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Downers addiction Support for coping with benzodiazepine, barbiturate, and sedative-hypnotic drug addiction and downers addiction treatment.

 
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  #1  
Old 19-09-2011, 15:48
RedBaron RedBaron is offline
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Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Baron has been experiencing severe insomnia for the past couple weeks and was prescribed Lorazeapam yesterday for temporary relief. He slept fine last night but knows how addictive benzos could potentially be. The question is, how often should he use them without developing a addiction or dependency. Baron should also add that 2 weeks ago he had a terrible panic attack (felt like heart attack) and took a valium to calm down in emergency. These are the only two times he has uses these substances; but is very paranoid about it becoming yet another addiction. And from reading some withdrawal accounts, it looks EXTREMELY unpleasant.

Thanks
  #2  
Old 19-09-2011, 16:19
snarkymalarky snarkymalarky is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

As far as I understand these matters, dependency is the flipside of tolerance. Roughly speaking, one becomes tolerant to the effects of a benzo as one's brain chemistry adapts to the extra GABA by becoming less sensitive to GABA. At this point, removal of that extra GABA provided by the benzo causes withdrawal. So if you don't start to develop any tolerance, then you shouldn't be physically dependent. Psychological dependence is another story.

The actual timeframe for this varies widely from person to person. I imagine that if you just take them once a week or so you would be fine, but I'm not a doctor or neuroscientist and you would do well not to take my advice as the final word.

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Good and concise information.
  #3  
Old 19-09-2011, 23:16
RedBaron RedBaron is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Alright thanks for your thoughts on this... Baron has a doctors appointment this afternoon, and will hopefully see if he could get referred to a psychiatrist for a definite answer.

RedBaron added 349 Minutes and 5 Seconds later...

Anyone else have some input to chime in?

Last edited by RedBaron; 19-09-2011 at 23:16. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
  #4  
Old 22-09-2011, 14:40
pathos pathos is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

You did not mention how often or how much you have been taking. Lorazepam(Ativan) is a fast acting benzo much like Xanax. Benzos like these can become physically addictive very rapidly. I was prescribed Xanax .5mg/3x day and noticed after one week of this regimen I had withdrawal symptoms after abstaining. I have used benzos, legally, and if you are going to take them on a regular basis you need to get into the psychiatric arena of medical care. Psychiatrists have far more knowledge of benzos than GP's.

If you get them from a general or family practitioner they generally will not prescribe benzos for long term or daily use. It is a schedule IV drug which makes it easier to prescribe but most doctors know how addictive they are and will only prescribe for short term use in cases of insomnia. Have you tried sedative hypnotics such as Ambien, Lunesta, or Sonata? They carry some risk of physical dependence but they can be taken for short periods of time(4-6weeks) usually without dependence problems. If you only take lorazepam1-2 mgs a week and you just started you are probably fine but I thought I would give you a little more info. just in case you plan on taking them more often. Remember, and not everyone agrees on this, addiction and dependence are different. Addiction has a psychological aspect ie;cravings, drug seeking, while dependence is the body having a reaction (withdrawal) when a substance is abruptly discontinued.

A person can become physically dependent on fast acting benzos (xanax, ativan, triazolam) quickly depending on the individual,how much, and how often taken.

Tolerance occurs to the muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant, and sleep-inducing effects of benzodiazepines, and upon cessation a benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome occurs. This tolerance develops within days or weeks. If you take benzos occasionally then that (tolerance) doesn't really apply to you. Also, when taken over time,you may be taking them to avoid or relieve benzo withdrawal symptoms which creates a vicious cycle. It can happen without you noticing and then it's too late, you are physically dependent. If you find that you have reached that point you need to taper if you want to get off them. Do not go cold turkey when stopping use of benzos if you are physically dependent on them as it can be dangerous. There are is a lot of info about quitting benzos and tapering if you UTDFSE . Again, the withdrawal symptoms vary among individuals.

