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Post c/t withdrawal


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Hello, I am about a year and 5 months on from a c/t turkey withdrawal from clomazepam.  It was brutal, but I'm still holding on.  What I'm wondering, if anyone knows ...... is if long-term benzo use or a bad withdrawal can cause over the counter medications not to work?  Besides GAD and depression, I get migraine headaches daily.  Nothing I take helps.  I also have insomnia and nothing helps for it either.  Is it possible my CNS is so messed up that it won't allow these meds to work?

 

Thanks

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I don't know the answer to that, but I know I've had the same experience.  I CT'd Xanax about 3 years ago and I'm now in the midst of some severe stress related insomnia/depression/anxiety.  I've tried multiple things for sleep: benadryl, melatonin, herbs, nothing seemed to do what it was supposed to.  My husband wants me to try medication again, but I have a feeling I would react even more poorly to that than I did the OTC stuff.
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Hi Polly-I am about 8 months out from a c/t from Klonopin.  I don't have the problems with headaches, but I have GAD and problems with depression also.  I have severe back problems for which I take Tylenol, which doesn't seem to do much. I do take propranolol for anxiety, which seems to help some.  I am interested to see if anyone else has these problems also.  Hugs,  Jenn
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[23...]

I take one of the 50 mg. Unisom gel caps (diphenhydramine, I think it is) and 3 mg of Melatonin at night. Sometimes it will help me sleep and other times it doesn't. Have you tried that combination?

 

Right now it's not doing anything, but that's because I foolishly reinstated for 4.5 weeks (just as I was nearing the five month mark, too), so I'm back in acute w/d phase for however long it takes. Once I was out of that phase during the early part of my c/t that's when I found the Unisom/Melatonin combination helpful, so maybe you're in a better state than me and it'll help.

 

I hope this helps. Hang in there!

 

Tucson

 

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Thanks guys for the replies.  I'm really sorry to hear you're having to deal with this too.  I'm going to try the Unisom / Melatonin.  It can't hurt, I've tried everything else.  If only someone could come up with a brain shut-off switch.

 

 

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Hello polly7,

 

I am so proud of you. You are one year and 5 months benzo free. That is quite an accomplishment. As you know, a cold turkey can be very shocking to the system. Everything will recover it will just take time. I put together some information that may be helpful about sleep and anxiety. 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

 

INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS, THEIR CAUSES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

 

“Insomnia, nightmares, sleep disturbance. The sleep engendered by benzodiazepines, though it may seem refreshing at first, is not a normal sleep. Benzodiazepines inhibit both dreaming sleep (rapid eye movement sleep, REMS) and deep sleep (slow wave sleep, SWS). The extra sleep time that benzodiazepines provide is spent mainly in light sleep, termed Stage 2 sleep. REM and SWS are the two most important stages of sleep and are essential to health. Sleep deprivation studies show that any deficit is quickly made up by a rebound to above normal levels as soon as circumstances permit.”

 

“In regular benzodiazepine users REMS and SWS tend to return to pre-drug levels but the initial deficit remains. On withdrawal, even after years of benzodiazepine use, there is a marked rebound increase in REMS which also becomes more intense. As a result, dreams become more vivid, nightmares may occur and cause frequent awakenings during the night. This is a normal reaction to benzodiazepine withdrawal and, though unpleasant, it is a sign that recovery is beginning to take place. When the deficit of REMS is made up, usually after about 4-6 weeks, the nightmares become less frequent and gradually fade away.”

 

“Return of SWS seems to take longer after withdrawal, probably because anxiety levels are high, the brain is overactive and it is hard to relax completely. Subjects may have difficulty in getting off to sleep and may experience “restless legs syndrome”, sudden muscle jerks (myoclonus) just as they are dropping off or be jolted suddenly by a hallucination of a loud bang (hypnotic hallucination) which wakes them up again. These disturbances may last for several weeks, sometimes months.”

 

“However, all these symptoms do settle in time. The need for sleep is so powerful that normal sleep will eventually reassert itself. Meanwhile, attention to sleep hygiene measures including avoiding tea, coffee, other stimulants or alcohol near bedtime, relaxation tapes, anxiety management techniques and physical exercise may be helpful. Taking all or most of the dose of benzodiazepine at night during the reduction period may also help.”

