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I developed anxiety after 1 year of trying to find the right BP medicine. When they finally felt they had it I was still not certain (oct 2011). At this time I was diagnosed with GAD because i was hyper about my pressure. I was prescribed Ativan and an SSRI.  The Ativan started at 1.5 mgs a day and went up to 3 mgs a day early in dec 2011. I felt what i consider interdose withdrawl during this period and I needed to get off ativan but was still not sleeping. In mid December my GP added Ambien 10mg for sleep and Lexapro 10 mg for depression. I reduced my dose to 1.5 mgs for most of January 2012. Howver the Lexapro was not working for me and changed me to Zoloft 25 mg. For the first three weeks in February I tapered to 1 mg day Ativan. Feeling pretty good, CBT working and talked about stopping Ativan with GP. He said OK as it was such a low dose.  1 week later all hell broke loose. A variety of symptoms appeared, burning stinging skin, elevated BP, electric shocks to feet, headaches that felt like the top of my head was being squeezed. Any back to GP and was put on Valium 4 mg day with the Zoloft now 50 mg and ambient 10 mg for sleep. After 4 days some of the symptoms have eased. On a follow up visit he says i should increase to 6 mg Valium a day and wants to see me again in 4 days possibly to increase again. Will I ever get off this stuff? I should have listened to my gut back in Oct when I felt this was not for me. But in such anxiety over high BP (160-170/80) i caved and gave in. My GP to this day says he has patients on Benzos for long periods of time and I am on such a low dosage that this is not a problem. Anxiety is to blame. Don't know who is right or what to do. Suggestions?
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Welcoming you to Benzo Buddies.


You will find plenty of support here.


Sorry to hear what you have been through. Is your doctor on board with you as well?


If you have any questions let us know.


How to add a signature, if desired: Signature  :thumbsup:


Tapering boards:

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?board=56.0General General Taper Plans

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?board=62.0Titration Titration Taper Plans



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Sorry to say probably not. He still thinks longer term useage is OK given my severe anxiety (in his opinion). PDoc I saw says same thing. "you will be on meds for a long time".  I don't mind being on SSRI, but the benzos scare me tremendously from what I have read. The milk has been spilt, the clean up I feel will be terrible!
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Hello, tbill,


Welcome to BB.  ;)


Is your blood pressure under control right now?


What you experienced physically is very representative of benzo withdrawal.  A slow tapering method is very helpful to minmize those symptoms.  If you are feeling stable and wish to discontinue the Valium and Ambien, that slow taper would be recommended.


Take heart!  You have not been on these drugs for a prolonged period and your dose is still low.  I'm glad you are on Valium and tolerating it, as it has a long half life and that makes tapering easier and smoother.  You could very well be one of those people who can come off with relative ease.


Keep posting. Tell us what you need and ask whatever questions you have.  This is a wonderful, peer support group.  No one will tell you exactly what to do as we are all so different.  You will get real life success stories and hope that this can be done - and it can!


I am down to myblast two mg and it has taken me 15 months to reach that point.  My dose was much higher than yours and I'm quite familiar with the symptoms you describe. 


It's fortuitous you have found this forum when you have.  It can circumvent much misery.

I'm glad you are here!  :thumbsup:


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Thanks for your support. However convincing my doctor is another problem.  I have suspected this condition since November.  Today started well but now have stinging in legs again. I am considering uping to 6 mg valium day as doctor prescribed to see if i can stabilise at that level. He has prescribed this. Funny thing all during these episodes sometimes I did not take all I was supposed to. At one point in December he wanted me to 5 mg Ativan day. Tried four but felt even worse (1day). Went back to two a day ASAP. Most times I did not take all I was supposed to as I did not fell all that anxious at times. Seems side effects are more intense with activity. Was out on disability for 11 weeks mid November to beginning of February. When I went back to work symptoms intensified again (very active job delivering by truck).


