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I live on state disability in Los Angeles. I’m unemployed with no insurance and medication my doctor prescribed is having serious side effects she didn’t warn me of.  I don’t have any immediate family and have no partner or spouse so I’m hoping someone here can offer sound advice.  The situation is complicated and this diary is longwinded, but I’m hoping someone here has been on this drug or had a relative or friend who was that can tell me to do.  I don’t know where else to turn.

Last summer, my doctor at the free clinic put me on disability for depression. I was having severe anxiety so she prescribed Ativan (also known as Lorezepam).  I had been given Ativan before in the emergency room when I had anxiety attacks a decade ago (none since), but I knew nothing about the drug except that it calmed me down. It turns out Ativan is part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines—often called “benzos” for short.  Benzos include drugs like Xanax and Klonopin and are highly addictive. They also have dozens of serious side effects.

My doctor prescribed it to me on August 2nd. At no time did she warn me that it was addictive nor did she warn me of the side effects. She referred me to their staff psychiatrist who kept me on Ativan and added Wellbutrin to the mix—also at a minimum dose. Again, the psychiatrist did not warn me that it was addictive and what the side effects could be. I trusted both of them implicitly and assumed they would inform me of any possible danger with the drugs since they know I’m clean & sober. The last time I saw them was on January 3rd when I told them of increasing grogginess, severe muscle aches that lasted for hours and that I had started waking up early, unable to get back to sleep the month before.  I said that my pulse had gotten elevated and he advised I stop the Wellbutrin, but continue the Ativan. He then told me to double the dose of Ativan so I did.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia on Ativan…

“Lorazepam [Ativan] has relatively potent anxiolytic effects and its best-known indication is the short-term management of severe anxiety; the FDA advises against use of benzodiazepines such as Lorazepam for longer than 2–4 weeks.”
They kept me on it on for 5 months until January 4th when I choose to stop taking it because I could no longer tolerate the side effects.  Within 48 hours, I had a full-blown anxiety attack.  

My whole body ached and my heart was racing. I spent most of the day in bed trying to get my heart to slow down, alternating doses of aspirin and ibuprofen every few hours to manage the pain.  Late that night, I went to my pharmacy and used the blood pressure machine there.  My pulse was 149 over 100.  I checked it four times over 20 minutes and although my systolic blood pressure was elevated, my diastolic blood pressure went down below 100.  I could also breathe normally. Those 2 things told me I wasn’t having a heart attack.  Besides, I don’t have insurance and I didn’t want to risk thousands of dollars in medical bills for something that was a temporary condition where I believed my life wasn’t in mortal danger (though it sure felt like it).

I quickly realized it wasn’t the Wellbutrin that caused my side effects. It was the Ativan.  I went online and looked Ativan up on Google. I was shocked and stunned by what I found.  According to multiple sources including Wikipedia, there are literally 3 or 4 dozen side effects, some of them life-threatening such as convulsions and seizures.  The risk of side effects increases when you stop cold turkey like I had. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, but was too afraid to go back on it.  When I called my doctor on Monday and told her everything that happened, she said to keep taking it—but at the lower dose. I should be fine.

I was appalled and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It didn’t match up with what I’d read online.  Everything I’d read said you needed to start tapering off of it with a tapering schedule. Eventually, it is highly recommended you stop the Ativan completely after a while and switch to Valium and then start a tapering schedule with it.  My doctor didn’t mention any of this and appeared to be unconcerned.  Her reaction was blithe and calm, like nothing was seriously wrong.  I was so angry and struggling with the side effects that I wasn’t sure what to say or do.  In hindsight, I probably should have continued the Ativan, but I was angry with my doctor, afraid to take Ativan again and didn’t know who to ask for advice on what to do.

I have not taken anymore Ativan yet I continue to have serious side effects.

It’s been very up and down ever since.  After that first week in January, the symptoms seemed to lessen and things got manageable. For about 2 weeks, I was okay.  I slept maybe 6 or 6 ½  hours a night. The muscle aches went away, the headaches were manageable and I didn’t have any anxiety attacks. I thought everything was fine now and there would be no more problems.

After those 2 weeks, it started all over again.

