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near end of ativan taper? looking for advice!


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Hi there...I'm new to your site and looking for some advice to end tapering.  My story...I began taking 1 mg of valium a couple of times a week at night to sleep (sleeplessness caused by anxiety) in December 2007.  These were given to me by a friend.  In mid February I was to fly out of the country and felt anxious and my doctor prescribed Ativan 1mg.  I began taking one of these every other night or so to sleep (instead of the valium).  After just a few weeks I had a panic attack, in retrospect I realize it was because I hadn't taken an Ativan in a few days.  After this happened a few times I started to suspect that I wasn't anxious any longer, but that my body was becoming dependent on this dose of Ativan.  After reading other web sites, which eventually led me to yours, my concerns were confirmed.  I immediately realized I must start to taper and cut back to .5mg for three days and then to .25 for three more, with mild withdraw symptoms (feeling a little spacey, but not severe, definitely tolerable). So now I have cut .25 in half and I am taking .125 (I am on day three now).  My question is how many days should I stay at .125?  What is my next step?  .125 every other day and then every third day?  When do I step off completely and how can I expect to feel and for how long (I know this is relative to the individual, but any personal experience is appreciated).  thanks!!
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Welcome Cilla!

 

It sounds like you are doing great in your taper. Someone with more expertise will be by to help you with your specific questions.

 

Theresa

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Hi

It seems you've been on Ativan a short time,and have been reducing rather quickly. With little or no problems, howeve it might be more judicious to split your .125 in half and take that for X amount of days, instead of skipping days , taking .125 it may confuse your system.

Bobers

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What Bobers has advised is a good idea. In order to split the .125mg dose, you can crush it into a powder, split into two piles and just take one. Do this for a week or two. It should be a bit of a smoother finish.  ;)
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thank you Bobers and Eljay....you managed to answer my next question before I could ask it.  How many days do you suggest I stay at .125 before crushing and halving again?
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thank you Bobers and Eljay....you managed to answer my next question before I could ask it.  How many days do you suggest I stay at .125 before crushing and halving again?

 

Oh, about a week, up to two, depending on stable you feel.

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Hi Cilla!!

 

I'm glad you are finding out relatively quickly what these drugs can do to you!!  I used to take Xanax sporadically and was suffering from panic attacks.  My doctor and I argued about which came first...the chicken or the egg...LOL  Considering the fact that I never had panic attacks before Xanax...you know my answer.  Keep on keepin on and before you know it you'll be rid of this poison.  Benzos are not the answer for anxiety.

 

Love,

 

Jen

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Thanks for your kind words and support.  I am getting ready to go to my 5th acupuncture appointment, which really seems to help me.  It's very relaxing and covered by insurance...yay!  I also downloaded some audio on visual imagery to help with insomnia and stress.  I have been having some trouble with sleep since cutting back.  I can usually fall asleep, but wake often. I have always been a light sleeper, but this goes beyond that.  I am thinking of taking benadryl.  For now I am just coping with the lack of sleep. 

 

When I first started to realize I had a problem I found I was suffering from depersonalization (I think that's what it's called...a feeling of disconnect) and panic attacks if I didn't take an Ativan for a few days.  Now that I am tapering those symptoms have pretty much disappeared.  I am very relieved I found this site and did so much reading when I did, otherwise I might still be taking the full dose of Ativan!  I will be so happy to be rid of these pills. 

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Hi Cilla,

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies.

 

Did you mean "1mg Valium", or should that have been '10mg'? I've never heard of 1mg Valium being prescribed - 1mg of Ativan is much greater dose as it is far more potent. Though I guess it is pretty academic since you are now taking Ativan.

 

You've received some sound advice for progressing your taper. If you find you have further problems, just let us know and I'm sure we will come up some more suggestions.

 

Take care.

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It was actually 2mg of valium, but I only took half.  Thanks again everyone.  I will be sure again to post next week as I taper down to .0625.
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What a dumb doctor that switched you from 1mg valium to 1mg ativan! According to most equivilancy charts, that switch increased you by 10x the potency!   

1mg ativan = 10mg valium. :idiot:

 

You are doing great and I'm so glad you didn't stay on this stuff too long.

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Thanks Eljay, but it wasn't a doctor.  My friend gave me the 2mg of valium that I was splitting in half and taking.  Shortly after that I was prescribed the ativan, but I never mentioned that I had previously taken the valium. If I knew then what I know now I would have never taken the ativan.  I guess I am lucky that I realized this now and not months down the road.
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Thanks Eljay, but it wasn't a doctor.  My friend gave me the 2mg of valium that I was splitting in half and taking.  Shortly after that I was prescribed the ativan, but I never mentioned that I had previously taken the valium. If I knew then what I know now I would have never taken the ativan.  I guess I am lucky that I realized this now and not months down the road.

 

You're going to make it Cilla. I'm delighted for you that you were able to catch this so quickly. Just goes to prove that those "professionals" who tell us not to read "scare stories" on the internet have no idea what they're talking about.

 

Now that you've come this far, I hope you have a firm grasp on what all Benzos are about and manage to avoid any of them at all costs in the future. I wish I had known what you know early on. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:     

 

Tony   

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  • 1 month later...
Hi Everyone...I haven't posted in a while, but I have spent a lot of time reading other posts lately.  I decided to taper pretty fast since I was at a pretty low dose when I figured out I needed to stop taking the Ativan.  I did it over the course of about 2 weeks.  My last benzo was probably about 5 weeks ago.  At first I suffered from serious depersonalization, sensitivity to light and sound, and severe insomnia, which I gather from other folks post is pretty normal. I still suffer from some digestive problems and insomnia.  The depersonalization is just a little foggy, floaty head feeling that is not even constant now and although I am still slightly sensitive to light and sound, it has mostly dissipated .  It's mostly the insomnia that is bothering me these days.  I take some chinese herbs from my acupuncturist and benadryl a few times a week.  I do get frustrated though and can't wait to be back to my old self.  When I look at how much better I feel now compared to March I know I have come a long way...it still sucks some days though.  I just wanted to let you all know that your stories and support are so important. I have come to rely on the advice on this site and it makes me feel better to visit and read often even if I don't post. :)
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Hi Cilla,

 

Glad to hear you are slowly getting better and good to hear from you! Take care!

