Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Great Info Here
Posted: February 9, 2006, 12:09 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



XANAX, ATIVAN, KLONOPIN, VALIUM, great info here

I m going to give you some real good info links. Please take the time to read them.

http://www.geocities.com/BenzoBuste...Kwithdrawal.htm

http://www.breggin.com/benzodiazepine.pdf

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm

http://www.tlctx.com/ar_pages/paw_part1.htm

remember knowledge is power in beating this

You can do it

This post has been edited by RUNVS on February 9, 2006, 1:08 AM



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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: February 11, 2006, 2:10 AM


Posts: 109
Joined: December 4, 2005



Thanks!

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“Drugs are not always necessary, but belief in recovery always is.”
Angel Cordero, Jr.

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Posted: March 4, 2006, 5:16 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



To understand the efficacy of the benzodiazepine drugs as tranquillisers and sleeping pills it is necessary to know how these drugs work on the brain. And to understand benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal, it is necessary to understand the body's compensatory reaction to that action.

Throughout the brain and spinal cord there are GABA receptors, which both inhibit neural activity and, indirectly, alter the production of neurotransmitters, such as noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. The benzodiazepines act on these receptors to increase their inhibitory activity and reduce the flow of some of these neurotransmitters and so induce, among other things, calm, sleep, lack of emotion, and relaxed muscles; and they begin to act in minutes.

After about two weeks of the continuous presence of these chemicals, the brain begins to compensate for this increased inhibition by reducing the intrinsic inhibitory action of the GABA receptors, and increasing the production of some neurotransmitters, thereby producing the state of neuroadaption known as tolerance; and this state of tolerance takes, at least, one year and often two or three, in the absence of the drug, to reverse back to normality.

So what does tolerance mean for everyday behaviour and experience? It means that the only way the person involved can limit their excitability and alertness - their readiness for "flight or fight", the fundamental survival mechanism, is by taking the drug. Between doses, as the level of the chemical in the brain decreases, they have only their weakened GABA receptors to modify their experience, and at the same time, an increased flow of noradrenaline etc. This is an intolerable state to be in, and the only solution is to take more of the drug, because the person's natural ability to modify neural activity has been weakened and there is nothing else which will do that job. That is the basis of the chemical addiction to a benzodiazepine.

Under these circumstances the benzodiazepine addicts know they cannot manage without the drug, and they are right. They are as right as diabetics who know they cannot manage without insulin. However, benzodiazepine addicts do not know why. They usually assume, with the support of most professionals involved, that this is a weakness of character, if not full-blown mental illness. This is the nature of psychological dependence.

At the same time it seems that there is no compensatory reaction in the areas mediating emotion, memory or sensory experience; they remain anaesthetised as long the drug is present, and for some time after it is stopped. It is also necessary to understand that after the drug is stopped the initial detoxification period takes between six to eight weeks compared to five to ten days for heroin or alcohol, and neurophysiological recovery takes years.

Recovery is interspersed with periods of intense withdrawal symptoms. This is not fully understood but is probably connected with the fat-soluble nature of the drug, its long-term storage in the body's fat cells and its cyclical release into the blood stream over many years.

Victims of Tranquillisers Newsletter (1995) Issue 1, VOT, Dr R F Peart, 9 Vale Lodge, Vale Road, Bournemouth BH1 3SY

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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: March 4, 2006, 12:55 PM


Posts: 278
Joined: March 7, 2005



Thanks. Very nicely stated and will provide many here with great info.
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Posted: March 6, 2006, 9:24 PM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



PROTRACTED BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A number of people are expressing fears that some benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms last for ever, and that they can never completely recover. Particular concerns have been raised about impairment of cognitive functions (such as memory and reasoning) and other lingering problems such as muscle pains and gastrointestinal disturbances.



People with such worries can be reassured. All the evidence shows that a steady decline in symptoms almost invariably continues after withdrawal, though it can take a long time - even several years in some cases. Most people experience a definite improvement over time so that symptoms gradually decrease to levels nowhere near as intense as in the early days of withdrawal, and eventually almost entirely disappear. All the studies show steady, if slow, improvement in cognitive ability and physical symptoms. Although most studies have not extended beyond a year after withdrawal, the results suggest that improvement continues beyond this time. There is absolutely no evidence that benzodiazepines cause permanent damage to the brain, nervous system or body.


People bothered by long-term symptoms can do a lot to help themselves. For example:

(1) Exercise your body. Physical exercise improves the circulation and function of both brain and body. Find an exercise that you enjoy: start at low level, work up gradually and keep it up regularly. Exercise also helps depression, decrease fatigue and increases general fitness.

(2) Exercise your brain. Use your brain to devise methods to improve its efficacy: make lists, do crossword puzzles, find out what bothers you most - there is always a way round it. Cognitive retraining helps people to find ways around their temporary impairment.

(3) Increase your interests. Finding an outside interest which you have to work at employs the brain, increases motivation, diverts attention away from your own symptoms and may even help others.

(4) 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 much more intense symptoms than those who just take it as it comes and think positively and confidently about recovery.
(copied from Ashton's Manual)


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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: March 14, 2006, 10:49 PM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Heres a story that really helped me http://www.benzo.org.uk/corey.htm

Hope this helps someone else.
Heres an update on Corey's story he just emailed me today.
"I am fine now, took awhile though. It took about 3 years before I was completely symptom free."

Corey


This post has been edited by RUNVS on March 15, 2006, 12:13 PM



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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: March 19, 2006, 9:03 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Hope this Info Helps others.
http://benzobuddies.org/community/

This post has been edited by RUNVS on March 19, 2006, 9:04 AM



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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: April 9, 2006, 2:05 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Valium (Diazepam) vs. Klonopin (Clonazepam) in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

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Valium (Diazepam) vs. Klonopin (Clonazepam) in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
by Dr. Reg Peart Victims of Tranquilizers

About 20 different drugs, including diazepam, clonazepam,
barbiturates and other non-benzodiazepine drugs have been used for treating
benzodiazepine withdrawals with varying degrees of success or failure.
Diazepam is the most commonly used drug and has the highest success rate
for the reasons given below, but because of the large inter-individual
variability of response to benzodiazepines, there is no “one size fits all”
solution to the withdrawal problem.

Diazepam and clonazepam, like all benzodiazepine drugs, were found to
have five therapeutic actions, i.e. anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant,
amnesic and hypnotic. Diazepam was marketed in the mid 1960’s for all five
therapeutic actions; while clonazepam was developed and researched in the
late 1960’s and early 1970’s and marketed in the mid 1970’s primarily as an
anxiolytic and anticonvulsant.

Any drug with similar therapeutic spectrum to the above will be both cross
tolerate and cross dependent with the benzodiazepines and in principle will be
of some help in benzodiazepine withdrawal. As well as the therapeutic
actions, drugs with long half-lives are essential to prevent interdose
withdrawals and to produce a helpful accumulation of the parent drug.

In a few benzodiazepines the metabolites of the parent drug are also
therapeutically active with the same five therapeutic actions. Of these only
diazepam and chlordiazepoxide (Librium) have long half-lives for the parent
drug and for the active metabolites. Librium is most commonly used for
alcohol withdrawal and diazepam for a range of drug withdrawal problems.

The active metabolites of diazepam are:

1) Desmethyldiazepam – marketed as clorazepate (Tranxene) and
prazepam (Centrax).
2) Oxazepam – marketed as Serenid
3) Temazepam – marketed as Normison/Euhypnos

The combined half-life of diazepam and its active metabolites is over 200
hours and this produces an accumulation of 5-7 times the therapeutic action
of diazepam. It takes up to eight weeks for most of the accumulated drugs to
be eliminated from the body. This "umbrella" of the benzodiazepinesa is the main
reason for the success of diazepam tapering. The high accumulation levels
produced by the diazepam active metabolites also reduces the probability of
tolerance problems during tapering.

There is no obvious reason why about 10% of the people have problems with
diazepam tapering, but it is sometimes due to one or more of the following:

1) Incorrect equivalent dose – the values quoted by Ashton, et. al.
are those found to be effective in benzodiazepine withdrawal
and should in principle compensate for any difference in
binding of the benzodiazepines to either the same or different
benzodiazepine receptors. There values are not necessarily the
same as therapeutically effective doses, but sometimes are.

2) Poorly planned or too short a period for the exchange from
another benzodiazepine to diazepam. Mild daytime sedation at
the end of a 2-3 weeks exchange suggests the equivalent dose is
correct.

3) Failure to maximize accumulation of diazepam used and its
metabolites – it takes about four weeks to achieve 90% accumulation,
i.e. four weeks after exchange.