February was pretty bad.  Super Bowl weekend, I couldn’t sleep more than 4 hours both nights and the muscle aches, headaches and anxiety attacks were back.  I was using Benadryl almost every night to help me sleep.  I went back to see another doctor at the clinic since my primary doc was unavailable.  It turns out he is the executive director of the clinic.  They wanted to put me on Effexor, but one of the people on the benzo withdrawal websites had said that Effexor was even worse to detox from than Ativan (he also was on both). Plus, this 2nd doctor claimed I’d be just fine in 3 months.  Everything I’ve read about benzo withdrawal says it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year.  The doctor agreed I should not start Ativan again and he prescribed 2 mg of Valium that I could “take as needed.” Again, he didn’t give me a tapering schedule even though I had asked him to.

The information I found about benzo withdrawal conflicted with what my doctors were telling me. The week after that, the clinic called me and told me my regular doctor’s schedule had changed so they had to bump me from March 2nd to March 23rd.  The Valium affects me worse than the Ativan. Some nights I can’t sleep at all. I tried using Melatonin to sleep one night and it didn’t work at all; I had to take Benadryl again to get to sleep. The clinic called me again this week and bumped my appointment all the way to May 4th.  

I have kept my therapist (who I think is an MFCC in training) informed of everything that’s happened.  She is very supportive and extremely knowledgeable about benzo withdrawal. But she is an intern working for free and though she’s willing to help, she’s very limited in what she can do.  Yesterday, I had a bad anxiety attack while I was sitting at home resting and reading.  I immediately called the clinic.  They told me to take more Valium and that if things got worse, go to the emergency room.  Last night, I tried to sleep without taking any Benadryl.  I was up until 4:30AM and finally gave up and took 2 Benadryl.  I slept a grand total of 3 hours which is down from 5 hours the previous 2 nights.

I’m asking people here because I am at the end of my rope. At this point, I feel like I’m all on my own and there is no one I can turn to.  I am very scared.  I try to remain calm.  Writing this diary is helping soothe my frayed nerves.  So far, my heart rate has been normal—I am only suffering from muscle aches, headaches and insomnia.

I know at some point I have to stop taking Benadryl to sleep, but I don’t know when. The Valium seems to make my symptoms worse so I don’t want to take that.  I still have the Ativan, but I won’t allow myself to take it.  During this whole ordeal, both my doctor and my psychiatrist never once warned me about benzo addiction and withdrawal.  Nor did they ever warn me of all the side effects.

My therapist has helped me work through my depression; it is under control through therapy. Now, the primary issue is how my body is suffering from getting off of benzos.  Has anyone here either had a loved one deal with this or been through this situation themselves? How do I get my body back to normal and be able to sleep like I did before benzos? What agency, clinic or doctor can I turn to who will guide me to full recovery from benzo withdrawal?

All I want is for my body to go back to normal, to be able to sleep normally again, to not live in fear of when the next withdrawal-induced anxiety attack will strike.  I have no idea where to go for help.  If my own doctors won’t help me, what do I do now?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dunno But I Have Relatives With Depression and (9+ / 0-)

    we've had run-ins with antidepressants that went bad for them.

    You need professional advice immediately. With some of these drugs it may not be safe to just stop taking them cold-turkey even if they are bad for you.

    If the clinic itself suggested the emergency room you may want to consider going there if you can't get seen very soon. Hate to mention the ER on a Saturday but I guess there's no good day for it.

    Good luck and I hope the situation gets better for you soon.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 12:50:01 PM PST

  •  I sent you a PM n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gay CA Democrat
  •  You need to see a doctor. If you are limited (7+ / 0-)

    by your disability (financial limitations) for getting a second opinion, your therapist should have access to multiple assisted health services listings.

    The only other option is to walk into the ER at the nearest state-subsidized teaching hospital.

    Don't Tread On Me ... you've got Santorum all over your shoes. Ewwwww !

    by mumtaznepal on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:01:33 PM PST

  •  Gay CA, how certain are you that some of your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, BachFan, Pluto

    symptoms are withdrawals?

    •  Platypus60--sorry, I accidentally deleted my reply (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, platypus60

      It's definitely withdrawal. For those who might be going through something similar, Google the Ashton Manual for tons of information on benzo withdrawal.

