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I have been watching over our 82 y.o sweet Irish Catholic Mom with the rest of my siblings and our children and spouses.  we had agreed to start on Ativan 1 mg. at night to assist with sleep since she wasn't getting any.  we had 4 family members die in a 10 month period of time and the losses devastated my mom.  She hates pills but hated the depression and hopelessness more.  She was so sad and detached that she could not even cry.  She was lost and felt as though God had abandoned her...this is a tough lady and this was so out of character. She was on Ativan for 4 months only 1 or 2mg in an entire 24 hr period.  She decided that she wished to stop them and so we weaned her for 2 weeks down to fragments of the pills.  She had her last dose of 0.25 mg on 4/30/11.  she has been on a roller coaster nightmare of a ride ever since.  We cannot leave her alone at all because of the anxiety and other horrific side effects.  She has been closely watched and one of us stays with her including sleeping with her every minute.  My first question is when will this nightmare end for her?  :-[
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Hi baglady, welcome to BenzoBuddies

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, I myself am caring for my elderly mother. I'm hoping that this doesn't last too long for your mom but many have suffered for months afterwards. This question is very hard to answer as everyone is different. What kinds of symptoms does she have? Is her doctor aware of these symptoms? 

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Hi, I am so sorry for the nightmare your poor mom and family has found themselves in. I did not taper myself, but from what I read ativan is short acting and can be difficult to taper off. Maybe it is not to late for her to go back on a longer acting benzo like vaium, stabilize and then taper slowly off. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about tapering will come along. I hope she feels better soon. Please let us know what happens. I know the elderly can react badly to benzos. You are in my thoughts and prayers as well as your whole family. Welcome to BB. Love, Colleen
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Hi Baglady,

 

That is the million dollar question, when will this end?  No one unfortunately can give you an answer with any real certainty.  The amount of time it takes to recover varies widely from person to person.

 

The good news is that she is off and it looks like she is getting plenty of support from people who love her.  Even if her recovery is prolonged, the symptoms begin to wax and wain, rotate and vary, so it gets better as you go along.  The first couple of months can be brutal and it can seem like you are not healing at all, when infact healing is most definitely taking place.

 

Eventually people begin to experience windows of relief from symptoms, and as time marches on the windows typically get more frequent and last longer.

 

I would start a symptom journal and update it every month.  This can be very helpful on really bad days, as you can look back and realize progress is really happening.  The healing is so slow that at times we don't notice how much has actually taken place.  A journal is a good way to remind ourselves that it is moving forward.

 

I am sorry for what you have all endured.  We are here any time you need encouragement or have questions.

 

You are a wonderful person to help your Mom in such a desperate time.  We are here for you.

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Hello and welcome to BB Baglady. It is wonderful that you want to help your Mom, she is very lucky to have you. I am so sorry to hear about your Mom's pain. These drugs can wreck havoc on us that's for sure. Everyone takes a different amount of time to heal, but average healing time is around 6-18 months off, with some taking less time and some taking more time. Hang in there and I hope your Mom feels much better very soon. Let us know how we can continue to help.
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  • 2 weeks later...
My brother insisted that we get a second opinion and Mom , out of love for us, agreed.  We went with her yesterday and met the other Doc that is suppose to have some geriatric experience.  He does not think that her status is due to Benzo withdrawal...he believes her old depression is resurfacing.  He seemed quite clueless to the idea and said that the drug would be gone after about 5 days.  He gave her a prescription for Remuron.  This is a tetracyclic antidepressant with some scary side effects if they appear.  So last night I gave her the first low dose of 15 mg.  I slept by her side and she slept all night very soundly.  I did not see a drastic change in her state of mind or mood but at least she isn't hallucinating.  I do hope this helps to make things easier.  I don't expect much of a change for a couple of weeks.  We just don't want to make things worse.  There are too many of her symptoms that are spot on with the benzo withdrawal and not explain by depression.  Sometimes she can get so mean and rage at one of us individually.  Mom's always been so loving and supportive that it is really out of character for her to get mean and start into whoever is staying with her at the time.  I'm so grateful for your replies.  I depend on someone to take what I say seriously.  My siblings seem to think its the restructuring or rebooting of the dynamics in her brain chemistry.  I do hope that at least this med may help her to rest and lessen her hopelessness.  She so wants to be herself for my daughter"s wedding coming up the 24th of Sept.  They have always been exceptionally close.  Thank you all so much for the support.  I'll share it with my family. :)
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First, I want to say how very sorry I am for what you, your mother, and the rest of your family are going through. How wonderful you are to take care of her with so much love and attention to what she is experiencing.

