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Old 03-09-2011, 10:16 PM   #1
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How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Benzos often do work @ the beginning of treatment but all too often, they quit working for many due to tolerance. I went thru a nasty klonopin experience after being on this med for nearly a decade for panic disorder. The w/d was horrendous. I am neither for or against drugs. Some ppl do very well on them and some ppl are made sicker by being on them longterm I think. I have never really been able to tolerate the SSRI's except for lexapro. I am taking a small dose of that now and valium only PRN when things get really bad. Anyone, please relate what your experience has been with benzos if you have been on them for a while. Thanks!

 
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

How long have you been on the Diazepam? Many years ago my Dr. prescriped it for me as when I get upset my muscles tighten right up and I get a knot in my stomach. So far I have had no problems with it..5 mgs. when needed.

Like you, I am not a big pill fan but they do help if I am really upset about something. Hubby has had some nasty health problems the past 2 years, so they came in handy trying to deal with all the stress. Hopefully you have good luck with them.

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Old 03-17-2011, 10:48 AM   #3
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

I was on it approx. 3 years I think JJ before it too stopped working. Now, I only take it PRN after the anxiety builds to a point where I feel like I am going to explode. Taking it PRN like this does not offer full relief but it does offer some. If I take it again on a daily basis, it will stop working pretty quickly due to tolerance. These meds can be very useful but they can also be a real nightmare once you have become addicted to them and they stop working. It is much easier for someone hooked on heroin to detox than it is for someone who has taken benzos like valium, klonopin, and xanax for many years. I know many ppl who have been off benzos for 5 years and they still have many horrible sx's. These drugs are a double edge sword IMO.

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Old 03-17-2011, 10:57 AM   #4
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Your right, they can't be taken to0 often and yes, I've heard coming off of them is a total nightmare. There are so many new meds. out maybe your Dr. can try you on something different without and withdrawls.

I hate taking meds. unless absolutely necessary, as everything has a side effect or can screw up your liver. Like you said..double edge sword.

Good luck...JJ....
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:12 AM   #5
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Thanks JJ...I am still on other meds but they don't really help my panic, OCD, and GAD unfortunately. The irony in all of this is that the benzos were the only meds that did offer some relief but after taking them for over 20 years, they don't really work anymore so I am now just stuck in a sense. I have been doing CBT for over 2 years and it helps a little but the anxiety and panic is still really bad. I just live with it now the best that I can...not much else I can do unless they come out with something new for panic I suppose. Take good care and I hope you have a great day.

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Old 03-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #6
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Well hopefully you find something that really works. I guess if what your doing is helping then just stick with it for now. It really is a pain to have to rely on a med. when we are so upset. Usually I cope pretty good but when hubby was going through so much and I was practically living at the VA hospital, especially when he had that MRSA thing, man I ran my system right into the ground. I swear I get more upset over my family members being ill then I do myself, but I guess that is how some people are.

Oh well, the nicer weather is coming now and we can get out and about and I pray nothing else goes screwy as I've totally had my hands full the last couple of years, and getting too old for this stuff....

Wishing you all the best...JJ....

BTW...Is that a new Avatar as it is really pretty...
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:05 PM   #7
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

BlueSkies - If you are tolerating Lexapro, then why not try raising your dose? Low dosages do not usually help with anxiety. Why suffer? There are non SSRI meds that can help too but aren't in the benzo family. Do you see a psychiatrist? They are very knowledgable with anxiety meds. Hopefully he/she can find something to help.

 
Old 03-19-2011, 03:47 AM   #8
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Benzos have worked realy well for me, along with two different antidpressants - if it wasnt for these drugs, i would be either dead or in an assylum by now.