      The insomnia is the worst part for me. Sleep deprivation exacerbates all the other symptoms like racing heartbeat, chest pains, muscle aches and headaches. If I am able to sleep, the other symptoms are much more manageable.

      I will post a link to the Ashton Manual.

      •  Withdrawal from bezos is known to sometimes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roseeriter

        cause seizures because of the symptoms you mention.  It is one of the hardest drugs to withdrawal from.

      •  I really hesitate to say this, (0+ / 0-)

        but if you are sure it's withdrawal, for myself I would consider crushing a pill and taking a tiny portion of it every other day with the intent to cut it to zero.

        I am extremely drug sensitive. I had anxiety attacks at one time and was prescribed xanax. I asked for the lowest dose and then took a half dose at night rather than 2-3 times/day that was prescribed.

        I slept like a baby for the first time since the problem began, and quickly got off the xanax.

        I have had a deep depression for the last few years, and the drug experiments conducted on me have been a nightmare.

        You seem to be drug sensitive, and I will tell you this. With a new drug, always start with the lowest dose available, and then cut it in half when you first take it.

        I've had side effects last for months after quiting an anti-depressant that was wrong for me.

        I don't think you need to worry about using benadryl at night. I have an ex that takes it every night. He's told his doctors. They think it's harmless. I've used it for sleep a few times, but have found it sometimes backfires.

        If benadryl works for you, take it just before you go to bed rather than after you're already having insomnia. Insomnia feeds on itself.

  •  I don't want to scare you (5+ / 0-)

    My 88yo mother was hospitalized last year for a prescribed overdose of anti depressant medication.  She spent one month in rehab after that to regain cogntive function.   It damn near killed her ..  She sufferd from leg pain, delusions, inability to urinate, aggression and inability to stand up, or function in any capacity.

    Her GP prescribed 3 different drugs, none of which she needed and was completely responsible for this.  

    Please, before you take anything,  ask questions, look it up on the Internet.  You have the right and responsibility to know what is going into your body and what effects it might have

    I hope you find a practitioner that will listen to your concerns and take them seriously

    My Brothers Keeper

    by Reetz on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:20:33 PM PST

    •  Thanks, Reetz. You didn't scare me. (0+ / 0-)

      I've been corresponding with someone about this and talking with friends on FB. The additional support is helping, especially from those who have been through benzo withdrawal. Talking to them is giving me some practical information about how to treat the symptoms.

      And trust me--I'll never take anything prescribed by a doctor again without researching it thoroughly first. It's a horrible way to learn that lesson, but now I'll never forget it.

  •  I have no knowledge of these... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gay CA Democrat

    ...drugs. But I have experienced moderate to severe anxiety attacks while flying so I feel your urgency.

    I talked to my Dr. and he prescribed 1-2 Xanax before/during flights. With that dosage I'm sure I never came close to the danger of addiction.

    All I can offer are my thoughts and an online hug. All the best and I hope you feel better soon Gay CA Dem.

    California*, Conneticut, Iowa, Maryland*, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington*. (and District of Columbia) *pending

    by cooper888 on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:26:10 PM PST

    •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

      People with a family history of addiction can get addicted even on the smallest amounts of benzodiazepine. I certainly did and so have others. That's what drove me to post this diary. I felt like I had to ask others for help because I was getting nowhere with my doctors.

  •  Your pharmacist (14+ / 0-)

    is a great resource. Print this out and take it to the pharmacy so you have notes. Tell them that you are at a loss with how you are being dealt with by your provider. They know how meds work better than a doctor usually-- especially with side effects.

    •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

      Write down the name of all of your meds including the over-the-counter meds like benadryl, include the dose and frequency as well. e.g., lorazepam, (Ativan) 1 mg twice a day.

      Something may be interacting with something else to cause the symptoms, or it could even be an interaction with food.  You should also have your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy if possible, even if you have to pay a little more.  The pharmacist can flag any interactions, therapeutic duplications or inappropriate dosing when filling a new prescription.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 02:11:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely, jardin32. (0+ / 0-)

      Pharmacists are a line of defense between your doctor and big Pharma. Pharmacists have to know this stuff, and can give you advice about combinations of drugs as well as side effects of individual drugs.

