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Old 05-12-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
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Ativan withdrawal?

My story is rather complex, but I intend on making it as simple as I can, so I'm able to cover the basic framework. I've been on medication since the age of thirteen and have experienced innumerable withdrawal symptoms and side effects for each drug prescribed to me. You would think someone who has experienced this wealth of negativity in life would be able to differentiate between side effects and withdrawal symptoms easily, but the fact is my mind, which is supposed to act as a reservoir for storing long-term memories, is not working at peak performance. When I feel any difference or change in my body I tend to have a freak out episode because I DO NOT remember how it influenced me beforehand. Now to get to the chase -- I ended up with the flu around mid-January; ever since that day, I've had uncomfortable feelings ranging from dizziness, tingling sensations around my face, and what I can only describe best as uninvited anxiety trying its best to ruin your day. I also happened to take more Ativan and Xanax than what was prescribed when bedridden. After recovering from the virus, I noticed I was still experiencing quite a bit of dizziness, but I was still able to go on with my day. My sleep schedule was geared more toward third shift, and I had little to no run-ins with anxiety. Later on my sister got married, and I had to make a conscious effort to readjust my sleep schedule -- that is when misery came to my door. I was knocked on my butt after making the switch. Panic came back with a vengeance, and I found myself not able to stabilize throughout the day. To this hour I have done nothing but progressively go downhill, and I cannot tell if the Ativan (2mg) is responsible because of the shift in my sleep pattern or if I'm experiencing something else (like a vestibular disorder). I've consistently brought this information to the front desk of my psychiatrist, and he insists on increasing the dose of my Ativan or prescribing yet another SSRI. My question is simple: Do you believe the Ativan is directly at fault for the way I'm feeling currently? Have any of you dealt with these same issues involving dizziness, tingling, and loss of balance while under the influence of Ativan? I tried tapering off by .25, but the symptoms intensified. I recently made an appointment to see an ENT specialist to make sure what I'm experiencing isn't a direct result of an inner ear infection. If those results come back normal though, I won't know what to do afterwards. As it is, I have a prescription for 10mg of Prozac (I read it's lighter on side-effects on the SSRI smorgasbord.) Yet, like many of you, I'm hesitant to jump back on the psych train. All in all, I just don't want to end up on another drug if I don't really need to be on it. If what I'm experiencing is withdrawal I'd rather just travel the distance until the symptoms subside. Thank you for reading my story.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

Originally Posted by ego View Post
My question is simple: Do you believe the Ativan is directly at fault for the way I'm feeling currently? Have any of you dealt with these same issues involving dizziness, tingling, and loss of balance while under the influence of Ativan? .

Absolutely YES !!!!!! Ativan is the drug from hell and nearly killed me when I used it for Zoloft withdrawal symptoms. All the symptoms you listed plus about 50 more.

I am currently reading a new book just published you may want to get and read: "Worse Than Heroin: The World's Most Difficult Addiction Problem", by E. Robert Mercer. It is an account of his horrific addiction to Ativan and the unevitable withdrawal. He shows how he got off the drug and his taper schedule. There's also "The Benzo Book", by Jack-Hobson Dupont, and "Addiction By Prescription", by Joan Gadsby. There's others, too. Many many benzo books out there.

You must find a way off this drug safely. Staying on it for life is not an option unless you are planning a short life.
Drug free 5 years
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

DANG! That sounds like no kind of fun! I've only taken Ativan a few times and don't remember why it was origionally perscribed so I'm no help there. What you are describing though does sound like withdrawl. And if it is, you need to give yourself time to get back to a stable point and then move from there. Drs like to write perscriptions, it's all they know how to do....:P

I am on 10 mg of Prozac and it is a beast. It helped kinda helped with my anxiety and a bit with my depression, but it also did a few things I don't like one bit. Keep in mind this is my reaction and my not be yours, I just want you to be aware of things that can happen, okay? I have no sex drive at all...I've only been married 3 years and this really puts a damper on marriage and life in general...and even when we do have sex, nothing on my end of it. I still have nasty bouts of depression, although not as bad as before and still get anxious-again, not as bad as before. Depression and anxiety, however, are the only emotions I can connect with...and frusteration...but I don't cry much at all (last time was a few days ago for about a minute and I don't rememer the time before that) and don't get excited about anything really. I have a hard time getting going on anything (which this was supposed to help with) and also deal with acathesia on a daily basis.

