• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Do benzodiazepines twice a week create addiction?

nsdn

Senior Member
Messages
184
The thing is that lormetazepam (short acting benzodiazepine) works great for me punctually, it gives me a sleep cure and I sleep 2 or 3 hours more. The next day I feel better.

These drugs should be used for a maximum of 2 weeks so as not to become addictive or habituated.

I had thought of taking on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 1 mg.

Do you guys think this is a good idea, are there any studies of benzodiazepines taken intermittently?

Thanks in advance.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
I was using .5 mgs XANAX for sleep most every night for about two years and observed no evident withdrawal symptoms when I just abruptly stopped.

I rarely took any in daytime.

Now, my aim is take it rarely but take a higher dose so it actually works.
 

YippeeKi YOW !!

Senior Member
Messages
16,064
Location
Second star to the right ...
I had thought of taking on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 1 mg.

Do you guys think this is a good idea, are there any studies of benzodiazepines taken intermittently?
First, 2x a week isn't intermittent, it's steady and continuous. Second, there's absolutely no safe bargain you can strike with benzodiazepines, particularly the shorter acting ones, which yours is. They like to call it a short-to-intermediate-acting insomnia drug, but it's short. It's half life is about 10 hours, it starts to work in about 30-40 minutes, and peaks within 2 hours of ingestion, then starts to slowly fade thereafter.

The problem with short-acting benzos as opposed to log acting ones like diazpam (half life anywhere from 48 to 72 hours) is that you build up tolerance more quickly, and you find you have to increase either your dosage, or decrease the length of time between doses.

There's no telling what effect it'll have on you, since everyone reacts different, but there's no doubt that benzos generally are hellishly addictive, and that getting off of them is difficult, painful, and loooooong. And you'll get absolutely NO help from your prescribing Dr, since tapering someone off those things takes a very long time, a lot of patience, and a special license. You'll hear that your Dr's never run into the reaction you're having ("it's all in your head" strongly implied) or even ever heard of it. This is bull puckey. You'll get a two week prescription to taker yourself off of them, and you'll be in a whole new and exciting, sort of, kind of hell.

Do a quick search on this site for 'benzodiazpines', and you'll invariably bump into some hair-raising stories.

There are some lucky people who seem to have to problem with them. They generally have a particular form of pretty tough constitutions coupled with very fortunate genes. There are a few extremely unlucky people who wind up dead. And there's the middle cut, who wind up battling their way OUT of hell and wishing they'd never taken them.

I can't tell you which you are, but it might help to try to remember how you've reacted to any form of psych drug in the past, inlcuding opiates, or if you think you might have an addictive personality and find it easy to rely on an outside, exogenous source of easing stress or other psychological issues like anxiety, general nerviness, or social uneasiness.


I wish I could give you a short, easy answer, but in this case, there really aren't any.

Take care, and be alert to any signs of tolerance withdrawal or increased anxiety and jumpiness, including restless legs and twinge and tinglings .... :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
Messages
97
Hey! I Ive been taking Lorazepam twice a week (or on special events like doctors apointment) for the last 3 years. I sometimes take a break for 1-2 weeks and i have not seen any withdrawal symptoms nor did i had to increase the dose because of tollerance.

I don’t want to encourage anyone to take benzos, just wanted to tell you my experience with it.
 

Mary

Moderator Resource
Messages
17,567
Location
Texas Hill Country
@nsdn - twice a week sounds to me like it should be okay, but I can't say for sure of course. @YippeeKi YOW !! has given you some good information. You're already aware of the addiction potential with a benzo so that's good. I would just stay aware of how you're feeling and keep in mind you have a tiger by the tail if you feel like adding in a bit more.

I googled intermittent benzo use and found a study of older people (I'm not saying you're elderly, that was just hte study) and they found unsurprisingly that chronic use was associated with more hip fractures etc but it didn't say anything about addiction issues.

I took lorazepam nightly (started with 0.5 mg and then went up to 1 mg.) for 11 years for sleep - I loved it, until I knew I had to either increase my dose or get off of it. I would have loved to just increase my dose but that way lies madness as they say - I knew it wasn't a sane or safe option. It took me about 8 months to get off of it, and I had to go verrry slowly. But I did get off of it.
 

hmnr asg

Senior Member
Messages
565
I used to take them everyday and i was building a tolerance. I ended up stopping completely. It was rough but not intolerable, I had a much much harder time trying to get off Cymbalta (and in fact failed in the end).
Now I take it once a week, or twice if things are really bad. When i dont take it one week I feel no issues and this way i dont build any tolerance.

Of course everyone is different and this is just my experience. Things aren't black and white. None of us would be using any medication if we didn't have to. I'm sure there are side effects in my use of benzos long term and I still could develop a major addiction. But this is a risk I am ok with at the moment (might change my mind later depending on how things go).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

YippeeKi YOW !!

Senior Member
Messages
16,064
Location
Second star to the right ...
Of course everyone is different and this is just my experience.
As I speak from mine.


Speaking only for myself, I dont speak out about all medications, but when I have strong feelings and/or experience, I like to hope that I can save someone else from the many hells that often accompany the tendency towards polypharmacy that this country has become internationally famous for.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

heapsreal

iherb 10% discount code OPA989,
Messages
10,138
Location
australia (brisbane)
This is my thought process on insomnia and benzos to treat insomnia. Take into consideration that cfsme is chronic and appears to be life long but varies in one person a great deal.

Every few years there's always something on the news about sleeping tablets shorten life span or increase dementia etc. But there's never a double blinded placebo study showing one's health after 10yrs of untreated insomnia vs someone using benzo's/Z-drugs nightly or intermittently. What I'd like to see is if it's the insomnia causing the health issues or the medication causing the health issues???