       

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 08:20:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Primary care docs are great, but... (12+ / 0-)

    ...your condition rises to the need of seeing a psychiatrist. Primary care docs don't typically see patients with your symptoms and psychiatrists are much better situated to meet your needs in balancing your brain chemistry. Most large or free clinics have access to medical social workers who can help you find the appropriate services and how to get them paid for your needs. They're immensely helpful for navigating all the red tape.

    And I HIGHLY recommend to everyone that they closely read all literature that comes with their prescriptions. I guarantee that the addiction issue and known side effects are clearly listed there.

    I sincerely hope you're feeling better soon. Not sleeping is awful. It makes everything else feel much worse.

    "Reality divorced the wingnuts after the wingnuts were discovered to be fucking goofy." - DWG

    by Jojos Mojo on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:31:35 PM PST

  •  hi! I'm a doctoral level psychologist (22+ / 0-)

    Ive been seeing patients for twenty years and have seen lots issues re: benzos.  I cannot give you advice on true medica,
    L issues, but I can describe my experiences.  First of all, marigold is exactly right.  When you take benzos over a long period of time, they backfire.  I work with my pts. psychiatrists to get them off benzos in an appropriate time frame.  I hate them.  Effective therapy should be able to manage your anxiety within the 2-4 week time period.  Cognitive therapies are best for anxiety.  Have you been taught relaxation or visualization tools?

    Anyway, benzo withdrawal is much worse and more dangerous than Effexor withdrawal.  No psychotropic medication should be abruptly stopped, it always backfires.

    I have little faith in ERs.  They often are not competent with these types of medication.  Obviously, if you are quite ill you should go to one. You should give a copy of this diary to every Dr. You see about this issue, it is an excellent synopsis.  If you go to the ER, request a psychiatric consult.

    You simply HAVE to see a competent psychiatrist to manage these medications, withdrawal, and side effects.  There are no magic bullets.  Do everything you can to find a really GOOD psychiatrist.  If you have a teaching hospital nearby, that is your best bet and the best ER to go to.  People at the hospital, or your therapist should be able to give good referrals.

    Again, these are my observations, every individual and every mental health professional is different.  This is what I would tell my patient.  Ask about deep breathing exercises - they are the easiest and most effective.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 01:33:32 PM PST

  •  Smth similar happened to my dad years ago. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gay CA Democrat, murrayewv

    He went to the doctor again, insisted on changing the medication or seeing another doctor. They did change the medication for him. Btw, most of these drugs have long lists of possible side effects. Pls keep self-medication to the minimum, it can be dangerous for drugs of this type.

  •  doing your own research (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara, Gay CA Democrat, notdarkyet

    My personal situation is quite different but I have found that doing my own research is vastly better that poor medical advice from MDs uneducated in my problems.  I would not pretend to have the equivalent of a medical education, but if one is narrowly concerned with a specific problem it is possible to get as well educated as they are on that topic.  Of course if you can find someone who knows what they are doing that is great.

    I am no expert on your situation but it is my personal observation that valerian root, an over the counter herb, has similar effects to valium.  Might be worth your investigation to see if it is appropriate for you.

    Scientific Materialism refuted here

    by wilderness voice on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 02:22:45 PM PST

  •  They tried these meds with my son (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewley notid, cynndara

    when he was younger, none of them helped him, only knocked him out or made him worse.  We weaned him off them and worked through therapeutic treatments instead.

    I have had trouble with doctors raising my prednisone then telling me to just stop cold turkey when I ran out. Prednisone is also dangerous like that, and I know better. I had a doctor many years ago who taught me how to taper down from a prednisone dose and I always rig my  prescription to do just that, even if it means I'm not on the high dose for as long.
    (they may give me 20 pills and tell me to take four a day for five days, I'll take four for three days then start tapering down.)

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 02:29:55 PM PST

  •  I agree with the advice to talk to a pharmacist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara

    My experience has been that if they're not busy (early in the morning or late at night), they'll talk to you for as long as you need. And quit taking pills. Any pills. Give your body a chance to reset itself. There are many drugs for depression and anxiety. Each works differently on different people. A good psychiatrist will work with you until you find one that relieves your symptoms and doesn't cause side effects. A lot of doctors just prescribe the most popular, and leave it at that. Unfortunately, when you're depressed it's difficult to be a good advocate for yourself. But try to pull yourself together, and keep asking questions until you find a suitable solution. If you need to talk further, please KosMail me. I don't know a lot, but I'm willing to help in any way I can. Good luck.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 02:46:40 PM PST

  •  You sound perfectly normal to me. Scared. (13+ / 0-)

    I'm not a doctor, just someone with years of experience in what you describe. Doctors are often the problem because they have no idea, personally, what you feel like. What a panic attack feels like. They think they do, but they don't. It feels like you and your body are right then and there physically dying. It's frightening beyond describing.