4) Tapering too fast. Each person should find the rate suitable to
themselves. A good starting guide is 2 ˝ % of the initial dose/week.
The rate for the last 1/3 of the taper should be reduced to ˝ of that for
the first 2/3.

Clonazepam is one of the nitro-benzodiazepines series, i.e. nitrazepam,
flunitrazepam, clonazepam, and nimetazepam. It has a half-life of 20-50
hours and accumulates from 1.5 to 3 times the daily dose level. Most of it is
eliminated from the body in 5–10 days. Along with triazolam, clonazepam
has the highest incidence of side effects/adverse reactions of the
benzodiazepines.

An important difference between diazepam and clonazepam is that
clonazepam does not produce active metabolites. Withdrawal symptoms
increase markedly with accumulation of clonzepam, much of which is due to
action of the inactive metabolites as well as the parent drug. This withdrawal
symptom problem can be minimized at dose levels below 3 mg/day.

In most countries, diazepam is marketed in 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10mg tablets and
solution yielding 0.1 mgs or less. Clonazepam is marketed only as 0.5 mg.
and 2 mg. (in the US it is produced as 0.125 mg, 0.25 mg, 0.50 mg, 1.0 mg,
and 2.0 mg tablets). Hence for many, the option of using clonazepam will not
be available for practical reasons.

Very few papers have been published on the use of clonazepam in
benzodiazepine withdrawals compared with many on the use of diazepam;
hence it is not possible to make an assessment of their relative merits.
Clonazepam meets three out of four of the criteria (1. The five therapeutic
actions, 2. A long half-life, and 3. Accumulation) and it may well be suitable
for a minority – it’s a “black art” not a science.

N.B. It has been reported that diazepam produced by generic suppliers can
vary by as much as 20% of the stated dose from batch to batch. If so, in order
to avoid possible dose variations, Valium as produced by Roche should be used in diazepam tapering – it is more expensive

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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: April 14, 2006, 12:07 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



this is not me but a fellow benzo victim

a success story that may help other long term sufferers

I am 47 years old and have been a successful attorney
for over 20 years. I am divorced with 3 daughters,
the youngest 12, who I have full custody of. I guess
I was always "anxious", which maybe is not the best
thing for a lawyer to be, but anyway I guess my first
problem arose when I developed a intestinal disease
(which I am sure was caused by stress!) when I was in
my late 20's, which led to some major abdominal
surgery when I was 33. For whatever reason, after
that surgery, I was even more anxious and started
having real trouble sleeping. My HMO doctor tried me
on Prozac but I got so wired from it that I
discontinued that and tried various over the counter
sleeping aids for a couple years until I went to a HMO
psychiatrist who, after a 5 minute consultation,
diagnosed me as having "situational anxiety" and put
me on 3 mg klonopin and 150 mg Trazadone. While I
guess I looked up on a PDR to see that Trazadone was
an anti-depressant, I don't remember even looking up
about Klonopin, certainly I never thought it was a
powerful drug and never understood that it was in the
same class as Valium, which I had taken off and on
over the years to relax. I never really thought about
the long term consequences of taking these pills, as I
was just so happy to find some immediate relief since
I started sleeping better and feeling better during
the day, without any real side-effects. I reduced my
dose of klonopin to 1 mg after about one year, and my
HMO doctor continued to prescribe these drugs to me
over the years, without much discussion.

Fast forward to mid-2003, when I just started getting
very tired and unfocused and, while I could perform my
job ok, I just was not motivated or very happy. I
thought my problem was from drinking too much, as I
had a brother who went into rehab and had been sober a
couple years and was convinced everyones problems were
rooted in alcholism, so I decided in early 2004 to
take a leave of absence from my job and go into an
out-patient treatment facility for a 30 day program.
My assumption was that I would be "all better" in a
month and everything would be back to normal! Boy was
I wrong!

The rehab center sent me to a hospital for a 3 day
detox. Without telling me why, they took me off the
klonopin and while I was in the hospital I was on a
small amount of phenobarbital. The whole detox scene
was a joke: here I was with major heroin addicts,
people taking 30 vicodin a day, people who were
drinking a gallon of alcohol a day. They were all
being pumped with all these meds (gorilla pills, they
called them) and I was the only one who wasn't all
druged up. It seemed like there was a competition
going on as to who was the worst addict, and here I
was trying to fit in, but my "addiction" paled
compared to the others: I maybe drank a couple drinks
at night, and had no idea at that point that my
problem lay in that little pill I was taking every
night to sleep!

I was so happy to get out of there after 3 days and
was actually feeling pretty good, and right when I was
leaving the detox center director cautioned me that he
just looked at my record (probably for the first
time!) and realized I was on klonopin and that "that
stuff is tough to withdraw from" and he urged me to
stay there for a while longer. My conclusion was that
he was just trying to tap my insurance for some more
money (which I am sure was at least partly right) and
I was actually feeling ok, so I left the hospital and
went to the rehab facility.

Well the long and short of it is that after a couple
weeks of "treatment" (12 step) I was feeling worse
than ever, whereas some heavy duty alcoholics and
heroin addicts were doing fine. I could barely focus
or function, and the director of the rehab facility
sent me in for blood tests, which came out normal, and
then started pumping me with vitamins, etc. The
"addiction specialist" doctor who was associated with
the center concluded I was "depressed" and put me on
neurontin, which barely helped me sleep at all and
had unacceptable side-effects such as groggiess.
(When I told him it was not working, he doubled the
dose!, which led me to a month of diarehea which he
thought was caused by a parasite and had my stools
tested, etc, until I discovered on my own through
talking to my pharmacist that it was the neurontin,
and the problem went away within one day!) There was
no way I could even think about going back to work,
and still thinking I was just recovering from alcohol
withdrawals, and not knowing what else to do, I
extended my treatment for another 30 days.

Around 2 months into my recovery, someone mentioned
something that made me wonder about klonopin, and when
I typed that word into my search engine, I found the
Ashton Manual which answered all my questions. I
couldn't believe that the symptoms I was experiencing:
brain fog, incredible insomnia, congnitive
dysfunction, head pressure, incredible anxiety,
electric shock experiences, unbearable fatigue, total
lack of joy, body pain at night (especially in my
legs), emotional blunting, were almost identical to
the symptoms of benzo withdrawal. Hell, I didn't even
know what a benzodiazapine was, let alone that
klonopin was in the same class of drugs as valium or
xanax, or that that little 1mg pill I was taking for
the last 9 years was equivalent to 20 mg of valium!
Nor was I aware that I should be tapering off the
klonopin, and here I was c/ted for the last 2+
months...what could I do? I found this site and asked
what should I do and basically I was told that I was
too far along to reinstate without some major
problems, so I was stuck in a cold-turkey recovery.
But still, how long could this last...it would have to
be over soon? I went to my "addiction specialist"
doctor and brought him the Ashton Manual. He told me
there was no way I was experiencing klonopin
withdrawal and denied that I should have slowly
tapered off the 1 mg I was on. (A real addiction
specialist who probably never dealt with benzo
problems in his career!) He continued to assert I was
depressed, and that was why I was so tired and
unfocused, and tried to get me to go on Wellbutrin.
Well this doctor had lost all his credibility, and I
knew I was on the right track following the advice of
the Ashton Manual, so I largely bid him goodbye at
that point. Over the next 9 months I explored many
treatments: yoga (which I found to be incredibly
beneficial in that it got me out of the house and some
exercise and some relaxation and some socialization),
sufi treatment involving healing and meditation (of
course I was so zoned out that I could not clear my
mind to meditate, but it was a nice diversion), detox
fasting, various therapists; unfortunately nothing
really worked: where some symptoms seemed to fade,
others took their place, but the primary symptoms
never waned for more than one day!

And of course my friends and my family didn't
understand. They all thought I was either suffering a
mid-life crisis, or that I was depressed, or that I
was just "weak". That was probably the worst, that
several of my friends said what I was experiencing was
the same as they go through ("I have trouble sleeping
too" or "I get tired in the afternoon" or "I have
trouble focusing" or "I am not interested in reading
the newspaper either"), but that they were somehow
tougher than me or that I was just being a baby! And
of course my ex-wife just used my illness to her
advantage: since I was not working, I was a
convenient driver and baby-sitter fot the kids 24-7.
I think you all know how difficult it was driving the
kids around in my condition--hell I didn't have the
energy to walk around the block, or open mail, or
change a light bulb, or water a plant--yet I had no
choice but to deal with my kids. At the end of the
day I must be grateful for what my ex did to me: it
forced me to go on living my life, despite the fact
that what I was living was pure hell! Thankfully my
youngest daughter, Carly, who has been with me
throughout this hellatious experience, was the only
person who understood that I was really sick: and
while she needed me more than anyone, I could count on
her not to be judgemental.

