happier CNS. This being said, I’ve seen members do it a variety of ways and be successful. Most here will tell you that how fast or slow you go doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that you are regularly moving lower in dose. Listen to your body and let your symptoms dictate. The benefit of liquid tapering a fast acting benzo is that you’ll feel symptoms quickly and know when to hold to stabilize.

 

Acceptance is a huge part of my mental wellness in taper. At first, when I struggled to process my story, it was messy...as I’ve come to accept what has happened to me, what I have to do to get out of it, and what it feels like to walk the path, everything has gotten so much  better. There are hard days in taper, and I expect hard days after. But healing will happen for us all. For me. And for you too.

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Thank you Beauty for the kind words and vote of confidence. I feel I am struggling to get into a rhythm. I am going to continue to move my doses to get them even.

 

Do I get them completely even or just closer? How fast should I get them evened up? One thought; am I bringing up that night dose just to turn around and take it back down again?

 

Acceptance was a biggy.  I have accepted what has happened to me and what I have to do to get to get free of this drug. I know longer fear taking it. It is slowly becoming just a part of the day. I am still working on accepting what it feels like to walk this path and how lonely it can be but am getting there.

 

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I can see you want to do things just right and I don't blame you because you know how much this process can hurt us when we don't understand what we're doing.  But you're on the right path now and it's time to settle in and have faith in the plan you have now.  Please don't worry about getting your doses exactly right, this isn't an exact science and we can't expect things to go exactly right.

 

I know you want answers to your questions but each person and each taper is unique so your best bet will be to do as beautyfromashes suggests and listen to your body's cues, it's going to be your best guide through this.  Of course, this involves doing a bit of experimentation when it comes to how long to hold your dose, when to reduce and what dose to reduce but you'll get the hang of it.

 

It's so important to remain functional and tapering is the way to do this.  There is much healing to be done even after your last dose, so you might as well have some control over this part of the process because when you rush off of the drug, you won't be able to have an impact on your symptoms once you've completed your taper. 

 

You've done such a great job of educating yourself but now it's all about settling in and living your life as best you can while incorporating this taper into that life.  Learning new coping skills along the way and keeping your body as healthy as you can so your brain and CNS can repair the damage done by the drug.

 

 

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Thank you Pamster,

 

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. It is easy to question myself in all of this. It seems I made a bit of a mess in the beginning. I do have a tendency to overthink with my Benzo brain. My norm is to be a clear decision maker but this drug has clouded that.

 

I have moved around doses before and really was not looking forward to the process again.  I may just stick with what I have moved up until today and go forward from here.  As I reduce the two day times all will meet in the middle at some point. And if sleep suffers I may move more to night.

 

I have read from some that going to slow and being on it too long can cause additional issues with tolerance. That is the reason for the question Can you go to sow?  The last thing I want it to cause some other issue.

 

I will still have questions as I move through this but for now I will stick with what I am doing. As this moves on I am sure I will be more in tune with those cues and get more comfortable with my decisions.

 

Thanks for reminding me that I need to incorporate this taper into my life and not let this taper BE my life. Today was one of the clearest calmest days I have had since all this started. It scared and saddened me a bit at first that is was temporary. The I decided to journal it, take it as a gift to remind me of what life will be when I am done. That there will be good days like this during the journey and many when it is over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm so glad you had a moment of clarity and calm and that you wrote it down because when the doom and gloom drops over you again, you can refer to the note you made.  I can see you're a strong decisive individual and the powerless feeling this process forces on us rubs you the wrong way, but acceptance is an important tool so use it to your benefit.

 

In response to your observation about tolerance, this of course in possible but rare, most people know when it's time for another reduction and they go by their body's cues, not the calendar, I have no doubt you're in tune with yours and will avoid the possibility of tolerance.

 

Tapers need to be fluid, they need fine tuning and adjustments as we go, I have not doubt you'll become adept at recognizing what you need to do.

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In the beginning of my taper on Ativan I took a big cut the first week. over 37%.  That was at my doctors advice before I found BB. I now realize that not only did I cut that large amount but I was instantly switched to A 1.5 mg from 1.5 mg X.  In my reading I read that the equivalent (in comparison to V) would be almost like cutting my dose in half already before I even reduced.

 

I did find a therapist that is experienced in helping with tapers. She thinks that with that quick switch and the Lexapro I was likely withdrawing from all that while reducing a large amounts of A.  Not sure what my doctor was thinking.

 

I made it through it and somehow still worked.  It left me with a little fear, major lack of trust of my doc. The liquid did improve things but I still started back taking tiny cuts .001, .002 after that. Then waiting to see what would happen. I am finding that so much of this is psychological.

 

I was able to take a bigger cut, not huge, and actually felt really good to be able to do that. So far nothing close to those symptoms I experienced early on. I'm still fighting back that early fear but once I get in a routine and start paying attention to my body I am hopeful things will go much smoother.

 

I like the tip about using body cues and not the Calendar.  It's easy to get caught up in the time frame. You want off these so bad.

 

 

 

 

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Wow, you had a rough start to this process, you found out right out of the gate how bad things can get.  You're on the right path now though and I'm glad to hear you have an experienced therapist, too many don't have real life support so you're lucky. 

 

I understand wanting to get off of the drug but your brain needs you to take this slow so it can do critical repair work in the process, I'm glad you recognize this.  :thumbsup:

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