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Genuine underlying conditions versus benzo withdrawal?


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Hi, I've been reading the forum with a lot of interest for some months now, aswell as gradually getting my benzo usage down...now down to 2.5 mg Valium per day.

 

One thing I have noticed in particular is a variety of very alarming symptoms reported by people who have already been totally off benzos for months, sometimes many months.  Many of these stories would prompt a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, and in some cases a physical disorder, if it wasn't for the person's withdrawal from benzos.  I'm only now beginning to realise the varied and strong symptoms that can go with this problem.

 

What should someone do, however, if they genuinely believe they also have a real, non-benzo related condition while also getting used to low or no benzos?  The normal answer would be to see their GP or get a referral to a psychiatrist, but many are now wary of seeing doctors due to problems with medications and doctors.

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that real depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and other mental conditions could exist at the same time as benzo withdrawal symptoms and be confused with them, leading to a real condition not being treated and possibly getting a lot worse while a person waits months/years for all traces of benzo withdrawals to leave them.  Being totally against all medicines could also lead to this.  Given the fairly high percentage of people in society who do suffer real psychiatric conditions, and also the fairly high number who have been or are on benzos, it is likely that a substantial number of those experiencing withdrawal will also be suffering a separate condition that needs separate treatment.  Does anyone know how to tell which is which?  Would briefly reinstating/increasing a benzo (just 1-2 days max) help diagnose which situation really exists?

 

Sorry I am not meaning to alarm anyone, just wondering how others have dealt with this situation, particularly when doctors are likely to say that severe problems that persist beyond a few weeks once abstinent from pills are unlikely to be benzo withdrawals.  This is exactly what a doctor is telling me right now, and he is very skeptical about ultra long term benzo withdrawal, yet I have read many such stories here already.

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Greg what you are saying is exactly what my shrink dr says to me all the time.  She is very good and I do trust her when she is telling me all the things you have just said...  then I also read and see all the long term suffering and wonder of it all ???  My GP dr just gave me a rx for Paxil... and I have to say I am very scared...  BUT...  I hear good stories and bad....  soooo ????    ???    I totally get where you are coming from !!!  :o

I was off almost a year and still had some diziness and foggyhead off an on... but no major anxiety...  yet the drs say that is anxiety... so whos to say....was it still benzo w/d or anxiety ???  Thats why I have been sitting at 6 mg for a while and not made a move !  I have chickenitis !!  :D

melissa ~

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PS...  I did an 18 month taper off of10 mg valium.....  slooooowww  ...  but it seemed to work better than all the other times I tried to get off of my xanax .25 2xday from 1998......  and I know for a  fact xanax worked 10000 times better for anxiety than valium... 
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Given the fairly high percentage of people in society who do suffer real psychiatric conditions, and also the fairly high number who have been or are on benzos, it is likely that a substantial number of those experiencing withdrawal will also be suffering a separate condition that needs separate treatment.  Does anyone know how to tell which is which?  Would briefly reinstating/increasing a benzo (just 1-2 days max) help diagnose which situation really exists?

 

 

 

Hi Greg,

 

I understand what you are saying but I always ask myself, "using the DSM for mental 'illness' diagnosing results in almost everyone on the planet having a mental 'illness' the vast majority of which cannot be cured, but must be managed with medication (of which there is a never ending supply)"

 

There are no definitive tests for any of these so called "mental illnesses" they are a bunch of "behaviors" that have been voted on by a select few.  Many of those "behaviors" are EXACTLY the same as withdrawal from pretty much any psychiatric toxin.

 

I absolutely shudder to think how many people have been poly drugged for years and years after trying to get off a psychiatric toxin initially prescribed for something as innocuous as situational insomnia.  For the most part, the psychiatric medical community has absolutely no idea what they are doing when doling out these pills.  They affect everybody differently, but you can be sure that everyone can and most likely will be diagnosed with a "mental disorder" due to their side effects.

 

I have absolutely no faith in, nor respect for psychiatry whatsoever, until it becomes a science rather than something akin to alchemy I will do everything in my power to keep myself and anyone I care about far far away from it.  Once they have you in their claws, it's as good as over.  These kind of forums are full of the misery of psychiatry.

 

 

 

 

As for reinstating/updosing.  Your guess is as good as the next person's as to what will happen.  Taking these pills really is a crap shoot of the mind.  You might win for a while, but ultimately, everyone loses.

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Amen amano.

