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I am still not doing well with my diazepam taper. I saw my doctor today. What do you guys think?


[Zi...]

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My anxiety has been so high lately, along with insomnia and fatigue I am right out of it. I feel like a failure. 

I had a doctors appointment today and was so nervous to even go I needed my mom to come with me and sit with me and talk with the doctor. 

After a long talk the doctor was saying I am naturally an anxious person and that coming down so quickly on the benzo has shocked my system so bad. She recommends I up my diazepam dose. She wanted to up it to 6mg morning and 8mg evening. My current dose is 3mg morning 8mg evening. I really didn't want to up it at all as I feel like it is not progressing. She said it isn't a failure up dosing if it helps stabilize me. It was tough so I told her I guess we could up it by 1mg. I will try 4mg morning and 8mg evening. I am scared that nothing will change! 

I told her about my mood and lack of ambition. I am feeling depressed. She wants me to try an SSRI called Fluoxetine. What do you guys think about adding this medication? Anyone else take it while tapering? Is it bad? 

I also told her about my insomnia and how I have not been able to sleep! She wants me to try Zopiclone for 1 week and see if it helps? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated too. 

I am just in a very sad state and feel like I can't do anything. It is not good. 

I really didn't want to add more medications into my life but could it help instead of hurt my benzo taper progress? 

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It sounds like you're going through a pretty tough time.  I agree with your doctor that there's no shame in updosing. It is however up to you to decide whether you rather want to hold or updose. You did taper rather quickly. I did both updosing and holding. When I updosed my symptoms were really bad. I couldn't function at all. When I decided to hold was when my symptoms were getting worse and I was struggling but I was managing to get through the day. I doubt a 1mg updose will make much of a difference at the dose you're at. I would think you need to updose at least 2-3mg.

I would strongly advice against Zopiclone. It's classified as a Z-drug. Z-drugs are technically not benzo's but they act the same as benzo's.  Ashton lists Z-drugs in her manual with the other benzo's. 

When it comes to antidepressants I personally am reluctant to take it during withdrawal as these symptoms might be caused by withdrawal. I don't want to get dependent on another drug because it's treating benzo withdrawal. If your depression is really bad, then yes, you can certainly look into it.

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Hello @[je...]! Thanks for the reply. Yes I am really not doing well at all right now. I just feel totally in a bad state and the anxiety plus insomnia are making so tired I can't hardly function in the day. 

I was reading about Zopiclone and I know it is bad too. My doc gave me a one week supply and I see her again next week. I wonder if I can just stop taking after the week? I know I don't want to stay on it but my doc thought we should try something as I haven't been sleeping more than 2 hours a night for weeks if not a couple of months. Is one week on the drug going to cause me issues? Maybe if I don't feel results in the next 2 days I won't take anymore of it...that might be an idea? Only good news about that drug is that our medical insurance in Canada doesn't cover it so I would have to pay for every rx which I can't afford so in ways they make it harder to get for people like me on disability income.

Right now I feel like I am really depressed and have pretty much no drive or motivation to do anything. If the Fluoxetine can help and not make things worse I will be okay. I hope! I know I don't want or like to be on so many drugs! I just feel so lost in this benzo fog and taper that I need something to help me not want to end it all. I have had intrusive thoughts in the last month or so. I am just so scared. 

Hope you are doing well and thanks again. If anyone else wants to chime in please do! I appreciate you all! 

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Unfortunately insomnia is part of withdrawal. I average 3hrs sleep a night. I've been doing this for over 2 years now. I suggest you just stop the Zopiclone, you don't need to taper.

If you're struggling with both insomnia and depression, I don't know if you want to ask about Mirtazapine. I have no experience with this drug, only what I've read about it on the forum. It's also an antidepressant that will need tapering, and I know some people use it for sleep. I can't vouch for how it makes you feel or how difficult it is to taper. I also don't know anything about Fluoxetine. I just thought if you're going to try something for depression it might as well be something that helps you sleep? But check with your doctor about it and read on the forum about Mirtazapine too if you are considering it. You don't just want to go on something I've said that I know nothing about.

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@[je...] thanks again for the reply. I appreciate your words.

I am struggling with depression and will look into the Mirtazapine but I have the prescription for Fluoxetine (Prozac) already and was going to start it tomorrow. Now I am not sure if I should just wait the week to see my doctor again and get Mirtazapine. 

Any other benzobuddies reading this take fluoxetine (Prozac) during taper want to comment please do. 

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Hi @[Zi...] ... Thank you for keeping us posted. I'm glad you went to the Dr... I'm also really glad that this Dr. is not in a huge hurry to just 'get you off' the drug. I understand that feeling of 'failure' - and ... I also want to remind you, that coming to a place of having the DESIRE to get off these drugs, is one of the hardest decisions - and you've made that decision already.

@[je...] has a great deal of experience and is very well versed when it comes to these topics. I echo everything they said about the z drug. Insomnia is a terrible aspect of benzo WD. If you can TRY to function without the sleep aid- that is advisable. I know it’s miserable. I hate to say this, but over time, you do kind of get 'used to it'. (That doesn't mean you SHOULD tolerate it. That is up to you, what you are and are not, willing to tolerate in terms of symptoms.)

