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Out of breath all the time


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Along with my muscle weakness and incredible fatigue, I am out of breath all the time.  I am struggling to get a good breath in and have labored breathing when walking, standing, even sitting.  Can all of this really be benzo w/d?  I have seen one doctor who did a basic blood panel but given my symptoms, I am wondering if I should get a second opinion.  I have to take a "rest" after taking a shower now--several months ago I was taking hikes, running, etc.  Now I feel like I am lead, my feet shuffle when I walk and I feel like I am 90.  I feel like this is getting beyond the scopes of w/d at this point and that the Ativan w/d has triggered something else.  I don't feel like these are super "common" symptoms and I didn't have them until recently.

 

 

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Hello TinaCA,

 

 

I saw your question and put together some information that may 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.

 

"The Ashton Manual" by Heather Ashton, 2002

 

BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:

 

INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS, THEIR CAUSES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

 

 

Heart and lungs. “Palpitations, pounding heart, rapid pulse, flushing, sweating, and breathlessness are usual accompaniments of panic attacks, but may occur without panics. They do not signify heart or lung disease but are simply the expression of an overactive autonomic nervous system. Slow deep breathing and relaxation, as described under panic attacks, can do much to control these symptoms. Do not worry about them: they would be accepted as normal if you were running for a bus, and will do no more harm than if you really were!”

 

 

 

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

 

Breathing and Lungs

 

“Breathing difficulties are very common in withdrawal. People feel that they have to gasp for air, as if the oxygen has somehow run out. They sigh continually in the effort to get more air in their lungs. It is as though the breathing mechanism has been disrupted.”

 

 

“The Benzo Book, Getting Safely off Tranquilizers” by Jack Hobson- Dupont, 2006

 

“Those who are in the throes of benzodiazepine dependency would do well to absorb that idea: the sole problem you are having is that benzodiazepine has interfered with one of your body’s most elemental functions, that of attracting GABA to its neural receptors. The results of this condition may well present as a staggering array of withdrawal phenomena, everything from insomnia and anxiety, which would seem understandable, to dental distress, difficulty breathing, sinus problems, twitching muscles…..the list is seemingly interminable and contains phenomena that would appear to have nothing to do with the nervous system. Subjectively, these phenomena feel like illness. What is happening to someone whose many trillion nerve cells are down- regulated because of benzodiazepine is neither disease nor tissue damage, but more like a mechanical malfunction. Therefore, recovery is more akin to ‘repair’ than ‘healing’. Being aware of the actual nature of what is wrong helps demystify the rather bewildering process of getting on with recovery.”

 

 

I wish you only the best,

Summer

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Hello TinaCA,

 

 

I saw your question and put together some information that may be helpful. What can be done about it is in the last paragraph of Ashton.

 

 

 

“Benzo-Wise, A Recovery Companion” by Bliss Johns, 2010

Symptoms from A to Z

 

Weakness: feel drained of energy, almost unable to move or even sit up

 

Muscle twitches/Jerks/Spasms: involuntary movements – myoclonic jerks, tics, twitches and spasms in different areas of body including extremities

 

Muscle/Joint pain: joints feel arthritic and muscles stiff and hurting, muscles feel as if performed rigorous exercise

 

Muscle rigidity: muscles all over feel extremely stiff, inability to move agilely

 

 

 

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

 

Muscle and Joints

 

“Severe muscle and joint pain, spasm, tension and weakness are all very common. Muscle pain is often a general dull ache but at other times it can be particularly severe, especially in the neck and shoulders. Wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles can also be very painful.

 

Muscle spasm and tension

 

“People often wake up in the morning with cramps in their legs or tight knots in their necks and shoulders.”

 

Muscle weakness

 

“Weak muscles can make the simplest tasks difficult in the early stages of withdrawal. Just to get up out of a chair or hold your head up is too much at times. Any activity which involves raising the arms above the head is completely exhausting.”

 

 

 

"The Ashton Manual" by Heather Ashton, 2002

BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:

 

INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS, THEIR CAUSES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

 

Muscle symptoms. “Benzodiazepines are efficient muscle relaxants and are used clinically for spastic conditions…..It is therefore not surprising that their discontinuation after long – term use is associated with a rebound increase in muscle tension. This rebound accounts for many of the symptoms observed in benzodiazepine withdrawal. Muscle stiffness affecting the limbs, back, neck and jaw are commonly reported, and the constant muscle tension probably accounts for the muscle pains with have a similar distribution. Headaches are usually of the “tension headache” type, due to contraction of muscles at the back of the neck, scalp and forehead – often described as a “tight band around the head”.

