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Thinking I may be withdrawing


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Hi,

 

I have been on Ativan .5 mg since Dec. 2010.  Was reassured that that small of a dose would be fine with no withdrawals, but have been experiencing increased anxiety and confusion.  Am trying to wean off and would like to safely, but think I am already having withdrawals cutting my dose to .25 every other night and .5 the alternate nights.

 

Thanks,

P

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Hi, Peaceofmind,

 

Unfortunately, that is more than enough Ativan for you to experience withdrawal symptoms. Also you have been on the medication for a few months. The recommended time frame for these drugs is no more than 2-4 weeks because of their ability to cause physical dependency. Many doctors are not aware of this and quite a few of them also have no idea about safe tapering rates or processes.

 

You should always be on the same amount of benzo every day. The ups and downs will confuse your body. If it were me I'd go back to the 0.5 every day and stabilize there. To reduce your dose to 0.25 every day is a reduction of 50%. Typically, a taper rate of no more than 10% every 10-14 days is recommended, and some people even have to go slower than that. You should listen to your body throughout this process and you can always adjust to go slower or faster if you feel less or more confident.

 

Another thing to consider is the short half-life of the Ativan which can cause inter-dose withdrawal. Many Ativan-users find it easier to to cross over to Valium as per the Ashton manual (have you heard of this?) and come off the Valium instead. Do you find that you start to feel ill several hours before your next dose? If so it could be inter-dose.

 

We're here to help you, so please ask away if you have any questions.

 

-P-

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Thank you for the welcomes.  I've been experiencing confusion, fogginess, anxiety, depression, and sort of a feeling of not really fully being there, headaches, and insomnia, along with some digestive and stomach issues.  I am grieving getting sucked in.  I was actually quite concerned, but my doctor kept reassuring me that it was such a low dose that it was just fine.  Does any of this sound like withdrawal?

 

My doctor retired, and my new one seems more supportive, even though she does still think it's a really small dose and doesn't think it could be withdrawls.  I asked about something with a longer half life, and she suggested clonazepam.  Is that typically helpful?  Yes, I've been starting to feel like I need it before it's time, especially since I cut back those two nights.

 

Not sure how these meds seem so harmless at first, and then suck one in.

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Yes, every single symptom you mentioned sounds exactly like w/d. It's terrible, I know, but the only way out is through and it's time to get going! :)

 

If you're going to cross over, then ask your doctor to consider diazepam. It has a longer half-life than clonazepam and is the best med to cross over to.

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I posted an intro in another thread.  Currently taking .5 Ativan PRN (now every night) since December 2010.  I tried to wean off by taking .25 every other night (per my psych).  Developed flu symptoms, headaches, foggy thinking, etc.  It's hard for me to even think though this post right now, so hoping it makes sense.  Last night I took my .5; felt a bit better and now worse as the day goes on today.  I definitely don't feel like I'm at a stable point, so what is next?  Are the headaches common?  Do I just take the .5 for awhile until I feel better?

 

Doctor doesn't believe it's Ativan, but is supportive if I want to go off.  She did say she would give me clonazepam instead since it has a longer half life.  Not sure how supportive she would be of Valium that I've seen mentioned here.  Doctor thinks it's no big deal for me to just cut my dose from .5 to .25, but obviously, that's not working.

 

Also, any advice on coping with all of this while caring for young children would be appreciated!  Thanks!  So wish I would have just run away from this medication when it was offered.  :sick:

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Hi peaceofmind,

You are I are on about the same benzo.  I really want to encourage you. I have been battling this for a very very long time and the one thing (and you will find this common in the threads here) is that the medical community is not well informed about benzos. I rapid tapered in 3 weeks and was in agony for four months (not trying to scare you at all - this has a good ending), I was told by ER docs and a teaching hospital that it was impossible I would be in any type of w/d. Now I know what was happening that my receptors needed to heal and nothing would bring relief other than reinstating or alcohol and just plain "time". I had to really educate myself. They all wanted to give me a more powerful longer acting (which is being offered to you now) benzo. I refused because I just knew in my heart that it had to be the benzo (Ativan) since none of this started until after taking it. So going to a longer acting, more powerful, would have meant another benzo in my system with more side effects and then more w/d symtoms. Be sure to read the posts here and the moderators will help you (they are really awesome and have been through or going through what we are). As I'm in the lower doses, my interdose withdrawal is becoming more pronounced, but at least I know what it is. This I know for sure, it is extremely important to be consistent in your dose (I take it 3 times a day by water titration) every 3 hours. Also, I have held as long as 6 weeks on a specific dose (listening to my body) so that I am prepared both mentally, physically and spiritually before another reduction. I hope that is helpful. I'm glad you are thinking of weaning and it sure seems like you are expereincing interdose w/d.

amb

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Hi, peaceofmind.