Then there were my parents! Without whom I would be
bankrupt. I would certainly have lost my house and
tapped into all my retirement. But, my dad was
impatient and, even after I let them know what I was
going and provided him a copy of the Ashton manual,
never really bought into my illness. (The same with
my brother, who is a prominent doctor: it is like no
one wants to educate themselves about what is really
going on, which is understandable since they have
their own lives, but is very frustrating when they try
to offer "advice" which disregards everything you try
to tell them!) So my dad tells me I have to get a job
or he will cut me off around one year into my
recovery: so I decide I will try to go back to
school, since there was no way I could go back to
work. So I take a couple classes at a local college,
can barely muster the energy to go to classes,
certainly cannot read a book, and drop out after a
couple weeks. Here I was, having breezed through
college and lawshool with pretty much straight A's,
and I can't even handle a junior college class!



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Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: April 14, 2006, 12:08 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



ONLY ONE THING SAVED ME during the first year of
recovery: that was my guitar. I have played guitar
all my life, and picked up my guitar around 3 months
into my recovery, and where nothing else gave me any
relief, be it food, tv, companionship, I found that I
found total relief from playing my guitar.
Furthermore, where I may have written a handful of
songs over the 30 plus years I played, all of a
sudden, I had a burst of creative energy which led,
and continues to lead, me to compose over 50 songs
over the last year! Some of my religious friends say
"what god takes, he gives something in return if you
know where to look." For me it was my music! I don't
think I was ever suicidal, but many lonely nights and
days were spent playing songs and finding some level
of contentment, even at the height of panic attacks
with my heart beating a mile a minute, my guitar was
there for me!

Then I hooked up with an attorney to explore a
disability case. I am not going into the details
(since this is still in litigation), but I hate
disability insurance carriers: they are evil! It was
such an unbearable ordeal, at the height of my
withdrawal symptoms, dealing with these devils who
would demean me, question my honesty and integrity,
call me out of the blue and hassle me to try to get me
to drop my claim. But my attorney referred me to a
neuro-psychologist who performed some IQ type tests on
me in 2/05 and concluded my brain was not functioning
right. For the first time I had my illness validated
by someone in the medical profession. She referred me
to a neurologist who performed a series of tests on my
brain, all of which came out normal, except the sleep
study, which determined that I was suffering from
periodic movement of legs syndrome and restless legs
syndrome. No wonder I couldn't sleep and why I was
suffering from "cognitive dysfunction"...so finally I
had a medical validation for my disability: of course
none of the doctors believe it was caused by klonopin
withdrawal, but isn't it ironic that the treatment of
choice for this disorder is, you guessed it,
benzodiazapines! Of course, short of going on benzos
again, or some sleeping pill, there is no real
treatment for this sleep disorder.

Aroung this same time my momma died. She was 85 and
had a good life, and thankfully I was there for her
and my dad at the end. Unlike my brothers and
sisters, however, I realized that despite my symptoms,
which were still quite severe, I could cope with her
dying and was in many ways much stronger than anyone
else.
Whether by coincidence or not, around this time (the
13th month of my recovery) is the first improvement in
my condition. The brain fog and head pressure seemed
to fade, out of the blue. I was still suffering
extreme anxiety attacks and was getting no more than 3
hours sleep a night, etc. but I gradually noticed this
one area of improvement and later realized that it
happened at 13 months, just like vetarans in this
group predict.

Shortly after this, Paul Thornton of this group posted
his "success story", which happened to mirror my
experience, and I found renewed hope that I would
recover! Thanks Paul! I provided his story to my
family and for the first time they seemed to
understand what I was going through!

For the next 6 months I cannot say I was doing much
better though. I would still only sleep a couple
hours, wake up with major anxiety attacks and extreme
leg pain (which my neurologist claimed was due to my
leg movements and which I have found has been
significantly reduced by a small amount of codeine),
and have incredible problems focusing or socializing,
get extremely tired in the early afternoon, but if I
tried to nap, would wake up with electric shock
impulses and incredible anxiety which would ruin the
rest of my day! I sold my house 4 months ago, which
was way too big for me to keep up and which I couldn't
afford, and therefore got in a position where I had
enough cash on hand to keep me going comfortably until
I got better, and found that even though moving was
incredibly hard and stressful, I mustered enough
energy to get it done and it relieved me of a lof of
pressure. This may have helped more than I realized
since now I am renting and nothing bothers me as much
anymore!

But then, I swear, it was out of the blue around 2 1/2
months ago, one day I was down in Palm Springs doing a
project for my sister--manual labor scraping a patio
deck--I swear I did not think I could do it, either
pysically or mentally, I was there all by myself and
was worried as afternoon approached I would face the
daily fatigue that beset me and it didn't come! The
next day it didn't come, nor the next! And my leg
pain started diminishing and I started sleeping a
couple more hours every once in a while at night. (I
am convinced that my neuroglical condition has
improved and will ultimately go away: klonopin
withdrawal caused it and eventually once I have fully
healed I will prove the neurolgist wrong since I will
be the one who beat an incurable neurological
condition!) But most importantly, the anxiety attacks
have almost entirely disappeared: I swear, nothing
major has changed in my life...I am still lonely (I
have not been "well enough" to date much over the last
2 years) and none of my other personal issues have
improved much either, yet all of sudden, I don't
irrationally freak out and work myself up over
nothing! And this all happened around the 22nd month,
just like those crusty old veterans predicted!

I can't say I am all better, but I think you all can
attest that if you can be free of the symptoms I have
beaten: brain fog, anxiety, incrdible panic attacks,
etc. you would consider it a success story too! I
don't know if I am going to be able practice law
again, but I can assure you that my whole perspective
of things has changed for the better having lived
through this ordeal. I also realize how much I lost
while I was numbed by klonopin: all these life events
occured, my kids were growing up and s*** happened,
but I basically did not experience highs or lows, and
I was sucked dry of creativity or passion. Not that
this realization made my recovery any easier: while I
am stronger and wiser and more courageous than ever,
there were many days over the last 23 months when I
did not think I could make it, but I did--I am a
survivor; I am a warrior!

My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering, and
I can only hope that my story gives hope to someone
out there who can find some similarities in our
stories, who are in the depths of despair from
withdrawal, are lonely, are in pain, and are looking
for a way out! I swear that I was in all of your
shoes and now I can be a witness to what the oldtimers
say: only time will heal the wounds caused by benzos
and that we all can recover. I pray that each of you
who are in need have the strength and courage to
survive. It is far from easy, as I had the family
support and resources to help me make it through, and
I have such incredible sympathy for those who in the
throes of withdrawals without the help I had, but the
doctors and therapists and drugs that are available
mean very little in this battle. Just bear in mind
that you will recover, hopefully much sooner than I!
I never thought I would be writing a success story,
and it is ongoing! But I am full of hope and
optimism, which 6 months ago were not even within my
furthest reaches. Hopefully my story will give some
hope and optimism to others!

Take care and my thoughts are with all of you!
Richard B*****


--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
  Top
Posted: April 17, 2006, 6:51 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Paul’s Success Story

Dear Group,
Most of you don't know me......I joined the group back around Sept.
2001. I'm posting this success story as my way of giving back to the
group. I owe much of my recovery to Geraldine Burns who started this
group, Yvonne Day who talked to me every week on the phone for over 1
1/2 years, Hillary Noppinger who befriended me early on and others
who helped me intermittently like Eva Sapi, Sheila from NH, Tom in
Wisconsin, Kim in St. Louis and numerous others.

I can't exhaust the litany of symptoms and ALL the horror I went
thru, it would take volumes, but I'll relate what I can as best as I
can. I can tell you what eventually worked for me and how I
succeeded. It took me 3 1/2 years to get to where I am today, but if
you read on, you'll see that I was one of the worst. The first year
was all survival and that was it, and I will tell you that at some
point you have to take control and do some things to make yourself
better, but if you were as bad as I was, there was not much I could
do except what you have all heard before.......TIME.....it will heal
you......

I was on Klonopin, just 1 mg for 12 years after some situational
panic attacks. I moved around a lot in those days so the doctors just
kept me on the stuff.......you know the routine.......I was a
successful Investment Broker, natural bodybuilder, mountain biked,
roller bladed and many other things, I had a pretty full life, and
then it started to come crashing down.

