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Old 02-27-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
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Smile Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi - new to this group! Take 45mg Remeron and 1.5 mg Ativan - both at night - for 13 years (ok, you can get off the floor!). I was having terrible panic attacks and anxiety -haven't had an attack in years. I just kept letting the docs tell me I needed to keep taking this stuff. Life is great now - finally divorced! happy and able to manage my stress. I see a behavioral therapist who arms me with all kinds of goodies (breathing exercises, etc.) .! I have tried unsuccessfully numerous times to get off ativan. Well this time I mean it and I am doing it! My psych who writes my scripts always tells me to up my dosage when I am having a hard time with my taper so needless to say, I need someone who will partner with me. Very hard to find a doctor close to me who is in my medical plan. Well, I am now down to 1 mg of ativan. I started my taper 1 week ago, did one week at 1 1/4 then just went down to 1 mg. I probably should have stayed at 1 -1/4 for another week, but now that I am at 1 mg wondering if I should just stay there. I take melatonin now which really helps me out with my sleep. I am going to be 50 - so I think I am going through the big M too - lots in my court right now! I don't want to taper with valium - but want this stuff out of my life. Need advice as to how long each taper should last, how much I should go down by, and when should I take it. Mentally I take it at night - I know it's not a sleep med, but my brain thinks it is. I feel like a prisoner to this medication, take it every night at the same time - just hate it! Can anyone help? Thanks!!

 
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:43 PM   #2
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hello There LAOStanno

How do you do?

I did not taper from Ativan, but from Xanax. (3 mg a day in 3 doses when I "officially started tapering from it). I was on it for over 10 years. However, both are benzos and the tapering the same... slow, slow, slow and slow.

In 2 weeks, you have .5 mg... that is a big cut in a short time in Benzo Land! Sometimes we are not aware of how much power a small benzo tablet can have... it is fierce.

Rule of thumb... make a 5-10% cut only at a time. It well may mean shaving bits off a tab or even crusing it to eyeball the dose we are seeking. Once a cut is made, stay there for 10-14 days until you feel leveled off. You will know when if you listen to your body. (At one point, I had to wait 3 weeks before I leveled off). Then it is time to make another 5-10% cut and repeat the waiting to level off time.

I think you realize now that dropping from 1 and 1/4 to 1 mg feels pretty drastic. Don't be afraid to tweak your plan this one time if needed. Go back up to the 1 and 1/4 and stay there until you feel your body and brain have settled enough to be ready for the next cut.

Also... try to very slowly move the dose further and further from bedtime to help break the cycle of needing it for sleep. Try 10 minutes earlier the first week, then 15, then 20, and so on. Melatonin 3 mg helped me over the bedtime hurdle. It is what the brain produces naturally to let our body know it is ready to get to sleep soon. We stop getting enough when we substitute the benzo for natural brain chemicals.

Please know that you can do this. Go slowly and stay commited. Don't mak drops drastic or rush them. Measure in progress, not days or months.

Totally rooting for you
reach

 
Old 03-04-2013, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi Reach - thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. Your support means so much to me. I am going to stay at 1mg - I suffered through it - yes agree I went too fast. I may stay at 1 mg until I move in June because up until then I have a ton going on - I am so committed to this now and i feel really good. It will be hard to go only 10% on 1mg - that would really be shaving it - I guess I can do that though - now that I'm thinking about it - that make a ton of sense and would be so much slower than going to 0.75mg which would be a 25% drop. I read your response and couldn't understand it, but the lightbulb just went off. I also like your idea about moving it away from bedtime, gradually. I did that last night and still slept well. I do take Melatonin and it helps. I actually ordered some Bach Sweet Dreams 2 yesterday. Bach herbs have always helped me. The sweet dreams 2 helps your mind shut down a bit so you can relax. I need to stay in the moment and that is a hard thing for me. If I have a bad nights sleep, I seem to catastrophize it and think it will happen again same time, same place next week. i get myself in these routines/thought patterns that are tough to break sometimes. I am seeing a behavioral therapist now who is really helping me with that. I truly appreciate your support and will go at it slowly for sure. I will check in with you and let you know how I am doing. Are you completely off meds / benzo's now?

