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Benzodiazepines All about benzodiazepines (downers)

 
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  #1  
Old 19-09-2009, 13:03
Wigglyworm Wigglyworm is offline
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How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Swim told me he had been taking either xanax or valium for a few months, but not daily, he sufferes from bad panic attacks, so usually takes them when they happen which isn't that often anymore,(once weeklyish) he also takes them when he just feels really anxious.
Basically, swim said he usually takes around 2 - 3 mg of xanax or 20mg of valium, or combined together to take away his anxiety.
Swim said he only takes them around once or twice a week to hope he doesn't get tollerence and addiction.
He is concerned that there might be a possibility of getting addicted through his usage? but has no clue if that is enough for him to get addicted (physically or mentally)
Any help would help Mr Swim a great deal.
  #2  
Old 19-09-2009, 17:48
Amnesia Amnesia is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Due to the long half-life of Diazepam (valium), which is 20-100 hours, it is possible that SWIY is building tolerance and dependence, just at a slower rate than if it was taken daily. In a study SWIM can't recall the reference details of (sorry) 100% of patients became physically dependant on Diazepam after being given 5mg/day for 2 weeks.
Alprazolam (xanax) has a half-life of 11 hours, so occasional use is probably less likely to lead to physical dependence.

Psychological dependence is likely to be a factor as SWIY may feel the need to take them the moment he feels anxious instead of trying to deal with the anxiety by other means. SWIM isn't saying this is what SWIY is doing, but that it might become so.

Has SWIY ever stopped taking them for a week or more?
If so, did his anxiety become noticably worse than it was before using benzos? Did he start to feel depersonalisation and/or derealisation?
If he suffered from any or all of these then he is physically addicted.

SWIM hopes this is helpful.
  #3  
Old 24-09-2009, 21:32
Laudaphun Gold member Laudaphun is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

SWIM once as a young lad in middle school discovered a hoard of alprazolam tablets. Somewhere around a total x100-150 0.5mg tablets. At this particular point in SWIM's life she had little to do. So each night she took 1.5-2mg. The supply had been exhausted after approximately 30-35 days. By the end of this period of time, SWIM noted that she began to sleep in later and later each day until she would sleep up to 14 hours per day.

SWIM noted that for the first 2 days she was unable to sleep at all, and the 3rd night she had difficulty in falling asleep. SWIM regards this as the first time withdrawl symptoms were ever noted from a psychoactive substance. It was mild, but this was when SWIM was just a kid and first experience with a benzo exceeding more than a day or two.

Swim thinks that lifestyle/genetic makeup has a more significant role in benzo dependance in comparison with other dependance causing substances with which she is familiar. To SWIM it seems that dependance on benzos is more like a dependance on a crutch to cope with stresses/anxieties of life. The only consistent withdrawl symptom SWIM has ever noted is a definte period of insomnia, lasting for at least 2 -3 days upon abrupt and complete cessation of benzos.

SWIM really doesn't know for sure, but it seems that benzo dependance is far more subtle and sneaky than other dependances SWIM has become familiar with. Something SWIM read recently stated that with barbiturates seizures were likely during withdrawl, but were far more infrequent during benzo withdrawl. It also said that seizures were not real common with normal therapeutic dosage ranges, but that people who comsumed dosages in the upper threshold of what people were prescribed were 9 times more likely to have a seizure.

But one must keep in mind that where SWIM lives, benzos are available by prescription only, whereas in some other countries they are over the counter. SWIM is more cautious about benzo consumption for the simple reason that the fact that a prescription is needed and they are regarded as a controlled substance is a significant limiting factor. SWIM could imagine that in parts of the world where benzos are sold over the counter and availability was not regulated by some government body, severe withdrawl symptoms would be far more frequent, as high dosages would be more common. SWIM would be interested to read some literature about how doctors from some of these parts of the world view benzo dependance liability and their observations.

Around this area, most doctors worry about benzo dependance to the point where they are very apprehensive in regards to prescribing it. Most will make a limited effort to get someone off of benzos, but tend to think that the risks of trying to get someone off benzos greatly outweighs the risk of continuing that patient on a therapeutic dosage. SWIM has a relative who has been on benzos since their introduction, takes a single 0.5mg alprazolam tablet each night and refers to this as a maintanence dose. This is after 40-50 years of prescription tranquillizers to treat a severe panic disorder. This person does not abuse nor has ever (that SWIM is aware of anyways) misused any prescription meds.

