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Hi, I've been on benzos for six years. I switched from Ativan to Valium two years ago to start my taper. Since then I've gone from 55 mg/day to 16 mg/day.

 

The long amount of time is due to the profound withdrawl I experience - the main symptom of which is crippling depression. I'm in college, so I don't cut when I'm taking classes.

 

I also take an anti-depressant, I've be :(en on those since before starting the benzos.

 

For years I've had an undercurrent of depression, it's always there, but it ebbs and flows. I'll do ok for a couple months, then have a meltdown of sorts and be out of commision for a week. But even when I'm "ok" I'm still depressed generally, I don't get manic. When I do feel well, I imagine that's the way people with normal brain chemistry feel on a good day. It's like I'm always below that line that marks depression. It just kind of lies dormant, but it'll always break through every couple months. Sometimes it's every week. When I'm feeling alright, it's like "I feel ok, but wouldn't mind dying." (I'm not suicidal)

 

I don't have insurance, so I don't see any mental health people. I'm starting a program in a week to see psychiatrists for free for medication management.

 

The reason for my post: A month ago I had yet another depressive meltdown. I was not making cuts, there was no apparent reason for it, but then again there never is. I had had enough. Instead of getting through it, taking a few days sick time from work, then continuing on only to have it happen again in a week, month, whenever, I decided to take a leave of absence from work to get this figured out once and for all. Since then I've been making cuts, and have come from 20 mg/day to 16.

 

I know from Ashton's manual that benzos impede the brain's ability to produce serotonin, dopamine, and neurepherene, among others. I understand that many people become very depressed when on benzos for a long time. Well I've been dealing with depression since before starting benzos. I don't remember, it's been so long. The depression was under control at the time I started benzos, I was put on them for panic attacks and anxiety.

 

About seven months ago I had a series of depressive episodes and figured it was time for me to switch anti-depressants, which I did. I went all the way to the max dose. Things are still crappy. I guess a bit better. Not much of a difference.

 

I don't know what to do. Should I push all the way off of the benzos now? Or just stabilize at, say, 15mg/day? I hate mood stabilizers, but I'm so tired of feeling depressed I'm prepared to go on them if it'll make me feel better.

 

I hope it's just the Valium causing this depression. With the impediments that benzos have on the brain, it's like the Valium is canceling out the anti-depressant.

 

I need to go back to work, I need money. Have any of you been wrecked by depression while on benzos, then when you got off of them it went away?

 

Thank you for your help.

 

juice

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Hello juice,

 

I'm glad you'll be starting a program soon that could help you figure out what you need to do, it sounds like what you're dealing with is beyond the scope of what BenzoBuddies can help with.  Your depressive episodes and the fact that you were like this before benzo's leaves me wondering how we can help?  Of course, I feel that getting of off the Valium would have to help, but you'd still be looking at a long time before healing completely, probably leading to more depressive episodes. 

 

I'm sorry you had to take a leave of absence, I found that distraction actually helped my depression, but mine was caused solely by the benzo, so our situations are different.  I truly hope your new medical team will be able to provide some answers for you, but please use us for benzo support, we have many people who suffer from depression who will be able to relate to what you're going through.  I wish I had the answers for you, hopefully others will chime in with their thoughts.

 

Pam

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Hi Juice,

Yes, I had terrrible depression for years while on klonopin and also was on many different antidepressants.  I  crossed over to valium 80 mg. to taper off.  I also seemed to have a increase in the depression from the valium and decided to go onto welbutrin midway thru my taper.  It helped a bit so that I could finish the taper. I must say though that in my case the benzo's were causing or definately contributing to my depression.  Benzo depression is not like normal depression at all.  It's some deep dark and ugly place beyond description.  Well, my depression has been gone for a long time now.  I weaned off the welbutrin at 6 months after I got off of the valium.  After years of suffering and taking meds it is just gone and has been gone for well over a year now.  Keep hanging in there.  I think we all will have some days because of life's situations that will get us down or a bit depressed but it is nothing at all like benzo depression.

know that there is hope for you.  It will go away in time.    Ginia

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my friend i can empathise with you as i am also on Valium and am weening and also on anti depressant called lexapro on 30 milligram...the Valium definitely does not help your anti depressant in any way but my doctor still says i would feel worse with out it.... your body is tolerant to that horrible little yellow pill Valium and no matter what you do you will have some form of with drawel ..As i am writing to you i am having the worst anxiety i have ever had and feel do g=horrible yet that is why i went on Valium on the first place to give me a short term edge for anxiety with my anti depressant as i needed to relax a little more... as we all know they are short term and my doctor said take them when you need them... did not really go into detail about how much they would affect me  but i took more as after a while i needed more to keep the relaxation and i grew tolerant even though still on them and not weening... so even though i am weening  it annoys me that i have to still take this drug that gives me so much misery and pain,,, but there has to be light at the end of the tunnel for both of us... I also don't work now and i was at the top of my game and my family don't understand.....As they say you look allright on the outside and i hate that expression..If Valium made you grow another head then people might take notice.... chest pains are bad tonight but i was on utube and there are some great relaxation videos on hypnosis for anxiety and i tried one and my god it felt real good.... i only wish i cold of heard that voice all night and then i listened to another one where it says accept with each breath out and actually say it under your breath in stead of fighting feelings accept is...Easier said than done but i tried it and again worked for a little while but then my brain starts the tricks again and then i worry..... I really hope you feel better but i am feeling what you are feeling as most people are on here and  this site keeps me going... better than any doctor or pycologist.... The power of reading and empathy is what we have...
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Hey, I am so sorry to hear of your symptoms!  I know just how badly depression hurts.  If you want to know what's crazy, while the first four months of my tapering were some of the most emotionally difficult of my life, the last four have been some of the best.  Most of it is due to a completely shift in my perspective on things. 

 

Do you have anyone you can go see for couseling?  Most colleges offer free counseling to their students.  I think that it's the only way to cure your depression and get off medicin altogether, in the end, but most certainly it's what you need to just get through this time.  Have you ever had CBT (cognitive behavior therapy)?

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Antidepressants can be bad drugs in their own right but benzos are just plain evil.

 

The worst part about them is that they can have a profound effect on your mood and energy levels and can even cause depression and anxiety. Most of the time not even your doctor will single out the benzo as the culprit. I didn't feel "well" most of the time I was on them. My doctor kept throwing prescription after prescription at me trying to help me feel better when all I needed to do was get rid of the clonazepam and I would have eventually felt better.

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[70...]

Can someone be kind enough to point that out to me in the Ashton manual where benzo's impede the brain's ability to produce serotonin, dopamine, etc..  What juice said.

 

I was wanting to know about this.

 

thanks,

Mamie

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http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzcha01.htm

 

This may be what you are referring to:

 

As a consequence of the enhancement of GABA's inhibitory activity caused by benzodiazepines, the brain's output of excitatory neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine (noradrenaline), serotonin, acetyl choline and dopamine, is reduced. Such excitatory neurotransmitters are necessary for normal alertness, memory, muscle tone and co-ordination, emotional responses, endocrine gland secretions, heart rate and blood pressure control and a host of other functions, all of which may be impaired by benzodiazepines. Other benzodiazepine receptors, not linked to GABA, are present in the kidney, colon, blood cells and adrenal cortex and these may also be affected by some benzodiazepines. These direct and indirect actions are responsible for the well-known adverse effects of dosage with benzodiazepines.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Kelly

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[70...]

It does Kelly.  thanks. 

 

She had her own clinic where she helped people come off?  does it say anywhere where or how she did that?  Is she dead now?

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