 

Personally I wouldn't start taking anything until at least a couple of years off the benzo. This forum is filled with story after story of doctors trying denying the existence of benzo WD as we know it. I haven't been to a doctor in close to a year cause I seriously don't know how I would react if a doctor tried to tell me that I am not still experiencing benzo WD six months off the drug when I KNOW FOR AN ABSOLUTE FACT THAT I AM.

 

Why would you want to take any more drugs? Maybe I am the exception but having experienced this I can see that I was just fine before I had those evil pills shoved down my throat. 

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I was guilty of accepting Xanax to treat occasional insomnia in 2008. My dr. at the time said I didn't have an 'addictive' personality (what is that anyway?) so I would have no problem using it for insomnia and if I had a panic attack, to pinch off a bit and put it under my tongue. What I did not know, and I blame myself for not researching the medication, was that it was only supposed to be used short term. I used it faithfully, with plenty of refills, until it turned on me in May 2011...I checked myself into the psych hosp. where I was quickly switched to Klonopin & Zoloft. All because I ignorantly thought I needed a medication to be able to sleep...now trying to get off of it is an ordeal. I am determined to be free of benzo/ad. T2
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I am determined to be free of benzo/ad. T2

 

de·ter·mined

 

adjective /diˈtərmind/ 

 

    Having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it

        - Alice was determined to be heard

 

    Processing or displaying resolve

        - Helen was a determined little girl

        - a determined effort to reduce inflation

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is why you will be drug free, it's been decided, now it's just a matter of following the path there.

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My dr. at the time said I didn't have an 'addictive' personality (what is that anyway?)

 

When I asked my doctor about the possibility of addiction with clonazepam I was told "They can be, but I'm not worried about that with you".

 

Are these doctors not taught the difference between addiction and dependency? She thought that since I was expressing concern over addiction that I wouldn't turn into a pill head. These pills aren't "addictive" in that they make you crave taking them, they create a drug dependency because they re-wire your brain so when you stop taking them you lack the ability to function.

 

 

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Greg, I think you are asking a really important question. In my own case, my families, both paternal and maternal, are riddled with suicides across the generations. There is clearly a genetic component related to depression, and I have been through a major depressive episode before and I'm quite sure it was really, really real. And that Prozac is what pu

lled me out of it.

 

So, while I am tapering off ativan (down to .75 mg split across the day) I am still taking my antidepressants. For now. I really can't tell on some bad days if it's benzo withdrawal or returning depression, but so far it has always resolved itself, so I do think it's the benzos.

 

Will I taper off anti-Ds after the benzos are done? It's possible. I am much more critical of the negative side effects of all of these drugs now, but I'm also wary of dismissing the legitimate cases of depression and other mood disorders that can actually be helped by skillful use of medication. I guess it's the "skillful" part I will look for in any doctor I consult from here on out!

 

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Just spoke to a friend of mine... I remember her being on antidepressants... Paxil..been 16 years now.. she is fine and works and is tons of fun....  so I think every one is different...and I do believe it runs in families....  genetics are for real.....  she did take xanax for a while.... but stopped...doing well...
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Just spoke to a friend of mine... I remember her being on antidepressants... Paxil..been 16 years now.. she is fine and works and is tons of fun....  so I think every one is different...and I do believe it runs in families....   genetics are for real.....  she did take xanax for a while.... but stopped...doing well...

 

 

The genetic idea, just like the chemical balance idea, are just that, ideas, concepts......without a shred of scientific evidence.  We could just as easily claim that "mental illnesses" are learned behaviors/thought patterns, as we can can they are genetic based. 

 

A great fear that I have is that the self fulfilling prophecy will kick in for those who believe they have a genetic predisposition and actually cause "symptoms" to manifest.

 

If I were to believe anything was genetic, I would want know know which genes and how they differ.  As yet they can't do that, simply from the fact they have no idea what causes "mental illness".

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I would love to know the answer to this as well, since I've wondered it myself and even created a topic asking the same thing.

The idea that psychiatry as a whole is evil is a great notion. I believe in it for the most part myself, at least when it comes to medications. But the fact is that there are people out there still suffering from all these horrible things, without even having taken medication in the first place. Meds can't be blamed for all of it. I would love to know the real root of the problem then, if it's not genetics, and it's not brain chemicals, and drugs aren't the answer.

 

 

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There may be genetic components but I beleive they are physiological problems that effect the psyche.  Why not get the following blood tests done to see if a real disorder is to blame.  At the very least I would check:

 

Fasting AM: T3, T4, TSH, DHEAS, Cortisol, Estrogen, Testosterone, MMA (Methymalonic Acid)

 

There is real science.  There is no test to check serotonin levels.  SSRIs are prescribed with zero tests to see if your serotonin is low and no test to check your levels once prescribed them.  I have met people who swear that this or that illicit drug has pulled them out of depression too, only to cause demise in the end.  What's the difference?  None in my book.  Just my opinion.

