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Do we heal while tapering?


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Hey Everyone..

 

I'm 7 days into my latest cut, and I'm currently slammed with dp, dr, rebound anxiety..  I've been making 10% cuts for the past 3 weeks and have been doing ok with it.  This last cut, however, was a 14% cut and I got NAILED 5 days after I made it.  Horrible morning anxiety, derealization quite severe like I'm in outer space.  I'm sure these are familiar symptoms for most browsing this forum.. slightly better today but not by much.

 

My real question is -- I know benzo's act on GABA receptors and withdrawing from the benzo's makes the central nervous system hyper-sensitive, but do we heal at all while tapering or do we not truly start healing until we finish the taper and fully withdraw from the benzo?  Specifically, do weakened nerve receptors begin to repair themselves or new ones appear at all during the taper?  Are my symptoms a signal that my body is healing?  It doesn't seem too thrilled to be letting go of this drug.

 

I've decided to SLOW DOWN until I stabilize at my current dose, .375, at least another week, two if necessary.  It's been one week at this dose.  No alcohol or other drugs of any kind.  Good diet, limited caffeine intake.

 

Any info would be greatly appreciated as always.

 

Thanks! 

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Hello,

 

We do heal as we taper. I wanted to comment on how 14% may be too much if you are getting such acute withdrawal symptoms. It is best to taper at a % and pace (holding) that we can tolerate.

 

I am dry-cutting Klonopin too. Are you interested in making smaller cuts?

 

Love,

Summer :mybuddy:

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Hello,

 

Here is some information about healing as we taper.

 

DO WE HEAL AS WE TAPER?

 

I am the type of person who seeks to know what is happening and why, it brings comfort to me. I hope it does the same for you.

 

"The Ashton Manual" by Heather Ashton, 2002

 

“It is impossible to give an exact time for the duration of withdrawal symptoms. It depends on where you start from, how much support you need and receive. How you manage your taper and many other factors. With slow tapering, some long-term users have virtually lost all their symptoms disappear within a few months. Vulnerability to extra stress may last somewhat longer and a severe stress may – temporarily – bring back some symptoms. Whatever your symptoms, it is best not to dwell on them. Symptoms are just symptoms after all and most of them in withdrawal are no signs of illness but signals of recovery. Furthermore, as your mind clears, you can work out more and more effective ways to deal with them so that they become less significant.”

 

Love,

Summer

 

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Thank you Summer!  That is extremely helpful to me, especially today.  I may have been a bit over-confident after a couple weeks of symptoms not appearing as severe, so I was making cuts too frequently. (although, Ashton does say 1-2 weeks.. i was making them every 7 days)  now that I'm down to a smaller dose, I think I will need to go much slower for the remainder of my taper.. 2 weeks or more for each cut.

 

What I really needed to know, though, was that I am, in fact, healing as I go through the taper.  I appreciate you finding this from the Ashton Manual.  I will look at this again during my next cut, I'm sure.

 

Thanks again!

 

brooklyn

 

:)

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[0f...]

I think we do, yes.

 

Our bodies wake up more slowly instead of fast.

 

For example- when I cold turkied Klonopin in 2007, everything hit at once.

Now that I'm tapering, yes I still have symptoms.. and I feel bouts of what I did when I c/t.

But I know what it is.

 

If that makes any sense.

 

PS- Yes I feel like I have healed some during this long strung out process.

 

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Hi there! I definitely think we heal while tapering, and I am one for listening to your body and NOT sticking to a schedule. I've been tapering .5mg of K since March 2011. At first I was all about a schedule because I just wanted to get off this stuff, but then I got slammed. I've also noticed the cuts are definitely cumulative, meaning, if I make a 5% cut once every 2 weeks, and never change that pace, there may be a random time where I reallllly feel it. I think it can take weeks for all the cuts to catch up with you. So, hold hold hold if you have to, and you WILL start to feel better. When I hit .19mg I started to feel pretty icky, like really icky, I held for over 3 weeks, and now I'm starting to feel better. You will too. Just try to stay positive! <3 and healing!
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Hey Everyone..

