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Old 11-10-2003, 02:03 PM   #1
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How long does it take to form dependence on anti-anxiety med?

Hey everyone,
Just a quick question... My anxiety and OCD had started to act up again last week so I started taking Ativan (prescribed on an as needed basis). i took one every day from Sunday to Friday last week. Didn't take one on Sat. or Sun. Then today I woke up and my anxiety and OCD was starting to act up about 10 times worse than before so I took another one and am feeling better now. Just wondering if maybe my body is already going through withdrawl of the Ativan and that's why it was much worse today? How long can you take it before you start suffering from withdrawl?

Thanks, Julia

Old 11-10-2003, 02:54 PM   #2
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I don't think there's any set time period as to how long it takes a person to become dependent or tolorant to anti-anxiety medication.
Some people never do...I never did.
I've never taken Ativan, but I did take Xanax everyday for almost 7 years.
I never got shakey between doses and my symptoms never got any worse between doses either.
I took a very low dose and maybe that's why I never had a problem.

Sorry, I couldn't be more help.
Maybe someone who's taken Ativan will be able to give you some help.
There is also something that another member..."Jennita" talks about.
I believe it's called the "Ashton Manual" and from what I understand that gives you a list of withdrawl symptoms.
You may want to try running a search for that.

Last edited by Graciecat; 11-10-2003 at 02:54 PM.

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Old 11-10-2003, 02:59 PM   #3
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to blackdove
the ativan dose would have a big bearing on things, what do you take?

Old 11-10-2003, 03:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies... I'm currently taking 0.5 mg a day

Old 11-10-2003, 06:30 PM   #5
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I became addicted to xanax just 2 weeks after taking it. I read once that people had a higher risk of becoming addicted if alcoholism is in the family. I spent two difficult months slowly weaning myself off the xanax. Be careful.

Old 11-10-2003, 07:23 PM   #6
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Graciecat HB UserGraciecat HB User

1/2 MG. was also the dose that I took.
Although like I said I took Xanax and not Ativan.
I cut my pills in half and took a 1/4 MG. twice a day.

I know I can't just stop taking them, so I'm weaning off right now with no problem.
I'm down to 1/4 MG. every other day.

Like I said in my other post.
There's no set time period for things like dependence or tolorance.
I took Xanax everyday for almost 7 years without a problem, but not everyone is the same.
Some people become dependent in a very short time.

But, again I'm talking about Xanax I don't really have any knowledge of Ativan.
Hopefully someone who took/takes that medication can give you some better information.

Old 11-10-2003, 07:55 PM   #7
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I am not a doctor, but I would think one could develop a dependence after 5 or 7 days. I know with sleep meds it does. One is only supposed to take sleep meds for 7 to 14 days, or else dependence. If you are going to go off the med, maybe you should taper it down a little, gradually, gradually.

I have taken Klonopin recently and am afraid of becoming addicted (I've taken it, not every day, for about 2-3 weeks, and now I'm taking tiny, tiny pieces, like 1/8 a piece of a 1 mg pill, like once every other day). I've heard Klonopin is *hell* to get off of, so I'm being careful (plus, I'm beginning Buspar and Paxil, so hopefully, those will kick in soon).

Good luck and I hope your anxiety and OCD diminish.

Old 11-11-2003, 01:16 AM   #8
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I would say that you could get addicted quickly. What you need to think about is the long term. People take meds for lots of conditions, some all their life.

OK, so I get dependant on the drug for a while:

but is it making me feel better?
Can I carry on as a normal person?
Is it giving me a chance to feel balanced again?

It's always possible to come off a drug as long as you realise you need to do it gradually. When you do come off, the worst thing you can start to think is:

What happens if the anxiety starts again?
Will I feel dizzy?
Can I cope without the drug?

This will put you into a heightened state of anxiety from the start! And what's the worst that could happen? You might have to take the drug a little longer?

