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How LORAZEPAM destroyed my health and sanity for 4 1/2 weeks

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by Dreambirdie, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I am finally beginning to recover from what was a four and half week long torturous ordeal induced by taking a pharmaceutical drug known as Lorazepam. I have taken this drug before, but only intermittently to help me sleep during very bad nights of insomnia. I usually took it only 2-4X per month, but during the end June into early July, I took it 1X/week for 3 weeks in a row, which is the most I have ever taken it. My body CLEARLY did not approve of that and let me know very dramatically how much so.

    I had not taken any medications for 33 years prior to trying the Lorazepam. I have MCS in addition to ME, so taking pharmaceuticals usually causes more problems than it solves. For this reason I was hesitant to take Lorazepam, but being desperate for sleep I took it, and it did help me sleep, though not without adverse effects the following few days. It always made me feel very groggy and nauseas for about 24 hours afterwards, and then I would have a bit of a rebound effect, feeling more hyper and agitated, for a day or two after that.

    This last time I took the Lorazepam, on July 8, 2014, began the next best thing to a ride through hell. After the initial day-after grogginess wore off, I began to have **SEVERE** anxiety 24/7, often accompanied by full on panic attacks, heart palpitations, pressure in my chest and a very annoying, almost constant air hunger/shortness of breath, that would be triggered by even the most minimal amount of movement or emotion. I ended up mostly bedridden, eyes closed to the world, as a result.

    I attempted to remedy this horror of constant anxiety/panic with daily acupuncture treatments and high doses of holy basil, lavender oil pills, magnesium (both oral and topical oil). This did not completely alleviate the anxiety, though it did sometimes bring it down from an 8-9 to a 5-6 (on a scale of 1-10).

    My integrative doctor, who had prescribed the Lorazempam in the first place, completely missed that IT was the culprit in this ordeal. She went off on a tangent of how it could possibly be serotonin syndrome from taking L-tryptophan regularly for 10 years. (Stopping tryptophan btw did not help one bit.) Or… that it could be my adrenals, which she insisted I needed to test… which I did test and surprisingly they were not as tanked as she expected. My ND was concluding that it was my other hormones… Maybe too much 7Keto DHEA. Wrong again. My levels upon testing were mid-range, as they have been for 5 years.

    The only person who got this right was my TCM practitioner. He said he has seen it before, where an antibody response to Lorazepam causes a prolonged paradoxical reaction. He put together a prescription of Chinese herbs that in very high doses (6 grams/hour) began to quell some of my worst symptoms.

    After about two weeks, the anxiety lessened to lasting just 5-6 hours a day, usually from about 9 am until 2-3 pm. It did not, however, lessen in intensity. The full-on panic attacks were still happening, but not as often. The palpitations fortunately became less frequent… probably in part because I had little needles stuck in every significant point in my ears and wrist that pertained to calming the heart, brain and nerves. But the insomnia unfortunately became worse. As my brain rearranged this massive neurotransmitter disruption my sleep was reduced to only 2-3 hours per night, in comparison to the 6-7/night hours I was getting before this ordeal began.

    7 bottles of herbal prescriptions, 3 bottles of Holy Basil, 2 boxes of lavender oil, mucho magnesium and 30+ acupuncture treatments later… I am finally feeling better, back to the place I was at before I took it on July 8. I have eaten lots of bananas, chicken liver and nuts, and taken significant amounts of B6, glutamine, lecithin and probiotics (including miso, sauerkraut, Kevita water, and Inner Eco), all of which help to repair the GABA receptors that get damaged from using benzos. I have also taken herbs to help detox my liver and recharge my adrenals, which took a beating from all the stress and anxiety. So far, I have spent nearly $1500 to remedy and repair the damage to my health and sanity caused by the Lorazepam.

    Now comes the rant. This is the absolutely most hideously disgusting monstrosity of a nightmare drug that exists in the universe! I regret that I ever considered taking it! I have heard and read so many other benzodiazepine horror stories in the past few weeks (most far worse than mine) that have convinced me that all the benzos really should be reclassified into the CLASS A drugs along with heroin and cocaine.

