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Old 02-17-2011, 11:26 AM   #1
vestabula
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: central NY
Posts: 146
SSRI and Benzo anyone?

I haven't been on this site in awhile because I thought all my recent problems were benzo related. I have not taken Lexapro since Oct. 09 after a short, improper taper. I had horrible physical symptoms, mainly a lot of pain and brain zaps. In July a 'health professional' told me she thought my new set of symptoms were Benzo related. That I had been on the same dose for two years and it had pooped out so to either up the dose or go off. I decided to wean off a measly 5mgs taken 'as needed' for RLS. OMG...I am now just about house bound from the unrelenting anxiety...which I did not have after Lexapro. I have PVC's, lightheadedness, my legs feel like rubber and the slightest stimulation sends anderaline rushes through me. I can hardly take a shower as even the water against my skin (that feels like it's wrapped in fiberglass) is too stimulating. Nightmares...dripping in sweat, tingling limbs...the list goes on and on. I guess it's hard for me to believe such a small dose of a benzo would do this, but after reading a few posts on some of the forums I guess it can. However, could some of this still be Lexapro related??? Would I get such a powerful increase in symptoms more than a year off?

I guess it doesn't matter...I am in Hell and I am only down to 1.75 mgs of Valium. Has anyone been on both these poisons and experienced anything like this?? Oh...and I just got over my second bout of Shingles since going off these drugs...the chronic infections are endless.

Donna
__________________
10 mgs Lexapro for fibromyalgia in Jan 2007
dropped to 5 mgs in July 2009
dropped to 2.5 mgs in October 2009
Stopped completely on Halloween 2009, per my doctors instructions.
5 mgs valium 'as needed' for Meniere's disease and RLS in 2007. Started to wean in fall of 2010...nightmare. Had not recovered from Lexapro yet. Benzo free Sept 1st 2011.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #2
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Hi Donna, what you've described is quite normal for someone who is withdrawing from benzos.

It is not clear to me what you're taking now. You stopped Lexapro October 2009, and then were just taking valium. I think you came off the Lexapro too fast, but if you felt reasonably ok back then, and have started suffering severely more recently, I can't see how 18 months later this could be ssri related. However, due to your extremely fast taper off the strongest ssri, the answer is yes, you could still be suffering from that, although the valium is now 85% of the problem. Don't be fooled by thinking 5mg is a low dose. It is extremely powerful, and 5mg is more than enough to cause an addiction and serious withdrawal symptoms. Are you now taking just valium 1.75 mg or the occasional 5mg? Are you taking any other prescription drugs?

There's little to do about benzo withdrawal, like ssri withdrawal, other than go steadily and reduce slowly. The only things I can recommend that could make some difference to your situation would be, cut out all stimulants i.e. tea/coffee, cut out all sugar, and eat healthily and regularly, i.e. small portions every 2-3 hours.

This may also be of interest to you: http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm

It seems that you are aware of tapering slowly, but the information given above should provide some reassurance. Don't let the agoraphobia drag you down. Try small steps to go outside, if only briefly, which could really lift your mood especially with spring coming up.

All the best,

Sam
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:55 PM   #3
vestabula
 
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Sam, I did not feel okay after stopping Lexapro...I thought I was dying because my rheumy kept telling me he never heard of anyone on 'only'10mgs having w/d's. Thankfully I found this forum. By the middle of the summer my symptoms got more intense and then I was told it was probably the valium causing my symptoms so I started to wean in July, 2010. Valium is the only drug I take and I am down from 5mgs a day to 1.75mgs. Symptoms are worse than ever. I am going very slowly but with every cut I get slammed. I guess I just wondered if any of this could still be the Lexapro as when I look back on it, I pretty much cold turkeyed. Since I was not prescribed these drugs for anxiety I had no idea what I was feeling. This bites big time!

Donna
__________________
10 mgs Lexapro for fibromyalgia in Jan 2007
dropped to 5 mgs in July 2009
dropped to 2.5 mgs in October 2009
Stopped completely on Halloween 2009, per my doctors instructions.
5 mgs valium 'as needed' for Meniere's disease and RLS in 2007. Started to wean in fall of 2010...nightmare. Had not recovered from Lexapro yet. Benzo free Sept 1st 2011.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:04 PM   #4
efexorsam
 
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Donna, I edited my message, after re-reading your first post, as I realised that you weren't ok after stopping the lexapro. However, ask Scotty or LC, but I think after 18 months it makes no sense to reinstate. Regarding the chronic infections, may be worth checking out vitamin c 1000mg per day, also some superfoods to boost your immune system such as spirulina and chlorella. Also do you drink tea/coffee? Your nervous system is so sensitive now, any caffeine could really be causing huge spikes in your symptoms. Hang in there. Hope you get some improvements soon.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

I, too, developed shingles during benzo withdrawal. A friend who'd had shingles in the past recommended L-lysine. She swore that 500mg a day prevented recurrences and that if she ever felt the tingling that occurs before an outbreak (which you'll recognize if you've had them before) she upped her dose for a couple of weeks to 1,000mg/day, and she'd never had another outbreak. I started taking 500mg then and have done so for 2-1/2 years, and have not had a recurrence. It's cheap, available just about anywhere, and is generally good for the immune system.
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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

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Old 02-17-2011, 08:12 PM   #6
rbds22
 
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vestabula View Post
I haven't been on this site in awhile because I thought all my recent problems were benzo related. I have not taken Lexapro since Oct. 09 after a short, improper taper. I had horrible physical symptoms, mainly a lot of pain and brain zaps. In July a 'health professional' told me she thought my new set of symptoms were Benzo related. That I had been on the same dose for two years and it had pooped out so to either up the dose or go off. I decided to wean off a measly 5mgs taken 'as needed' for RLS. OMG...I am now just about house bound from the unrelenting anxiety...which I did not have after Lexapro. I have PVC's, lightheadedness, my legs feel like rubber and the slightest stimulation sends anderaline rushes through me. I can hardly take a shower as even the water against my skin (that feels like it's wrapped in fiberglass) is too stimulating. Nightmares...dripping in sweat, tingling limbs...the list goes on and on. I guess it's hard for me to believe such a small dose of a benzo would do this, but after reading a few posts on some of the forums I guess it can. However, could some of this still be Lexapro related??? Would I get such a powerful increase in symptoms more than a year off?