Somewhere around the 8th year though I'm sure it started to effect me
before that, I started to get sick more often, handled stress not as
well, ran out of energy more often and didn't seem to have the
postive outlook on life like I once had......since this crap is so
insideous, it took several more years for the s*** to hit the fan...

Let me tell you right now so as not to concern those that have
struggled, or those who symptoms are troublesome but they can still
kind of function, and anyone knowing Geraldine, Yvonne or Hilliary
can attest to, I was in the top 5% of the worst cases you will ever
see. I don't say that lightly cause I know we all think we are the
worst......But I really really was........so here is how it went for
me, and then I'll tell you what I did to finally get well......pull
up a chair....

When I came off in Sept of 2001 and since I didn't know of this site,
I went to a detox center instead of tapering......WRONG THING TO DO
my friends, especially if like us, you are susceptible to protracted
WD but of course, you would never know it until you got off. Suffice
it to say that as hard as tapering is, cold turkey is the epitome of
hell on earth.......hundreds of times more painful than the tapering
process....

The first two months off were terrible but then like many, in the
third month, hell opened up and invited me in.....I had over 75
symptoms and though I never did get the dp/dr like many, believe me,
I had almost all the rest....for me, the head pressure was horrific,
first exploding outwards for the first year, then crushing my brain
like an orange the 2nd and part of the 3rd year....I did not sleep at
night for onver two years.....I could not open my mail for a year,
cook for myself, answer the phone, hell I couldn't even change the
clocks during the change time....I was debilitated beyond belief.

I was in bed 90% of the time for the first year, my central nervous
system blown to hell.....even looking at tv or the computer was too
much to bear, felt like my head would explode, my brain actaully
vibrated and I was helpless.......my folks saved my life and took
care of me.......they had too and I thought of suicide every day for
at least 4 months until I could actually leave my bedroom and go into
the front room.....all hope of even a small existence was gone and I
thought would never ever return.......

Sorry I can't relate more of the misery, but just know that I
suffered more than the majority.......my good friends Geraldine,
Yvonne and Hilliary will tell you.....

Around 6 months off I first spoke with Geraldine and Yvonne. They
both said I should go see a naturopath.....I have a background in
health and supplements but never heard of candida......well, you may
or may not believe in it but whatever I had, it was just like it. I
went on a special diet mostly like an Atkins diet cause any sugar
even natural would destroy me, and any wheat products the same
thing...I stay on this type of diet for at least a year and maybe
relaxed a little after 1 1/2 years off Klonopin.

At 10 months off I finally could walk around the block.....but only 3
days a week cause it would take me two days to recover from just
walking a mile.....this is the part where I decided to try and take
charge a bit.......but for those of you who say, "I just can't do it",
I understand totally.....but you have to try at some point.....if you
can't.....try again in a week....if I walked to the mailbox in the
first 10 months, that is all I could do for the day....and most of
the time I didn't cause I couldn't handle the stress....I could only
walk at night cause daytime would hurt sooooo much.....

I walked further and further but still only 3 days a week until about
18 months off....remember, I was a weight trainer and jock, but I
couldn't mangage more than this. I was still bad but improving a
little.....I finally went back to the gym at 18 months but let me
tell you...before all this at 6'1", I was 200 lbs of muscle and 12%
body fat.....now I was 230, lost all my muscle and was probably 35%
bodyfat.....I started to lift and resistence exercise seemed to help
more but it killed me later cause my brain and body were so revved
up, pressurized etc that my ears would ring all night, not that I
slept anyway, and would be in agony most of that time...

anyway, I did this routine for another year, I still couldn't handle
any stress......any........maybe going to the store but that was
it...but I persevered......and let me tell you......TIME still is the
major healing force, but my exercise, while painful, exhausting was
helping me strengthen my nervous system and adrenal glands....but
very slowly.....

OK.....that is just a small part of the hell I went thru...again,
there is much much more but I know it is just too much to
write....but HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS........I am 95% and going back to
work now after 3 1/2 years....I weight train with more weight than
before and in fact have gained back all my muscle, lost most of the
fat. I can handle most stress now actually better than before and I
am calmer now than ever in my whole life....

I was transformed into a better me.....when you hear people say that
you will forget most of your symptoms they are right.....when you
hear them say, "it was worth it"......I know you don't believe it
now, but it was.....the keys for me were keeping my diet simple,
progressively exercising more but you have to go slow on that, and
when you start to see some daylight and feel almost healed, it was
best for me to get back into my meditation, and read books like "Mind
Power" by John Kehoe, Total Self Confidence by Dr. Robert Anthony.

What worked for me may work for you.......most of you will heal long
before I did and thank God you will....most will never see the
extreme nature of protracted hell like I did....bless your fortune
and as bad as it is now.........it will heal itself provided you
assist it along the way....when you can.....never reinstate after you
have been off for a few months....or even years, it will reverse any
progress......

But YOU GUYS and GALS will heal......it will go away.....and it will
get better and better......it even know is getting better and better
and even when I feel, well, maybe I"m done healing.......it continues
to heal.......hell, know I lift weights 4 times a week, do interval
cardio twice a week and long distance cardio twice a week....two
years ago.......no way.........and now I"m going to work.....my
adrenals were the last to heal and are still healing....my energy is
still not back to par but at 48 yrs old, I'm exercise more than most
my age and most even 10 years younger...

I'm living proof that you do heal from this torture, you really do,
and I know some just can't or don't believe it.....don't worry about
it, I didn't either.......but it happened if you just take any
measures you can WHEN you can.....either way though, you will return
to your self and in some ways be even better, cause after going thru
this torment, nothing bothers me much anymore......how could it,
nothing including war, divorce, other illness, etc could ever be as
bad as what I had to endure.........

So my friends.......there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is
salvation from benzo WD.....the healed ones have told you and know
I'm telling you......one of the worst has no blossomed into someone
even better.......if you can't smile now......you will......faith is
hard but you must dig down deep and know that what I tell you is
true...I have never posted much on this site cause I as too sick..

But I found my mentors and did what they said.......I forever will
love Geraldine and Yvonne for their care, nurture and guidance, their
knowledge and empathy......they saved my life....literally.....and I
still talk with them to this day......but about good stuff, not
bad....thanks to Hilliary who helped me thru the worst 4 months and
though she is still mending......she gave me hope early on....and all
the others that took time to lead me down the path of healing...



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
  Top
Posted: April 17, 2006, 6:51 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



........and to all of you that are still symptomatic and hurting or
even being tormented, your day will come....I promise......the sun
will shine upon you, the Lord (or your God) will lift you up from the
despair and misery......I know I have said alot, but you have heard
it from others before........and one day perhaps soon, you will be
writing your own success story.......COUNT ON IT........

God Bless you all.....you are all in my prayers each and every
day....and know that good things will happen....

Paul.....



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
  Top
Posted: April 17, 2006, 7:09 AM


Posts: 494
Joined: April 4, 2006



Runvs: I am a little confused. Although I think your success story is awesome, I don't know if you are Paul or Richard B. I noticed one was signed Richard B and then some Paul. I am new to this message board so I don't really know how it works. Are you Richard B telling Pauls success story or are you Paul?

Joy

This post has been edited by joy7866 on April 17, 2006, 7:10 AM

--------------------
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved".
Isn't that a great thing to know?!?

Live each day like it was your last. Make sure to tell the people in your lives that you love them. We never know what tomorrow holds.
    Top
Posted: April 18, 2006, 7:00 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Yes these are Real Stories I know the people in these stories. Remeber this is only a few examples of what can happen they're are many people that have little or no problems with benzos.

But I think its important for people to understand there can be down falls to benzo use. The Makers of Benzos like Roche state that benzos are for short term only no longer then 4 weeks is recomended.

Also, I share these story to give people hope that want off benzos.


I am personally 9 months off benzos and still healing I do not feel that good but am getting better. But keep in mind I abused alcohol before benzos and this might be a reason for my slow recovery. I am almost a year off alcohol now.


Thank you so much for asking about me. How are you doing now?


--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
  Top
Posted: May 2, 2006, 10:58 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. WHAT IS A BENZODIAZEPINE?

2. HOW DO BENZODIAZEPINES AFFECT YOUR BODY?

3. HOW QUICKLY CAN I BECOME ADDICTED TO A BENZODIAZEPINE?

4. WHAT ARE THE DOSE EQUIVALENCIES AMONG VARIOUS BENZODIAZEPINES?

5. WHAT IS A "HALF-LIFE", AND HOW IS THE CONCEPT IMPORTANT TO
BENZODIAZEPINE DEPENDENCE?

6. WHAT DOES "TOLERANCE" MEAN?

7. IF MY DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED A BENZODIAZEPINE AND INSTRUCTED ME TO
TAKE IT FOR A MEDICAL AND/OR PSYCHOLOGICAL REASON, IS THERE ANY
REASON I SHOULD DISREGARD MY DOCTOR'S ADVICE AND DISCONTINUE THE
BENZODIAZEPINE?