 

 

T2 :smitten:

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Thanks Theresa...slowly is the key word.  I just have to remind myself that I am getting better!
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Hi Cilla,

 

Would it be possible for you to add a signature line to your blog, it makes things easier to read your progress, okay? Just click profile above, click forum profile information and scroll down to signature and type in your history, okay? Thanks.

 

 

T2  :smitten:

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I was wondering how to add that...thanks Theresa.  BTW Tony I don't feel very tough!  I think I went a little too fast, but it's too late now. I am getting by and there are folks who have it much worse than me.  I have two young kids so it's hard sometimes not getting enough sleep...I try not to be too grouchy!  I pray for a good night's sleep every night.  Sometimes I get some...I'm happy at this point to sleep for 5 hours straight.
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Hi Cilla,

 

Thanks so much for adding your sig line. Have you checked the insomnia thread? There might be some help there as a lot of people have problems with sleep during and after withdrawing. Take care!

 

T2 :smitten:

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Hi Cilla,

 

This is why we recommend that people taper at a conservative rate. Many assume that they only start to recover once they have quit, but this is not the case. As our dose diminishes, our GABA system will be adjusting to the lower levels of benzo. The trick is to not race too much ahead of the rate of recovery of which the GABA system is capable. The wider this gap - the difference between our taper rate on how much the GABA system has recovered - the greater the withdrawal effects. The GABA system seems to have a maximum rate of recovery (for many of us at least), so a taper that is too fast means only that we will experience greater withdrawal symptoms while we wait for the GABA system repair to catch up.

 

I am glad to hear that things have improved for you. Your GABA system will continue to repair and catch up with your benzo-free status. It is just a matter of time. ;)

 

 

Edit: typo.

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Yes, yes, you are right.  I should have listened,  :)but I was so eager to be drug free.  When I got to .625, it seemed to be so little an amount, I thought I should just jump off and it would be fine.  My withdraw symptoms have been manageable, but I could have made it a lot easier on myself if I had listened.  This site provides a wealth of excellent advice and I will continue to check in as I feel better. 
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Yes, yes, you are right.  I should have listened,  :)but I was so eager to be drug free.  When I got to .625, it seemed to be so little an amount, I thought I should just jump off and it would be fine.  My withdraw symptoms have been manageable, but I could have made it a lot easier on myself if I had listened.  This site provides a wealth of excellent advice and I will continue to check in as I feel better. 

 

I wish everyone who is considering jumping off early could read this before they make their decision.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone...I haven't posted in a while so I thought I would write a quick note on my progress so far.  I had a small setback.  I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but two weeks ago after not being able to sleep at all for two days I made a doctors appt. thinking I could try some other  prescription sleep aid (I've tried everything homeopathic over on the insomnia board, but to no avail).  My appt. was two days away and I was feeling a bit like I would have a nervous breakdown if I didn't sleep, so in the mean time I took 1/4 of a 1mg Ativan two nights in a row.  I slept. I went to the Dr. and got Lunesta.  I took that two nights, slept, but felt weird the next day.  I came on the site and read that I shouldn't be taking that either so back to square one. 

 

I often drink a glass of wine to relax in the evening...I'm going to stop that and everything else until my body goes to sleep.  I just feel like my brain has lost the ability to go to sleep...I can't turn the switch off anymore.  I don't have any anxiety or running thoughts before I go to sleep...I just can't fall asleep.  I was doing ok sleep-wise for the first 4-6 weeks after my taper and then something changed and I couldn't fall asleep at all.  I will post this at the insomnia forum as well, but I thought you all might be interested since you have been so supportive.  BTW I have disposed of the last Ativan I had so there is no chance I will do that again.  Being tired sucks, but there are much worse things to suffer through.  The rest of my withdraw symptoms, particularly the depersonalization and tingling sensations have subsided, but since I took the Lunesta I feel a little sensitive to loud sounds again.  I have made some mistakes here but I am 100 percent committed to being free of benzos.

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I often drink a glass of wine to relax in the evening..

 

This can actually have rebound effect on your sleep. Alcohol gives me insomnia. I will sleep initially for a couple hours then I am wide awake. Give it up.

 

 

I just feel like my brain has lost the ability to go to sleep...I can't turn the switch off anymore.  I don't have any anxiety or running thoughts before I go to sleep...I just can't fall asleep.  I was doing ok sleep-wise for the first 4-6 weeks after my taper and then something changed and I couldn't fall asleep at all. 

 

This is exactly what happened to me. I was sleeping like a baby for 3 weeks after I jumped, then got slammed with horrible insomnia. It waxed and waned for the next few weeks, but at 4 months out, I'm pretty good now. The most important thing with insomnia, is to not let it scare you!! I know this is hard, but the fear of it is what keeps the insomnia going. Did you read the Claire Weeks thing on the insomnia board? You have to learn and just relax about it.

If you are relaxed and laying down, resting peacefully, breathing slow and regular even if not asleep, you are getting some rest. 

I know exactly what you meant when you say it's like your brain forgot how to sleep. I have experienced that, and I've heard it many times here. You will recover from  this. It will slowly but surely resolve! 

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