 

“At the same time, the nerves to the muscles are hyper excitable, leading to tremor, tics, jerks, spasm and twitching, and jumping at the smallest stimulus. All this constant activity contributes to a feeling of fatigue and weakness (“jelly-legs”).” Jelly legs: legs feel weak and rubbery as if about to give way. In addition, the muscles, especially the small muscles of the eye, are not well co-ordinated, which may lead to blurred or double vision or even eyelid spasms (blepharospasm).”

 

“None of these symptoms is harmful, and they need not be a cause of worry once they are understood. The muscle pain and stiffness is actually little different from what is regarded as normal after an unaccustomed bout of exercise, and would be positively expected, even by a well-trained athlete, after running a marathon.”

 

 

“There are many measures that will alleviate these symptoms, such as muscle stretching exercises as taught in most gyms, moderate exercise, hot baths, massage and general relaxation exercises. Such measures may give only temporary relief at first, but if practiced regularly can speed the recovery of normal muscle tone – which will eventually occur spontaneously.”

 

 

 

Love to you,

Summer

 

 

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Thank you Summer.  You are so sweet to always be reassuring everyone with cited references.

 

It would be nice to also hear from people that have similar symptoms (and have hopefully recovered or are recovering).

 

Tina

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Hello TinaCA,

 

I saw your question and put together some information that 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. These are all well documented symptoms.

 

 

Would that explain the fatigue?

 

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

 

FATIGUE AND LETHARGY

 

“Fatigue and lethargy are two of the most common and persistent symptoms that strike people in withdrawal. Fatigue is weariness from bodily or mental exertion, whereas lethargy is a state of drowsy dullness and apathy. These symptoms very often appear in the early days of taking benzos and can disappear overnight only to return several weeks later. Many people are so weakened by these two debilitating symptoms that they have to stop work or are unable to look after their families.”

 

Fatigue

 

“Benzo fatigue is not a normal, pleasant sort of tired ness – it can be a general weariness or total exhaustion, and sometimes a stressed-out feeling as well. Sleeping is the only way some people cope with this symptom. Others feel weary but can’t sleep because they feel jittery or agitated.”

 

“People report a mental exhaustion; they are able to do physical work but their minds seem to shut down: “The tiredness is in my head, it isn’t my body that’s tired.” Fatigue can strike at any time – it is not necessarily the result of effort, although exertion can bring it on.”

 

Lethargy

 

“People feel so sleepy that they regularly doze during the day. Apathy and a total disinterest in what is going on means that they just can’t be bothered. It is too much effort. They can often sit, staring into space.”

 

Exercise and Exertion

 

“As the majority of people suffer from a general tiredness or exhaustion, they find most forms of exercise impossible in the first few months of withdrawal. Digging in the garden, vacuuming the house, chopping firewood seem to be almost impossible for some time. That kind of exertion can make people very ill indeed.”

 

Too Much Too Soon

 

“If you have been unable to exercise and have been feeling ill for some time, it is easy to be misled when you feel a little better. It is common for people to take that opportunity, go shopping or out to dinner, only to find that halfway through the meal, they feel exhausted and have to go home.”

 

 

 

“Your Drug May be Your Problem, How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications” by Peter R. Breggin, M.D., 2007 (a Psychiatrist)

 

Chapter 3 Your Drug May Be Your Problem-----But You May Be the Last to Know

 

Common Adverse Effects on Your Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving

 

Fatigue. You find that you don't have the same amount of mental or physical energy that you once did and that you get tired and discouraged more easily. You may be sluggish or lethargic when you get up in the morning and exhausted by the evening.

 

 

“Benzo-Wise, A Recovery Companion” by Bliss Johns, 2010

 

Symptoms from A to Z

Exhaustion: extreme weakness, feeling totally without energy as if just completed a marathon, ‘bone tired’

 

Fatigue/Lethargy: extreme tiredness, listlessness, lacking in energy

 

Lethargy/Fatigue: extreme tiredness, listlessness, lacking in energy, unable to even sit up

 

 

Summer

 

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Thank you Summer.  You are so sweet to always be reassuring everyone with cited references.

 

It would be nice to also hear from people that have similar symptoms (and have hopefully recovered or are recovering).