I'm going to share my two cents on the up dose... AND of course it's important to remember the decision is ultimately yours and does not need to be 'permanent'. What I mean is, if you decide to up dose, you can always continue to come back down. If you decide NOT to up dose, you might decide to later. Given your Dr., you have some flexibility – you have options. You don’t need to ‘lock into’ any one decision. Let this notion take some pressure off of you. Quick question - how long has it been since you started your taper? And how long have you been feeling the way you hav e? (Has the anxiety you've felt since starting the taper; has that improved at all? Or only gotten worse?) 

 

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@[ia...] Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your nice words too! :)

I am going to try a zopiclone tonight as I really feel I want to feel some kind of rest after having none in so long. If it does nothing overnight I might just stop. No use trying longer if it only makes me more of a zombie. 1 week will be my max if I do decide to continue after tomorrow. 

I have the prescription for the Prozac aka Fluoxetine already so I will start it tomorrow. I did read in the Ashton Manual that Prozac might be ok to take. Link here: https://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzcha03.htm#20  I think I need to be on an AD as I have had thoughts of dying and I just feel so down in the dumps that nothing will make me happy or even try to be happy.  I hope it's the right decision. I will mention Mirtazapine to my doc next week. Maybe I can switch then? 

I started my taper journey in January of this year and my anxiety really has gotten 100% worse in the last couple of months! It must be because my brain was dependent on the benzos for so many years! (27 roughly) I have my taper history on my profile. 

 

 

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Update:  Today I started taking 10mg of Fluoxetine (Prozac) and I also increased my diazepam dosage by 1mg in the mornings. My doctor is hoping this can help get me more stabile and out of the depression and darkness I feel daily. I hope I am making a wise decision. I really am struggling with the anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, higher blood pressure and depression. 

I am scared and feel so lost. I also never know where to post my messages. I hope this thread is okay?! 

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@[Zi...]

I've been on fluoxetine for a long time. It helped me taper diazepam completely. It helps me sleep, stabilizes my mood and has a lot of benefits for me as far as BZD WD goes.

Yes, it comes with nasty sxs, but the reason for insomnia is often depression. If 10 mg seems like too much for you, you may safely start from 5 mg, after consulting your pdoc. I cannot guarantee that you will tolerate this particular SSRI, but I know lots of people who take it and are satisfied.

The sxs are difficult, this is why it's best to start from the lowest possible dose. If your pdoc says 10 mg, you may ask about 5 mg. First of all, you need to wait several weeks for it to start working, then never miss the dose. It is a very potent med. It was the first SSRI to be synthetized, others are "me-too" meds. I tried many SSRIs and SNRIs in my life, but always came back to fluoxetine. 

As to updosing BZD, I would listen to the doctor's suggestions. Fluoxetine is considered an "activating" SSRI and may give you initial "chemical anxiety". Don't confuse it with your own anxiety from BZD WD. Then the "fluoxetine anxiety" disappears altogether.

Fluoxetine may also cause initial insomnia. This is why pdoc gave you an additional z-drug. Be very careful with it. If you updose the BZD, they should calm you enough to make you fall asleep. Getting used to fluoxetine is not easy, but I think it's worth trying. After all the ADs I've been on, I consider this one the safest. At least for me.

The zopiclone is risky, take it as a last resort. It's a hypnotic with a short half-life of 5-6 hours, easy to get hooked on it. The less psych meds the better. You already have to monitor the sxs from updosing the BZD and from fluoxetine. Zopiclone will only add to your confusion.

As I say: the last resort. If there is something important the next day and you cannot sleep all night, then you may try zopiclone. The mere thought of having it "just in case" should make you feel more secure. And I doubt your pdoc plans to keep you on it for a long time. 

The best cure for insomnia is not obsessing about sleep. Your body will tell you when you need to sleep. BTW, here is a book recommendation for you: ”Say Good Night to Insomnia" by Gregg D. Jacobs, Ph.D.

This is by no means a medical advice. Always consult your pdoc first.

Take care:hug:

Paula

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@[Es...] omg thank you so much for the very helpful reply! I appreciate your words very much. You have given me confidence that I have made a wise decision. 

I have noticed that I am experiencing increased anxiety since starting the fluoxetine. I am positive it is from it because about 2 hours after taking it I feel it and my heart rate also goes up. I had no idea this came in 5mg doses. At least my doc didn't start me on 20mg pills. I have a two week supply of the 10mg ones so i wonder if I should aske her for more 10mg and ramp up over 4 weeks at 10mg? She wanted me to ramp to 20mg after 2 weeks. Yeah anxiety from the benzo WD is bad enough but add in the fluoxetine and wow, I feel I can't do anything. 

I took one Zopiclone and that was all I am ever taking!! It did nothing for me except maybe a little sleepy, not enough for any kind of quality sleep. I still woke up at the same time! I am lucky if I get 2 hours sleep or perceived sleep per night. It sucks as I am so tired all day every day now. No energy. 

I will look into that book. I can't focus on reading books very well and never have but if I can try and learn something to help with the insomnia it will be nice. Has the book helped you much? How is your insomnia? 