 

I hope this is helpful,

 

Summer

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Hello Polly,

 

I put together some information regarding how to help ourselves once we are benzo free. 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.

 

Professor Ashton. “The Ashton Manual”, 2002

 

Mechanisms of withdrawal reactions. “Nearly all the excitatory mechanisms in the nervous system go into overdrive and, until new adaptations to the drug – free state develop, the brain and peripheral nervous system are in a hyper-excitable state, and extremely vulnerable to stress.”

 

  This is what Ashton says about post benzo recovery, "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 not 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"

 

One of the things we can do to help ourselves, as Ashton says, "Calm your emotions. Above all, stop worrying. Worry, fear and anxiety increase all withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are actually due to anxiety and not signs of brain or nervous system damage. People who fear withdrawal have more intense symptoms than those who just take it as it comes and think positively and confidently about recovery."

 

 

 

“The Accidental Addict” by Di Porritt & Di Russell, 2006

 

WHAT HELPS

 

“The only known cure for benzo illness is time. Time for the brain to start working again and time for the body to heal. In spite of this, people try to find ways to feel better. And there is no shortage of advice and therapies available.”

 

“These remedies can cost a lot too; and what is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. The cheapest and most old – fashioned remedies are still the best: information, support, good diet and rest. Acceptance and motivation lead to recovery too.”

 

Information

 

“Accurate information about benzo illness is found to be extremely beneficial to recovery. It makes sense that if you understand what to expect, you are much more able to deal with the fear, pain and ongoing symptoms.”

 

Support

 

“Sufferers have to keep living their lives and it helps if there are supportive people around. Maybe a boss who can reschedule some of the workload, or a friend who can look after the kids for a while.  Adequate support is essential to help people recover.”

 

Good Food

 

“A well-balanced diet is what most people find helpful in withdrawal – low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and moderate in protein. They find eating small meals regularly is best.”

 

Rest

 

“Adequate rest is essential in recovery. Lying on a bed or couch, watching a video or listening to the radio, is often the best medicine.”

 

I have also learned over time what works for me. I have routines I follow that help. And I find that BB is a great support too. This is a difficult road and you are not alone. We are here for you. We are in this together. I am going through this too.

 

I hope this is helpful,

Summer

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I know that was meant for the OP, Summer, but I thank you for those quotes.  I'm so depressed today, and I needed to hear those things. 
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Hi summer!!! I love how you post all of this information!! My question to you is where do i go to learn?? Is there books to help me understand what we are going through and where would i find them??
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Hi Polly, I am 1 year and half months off like you, I used to have headaches that can blow your brain out, for soo many months, It's a symptom of anxiety, and in WD it hits the weakest of you, I sometimes take Panadol, just over the counter pain reliever, I use to take it for cold before taking these poison, it lift me up on DR, and lift my anxiety a little bit, and I feel fine for a couple of hours, but I don't take it much and maximum 2 pills a day when needed,

 

The most important from my experience of this that it has to be mild on your stomach and doesn't aggitaes it, and if things a not managable you can try a minimum dose, but for me I would go first the natural ways with ice and warm pads or hot and cold showers :)

you will be fine dear, this will be a distant memory, I had a lot of sxs gone now (It does get better)

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Summer, thank you so much. 

 

My thinking is so muddled right now from the anxiety and headaches I'll have to read it a few times, but this information is comforting to read.  My c/t withdrawal was by force d/t a new psych. who I'd seen for half an hour for insomnia and anxiety issues  - and who didn't even want to hear the word benzo ...  called my doctor to cancel them when I next went in to refill my prescription.  This happened to be just days after my Dad committed suicide when I needed help the most and had actually been out of meds for days because he'd gotten so ill, so it was brutal ... and sometimes I think it just screwed me up beyond repair. 

 

I really appreciate you taking the time to look all this up and bring it here so thanks again.     

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Thanks Tommy for the Panadol mention .... I'm going to look into that, too.  It sounds like you're doing really well with your w/d, that's awesome.     
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Your welcome Polly, just want to mention one thing that helped me a lot, try to eat regularly small meals and every like 2 hours, all what we have or atleast from what I feel comes from my stomach, so if your stomach is empty the gastric acid will start to pour in reviving what you have, so you have to fill it with something, this to shall pass :) hope you get well soon
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