Post Quality Evaluations:
A great post that answer's the OPs question from many angles and provides relevant personal experience.
  #4  
Old 27-09-2009, 22:53
Ontherooftops Ontherooftops is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Most studies swim has read say that withdrawl symptoms will be experienced after two weeks of daily use with most benzodiazepines.

2-3mg of alprazolam and 20mg of diazepam are very high doses. The threshold dose for a non-tolerant user is around .25mg alprazolam or 2.5mg diazepam from swim's understanding. So, given diazepam's half life (lets just say it's 72 hours for math's sake, swim thinks he has read this in a few places), a 20mg dose would take... 216 hours to drop below an active dose in the user's body. So that's 9 days which it would be active for and full withdrawl wouldn't be experienced (given tolerance and such things, it would be expected that withdrawl would set in more around 6 or 7)

Can anyone back up swim's hypothesis regarding this issue? Swim feels fairly confident but is not a doctor or a pharmacologist.

In swim's experience, benzodiazepine addiction is a very subtle one, though terrible. One can be experiencing withdrawls and be somewhat unaware, simply feeling as if they are panicking and need sedation, or in worse cases as if they are going completely mad.

Take it from swim's personal experience that withdrawl from high doses of benzodiazepines is truly and ungodly the worst of anything he's been addicted to, and that's most. Withdrawing from a similar dose (though much more frequently ingested) of diazepam was the worst experience of swim's life, it made opiate withdrawl seem like a walk in the park on a sunny day. From swim's understanding the withdrawl can have serious permanent side effects (including death from epileptic seizure) so if swiy thinks they are addicted they should research dosage tapering.

Long story short, be careful. 20mg of diazepam should be WAY more than enough to arrest a panic attack. Try lowering your dose in these weekly escapades, take 5 or 10mg of diazepam next time or 1mg of alprazolam, it may not completely sedate swiy and swiy may still feel slightly edgy, but it should still arrest the attack and seems like a better idea in the long run.

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Good hard reduction info and useful personal experience
  #5  
Old 30-09-2009, 14:45
Wigglyworm Wigglyworm is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Thanks for the reply's. Swim hasn't touched valium for about Since the first reply, but is using Xanax for night panic attacks and insomnia. either 0.5 or 1 mg. Although not every night, If swim just uses xanax a few nights a week then would addiction be less likely? Or should swim try and find an alternative.
Thanks again.
  #6  
Old 01-10-2009, 10:43
bosch man bosch man is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

If you dont want to risk any problems my dog advises no more than 3 times a week.

Addiction is mentioned too many times here imo, they are not the devil's drug everyone seems to make out UNLESS you abuse especially with other substances or dont actually have an anxiety/panic disorder so dont need them.

Post Quality Evaluations:
OP asked about addiction, with benzos its been proven to happen in therapeutic use and not just when abused
  #7  
Old 01-10-2009, 12:05
Amnesia Amnesia is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

^^^ The use of the words addiction and dependence are often seen as relatively interchangeable (although grammatically incorrect as each has their own, clearly defined meanings). SWIM believed the OP was referring to dependence rather than addiction.

SWIM does not abuse diazepam or mix it with other substances which aren't prescribed/advised. She is prescribed them for their skeletal muscle relaxant properties and, even though she is not addicted, she is physically dependant. As the worst of her transient illness has once again passed, she is currently going through a very slow reduction schedule, which is still causing withdrawal symptoms. She says it is deeply unpleasant - in the past it has caused her to suffer from depersonalisation, derealisation and severe psychosis.

They are very dangerous drugs when it comes to withdrawal. Abrupt withdrawal of benzos can lead to psychosis, seizures and death.
Perhaps not the devil’s drug, but it feels very close to a person who is going through withdrawal.



@Wigglyworm
SWIM advises caution with regards to SWIY's abrupt cessation of diazepam/valium. Be aware that withdrawal symptoms can take up to 3 weeks to begin.