 

It defies sanity (no pun intended) how nowadays doctors just pull out prescription pads without running tests (like the ones I listed) and write prescriptions for drugs that alter normal bodily processes with no tests to back up anything.

 

The DSM was originally developed for insurance billing purposes.  Big Pharma with all of their billions has totally brainwashed society into believing it is a real medical diagnostic tool so they can use it to push more of their drugs for profit.

 

Sorry, just irritates the hell out of me.

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Meds cant be blamed for all of it ...so true !!!  I know 3 peoplewho took valum and xanax for years....and just stopped...  OMG !!!  I know...I was floored too !!!  They are fine...yes they took it daily...  dont know how.....  bit they did it....  Didnt go so well for me... 
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Perseverance: You are so right-on! My former Dr. handed me a script for Xanax with plenty of refills and with my insurance they were so inexpensive. All because I told him I was having trouble sleeping and had had a few panic attacks. I blissfully, with plenty hours of sleep, from the Xanax use..went on for 3 years. Then, WHAMMO, it rebounded...I was in absolute Hades >:D The Psychiatrist I see, poo-poos any kind of talk about withdrawals and tells me to increase the Klonopin & Zoloft. I take his prescriptions, put them in a safe place, just in case I need more to taper with. I'm angry with myself because I did not research the meds. Next thing I know I'm in misery and dependent at the same time. Oh yeah, I asked to be tested for serotonin, gaba, dopamine levels and was told "not necessary." Good grief!....Meljo, how we wish we were one of those who just went off this stuff with no backlash! That's a dream, huh?!?
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Perfect questions and thought.  I do believe this exists for many folks....especially the waiting only to find out you may have developed a disorder from the whole benzo experience, especially if you cold turkey.  I ask myself this everyday!

 

 

 

Hi, I've been reading the forum with a lot of interest for some months now, aswell as gradually getting my benzo usage down...now down to 2.5 mg Valium per day.

 

One thing I have noticed in particular is a variety of very alarming symptoms reported by people who have already been totally off benzos for months, sometimes many months.  Many of these stories would prompt a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, and in some cases a physical disorder, if it wasn't for the person's withdrawal from benzos.  I'm only now beginning to realise the varied and strong symptoms that can go with this problem.

 

What should someone do, however, if they genuinely believe they also have a real, non-benzo related condition while also getting used to low or no benzos?  The normal answer would be to see their GP or get a referral to a psychiatrist, but many are now wary of seeing doctors due to problems with medications and doctors.

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that real depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and other mental conditions could exist at the same time as benzo withdrawal symptoms and be confused with them, leading to a real condition not being treated and possibly getting a lot worse while a person waits months/years for all traces of benzo withdrawals to leave them.  Being totally against all medicines could also lead to this.  Given the fairly high percentage of people in society who do suffer real psychiatric conditions, and also the fairly high number who have been or are on benzos, it is likely that a substantial number of those experiencing withdrawal will also be suffering a separate condition that needs separate treatment.  Does anyone know how to tell which is which?  Would briefly reinstating/increasing a benzo (just 1-2 days max) help diagnose which situation really exists?

 

Sorry I am not meaning to alarm anyone, just wondering how others have dealt with this situation, particularly when doctors are likely to say that severe problems that persist beyond a few weeks once abstinent from pills are unlikely to be benzo withdrawals.  This is exactly what a doctor is telling me right now, and he is very skeptical about ultra long term benzo withdrawal, yet I have read many such stories here already.