 

I'm 7 days into my latest cut, and I'm currently slammed with dp, dr, rebound anxiety..  I've been making 10% cuts for the past 3 weeks and have been doing ok with it.  This last cut, however, was a 14% cut and I got NAILED 5 days after I made it.  Horrible morning anxiety, derealization quite severe like I'm in outer space.  I'm sure these are familiar symptoms for most browsing this forum.. slightly better today but not by much.

 

My real question is -- I know benzo's act on GABA receptors and withdrawing from the benzo's makes the central nervous system hyper-sensitive, but do we heal at all while tapering or do we not truly start healing until we finish the taper and fully withdraw from the benzo?  Specifically, do weakened nerve receptors begin to repair themselves or new ones appear at all during the taper?  Are my symptoms a signal that my body is healing?  It doesn't seem too thrilled to be letting go of this drug.

 

I've decided to SLOW DOWN until I stabilize at my current dose, .375, at least another week, two if necessary.  It's been one week at this dose.  No alcohol or other drugs of any kind.  Good diet, limited caffeine intake.

 

Any info would be greatly appreciated as always.

 

Thanks!  

 

I believe that Ashton answers this exact question in the following paragraph :

 

"There is absolutely no doubt that anyone withdrawing from long-term benzodiazepines must reduce the dosage slowly. Abrupt or over-rapid withdrawal, especially from high dosage, can give rise to severe symptoms (convulsions, psychotic reactions, acute anxiety states) and may increase the risk of protracted withdrawal symptoms (see Chapter III). Slow withdrawal means tapering dosage gradually, usually over a period of some months. The aim is to obtain a smooth, steady and slow decline in blood and tissue concentrations of benzodiazepines so that the natural systems in the brain can recover their normal state. As explained in Chapter I, long-term benzodiazepines take over many of the functions of the body's natural tranquilliser system, mediated by the neurotransmitter GABA. As a result, GABA receptors in the brain reduce in numbers and GABA function decreases. Sudden withdrawal from benzodiazepines leaves the brain in a state of GABA-underactivity, resulting in hyperexcitability of the nervous system. This hyperexcitability is the root cause of most of the withdrawal symptoms discussed in the next chapter. However, a sufficiently slow, and smooth, departure of benzodiazepines from the body permits the natural systems to regain control of the functions which have been damped down by their presence. There is scientific evidence that reinstatement of brain function takes a long time. Recovery after long-term benzodiazepine use is not unlike the gradual recuperation of the body after a major surgical operation. Healing, of body or mind, is a slow process."

 

Best of health to all of you :)

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When I ask this question I go to benzodocs.com and read his story. This guy that put this together was in bad shape. He had come off of K ended up in psych ward, on a laundry list of drugs and had ECT. He crossed over to Valuim, did a slow taper (wasn't always easy) and when he was finished with the taper, the only remaining symptom was benzo fatigue.
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[0f...]

Do we heal as we taper?

 

I think we do because back in 2007.. I decided to c/t Klonopin, and everything came back all at once.. it was a horrible feeling. I remember waking up and the floor was hard, everything that I forgot came back all at once. I felt like a electric ball was in my head. I couldn't be still for the life of me. I remember walking to a local store that morning and I felt like I was thrown into a spiral (Hard to put in words). The night prior to this.. I had a seizure of some-kind.

I immediately reinstated 5mg of Klonopin that day because I could not function, plus I had to get home from my mother's house. I got on a bus to NYC the day after I reinstated. I finally stabilized and started tapering from there, dropping 1mg c/t.. leaving me with 4mg to taper. I tapered slowly from 2007 until 2011.

Withdrawal was an understatement!

 

IMO, I think we heal as we taper because our bodies adjust and break dependency as we lower.

Things come back gradually instead of all at once.

Yes there is depression, derealization, vertigo, and finding your way out of this labyrinth as you taper.. but I could not go cold-turk.

But these things pass, they are temporary.

 

I think tapering does help.. but there is still withdrawal.

Taper! Taper, taper!

As you taper, yes.. we heal.

I can feel my old self come come back as I tapered, BUT yes there is withdrawal.

 

This passes in any event!

 

"The Ashton Manual" by Heather Ashton, 2002

 

“It is impossible to give an exact time for the duration of withdrawal symptoms. It depends on where you start from, how much support you need and receive. How you manage your taper and many other factors. With slow tapering, some long-term users have virtually lost all their symptoms disappear within a few months. Vulnerability to extra stress may last somewhat longer and a severe stress may – temporarily – bring back some symptoms. Whatever your symptoms, it is best not to dwell on them. Symptoms are just symptoms after all and most of them in withdrawal are no signs of illness but signals of recovery. Furthermore, as your mind clears, you can work out more and more effective ways to deal with them so that they become less significant.”

