Benzodiazapines

paul80

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I can't seem to cope without taking Xanax every 2 to 3 days. Without it i get poor sleep and my nervous system is wired like crazy. I startle easy, anxiety etc.

I feel like it would probably help me a lot more if i took it every day but my doctor warns me against it as she says it would stop working or i would need to keep upping the dose.

But i also read that some PWME take Klonopin every night and are fine on it. I think some m.e specialist doctors advise their patients to do this too. I think it was on this website i read about that

What do you think?
 
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paul80

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About 14 months. I thought about benzo withdrawl but i did have anxiety/nerve, and sleep problems before i started it so i'm not sure. Although at the start i didn't need to take it as often so maybe you're right.

I want to know if it would stop working long term, because if not i don't think i'd care much if i was addicted.
 

paul80

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Thanks for the info. So you didn't need to keep increasing the dose? Someone else told me they just altered the dose up and down and it helped it keep working..

Is ativan better for sleep than xanax? i didn't get them from a doctor, i just got them online.
 
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But i also read that some PWME take Klonopin every night and are fine on it. I think some m.e specialist doctors advise their patients to do this too. I think it was on this website i read about that

What do you think?
I got improvements from Klonopin and I took a very small dose. Getting off of Clonazepam was a nightmare though.

Protracted Benzodiazapine Withdrawal Syndrome
 

paul80

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I think i'll try a lower dose cause i've been taking 1mg of xanax and i'm not sure if i even need that much. I'll try a 1/2.

Here's the article i read here about what a lot of M.E doctors give their patients for sleep. Most seem to use benzos.
https://phoenixrising.me/treating-c...cfs-and-fibromyalgia-a-prescription-for-sleep

I suppose not getting proper sleep could do more harm than anything the benzos could do.
 
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I think i'll try a lower dose cause i've been taking 1mg of xanax and i'm not sure if i even need that much. I'll try a 1/2.
I found Xanax to be extremely extremely helpful. I was using 0.5 mg for sleep; and for IBS-d. So something about the Xanax version of GABA seems to work very well here to reduce anxiety-generated GUT generated IBS-d. A Valium doesn't work.

I have never achieved this IBS-d result using other sources of GABA, theanines or related type more natural sleep and anxiety reductions.

So for several years, I only took the .5mg Xanax for specific reasons.

Then: major major stressors arose, and I shifted to: taking the 0.5 mgs every night so I was able to sleep in some form, and not be waking up and 2-3 AM, wide awake, running lists, and tormented. Did that for the last year.

I recently cut back to 0.25 mgs and have not experienced any adverse effects.

I rarely take them in the daytime, very very rarely.
 

Shoshana

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I haven't ever taken Xanax, but I myself, would not rule out trying it sometime, if needed in the future, in a small dose for nighttime.
Especially if i was not taking much of other scripts. If I found it helpful, I would prefer it to many other options.

I have had major problems with many other meds, and I am aware that some people have had very difficult problems with benzo's,

however I have not had problems with very small doses of them, (and have known others who took them without problems as well)
and i have found them helpful, when i have taken small doses of Klonopin in the past, (years ago i did after reading about it, in Dr Cheney's article, etc) and then, Clonazepam, in very small doses in its place.
I never needed to increase my dosages, of either of those, over time. And I could take breaks from them.

I avoid meds whenever possible, but i think it is okay for people to decide when they need some symptom relief, and to weigh the available and recommended options.
 
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Shoshana

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By the way, if I was taking a small dose of Xanax or clonazepam, and it stopped working, I would not increase my dose. I would personally take a break from it, and then, re-try the same dose that I had found effective or helpful in the past.
So, I would avoid steadily increasing the dose. I don't know about Xanax, but the clonazepam tablets are a type that can be cut into very small pieces, with a pill cutter.
 

geraldt52

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I can't seem to cope without taking Xanax every 2 to 3 days. Without it i get poor sleep and my nervous system is wired like crazy. I startle easy, anxiety etc.

I feel like it would probably help me a lot more if i took it every day but my doctor warns me against it as she says it would stop working or i would need to keep upping the dose.
Your doctor is giving you good advice.

The problem with benzos isn't "addiction", it's "habituation". When they stop working doctors will typically tell you to increase the dose. Which works, until it doesn't. The hazard is if, probably when, you eventually you reach a point where you can't increase the dose, and you can't decrease the dose...and then you are in a world of trouble. It doesn't seem to happen to everyone, but if it happens to you it will be hell, and it may take a decade to reverse it, if it ever does, and your doctor will likely be of no use whatsoever.