 
Old 03-05-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Evening, LAOStanno

Hope the day has been a good one for you.

It seems you have your head on pretty straight about tapering off. Taking a break isn't the worst thing in the world... as long as you stay commited to continuing the taper again down the line. I think you will be surprised at how much less stressful it is if you keep cuts really small.

Use the time until you start cutting the dose again to keep moving away from bedtime bit by bit.

To answer your question, by the way,.. yes, I am completely off opiates and benzos. My life is so much happier and less hazy now that I can honestly think straight. Learned a lot of lessons on my journey to reality again, about myself, about life, about lots of things. I am still on a maintainance dose of Lexapro and probably may be for life. For now, I know iot is where I have to be.

Do I still have pain? yep. Now I treat it with ice, heat, rest and aspirin. Funny how after all the mega strong painkillers that I have been on, that Since I don't use them, I can actually feel aspirin's effects.

Check in and let us know how all is going for you.

Hugs
reach

 
Old 03-06-2013, 06:51 AM   #5
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi Reach - I appreciate you cheering me on. I have a question for you: When you were tapering, did you have a few tough nights and what did you do to finally get some sleep. Last night, I had a tough time falling asleep and my natural instinct has always been to take another 1/4mg of ativan. I did that last night - but feel like a failure that I did that. I also took a little more melatonin. I have been on 1mg ativan for about 2 weeks now - and I want to stay there and plan on staying there again tonight. I also went to the doctor yesterday and I wanted her to write me a prescription for just one per day - which was a huge accomplishment for me - usually I get a script for 1-2 per day (60/month) to make sure I have enough if I go up. So big step for me. The one thing that throws me off right now is that on weekends I go to my boyfriend's house - I am moving in with him in June. I'm not very good at settling down my first night there, so my natural instinct was to always take more on the first night there (different noises, etc.) . I don't want to do that anymore. I did order some Bach Sweet Dreams 2 - flower essence herbs, that is supposed to be wonderful at helping you settle down - no side effects, no interactions with other drugs and non habit forming. I've taken Bach Rescue Remedy before, so I think it will be ok - anything but the Benzo. Again, I truly love your idea about shaving the pill. After reading your post, I think I am going to shave off after I feel leveled off on 1 mg - silly to wait until after the move in June. I will always have something going on in my life. I want to forge forward. You are an inspiration to me! Thanks again!

 
Old 03-06-2013, 09:25 AM   #6
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Good Morning :-)

Good job getting your script dropped to just one per day. Big accomplishment! Getting my own script dropped was very helpful for me. It totally put the breaks on me because if I used more than prescribed, I was going to pay a high price in anxiety for it. It was the ability to get my scripts refilled so easily that helped allow me to abuse the drugs. Not blaming my doctor at all, just recognizing a flaw that developed in my own thinking.

I had many nights of not sleeping. I would just suffer and plod through them, playing solitaire on the computer, taking hot baths, etc. I was fortunate in that I was no longer working so outside of my discomfort, it didn't affect my life in having to be somewhere at a certain time. What did help me a lot while tapering is to get on a strict routine at bedtime. Warm bath, TV for an hour, and then lights off. It is retraining the brain and takes time to make it routine. I have always actually always had sleep issues and still do sometimes. The process of tapering can just intensify this at times. I think the Bach's will help a lot. We have to steel ourselves not to slip into old patterns (like taking a bit more of a drug for sleep). I know it is hard and I am sorry if you are suffering from it, but the truth is, we need to retrain the brain and it takes time. Tapering is a very disciplined process for sure, but it is also the most successful way to get off the pills. Always remember that this process has a beginning and an end. Every symptom we withstand brings us closer to the end. One huge change in my thinking along the way was that the symptoms were not symptoms of withdrawing, but symptoms of healing. Each one brought me closer to my goal of really restoring and renewing my life.

It is a pleasure watching your thinking evolve here:

After reading your post, I think I am going to shave off after I feel leveled off on 1 mg - silly to wait until after the move in June. I will always have something going on in my life.