    Benzodiazipines boost levels of GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) in the brain. GABA is an amino acid, but it acts as a neurotransmitter. It's the most abundant neurotransmitter in a human, and it's role is to regulate both neuronal action and muscle tone.

    In plain English, GABA is your "take it easy" neurotransmitter. Without it, we'd all be in full on "flight or fight" mode 24/7 -- maniacs. So benzos to boost your GABA is a key medication for you. You exhaust your GABA levels with your constant stress, and you need to boost them back to normal levels to avoid anxiety attacks, to avoid your hormones and brain running wild with no brakes. GABA is your brakes. As you wear them down, replace them.

    Xanax (generic: alprazolam) boosts GABA better than any other benzo, but only if taken in baby doses constantly, like .25mg every 6-8 hours. You can take it for decades at that tiny dosage and it will never cause side effects or withdrawal or addiction. It just sets your GABA levels a bit higher, back where they were before you worried them away.

    A person can also somewhat boost GABA by taking a couple teaspoons of Inositol powder each day -- especially right before sleep to help you snooze.

    You don't mention what dosages you have been taking, so I cannot comment on that. I do know you don't want to take benzo doses higher than .25mg 3-4 times a day or you will get into a loop where the benzo creates anxiety reactions next day, requiring higher dosages, which loops around again and off you go toward addiction.

    Benzos are only to ease panic and anxiety, which are symptoms. The disease is fear, raw and real. Legitimate, genuine terror.

    Your permanent solution is to understand that you are having normal human reactions to the fear and stress you are under, and come to a change of mind and heart about the lousy hand life has dealt you just now. Unemployed, under charity medical care, all alone, feeling helpless, wondering who to turn to, what to do -- profound, constant feelings of anxiety and panic are a perfectly normal reaction to what is on your plate currently.

    You stuff it down, and try to carry on. And stifled fear leads to depression, for no one likes to feel helpless. Nothing makes a human angrier, and repressed anger IS depression. I hope you punch pillows, and at least say out loud what you are pissed about. Anger is healthy if it is directed at bringing about a change in what bugs you.

    But right now "Fight or Flight" is how you feel most of the time, inwardly, and this directly causes your anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and tension. Don't be ashamed or upset that you are fearful -- all humans feel this way as soon as they get in a situation where they do not feel safe and warm and all set. You are normal to panic about stress and uncertainty and feeling helpless. Both your body and mind want desperately to do something right now, anything, to change your situation to safe and all set -- but there is nothing at hand to do.

    So you tick like a bomb. All your hormones, neurotransmitters, muscles, glands, thoughts, feelings, stomach acid and a whole lot more fire off like crazy -- enough energy is suddenly running through your nervous and endocrine system to fight off a mountain lion -- while you simply sit in a chair, feeling like you're dying, ready to explode. Hence the hypertension, which will only get worse if this goes on.

    The solution is to make a change of heart and mind about your situation, your obstacles. Try sitting and relaxing all muscular tension, and then relaxing your feelings. Change them purposefully and consciously to feeling safe and all set. Pretend you're sitting on a million gold coins. Visualize that. Visualize love, health, family issues, whatever you were worrying about -- visualize each source of worry completely solved for you.

    You are retraining your physical brain as you do this, retraining it away from habits of panic to habits of confidence and capabiity. You can train it often, just about anywhere, anytime. Choose to feel safe and all set a dozen times a day, and it will sneak up on your life. You'll be there one fine morning.

    The single most effective thing is to throw off all blame and burden for your situation, and place it elsewhere. You didn't personally cause your obstacles, problems or distress. Life just brought them to you.

