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kicking lorazepam


Moderator Resource
Southern California
I’ve been taking 1 mg. of lorazepam in the middle of the night for sleep for several years. I started with 0.5 mg about 8 years ago, and then upped it to 1 mg. 4 or 5 years ago. I was careful not to increase it any more and also never took it during the day.

I’d recently started thinking about getting off the lorazepam and around the same time the study linking benzo use to Alzheimer’s came out, so that was the clincher for me. And then I was very upset when I started reading about how hard it can be to get off of benzos, even relatively small doses. I had always assumed because I was not taking a high dose and didn’t take it during the day that it would be a piece of cake and had no idea that benzos can be extremely difficult to kick. And then I felt angry with my doctor who never said a word about this to me or expressed any concern about my long-term use.

In any event - I’ve cut my dose in half back to 0.5 mg for a little over 3 weeks now and am doing fine, and will try cutting out the last half in a couple of weeks (or maybe will taper off that last 0.5 mg more slowly, will see how it goes).

I wanted to pass on what I think is helping me. Niacin is extremely helpful. I’d only discovered 6 months ago or so that it can help a LOT with sleep - it activates the GABA receptors. I’d taken niacinamide for a long time, and also no-flush niacin, neither of which did anything for me. But when I started taking plain niacin it made an immediate difference in my quality of sleep. I wish I had known about it years ago, quite likely would not have had to start the lorazepam. Here’s a link to an article about a doctor who used high dose niacin to help someone with a quick xanax detox: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v10n09.shtml

I’m taking 500 mg niacin after dinner and then 250 mg in the middle of the night when I wake up and do okay on that. It made me too tired when I took it in the morning, so I know it is definitely affecting my GABA receptors.

Also, lots of l-theanine is helping. I take 100 mg before bed together with calcium and magnesium and 100 mg. 5-htp and 3 mg sublingual melatonin. I generally sleep then pretty well for 3 to 4 hours. But it’s the middle of the night that’s the kicker, and I’ve been taking 300 mg. L-theanine, plus the extra niacin and 0.5 lorazepam then and another 3 mg of melatonin. It’s still taking me about 1-1/2 hours to get back to sleep then but this is manageable.

High cortisol at night can cause insomnia. Seriphos (phosphorylated serine) is extremely helpful with this, and I’ve started taking four 100 mg capsules a day (in the morning).

All in all it’s not bad. The only really noticeable symptom of withdrawal is my worsening middle of the night sleep but again it’s manageable.

So I wanted to pass this on in case it might be helpful to someone else. The problem with benzos is that they interfere with the GABA receptors and it can take quite awhile for the body to start properly producing and using GABA on its own. The niacin is a godsend for this. I’ve always hated the flushing it causes but now I don’t care! The sleep it gives me is worth it. And if I take it with a meal there’s generally hardly any flushing at all.

One last thing - there’s a very interesting technique called "faster eft" (see http://www.youtube.com/user/HealingMagic#grid/user/A44397BC5E723EF4)

I won’t try to explain it here, just watch some of the youtube videos. Anyways, when I am lying there awake in the middle of the night I also envision doing the faster eft tapping (you can just imagine you’re doing the tapping, you don’t have to actually do it) and saying things like, my brain is relaxing now, it’s calm, it’s safe to go to sleep, etc. and I do that for 5 minutes or so and it helps me drop off too.

Best wishes,