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Please help--confused, need taper advice


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I'm really confused as to how to continue my taper.  I'm now at 2 mg. and don't know whether to slow down or speed up my taper.  Here's what's happening.  Since reaching about 4 mg. my mental/emotional symptoms got worse--anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, insomnia, but I also started having windows--hours and sometimes entire days where I almost feel like my old self.  I've been making cuts of 0.5 mg. every 10-14 days.  Another thing that's strange is that I went for about two months with almost no physical symptoms.  Now, all of a sudden the eye pain, band-around-my-temples feeling, light sensitivity, nausea, and GI upset are back.  They lasted for almost a week and are starting to subside.

 

I feel confused because it seems like I'm on such a small dose that it shouldn't be affecting me that much anymore plus this is what I'm hearing from my psychiatrist.  He thinks that I should be able to jump off at 1 mg., which I don't agree with.  Then there's this part of me that is reluctant to hold my cuts too long and just keep moving because I think I'm one of those people that the sooner I stop taking this poison the better off I'll be.  The unpredictability of my symptoms now has me really confused.  Up until a few months ago, I could predict when I'd feel symptoms after I made a cut.  Now there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason. 

 

I guess if I knew better what's going on in my body/brain at this point, I could better understand what's happening symptom-wise and how to proceed with the taper.  I don't expect anyone to be a doctor here, but if anyone has anything to share please HELP!  I'm kind of scared.

 

Mal

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Healing from benzos is unlike any other kind of healing, mal.  Because it's your entire central nervous system that's affected and the resetting of GABA receptors happens in fits and starts, it is very common to have a resurgence of symptoms after periods of feeling pretty good.  I was feeling pretty good for nearly 2 months in the middle of my taper and then got hit very hard when I was on the last .25mg lorazepam (=2.5mg Valium).  I held longer between my cuts but it didn't lessent the symptoms so I just kept cutting.  I, like you, believed I would only get better once I was no longer putting any of the drug in my body.  It wasn't easy and the month after I was off was just as rough but over time I could feel myself dropping more and more symptoms.  You are in the home stretch now; one way or the other, it won't be long now.  Congratulations.
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Hey there.  It's more or less going to be up to you what course you chose as far as the size and pace of your final tapers, but I will give you some food for though in making these decisions.

 

It is very common, and I was definitely no exception myself, for the last cuts to be the very hardest.  My last three cuts were by .03mg of clonazepam.  .03mg!!  Especially when I was on my last dose of .03mg, every night I took it I kept thinking ".03mg! This is the dumbest thing ever!  That's so tiny, I should just be able to stop!".  Let me tell you, each of those last tapers hit me every bit as hard as the much bigger ones earlier on.  I and many others are frequently told with great skepticism by medical professionals that such small changes in dose cannot possibly be causing such symptoms, and maybe for many people who have smooth and easy times coming off benzos it doesn't, but for those of us who have to struggle with it it is self apparent that it does.

 

Also, when planning your pace, keep in mind that it's not the *taking* of benzos that's making your sick, it's the *not taking* of benzos that makes you sick.  I so frequently see people hit withdrawal and then panic that they need to stop as soon as possible and then make more cuts in their hurry that only make them sicker.  I don't think that deliberately weighing and chosing to make oneself much sicker for the sake of speeding up the process is a wrong decision, but I think that it's one that should only be made with the understanding that the other option is to go more slowly and have far fewer symptoms.

 

Whatever you decide, you have my very best wishes!

 

:)

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Personally, I would just continue on with your current taper schedule.  That way you will at least know what to expect to some degree.  It really doesn't matter how small a dose you are taking, as this really has no bearing on your withdrawals.  Until your GABA receptors begin to reset themselves and learn to do their job again, you can expect to feel the effects that benzos has inflicted on your body.
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Hi Mal. The final 3 or 4mg can be rough in a valium taper.  I know of several folks who tapered down to 5mg and updosed and did not finish their taper.  It can be helpful to slow things down and make smaller cuts when one becomes more symptomatic.  As you get lower, .50 cuts represent a larger percentage cut and it ends up being more than the 10% or lower recommendation of this forum and others. I was once told by an experienced moderator that it might be a good idea to reduce to 5-7% cuts when I got lower in dose if withdrawal s/x got stronger.  My own taper off valium consisted of .25mg cuts every 10-12 days which I did until I reached 2mg and then I switched to liquid valium and made smaller cuts.  I will post a table in a moment of how I made the .25 cuts from about 7mg down to 2mg at which point my doctor trusted that I was serious about tapering and prescribed liquid to finish up with as slow a process as I felt comfortable with.  My issue was vertigo after a cold turkey back in 2008 and my goal was to go slowly enough so as not to have the dizziness return.  Mission was accomplished :thumbsup:.

