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Please Help. Heart Stuff 8 years out


[Fl...]

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I am almost at 8 years of Benzos and all drugs. I quit cold Turkey. Over the past few months I have started to have heart racing episodes where my heart will randomly jump to 150-180 beats a minute. Years ago I had echo on heart, which was normal. Wore heart monitor for a couple weeks. Diagnosed with PVC and some tachycardia episodes. Blood work normal. Cardiologist said heart is fine. He said at time likely related to discontinuing benzos. Heart issues have been my main problem since I quit back in 2015. They have waxed and wained over the years. At times going away completely for months. 
 

Now heart problems are back just as bad as acute withdrawal again. In the past year I have suffered a couple sudden losses in family, stress with my wife out of work and finance worries, plus my own stress with my job. I quit smoking a month ago and things went from heart issues weekly to multiple times a day. Not sure if quitting nicotine on my sensitive CNS (has been since I cold Turkeyed the benzos), has anything to do with it? In the past couple years I have been back to drinking alcohol as I considered myself healed minus the tendon heart stuff. Maybe that is to play here as well? I have cut way back on alcohol now. Not sure if that too is causing any setback type issues this far out?

I am out of work again. Rushed to ER couple weeks ago with heart episode. I was sitting in my home office, ending work day and suddenly my heart skipped beats, and HR took off to 150s. I tried to do vagal maneuver and hood ice to bring it down. Wa so anxious, felt like I was going to die. HR went up to 180s and was having PVCs. Told wife to call 911. No chest pain, etc. though felt like I was going to die. By time I got into EMS my heart rate was down to 140, and by time I got to ER was back at 85. My normal resting HR is 65-70. My blood pressure is 110/75 normally. The ER did full blood work, EKG, and chest X-ray, all normal. Found nothing though DR said not normal and may be anxiety from quitting smoking cause pain attacks. I have to wait month to get into cardiologist again. 
 

I have lost 15lbs without trying over last few months. I feel very fatigued and depressed. Anxious over my heart and having another episode. Since I have been out of work past couple weeks, less stress, have even bake to lessen symptoms, heart doesn’t get to 180s. Able to breath it down before my panic sets in. Lately when I eat, I get skipped beats and heart racing soon after. Have lots of gas in my upper chest since I quit smoking and am constipated. Looked and this is normal for nicotine withdrawal. Not sure what is going on with my heart. Why I am having these crazy scary heart racing episodes again and every darn day. It leaves me fatigued, anxious and depressed. I can’t leave my house with fear of having heart racing event. For exercise I walk around house to get heart up. Other than that I lay in my bed and read, trying to figure this out. I’m tired of calling 911 to house and they check me, I know hospital will say I am fine as I have so many times in past. Just stuck in this crazy heart racing loop. 
 

Is it possible to have setback this far out? Never had single heart issue before I quit benzos. Any reassurance or info would be so helpful. I am at a loss. I am so scared. I just want to be okay again. Thank you 🙏 

 

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Yes, it's possible to have a setback this far out unfortunately.

I'd suspect that it is related to your recent stress and your quitting nicotine. My feeling is that after discontinuing benzos some of us are left with a very fragile stress response. We can run along just fine, but at some point if too much stress is added we reach a tipping point and that fight-flight response kicks in and our stress response goes off a cliff.

You and I quit the same year. I quit summer of 2015. On the way down during my taper and after discontinuing I had a constant problem with racing heart rate for years.  Initially after discontinuing my heart rate would take off for no obvious reason. After awhile (maybe a year or two) it settled down somewhat, but any mental stress or physical exertion would make my heart rate climb inappropriately. Like you (and like a lot of other people around here), I went to a cardiologist and got checked out and no problem was found. I also made several visits to the ER because my heart rate got so extreme I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack. One cardiologist told me that I had some "POTS like syndrome", but it's not POTS because it's not driven by posture as real POTS is.