8. WHAT IS BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME?

9. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL?

10. I AM EXPERIENCING ONE OR MORE OF THE SYMPTOMS LISTED ABOVE, BUT I
HAVE NOT BEGUN TAPERING MY BENZODIAZEPINE. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE
SYMPTOMS ARE NOT RELATED TO BENZODIAZEPINE USE, OR COULD I ALREADY
HAVE STARTED WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT EVEN TAPERING?

11. WHAT FACTORS DETERMINE HOW SEVERE MY WITHDRAWAL WILL BE?

12. IF I DISCONTINUE MY BENZODIAZEPINE, WON'T THE UNDERLYING CONDITION
THAT MY DOCTOR PRESCRIBED THE BENZODIAZEPINE FOR RETURN?

13. I HAVE DECIDED TO DISCONTINUE THE USE OF MY BENZODIAZEPINE. WHAT
ARE THE FIRST STEPS I SHOULD TAKE?

14. IS COLD TURKEY (ABRUPT, TOTAL DISCONTINUANCE OF THE DRUG) AN
ACCEPTABLE METHOD FOR DETOXING FROM A BENZODIAZEPINE?

15. OK, IF I AM GOING TO TAPER MY BENZODIAZEPINE, HOW SHOULD I STRUCTURE
THE TAPER?

16. SHOULD I SWITCH TO ANOTHER BENZODIAZEPINE SUCH AS VALIUM BEFORE
TAPERING?

17. MY DOCTOR HAS ASKED ME TO SWITCH TO A DRUG CALLED "PHENOBARBITOL"
FOR DETOXIFICATION? IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

18. SHOULD I CONSIDER GOING INTO AN IN-PATIENT DRUG REHABILITATION
FACILITY OR DETOX CENTER TO GET OFF MY BENZODIAZEPINE?

19. WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF THE WITHDRAWAL PROCESS?

20. IS IT OK FOR ME TO SOMETIMES "CHEAT" DURING MY TAPER AND TAKE A
LITTLE MORE OF MY BENZODIAZEPINE IF I HAVE TO GO THROUGH A STRESSFUL
EVENT?

21. WILL I NEED TO QUIT WORK OR GIVE UP OTHER IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF MY
LIFE DURING BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL?

22. MY DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED AN ANTI-DEPRESSANT TO TAKE DURING MY
WITHDRAWAL. IS THAT A GOOD THING TO DO?

23. ARE THERE ANY OTHER DRUGS BESIDES ANTI-DEPRESSANTS TO CONSIDER USING
DURING BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL?

24. ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR DRUGS A DOCTOR MIGHT PRESCRIBE THAT
DEFINITELY DO NOT HELP WITHDRAWAL?

25. WHAT ABOUT HERBS AND OTHER HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES - DO ANY OF THOSE
HELP THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS?

26. WHAT ABOUT USING CAFFEINE DURING WITHDRAWAL?

27. WHAT ABOUT EATING SUGAR DURING WITHDRAWAL?

28. WHAT ABOUT CONSUMING ALCOHOL DURING WITHDRAWAL?

29. WHAT FOODS SHOULD I EAT (OR AVOID) DURING WITHDRAWAL?

30. I SMOKE CIGARETTES, SOULD I QUIT DURING WITHDRAWAL?

31. SHOULD I EXERCISE DURING BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL?

32. I HAVE TERRIBLE INSOMNIA DURING MY WITHDRAWAL. SHOULD I TAKE
SOMETHING TO HELP ME SLEEP?

33. WHAT CAN I TAKE FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT DURING WITHDRAWAL?

34. ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR DRUGS THAT ARE KNOWN TO COMPLICATE
WITHDRAWAL?

35. I AM WELL INTO MY TAPER, AND MY SYMPTOMS ARE EITHER NO BETTER OR ARE
WORSE. WHEN CAN I EXPECT MY SYMPTOMS TO GET BETTER?

36. I HAVE COMPLETED MY TAPER, AND HAVE FELT MUCH BETTER FOR A WHILE,
BUT NOW I FEEL WORSE AGAIN. WHY?

37. WHAT IS PROTRACTED WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME?

38. SHOULD I USE A 12 STEP PROGRAM LIKE NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS TO HELP ME
RECOVER FROM MY BENZODIAZEPINE ADDICTION?

39. WHO IS DR. HEATHER ASHTON?

40. WHAT IS BENZO@EGROUPS.COM?

41. ARE THERE ANY OTHER RESOURCES THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO ME IN
UNDERSTANDING BENZODIAZEPINE DEPENDENCY AND WITHDRAWAL?


1. WHAT IS A BENZODIAZEPINE?

Benzodiazepines are a large class of commonly prescribed tranquilizers,
otherwise referred to as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
They include alprazolam (Xanax), bromazepam (Lexotan), chlordiazepoxide
(Librium/Nova-Pam), clonazepam (Klonopin/Rivotril), clorazepate
(Tranxene), diazepam (Valium/D-Pam/Pro-Pam), estazolam, flunitrazepam
(Rohypnol), flurazepam (Dalmane), halazepam, ketazolam, loprazolam
(Dormonoct), lorazepam (Ativan), nitrazepam (Mogadon, Insoma, Nitrados),
oxazepam (Serax, Serapax, Seranid, Benzotran), trazepam, tuazepam,
temazepam (Euhypnos, Normison, Sompam), triazolam (Halcion, Hypam,
Tricam). There may be others as well.

All benzodiazepines have five primary effects. They are:

A. Hypnotic (tending to make you sleepy);

B. Anxiolytic (tending to reduce anxiety/produce relaxation);

C. Anti-seizure (tending to reduce the probability of having seizures
and convulsions);

D. Muscle relaxant (tending to reduce muscle tension and associated
pain);

E. Amnesic (tending to disrupt both long and short term memory).

There may be secondary effects as well. Different benzodiazepines
exhibit these primary effects to varying degrees. For example, diazepam
(Valium) is a relatively powerful hypnotic (sleep inducer), whereas the
more modern benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan),
and clonazepam (Klonopin), are less powerful hypnotics, but are very
powerful anxiolytics. Do not assume that because one benzodiazepine
makes you sleepier than another that this benzodiazepine is more potent
than those which do not produce sleepiness to the same degree. Often,
the reverse is true.

Benzodiazepines have been referred to as being part of a larger class of
drugs known as "minor tranquilizers". As applied to benzodiazepines,
this is almost certainly a misnomer, and the label has fallen into
relative disuse in the past ten years. However, you may encounter this
term from time to time.

Benzodiazepines are most commonly prescribed for anxiety conditions,
especially panic disorder (PD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
They are also sometimes prescribed for seizure disorders. Klonopin, for
example, is often prescribed for epilepsy. Benzodiazepines are also
prescribed for insomnia and other sleep problems, such as restless leg
syndrome (RLS). Benzodiazepines are also occasionally prescribed as
muscle relaxants.

By far the most common benzodiazepines prescribed today are Valium,
Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. Probably over 95% of the over 450 members
of benzo@egroups.com (see below) are using or have used one or more of
those four drugs. Valium is particularly common in the British Isles.
Valium has become less common in the United States over the past 15
years, while Xanax and Klonopin have experienced increased popularity in
the United States over this time. In certain Latin American countries,
it appears that the drug Lexotan (bromazepam) is very popular.

All benzodiazepines can cause physical dependency, otherwise commonly
known as addiction.

2. HOW DO BENZODIAZEPINES AFFECT YOUR BODY?

Benzodiazepines are general central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
They are all very similar chemically. Specifically, they all bind
directly to and act upon your GABA-A receptor sites in your brain.
There are also recognized subclasses of GABA-A receptors that different
benzodiazepines act upon to varying degrees. Those sites respond to the
neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). The effect of
benzodiazepines in binding to and acting upon your GABA-A receptor sites
is to potentiate (heighten) the effect of GABA. GABA suppresses the action
of wide variety of other neurotransmitters and neural activity including,
for example, the action of norepinephrine (noradrenaline). The mechanism
of action of GABA is to send negatively charged chloride ions into your
brain cells, making those cells resistant to the effects of neurotransmitters
such as seratonin and norepinephrine that cause excitation.
GABA will perform this function with or without stimulation from a
benzodiazepine, but where a benzodiazepine binds to a GABA receptor site,
the action is heightened. This mechanism of action is what produces the
primary effects of this class of drugs. (See above.)