When you reach the point where you need to increase the dose or the frequency, your body is probably telling you something. Benzos are dangerous drugs, but they can be quite effective.... only you can decide if you need or want to roll the dice and take them anyway. I wish I had never heard the bullshit Klonopin story that is still being doled out by some of the CFS "experts"...
 

Belbyr

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I am another Ativan user. Some years I can go without using it, it is a rescue drug. Then times like I am in now, it is an every day thing. I am now about 6-7 months in on using it every day. I vary anywhere from .5mg to 1.5mg on a bad day. It also helps my IBS and nausea I deal with.

It has over time lost it's effectiveness or my body has become use to it. When I was younger and first started, I felt like I didn't have a single care in the world. Now it just seems to help some of the physical symptoms with only a small bit of 'looniness'. I think at doses of .5-1mg per day, you don't run a risk of withdrawal. Sometimes Ativan is used at doses of 2mg 3x per day for short term anxiety, now that can cause withdrawal!!!

I remember going in to surgery, I was nauseated, heart racing, sweating, and they shot me with a Xanax I believe... and man, I felt like a million bucks before they knocked me out.
 
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. I think at doses of .5-1mg per day, you don't run a risk of withdrawal.
Persistence in the blood streams vary in these various Benzos I recall. Xanax is much shorter lived in the blood stream than a Valium.....So that plays a role in: habituation. But the shortered lived benzos are more challenging for withdrawal, it appears.

I just want to clearly state: I do not advocate for anyone to use this route. I had to use this route as NOTHING ELSE existed, at the time, to save me from this intolerable symptom which prevented me from working.

As I"ve now found some other improvements for the IBS-d (chinese herbs, kill off almost all carbs)...I am going to try further dosage reductions.
 

Mary

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I suppose not getting proper sleep could do more harm than anything the benzos could do.
I'm afraid I don't agree with this. I took lorazepam for 11 years for sleep, started with 0.5 mg and then went up to 1 mg. I loved it, and then found that benzos were linked to Alzheimer's. Also, I was going to need more. I knew it was addicting but always thought I was on such a small dose it wouldn't matter. And that wasn't true.

It took me 7 or 8 months to taper off of 1 mg., and then another year I think before my sleep really became manageable. I learned a lot about sleep in that time. Niacin helps, it stimulates or sensitizes GABA receptors, l-theanine helps me some, and vitamin C believe it or not can help a lot - it helps mop up excess glutamate. And then awhile later I learned about how important enough magnesium at night is (I thought I was taking plenty, but no) and NOT taking calcium at night, and also avoiding MSG in all its iterations - how many doctors talk about this stuff? They know very little about sleep for the most part.

I still have sleep issues - they're part of ME/CFS - and I would love nothing more than to go back on lorazepam, but it's dangerous stuff. So right now I'm working with CBD/THC oil, vaping it, which is amazingly helpful. And I do switch it up from time to time, using Unisom - an old antihistamine but much more powerful than Benadryl and works much better for me. Only it only works for 10- 14 days and then I have to switch off.

The fact that doctors prescribe benzos a lot means nothing. They prescribe a lot of stuff they shouldn't. And they're amazingly unaware of how incredibly difficult it can be to get off these drugs they so often blithely prescribe (do some research about people trying to get off anti-depressants)- if benzos weren't addicting and didn't have any link to Alzheimer's and had no down side, I'd be back on lorazepam in a flash. But that's not the case.

Not getting proper sleep is horrible, but there are other ways to work on sleep.
 

paul80

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O.K thanks for the advice everyone.

I was considering taking xanax every night because i'm having a hard time coming off another drug my neurologist put me on, Lamotregine. It made all my m.e symptoms worse and i felt exhausted on it. I've got it down to 1 pill and i'm going to quit it this week hopefullly.

I also wasn't able to quit prozac when i tried last year. In the past when my m.e was moderate i quit prozac easily, didn't even need to taper it down. Now that my illness is more severe, most drugs i try have bad effects and withdrawls are worse, it's like my brain is very sensitive to any change.

Anyway, the xanax is the only thing i've found that helps me so i need to keep taking it but i'll be more careful with the dose.

@Mary I never knew about this msg. Do you avoid eating tomatoes, grapes, cheese, mushrooms? did you notice a difference in your sleep from that?
 