I quite probably am dependant on alprazolam, but it keeps me as a normal functioning member of society, the same was that insulin keeps diabetics functioning - thats how I see it anyway.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:59 AM   #9
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandyf View Post
BlueSkies - If you are tolerating Lexapro, then why not try raising your dose? Low dosages do not usually help with anxiety. Why suffer? There are non SSRI meds that can help too but aren't in the benzo family. Do you see a psychiatrist? They are very knowledgable with anxiety meds. Hopefully he/she can find something to help.
I saw a psychiatrist for over 20 years and was on benzos. They are the only meds that ever helped my anxiety unfortunately. I have tried all the major SSRI's and they have never helped me. The benzos did work for awhile but after years of use, tolerance sets in and starts making many ppl sick altho I have known a few lucky ppl who have been on the same benzo for over 30 years and they proclaim that the drug continues to work and help them. My feelings about benzos are now very mixed having gone thru 3 horrendous withdrawals over the past 20 years. The worse w/o a doubt was from the drug klonopin. It worked great for approx 8 or 9 years and then panic attacks and anxiety slowly started creeping back in. I knew I was in serious trouble when I tried to double, then triple my dose to no avail. I just could not get the drug to work anymore and it did not matter how much I took. It you ever reach tolerance on benzos, often you then have no option but to come off or switch to another benzo and pray it works.

I spent a month in a psychiatric hospital and they gave me massive amounts of SSRI's, other psychotropics, and anti seizure meds but I had seizures anyway from the klonopin w/d. The mental and physical pain is unreal. You can't describe it justly with words IMO. I do not wish to scare anyone and benzos did help me for many years but now some 20 years later, my GABA receptors are just worn down from chronic administration of the drug over the years I think. I lost my job of 20 years and had to file for SSDI now b/c of all this.

I don't mean to discourage anyone who takes these drugs and finds them helpful. I hope they will work for as long as you wish to continue to take them. I am just relating personally to what had happened to me over the years. I have a really severe case of anxiety and panic. I now do things like meditation and light exercise and control things the best I can, plus I still take some medication but it does not help much unfortunately anymore. Even many of the good years I spent on benzos, I would have periods of severe anxiety and panic that I have just had to endure.

Drugs are a double edge sword IMO. There are some that can say on them for many years and do great but there are others where the drug or drugs often compound the problem in the end. If you are one of the lucky ones where the SSRI's alone are enough to control your anxiety and panic, this is a lot better IMO for longterm use than benzos. The problem is most SSRI's alone are seldom adequate for panic and severe GAD sufferers.

 
Old 03-19-2011, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

sandyf >>>>>I tried to up my dose of lexapro and it really makes me sick on the stomach and lexapro is really the only SSRI I have been able to tolerate.

 
Old 03-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #11
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

I'm in the same boat here, the combo of Zoloft and nortriptyline realy helped my depression, but didnt touch the anxiety/panic, the only drugs that helped were Valium and Xanax
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:48 PM   #12
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Same with me jonnstar. I know many ppl who have great success with AD's alone to control their GAD/Panic but for some reason, these drugs have never worked to relieve my anxiety. Like you said>>>>benzos have been the only meds that have ever worked for me.

Last edited by ms_mod; 03-22-2011 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Removed quote. Ms_Mod

 
Old 03-28-2011, 08:08 PM   #13
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

Hi All,

Just thought I would let you know about my experience with benzos. I was put on Xanax over 11 years ago when my Social Anxiety Disorder/Panic Disorder became so debillitating that I could no longer function at work any longer. Of course, they provided relief immediately and at that point I was so desparate for relief I didn't care about the consequences.

I must tell you that at that point I had been a life long drug and alcohol abuser which I think probably contributed to the development of my anxiety and I am fully aware that I would not be considered the best candidate for this type of medication. But it did get me back to work and I've been working steadily every since. However, over the years I continued to drink and in the past year that has started causing me some real problems. So I'm freshly out of a 28 day medically supervised detox. I was on 2 to 3 mg of Xanax daily for the past year and like I said I've been on it for a total of 11+ years. Over the years I have also gone through some nightmarish withdrawals when I was by circumstance forced to go cold turkey for more than half a day.

