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Ativan cold-turkey 1 mo. ago. Miserable. Start a taper? Which drug? K or V????


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I was on low, low dose Ativan for 2 years originally prescribed for inner ear problem in Jan 2010.  Looking back now, I realize I quickly had rebound anxiety/dizziness...all docs said I was anxious and take more Ativan.  Over  a couple of months, developed tolerance, upped dose, started having even stranger symptoms...  sheer panic attacks, agoraphobia, head pressure, photophobia, occasional nausea, internal tremors, insomnia,  brain zaps, felt like I was walking on a boat....back to docs...same answers.  Except I was DX. with Adrenal Fatigue summer of 2010....put on supplements....diet was already good and blood pressures eventually stabilized.  This winter, symptoms got worse...started having patchy numbness and tingling.  I finally in Feb 2012 I figured out I was and had been having for at least  1 1/2 years interdose withdrawal and it was getting worse.  I finally found this site and scheduled appointment with a psychiatrist in hopes of a crossover/taper.  No.  He said stop the Ativan cold turkey and I would be fine in a week.


So I've been off Ativan since Feb 13th.  I'm having all the symptoms I had when I was having interdose withdrawal.  I do remain on Progesterone and Estrogen transdermal therapy by compounding pharmacist...and I do get some relief from the Progesterone which, apparently, is a benzo agonist.  I tried lowering those doses and was slammed. 


  We moved a year ago, and I have seen a G.P. here a couple of times.  I haven't seen him since I figured out what has been happening to me over the past 2 years.  The last time I was in his office,  I was there to review labs measuring my hormone levels.  Estrogen and progesterone still a little low.  AM cortisol a little high, not bad.  Thyroid fine.  Electrolytes fine.    I did mention tingling that was just mild then...and he chalked it up to anxiety and told me to take more ativan more often, so I'm not sure how he would respond if I took the journal I'd kept the last 2 years and could actually show him exact meds, dose times, symptoms.  It's so clear to me when I review it now.  How I missed it, I'll never know.  Anyway.


Would it make sense for me to try to get a doc to put me back on a benzo with longer half life and do slow taper in order to let my body try to adjust????  Would Klonopin or Valium be better?  Or should I just continue to tough this out?  It's pretty debilitating.  Would I upregulate better on a taper?


Thanks to anyone with some insight on this......and hugs across the board.

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The decision to reinstate depends on how much you're willing to go through. While reinstating can be beneficial for some who've tried to ct, it can also harbor its own problems. Some have complained about a worsening of symptoms when they reinstated and didn't really stabilize through their taper. Others have had success and probably benefited better from reinstating, but it depends on the individual. You might take to reinstating well, so it's always an option to keep open.


Staying the course of your ct could have you feeling worse off but, I'm not sure about this so please don't take my words as fact. Others sometimes don't reinstate after being off for so long but, if you're symptoms become too great, then the option to reinstate is always there. If it were me, I'd try to stay the course since I'd already been off a month. If you do decide to reinstate, I'd suggest seeing how Valium treats you since it's half life is much longer than Ativan.


Hopefully others will chime in with their stories. I really can't speak for anyone since I did a Xanax taper.

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Reinstating to the Ativan might work, but sometimes reinstatement doesn't improve symptoms and the person is left still suffering about 80% as much as they were only now they still have to taper down.  I haven't yet been able to ascertain a pattern as to who might do well with reinstatement and who won't, except that reinstatement within the first two weeks is likely to go better than after that.


Some people do great with reinstatement.


Another option might be a low dose of Valium.  You would probably not notice instant improvement, but after a month or so you might have some relief of symptoms, and then you could taper down off the Valium.


Also, although your psychiatrist may or may not be very open-minded, I think they all need to hear from us when they give advice like "stop and you'll be fine in a week."  At some point you might want to write to him and let him know what happened when you followed that advice.  If we don't tell them, they'll never learn.  (But if he tells you what you're experiencing "can't be withdrawal" then just let it go, it's not your job to persuade him.)


Just a note, NOT "dissing" doctors here. There are many well-informed and compassionate physicians and other healthcare providers who are very concerned about benzo victims. 



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