Your story is pretty common. Even having issues crop up years later. You've been checked out by a doctor so that's good. My guess is if you can reduce the stress in your life and once your body readjusts after the nicotine withdrawal subsides you'll see this settle down. I guess if I really couldn't stand it I personally might think about going on a nicotine patch to try to settle things down and then taper off the patch, but my suspicion is that you'll be better off if you can just wait out the nicotine withdrawal issue.

Unfortunately some of us may be fragile for a good while. So, if you're going to do something like quit smoking/vaping you're better off if you can taper off slowly. Get rid of as much stress in your life as you can (easier said than done I know). If you make any changes to your diet, medication, exercise, daily routine, etc - try to ease into it slowly if you can.

Think of yourself as a car with somewhat dodgy brakes (because that's basically what some of us are). Try to anticipate your turns and stops so you can gradually slow down and take it easy with the gas pedal.

 

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply Arizona. The further I get away from my jump off date, the harder it is to believe these are still symptoms of withdrawal. Though I try to remind myself that I did not have heart issues before benzo inter-dose withdrawal and the cold Turkey of benzos. 
 

I am hoping once the nicotine withdrawal subsides I will feel better. Definitely know quitting smoking/vaping is good for my overall health and my heart in the long run. Just crazy that 8 years later and I’m dealing with my heart randomly racing and those heart skipped beats that take my breath away. I find a link to my stomach with all of this too. If I drink anything carbonated or eat too fast, I will get heart skips and darn racing heart. I try to mindful to avoid this. Everything is so ramped up right now, just feel constantly on edge, like I’m going to die any moment from sudden cardiac arrest. Though I keep reminding myself I have had tests, and all come back normal, just episodes of tachy into 180s bpm and PVC (heart skips). Just so terrifying to deal with daily, no escaping this madness. 
 

Thank you again. Just hearing from others is reassuring that I am not good to die from this and it is just benzo madness. 

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I'm 7 years 10 months off and I've been in a setback for three last 20+ months, at least partly, if not completely, due to stress. There's been a lot of difficult stuff in my life for the past year and a half, plus the pandemic was not helpful. It might have been partly from the booster, too, but I'll never know.

So yes, it's apparently possible to be having a setback this far out. All you can really do is try to de-stress your life as much as you can...though I know that's not easy as stuff still happens. Do your coping routine and whatever got you this far. Eventually it'll pass. And yeah, if it was me, I'd stop drinking and it's not a great idea to start smoking again. It's usually better to start or stop things incrementally, in my experience, but anyway give it time. It can only be making your health better by quitting, even if it's sparkling a few symptoms now...and I quit during my taper a million years ago, so I know it's not easy.

Sorry for your losses. I hope you feel better soon.

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I was diagnosed with Paroxsymal Tachycardia when I got off the pills.  Doc made me stand up and then he checked my heart right away and noticed the Tachycardia.  It has gotten better though.  Maybe it's from a food you're eating. 

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Thank you for the reply chigrrl and for your condolences. Appreciate that. I am going to stop drinking again, no caffeine, watch my diet closely, drink plenty of water and try and reduce stress as much as I can to see if this will fade away. I ended up in the hospital again yesterday, heart went up to 180, got stabbing pain in my sternum/chest. Of course all tests came back fine. Just so exhausting dealing with this. These heart episodes are daily and so frightening. 

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Thanks for the reply becks. When I can off the pills years ago I was diagnosed with SVT. It was just acute symptom. Have not had that in years. What I have now is just random fast sinus tachycardia episodes. My heart rate does tend to get higher after standing or little exertion. 

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3 hours ago, [[F...] said:

 

Sorry you're going through this. I think you have a good plan...the only thing I'd say, is that from my experience, being on a strict diet tends to stress me out. I've tried a lot of the diets people suggest and nothing helped...they just add to my tension. I try to eat produce and protein every day and whole foods, of course, but rigid diets aren't worth it to me and aren't necessary to heal. Obviously, if you know certain things trigger issues, don't eat them, but if the goal is to destress, adding more complications into your routine probably isn't the answer.