 

What Summer posted is a good reassurance.. though I do believe you can rip a band aide off slow or fast.

 

Billy.

 

PS- Summer, where did you find this in the Ashton Manual?

 

Thanks.

 

 

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Hello Billy,

 

The Ashton quote is from Chapter 3 under the "COURSE OF WITHDRAWAL". The second paragraph.

 

I am happy this information was reassuring to you. It is to me as well.

 

Love,

Summer :smitten:

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  Specifically, do weakened nerve receptors begin to repair themselves or new ones appear at all during the taper?  Are my symptoms a signal that my body is healing?  It doesn't seem too thrilled to be letting go of this drug.

 

Thanks! 

 

Hi brooklyn1280,

 

Everything I have read suggests that healing begins as we taper. 

 

When I reached 0.5 mg down from 2 mg I was no longer sedated from morning to 3PM.  This was in itself, joyful!  My depression seemed to vanish.

 

In my experience, tapering continues to be a very bittersweet experience.  On one hand, I have terrifying moments, frustrating bouts of insomnia, and on the other hand, I am so much more alive than I have been in a very long time. 

 

It helps me to remind myself that my symptoms are signs that my CNS is waking up.  Sometimes I remember this and frequently I forget.  :idiot:

 

Hugs, :) Laurie

 

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[0f...]

Hello Billy,

 

The Ashton quote is from Chapter 3 under the "COURSE OF WITHDRAWAL". The second paragraph.

 

I am happy this information was reassuring to you. It is to me as well.

 

Love,

Summer :smitten:

 

:smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

 

Thanks Summer.

 

Klonkers makes a good point too. That is how I feel.

 

 

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Hi Brooklyn,

 

I am getting towards the end (yay!!) of my long road, and I can definitely say that I've started to heal.  While holding for over a month at .10 mg. of k, I actually started to have normal sleep patterns, sleeping for 7-8 hours.  Insomnia was the reason I was put on klonopin in the first place, so to know that I can sleep on my own is very reassuring.  I also have had friends tell me that I am more myself, that I am more animated and less sleepy looking.  That really got to me.  I didn't realize that people could see that I was taking something.  I only took it at night to sleep, but it stayed in my system all day too.

 

I recently had two weeks with mild withdrawal symptoms and feeling pretty normal.  However, I've had to hold again because the symptoms have started again and I am heedy all the good advice to take it REALLY, REALLY SLOW.  I didn't come this far to have regrets, so I'll take as long as I need to do it right!

 

Best of luck to you.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Lynn

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Thanks everyone for the info / advice / replies. 

 

Lynn, thanks very much for your post.. it is very encouraging for me to hear that you've come this far and you feel like you've been healing despite having symptoms and that you are taking things slow.  Best of luck and healing as you continue! 

 

Laurie, thanks as well for your post:  "It helps me to remind myself that my symptoms are signs that my CNS is waking up.  Sometimes I remember this and frequently I forget."  This is how I feel, too.

 

I've been holding at .375 for the past two weeks since I was slammed with DR at work, and it has been a little better this weekend.  When I resume my taper, I've decided to go the route of titration to try to achieve smaller, smoother cuts.  I ordered everything I need off Ebay, and will probably start that next week.  I'm hoping that making 1% cuts every day or two will be better than making a big cut and then waiting for my body to catch up.  That's what this has felt like, which prompted me to question whether I've even healed at all since I started tapering in September. 

 

Now that I'm feeling a bit better (not 100%), I recognize that I would not have been able to survive a day at this dose when I was taking 1mg all at once every morning.  That, to me is proof that I'm healing.  When the DR kicked in, it was tough for me to see that.

 

If I've learned one thing, it is that these cuts really are cumulative and that I need to go slower, even when I think I'm out of the woods. 

 

Thanks again Summer, Billy and Noolie for the info, especially the Ashton bits..

 

Best of health and healing to all!