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My personal feeling is that depression/anxiety can be caused by a variety of things:  stress, learned behavior, chemical imbalances, hormones, physiological conditions, medication side-effects, genetics, etc.  I know that hormones play a HUGE part in how we feel (especially women) - just look at post-partum depression (when levels of estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol drop dramatically), pms, teenage mood swings, menopause, hormonal-imbalance conditions such as PCOS and thyroid conditions where depression/anxiety is one of the leading symptoms.  From my own personal experience, I went off birth control (hormones for regulating PCOS) and suddenly depression/anxiety sky-rocketed. I have never felt that extreme depression/anxiety before in my life! Also, autoimmune thyroiditis (hashimoto's) runs in my family big-time, and once family members were treated and thyroid levels returned to normal, their anxiety and depression resolved as well.  I just think before we let docs toss out ADs and invest huge amounts of money into therapy, one should always have complete blood work done and look at what's going on in the whole body package.  In the end, everyone is different and it's just a matter of finding out what is going to help us. 
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Zugora-What an eye-opener! I have PCOS. It was detected when I was 16 years of age. Never once did I wonder if my issues (panic attacks & insomnia) could have played a part & none of the gynecologists I consulted with ever tried to counsel me about possible ramifications. Had an emergency hysterectomy in 2003, so was plunged into menopause in my 40's--severe hot flashes, anemia, fatigue.....hmmmmm. You've given me much to think about. Thank-you! T2
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I took benzos for a muscle spasm issue (my bladder --uggh)--so I had no underlying psychiatric disorder (other than perhaps the anxiety that goes with having to go to the bathroom all the time) and when I stopped the valium--I got enough psychiatric symptoms to qualify for a few pretty serious diagnosis---I felt like I was dying, depersonalization, anxiety that was physically and emotionally painful, restlessness etc.

So, I know for a fact that in my case the drugs caused it because it is resolving.  At the time it didnt feel like it though. 

For many of you, it must be very difficult.  I asked this question to a psychologist who quite confidentally told me that the anxiety that made you take the pills would be different from the anxiety that withdrawal causes--really??--now how in the world could a person suffering figure that out?  I was absolutely convinced I was dying--had to have my neighbor check my blood pressure and heart rate every day!

So while it is true there are many underlying issues--it is also true that the drugs add a scary dimension for some and that it takes way longer than a few weeks even with what the medical community laughs off as low doses for short periods of time.

 

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Exactly Shellmac.  Psychiatric 'illnesses' I acquired from benzos:

 

Anxiety

Paranoia

Rage

Anorexia (in the clinical sense only)

Suicidal Thoughts

Depersonalization

Derealization

Social Phobia

Agoraphobia

Depression

 

Never had any of these before benzos, and now at 5 months off, only some of the anxiety remains.  Could you imagine how many drugs they would have pushed on me if I came in and told them I had these symptoms?

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Exactly Shellmac.  Psychiatric 'illnesses' I acquired from benzos:

 

Anxiety

Paranoia

Rage

Anorexia (in the clinical sense only)

Suicidal Thoughts

Depersonalization

Derealization

Social Phobia

Agoraphobia

Depression

 

Never had any of these before benzos, and now at 5 months off, only some of the anxiety remains.  Could you imagine how many drugs they would have pushed on me if I came in and told them I had these symptoms?

You are so lucky that you never had any of these before. You know straightforward that you can contribute them to the benzo. Others, like me, who have had some of these all our lives, don't know where "we" end and the benzo begins. It's horrible!

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Sorry Holly, I meant no offense, really.  But some people go to pdocs after getting sx's from benzos and the pdocs miss the boat, and cause more harm.
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I'm probably going to give myself a year before I visit the doctor again.  I know something underlying is going on (probably thyroid - very symptomatic prior to benzo, but lab results normal, but suspicious). However, the symptoms blend with the benzo symptoms and I can't tolerate any new treatment right now.  :-\  Not my advice for everyone's possible condition or issue, just what I plan to do.
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I have had anxiety forever. Sometimes it went into remission, and I was just "a little nervous" and driven, always on the move. I have asked the same questions as this post. Of my dr, of myself...and I have to say that I had anxiety and occassional panic before I tool klonopin. Thats why I took it. I tried it as needed. I quit after a few months easily, And I felt anxious occasionally- but thats how I am. The next time my anxiety got severe- I went for the k- But this time it never really went away.

My experience was that when I tapered, there were significant things that happened that never were part of my anxiety before the drugs. Stuff like spasms, headaches, vertigo, semi-paranoia and serious insomnia. That was withdrawal. My anxiety? Yeah, it was worse- and at 2 months I reinstated. It seemed like the only way. But it quickly became useless, and then I started to really feel bad- I firmly believe that w/d adds a level of seriously increased anxiety, yet I know that once I get off this taper- there will still be that anxious me.

There is no real way to tease out what is you and what is the med. But I am here to tell you that popping a quick fix via a pill now and then will not fix this for you. Theres really only 2 choices- to take the stuff or not. If you choose to take it- you have to be prepared for the inevitable tolerance to a dose and need to increase.

I did it. It did not work. And not only that- staying at the same dose is making it worse.

My dr said it was impossible to still have w/d anxiety at 2 months off from my low dose and slow taper.

He also was the one who offered to write me up a script for xanax to help with my withdrawal process from klonopin.

Seriously. - Susan

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