Anyway, hang in there! I'm sure it'll get better.

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FloridaBlue,

I am nearly 10 years off and can report the following which started in the past 2 years:

My resting rate slowly went up over these two years, from 65bpm to now 85bpm. I was alao diagnosed with episodes of SVT. My heart rate (at rest) will also randomly start going high, sometimes only up to 120, other times up to 180. It is scary as hell and is not something I can get used to. I give my episodes 5 to 30min to calm down on their own, but if they don't I take a Beta Blocker and they always calm down. I have linked these episodes to stress.

I also have a heart rythym that is strange along with Orthostatic Hypotention. I am waiting to speak to a Carsiologist. I also have PVC's, which started while on Benzo's. 

 

Fonz

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Thanks for the reply Fonz. I have an appointment with cardio in a few weeks. This just all seems to have came out of nowhere. 2 ER visits in past couple weeks. Blood work, ECG and chest X-ray perfect. Meanwhile if I have a bowel movement my HR jumps to 140-160 for a few minutes and then goes down. When I eat, I get skipped beats and heart racing episodes. Just came out of nowhere and won’t go away. Been out of work almost 3 weeks now. Hoping this will start to get better. Been watching my diet, no alcohol, exercising and trying to avoid stress and seeing talk therapist. Hoping something gives and soon. 
 

All I can think, is I quit smoking start of August and symptoms ramped up since then over last month. Hoping just nicotine withdrawal coupled with my fragile sensitive CNS is causing this, and healing is around the corner. Fingers crossed. Just so exhausting, I don’t even leave my house anymore. Like I’m back in acute. 😔 

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FloridaBlue,

I have issues in relation to an innapropriate heart rate with physical movement. After meals and rolling over at night can cause serious pounding. It kind of comes and goes.

I am seeing a Cardiologist on the 20th, so hopefully I can get some answers.

Sounds like you're doing some positive things, which is great. I can imagine nicotine withdrawal would have been a challenge for your system, you certainly could be right.

 

Fonz

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Hi all,

 

I am almost 3 years out after short-term use of Ativan, 1mg daily for 5 weeks only.

I also experience random heart skips, heart jolts, followed by increased rate from 70-140's... and lightheadedness, jitters, tremors, etc.. Freaks me out each and every time cause i get lightheaded and so much chest tightness that i feel like i will literally collapse... one other thing that i do during those episodes is check my oxygen and do an EKG via my smartwatch. I also perform a blood pressure on myself, and usually see the BP being higher than my usual (my usual is 110/70, but during these episodes, i've seen it as high as 160/100), but after a few minutes i check it again and i see it going down, until it gets back to normal... That usually helps in calming down cause i know vitals are ok, even if the heart is pounding to the roof.

 

But these episodes occur to me at about once/twice per week, and every time they happen, i get scared, almost wanting to call an ambulance.... but then i learned to hold on and let them pass through... BTW, all my heart tests have been normal throughout the years: ECHO, Calcium test, stress test, ECGs...

Crazy how my CNS has changed throughout this never-ending protracted withdrawal...

 

Hope we all heal very soon!

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Nathan you are suggesting to this person that his cardiac issues are just related to wd and giving medical advice saying you think it’s due to stress and recently quitting nicotine.  What if this person is in a fib.  According to a study that I’m not going to link a common sign of atrial fibrillation is a fast and irregular heartbeat.   Besides this fast heart beat it often makes people throw clots.  How can you possibly know and dispense medical advice that this persons cardiac issues are typical and probably just because of stress and cessation of nicotine.   Are you a cardiologist and if you were isn’t it against BB standards to give medical advice ?   Your statement while you are giving your experience you are further expanding upon that experiences and telling a person and suggestive of that they shouldn’t worry about it that this is typical.   Is that not giving medical advice ?