 

I see no reason why your psychiatrist would not support slowing things down if you are becoming more symptomatic as you have gotten lower in dose.  Stepping off at 1mg might result in problems and potential issues with the inner ear, such as vertigo or tinnitus.  I went to an otoneurologist and vestibular therapist whose office tapers all patients below 2mg.  I voluntarily took 5 months to taper the final 2mg although I could have done it safely in about 3-4 months.  Due to some travel and extenuating circumstances, I went slower.  Below is the table which I presented to my otoneurologist and another doctor.  Also, on two to three occasions my symptoms became stronger (insomnia and agitation) at which point I held for about 3 weeks instead of the 10-12 days for each cut.  I have been valium free for 18 months now.

 

To answer some of your questions.  Valium can take up to 30 days to process out of your body.  After each cut, about 1/2 will process out in the first 10 days but due to the long half life, the rest may take up to two more weeks so in effect, you may be feeling the s/x of not only your last cut but the one before.  That is why sometimes a 3 week hold can be beneficial.  At the same time, SweetG, Bevoir, Beeper and the rest are correct that even being on a small dose can lead to withdrawals as the brain may take several months to recuperate from missing the valium you have taken the last year or more.  Unless there is a specific medical crisis or reason, it is not a race when it comes to tapering off benzodiazepenes.

 

Best wishes and see the table below:

(you would need 2mg and 5mg tablets until the point at which you might consider liquid valium)

You can also PM Sigma, a moderator here who was going to add percentages to this table for added clarity.  I commend you on your taper thus far :). You are well on your way to your benzo freedom.

 

Best wishes and good luck,

 

Vertigo

 

I am not a doctor although I consulted doctors for my own taper.

Always consult your own physicians for tapering advice :).

 

 

Using 5mg and 2mg Tablets to Cut Your Valium by .25mg

 

By using combinations of 5mg and 2mg Valium tablets, you can easily and accurately reduce your Valium dose in .25mg increments. This simple method works until you taper down to 1mg Valium, at which point you can continue to cut by .25mg by either slicing your 2mg Valium tablets into eight equal pieces (many people find this difficult, while others find it quite simple, opting to do this throughout their tapers), utilizing liquid Valium, having a compounding pharmacy produce special .25mg Valium tablets, or titrating.

 

One-half (1/2) of a 2mg Valium tablet equals 1mg

One-fourth (1/4) of a 2mg Valium tablet equals .5mg

(Simply cut your 2mg tablet in half, and then cut each half in half. You should end up with four pieces of the same size, with each piece equaling one-fourth (1/4) of your original 2mg tablet.)

One-half (1/2) of a 5mg Valium tablet equals 2.5mg

One-fourth (1/4) of a 5mg Valium tablet equals 1.25mg

As there are many possible combinations of the above, the following guide is simply a sample of options that will hopefully assist you on your tapering journey! (10mg Valium was an arbitrary starting point.)

 

10mg: Two 5mg tablets (5mg + 5mg=10mg)

 

9.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg + .5mg = 9.75mg)

 

9.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg + 2mg = 9.5mg)

 

9.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg =9.25mg)

 

9mg: One 5mg tablet, two 2mg tablets (5mg + 2mg + 2mg = 9mg)

 

8.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + .5mg =8.75mg)

 

8.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg + .5mg = 8.5mg)

 

8.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg = 8.25mg)

 

8mg: One 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 2mg + 1mg = 8mg)

 

7.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 1mg + .5mg = 7.75mg)

 

7.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg = 7.5mg)

 

7.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg+ 1mg = 7.25mg)

 

7mg: One 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 2mg = 7mg)

 

6.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + .5mg = 6.75mg)

 

6.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1mg + .5mg = 6.5mg)

 

6.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg = 6.25mg)

 

6mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1mg = 6mg)

 

5.75mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (2.5mg +1.25mg + 2mg = 5.75mg)

 

5.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + .5mg = 5.5mg)

 

5.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, two 2mg tablets (1.25mg + 2mg + 2mg = 5.25mg)

 

5mg: One 5mg tablet

 

4.75mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2.5mg + 1.25mg + 1mg = 4.75mg)

 

4.5mg: Two 2mg tablets, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (2mg + 2mg + .5mg = 4.5mg)

 

4.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg = 4.25mg)

 

4mg: Two 2mg tablets (2mg + 2mg = 4mg)

 

3.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg +.5mg = 3.75mg)

 

3.5mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2.5mg + 1mg = 3.5mg)

 

3.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg = 3.25mg)

 

3mg: One 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2mg + 1mg = 3mg)

 

2.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 1mg + .5mg = 2.75mg)

 

2.5mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet

 

2.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 1mg = 2.25mg)

 

2mg: One 2mg tablet

 

1.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + .5mg = 1.75mg)

 

1.5mg: ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1mg + .5mg = 1.5mg)

 

1.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet

 

1mg: ½ of a 2mg tablet

 

 

 

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