 

I hope you saw princezz post on your introductory thread; it has just about everything in it that I would have said as a former lorazepam/Ativan taperer.

 

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=39788.msg552366#msg552366

 

I tapered directly off Ativan but not everyone can do that.  Klonopin has a bit of reputation for being hard to get off of but it's true it has a longer half-life.  I can't help but wonder if much smaller dose reductions might work well for you so you wouldn't have to switch benzos.  You can make really teeny reductions using liquid titration.  There's a Titration Board with several informational threads if you are interested. 

 

I'm afraid I have no coping tips for tapering while caring for anyone, much less young children.  :-\  If anxiety-related symptoms are a big problem, there are some good threads on the Anxiety board or you might want to start one yourself.  And, of course, you could start a thread/topic that targets parents of young children on the Withdrawal and Recovery Support Board.  Good luck.  ;)

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Thank you so much!  Thinking I need to get stablized again on my normal .5 Ativan dose.  Could weaning down to half two nights recently be causing all of these symtoms?  I feel so half here, with headaches and like I have some weird virus or something.  I appreciate the thoughts on Klonopin too.  I will read up on the titration method.
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You've gone back to .5mg/day, is that right?  It's certainly possible that your attempt at .25mg brought on your current symptoms.  If so, you should feel better in a few days.  Do you just take your dose 1x/day?  With Ativan's short half-life, some people do better dosing 2x/day.  Just a suggestion to think about.  I'd stay as you are for a few days to see if the symptoms ease up before experimenting with dosing times.  We try to change only one thing at a time so we can (sometimes)  tell what is doing what.  ;)
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You've gone back to .5mg/day, is that right?  It's certainly possible that your attempt at .25mg brought on your current symptoms.  If so, you should feel better in a few days.  Do you just take your dose 1x/day?  With Ativan's short half-life, some people do better dosing 2x/day.  Just a suggestion to think about.  I'd stay as you are for a few days to see if the symptoms ease up before experimenting with dosing times.  We try to change only one thing at a time so we can (sometimes)  tell what is doing what.  ;)

 

Yes, thanks!  :)  I went back to .5 a day.  It was once a day at night for insomnia.  Last night I did take half when DH got home and could help with kids and the other half at bedtime.  I don't take it before I have to drive somewhere though.  Thank you for the advice!  So far, the sx are milder this am.

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Hi, Peaceofmind,

 

Unfortunately, that is more than enough Ativan for you to experience withdrawal symptoms. Also you have been on the medication for a few months. The recommended time frame for these drugs is no more than 2-4 weeks because of their ability to cause physical dependency. Many doctors are not aware of this and quite a few of them also have no idea about safe tapering rates or processes.

 

You should always be on the same amount of benzo every day. The ups and downs will confuse your body. If it were me I'd go back to the 0.5 every day and stabilize there. To reduce your dose to 0.25 every day is a reduction of 50%. Typically, a taper rate of no more than 10% every 10-14 days is recommended, and some people even have to go slower than that. You should listen to your body throughout this process and you can always adjust to go slower or faster if you feel less or more confident.

 

Another thing to consider is the short half-life of the Ativan which can cause inter-dose withdrawal. Many Ativan-users find it easier to to cross over to Valium as per the Ashton manual (have you heard of this?) and come off the Valium instead. Do you find that you start to feel ill several hours before your next dose? If so it could be inter-dose.

 

We're here to help you, so please ask away if you have any questions.

 

-P-

 

You're getting good solid advice and information here, this post and others.  Glad you're here! I think you'll get the help you need to get off this med in a way that will let you feel okay and be stable enough to take care of your family.  Just take it slow, gather information, and don't do anything rash.

 

 

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