 

Tina

 

Hello Tina,

 

You're welcome. I will stop posting references to you. I hope you hear from those that have recovered or are recovering.

 

I have all of these symptoms too. You are not alone. I have been on this journey for 3 years now.

 

I wish you only the best,

Summer

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Summer--you have what I am describing?  Man, this is all awful.  I actually appreciate the references--didn't mean it that way ;-)  I hope we both get off this stuff in one piece and someday feel terrific again.

 

Hugs,

Tina  :smitten:

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This is my worst symptom, I am constantly forcing myself to yawn or sigh to get a deep breath, I am breathing, just feels like I cant, I absolutely hate it, it comes on in waves but  I do get  relief from it,  its not  stress, for me it is definately  benzo related, more so now that i am tapering, it was worse in the early days of ativan c/t , I hope that this window I am having right now continues as it is so nice not to feel that elephant on my chest and throat :)
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Summer--you have what I am describing?  Man, this is all awful.  I actually appreciate the references--didn't mean it that way ;-)  I hope we both get off this stuff in one piece and someday feel terrific again.

 

Hugs,

Tina  :smitten:

 

Hello Tina,

 

It is nice to hear from you. I do have and have had all of those symptoms and more. I have recently been in a really big wave of pain, depression, anger, rage, confusion, brain fog, and fatigue. My heart hurts like there is someone squeezing it. I have found I need to do my best to keep things calm. I have been doing playful things like coloring and watching Winnie the Pooh and reading Calvin and Hobbes. These are very simple things I can do that may help keep me busy and distracted.

 

I have to continually work on acceptance. Sometimes when I'm in a really big wave it helps me to read about acceptance and do fun things with things to get me through the day.

 

I am so happy you are part of my life. This journey can be very lonely. You are not alone here at BenzoBuddies. It is not easy to believe that one drug can cause all of this. And that this is not front page news.

 

How did you sleep last night?

 

I'm sending you my love and warm thoughts,

 

Summer :smitten:

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I have this breathing issue too. Lot's of yawning from shallow breathing. I can however deep breath when I make the conscious effort. There in lies the problem, the our sympathetic nervous system isn't working all the way and it's depressed or respiratory system.http://www.holistichelp.net/dysautonomia-autonomic-nervous-system-dysfunction.html

 

Increasing ones "nitic oxide" levels will also help with breathing, this happens normally when breathing through the nose. The amino acids, L-Arguinine and L-Citrulline, when taken together can produce nitric oxide gas for the blood stream. This has some very helpful cardiovascular benefits as well. http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/breath2.php

 

Magnesiun citrate can be helpful in relaxing the bronchials.

 

Breathing exercises have been helpful for this symptom as well, here's some information on it. http://www.amsa.org/healingthehealer/breathing.cfm

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Ladygrace-So glad you ar experiencing a window--I hope I get one soon!

 

On the Mend-thanks for the atricle.  I am sorry you are also experiencing it.  I tried the deep breathing technique the article described and it did help a bit.  The article also mentioned that dysautonomia can lead to chronic conditions.  I think that's what I am concerned about--that all this stress (constant flight or fight) to my system over the last few months has now morphed into one of those chronic condtions he listed (most likely CFS).  I mean, how much can a body take before it begins to fall apart?  I am hoping I am wrong, but of course this concerns me.  I cannot feel like this chronically--like I've literally been hit by a truck.  It HAS to eventually improve!

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TinaCA,

 

I think when it comes to benzodiazepine or other drug induced dysautonomia, it is usually a benign situation and is expected to return to normal and usually does. I think the article is also referring to other potential causes for dysautonomia, like diabetic autonomic neuropathy or congestive heart failure there are others too. I wouldn't be overly concerned, since this is really another symptom, much like an increased or decreased blood pressure. These will all get better and better as time goes on until it will finally be forgotten.

 

OTM

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TinaCa, I feel exactly as you do,have been in this wave for 29,days, the day before it hit, I worked out side for 6 hrs, now the most I can do outside is 15 mins, I have noticed my ocd and intrusvie thoughts have increased we both are are going to heal,happy easter to you and your family god bless bando
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Band I pray for an Easter miracle for both of us. I know I was hiking and feeling energized before. Now just running errands takes so much energy. I see people jogging and am so envious of their energy! This has been going on for a month for me too. I hope it lifts for you soon!
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