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Has anyone gotten their memory back?


[Ha...]

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Hi all,

 

I am hoping for some stories of hope here.  I have been on benzodiazepenes (as prescribed) for ten years now, at one point both Klonopin and Ativan and I successfully tapered off the Klonopin and the morning dose of Ativan and am now working on tapering off the nighttime dose of Ativan.  They were prescribed to me for anxiety and sleep issues.  One of the biggest reasons I am going through this very difficult withdrawal process is all the things I have read that say permanent loss of memory or dementia can be associated with long-term use of benzos. 

 

The sad thing is, for me it is mainly since beginning the last part of this withdrawal process -- trying to get off the last benzo -- that my memory has been a real issue for me.  Since beginning the taper from .5 mg slowly down to (I hope) zero, I have experienced a lot of problems with not only short-term memory but what I can best describe as interruptions in the fluency of habitual motions, by which I mean for example something I reach for twenty times a day and suddenly I hesitate and "forget" for a moment where to reach, so I may reach in the wrong direction before correcting myself.  I also hesitate over words (which ordinarily are a real strong suit with me) and generally feel confused and foggy, especially but not only when I sleep very poorly.  I say very poorly because since beginning this phase of the taper, I almost never get any decent sleep.  It's hard sometimes to tease out what is the effects of insomnia and what is benzo withdrawal and what may be something more sinister.

 

So I'm asking for two things, I guess: 1) did anyone experience memory issues as a symptom of withdrawal rather than as a general symptom of benzo use? and 2) if so, did it get better after you got off benzos?

 

I appreciate you reading this far and any encouragement or information you may be able to offer.

 

Haimona

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This board is for success stories..I'll have one of the mods move it to a more suitable boards. For future post please make note of where you are posting your topic so you can get the response you are hoping for. thanks! :thumbsup:

 

To answer your question, benzos affected my memory to the point I couldn't remember the names of plants..which was weird bc I love to garden. Bit by bit after I jumped i found my memory did improve and its so much better now. Now I have days were I'm a bit absent minded but nothing to really concern me.

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Okay, sorry about that -- I thought it would be a good place to post because people who have gotten off benzos successfully would see it.  But thank you for fixing it, and for answering the question for me.  That is very encouraging to hear.

 

Haimona

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I got to the point that I could not do ANYTHING because I couldn’t remember what I was doing, what I was looking for, or where I was going.  I laughed at it a lot, but when I couldn’t even maintain line of thought for more than 45-60 seconds, it was pretty scary.

  It was most severe going into the end of interdose withdrawals and into acute fast taper withdrawals.  I am still in acute withdrawals but that symptom has seen huge improvements.  I have no noticeable memory issues left at all outside of overly severe emotions being induced by thoughts of the past.

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Myke, that is immensely reassuring, that your symptoms got so bad and have gotten so much better.  I also am glad to hear there can be so much improvement after long term use like mine.  It seems to vary partly based on how bad my anxiety is and how bad my sleep has been the night before, but there are days when it's just hard to remember much of anything at all.  I am trying to reassure myself that if I can just stay the course, it can all get better.

 

My logic tells me the timing of the symptoms happening almost exactly at the same time as a new taper to a pretty low dose after a long hold, can't be just a coincidence, but it's hard to believe logic when you are so scrambled, exhausted, and anxious.

 

Thank you so much for responding.

 

Haimona

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It’s amazing how well constructed the benzo lie that it isn’t benzo withdrawals and that it will last forever is.  Despite it being constantly utilized to drive all sorts of terrible perceptions and health anxieties = the damn lie can absolutely convince us every time using the same old bag of tricks.  Logical facts are decimated by benzodiazepine lies.
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I was a short term user, but my memory was definitely impaired. One time I was having a conversation with my father over the phone, I told him some thing, and then 15 minutes later I told him the same thing again ... because apparently my memory was so bad but I had forgotten what I had said only a few minutes earlier! Scary.

 

Along with memory impairment, I had cog fog ... I had pressure in my head and was just generally out of it and irritable. I was generally existing and some sort of confused daze.

 

Luckily my cognition and memory improved with time.  I’ve read many others success stories that say the same. I hope this reassures you!

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I was also in two benzos at very high doses for along time. It took me five years to taper and while my memory got better as I tapered down, toward the end I had serious memory issues. There were embarrassing times that I forgot what I was saying in mid sentence. But once I got off it started to improve. So yes there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can’t believe everything you read or hear. And I’m not young but still not ready to die. Keep at it and you’ll get there. If I can than anyone can. Take care

 

Betsy ♥️

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Thank you restoration123 and benzogirl (Betsy)! Your stories do make me feel better. 