--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
  Top
Posted: May 2, 2006, 11:00 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Contrary to a popular misconception (which was reinforced by some erroneous
language in the prior version of this FAQ), benzodiazepines do not actually
increase the organic synthesis of GABA. As stated, they heighten the action
of existing GABA. Actually, benzodiazepines can, over time, decrease the
synthesis of GABA in certain areas of your brain. This is one of numerous
theories attempting to explain the occurrence of "paradoxical" symptoms
(See below).

3. HOW QUICKLY CAN I BECOME ADDICTED TO A BENZODIAZEPINE?

The time it takes to form a physical dependency on a given
benzodiazepine varies widely. The following variables may play a role:
the size of your dose, the regularity with which you consume your dose,
and most importantly, your personal body chemistry. People have been
known to form dependencies in as little as 14 days of regular use at
therapeutic dose levels. Your probability of forming some degree of
dependency is significant, probably at least 50%, by the time you have
been using them daily for 6 months. After a year of continuous use, it
is highly likely that you have formed a dependency. It is unclear
whether certain benzodiazepines are associated with a more rapid onset
of dependency than others.

4. WHAT ARE THE DOSE EQUIVALENCIES AMONG VARIOUS BENZODIAZEPINES?

There are no clearly definitive equivalencies for various benzodiazepines.
This author has personally seen at least a dozen different benzodiazepine
equivalency charts and no two are alike. The table below has been chosen
because it reflects the clinical experience of Dr. Ashton in having detoxed
over 300 people from benzodiazepines by use of a Valium substitution
method (See below).

Alprazolam 0.5
Bromazepam 6
Chlordiazepoxide 25
Clonazepam 0.5
Clorazepate 15
Diazepam 10
Estazolam 1
Flurazepam 15
Halazepam 20
Ketazolam 15
Lorazepam 1
Nitrazepam 10
Oxazepam 30
Prazepam 20
Quazepam 20
Temazepam 20
Triazolam 0.5

Thus, 1 mg. of alprazolam (Xanax) or clonazepam (Klonopin) is the
equivalent of 20 mg. of Valium; 1 mg. of lorazepam (Ativan) is the
equivalent of 10 mg. of Valium.

These dose equivalencies are important for a number of reasons, the most
significant of which is the issue of switching to a different
benzodiazepine such as Valium prior to tapering (see below). These
figures are taken from Dr. Ashton's (see below) papers and several other
sources. A similar (though not identical) equivalency table can be found at
http://uhs.bsd.uchicago.edu/~bhsiun...g/tips/bzd.html.

There is some disagreement in the medical profession about these
equivalencies. You may find a doctor who will want to switch you from
Xanax to Valium at a 1 mg. to 10 mg. equivalency. This is a recipe for
a very difficult cross-over withdrawal. Whatever the precise
therapeutic dose equivalencies, the above equivalencies should be
observed in switching from one benzodiazepine to another for purposes of
detoxification. (See below.)

5. WHAT IS A "HALF-LIFE", AND HOW IS THE CONCEPT IMPORTANT TO
BENZODIAZEPINE DEPENDENCE?

Half-life is a numerical expression of how long it takes for a drug to
leave your body. Technically, the "half-life," expressed as a range, is
the time it takes for half of the amount consumed to be eliminated from
your body, and so on. There is some controversy as to how long
benzodiazepines may actually remain in your body after you have
discontinued them entirely. Benzodiazepines are fat soluble and can
persist in fatty tissues. However, benzodiazepines no longer show up in
blood screenings beyond 30 days after discontinuance. This either means
they are totally eliminated by that time, or that they persist in
amounts too small to have any long term effect.

The importance of half-life is that a longer half-life generally makes
for an easier withdrawal because your blood levels remain relatively
constant, as opposed to the up and down roller coaster that you
experience with short half life benzodiazepines. Furthermore, longer
half-life benzodiazepines require less dose micro-management. For
example, Valium can be taken once every 12 hours, or in some cases,
once every 24 hours. Xanax, however, must be taken once every 4-6 hours
to maintain constant blood levels. This is a practical impossibility
for some people.

The following is a list of benzodiazepines with their corresponding
half-lives, expressed as a range in hours:

Alprazolam 9 - 20
Bromazepam 8 - 30
Chlordiazepoxide 24 - 100
Clonazepam 19 - 60
Clorazepate 1.3 - 120
Diazepam 30 - 200
Estazolam 8 - 24
Flurazepam 40 - 250
Halazepam 30 - 96
Ketazolam 30 - 200
Lorazepam 8 - 24
Nitrazepam 15 - 48
Oxazepam 3 - 25
Prazepam 30 - 100
Quazepam 39 - 120
Temazepam 3 - 25
Triazolam 1.5 - 5

There is a misconception that longer half-life benzodiazepines prolong
the withdrawal recovery process by remaining in your bodily tissues for
longer. However, there is no evidence that longer half-life
benzodiazepines are any greater risk for Protracted Benzodiazepine
Withdrawal Syndrome (see below) than shorter half-life benzodiazepines.
This method of using a longer half-life equivalent is well understood in
addiction medicine circles, and is employed with other classes of drugs
as well. For example, people who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms
from an anti-depressant such as Paxil are often given Prozac as a
substitute for purposes of detoxification, because Prozac has a longer
half-life. Perhaps a more typical example is the use of the drug Methadone
in heroin detoxification which is employed in part because of its relatively
long half-life.

6. WHAT DOES "TOLERANCE" MEAN?

Tolerance is the process by which the receptors in your brain become
habituated to the action of a drug. When tolerance is reached, more of
the drug is required to achieve the same effect. With benzodiazepines,
and probably with many other classes of drugs as well, tolerance is
virtually always associated with some degree of physical dependence. If
you find that you are experiencing tolerance, this is a clear warning
sign that you may have formed a dependency.



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: May 2, 2006, 11:01 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



7. IF MY DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED A BENZODIAZEPINE AND INSTRUCTED ME TO
TAKE IT FOR A MEDICAL AND/OR PSYCHOLOGICAL REASON, IS THERE ANY
REASON I SHOULD DISREGARD MY DOCTOR'S ADVISE AND DISCONTINUE THE
BENZODIAZEPINE?

Yes, there may be. Unfortunately, there are many well-intended
physicians who simply do not understand the seriousness of long-term
benzodiazepine use.

Regular benzodiazepine use almost always causes some degree of
deterioration in cognitive functioning, which progresses with continued
use.

Long term benzodiazepine use also causes lethargy, decreased energy
levels that result in impairment in work productivity and disinclination
towards exercise.

Furthermore, benzodiazepines, and all other classes of sedatives,
frequently cause and/or worsen depression. This is why people are often
given anti-depressants after being given a benzodiazepine for anxiety.
Anti-depressants, though therapeutically effective for many people, have
their own complications and potential for dependency. (See below)

Benzodiazepines can also cause what is sometimes referred to as a "flat
affect" or "emotional blunting," in which the user's ability to
experience powerful emotions is impaired. Long-term benzodiazepine
users often describe their experience as "sleepwalking through life."

Benzodiazepine use can also cause what is called "paradoxical" symptoms
in a minority of users. Paradoxical symptoms are contrary to the
intended therapeutic purpose, including outbursts of rage, increased
anxiety, and sleeplessness. Paradoxical symptoms can be caused by the
drug's interaction with the psychological makeup of the user, or may be
a biological reaction to use of the drug that people sometimes refer to
as "toxicity." Paradoxical symptoms are sometimes mistaken for
withdrawal, and vice versa.

The above effects occur to varying degrees, depending on the individual.
Some individuals may not experience certain of the effects at all.
However, one effect is common to virtually all users: a
physical dependency will eventually form. Benzodiazepine dependency is
particularly serious as the withdrawal syndrome (see below) can be
extremely difficult and protracted. Furthermore, the development of
tolerance often makes long term use non-feasible, and detoxification
becomes a necessary eventuality.

Benzodiazepines are often misprescribed for conditions to which they
are not appropriate, such as depression. Furthermore, they are often
prescribed for anxiety conditions for which the individual could be
treated effectively with a less addictive drug or with other therapeutic
techniques.

There are, however, legitimate therapeutic benefits for benzodiazepines,
particularly if they are used in the short term (no more than 2 weeks of
continuous use), or for situational anxiety/panic (for example, one dose
of Xanax per month as the need arises.) Furthermore, many users of
benzodiazepines, including some who have used them regularly for more than
a year, are able to discontinue them with little difficulty.

