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    Old 05-20-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
    softletters
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    Question concerns about ativan addiction

    right now the only thing i am taking for my agoraphobia/anxiety is ativan. i usually take .5 mg of it maybe 3-4 times per week. my doctor continues to scare the crap out of me talking about the addiction possibilities. the other alternative is introducing effexor into the mix but really ive just heard too many scarey stories about it! so for now ativan is my only prescribed "line of defense". so i guess im just looking for some honest answers about the probability of ativan addiction. how many would i have to take before i should get concerned?


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    Old 05-20-2006, 02:21 PM   #2
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    Been there, done that. Ativan can be nasty. SSRi's like Effexor can eventually cause simular problems. The "addiction" as referred to happening with prescribed amounts is physical not necessarily "true "addiction.... which is defined to have to also include euphoria seeking and compulsive behaviors with many social/psychological components as well. Physical addiction isn't the same thing but will bring on misery nevertheless.

    I'm just surprised that your doc admits this about Ativan, most do not. But he isn't really understanding that SSRi's like Effexor will likely bring on the same problem with physical addiction, or better termed physical "dependancy". Physical dependancy can bring on tolerance, withdrawal symptoms so it's very serious although not as severe as real addiction which tends to cause people to do dangerous things.

    Anyway, the dose and frequency you are now taking Ativan does not seem too bad; sometimes dependancy(addiction) happens less with the smaller and infrequent doses(although no guarentees). I would seek out better things than Ativan eventually, but in the meantime make sure you don't up the dose at all and definately keep it at no more times a week then you already take it...perhaps you could try and make out with 1 less per week too?

    If you use it very sparingly "as needed basis" and stay at the low dose, you might possibly avoid the whole addiction issue as some have doing it that way. Good luck.

    Last edited by msmod; 05-20-2006 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote.

     
    Old 05-20-2006, 02:50 PM   #3
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    most anxiety sufferersa re far too sensible to become addicted to ativan, a very useful med
    carry a few tablets with you when out in case unezpected anxiety happens
    effexor, if it works for you will help more
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    Old 05-20-2006, 05:31 PM   #4
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    ive been totally help-resistant to any medication ive taken in the past besides ativan. but specifically all other SSRIs ive taken havnt done squat. ive heard effexor is good in such situations.
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    Old 05-21-2006, 02:50 AM   #5
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    softletters~the dose of Ativan you were given is very small~the lowest there is. Take it with confidence. I have used Ativan for years with no problems. I used as needed till last May. For a whole year I have taken 1mg daily and it keeps me going. If I have a stressful day or need more~then I take 1 and 1/2 mgs. Some people who take more than their doc allows will run into trouble with dependency. The benzo's like Ativan~Valium etc work well and work fast without the horrid side effects that some SSRI's have. Having anxiety or panic and not being able to leave the house is like a prison sentence. It is far healthier IMO to take a benzo from your doctor that allows you to get out and get on with your life. It also is not absorbed thru the liver which is a plus AND it works much better if taken on an empty stomach. Try not to eat for an hour or 2 after you take it. Over and over I read here on the boards about guilt over benzo's~but for many of us they are SAFE and they WORK!!
    best of luck~RR

     
    Old 05-21-2006, 06:21 PM   #6
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    I never took more than my doc prescribed. So it is possible to develop dependancy without abuse. But then again, he started me out at 2 mgs. for sleep, that's alot. When I developed tolerance he was surprised because he was unable to up the dosage, but when I started having tolerance withdrawals(like rebound) he wanted me to take the 2 mg. during the day as well.....that didn't sound good to me and that's when I knew what to do, get off no matter what!

     
    Old 05-22-2006, 02:37 AM   #7
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    to Jennita~2mgs is a high starting dose! The lower to start on the better. And then to have you take 2more mgs in the day? egads No wonder you developed a tolerance. It would have made more sense to have you cut back slowly(taper) allowing you to quit. I think a sleep aid like Ambien is far better than using a benzo. Ativan etc. are best saved for daytime use when one is "awake" with their anxiety. Of course tolerance to Ambien is common also. They are best "as needed". I will admit when I used to take Ativan infrequently(in the daytime)~I would sleep better at night.
    RR

     
    Old 05-22-2006, 09:38 AM   #8
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    I agree 100% with red-rider. I'm not sure why doctors think an AD is the answer to possible benzo addicition. Your body can also get addicted to ADs, and unfortunately the side effects are usually much much worse than benzos.

    Your dose is tiny, and like everyone has said, if you just take it when you really need it you should not have a problem. If you feel like the Ativan keeps your anxiety under control, there is no need to take another drug that could potentially cause you more problems than you already have.