 

Your new doctor, while I'm sure he means well, is not up to speed on benzo withdrawal - most doctors are not. A 2 week taper off of 1-2 mgs is rather quick, so I'm sure she is still experiencing withdrawal.  Many of us here at BB had doctors who meant well, but they simply did not understand what benzos can do and how difficult it is to discontinue them.

 

It sounds as if your mom could be experiencing both benzo withdrawal and severe depression.  Benzo withdrawal in and of itself can cause severe depression.  I went through the worst depression of my life during benzo withdrawal.  It was far worse than what I experienced after losing several family members in a short period of time.  Like your mom, I felt God had abandoned me and that made things so much worse.

 

I'm glad the Remeron seemed to help.  Have you had a chance to research it?  A good place to start would be wikipedia, and also a great site called askapaitent.com.  This site has experiences of people who have taken a prescribed medicine, what kind of side effects they had, and how it did or did not help them. Just type in the name of the medicne, and a list of reviews will pop up.

 

Please keep checking back with us to let us know how you , your mom, and your family are doing.  We really do care, and we'll be here to support you during this difficult time in your life. :hug:

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Hi Baglady

 

First of all I have no medically background, so what I am writing here is just my opinion.

 

This said, I have yet to meet a general physician with much knowledge in benzos. Often people are weaned off way too quickly, and are sent in to a month long spiral of pure hell with no real medically support as the doctor fails to realize that it is indeed the benzos creating the symptoms. Often the doctor tries the medicate his/her way out of the problems, and you end up with more problems than you started with before taking a benzodiazepine. Benzos should never be prescribed to easy depression or grief, it does not cure anything. Your mothers story is very common, her being prescribed a sedative for reliving pain of the heart, and finds herself struggling with the drug upon her grief. It is very sad.

 

 

In regards of how long it takes before this gets better there are many different factors to be weighed in. The dose taken, the amount of time being on benzos, the tapering method used, and so on. The reason that you do not get the answer you want, the exact time before this gets better, is not that people do not care. It is not like a broken arm, people react differently, with some suffering more than others.

 

People using sites like Benzobuddies are often having a very hard taper, or are suffering from after effects from a cold turkey. Often when people feels better they get on with their lives, and the more "easy" tapers we do not even hear of, as they do not need sites like this.

 

I decided, if I was to be successful in getting of this terrible drug, I had to find the support a doctor with expertice in benzo withdrawal, who had tapered of many patients with success. This way I was sure to be in safe hands, which is the most important things in benzo withdrawal, as it is so lengthy, so bumpy with symptoms blurring your mind, and decisions. You really need support!!

 

I found this doctor, who spent the last two decades in benzo research, who have weaned hundreds if not thousands of accidentable addicts off the medicine. He uses a rule of thumb, that you can expect a month of after effects, for the number of years you have taken a benzodiazepine. 2 years = two months, but if you wean off too fast, or if you cold turkey the medicine, you often prolong the withdrawals.

 

The essential key here, is to taper of the medicine quite slow, with 10% reductions every 10 to 14 days. Slow down the taper when you hit a hard point, and continue when you feel more stabile.

 

My suggestion to you is that you find a psychiatrist/general physician in your area with knowledge of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Maybe it would be a good idea to reinstate the original dose, and then taper slowly, making your mothers life more bearable. Activan is a powerfull short acting benzo, in plain English that means that it will leave the body more rapidly than other benzos like Valium (Diazepem). Tapering from Activan can result in cravings between doses, and you doctor might consider a change to Valium. Another way to go is to hold on until it gets better, as you mother is already benzo-free, depending on how long ago she took her last pill.

 

My two suggestions to you is

 

1) Find a doctor with knowledge of benzo withdrawal who can manage you mothers taper/progress.

2) Most doctors are not educated in the correct use, nor tapering of benzos. Educate yourself about benzodiazepines, read the Ashton Manual from a - z. http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

 

Your mother WILL heal in time, but underneath lies the grief, which is to be dealt with afterwards.

 

I apologies for my English, I am from Scandinavia.

 

Best wishes to your mother.

 

Regards Kasper

 

 

 

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Hey baglady,

 

My heart goes out to your mom and your family. I can't imagine what that must be like. Y'all seem to be a strong, tight knit family, so you will make it through this.

 

As you can tell by previous post, most doctors either have little knowledge about benzo withdrawal or they refuse to accept it. It's sad and I wish they could really see what's going on. The best thing you can do is become informed about benzos and the withdrawal process. Please remember that no matter how terrible your mother is feeling, she will get through this and heal.

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