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14 minutes ago, [[J...] said:

Nathan you are suggesting to this person that his cardiac issues are just related to wd and giving medical advice saying you think it’s due to stress and recently quitting nicotine.  What if this person is in a fib.  According to a study that I’m not going to link a common sign of atrial fibrillation is a fast and irregular heartbeat.   Besides this fast heart beat it often makes people throw clots.  How can you possibly know and dispense medical advice that this persons cardiac issues are typical and probably just because of stress and cessation of nicotine.   Are you a cardiologist and if you were isn’t it against BB standards to give medical advice ?   Your statement while you are giving your experience you are further expanding upon that experiences and telling a person and suggestive of that they shouldn’t worry about it that this is typical.   Is that not giving medical advice ?

@[Jd...]

Please see the quoted section of my post below:

Quote

Your story is pretty common. Even having issues crop up years later. You've been checked out by a doctor so that's good. My guess is if you can reduce the stress in your life and once your body readjusts after the nicotine withdrawal subsides you'll see this settle down. I guess if I really couldn't stand it I personally might think about going on a nicotine patch to try to settle things down and then taper off the patch, but my suspicion is that you'll be better off if you can just wait out the nicotine withdrawal issue.

FloridaBlue had been checked by a doctor and had a future appointment with a doctor scheduled. None of us would ever tell him to avoid going to a doctor and no one told him to cancel his appointment. I and others only relayed that having these type issues can be common after protracted benzo withdrawal.

You have taken the warning in the other thread far too personally. I really wish you would step back and take a few breaths and try to calm down. None of us are perfect and I'm sure I've made mistakes in some of my responses. If you want to cull through them I'm certain you will find some. I'm just a guy that's trying to moderate this group as best I can to the rules that Colin has established, but I'm still learning myself.

You're making far more out of what is really a minor issue. If you will just read Colin's guidelines I think you will see that if you'll just tweak your writing style a bit you can get your point across while staying within his guidance.

I will ask you to please refrain from carrying your disagreement with me and the other staff into other threads like this. It's not fair to the person that started this discussion.

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Fair enough.  I didn’t mean to hijack.  Me personally Florida.  I’d keep checking.  I’m not sure how to navigate this and not be in trouble but uhhhh I’ve seen studies of things? Where drs miss things.   Medicine is NOT as thorough as what we think it is.  Something is missing.  Lemme rephrase something could be missing Well according to my previous experience ?? Shit this is hard lol 

it likely is related to wd but a heart doing that sounds like an electrolyte imbalance I have no idea what labs and diagnostics have been done but a resting heart rate at 180 is serious and should not be glazed over.  You have to be assertive and advocate for yourself has your mag level been checked? Request an at home heart monitor to catch these episodes and insist they keep working you up is the. Uhhh advice of someone i know? Lol

is it likely that it’s nothing sure the probability is higher that it nothing to worry about.  But cardiac arrhythmias are not something to roll the dice with you need a specialist not some 2nd year med student in an ER.   I won’t ask how much you drink but if you know it’s in excess this is known to cause massive electrolyte imbalances.  You need serious in-depth blood work not some random cbc and bmp and if this is medical advice this is just fictional bedtime story and didn’t really mean any of it 

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On 15/09/2023 at 21:01, [[J...] said:

Nathan you are suggesting to this person that his cardiac issues are just related to wd and giving medical advice saying you think it’s due to stress and recently quitting nicotine.  What if this person is in a fib.  According to a study that I’m not going to link a common sign of atrial fibrillation is a fast and irregular heartbeat.   Besides this fast heart beat it often makes people throw clots.  How can you possibly know and dispense medical advice that this persons cardiac issues are typical and probably just because of stress and cessation of nicotine.   Are you a cardiologist and if you were isn’t it against BB standards to give medical advice ?   Your statement while you are giving your experience you are further expanding upon that experiences and telling a person and suggestive of that they shouldn’t worry about it that this is typical.   Is that not giving medical advice ?

oh god...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 03/09/2023 at 20:57, [[F...] said:

I am almost at 8 years of Benzos and all drugs. I quit cold Turkey. Over the past few months I have started to have heart racing episodes where my heart will randomly jump to 150-180 beats a minute. Years ago I had echo on heart, which was normal. Wore heart monitor for a couple weeks. Diagnosed with PVC and some tachycardia episodes. Blood work normal. Cardiologist said heart is fine. He said at time likely related to discontinuing benzos. Heart issues have been my main problem since I quit back in 2015. They have waxed and wained over the years. At times going away completely for months. 
 