By the way, withdrawal from benzos is very unpleasant to put it mildly. If you can avoid addiction or dependence, I recommend from personal experience, avoid it. I am not trying to scare you, benzos can work wonders when taken occasionally. Be safe.

Last edited by pathos; 23-09-2011 at 00:45. Reason: corrections
  #5  
Old 22-09-2011, 15:05
msjaguarxj6 msjaguarxj6 is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

I'm going to add my two cents here because I've had the experience with lorazepam. I was taking 2 (.5mg) pills a day for 2 years. I was prescribed it for anxiety and mild panic attacks. I was already on zoloft at the time so my doctor's answer was to increase that dosage to 100mgs, and add the lorazepam. I LOVED it. They were my little magic pills. I had a problem.. I was moody, or anxious, or nervous, ANYTHING... I took a pill. Then after feeling nice and numb and cozy for 2 years my doctor left. I was left with a doctor that didn't like to prescribe benzos. She tried putting me on Gabapentin, but this didn't do anything for me. So I didn't even take them.. Looking back now I wish I had known they had a potential for recreational use. I would of taken them, but I had my heart set on my ativan and couldn't do anything about it. So I had to quit with the 2 week supply she reluctantly gave me. The WDS weren't too bad as I had been off of it already for a couple of weeks so I was used to it. I had gastrointestinal issues, nausea, upset stomach, fuzzy head feeling, etc. It's been a year now since I've been off of it, but I get them from my neighbor once in awhile or I'll get xanax. So I take them occasionally as they are supposed to be taken. I am fine living without them, but if I had a doctor who would put me back on it I'd go back in a heart beat. I was most definitely physically addicted to them.

If you are concerned about becoming addicted don't take one everyday. Only take one when you feel you need it. I'm surprised your doctor would prescribe them for insomnia due to how addictive they are. If you take one every once in awhile you shouldn't develop any kind of addiction. If you feel you need one everyday no matter how you're feeling otherwise you should talk to your doctor about tapering off. He'll give you something else probably to aid with the wds etc.

The real problem most of us seem to have is finding an appropriate doctor! This is my biggest struggle.
  #6  
Old 22-09-2011, 17:19
Tillianne Tillianne is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

I must have an abnormal doctor because she has been prescribing me Ativan 0.5mg for the past 6 years, since my Dad passed away. I get several prescriptions from my doctor at once, and she just refills them all at the same time, Ativan included. She has never questioned my usage, or even hinted that she would not prescribe them anymore.

Until I broke both of my feet in June, I didn't even take the Ativan on a daily basis. I have been cutting back on the Ativan because I want to, not because she is making me.
  #7  
Old 22-09-2011, 19:22
Tillianne Tillianne is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by msjaguarxj6 View Post
You must not have a very good doctor then.. lol I mean that would be GREAT to have a doctor to give you whatever you want, but ethically speaking she doesn't seem too responsible! She should know precisely the effects and addictive properties of the medicine she dispenses like candy. This is in no offense to you Tilliane by the way. Only to your doctor.
She doesn't dispense anything like "candy." Most of the prescriptions I take are non-narcotic and not even pain pills. Things like inhalers (3 different ones for Asthma), cholesterol medication, Lidocaine patches (to also help with pain), thyroid medication (for Hypothyroidism), Ranitidine (for stomach and acid reflux problems), birth control pills (because I have irregular periods, and Ativan (for stress related to chronic pain for Rheumatoid Arthritis and now broken bones) The only pain medicine I used for my RA was cannabis, and she doesn't prescribe that.

Most recently was prescribed Tramadol for pain due to RA pain and broken bones. My broken feet have aggravated my RA, especially in my spine. I was taking Oxycodone prescribed by my Orthopedic surgeon, and my GP gave me a weaker pain med (Tramadol), at my request.

Also, regarding the Ativan, she has only been giving me Ativan 0.5mg #90 tablets with 3 refills to last a whole year. I never even used all the refills. I have only been using more than before because of my broken feet, and I still haven't used all my regular refills on the Ativan.