This is not a fun drug. If you feel like it could be a good thing to help you get a bit more stable, that's okay. Just give yourself a time table to work with to get on and work on other methods as well and then get off. I start my taper (if everything goes according to plan, which doesn't always happen) in 6 weeks. This drug did help me and did help save my life, but I want to feel like me again. I want to do things I used to..like orgasm...I know this is way personal, but I want you to know what you could walk into. Being aware of it is better than walking into it unaware.
Got suicidal Oct. 2007, started 50 mg Zoloft
Mess from Oct to Dec, off in Dec 2007
Jan 2008 - Prozac 20 mg, 40, back to 20, and then 10 mg
July 6, 2008 - 7 mg
Aug 5, 2008 - 5 mg
Aug 9, 2008 - 7 mg
Sep. 7, 2008 - 6 mg
Oct. 6, 2008 - 5 mg
Dec. 15, 2008 - 4 mg
Feb. 10, 2009 - 3 mg
March 25, 2009 - 2 mg
April 20-ish, 2009 - 0 mg

Also, I am Betsy's daughter.

"All human wisdom is contained in these two words - Wait and hope." Edmond Dantes
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

another good resource is the ashton manual on benzos

i was on xanax for a number of years but almost 3 years ago (after i was off xanax) i took no more than 1.5mg of ativan for a week. It took me 5 weeks of being bedbound doing nothing but looking at the clock waiting for the next dose to taper it. It may have been bad for me because i was on benzos before..like an alcoholic taking another drink.. but ativan was really hard for me to quit and i was shocked at how quickly i became addicted to it. It just has to be tapered slowly.
Scott aka Scott

What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some are saying
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away

But I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world
I will learn to survive

surviving an ssri reaction
alternative anxiety treatments
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:57 AM   #5
Amaya's Nana
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

I'm weaning a benzo now and am a member of a benzo withdrawal support group. Ativan, by far, is the hardest and most destructive benzo, with xanax coming in a close second. But, the people who seem to have the most problem are the people on Ativan. One guy was PRESCRIBED by a doctor (if that's what you want to call him) 12 mg a DAY for almost 10 years. Not to scare you, but he ended up on a feeding tube for months because of what that drug did to him.

I would venture to guess you are in Ativan interdose withdrawal. The books IGWMLB has listed are good one's.

a/k/a Lisa
PAXIL FREE AS OF 3/18/06! Fully recovered!

Focus your attention on the here and now. Recognize it for what it is: the one moment of the only life you will ever have that you truly possess. Rare is the individual who has come to completely accept that the past is no more than a memory and the future an assumption about unborn events.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:33 AM   #6
Regina Benzodictius
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

Originally Posted by ego View Post
I've consistently brought this information to the front desk of my psychiatrist, and he insists on increasing the dose of my Ativan or prescribing yet another SSRI. My question is simple: Do you believe the Ativan is directly at fault for the way I'm feeling currently? Have any of you dealt with these same issues involving dizziness, tingling, and loss of balance while under the influence of Ativan?
This is exactly what happened to me when I reached tolerance on Klonopin. The doctor who prescribed it claimed that there was no way the med was responsible for the symptoms I was experiencing, then insisted on increasing the dose and demanded that I go back on Paxil. I refused to do either and found another doctor to help me taper off the Klonopin. Voila, no more symptoms.

Originally Posted by ego View Post
I tried tapering off by .25, but the symptoms intensified.
To some degree, withdrawal symptoms WILL intensify when you're reducing your dose, no matter how you taper. But it sounds like .25 was too large a drop for you. Look into some of the resources mentioned above for a benzo tapering schedule. These are heavy-duty meds and must be tapered slowly and carefully to minimize the sfx.
Adverse reaction to Lexapro led to Paxil, 10 months use, 2005. One month taper.
Benzos (Xanax, then Klonopin), 2-1/2 years use, 2005-2007. 8 month taper (via compounding).
Completely free from psychiatry since 8/5/07

Face. Accept. Float. Let Time Pass. — Dr. Claire Weekes

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same. — Carlos Castañeda
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:04 PM   #7
matthew T
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

how does lorazepam stack up with Ativan and Klonipin, I have Lorazepam but never use it more then 2 days in a row, I take two .5 mg tabs once a week or so, sounds like I should stay clear of it
sept 05 20 lexapro

oct 05 added 300 wellbutrin
oct 05 added 50 trazadone
2007 tapered off lorazepams,

june 08 taper to 250 wellbutrin
july' 225
aug 200
sept 175
oct 150
nov 125
dec 100
march 09' 80
april C/t wellbutrin
off wellbutrin,
Jan 09 started Lexapro taper from 20 mg
jan 18 mg
feb 16.5
march 15
may 13.5
june 11.5 mg
july 10 mg
july 9 mg
august 8 mg
may started lamactil
started cbt
sept 7 mg
oct 6 mg
nov 5mg
dec 4.5
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:10 PM   #8
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

Originally Posted by matthew T View Post
how does lorazepam stack up with Ativan and Klonipin, I have Lorazepam but never use it more then 2 days in a row, I take two .5 mg tabs once a week or so, sounds like I should stay clear of it
Lorazepam IS generic Ativan. Taking it as you do can still set you up for addiction. Once a week will creep into twice a week, then three times a week, then daily. That's exactly how my dependence developed.
Drug free 5 years
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:19 AM   #9
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Re: Ativan withdrawal?