 

:)

 

 

 

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Now that I'm feeling a bit better (not 100%), I recognize that I would not have been able to survive a day at this dose when I was taking 1mg all at once every morning.  That, to me is proof that I'm healing.  When the DR kicked in, it was tough for me to see that.

 

 

That is a very good point!!

 

When we get slammed, we are running faster than we heal. When we stabilize at a dose, it means that we have healed just a bit more. Sometimes we are able to run fast, other times we are stuck for a while waiting for our natural GABA to keep up. It is actually quite beautiful :)

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Hello Brooklyn,

 

I see you are going to titrate and slow things down. That is great. I wanted to post some supportive research on why to do a slow taper and thought it might be helpful.

 

I am the type of person who seeks to know what is happening and why, it brings comfort to me. I hope it does the same for you.

 

 

"Your Drug May Be Your Problem, How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications" 2007 fully revised and updated edition, by Peter Breggin, M.D. (a Psychiatrist)

 

Peter Breggin, MD. “Again, keep in mind that these withdrawal methods are only guidelines and not absolute rules. Applying them depends on how fast you feel comfortable to proceed and on how much discomfort you experience and can bear between dose reductions.”

 

Peter Breggin, MD." The most important rule is to respect your own feelings and to avoid tapering faster than you find bearable. Stay within you own comfort zone when pacing your withdrawal. Keep in mind that the longer you were taking the drug, and the higher the dose, the more gradual your taper should be."

 

Peter Breggin, MD. "Clinical experience with benzodiazepines also suggests that extension of the withdrawal period is not harmful, especially after the initial dose has been decreased by 50 percent. In ordinary circumstances, however, patients should be allowed to share in controlling the process, especially in regard to slowing it down."

 

 

 

“The Ashton Manual” by Heather Ashton, 2002

 

Professor Ashton." It is sometimes claimed that very slow withdrawal from benzodiazepines "merely prolongs the agony" and it is better to get it over with as quickly as possible. However, the experience of most patients is that slow withdrawal is greatly preferable, especially when the subject dictates the pace. Those who have been on high doses of potent benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin are likely to need more time."

 

Professor Ashton.  "It cannot be too strongly stressed that withdrawal symptoms can be minimized and largely avoided by slow tapering."

 

Professor Ashton. “There is no need to hurry withdrawal. Your body (and brain) may need time to readjust after years of being on benzodiazepines. Many people have taken a year or more to complete the withdrawal."

 

Professor Ashton. "Slow withdrawal in your own environment allows time for physical and psychological adjustments, permits you to continue with your normal life, to tailor your withdrawal to your own lifestyle, and to build up alternative strategies for living without benzodiazepines."

 

Professor Ashton. "Actually, the rate of withdrawal, as long as it is slow enough, is not critical. Whether it takes 6 months, 12 months or 18 months is of little significance if you have taken benzodiazepines for a matter of years."

 

 

I wish you well.

Love,

Summer :mybuddy:

 

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Professor Ashton.  "It cannot be too strongly stressed that withdrawal symptoms can be minimized and largely avoided by slow tapering."

 

I'm an absolute proponanent for slow tapering, have been tapering slowly and will be for a good while,  but am just curious how slow one must taper to "largely avoid" w/d s/x :)

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[0f...]

I think we do heal as we taper but also there are going to be some slight symptoms that come and go.

It just cycles out in this balance.

 

But I have no doubt we heal while tapering.

 

Billy.

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Thank you, Summer!

 

I still don't feel stable enough to continue my taper from this dose, and will continue to hold until I feel well enough for a consistent period, four or more consecutive days. Then I will begin titration.

 

I was tempted a few times to up-dose to get rid of some of the more intolerable s/x, but I've already been at my current dose for over two weeks and I would eventually have to look at this rung of the ladder again on my way back down, so I am simply holding and waiting.

 

Trying to remain positive. I'm grateful for this community and for the reminders to go slow. It is not my nature to do things slowly, but this is a different sort of creature than I've ever faced before. 

 

Like so many others here, I'm ready to get the real me back, not a sick or sedated version who fears going more than a few blocks from my apartment without my Rx handy just in case.  It's just going to take some time to get there.

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Hello Brooklyn,

 

I think you are doing great. I have found that this journey is individual and we learn as we go about what works for us. You are dong that! I am proud of you.

 

Love,

Summer :smitten::mybuddy:

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