My doctor is a great doctor, and has never done anything but help me. I hope she never retires.

You shouldn't say things negative like this when you don't know everything.
  #8  
Old 22-09-2011, 21:04
msjaguarxj6 msjaguarxj6 is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillianne View Post
I must have an abnormal doctor because she has been prescribing me Ativan 0.5mg for the past 6 years, since my Dad passed away. .
The part that is irresponsible and unethical is the fact that you've been PRESCRIBED Lorazepam for 6 years!

Lorazepam is used for 'short-term treatment.' It is not even supposed to be used for a period of over 4 months. 2 years (in my case) was abuse. 6 years is ridiculous. If you are only taking the lorazepam on an as needed basis alprazolam would be much more effective. You've probably become physically dependent on it (the lorazepam) and have no idea because it's always available to you. I'm glad she has always helped you, but benzodiazapines are something you should be very careful with. As you should with the Tramadol by the way. It's a non narcotic, but acts like an opioid. It can also be highly addictive, and the withdrawals are similar to other opioid related drugs.

People so often make the mistake in thinking that their doctor's are god like. They went through so much schooling that they must be right. WRONG. You should always check all information supplied to you when given the drug by your pharmacy. Make sure that there are no unwanted side effects, or drug interactions. It sounds like you are on quite a few medicines. Please do yourself a favor and check all interactions because your doctor probably hasn't.

All in all we have to be responsible for our own selves. I never accused you of abusing, or to being addicted to lorazepam. I only stated that I disapprove of your doctor's actions.

I think you've told me before that I should essentially, "butt out if I don't know all the facts." This website is primarily for harm reduction. Whenever I happen to catch something that might hurt someone I feel obligated to inform or help in any way that I can. You are too defensive.

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The OP said it best, this here is a massive thread derail. Besides, I don't think that you are in a position to call into question another member's doctor, regardless of how much you know or don't know about a drug.
  #9  
Old 22-09-2011, 21:29
Tillianne Tillianne is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by msjaguarxj6 View Post
The part that is irresponsible and unethical is the fact that you've been PRESCRIBED Lorazepam for 6 years!

Lorazepam is used for 'short-term treatment.' It is not even supposed to be used for a period of over 4 months. 2 years (in my case) was abuse. 6 years is ridiculous. If you are only taking the lorazepam on an as needed basis alprazolam would be much more effective. You've probably become physically dependent on it (the lorazepam) and have no idea because it's always available to you. I'm glad she has always helped you, but benzodiazapines are something you should be very careful with. As you should with the Tramadol by the way. It's a non narcotic, but acts like an opioid. It can also be highly addictive, and the withdrawals are similar to other opioid related drugs.

People so often make the mistake in thinking that their doctor's are god like. They went through so much schooling that they must be right. WRONG. You should always check all information supplied to you when given the drug by your pharmacy. Make sure that there are no unwanted side effects, or drug interactions. It sounds like you are on quite a few medicines. Please do yourself a favor and check all interactions because your doctor probably hasn't.

All in all we have to be responsible for our own selves. I never accused you of abusing, or to being addicted to lorazepam. I only stated that I disapprove of your doctor's actions.

I think you've told me before that I should essentially, "butt out if I don't know all the facts." This website is primarily for harm reduction. Whenever I happen to catch something that might hurt someone I feel obligated to inform or help in any way that I can. You are too defensive.
Actually, I have never told you to butt out of my business, or anything similar. To my knowledge, I have been nothing but nice to people in my posts. Can you show me a reference, please?

My doctor prescribes me Lorazepam because I have had severe stress and anxiety accompanied by panic attacks since my Dad passed away. She doesn't give me that many fills in a year. I don't even get monthly refills. Before I broke my feet, many many weeks could pass by and I wouldn't even need any Lorazepam, and I didn't take any. I am not addicted to it. If that were the case, I'd have gone through withdrawls in those weeks that I didn't take it, and I did not. I have only been taking it regularly the past couple months. You would know this if you had read my posts here.