 

Is it possible to have setback this far out? Never had single heart issue before I quit benzos. Any reassurance or info would be so helpful. I am at a loss. I am so scared. I just want to be okay again. Thank you 🙏 

@[Fl...] I'm going to say that, yes, it is possible to have symptoms crop up again that we may have experienced when our benzo ordeal first began.

Today I had a heart monitor placed near my heart. I have considered myself fortunate in that I have not experienced concerning heart issues this entire benzo ordeal. I was in acute benzo w/d beginning in 2012...or even earlier than 2012....and currently, this far out from benzo/Z-drug cessation, I am still experiencing certain concerning symptoms...too many to list here.

In 2014-15, I went through cancer treatment that involved Herceptin(known to cause possible adverse heart issues) treatment. Fortunately, I was able to complete the entire treatment plan without issue. And since this treatment, I have been carefully "watching" to see if my heart starts to act up to where I should feel concerned. I really try not to dwell on certain/any thing(s)...so it's not like my heart didn't skip a beat here and there since 2012.

Recently, my lightheaded symptom that has been a constant(give or take in intensity), ever since my benzo ordeal began(2012), lasted for a few days, 24/7,  without letup. Long story short.....I wisely decided to go to the ER as a result of this particular symptom.

The attending ER doctor suggested I have my heart monitored via a Zio patch, in order to better determine my EKG results from that ER visit. They also did a brain scan...found nothing concerning. I felt the intense, long-lasting lightheadedness was an electrolyte issue...since the area I live in was in a significant heat wave.

I know the drill with benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction(BIND). In other words...I have been living with my particular set of benzo induced symptoms for a Long time....and know exactly what to watch for, more or less, in just about all areas of my health. That doesn't mean I believe everything is benzo associated....but I am of the thought that these drugs are powerful and DO cause issues that can go on and on and on. Or that can be the culprit with a possible new symptom that arises well after benzo cessation. I need to conclude that before my benzo/Z-drug journey began, I considered myself to be in relatively good health. 

It is good that you are watching this symptom closely. You are not alone with your thoughts...this benzo journey can be daunting! I'm certainly not saying one way or the other what may be causing the symptom(s) you're dealing with. Just remember, though, you are not alone...although it can certainly feel like it.:classic_sad:

Edited by [Bl...]
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  • 2 weeks later...

Took a break from my phone for awhile. Have been focusing on getting better. Quit smoking cigarettes, cut way back on alcohol, quit caffeine, and eating healthier. I started daily walking, lifting some weights, yoga and meditation. As well as learning acceptance. Now if my heart races, I accept that I am safe and it will pass. Since this begin months ago I am feeling better. Heart episodes are less. I find they are at their worst after eating or when I have GeRD flair up. So trying to keep gas and heart burn at bay to avoid the vagus nerve being irritated causing heart palps. Hoping I can keep feeling better and finally past all of this. 
 

thank you all for your replies and suggestions or words of encouragement. 

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@[Fl...]  So glad you are focusing on your health.   Congratulations on quitting the cigarettes!   The daily walking and lifting weights; you are going to be as fit as a fiddle soon.     I did want to mention that alcohol can be detrimental to complete healing in some people.    Not everyone stops drinking during withdrawal and recovery, but there are lots of people who stopped because they realized it was not helping their healing process.   This may not be the case for you, but I did want to let you know.

Once again, congratulations on all the lifestyle changes you have made.   Amazing!!!

 

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