I guess it doesn't matter...I am in Hell and I am only down to 1.75 mgs of Valium. Has anyone been on both these poisons and experienced anything like this?? Oh...and I just got over my second bout of Shingles since going off these drugs...the chronic infections are endless.

Donna
Sorry to hear about all of your problems. I do think that the benzo AND the lexapro are related to your problems. Even after 18 months your brain still is adjusting and the benzo probably covered up some of the horrific problems yet the benzo is now causing problems while withdrawing. I am curious, how regular are your pvc's or skipped beats? Are they sustained sometimes or do they come an go? Do they happen more when your nervous system is heightened?
__________________
paxil for: Panic attacks/health anxiety 1999 - 2009 (20mg)
(stopped helping over time/debilitating side effects)
(2010 Reinstated after 4 months off with severe adverse reactions. Suffered Immensely for 3 1/2 months then my brain partially started accepting.)


Jan 2nd 2010 - 14mg
1 year taper
Jan 1st 2011
- PAXIL FREE !


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:21 PM   #7
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

I am both on Lexapro and the equivalent of 30mg of valium/day (1.5 mg klonopin). I was able to taper the klonopin to the equivalent of about 7 mg of valium/day and got a panic attack after which I reinstated the full 30 mg (under Dr.'s orders). Weaning from 30 mg down to 7 wasn't that bad. It seems those last few mg of the Benzos are the worst and you really need to taper slowly at the end. If you were stable on the the valium but off the Lexapro, I would try to go back to that point. Perhaps you could wean a bit slower on the benzo?
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2 mg Klonopin, 150 mg Doxepin, 75 mg Trazodone
2 mg Klonopin, 150 mg Doxepin, 50 mg Trazodone NOV 28
2 mg Klonopin, 150 mg Doxepin, 25 mg Trazodone DEC 6
2 mg Klonopin, 150 mg Doxepin 13 DEC 2012
2 mg Klonopin, 125 mg Doxepin 16 JAN 2013
40 mg Diazepam, 125 mg Doxepin 15 APR 2013
35 mg Diazepam, 150 mg Doxepin 23 OCT 2013
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:31 AM   #8
vestabula
 
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Posts: 146
Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

rbds...the PVC's are worse when I lay down or relax...they come and go through out the day but I haven't had a day in three weeks without them. Sometimes when I am really stressed it seems like they are one right after another. Yes, commotion or stimulation makes them worse...I can't even talk on the phone or socilaize without my symptoms revving up. I think people are aware of my symptoms and I will have to explain the inability to articulate properly etc.

Thank you all for your replies.
__________________
10 mgs Lexapro for fibromyalgia in Jan 2007
dropped to 5 mgs in July 2009
dropped to 2.5 mgs in October 2009
Stopped completely on Halloween 2009, per my doctors instructions.
5 mgs valium 'as needed' for Meniere's disease and RLS in 2007. Started to wean in fall of 2010...nightmare. Had not recovered from Lexapro yet. Benzo free Sept 1st 2011.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vestabula View Post
rbds...the PVC's are worse when I lay down or relax...they come and go through out the day but I haven't had a day in three weeks without them. Sometimes when I am really stressed it seems like they are one right after another. Yes, commotion or stimulation makes them worse...I can't even talk on the phone or socilaize without my symptoms revving up. I think people are aware of my symptoms and I will have to explain the inability to articulate properly etc.

Thank you all for your replies.
I assume you have been to a cardiologist and that is why you identify them as pvc's?? I have had them about one after another for a few days in a row continuously also. It's weird because when I had that episode, they went away when I would lay down. When I went to the ER, they laid me down and most of them went away. They identified them as pvc's and pac's and said that some people get them under stress or anxiety and they won't harm me. It's hard to believe that when it's an abnormal beat.
__________________
paxil for: Panic attacks/health anxiety 1999 - 2009 (20mg)
(stopped helping over time/debilitating side effects)
(2010 Reinstated after 4 months off with severe adverse reactions. Suffered Immensely for 3 1/2 months then my brain partially started accepting.)


Jan 2nd 2010 - 14mg
1 year taper
Jan 1st 2011
- PAXIL FREE !


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:28 PM   #10
guitar77
 
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Re: SSRI and Benzo anyone?

Benzos COMPLETELY wreck your body's ability to handle stress, resulting in horrible anxiety and other symptoms. The trick is to taper at rate that's tolerable to you (which can be a very slow taper). I wouldn't have reinstated all the way back to 30mg, but to where you were last comfortable, but what's done is done.

The good news is that your body will re-adapt and regain its own natural ability to handle stress. Believe me, your body can naturally handle stress WAY better than benzos can. I did a direct taper of Xanax, and when I got to the end, I was sure the hammer would drop and I'd have full blown panic attacks, etc.

Nope. Nothing.

In fact, two days after tapering off xanax, my GAD disappeared and hasn't returned. Three months later, and I had zero anxiety at all. Now I'm cool as a cucumber unless something really stressful happens, but my body handles it and in a few seconds I'm close to calm, and in two minutes completely calm.

It's a great feeling to have that ability back--so that is something for you to look forward too.
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