So if you have cfsme and insomnia is one of your worst symptoms, what are you suppose to do? I know I feel alot better after getting 5-7hrs of medicated sleep vs 2-3hrs of light restless, interrupted sleep. Personally I often wonder how bad some people's sleep was, when they say they wished they'd never taken them. One reason I think of is that if you never took sleep meds than you would still have sleep issues, as Many symptoms like insomnia in cfsme never resolve.

I've spoken to a few people who have had terrible sleep issues and for a variety of reasons never took anything for sleep. None of them were able to work, as they spent almost their entire life waiting for that small gap in their life where they could get an hr or 2 of sleep. They might have one option a day like this or several options a day like this and at any time of the day or night.

Then I've heard of people who took benzos for years and decide to come off, in many different types of tapering systems. Honestly their sleep didn't seem that different post benzo use compared to those who never used benzo's mentioned just above ie sleep was crap. Depending alot on the dose one may have got up too.

Then there's people like myself who continue to use sleep meds. I still have nights where I might not sleep at all until the following night and can be in bad cycles of sleep for a week or so but then I will go back into cycles of getting 5-7 hrs of sleep a night for a few weeks.

Another thing I have seen is that a mecfser may get 6-10hrs sleep and wake up feeling like crap. When they see their dr they say they feel crappy and tired and that they feel like they need to sleep more. There can be some confusion that fatigue means they need more sleep, so the dr puts them on sleep meds. Maybe it's a sleep quality issue but rarely meds help quality but more so the quantity. So they can be put on meds but not really needing them for sleep quantity. Eventually you become reliant on them when it wasn't necessary.

I haven't seen it much of late but about 10yrs ago and earlier, it seemed common for drs to put cfsers on klonopin for sleep and would start at .5mg. There were some that just stayed at that dose for years and were fine, but others that got a tolerance to it within a few weeks and lift the dose to 1mg and then 2mg, then 3mg. Some of these drs would then realise the dose was getting too high and would just cut them off. Cruel bastards. A half good dr probably would have started weighing things up when 1mg stopped working and looking at changing them over to another Med or maybe tapering them off 1mg if needed and look at other alternatives. Tapering someone off 3mg plus, I think is a massive dose for most to try to come off and probably should never have been on such a dose without a really good reason.

If you could cure a cfsers insomnia would that fix cfsme, no. But cfsme with insomnia just adds another thick layer of misery to cfsme. One thing for sure is that we need some new and effective treatments for sleep in cfsme. This would help improve our quality of life.
It's a tough situation to know which way to go.
 

perchance dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
1,707
I haven't seen it much of late but about 10yrs ago and earlier, it seemed common for drs to put cfsers on klonopin for sleep and would start at .5mg. There were some that just stayed at that dose for years and were fine, but others that got a tolerance to it within a few weeks and lift the dose to 1mg and then 2mg, then 3mg. Some of these drs would then realise the dose was getting too high and would just cut them off.

A long time ago, a doctor put me on 1/2 MG of Klonopin for sleep, saying it was such a low dose that I wouldn't have a problem with it. I developed tolerance, but, thankfully, decided not to go up on dosage. Still, tapering off the small dose of Klonopin was torment. I wouldn't take benzos again for anything on earth. I know some people might not have the problems I did, but I'd still advise being extremely careful.
 
Messages
764
Location
Israel
I tried the method of just once a week lorazapam. I could feel the withdrawal already 24 hours later. Horrible. I think twice would get me addicted.

I prefer diazepam, benzos with a longer half life.
I prefer diazepam once every week to once every 2 weeks. Even that is too much but this illness is too hard for me to stop altogether.

I once took a whole year just to get off a tiny dose of clonex. I was forced to go to doctors privately for help, and they weren't that understanding.
 

YippeeKi YOW !!

Senior Member
Messages
16,064
Location
Second star to the right ...
I tried the method of just once a week lorazapam. I could feel the withdrawal already 24 hours later. Horrible. I think twice would get me addicted.
I prefer diazepam, benzos with a longer half life.
I agree. If you have to take a benzo for sleep or other ME related reasons, the longer the half life, the better.

Valium/Diazepam has the longest half life on record, ranging from a minimum of 24 hrs to as much 76 hours or more, varying with the individual and how your Cytochrome P450/3A4 pathway works. If it's slow, the half life will be longer, if it's speedy, it'll be more towards th 24 hr end ....

The benzo risks are still there with Valium, but they're somewhat less than with the short acting, short half-life offerings lie alprazolam, lorazepam, and others that I cant recall, where the risks are pretty much an absolute guarantee ...

Also, to clarify potential misunderstandings, the half-life of these drugs isn't an indication of how long they have a therapeutic effect but rather how long metabolites will be present and traceable in your blood, even tho inactive in terms of treatment. But the longer the half life, the more gradually the therapeutic effect wears off, so gentler all the way around.
I was forced to go to doctors privately for help, and they weren't that understanding.
As far as I know, that's the only way to get medically provided tapering help, whcih requires a raft of special licensing and extremely close oversight and potential interference from the AMA and the DEA, among others, including possible loss of your license to practice. It's a risky business, so my guess would be that Drs who choose to do that do it for the money, which can be SUBSTANTIAL and generally not out of empathy ....


EDIT .... for one very confusing typo. Left any others alone, cause too fatigued right now to give a hooha ...
 
Last edited:

JES

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
I think it was touched upon above, but being in this constant withdrawal could create problems with taking a short-acting benzo a few times a week. More specifically it would be kindling or sedative-hypnotic withdrawal (wiki), which sounds scary.

You can be highly addicted to something like nicotine without it necessarily having very dangerous withdrawal effects, so those two are separate things.
 
Back