I do not consider my doctor a god. She is a human being, and a great doctor. I always check drug information as soon as it is prescribed. Possible interactions are always checked by my doctor and pharmacist I checked Tramadol when I started taking it last month too. I am fully aware of the dangers of prescription drugs. That is why I never used anything more than cannabis for my pain until last month. That was only because the pain was too severe for cannabis alone, and I do not plan to take the Tramadol for a long period of time. I am hoping I will be able to get the surgery I desperately need.

I didn't come to this forum to fight with anyone, and I don't want to. I do not believe you have enough information about me to make these accusations.

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Please try to net let yourself be drawn into an argument like this on the forum.

Last edited by Tillianne; 22-09-2011 at 21:29. Reason: spelling
  #10  
Old 23-09-2011, 00:20
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

In the UK prescribing benzo's is almost taboo, and whilst I'm aware that in the US it does seem much easier to obtain them, it's never a good idea to use them regularly for any length of time. The BNF (British National Formulary) states that it's possible for tolerance to occur anywhere between 3-14 days. Having said that, the only people I know who do get benzo's prescribed long term are people who suffer with general anxiety and panic disorders, but then doctors are advised to only prescribe them every so often, usually for no longer than 7-14 days . I know if I go to my GP and tell him my sleeping pattern is out of synch he will give me the occasional script, perhaps one every 3-4 months.

Even here at DF there do seem an awful lot of people able to get scripted them, and relatively easily. So say someone was only picking up 3 refills a year, that would not qualify as regular use, well not as far as I'm concerned. You know I can remember when they first started prescribing benzo's, they were thought to be non addictive and were usually prescribed to bored housewives, or people like me who had a barbiturate script. Back in the day barbiturates were seen as a devil drug, causing people like me to pass out and end up on one of the barb wards, in one of the big teaching hospitals in London.

Benzo's have become the new barbs.

Take care and stay safe.

Sparkles.
  #11  
Old 23-09-2011, 00:59
msjaguarxj6 msjaguarxj6 is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillianne View Post
You must have missed, in this thread, where I stated that I do check every drug I am prescribed, most recently, including the Tramadol. I DO look at facts. You don't seem to understand what I say at all. You keep pushing Alprazolam as a much better choice for me, or someone else, (for a 6 year period of time), but you aren't a doctor. This is your opinion. Everyone is different, and react differently to drugs. Saying that one drug is a better, more logical choice, will not apply to everyone.

It is a better drug for occasional anxiety and stress/panic attacks. It's less habit forming. They are both benzodiadapines, but they work a little differently. You have the wrong idea about how they each work. Because these drugs both work a little differently one of them is a better choice for something like this. It's not merely my opinion, it's how the drugs WORK. I'm not saying that you don't look at the prescription information. Just do a little research about the different benzos that are available to you, and the way that they work independently instead of being so reliant on your doctor.
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Old 23-09-2011, 01:09
Tillianne Tillianne is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by msjaguarxj6 View Post
It is a better drug for occasional anxiety and stress/panic attacks. It's less habit forming. They are both benzodiadapines, but they work a little differently. You have the wrong idea about how they each work. Because these drugs both work a little differently one of them is a better choice for something like this. It's not merely my opinion, it's how the drugs WORK. I'm not saying that you don't look at the prescription information. Just do a little research about the different benzos that are available to you, and the way that they work independently instead of being so reliant on your doctor.
As I said before, I do check drug information online. I also said that I did mention switching to Alprazolam to my doctor, but she said she is not comfortable prescribing me that, and continues to prescribe me Lorazepam. I always do research, and not just on drugs. I like to be well informed. As for being reliant on my doctor, I am. She helps me a lot with the diseases that I have. I have not found another doctor that is so compassionate.