Very, very wise and insightful on your part. Kudos! There will, indeed, always be something in our lives. The key to sober thinking is discovering how to handle these "things" with out using a drug. Sometimes we just have to muddle through. It is living Life on Life's terms. Each time we do that, we claim a victory.

Big hugs to a wise woman on her way to victory
reach

 
Old 03-06-2013, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi Reach - I'm fairly certain that the man upstairs had something to do with me "connecting" with you. I am sitting here at work crying at my desk, but quite honestly they are tears of relief. I am printing your last post because reading it will lift me up each time I read it. I am grateful for your words of encouragement and will take every ounce of advice that you have given me.

For me too, it has been my ability to easily get my scripts refilled - even yesterday my doctor said that if I have trouble sleeping don't hesitate to take more! I told her no, I need you to be strong with me, I need a partner in this. I am now going at it with me as my own partner - and your support means the world to me. I also love my new therapist - he has a ton of experience with helping his patients off medicine.

I'm glad to hear that you had many nights of not sleeping - don't take that the wrong way - I'm not glad to hear that for anyone - but at least I know that that is normal - it's all or nothing for us! I love free cell on the computer - not a big bath fan - although I can learn! I do have a very strict routine at home - you will think I am nutty when you hear it. I relax for about an hour downstairs watching some tv - talking with my daughter, then at about 9:45 I go into bed and catch up on Facebook and watch tv - meds at 10:00 (Remeron) and at 10:20 (ativan) - although I am trying to move that up a bit each night. By 10:30, I turn the brightness and contrast on my tv down and turn volume down ( I supposed I could just use a nightlight - duh!!) - then the timer shuts it off in a few hours - I'm usually asleep before 11. How's that for a routine?! I have to find my routine at my boyfriend's house - I find myself resting on the couch a lot - he snores and lives on a busier street with a train nearby. I use earplugs - so not too bad - but don't want to get in the habit of staying on the couch -did that in my first marriage - my relationship with my boyfriend is awesome - he is so patient with me. Need help with that routine. I find myself having a hard time getting sleep the first night of the weekend with him - so I go on the couch and try and force myself to sleep - it's awful - when I should probably just put on a movie or play free cell? - any advice? - I know that when I move in with him - I will be ok after a week or so - because usually by Sunday night (just in time for me to go back home - I drive carpool in the AM and he is too far away to stay there) I am relaxed into where I am ok with getting to sleep.

I have to be ok with not sleeping here and there. Honestly, I am so hard on myself and beat myself up when I don't get sleep - feel like I am ruining everyone's day! crazy huh? - I need to change my mindset - lack of sleep will not kill me.

Love the beginning and end - makes sense to me and makes it much clearer and attainable. Thank you for that.

Symptoms of healing - I love that too - thank you again!

I hope you do not feel that I am leaning on you too much - I just really feel blessed to know someone who can relate and who has seen the end. You are truly a godsend to me. I am so ready for this journey

Hugs are sent your way - LAOStanno

 
Old 03-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #8
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hey There

I want you to know it is not only a pleasure, but an honor to be able to walk along with you here. Most sincerely, I have traveled this path myself and I know what it means to be able to connect with someone here. There were those that I connected with, also, and in time, you will be the blessed connection for another. :-)

That nighttime routine of yours is sure to be of great help to you, especially at this time. The earplugs made me chuckle. I am somewhat hard-of-hearing, but during the tapering my sense of hearing for some reason became acute, super acute. I have no idea why. I remember thinking that this must be what some autistic people suffer from when they say noise is overwhelming to them. I had a stockpile of earplugs in my nightstand. If my kid was typing in the next room, I could actually hear (and be agitated) by the sound of his fingers on the keyboard. How weird is that?? Eventually, I returned to my normal hard-of-hearing self and quite prefer it to hearing even those slight noises.

So lean away, my friend. My shoulders are strong and my heart is happy if it is helping you through this. You are going to be okay, Sweetpea. Yes, you are.