Nothing in this F.A.Q. is to be construed as advising any individual to
ignore the advice of his or her physician. Decisions regarding the use
or discontinuance of any benzodiazepine should be made in consultation
with a physician. However, in this area you must also undertake
considerable self-education in addition to listening carefully to your
doctor's advice. Fortunately, there are many available resources to
accomplish that (see below). Where a doctor does not appear to be up to
date with current medical literature regarding benzodiazepine dependency
and the withdrawal syndrome, seeking a second and third medical opinion
can be a desirable option.

8. WHAT IS BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME?

Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is believed to be caused by a dampening
of the action of GABA as neuroadaptivity causes GABA to become dependent
on stimulation from the benzodiazepine to initiate its primary action.
In other words, when you have become dependent upon a benzodiazepine,
your GABA is unable to perform its natural action without the presence of
the benzodiazepine. This results in a wide variety of over-activity in
different areas of your brain, causing a vast and diffuse array of symptoms.
These symptoms are believed to be various manifestations of neurological
over-excitation as the cells in your brain become especially sensitive to
the action of excitatory neurotransmitters. The most extreme manifestation
of this over-excitation a seizure event.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is noted both for its relative severity
and, in some cases, its lengthy duration, as compared to withdrawal from
other classes of drugs.

Withdrawal either occurs through the development of tolerance without an
attendant increase in dose, or through a decrease in dosage below your
"tolerance point". Your tolerance point is the dose point below which
the functioning of your receptors becomes impaired due to a deficiency
in stimulation from the drug. Your tolerance point may be lower than
your actual dosage, such that you can sometimes cut your dose by some
amount without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. However, this does not
mean that you will not experience withdrawal symptoms by cutting the
dose further.

Generally, a drug's withdrawal syndrome is the mirror opposite of its
primary effects. Thus, for benzodiazepines, you can expect
sleeplessness (the mirror of its hypnotic effect), anxiety (the mirror
of its anxiolytic effect), muscle tension/pain (the mirror of its muscle
relaxant effect), and seizures in rare cases (the mirror of its
anti-seizure effect). The only exception is that benzodiazepine
withdrawal syndrome does not "mirror" the amnesic effect. To the
contrary, the withdrawal syndrome often results in increased impairment
of memory and cognitive functioning. However, in all cases, after
detoxification is complete and withdrawal is in total remission,
cognitive functioning will gradually return to the level that it was at
before you began using the drug.

For a more complete list of symptoms, see below.



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: May 2, 2006, 11:02 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



9. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BENZODIAZEPINE WITHDRAWAL?

The following is a list of symptoms reported by enough individuals that
they are statistically likely to be legitimate withdrawal symptoms.
Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of other symptoms that have
been reported that may be legitimate withdrawal symptoms as well, but
have not been reported by enough individuals to be statistically
significant. The determination of statistical significance is not based
on hard data, but on the observations of this author in reading through
thousands of posts from people in withdrawal, as well as several books
and articles on the subject.

This list is broken down into psychological and physical symptoms. The
double asterisk indicates symptoms that occur to some degree or another,
at one time or another, in virtually every person experiencing
benzodiazepine withdrawal. Single asterisk are symptoms that are
common, and occur in most people. Others are symptoms that are common
enough to be verifiable withdrawal symptoms, but probably occur in a
minority of cases.

Psychological symptoms: anxiety** (including panic attacks),
depression**, insomnia*, derealization/depersonalization* (feelings of
unreality/detachment from self), abnormal sensitivity sensory stimuli*
(such as loud noise or bright light), obsessive negative thoughts*,
(particularly of a violent and/or sexual nature) rapid mood changes*
(including especially outbursts of anger or rage), phobias* (especially
agoraphobia and fear of insanity), dysphoria* (loss of capacity to enjoy
life; possibility a combination of depression, anxiety, and
derealization/depersonalization), impairment of cognitive functioning*,
suicidal thoughts*, nightmares, hallucinations, psychosis, pill cravings.
Note that it is far more common to fear psychosis than it is to actually
experience it.

Physical Symptoms: muscle tension/pain**, joint pain*, tinnitus*,
headaches*, shaking/tremors*, blurred vision* (and other complications
related to the eyes), itchy skin* (including sensations of insects
crawling on skin), gastrointestinal discomfort*, electric shock
sensations*, paresthesia* (numbness and pins and needles, especially in
extremities), fatigue*, weakness in the extremities (particularly the
legs)*, feelings of inner vibrations* (especially in the torso),
sweating, fluctuations in body temperature, difficulty in swallowing,
loss of appetite, "flu like" symptoms, fasciculations (muscle
twitching), metallic taste in mouth, nausea, extreme thirst (including
dry mouth and increased frequency of urination), sexual dysfunction (or
occasional increase in libido), heart palpitations, dizziness, vertigo,
breathlessness.

Here is a site with a far more comprehensive list of possible symptoms:
members.dencity.com/BenzoBusters/index.html. Here, I have cited only
the ones most commonly reported.

10. I AM EXPERIENCING ONE OR MORE OF THE SYMPTOMS LISTED ABOVE, BUT I
HAVE NOT BEGUN TAPERING MY BENZODIAZEPINE. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE
SYMPTOMS ARE NOT RELATED TO BENZODIAZEPINE USE, OR COULD I ALREADY
HAVE STARTED WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT EVEN TAPERING?

You are probably experiencing tolerance withdrawal. When you reach
tolerance, your brain needs more of the drug to stimulate the active of
GABA, and you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Some people find
that no matter how much they increase their dose, they are unable to obtain
complete relief. This may be caused by a fast, upward tolerance spiral,
or by toxicity (see above). Detoxification is necessary where this
occurs.

Some people mistakenly form a belief that the drug has "quit working" to
alleviate their anxiety disorder when in fact they are experiencing
anxiety brought on by tolerance withdrawal. Unfortunately, physicians
will sometimes reinforce this misperception and advise you to increase
your dose as a result.

11. WHAT FACTORS DETERMINE HOW SEVERE MY WITHDRAWAL WILL BE?

It is impossible to predict how severe your particular withdrawal will
be, or which of the 30 or so common symptoms you are likely to
experience. However, predictors of severity include duration of use,
dosage, type of benzodiazepine, age, your personal body chemistry, and
your method of detoxification. It is unclear which, if any, of these
factors relate to the duration of your withdrawal syndrome as opposed to
the severity. The data regarding factors correlating to duration is
less conclusive than the data correlating to severity.

There is some evidence that the more modern, high potency
benzodiazepines, especially Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan may be
associated with more severe withdrawal syndromes. However, this
evidence remains anecdotal.

Keep in mind that there is wide variation from the above
generalizations. For example, one person may take a low dose of a
benzodiazepine for a short period of time, and have a very severe
withdrawal phase. Another individual may take a high dose of the same
drug for much longer, and experience very manageable withdrawal
symptoms. Furthermore, an individual Valium user may have a harder time
than an individual Xanax user. These variables are only very general
predictors.

--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: May 2, 2006, 11:03 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



12. IF I DISCONTINUE MY BENZODIAZEPINE, WON'T THE UNDERLYING CONDITION
THAT MY DOCTOR PRESCRIBED THE BENZODIAZEPINE FOR RETURN?

It may or may not. It depends on what your underlying problem was, and
what post-withdrawal measures you take to manage the condition, if
necessary. Sometimes, the underlying problem is simply "gone" by the
time you have detoxified yourself from a benzodiazepine. Many physical
and psychological conditions are a transitory response to a temporary
condition in your life, such as a traumatic event. Often, people take
habit forming drugs such as benzodiazepines to alleviate the symptoms
of these transitory conditions, and continue taking them long after the
condition would have gone away on its own.

Other conditions are less transitory, such as chronic, long term panic
disorder (PD). However, it is important to bear in mind that there are
other treatments for these conditions, both of a pharmacological and a
non-pharmacological nature. Anxiety and stress can be managed in a
variety of different ways that are not as harmful to your body as
benzodiazepines.

There is an ongoing debate in the medical profession as to whether there
is a narrow class of individuals with long-term, chronic panic disorder
(PD) who are justified in taking benzodiazepines for life. This F.A.Q is
for informative purposes only, and will not take a position on this
controversial issue.

Often, when people complete their benzodiazepine detoxification, they
find an emergence of an underlying psychological problem that was masked
by the benzodiazepine use for many years. People also often feel the
resurfacing of emotions that may have been suppressed for a long time.
Thus, there is sometimes a period of difficult adjustment even after the
withdrawal symptoms subside. However, people often find the end result
of this period of adjustment to be very rewarding.


13. I HAVE DECIDED TO DISCONTINUE THE USE OF MY BENZODIAZEPINE.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS I SHOULD TAKE?