 

Betsy, how long after you got off benzos did you notice your memory improving? Do you feel like it has more or less gotten back to normal at this point, or does it still feel like a work in progress? Thank you for the encouragement!

 

Restoration, I'm so glad for you. I love hearing these stories of recovery.

 

Thanks,

 

Haimona

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thanks for opening this thread and for all the responses. I am having memory problems especially in the waves and it is reassuring to hear that he is recovering
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I’m 6 months off of Ativan and my memory has improved greatly.  The mental fog has mostly lifted.  If I overwork/over stress myself, then the fog returns a bit, but that is to be expected.
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Thank you restoration123 and benzogirl (Betsy)! Your stories do make me feel better. 

 

Betsy, how long after you got off benzos did you notice your memory improving? Do you feel like it has more or less gotten back to normal at this point, or does it still feel like a work in progress? Thank you for the encouragement!

 

Restoration, I'm so glad for you. I love hearing these stories of recovery.

 

Thanks,

 

Haimona

 

It took a while. But you have to remember I was also on a dose of seroquel which added to my problems. I honestly felt the best improvements as I lowered that dose. Once I got off it entirely my memory started getting sharp. I did a very slow taper off both as I had kindled twice with rotten results. I’d say getting off both was key for me. It does happen it’s just the wait that is so frustrating. Patience is called for. I’d say I’m 90% there. Please read my signature. I’m one of the worse cases here in terms of dosage. I don’t hold with some theories saying benzodiazepines cause permanent brain damage. Utter nonsense.🐾🐾♥️👍🏿

 

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My memory was in tatters at times during my taper. The sorts of things you describe and worse if I'm being honest.

 

I am 3 weeks since jumping. My memory improved significantly as I got into the lower doses. I had a spell where I felt like I was being assaulted with memories from years ago that seemed to come out of nowhere. It was uncomfortable in the intensity and relentlessness and really distracting because everything seemed to remind me of something in the past. The memories themselves weren't particularly painful. It's hard to explain. When this symptom relented, my memory and cognition seemed to improve a lot and that has stayed. It's not fully restored but I can kinda tell it's heading that way. It's mostly fatigue that holds me back but I'm almost back to normal at times, when I am not feeling the fatigue. It's not so bad that it significantly affects functioning even when I'm tired. It slows me down rather than stopping me.

 

You'll get your memory back. What you're going through is normal.

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I cannot tell you all how encouraging all your responses are to me.

 

Luckyme, RShack, your stories are exactly what I am hoping for.

 

Diaz-e-BAM, the fact that your memory was as bad as mine has been and maybe even worse, and that you are so much better and still improving, means so much to me (and of course, I'm very happy for you as well!). It makes total sense to me that it would still get worse when you are feeling the fatigue.  Even now, I notice things are better on days I've gotten at least some reasonable amount of sleep (so hard to get during this process).  I wonder what the lower doses were where you started to notice significant improvement?  I'm relatively low right now but hoping things will improve once I get a bit closer to .25 mg of lorazepam (I'm almost all the way down to .312 now).

 

"You'll get your memory back.  What you're going through is normal."  I read that a bunch of times over, trying to let it sink in.  Thank you.

 

Aira, I totally get it.  Let's both believe we will heal from this poison.

 

I am so grateful to this site and all you benzo buddies.

 

Haimona

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I am more than encouraged that most symptoms will go away but this memory problem might just persist. I am trying to accept everything at this point. I dont know how to even explain this memory thing, its like sometimes I have a blank mind or inability to think. I am no where near how I was before benzos if I have to compare myself from memory perspective. Other than this, I feel like I am doing really good now that I am 6 months off.
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I wonder what the lower doses were where you started to notice significant improvement?  I'm relatively low right now but hoping things will improve once I get a bit closer to .25 mg of lorazepam (I'm almost all the way down to .312 now).

The intense memory related withdrawal symptoms and subsequent improvement to memory and cognition happened at 3mg diazepam. I wouldn't read too much into that, though. It seems that everybody improves not only at different rates but in different orders too. I dare say my memory is even better now than before. I sometimes slip up but it's not debilitating. The best that can be done when you're struggling is to take the pressure off. Take it as a victory when you do well to remember something that in this state you might usually forget... and laugh it off the times when you inevitably do forget. The last thing you need is to get frustrated, it makes it even harder to remember stuff!

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I too was more of a short term user- although I’m not sure what counts as short term. It seems many here have been on benzos for years, I was in it for 9 months and I’m almost done my taper. Just like Restoration123 experienced, I too have a lot of brain fog and bad short term memory. It’s so reassuring that it will come back!
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  • 4 months later...