The detox facility switched me over to 20 mg of Valium daily and within two weeks had weaned me down to none. I was amazed because I had no withdrawal side effects...at first. Let it be noted that they were also giving me Chlonodine to keep my blood pressure in check in case it spiked and also Depakote for antiseizure purposes. The following week (week 3) I was on no medication and I was fine.

Day 7 of the third week came and WHAM. Major anxiety leading to a full blown panic attack. The staff checked my blood pressure and the upper number (whatever one that is) was through the roof so they gave me Chlonodine and within 30 minutes I was pretty much back to normal.

The fourth week was pretty much me just hanging on for dear life as I just tried to ride out the anxiety and panic. I could afford to do this because I was away from my family and my job and pretty much all public exposure except for AA meetings (which were a nightmare).

I finally got home yesterday and I immediatly took just .25 mg of Xanax and that provided me relief for the entire day. Today I didn't take anything again and although I'm not totally freaking out and I'm not experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms, I am in no shape to function in public. I am trying to find a psych to see because unfortunately mine went on a two week vacation. I have to return to work in one week and I'm pretty sure I will have to be on at least a small dosage of some benzo. I do think that the detox has kind of 'reset' my tolerance level though. The fact that I can sit here and type this after having only .25 mg of Xanax in the last two weeks is a minor miracle to me.

I plan on waiting until tomorrow morning and takiing another .25 mg Xanax and see if that will be enough to carry me through the day. Xanax has such a short half life but it's the only medication I have availablve right now. I do think that ultimately I would like to be put on a small dosage of Valium and taper gradually over a period of months as my brain gets used to being without alcohol and gradually, maybe without any benzo.

Feel free to ask me any questions or shoot me an email. I hate being a prisoner to this drug but I have to work and nothing else has been effective at relieving my anxiety/panic symptoms.

P.S. I am also on 20mg Prozac which my psych had hoped to switch me over to some day. I guess I've now proven that Prozac alone will not work for me.

I'll keep you all posted as my situation evolves. Hang in there.

 
Old 03-29-2011, 09:45 AM   #14
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

That is good for you Danny. I had a very similar experience with klonopin several years ago. The only meds that have ever worked for me have been benzos. I am real sensitive to meds. I wish I could get one of the SSRI's to work for my anxiety and panic. They are a better longterm option for GAD/Panic IMO but they don't work well for many ppl with PD. I take lexapro and it helps a little I suppose but still have daily GAD and panic attacks even tho I am on this drug. It is really the only one I can tolerate but it does not help me much. I can't try going up on the dose because it makes me really sick on the stomach. If it was not for tolerance, benzos would be the perfect meds to take for a lifetime IMO. I still take valium PRN and a xanax here and there when the panic gets the better of me. I think by being in detox, you did get a kind of a reset. The same thing happened to me but the problem is you will build tolerance again quickly and have to go thru the same painful process over. I have had 3 bad w/d's from benzos. I don't think my body can tolerate another one....too old now. I also think I have worn my GABA receptors down. Even when I take a benzo PRN, I am only getting 20-30% relief. When I 1st started taking them 20 years ago, I would get 90-100% relief.

Last edited by BlueSkies14; 03-29-2011 at 09:47 AM.

 
Old 03-29-2011, 05:30 PM   #15
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Re: How do you feel about benzodiazepines?

@BlueSkies - I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like you are having to tolerate a significant amount of panic but I guess that's the price we must pay to stay free of benzos. I ended up not taking the .25 mg Xanax yesterday and I stopped the Prozac and I felt much more on solid ground today. However, I am going out to my son's baseball game in a few minutes and I wasn't feeling all that confident so I took a .25 mg Xanax and I'm good to go. Yes, I'm very afraid that I may build that tolerance up quickly again so I'm doing my best to only take it if I have to.

Hang in there. I'll pray for you and all of those here who suffer from this tortuous disorder.

 
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