     
    Old 05-22-2006, 12:10 PM   #9
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    Yeah, and he was the board certified psychiatrist I ended up seeing because every doctor I saw just said no way when I asked if I was suffering from some effects of the codiene I was given for an illness .I didn't understand at the time that prescription drugs cause withdrawals even if one did not abuse them, and the doctors denied it could cause it.

    During my entire "adventure" and getting second, third, etc. opinions, not ONE thought maybe the whole mess started witht the codiene(which it did but I went against my own instinct because I was being told it was me and no way the codiene).


    So in following those very educated morons I ended up with a psychiatrist I really didn't need, on various benzos and one AD, all along they'd work shortly then fail , a sort of domino effect from the beginning, and finally the 2 mg. Ativan which only worked every 4 days or so (although taking it everynight). I finally had enough, started looking around the internet and found the answers in various people and groups that I was not alone. If only ONE doctor had said I was right in my suspicions about the codiene and that narcotics withdrawal might last a few weeks, I would have waited it out and not taken the benzos.... I could have been saved alot of money and suffering.

    Anyway, by the time I was having tolerance withdrawals from the Ativan and suffering everyday and night then hearing the psychiatrist wanted me on another 2mgs. during the day for those, I realized this was never going to end unless I ended it, so I did. I dropped the doctor so fast I don't think he knew what happened; my husband called him and said I wouldn't be coming back and I never did.

    Last edited by Jennita; 05-22-2006 at 12:11 PM.

     
    Old 05-23-2006, 09:57 AM   #10
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    redrider -
    thank you for the reassurance (to everyone else also). im not one to outright trust a doctor or their knowledge of the workings of most drugs of this type, especially this doctor. hes not been the best at giving me sound advice. in the past he advised me to quit paxil cold turkey and when i complained of the horrible withdrawl symptoms he was surprised! ive never quite forgiven him for that as it was awful! like you said, i have benzo guilt.
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    Old 05-24-2006, 09:52 PM   #11
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jennita
    Been there, done that. Ativan can be nasty. SSRi's like Effexor can eventually cause simular problems. The "addiction" as referred to happening with prescribed amounts is physical not necessarily "true "addiction.... which is defined to have to also include euphoria seeking and compulsive behaviors with many social/psychological components as well. Physical addiction isn't the same thing but will bring on misery nevertheless.

    I'm just surprised that your doc admits this about Ativan, most do not. But he isn't really understanding that SSRi's like Effexor will likely bring on the same problem with physical addiction, or better termed physical "dependancy". Physical dependancy can bring on tolerance, withdrawal symptoms so it's very serious although not as severe as real addiction which tends to cause people to do dangerous things.

    Anyway, the dose and frequency you are now taking Ativan does not seem too bad; sometimes dependancy(addiction) happens less with the smaller and infrequent doses(although no guarentees). I would seek out better things than Ativan eventually, but in the meantime make sure you don't up the dose at all and definately keep it at no more times a week then you already take it...perhaps you could try and make out with 1 less per week too?

    If you use it very sparingly "as needed basis" and stay at the low dose, you might possibly avoid the whole addiction issue as some have doing it that way. Good luck.
    Hi,I have Bipolar2 & I take Effexor,Ativan(prn) My meds are a life saver for me. Although I have tried to stop taking the Effexor three times(pdoc knew)by weaning off of it,and had to go back on it. Eveybody is different,but my meds have really helped me in my situation. I guess in my case,I will need meds for the rest of my life-be dependent on them....
    Good luck

     
    Old 05-25-2006, 11:50 AM   #12
    Jennita
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    Believe me, I know what dependancy and withdrawal feel like, but I didn't stay on as long as alot of people nor took quite as many as others so I was lucky. However, I did endure withdrawal that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy and still have some mild lingering effects even a few years out. But for me, severe tolerance really gave me no choice but to quit and I am better for it.

    However, some people can escape it if they don't go on to start with or stay on a very short time and have a chance to recover without outside stresses(example demanding job or small children) like I was able to.

    Yes, some people develop such dependancy that they will never be able to get off. That's a shame but nothing can be done other than go with it.

    Sorry for your situation, you are probably right about it.

     
    Old 05-27-2006, 12:53 PM   #13
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    Re: concerns about ativan addiction

    According to my psychiatrist, Ativan is the best benzo because it has a short half life therefore at your level, you aren't getting a build up of med in your system.

    IMO, your dosage sounds fine.

    Bottom line, do you feel better when you take it?

     
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