Rest well
reach

 
Old 03-11-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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Unhappy Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi Reach - hope you had a nice weekend. I'm needing a little encouragement today - I went up 1/4 tab this weekend - just once - but last night was feeling guilty so went to just a shaving off 1 mg. I messed up - I dont' want to be beat up - I really just need to forge forward, feel a little bad and work through it. I think I need to stay on 1 mg for a few more days until I "stabilize" then work at shaving off just a bit until I stabilize again. I screwed up but have to stop beating myself up over this. I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and go to this doctor who my therapist recommended to get me off this stuff? - he is an additionologist and I would have to pay out of pocket - any thoughts on this?

Please don't beat me up - I'm doing enough of that myself. I'm forging forward. Again will keep it at 1mg - to stabilize again and work down when I feel ready. Oh boy, this is hard, but I can do it.

Need some inspiration

 
Old 03-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #10
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Hi Reach - all ok? - wow - I just read my last post - and it was so self defeating - I apologize if I sounded off!

I keep reading your posts - and that's where I get my inspiration. I am back on track. For the first time in 13 years, I am under 1mg of the ativan! I'm amazed - I cannot wait to be off of this stuff!!

Thank you for your support and I hope you are doing well -


 
Old 03-13-2013, 08:35 PM   #11
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Re: Ativan Taper - need advice

Good Evening

I am doing fine and dandy, thank you. Hope you are also.

LAOStanno, my friend, why would I beat you up. Silly. Especially since you did such an awesome job of that your very own self. Chuckles.

There were a few times as I tapered off Xanax that I took my dose an hour or so before I was due because I felt like I was losing control. Not often, but it did happen. Benzos are very hard to withdraw from for all of us. Torturous at times for sure. You took a slight, ever-so-slight, step backwards and are already moving forward again. Nothing to criticize there. Instead, I applaud you that you "nipped it in the bud."

We are all works in progress in all we do in life. In the particular area of your life concerning Ativan, you are determinedly making progress for sure. Take a peek backwards, Sweetpea, and see how far you have already come. It is quite impressive. Your dose is down and you are prepared to do the necessary aftercare. This is called progress! I think I wrote to you in an earlier post that coming off a benzo, in particular, we need to measure in progress and not time. Yes? Well, it is true. Stay at 1mg for as long as you need to stablize. There were times I was ready in 7 days, sometimes ten, sometimes 14 and a couple of times I actually needed 3 full weeks. I tried to keep it at 10-14 days, but it just didn't always work like that. Force yourself to remain slowly tapering as you near the end and don't get antsy.

There were a few times as I tapered off Xanax that I took my dose an hour or so before I was due because I felt like I was losing control. Not often, but it did happen. Benzos are very hard to withdraw from for all of us. Torturous at times for sure. You took a slight, ever-so-slight, step backwards and are already moving forward again. Nothing to criticize there. Instead, I applaud you that you "nipped it in the bud."

We are all works in progress in all we do in life. In the particular area of your life concerning Ativan, you are determinedly making progress for sure. Take a peek backwards, Sweetpea, and see how far you have already come. It is quite impressive. Your dose is down and you are prepared to do the necessary aftercare. This is called progress! I think I wrote to you in an earlier post that coming off a benzo, in particular, we need to measure in progress and not time. Yes? Well, it is true. Stay at 1mg for as long as you need to stablize. There were times I was ready in 7 days, sometimes ten, sometimes 14 and a couple of times I actually needed 3 full weeks. I tried to keep it at 10-14 days, but it just didn't always work like that.
Force yourself to remain slowly tapering as you near the end and don't get antsy.

You asked about an addictionologist. I think they can serve a great purpose for some. My honest opinion for you is that I don't think it is really necessary. It would not be my opinion for everyone, but it is for you. I think this because thus far you have remained strongly commited to doing what needs to be done. I think an addictionologist's greatest help would be working to uncover the reasons why you have abused Norco. If you were not already seeing a therapist, I would say run to the addictionologist. Maybe it boils down to whether or not you fel your therapist can help you discover the underlying issues or not. Now I sound like I am on the fence here. Maybe you should ask your therapist outright why she suggested this. :-)

Okay, I am going to bid you goodnight now. Off to a relaxing bubble bath. Take care, talk soon.
Nighty-night
reach

Last edited by reachout; 03-14-2013 at 04:47 AM.

 
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