I hear stories all the time, even here on this forum that talk about how people have poor relationships with their doctors, or their doctor's are arrogant asses, or they don't give proper care or referrals when needed, etc. I am fortunate to not have to deal with any of that with my doctor.
  #13  
Old 23-09-2011, 18:27
RedBaron RedBaron is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Well that was certainly a massive thread derail haha. Anyway, I've decided to no longer use that drug. Especially for insomnia which I am really hoping will sort itself out rather quickly. I used the lorazepam three times this week and felt like it was altering all my cognitive faculties. It did help with sleep, but defintely not worth it when you begin to forget words and feel detached from reality. Now Baron is going to try remeron as it seems much safer...
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Old 23-09-2011, 22:26
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Red Baron...I think you've chosen the best course of action, it's so easy to become addicted to benzo's. I know just what it's like to suffer from insomnia, it totally screws up your daytime doesn't it. You start to feel yourself falling asleep at odd moment, forget things, and generally feel lousy. I found that by the 3-4 night of tossing and turning I was getting stressed out just at the thought of going to bed. When I did go to bed I'd lay there thinking about why I couldn't sleep. Eventually I'd fall asleep the dreams were really wild and lucid. And that bothered me too. So I decided to try a different approach.What I'd like to suggest is rather than forcing yourself to sleep, allow yourself to fall asleep naturally.

Have you ever heard of sleep hygiene? I hadn't either, but it is a good way to deal with insomnia, and it works. It's all about getting into a routine at night. If you find after an hour that you're wide awake, get up, do something, just don't lay there stressing about not sleeping. Here's a list of all the things I did...

1. Set a time when you'll go to bed every night, and a time when you'll get up, and don't deviate from this. Even if you've only had two hours sleep, get up at the same time. If after an hour laying in bed you feel wide awake, get up, do something that will make you sleepy. For me it would have to be reading. Don't turn a bright light on, that will wake you up even more. Keep it subdued. But only stay up for an hour, then go back to bed and try again.

2. Make sure your bedroom is for sleeping. If you do other things in there during the day try to clear as much of that out of the room before bedtime. Remember, you're telling your brain it's bedtime, and if you have a laptop blinking away at you, you're brain could be thinking "work."

3. Don't do any strenuous exercise at least 4 hours before you go to bed, this will just hype you up. Same thing with caffeine containing drinks, and alcohol.The caffeine will keep you awake, and although the alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially, there's nothing worse than having to get up to go to the toilet during the night. Alcohol is a diuretic.

3. Try a hot bath and milky drink before bedtime. The bath will relax you, and the milky drink is a comfort thing, it will make you feel cosy and warm.

4. Make sure the temp in the bedroom is comfortable, not too hot, not too cold. It should be well ventilated as well.

5. Try to get as much exercise during the day as possible, that will make you tired.

A couple of things that have helped me personally. One is audio books. You see when I used to go to bed I'd lay there thinking about the fact that I couldn't sleep. With these audio books you're so busy listening to the story, it kinda forces those other thoughts out of your head. The second thing was melatonin supplements. Melatonin is the hormone that promotes sleep, and I found it extremely useful.

You see what you're trying to do is set up a bedtime routine. As soon as you run a bath, start clearing daytime things from the room, or take that first sip of a milky drink, your mind automatically starts to think "bedtime." and you begin to relax. It's a kinda auto suggestion thing. You know when you walk around a supermarket and smell freshly baked bread, you feel hungry (which is what the supermarket does it for) and this is exactly the same.

You begin to associate doing these things with going to sleep.

Now you'll find your own bedtime strategy, some of my suggestions may help, some night not, but try them, and work out what helps you. But if you persevere with this, I promise you, you'll sleep. I would just like to add, if (after doing all of these things) you still find it difficult to sleep, then go speak to the doctor, get it checked out. There may be a physical reason that you're not sleeping.

Sparkles.