    Anyone who is taking benzos, should be forewarned that these drugs are dangerously addictive, can cause serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms--far worse than the symptoms they are designed to treat, and that ingesting them is the next best thing to playing with a wagonload of explosives.
    Hanna, ahmo, golden and 1 other person like this.
  2. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    golden likes this.
  3. misskatniss

    misskatniss Senior Member

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    Dear Dreambirdie, I fully understand! They put me in the mental institution with my CFS and from the first sec on filled me with Lorazepam 4 times a day. It´s crazy stuff. Another patient there described exactly what you did from the very start, and I had the anxiety stuff (paradox reaction) after a couple of weeks. They wanted to treat it rising the dose!! I got off the mental institution against their will and will have to pay for this as patient reluctant to therapy, dooh, yetI can tell that the first thing I did at home was getting slowly rid of the Lorazepam. And the psychiatrist I saw outside the hospital absolutely accords to that!! I am really happy and proud that after the craving etc for several weeks I am clean now and can sleep without Lorazepam. They feed you that kind of stuff just as it were candies. Yet it is a damn bitter pill... All the best to you! No Benzos!
    dannybex, taniaaust1, ahmo and 3 others like this.
  4. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    golden likes this.
  5. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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  6. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    @dannybex I am thinking of you as I post on this thread.
  7. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    WHAT a horrible thing they did to you! I am so sorry you were subjected to such abusive tactics. And very happy that you have recovered from your ordeal. Halleluyah for that!
    WillowJ, Little Bluestem and golden like this.
  8. golden

    golden Senior Member

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  9. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that taking this drug ONLY intermittently could cause such problems. It was truly one of the worst experiences of my life. And it wasn't exactly luck that got me thru it quickly. I had a HUGE amount of help and support. It was costly, but worth it.
    golden likes this.
  10. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Sloppy choice of word, 'luck' - i was actually thinking - resources, knowledge and support. :)
    Dreambirdie likes this.
  11. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I'm so sorry that you are going through this! I've actually been on a bit of a parallel track for the past few months after deciding to take Valium (diazepam). I was feeling anxiety; I thought from anti-malarial drugs but now I think it was actually from the Valium itself. And then the panic started, and the claustrophobia and everything else that ended up putting me in a dark, quiet room for about 12 weeks. I'm just now coming out of the worst of it and I still have a little ways to go before I'm tapered off completely. It's been a complete disaster of an experience and I too will never take these drugs again other than as a one-off for dental work or surgery.

    I have done a fair bit of research and I think that looking at the structure of the Cl channel is very helpful to understand what went wrong for me.

    [​IMG]
    For me, withdrawal from the Valium necessitated HUGE amounts of cortisol which my adrenals were unable to provide. I went into crisis twice before I went back on full steroid replacement. I don't think testing cortisol while in withdrawal is worth too much because of the huge stress. I have read of people testing with Cushing's levels of cortisol during withdrawal that went back down to normal afterwards. I just think most of us don't have those kind of cortisol reserves due to illness (especially viral and bacterial illnesses).

    It makes sense because one of the other things that modulates that channel are the neurosteroids...and many of us with ME/CFS have very low levels of neurosteroids (cortisol, pregnenolone, DHEA, etc). So in a neurotypical person, those substances could do some of the work of the missing GABA from down regulated receptors, but in us, not so much.

    Things improved for me after replacing cortisol, pregnenolone, and DHEA. I also tried a ton of herbs and found that the LEF Stress formula (lemon balm and theanine) was helpful (and may help with herpes viruses - bonus!). Lemon balm helps to preserve the enzyme that keeps GABA from breaking down. Bacopa is meant to up regulate the GABA receptors, but I found I couldn't tolerate that (or magnesium) due to the dire rear though they both seem to be worth a try.

    I'm also taking a product with Melatonin and Kava Kava at night which feels like it is helpful.