Your first step is to educate yourself. That means reading this F.A.Q.
and seeking out many of the resources referred to herein. Your second
step is to see a doctor who understands the seriousness of benzodiazepine
dependency, and be as well armed with information as possible going into
that visit. Your third step is to approach your detoxification with a
clear plan in mind, to set goals for yourself, and to begin the
withdrawal process with confidence. Do not listen to horror stories
from others who have had unusually bad experiences in withdrawal.
Everyone's experience is different, and many people are able to withdraw
with very manageable symptoms.

14. IS COLD TURKEY (ABRUPT, TOTAL DISCONTINUANCE OF THE DRUG) AN
ACCEPTABLE METHOD FOR DETOXING FROM A BENZODIAZEPINE?

No. There is nearly complete uniformity of opinion both in the medical
profession and in the benzodiazepine recovery community that cold turkey
is a dangerous and unacceptable method of detoxification. Cold turkey
withdrawal may cause seizures, and is also associated with a higher
probability of withdrawal psychosis. Seizures are almost non-existent
in those employing a taper method, with the limited exception of people
who have taken a benzodiazepine for a seizure disorder. Furthermore,
psychosis is rare in those who taper their benzodiazepine slowly.

There is a misconception that cold turkey withdrawal, though it may
cause more severe symptoms, will bring about a faster remission of
symptoms. This is the idea that a slow taper "prolongs the agony of
withdrawal". This notion is almost certainly false. In fact, there is
some anecdotal evidence that cold turkey withdrawal may lengthen the
course of the withdrawal syndrome, and may even cause Protracted
Withdrawal Syndrome (see below).

15. OK, IF I AM GOING TO TAPER MY BENZODIAZEPINE, HOW SHOULD I STRUCTURE
THE TAPER?

There are two very general rules, and one exception to the rule that is
discussed below. The first rule is, the slower the taper, the milder
the withdrawal symptoms. The second rule is, the smaller the cuts you
are able to make, the milder the withdrawal symptoms. These are
related, though separate, issues.

For example, you might decide to cut your dose by 1/4 mg. every month,
or in the alternative, cut your dose by 1/8 mg. every two weeks. Either
way, you are tapering at the same rate. In this author's opinion, the
second option is a far superior method of tapering. Any cut is a shock
to your brain and body. Cold turkey is the largest cut of all. It is a
spontaneous, total deprivation of your dependent substance. The shock
caused by cold turkey withdrawal is such that even after resumption of
your drug at the previous dose, it may take weeks or months to
"stabilize", and in some cases, you may never stabilize from a cold
turkey withdrawal until after you have completed your taper.

This logic further extends to the size of your cuts. The smaller the
cuts you make, the less the shock to your system, and the less
pronounced the withdrawal symptoms triggered by the cut. It is not
recommended that any individual cut represent more than 10% of your
total dose at a given time. Thus, it is preferable to make smaller and
smaller cuts as you go, though this can be very difficult as you
approach the end of your taper.

Always make the smallest cuts possible. That means taking the smallest
dose size available and splitting it into 4 pieces, which can be done
easily with or without a razor blade. For example, with Valium, you can
split the smallest (2 mg.) tablet into 4 .5 mg. pieces. With Klonopin,
you can split the smallest (.5 mg.) tablet into 4 pieces of .125 or
1/8th mg. If you are on a high dose and feel that you are able to taper
rapidly at first because you are above your tolerance point (see above),
space your cuts close together (no closer than 1 cut every 3 days), but
make the smallest cuts possible. If or when you begin to feel
withdrawal symptoms, you can start to space your cuts further apart (up
to about 4 weeks). Generally, the higher potency benzodiazepines such
as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan force you to make larger cuts (see
below), and therefore you must space your cuts at least 3 weeks apart
toward the end of your taper. Of course, even where you are able to make
very small cuts with lower potency benzodiazepines such as Valium, you can
make these small cuts relatively far apart if this is your most comfortable
method of detoxification.

There is a method of tapering that involves mixing the drug with either
water or a dry carrier like sugar to produce a "titration" which allows
for very minute reductions, such as 1% every other day. This method has
been employed with success by some people. In England, doctors have
created a liquid titration kit to assist users in withdrawing
comfortably. There is some promise that this method can substantially
diminish, if not eliminate, the withdrawal syndrome. Unfortunately,
these titration kits are not available in North America.

If you are unable to use a titration method, you may wish to consider
switching to Valium, assuming, of course, that you are not already using
that particular benzodiazepine. (See below) This method has been used
with success, particularly in England, for many years.



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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Posted: May 2, 2006, 11:04 AM


Posts: 156
Joined: November 25, 2005



Dr. Heather Ashton has detailed taper schedules available that are based
on switching to Valium. (Also see below.)

There seems to be a limited exception to the slow taper rule where
people find that they have a "toxic" reaction to taking the
benzodiazepine (see "paradoxical symptoms" above). There is a tricky
distinction between toxic symptoms and withdrawal symptoms. The usual
way to tell the difference is to try increasing your dose. If the
symptoms reduce or stay the same, your symptoms are likely attributable
to withdrawal. If your symptoms increase, you may be experiencing
toxicity, and should probably consider a faster taper (6 to 8 weeks).
However, do not make a hasty decision to taper fast. Make certain that
you are experiencing toxicity first. Generally speaking, your symptoms
are far more likely to be related to withdrawal than toxicity.

One cause of toxicity may be the taking of more than one psychoactive
drug simultaneously. For example, taking a benzodiazepine with an
anti-depressant and a narcotic (pain killer).

16. SHOULD I SWITCH TO ANOTHER BENZODIAZEPINE SUCH AS VALIUM BEFORE
TAPERING?

Keep in mind that some people feel that switching to Valium is not for
everyone; and many have tapered their drug of dependency and have
recovered very well. However, if you are considering this alternative,
there are three reasons that are often cited for switching to Valium for
purposes of detoxification.

First, Valium has a far longer half-life than most other
benzodiazepines. (See above). This allows for a steady, smooth
reduction in dose over time. It also permits you to take your dose less
often. In some cases, you can take your entire daily dosage before
bedtime. This reduces problems of micro-managing your dose by taking
another pill every few hours. It also can aid in sleep, which can be a
large issue during withdrawal.

Second, Valium is low in potency relative to most other benzodiazepines
and comes in tablets of 2 mg., 5 mg. and 10 mg. As a practical matter,
you can make cuts as small as .5 mg. This is the equivalent of somewhere
between 1/20th and 1/40th mg. of Xanax or Klonopin. Given the importance
of making the smallest cuts possible, particularly as you approach the end
of your taper, this is a very large benefit.

Finally, Dr. Ashton and some others believe that the more modern, high
potency benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan tend to
produce more difficult withdrawal syndromes. So far the evidence of
this is anecdotal, meaning that it is based on clinical observation and
patient self-reports. There do not appear to be any studies that
conclusively correlate severity of withdrawal with type of
benzodiazepine.

If you do decide to switch to Valium, it is important that you have an
idea of what to expect. First of all, because each benzodiazepine has a
unique chemical composition, one benzodiazepine will not completely
cover the withdrawal syndrome of another. Medical literature
indicates that lower potency benzodiazepines cover fewer subclasses of
GABA-A receptors (see above) than the modern, high potency
benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin. This is why it is important
to observe the proper dose equivalencies. (See above.) These are
special equivalencies for purposes of switching to Valium, and are
sometimes called "loading doses" or "suppression doses." The consequence
of taking a loading dose is that although your withdrawal symptoms may be
suppressed very well, you might also experience the side effect of over
sedation. This is particularly so as Valium is a more potent sleep
agent than most high potency benzodiazepines even at the equivalent
therapeutic dose, and these equivalencies are probably well above the
therapeutic dose equivalencies. However, most benzodiazepine users
rapidly develop a tolerance to the sleep inducing (hypnotic) effects of
benzodiazepines, so that it is likely that this over-sedation will
recede within the first few weeks.

Because it is important to manage this problem of over sedation and to
avoid cross-over withdrawal symptoms, it is a very good practice to use
a gradual dose substitution method rather than simply discontinue your
drug of dependency and begin taking Valium at the full equivalency dose.
Depending on the size of your dose, the period of dose substitution may
be anywhere from 3 weeks to about 3 months.



--------------------
Get That Giant "Ativan" out of My Life 3.0mg was my highest per day. 13 weeks on ativan and 4 years of heavy drinking. alcohol free 16 months , tapering 1/8th every week. Currently at 0.00mg Ativan (as of July 23, 2005) 13 months Ativan free
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