I am bumping this thread as I could really use another dose of hope today.  I am at .25 mg lorazepam, and today was one of the worst days I've had so far.  So much forgetfulness, so much confusion.  It's really scary.  Please tell me it gets better.

 

Haimona

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I am bumping this thread as I could really use another dose of hope today.  I am at .25 mg lorazepam, and today was one of the worst days I've had so far.  So much forgetfulness, so much confusion.  It's really scary.  Please tell me it gets better.

 

Haimona

 

You are still on the medication and are in the process of tapering. So it’s normal to be symptomatic. Memory impairment and cog fog are very common benzo withdrawal symptoms. They will improve after you get off the poison and your body heals. Stay the course!

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Thank you for replying, and for saying that, Restoration123.  I feel like not that many people on this board talk about memory and cognition, as opposed to other symptoms which seem to be much more frequent/common.  So sometimes I get that scary feeling (a benzo lie, I hope) that I am different from most and this is not just taper related. 

 

Most of the time I can kind of keep those feelings at bay, but today was extra bad and honestly, for whatever reason everything seems extraordinarily bad since the most recent reduction, even though I'm going slowly and methodically.  I can't really explain why this would be so sometimes I start to believe the story that "this is just the progression of dementia, and it's just getting worse over time, unconnected to the taper," even though I do notice other symptoms (like insomnia and tremors and anxiety) also ramped up after this most recent cut. 

 

Anyway, sorry to ramble so.  Just a very bad day.  And thanks again for your encouraging words.

 

Haimona

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Everyone is different, but I have heard that people can become more symptomatic toward the end of their taper. It’s best not to jump to any conclusions about dementia etc. There are so many horrible symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal that many of us worry that we’ve developed some sort of serious disease or condition. I myself experienced weird tingling and numbness in various parts of my body ... I completely freaked out and thought I had multiple sclerosis. Nope. It was benzo withdrawal ... The gift that keeps on giving :(

 

I’ve read many stories on here of people who suffered cognitive impairment as a result of withdrawal. People who couldn’t even watch TV nor read books, because their memory and mental functions were so poor that they couldn’t follow the plot! They recovered. So don’t despair ... there is hope for you yet.

 

I took lorazepam myself and believe that it is a particularly nasty medication. I suffered so many awful symptoms, including memory impairment, that I couldn’t even recognize myself. I have improved so much and my memory is back.

 

I hope this gives you some reassurance. Keep on keeping on!

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More people have problems with memory and cognition than people who raise them as a concern. I believe that many people have cognitive impairment to a degree that they don't realise. That's the case for me. I knew I lacked sharpness and wasn't at my best. At times, I could tell you specifics about what I was struggling with. But looking back, my memory and cognition were dulled before I even started my withdrawal journey. They must have deteriorated imperceptibly over time. I think there must be many people like that on BB who don't realise how much their cognition has declined. It's quite common to be surprised when it comes back.
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My cognition was impaired during the taper.  Post taper only 2 months, and I am certain this has greatly improved.  Benzo withdrawal leads us to think so many things are wrong with us and can't be fixed.  This is the anxiety running wild.  Do not get into believing these thoughts while recovering from benzo use.  It is so unlikely that suddenly a person has dementia or MS or whatever.  Possible, of course, but highly unlikely.  I think this way of thinking is because of something called cognitive dissonance.  This means that our rational logical mind cannot comprehend what has actually occurred  - benzo dependency.  That it is/was that serious and caused that much trouble.  The way to cope with dissonance is to reframe it into something that seems to make more sense.  MS?  Dementia?  No.  It's simply benzo dependency and withdrawal.  Which is serious, but we heal from it.  I think of my benzo journey as a trauma and I used trauma coping tools .. one of those is cognitive dissonance. 
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Great points, Diaz-e-bam and Healing 64.  I'm sure some level of decline can go unnoticed, although I don't think it would be possible not to notice the level that I am experiencing. 

 

Healing, cognitive dissonance is a helpful perspective/possibility to keep in mind.  For me, I think if anything it might be more that I tend to be fearful of any worst case scenario, (I have anxiety, which is why I was prescribed benzos in the first place) and so I kind of seesaw between thinking I am doomed because the worst possible thing is true (my default response), and thinking this could just be withdrawal and will likely get better over time (what I try to convince myself to accept as a more reasonable possibility).  I hope that makes sense.

 

Thanks for replying, I really appreciate it.

 

Haimona

 

 

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