    @Rand56 suggested Gastrodin, which I have also been taking, which is supposed to increase GABA levels by something like 34%.

    And @heapsreal suggested NMDA antagonists such as dextromethorphan (or magnesium!) which also took the edge off the anxiety of withdrawal. I'm also considering OKG instead of glutamine as straight glutamine seems to pick up the anxiety for me a little bit.

    I've also spent a BUCKET of money on supplements to solve this problem. I never in a million years thought that a low dose for a few months would do this. Wish I could turn back the clock...

    ETA:

    I found this list of supplements pretty helpful, but I have not found GABA itself to be all that helpful though I might try it again with another brand as the brand I tried had as much sugar as GABA.

    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/benzo.htm
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
    Hanna, WillowJ, Wayne and 3 others like this.
  12. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Dreambirdie So sorry you had to endure this.

    Ironically, it was lorazepam I chose to use to wean off ALL prescription meds in 1999. I asked the doctor for a prescription, telling him my plan. He laughed the entire time he filled out the scrip. "You'll be back," he said. "Oh, no, I won't!" I emphatically affirmed. 90 days later, I had most of the 30-pill one refill left, having tapered off to 1/4th pill a day before leaving this class of meds behind forever.

    In short? Don't drink the Kool-Aid and the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Biggest hoax ever.
    Sidereal, ahmo and Dreambirdie like this.
  13. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Amazing that we went through roughly the same horrific ordeal at approx the same time.

    And yes "DISASTER of an experience" says it all. ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL!

    I have bolded all the supps you mentioned so I can refer back to them. The lemon balm sounds like a good idea!... in addition to all the other things I am taking, many of which are included in the linked list you posted.

    As you know, I do horribly with HC so that was/is not an option for me, but I have found that I really needed to up all my adrenal supps for now (schisandra, eleuthero root, Evergreen Adrenoplex and 7Keto DHEA), and even the progesterone, which....

    "Progesterone increases the effect of GABA and reduces neurotransmitter activity. Estradiol decreases the level of the enzyme which inactivates the serotonin and dopamine (monoamine oxidase, MAO), thus effectively increases the effects of serotonin and dopamine, where progesterone decreases their effects.

    DHEA enhances the effect of serotonin and norepinephrine, thus it enhances cognitive function and reduces depression. Cortisol inhibits the release of catecholamines, and increases the effect of GABA, thus reducing anxiety."

    My sleep is back to its usual horrible... which is at least not as bad as the benzo horrible. I sure wish I could fix that forever and for good.

    http://doccarnahan.blogspot.com/2011/08/balancing-your-brain-chemistry-testing.html
  14. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    AND P.S. Gaba, strangely, has given me severe anxiety attacks in the past. (go figure!?) so I would not dream of touching it now.
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    "GABA-rich foods are bananas, broccoli, fish, organ meats, spinach, and nuts.

    Individuals low in GABA often self-medicate with food, alcohol, or tranquilizing drugs to relax. They could benefit from taking the amino acids l-theanine, the calming compound found in green tea, and taurine, which activates GABA receptors. B vitamins reduce the wear and tear of stress, while relaxing herbs like hops, passion flower, valerian, and lemon balm promote a sense of calm and help you sleep. The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus markedly improves GABA levels."


    http://bebrainfit.com/lifestyle/nutrition/is-your-life-out-of-control-blame-your-neurotransmitters/
    WillowJ likes this.
  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    @Ema How much melatonin do you take?

    I have the Source Naturals sublingual tabs, which are 1 mg each. My naturopath said to take 3 mg, but I am sticking to 2 for now. My sleep mostly (as usual) sucks.
  17. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    @Ema i have read that supplementing glutamine can increase glutamate levels which is excitory but using okg that creates glutamine, the rate is controlled to a certain degree, so less chance of increasing glutamate levels??
    WillowJ and Wayne like this.
  18. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    what is okg?
  19. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Ornithine alpha ketogluterate, type of amino acid?
  20. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I have never heard of this. I wonder how safe it is.

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