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Pre-Drug and Post-Drug Anxiety


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1 month and 11 days drug free. Better for sure but not 100%. The constant anxiety has lessened and the waves are weaker and more spaced apart. Occasional depression but it is also weaker (still not pleasant though). I still think about withdrawal and symptoms 98% of the time while I'm awake. I also get bouts of heavy fatigue.

 

I've been reading a book about anxiety, it's causes and how to cope. The book is helpful but I can't help but feel it isn't applicable to anxiety from benzo/Z drug withdrawal. I had manageable anxiety before the drugs and I think this book would have been helpful then but it seems the anxiety and depression now seem to have absolutely no logical triggers or causes. I get waves of each at completely random times and I simply cannot find anything external to associate them with as the book mentions. For the record, I never had depression prior to this (Quitting Ambien CR specifically).

 

Does anyone have any insight on why there is a difference between pre-drug anxiety and post-drug anxiety? I'm aware of GABA receptors and such but I'm curious as to how I will know if/when I've healed from the drugs to approach the anxiety as this book mentions.

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Benzo induced anxiety is regular anxiety on steroids, it's horrible.  When I recovered from my cold turkey, I found out that the regular anxiety I complained about before Klonopin was quite manageable compared to the benzo induced kind.

 

Yes, that book would have been good pre-benzo and it will be useful once you've recovered but for now, time away from the drug will be the best tool you have against post drug anxiety.

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Thanks Pamster. During you withdrawal was your anxiety like a constant nervous feeling in your stomach? Almost like a feeling of impending doom with no reason to feel that way? That's how I feel a lot of the time and it's a totally new experience. It's manageable and doesn't stop me from doing anything, just uncomfortable. I also have brief periods of depression (I'm assuming at least).

 

I do have times when I feel good, though, so I've definitely improved.

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I used to call that sensation in my stomach a scared feeling and it was there all of the time, it was exhausting.  I knew for a fact that if I took a Klonopin that feeling would be gone because that's what I would do when I was in tolerance, of course I didn't know what tolerance was then. 

 

I'm glad to hear your symptoms are manageable and that the depression only happens briefly, you sound really good for only being off the drug for less than 2 months, I think this bodes well for your recovery.  Just stay away from alcohol. 

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I guess it's been longer than two months technically. More like 6 months with a major mishap by taking two weeks of Ambien. I think I've been withdrawing since late December when I stopped taking Ativan daily. I just wasn't aware of it until Ambien CR kicked me in the teeth.... If only I had the knowledge about these drugs and withdrawal that I do now back then...

 

 

 

 

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I guess it's been longer than two months technically. More like 6 months with a major mishap by taking two weeks of Ambien. I think I've been withdrawing since late December when I stopped taking Ativan daily. I just wasn't aware of it until Ambien CR kicked me in the teeth.... If only I had the knowledge about these drugs and withdrawal that I do now back then...

 

You, me and thousands of our members.  ;)

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Hi.  My feeling has always been if you had anxiety before taking benzos you will have it during taper and after,  You must learn coping skills such as CBT but not the usual garbage that therapists do.  i would recommend learning them from Recovery International.  They have a website Recoveryinternational.org

 

They have FREE online meetings for you to attend and in many areas live meetings, which is what I used and loved.  You will learn coping techniques to get rid of your anxiety and hopefully your depression.  I found they saved my life from panic attacks and anxiety.  No one sees you at the online meetings.  You need nothing but your computer and to register before hand.  It is all explained on the website. Hope this helps

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Thank you Cberg, I may check it out. In all honesty, the anxiety I had prior to Ativan and Ambien was very much manageable. I just wanted more sleep (in hindsight my sleep was fine). I'm hoping, based on all I know now, that I will return to that level of anxiety once I "heal" and can look at standard ways to cope then. I've never had depression in my life so I'm hoping it will eventually just go away.

 

For me, working out has always been my "magic pill". I'm working out now but it isn't ridding me of the anxiety and depression, only helping to alleviate it. Ironically I sleep as well now or better than I ever did on the stupid drugs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My situation seems to be a bit unique in that my withdrawal symptoms closely mirror the symptoms for which I originally began taking Ativan. My pre-drug anxiety was much like yours: not rooted in a specific cause. Of course, anxiety ABOUT actual things caused the primary anxiety to worsen, but it felt very much biochemical in origin. All the CBT and therapy in the world couldn't help the horrors I was experiencing before the drug. Even several of the physical symptoms people are mentioning as part of the withdrawal were part of my initial illness.

 

I think that for people who have anxiety about specific things or from specific triggers that then spirals to significant levels and that becomes their reason for treatment, it can be unnerving to have "free floating" anxiety as part of the withdrawal/recovery process.

 

I would definitely let anyone I care about know about the withdrawal and side effects if they were put on a benzo, and I wish doctors were more upfront about it. It does seem that many doctors aren't aware because they have successfully treated so many people with the drugs who did not go on the have a problem. But for those of us who do, it's a very big problem. I'd never tell someone not to take them if they needed them, however. Medication may have literally saved my life. But now I'm paying a similar price as everyone else here.

 

I do think your brain will heal itself and its chemistry will balance out in time. I'm happy you found your "magic pill" as well.

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