Mary

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@Mary I never knew about this msg. Do you avoid eating tomatoes, grapes, cheese, mushrooms? did you notice a difference in your sleep from that?
Hi @paul80 - actually l didn't avoid all those foods. What I did was look at this list carefully, and avoid any products that had any of these ingredients in them, at dinner time: https://www.truthinlabeling.org/names.html

This basically meant no processed foods - including even mustard or mayonnaise - at night. Otherwise I'd be awake until 3:00 p.m. I found that magnesium citrate caused insomnia for me, because of the citrate - things I never would have expected could badly affect me. Dinner would be fish or chicken or beef, salt and pepper seasoning only (most seasoning blends have msg), vegetable with butter (butter at least was ok!), just very basic stuff. Once I slipped and bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and was awake until 3:00 a.m. and checked the label in the morning and of course it had "natural flavors' added to it.

So cutting out all processed foods to avoid MSG at night helped me avoid the killer msg-related insomnia of being awake until 3:00 a.m. but it did not solve all my sleep issues. The things that have helped me the most with regular (non-msg-related) insomnia are:

niacin (the kind that makes you flush - it sensitizes or stimulates GABA receptors),
lots of magnesium at night - magnesium glycinate is good - avoid citrate
melatonin
High dose vitamin C - taken throughout the day and evening -mops up excess glutamate
5-htp - helps produce serotonin without the awful effects of prescription anti-depressants
lemon balm and valerian root help a little
l-theanine
CBD/THC oil (50% each)
 
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@paul80
I can't seem to cope without taking Xanax every 2 to 3 days. Without it i get poor sleep and my nervous system is wired like crazy. I startle easy, anxiety etc.
Since the half-life of Xanax is approx. 4 to 7 hours, I’m questioning your belief that one Xanax every 2 to 3 days is having any long-term effect (days as opposed to hours) on your sleep. This is probably a placebo effect.

Either that, or you’re an incredibly slow metabolizer, which could indicate liver impairment or damage.

All these meds metabolize thru the P450 enzyme system in your liver. The shorter the half-life oddly enough, the more damaging to your liver, probably due to the multiple dosings required for same length of action.
I feel like it would probably help me a lot more if i took it every day but my doctor warns me against it as she says it would stop working or i would need to keep upping the dose.
No, it wouldn’t help, and your Dr is both right, and commendable for her caution in using this drug on a daily basis. It will most definitely stop working. This is called ‘Tolerance Withdrawal’, and it happens as your body/brain become adjusted to the current dose. You start going thru withdrawal symptoms, and the only cure is a higher dose. And then that stops working, and you have to up your dose again. And again. And again.
But i also read that some PWME take Klonopin every night and are fine on it. I think some m.e specialist doctors advise their patients to do this too. I think it was on this website i read about that
This is dangerous horse shite. Klonopin is one of the more deadly benzos, both in terms of habituation and of withdrawal.

Drs who advise its use for more than the 2 to 6 weeks, maximum, as stated in Roche’s own drug monograph (and believe me, they want to sell as much of their drugs as possible, so this limitation warning should be taken even more seriously) should be pulled up in front of a review board. Not that it would help. There are VERY few Drs who recognize, or even admit to, the extreme danger of these drugs, and most Drs prescribe them with an abandon that’s absolutely chilling.
What do you think?
I think you’d be wise to heed the many posts in this thread that warn you against it.
Your doc. is right, benzo's are not the answer.
Is ativan better for sleep than xanax? i didn't get them from a doctor, i just got them online.
Ativan is a weaker and slightly longer acting version of the same thing. Its half-life is approx. 6 to 8 hrs, vs. Xanax’s 4 to 7 hrs. One mg of Ativan is equivalent to only about 8 mgs of Valium, whereas Xanax is equal to approx 15 mrs

And how in God’s name you were able to access a controlled drug over the internet without a Drs prescription is absolutely baffling. Where do ya’ll live?
I got improvements from Klonopin and I took a very small dose. Getting off of Clonazepam was a nightmare though.
One mg of Klonopin is the equivalent of 20 mgs of Valium, and its half-life is approx. 7 to 12 hrs. It’s an absolute nightmare of a drug in every way, particularly in terms of tolerance withdrawals and any attempt to get off it.