    Stop blaming yourself for anything. Forgive what you know you caused yourself, and toss all the rest out the window. You didn't choose your parents before you were born, you didn't raise you, and you didn't cause the headlines in this morning's paper. You didn't make the world you live in -- you are just here, and you have no hope of ever changing the past. You have only the rest of your life, and whatever obstacles stand between you and feeling safe and all set.

    To be happy with you, to be happy to be here.

    That's your work. You have no worries. Just your work.

    Benzos will help your symptoms, but nothing will change permanently until you can sit and believe, as fear and panic mounts, as a wave of wild "fight or flight" hormones rush over you, "Here we go round again. Well screw this. I didn't ask for this. And I am not to blame for this. And I do not accept this. This fear will pass. And then the obstacles in my way will pass. I swear it. They will all pass."

    When panic recedes, as it always does, get up and do something simple to better your situation, rather than sit and worry about your past or your obstacles -- worry is a downward spiral that will take all the time left in your life and reward you with nothing whatsoever.

    Your legitimate fears are healthy and real but they cannot ever beat you, only delay you if you wallow in them. Hard times is not your fault. It is not anything you did. It's just raining shit sandwiches right now, for people all over this country, and we are all trying to deal with just what you are experiencing, all of us to one degree or another.

    You and me and all of us are feeling the same fears.
    Join us in saying, "No. I won't accept this."

  •  What she said. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter

    Just add onto it:  "The drugs are NOT going to kill me."  They may make you feel lousy or agitated or anxious, but they really AREN'T going to kill you.  Your doctors don't take your symptoms seriously because they aren't living in terror, with their minds playing tricks on them to blow everything up to world-colossal proportions.  And it's not your fault that your mind is doing that.  It's the combination of the crap you've had to deal with, with the drugs on top of it.  But do take a deep breath and realize that it's not as bad as it feels.  The doctors wouldn't be blowing you off if they really thought it was likely to be a serious problem.  The problem is that their concept of serious and yours are two different matters, hinging on the fact that they can't experience what's going on inside of your body.

    You shouldn't stop benzos cold turkey or use them as long as they gave them to you, but you don't need a patronizing collegiate to give you a tapering schedule.  You've obviously done some research.  If you're having rebound anxiety and sleeplessness, then you probably ought to take at least small doses of the drugs for a few weeks to let the system wind down.  But convulsions really aren't very common; they'd only be likely to occur if you already had epilepsy (benzos can be prescribed for that) or had been taking massive doses for a very long time.  And remember, you had anxiety before you started the drugs, because you were in a crappy situation that makes anxiety a very realistic reaction.  That hasn't gone away.  That's why a lot of people become drug addicts.   Many life situations suck.  Our society doesn't take proper care of its members, and then once people are the least bit down, it kicks them with shame and blame for having "failed".  Throw that back at the blamers, both outside and inside of yourself.

    Disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor or a psychologist; I'm a witch who spent a dozen years in a community that regularly used various mind-altering drugs herbal, legal, and illegal, followed up with seven years working with major drug abuse researchers and then another seven running a university human research office.  In any of those communities, benzodiazepines are considered extremely safe, mild drugs that seldom cause real problems.  But anybody can have strange reactions.  The Benadryl you're using to sleep would send me into a sweating, panic-stricken funk with hallucinations -- that's MY biochemistry.  I've had people go into full-blown manic attacks from OTC valerian capsules.  Your mileage is yours, and that's another thing you don't have to accept any crap about.  If a Doctor tells you differently, tell it to go to hell and enjoy the opportunity to screech like a mad banshee with perfect justification.

  •  Don't make medical decisions solely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jojos Mojo

    from what you read on the internet.

    You went cold turkey because you found out your meds could be addictive.  Lots of things  are addictive.  Eventually your dr would wean you from the drugs.  You, however, chose to do it cold turkey.  

    You cannot mess around with these drugs.  You cannot safely go cold turkey.  As you have found, this causes more and new problems.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 05:06:13 PM PST

  •  I have read that withdrawal symptoms from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter

    that class of drugs can last as long as four years.  Don't take any more.  I know it is hard.  My doctors never warned me and it is the only drug I ever had withdrawals, severe withdrawals from.  I swore I would never take it again because it was so painful.  I would suggest you smoke something.

  •  I did not sleep for two whole weeks when I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter

    quit it.

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