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Old 24-09-2011, 02:41
RedBaron RedBaron is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Thanks a million for the suggestions, missparkles!
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Old 24-09-2011, 14:09
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

ive been on a benzo of some sort for almost ten years and tried/switched around a lot...i suffer severe insomnia and anxiety. i am under close watch from my doc though and i do not self medicate. Im aware its usually short term use with most benzos, but its all thats helped and i will take a few week break from them just to make sure i can keep it under control as much as possible. there are some new SNRI AD drugs out now that i am willing to try though. without the side effects of most ADs. whats bad with benzos is the lingering wd effects.

atm precribed is 2 mgs of lorazepam 2x a day, 5mgs valium 3x, and restoril or klonopins at night. my doctor seems to really like his benzos..:/

i could ask for any benzo really..but refuse to go back on xanax again.

after many tries with other meds, nothing helped. so benzos have been daily. therepy is a good thing i will say though to try to get to the underlying reason to your problems, but i still suffer attacks and no sleep. benzo addiction is a tricky bitch.....unlike opiates and such (which are horrible, but dont last much longer than a week and half) the wd seems to linger for months with benzodiazipines. after a few years on one benzo, i will go on ambien or sonota for sleep instead of the restoril or stronger hypnotics. not much of a difference though :/

i have been on ativan and valium for almost a year now and find the rebound anxiety pretty bad so we have stuck to longer acting meds like Valium and klonopin .i was on xanax for close to 7 years and i had to tell him i was done with xanax. i will never take xanax anymore. it was the worst for rebound problems and wd imo.

i guess being an ex opiate addict from lots of chronic pain, benzos were not much a prob when it came to wd. but i cant say kava enough..ha..quality kava really helped.

my doctor will switch meds every year or so for tolerance, but benzos really are a love/hate med. there is research that says after about 6 weeks most lose effectiveness anyway, but i have not experienced that yet too badly. i find that if they are not abused and you wean off slowly! and ill use kava for the rebound anxiety it is not that bad.

weve tried things like amitriptyline and remeron with no success.

flexeril is actually a very good sleep aid without addiction problems for most, if you need something for sleep. as far as anxiety over the past years kava and passionflower has been a great friend.

sorry for the ramble, but being stuck with benzos for relieve and trying to stay away from addiction is hard.
  #17  
Old 24-09-2011, 15:18
shackled shackled is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by RX420 View Post
...being stuck with benzos for relieve and trying to stay away from addiction is hard.
I have been taking 3mg of Ativan daily for the last 6 months (prescribed), and know that I'm addicted. Apparently my doc isn't too concerned about that, though, as she actually asks if I need more...
I have been through the DTs, and am not looking forward to wd symptoms from this.
  #18  
Old 28-09-2011, 21:29
humdroid humdroid is offline
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by shackled View Post
I have been taking 3mg of Ativan daily for the last 6 months (prescribed), and know that I'm addicted. Apparently my doc isn't too concerned about that, though, as she actually asks if I need more...
I have been through the DTs, and am not looking forward to wd symptoms from this.
There are things we can do to make withdrawal as smooth as possible.

These are

Do a gradual crossover to valium before cutting.
Make cuts of between 5% and 10% every 2-3 weeks.
Avoid alcohol and any other substance that acts on GABA receptors.
Read benzo.org.uk : Benzodiazepines: How They Work & How to Withdraw, Prof C H Ashton DM, FRCP, 2002 The ashton manual.

Don't be convinced you will have all the symptoms mentioned in the list she gives in the manual. I've come from 15mg valium to 3.6mg and the only symptoms worth complaining about are the anxiety and depression.
I am perfectly ok physically.

Please note that the taper plans in the ashton manual are now known to be too aggressive and the advice in the prodigy leaflet is safe.

If in the UK, check out www.bataid.org. This is a charity which is run by ex benzo addicts and they are specialists in thier field.
They can advocate on your behalf if doctors try to reduce you too quck.
  #19  
Old 04-10-2011, 17:45
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Re: Need advice regarding Lorazepam addiction and dependency

Thanks.

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