I convinced myself early on that I didn't want meds, then the anxiety got so extreme I knew I had little choice. Since taking the meds I have felt "normal" again, OK I still get some anxiety symptoms, but I am learning to ignore them and they generally ease and go away quicker now.

Old 11-11-2003, 03:04 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your reponses. I don't know if I'm addicted yet, I just know that my underlying condition is getting worse. I think my Luvox has stopped working. I have taken 250 mg for the past 5 years and it worked excellent. I've been having a lot of the same symptoms again for the past month that I started out with when I first was put on Luvox, but they are worse than before. So I've been taking Ativan nearly every day for the past week. My thoughts were so horrible today at work (first day) that I felt I had to leave, so I took an Ativan and felt better. At least it's helping me get through the day


Old 11-14-2003, 12:00 PM   #10
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Dependance is one thing, but what is worse is if it develops into tolerance(drug stops working) No timetable on tolerance, but when it happens, the bad thing is that withdrawals will be mistaken for worsening of original which case, usually higher doses or more meds will be added or switched around, which will help for awhile. But then tolerance usually comes back down the bottom line is, sometimes the drugs help the problem, sometimes they become the problem....

Old 11-14-2003, 11:49 PM   #11
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lori j HB User
Jennita, you are so right. The med withdrawal or tolerance to one you've been on can make the problem even worse.

Old 11-16-2003, 08:59 PM   #12
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I just don't understand how a Dr. can give you a mental drug on an as need basis. You either need the drug or you don't. If you wake up and don't feel quite right or during the day you get a slight feeling you just will pop one because you have an anxiety problem and you are carrying your security blanket around in that little bottle. Since it takes weeks for the drug to start working correctly for you, your body does not know what is going on and you can't tell if you are having side effects, withdrawals or symptoms. If you can take them on an as need basis, then get Therapy and stay away from them if you can. If you need them daily then you have no choice but you will probably alwalys need them or for a long period of time anyway. I have hear from a very reliable Therapist that unfortunately I do not have the option of seeing anymore that they are getting wonderful results with Ativan. She suggested it to me but I have been on Xanax for to long to switch. Hope things work out for you.


Old 11-17-2003, 10:29 AM   #13
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It doesn't take weeks for these meds to work; with benzodiazepines it is immediate, for AD's it is immediate but takes weeks for the body to get used to the drug so the side effects will lesson.

Old 11-17-2003, 01:20 PM   #14
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Did I not state side effects as part of the problem when stating "weeks to get used to"? Benzos have many side effects also. Believe what you want, but you will be on more "as needed days", then not and I take a daily high dosage of Benzos along with srri and anti-siezure drugs. I tried as needed benzos years ago, doesn't work and if so, not for long. Benzos may work to stop anxiety quickly but your body needs to be on a level dosage to adjust to the change in chemistry. Everyone is different as far as side effects, but there are many with Benzos and some you just have to live with. Like I said, if you can do an "as needed basis" then you may have a chance to do without drugs altogether. That is the point, don't start using the drugs unless it is your only recourse. Try to find an alternative, such a Therapy, etc. Drugs should always be the last resort and I wish no one to have to take them. If that is the only way to get your life back, then it is okay but little things like remembering to bring your pills or take your pills or get up from sleep and take your pills is another pain in the you know what. It is a continious maintence program but for some like me, it is the only alternative. Not trying to dispute what other's expriences with drugs are, just expressing my own experiences. Hope everything works out the best for all of you.


Old 11-17-2003, 08:57 PM   #15
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i've been on ativan, klonopin, and xanax for several years. klonopin and ativan didn't do a thing for my attacks. the only thing that works for me is xanax. i have anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and possible OCD. i take 4mg/day of xanax and 100mg/day prozac. i also take 1-2mg xanax for additional attacks, as needed.

dependence depends on the person and on your addictive qualities, if you have any. if you've had addiction problems in the past, i wouldn't recommend taking xanax on a daily basis. obviously, if you're taking a medication like this on a daily bases and not "as needed" there is a higher risk for addiction.

Last edited by zavey; 11-17-2003 at 08:58 PM.

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