Thanks again for the reply. I have been struggling the last few months and it is probably 100% due to my taper plan. I went to fast without realizing it. Now it has caught up to me in full force! 

I hope you are doing well! Take care too and hope to chat again soon. 

Clay aka ZippoMan :hug:

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@[Zi...]

I'm using Seronil 10 mg pills which can easily be split. However, I'm in Europe and this is a Finnish brand. There was a time when I functioned very well on just 5 mg of fluoxetine taken in the morning.

Yes, it will give you tachycardia, which could make you lose weight. It's weight neutral overall, but the heart often enters the Fat Burning Zone, like during exercise. You know, we all react differently. The most important thing is the possibility to split the pill and to have 10 mg pills. Since you need to proceed very slowly with this med and take notes of your sxs.

It's up to your doctor, but I would hold the 10 mg dose up to a month and increase by 5 mg. This will start taking effect after about three weeks. In the beginning, your symptoms of depression may even exacerbate, but don't have to.

I felt relief the moment I started taking this med. My cognitive function improved immensely, along with my circadian rhythm. And I became 90% less self-destructive. This just numbs your negative emotions. Now I can also sleep on fluoxetine alone.

But in the beginning, there may be insomnia, so try to take your dose in the morning. You may also divide it in two - morning and early afternoon. This is all to be talked over with your doctor. I didn't know about the "chemical anxiety" and it freaked me out all right when I first started taking it. I thought it was my own anxiety. No, this is an sxs of Prozac and many other SSRIs. Of course, you can choose a calming SSRI and be totally laid back. But you may not be able to funtion or think.

Escitalopram was very calming for me, too calming. I also became manic on it and spent lots of money. I had no vision of the future. I never became manic on fluoxetine. 

The fluoxetine will also help you focus, as it improves cognitive function. I'm working part-time with the written word and read tons of self-help books. They are the safest "psych meds" out there, no sxs whatsoever. This is called bibliotherapy.

There is a good FB group about Prozac, but I'm reluctant to send you to FB. Your medical data is not secure there and many people are totally overmedicated. Plenty of folk there think fluoxetine was the best possible choice. There is this book "Listening to Prozac", but it's out of stock on Amazon now. Didn't read it actually.

Muscle stiffness is a big drawback, but as BZD are musle relaxants, you don't have to worry about that. What BZD are you on? The long half-life is the chief factor in the BZD choice. That's why I'd avoid zopiclone. 

I know many people who function quite well on fluoxetine. Doctor Anna Lembke, an addiction specialist at Stanford University took it in her youth and tapered without problems. She's the author of the bestselling book "Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence". Which is an excellent source of knowledge on both behavioral and chemical addictions. I put some of her quotes on my word thread, you may check them out if you like.

This site is neither anti psych meds nor anti doctors. It is clearly written in the rules by our Founder - @[Co...].

So if anyone looks down on you, cause you're on psych meds, consider it their problem. Our sole purpose is to limit the use of BZD, which are extremely addictive and cunning.

Everything to be consulted with your doctor, remember. 

Wishing you well. I'm here for you in case of any doubts/questions. 

Stay strong. This ain't gonna be easy, but your health and your life is at stake.

Paula:hug:

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On 31/08/2023 at 12:49, [[j...] said:

It sounds like you're going through a pretty tough time.  I agree with your doctor that there's no shame in updosing. It is however up to you to decide whether you rather want to hold or updose. You did taper rather quickly. I did both updosing and holding. When I updosed my symptoms were really bad. I couldn't function at all. When I decided to hold was when my symptoms were getting worse and I was struggling but I was managing to get through the day. I doubt a 1mg updose will make much of a difference at the dose you're at. I would think you need to updose at least 2-3mg.

I would strongly advice against Zopiclone. It's classified as a Z-drug. Z-drugs are technically not benzo's but they act the same as benzo's.  Ashton lists Z-drugs in her manual with the other benzo's. 

When it comes to antidepressants I personally am reluctant to take it during withdrawal as these symptoms might be caused by withdrawal. I don't want to get dependent on another drug because it's treating benzo withdrawal. If your depression is really bad, then yes, you can certainly look into it.

@[je...] yes I am having a very hard time right now. I saw my doctor today and she wants me to updose to 10mg morning and 10mg evening to see if I can get stabile. I really am not looking forward to it but if it helps then I can figure out a plan after that. I am still taking the fluoxetine as I also feel I am that depressed I need it. It was a very difficult day to make the decision but I think it is the best option compared to constantly struggling to even function. 

I will see the doc again next week for a progress report. Not sure what to expect but am hoping for relief! Maybe even some sleep soon! 

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I am very sorry it's this difficult. I know this is not what you wanted. Ultimately I think if you're very depressed then your mental health and safety is paramount and you need to do whatever you feel is necessary to guard your mental health. If it's updosing then so be it. Your doctor seems to think it's necessary. Just remember with both the antidepressant and updosing it will probably take some time before you feel the effect of it. But in the meantime hold on to the hope that change is hopefully coming soon. And if you do updose I suggest you don't stress about it. That defeats the purpose of giving yourself grace.

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