Dizziness/vertigo, tingling and other bizarre body sensations are all very common adverse effects of benzodiazepines. Once you reach tolerance to the amount of drug that you are taking, then you will start to suffer from tolerance withdrawal which manifests as benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms while still ingesting the drug. Taking other or more psych drugs will not help you and will only add to your misery and suffering.


Tolerance is the process by which the receptors in your brain become habituated to the action of a drug. When tolerance is reached, more of the drug is required to achieve the same effect. With benzodiazepines, and probably with many other classes of drugs as well, tolerance is virtually always associated with some degree of physical dependence. If you find that you are experiencing tolerance, this is a clear warning sign that you may have formed a dependency.

Tolerance. Tolerance to many of the effects of benzodiazepines develops with regular use: the original dose of the drug has progressively less effect and a higher dose is required to obtain the original effect. This has often led doctors to increase the dosage in their prescriptions or to add another benzodiazepine so that some patients have ended up taking two benzodiazepines at once.

However, tolerance to the various actions of benzodiazepines develops at variable rates and to different degrees. Tolerance to the hypnotic effects develops rapidly and sleep recordings have shown that sleep patterns, including deep sleep (slow wave sleep) and dreaming (which are initially suppressed by benzodiazepines), return to pre-treatment levels after a few weeks of regular benzodiazepine use. Similarly, daytime users of the drugs for anxiety no longer feel sleepy after a few days.

Tolerance to the anxiolytic effects develops more slowly but there is little evidence that benzodiazepines retain their effectiveness after a few months. In fact long-term benzodiazepine use may even aggravate anxiety disorders. Many patients find that anxiety symptoms gradually increase over the years despite continuous benzodiazepine use, and panic attacks and agoraphobia may appear for the first time after years of chronic use. Such worsening of symptoms during long-term benzodiazepine use is probably due to the development of tolerance to the anxiolytic effects, so that "withdrawal" symptoms emerge even in the continued presence of the drugs. However, tolerance may not be complete and chronic users sometimes report continued efficacy, which may be partly due to suppression of withdrawal effects. Nevertheless, in most cases such symptoms gradually disappear after successful tapering and withdrawal of benzodiazepines. Among the first 50 patients attending my clinic, 10 patients became agoraphobic for the first time while taking benzodiazepines. Agoraphobic symptoms abated dramatically within a year of withdrawal, even in patients who had been housebound, and none were incapacitated by agoraphobia at the time of follow-up (10 months to 3.5 years after withdrawal).

Click on the links for information about how to go about freeing yourself from the bondage, misery and suffering of psych drugs. The more you take of these poisons the worse you get.



This excerpt is from the Ashton manual. Read the Ashton manual to understand what benzodiazepines such as ativan/lorazepam does to people and how to safely get off these hideous drugs. Vertigo/dizziness is common to benzodiazepines.

Problems with balance. Some people during benzodiazepine withdrawal report feeling unsteady on their feet; sometimes they feel they are being pushed to one side or feel giddy, as if things were going round and round. An important organ in controlling motor stability and maintaining equilibrium is a part of the brain called the cerebellum. This organ is densely packed with GABA and benzodiazepine receptors (See Chapter I) and is a prime site of action of benzodiazepines. Excessive doses of benzodiazepines, like alcohol, cause unsteadiness of gait, slurred speech and general incoordination, including inability to walk in a straight line. It may take some time for the cerebellar systems to restabilise after benzodiazepine withdrawal and the symptoms can last until this process is complete. Exercises, such as standing on one leg, first with eyes open, then with eyes closed, can speed recovery.

Tingling and all manner of bizarre body sensations are very common to the use and withdrawal of benzodiazepines.

Bodily sensations. All sorts of strange tinglings, pins and needles, patches of numbness, feelings of electric shocks, sensations of hot and cold, itching, and deep burning pain are not uncommon during benzodiazepine withdrawal. It is difficult to give an exact explanation for these sensations but, like motor nerves, the sensory nerves, along with their connections in the spinal cord and brain, become hyperexcitable during withdrawal. It is possible that sensory receptors in skin and muscle, and in the tissue sheaths around bones, may fire off impulses chaotically in response to stimuli that do not normally affect them.

In my clinic, nerve conduction studies in patients with such symptoms revealed nothing abnormal - for example, there was no evidence of peripheral neuritis. However, the symptoms were sometimes enough to puzzle neurologists. Three patients with a combination of numbness, muscle spasms and double vision were diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. This diagnosis, and all the symptoms, disappeared soon after the patients stopped their benzodiazepines.

Thus these sensory symptoms, though disconcerting, are usually nothing to worry about. Very occasionally, they may persist (see section on protracted symptoms). Meanwhile, the same measures suggested under muscle symptoms (above) can do much to alleviate them, and they usually disappear after withdrawal.

Join a benzodiazepine support forum for help for gettting off these horrible drugs.




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