Quote:
Withdrawal effects
The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome has similarities to the abstinence syndromes associated with alcohol, narcotics, and barbiturates. Abrupt or rapid withdrawal of benzodiazepines can result in major convulsions, which can be life-threatening. This complication is mainly associated with withdrawal from large doses, and doctors should be aware of the dangers of abrupt cessation in patients who have taken benzodiazepines for more than a few weeks. Other severe withdrawal effects, which can occur on withdrawal from moderate or even small doses, include acute psychotic reactions with hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and acute confusional states. Major depressive disorders and even suicide may follow withdrawal after an interval, even in patients without previous psychiatric history. More commonly, the symptoms of withdrawal are those of an anxiety state, with panic attacks, insomnia, tremor, hyperventilation, increased muscle tension, and cardiovascular symptoms. Perceptual distortions and depersonalisation are frequent and particularly distressing to patients who may fear they are going mad. There is evidence from placebo controlled studies that these symptoms are related to benzodiazepine withdrawal and do not represent merely the return of a pre-existing anxiety state. The syndrome may be severe, worse than the condition for which benzodiazepines were originally prescribed, and may be prolonged for many months. However, an unknown proportion of patients are apparently able to stop taking their drugs without difficulty.
(Ashton CH. 1986. “Adverse Effects of Prolonged Benzodiazepine Use.” Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin; 118)

These drugs should be tapered off slowly to avoid the more unpleasant and dangerous side effects.
Check out the taper schedule here:
http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45539


Has SWIY ever seen a doctor about their anxiety? Benzos are an option for anxiety disorders, but not the only one. SWIM submitted a table about the different medications used for the different anxiety disorders, which can be found here:
http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/loc...47&linkid=8001


SWIM wishes SWIY all the best and good luck with their anxiety

Last edited by Amnesia; 01-10-2009 at 15:50. Reason: correcting source
  #8  
Old 01-10-2009, 14:46
bosch man bosch man is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

My dog firmly beleives that the site mentioned is from the devil.

Yes people have problems if tapering too quickly off large doses that's well known but that site just promotes fear so would deffo make anyone crap themselves which is not needed
  #9  
Old 01-10-2009, 15:19
Amnesia Amnesia is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

If SWIY means D-F, this is all SWIM could find:

Quote:
Posted by: Yeahsme. Date: 13-03-2006.

I've been on benzo's daily for the past 5 or 6 months and I can take 12mg(thats right 12mg) of xanax in about 5 or 6 hours or so and not feel a thing except further anxiety. I was taking 6mg of clonazepam every 4 hours about a week ago and somehow its fucked up my brain to this point. It was a very quick progression. It is a living nightmare and it seems like just yesterday that I was taking them once or twice a week. I'm telling you guys these drugs are from the devil himself...........Please don't move this thread to detox and recovery cause people need to know who are in active use.

Also in spring of '04 I had a grand mal seizure, quit breathing for 2 minutes, and almost had brain damage from about a 8mg a day habit of xanax. It took me hours after it happened to remember my name.

And I started in '04 taking .5mg of xanax once in a blue moon. These drugs(like all controlled substances) sneak up on you and take over your life. THEY ARE NOT CONTROLLED FOR NOTHING. And I'm a 28 year old man, and was not naive to the facts of what could happen if I used these drugs too often...............
It seems to SWIM that the poster was just being emphatic, not actually saying the devil created benzodiazepines.

Please don't take offence but SWIM does not understand how the opinion of one person, over 3 years ago, has any baring on the dangerousness of these drugs or this thread.

Also, benzodiazepines should be used with caution, just as all drugs/medications should be used with caution. Many people on this site work to reduce harm, not to scaremonger - that is best left to the media and politicians.


EDIT:

Ah, SWIM's mistake - definately SWIM's. She got the withdrawal effects information above from:
Ashton CH. 1986. “Adverse Effects of Prolonged Benzodiazepine Use.” Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin; 118
It is linked to benzo.org.uk. She apologises for the confusion and has corrected the source.