To answer you specific question, yes saw doc yesterday and says BP stabile, but due to this have now been layoff from work.

Not good but will survive God willing

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Hi back tbill,


Oh, I thought you said Ambien and you said Ativan. So sorry.  The actually makes a difference.


You may already know this but Ativan is a shorter acting benzo than Valium.  The burning yu are experiencing could be something called interdose withdrawal, which just means the effects wear off before you take you next tablet.


So right now you are taking 2 mg Ativan and 4 mg Valium?

Do you spread doses out during the day?  This could help to stabilize you.

1 mg Ativan is approximately equal to 10 mg Valium.


In affect you are taking the equivalent of 24 Valium (10 + 10 +  4)


What many people do is a relatively slow crossover to Valium and then start a taper.  Do yu think yur doctor would be agreeable to prescribing more Valium to replace the Ativan?


I'm really glad your BP is under control.  :thumbsup:




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sorry to confuse you. 


October 2011

Ativan 1.5 mg day  Never felt good about this tingling in legs from begining. Told it was anxiety.



Ativan 2 mg day Added tarzodone for sleep tried for 1mo no luck. Stopped taking switched to ambien



Doc wanted me to Ativan 5 mg day but resisted tried to go to 4 but body not accepting. Stayed at 2, some days 3 mg

added ambien 12/16 for sleep. been on ever since. only lasts 3 - 5 hours still today.

added SSRI lexapro took till end January switched to zoloft 25 mg



Ativan 1.5 mg day - my decision felt time to get off been to long and many side effects.

Lexapro 10 mg - began giving  me itchy feelings after dosing daily subsided over next few hours but 2 weeks felt lousy.

ambien 10mg



Ativan at 1 mg day till 20th. the doc said to low to worry about OK to stop- MISTAKE!

Zoloft 25 mg

Ambien 10 mg


February 27

Valium 4 mg day.

Zoloft 50 mg

Ambien 10 mg


Mar 1

Increase valium to 6 mg day as doctor's instructions. Howeve is this the way to go?  Having some return of symptoms today


Sorry to be so long. 


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You weren't long, tbill, that's good relevant information. :thumbsup:


Are your symptoms manageable at 6 mg?  It looks like you've been off the Ativan long enough that there is certainly no reason to reinstate it.


You are taking two drugs that affect your GABA receptors, albeit in slightly different ways; Valium and Ambien.


The typical method of withdrawing from these is to first address stabilization, then taper the Ambien, then the Valium.  It's possible you may need to increase your Valium dose to compensate for the decrease in Ambien.


In effect, you've reduced you dose by almost 50% - quite rapid - by cutting out the Ativan. It's not surprising you are feeling some anxiety and burning.


If it were me, I would speak to my doctor at the next opportunity and tell him I would like a stabilizing dose of Valium in order to taper the Ambien.  If that's the path you choose, there are people here who have done a similar taper and can aid you with a scheule to follow.


Please don't get hasty and discontinue either drug suddenly.  This would cause extra discomfort for you and I know you have to be functional to keep you job.


I don't know if you've read the Ashton Manual or not so here is a link. Read it while you're waiting to see your doctor.  It will answer many questions for you.


Hang in there! And be safe driving. 




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I really appreciate your information.  I have read the Ashton information and this is what caused me to believe I was in withdrawl.


Hopefully, I can convince my Doctor of the same thing. Seems I am very sensitive to medications of all kind. Maybe from the Lymes disease I had years ago. Have never been quite right since then. Was one of the first to be diagnosed with it. That took 6 months. Lots of medications and wrong diagnoses before got headed in right direction. Seems to be going same way this time. I find once doctors get a hook on what they feel is wrong, it is very hard to convience them otherwise.  I have done so much research on this it is mind boggling and still my doctor is still hooked on anxiety. So looks like a game that has to be played between his and my feelings.


What a way to live.


Again thanks for all your information.



PS I just started at 6 mg Valium today so we shall see how it goes!

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