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Thread: Benzo dependance. How can I taper off?

  1. #1

    Benzo dependance. How can I taper off? (Lorazepam/Ativan)

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if any of you have experience quitting a benzo and what your method was.

    I have been taking lorazepam (Ativan) daily for about 8 months now. It is the only drug Iíve taken long term.

    At first it was a miracle pill for me. It would keep me calm, help me to sleep and allowed me to ďhave a lifeĒ and get things done. However, lately I feel as if I NEED it just to get through the day.

    It starts in the morning. I wake up uncontrollably shaking with my heart pounding and this huge weight of impending doom over me. I have become agoraphobic, need to have someone next to me at all times (moved back in with parents) and am finding it hard to do simple things like shower without having a breakdown.

    I try to breathe through the symptoms, but I will eventually have a full blown panic attack if I donít take a pill, complete with chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, hallucinations and dark thoughts I didnít know I was capable of having. The anxiety I had before I took these doesnít hardly compare with the crushing, all encompassing anxiety I have now.

    Over time I have successfully weened myself down to 0.5mg twice a day but I find I cannot get off of them completely. I really donít want to be dependent on these but I feel like Iíve gotten deep in the rabbit hole now. Please help.
    Last edited by Radiationworried; 24-05-20 at 01:17.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4,355

    Re: Benzo dependance. How can I taper off?

    Feel for you my friend. I’ve had a close brush with the same but caught it just in time. Still gave me a few days of hell though.

    Best advice ever, please listen. Follow the Ashton method for withdrawal. It won’t be a good experience but you’ll be happy you did.

    https://benzo.org.uk/manual/contents.htm

    Trust me, it’s the best thing to do.

    Pip xxx
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  3. #3

    Re: Benzo dependance. How can I taper off?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipkin View Post
    Feel for you my friend. I’ve had a close brush with the same but caught it just in time. Still gave me a few days of hell though.

    Best advice ever, please listen. Follow the Ashton method for withdrawal. It won’t be a good experience but you’ll be happy you did.

    https://benzo.org.uk/manual/contents.htm

    Trust me, it’s the best thing to do.

    Pip xxx
    Thank you so much, I will give it a thorough read.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    2,369

    Re: Benzo dependance. How can I taper off? (Lorazepam/Ativan)

    Quote Originally Posted by Radiationworried View Post
    It starts in the morning. I wake up uncontrollably shaking with my heart pounding and this huge weight of impending doom over me. I have become agoraphobic, need to have someone next to me at all times (moved back in with parents) and am finding it hard to do simple things like shower without having a breakdown.

    I try to breathe through the symptoms, but I will eventually have a full blown panic attack if I donít take a pill, complete with chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, hallucinations and dark thoughts I didnít know I was capable of having. The anxiety I had before I took these doesnít compare with the crushing, all encompassing anxiety I have now.
    The first issue you need to deal with isn't quitting lorazepam, but getting your anxiety under control for trying to quit in your current mental state is very unlikely to succeed. Withdrawal symptoms and the withdrawal process are often more about psychology than chemistry and biology. A number of studies have demonstrated people can experience almost the full gamete of withdrawal symptoms after being told their benzodiazepine (BZD) dose has been reduce despite there having been no reduction.

    Over time I have successfully weened myself down to 0.5mg twice a day but I find I cannot get off of them completely.
    Trying to quit lorazepam directly isn't the best way of doing so because of its relatively short half-life - 10-20 hours. Switching to an equivalent dose of a long half-life BZD such as diazepam (Valium) - up to 100 hr for diazepam, 200 hr for its main active metabolite - and weaning off it is usually much easier, especially once at small doses. 4mg diazepam is about equal to 0.5mg lorazepam.

    I really donít want to be dependent on these.
    You've been dependent on lorazepam and other BZDs your entire life. Lorazepam is one of the naturally occurring BZDs found in most foods. It has been isolated in the blood of lab rats that haven't been exposed to the pharmaceutical drug (Wildman J, Ranalder U. (1988)). It and many other benzodiazepine compounds1, have been found in wheat and potatoes (Wildmann J, et al., 1988).

    While the quantities we get from food are small, they are not insignificant. Benzodiazepine levels can reach pharmaceutical levels in patients with some liver diseases [2]. So much so that medical intervention is sometimes necessary (Note: no benzodiazepine synthesizing gut flora has been isolated and they almost certainly don't exist in humans).

    [1]
    Muceniece R, Saleniece K, Krigere L, et al. (2008)
    Potato (Solanum tuberosum) juice exerts an anticonvulsant effect in mice through binding to GABA receptors.
    Planta Med. 2008 Apr;74(5):491-6. (Abstract)

    Kavvadias D, Abou-Mandour AA, Czygan FC, et al (2000)
    Identification of benzodiazepines in Artemisia dracunculus and Solanum tuberosum rationalizing their endogenous formation in plant tissue.
    Biochem Biophys Res Commun Mar 5;269(1):290-5 (Abstract)

    Sand P, Kavvadias D, Feineis D, et al. (2000)
    "Naturally occurring benzodiazepines: current status of research and clinical implications."
    Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci vol 250(4): p 194-202 (Abstract)

    Kotz U, (1991)
    Occurrence of "natural" benzodiazepines.
    Life Sci;48(3):209-15 (Abstract)

    Unseld E, Krishna DR, Fischer C, et al (1989)
    Detection of desmethyldiazepam and diazepam in brain of different species and plants.
    Biochem Pharmacol Aug 1;38(15):2473-8 (Abstract)
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