Last edited by Amnesia; 01-10-2009 at 23:03. Reason: confused source & apology
  #10  
Old 01-10-2009, 15:37
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

It's extremely easy to underestimate the addictiveness of benzos.
For short term use, at prescribed doses, they're a very effective drug.
But take more than the therapeutic dose, for longer than a few weeks, and you slip into unknown territory.
Everyone reacts differently to benzo addiction, but everyone definitely reacts.
Sparkles spent nearly two years reducing her diazepam dose from 50 mg, to nothing.
At the end she was in such a state she had to stop her reduction, start taking anti epileptic drugs, and finish her reduction with liquid valium, a syringe, at 1 ml a time.
Others can reduce with no trouble, but most people struggle.
Rebound anxiety, one of the main reasons these drugs are given, can be a huge problem.
Again Sparkles would warn anyone, DO NOT STOP BENZO'S ABRUPTLY, ALWAYS CONSULT A DOCTOR. As has been pointed out frequently, benzo WD doesn't usually kill, but the seizures that accompany the WD symptoms can cause brain damage.
To the OP, if these are prescribed and are taken short term, at the prescribed dose, SWIY should be fine, not become addicted.
However, mixing them with alcohol, or some other drugs, raises the risk factor.
Take care and be safe.
Sparkles.
  #11  
Old 01-10-2009, 16:17
bosch man bosch man is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Amnesia swim was referring to the site mentioned and not any poster as swim didnt read the links.

If used theraputically then alprazolam would not ever be taken at doses more than 3mg daily. If you get to this dose and the drug becomes ineffective (which swim finds hard to beleive if the person has a genuine anxiety disorder) then you need to quit very slowly and you should be ok. Coming off much higher doses is bound to cause major issues. It will become the devil if abused, this swim has no doubt but take it as prescribed and its God. Swim would also only recommend it if all other avenues are exhausted in busting the anxiety, once you start in this case swim says take them with a view to always take them for life at the first dose that "cured" you, never up the dose. For anxiety it has been shown by many long term users to stay effective for anxiety only. Let swim just say he took alcohol nightly for his anxiety for 7 years straight at so many units per evening, this always got him thru the night and able to function normally. Not once did it fail to work, no tolerance built up to the anxiety effects. Like a benzo if kept constant you wont build an anxiety tolerence. Swims opinion of much research.

BUT as said NEVER go cold turkey.
  #12  
Old 03-10-2009, 15:28
Wigglyworm Wigglyworm is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Thanks for the reply's! Ok, Swim has found that by taking 1mg xanax at night, his night time panic attacks go away and he has a very refreshing sleep and wakes up feeling good for a change. He can then get on with his daily life with a lot more energy and without the feelings of anxiety. But.......... when it gets to bed time, swim has tried on many occasions not to take anything to help him sleep,his mind won't shut off and he gets pannicy all night. Taking xanax at night helps with that and keeps him stable and happy.
Seeing as swim doesn't feel withdrawal symptoms during the day and feels much much better while taking xanax at night (after around 8 years of insomnia and 3 1/2 years of panic/anxiety disorder), would you advise him to see a doctor and tell him what he is taking as this is self medicating? or would they be a bit p'd off with him?
Swim says thanks
  #13  
Old 06-10-2009, 12:51
Wigglyworm Wigglyworm is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Swim went to the doctors today and told him about taking xanax. He didn't have a problem with it but told him to stop taking it because of addiction. He prescribed him Amitriptyline for his night time insomnia/panic attacks. Any1 have any experience with this?
  #14  
Old 09-10-2009, 15:53
Amnesia Amnesia is offline
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Re: How much Benzo's and how often to get addicted?

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant.
SWIM has been on it but she can't remember her experience, the memory has been lost to her amnesia. It was only when SWIY mentioned it that she remembered she has been prescribed it - she has been trying to recall more so she could tell SWIY, but she hasn't been able to.

"It is more sedating than similar drugs and is useful when depression is accompanied by anxiety and insomnia. Taken at night, the drug encourages sleep and eliminates the need for additional sleeping drugs."
The most important side effects to watch out for are: difficulty passing urine and palpitations. If SWIY starts to suffer from either of these it is important to contact SWIY's doctor as soon as possible, immediately in the case of palpitations: "The side effects of this drug are mainly the result of anticholinergic action and it’s blocking action on the transmission of signals through the heart."
(Ref: BMA Guide to Medicines and Drugs)

SWIM hopes this information is helpful and hopes SWIY feels better soon.

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addiction, alprazolam, alprazolam addiction potential, benzo, benzodiazepine addiction, benzodiazepine addiction potential, benzodiazepine dependence, benzodiazepine withdrawal, benzos, diazepam, diazepam addiction potential, drugs, drugs-forum, over the counter drug, xanax

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