RUN.
I suppose not getting proper sleep could do more harm than anything the benzos could do.
Think again. If you feel you have problems now, multiply that by a factor of 10 and you have an approximation of what your problems could be with a Xanax, Ativan, or Klonopin habit. And believe me, it WILL become a necessary habit.
if it happens to you it will be hell, and it may take a decade to reverse it, if it ever does, and your doctor will likely be of no use whatsoever.
This is absolutely accurate. And your Dr will actually be worse than useless. They will deny that it’s the drug that’s doing it; they’ll tell you that it’s all in your head and therefore all your fault; and then they’ll cut you off and kick you to the curb.

You’ll be in an anguished hell that you can’t even begin to imagine right now.
I wish I had never heard the bullshit Klonopin story that is still being doled out by some of the CFS "experts"...
And hear, hear yet again. That MECFS ‘experts’ are still spouting this kind of abject crap and urging the prescribing of this drug in particular is mind-boggling.
I think at doses of .5-1mg per day, you don't run a risk of withdrawal. Sometimes Ativan is used at doses of 2mg 3x per day for short term anxiety, now that can cause withdrawal!!!
This is dangerously misleading. It’s reminiscent of the guy who thinks that, because he only drinks beer, he can’t possibly have a problem with alcohol, unlike his buddy, who drinks bourbon. Now, THAT guy has a real problem.
I'm afraid I don't agree with this.
I would love nothing more than to go back on lorazepam, but it's dangerous stuff.
I’m totally with Mary on this. And everything she says in her post.

As far as sleep goes, there are other ways to go. I found Benadryl to be absolutely useless (a lot of people swear by it), but discovered that small amounts of Unisom were like a miracle. By small amounts, I mean ¼ of a 25 mg tablet.

Try anything else, but get the hell off Xanax, and listen to your unusually well-informed and caring Dr., along with the posters here who clarly have some knowledge and experience in dealing with these drugs.

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, paul, but please don’t spin the cylinder in the hope that you’re one of the 1 out of 100,000 that can avoid the extremely serious and profoundly damaging effects of trotting down this dangerous, deceptive, twisting road.
 
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As far as sleep goes, there are other ways to go
Not to beat this poor horse too much longer: I took Xanax originally because it stopped an IBS reaction . This allowed me to work, otherwise, I was sick in the bathroom: everything canceled.

I horded my 30 Xanax, as I was averse to going to the doctor. They would last like a year. To get the Xanax, I must see a doctor, and I don't want to go there. So I"d horde them and underuse them and have: failures as a result. My therapist at the time indicated: Use the XANAX more! Use it More. So I start: using it a bit more.

It was after this HUGE stress thing that I: increased my dose. And now sleep better, overall.

I am gonna work on further reduction. Add to list.
 

Thinktank

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About 14 months. I thought about benzo withdrawl but i did have anxiety/nerve, and sleep problems before i started it so i'm not sure. Although at the start i didn't need to take it as often so maybe you're right.

I want to know if it would stop working long term, because if not i don't think i'd care much if i was addicted.
Most persons do develop tolerance at some point, that can be as soon as within a few months or 30 years later.
Once you develop tolerance you're pretty much screwed.

I was on clonazepam for over 4 years, i developed tolerance to the drug with an added paradoxical effect. It was pure hell to come off clonazepam, 9 months of terror and then a year of acute withdrawal symptoms.
4 years off i'm still suffering with lingering symtoms like myocolonic jerks (daily), an inability to handle any form of stress, depersonalization and dysautonomia.

The short term gains are not worth the possible hell you will get yourself into.
 

Mary

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I think at doses of .5-1mg per day, you don't run a risk of withdrawal.
Actually I disagree with this. I started at 0.5 mg of lorazepam (Ativan) and then went up to 1 mg., for 11 years - in the middle of the night for sleep. I always thought it was such a small dose I'd have no problem getting off of it - not true! It took close to 2 years to taper off of that and get back to "normal" (whatever normal is for ME/CFS!) Anyways, it was a lot rougher than I expected. I did like it a lot and would be back on it in a flash, as I said above, if it was safe - if it was non-addictive, if it had no connection to Alzheimer's, if one could just stop it with no bad withdrawal symptoms - but unfortunately it's none of those things.

@paul80 and anyone who may think benzos are no big deal - check out benzobuddies.org - people are literally going through hell trying to get off of these drugs. I actually was fortunate - it was hard to get off of it, even with a very slow taper, but I didn't have all the nightmare symptoms many people do.