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    Old 02-21-2004, 12:26 PM   #1
    pattycake
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    benzodiazepines

    The internet really is a horrible place for the hypochondriac!

    I have anxiety/panic with awful physical symptoms.

    My Dr. gave me Buspar with Ativan to take as needed until the Buspar kicked in. I hate Buspar, it doesn't work and makes me feel like crap. I stopped taking the Buspar and started taking the Ativan .5 mg 2X a day.

    The Ativan has been great, but I'm definately dependant on it because I get "nutty" if I skip a dose. This is not all in my head because when I start feeling this way is when I realize that I forgot to take my 1/2 pill.

    If all I have to do is take a low dose of Ativan 2X a day to feel "normal" (whatever that is), that's fine with me; but I'm worried about the long term effects.

    Surfing the net, horrible idea sometimes, I found some info on long term physical effects of benzo use from a site, guess I can't post the name. It's a cite that gives information about drugs and alcohol to family members of addicts.

    It says the following of long term physical effects from benzo use:

    collapsed veins, cellulitus (infected skin), poor circulation (which can lead to amputated limbs), organ damage, stroke, thrombitis, endocarditis (heart infection).

    HORROR! This site basically says they're horrible drugs, comparable to alcohol and heroin.

    Anyway, I don't know what I'm looking for here.........I guess I want someone to tell me that I can continue to take the only thing that makes me feel OK since I'm taking such a low dose and that it's not going to KILL ME!

    By the way, I don't like Paxil or Celexa or drugs like that. They cause pretty unpleasant side effects; excessive sweating, nausea, sexual dysfunction (I'm 30 in a long term relationship and still need sex), and not to be gross, but I can actually smell the drugs coming out of me in sweat and urine (probably the worst effect for me).

    I wish I didn't have to take anything, but I can't talk myself out of panic/anxiety. I've been trying for years. The physical effects of this disorder are the worst part for me (muscle tension to the point of locking up, headaches, chest tightness and pain that make it so hard to breathe).

    No talking myself out of it, the best I can do is prevent it; I want to stay on Ativan !

     
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    Old 02-21-2004, 01:01 PM   #2
    pattycake
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    Re: benzodiazepines

    OOPS!

    Sorry Sickman, guess I should get this topic out of here!

     
    Old 02-21-2004, 01:29 PM   #3
    Some12
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    Thumbs up Re: benzodiazepines

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pattycake
    The internet really is a horrible place for the hypochondriac!

    I have anxiety/panic with awful physical symptoms.

    My Dr. gave me Buspar with Ativan to take as needed until the Buspar kicked in. I hate Buspar, it doesn't work and makes me feel like crap. I stopped taking the Buspar and started taking the Ativan .5 mg 2X a day.

    The Ativan has been great, but I'm definately dependant on it because I get "nutty" if I skip a dose. This is not all in my head because when I start feeling this way is when I realize that I forgot to take my 1/2 pill.

    If all I have to do is take a low dose of Ativan 2X a day to feel "normal" (whatever that is), that's fine with me; but I'm worried about the long term effects.

    Surfing the net, horrible idea sometimes, I found some info on long term physical effects of benzo use from a site, guess I can't post the name. It's a cite that gives information about drugs and alcohol to family members of addicts.

    It says the following of long term physical effects from benzo use:

    collapsed veins, cellulitus (infected skin), poor circulation (which can lead to amputated limbs), organ damage, stroke, thrombitis, endocarditis (heart infection).

    HORROR! This site basically says they're horrible drugs, comparable to alcohol and heroin.

    Anyway, I don't know what I'm looking for here.........I guess I want someone to tell me that I can continue to take the only thing that makes me feel OK since I'm taking such a low dose and that it's not going to KILL ME!

    By the way, I don't like Paxil or Celexa or drugs like that. They cause pretty unpleasant side effects; excessive sweating, nausea, sexual dysfunction (I'm 30 in a long term relationship and still need sex), and not to be gross, but I can actually smell the drugs coming out of me in sweat and urine (probably the worst effect for me).

    I wish I didn't have to take anything, but I can't talk myself out of panic/anxiety. I've been trying for years. The physical effects of this disorder are the worst part for me (muscle tension to the point of locking up, headaches, chest tightness and pain that make it so hard to breathe).

    No talking myself out of it, the best I can do is prevent it; I want to stay on Ativan !
    Dear pattycake,
    First of all you get nutty when you realize that you skipped your pill. That is a panic reaction not addiction. Once you realize that you have skipped your pill it is to late. The panic is already in motion. As far as the long term effects you said it yourself. The site you were on "gives information about drugs and alcohol to family members of (addicts)". All of those conditions can happen to anyone who abuses most any medicaiton. You are not abusing anything and in fact are only taking the equivilant of 0.5mg of xanax in 24 hours which is very low dosage. This amount is no stronger then a mild tranquilizer. As far as the Buspar, I tried it, I think it is crap. One should not take something that does not work for them and if they find something that does, the Doctor should agree that it is the answer also. If the other medicaiton is not working, you don't need it but tapper off of it slowly anyway. It may not be working but it is having chemical effects on your body. You may have to up your dosage of Ativan just a little in the future but not even close to an abusive dosage. You will not abuse the medication if you realize that you have panic disorder and it will always be with you. You will have ups and downs with panic attacks now and then but they will be less intense as you accept this. One abuses the medications when they continue to try to cure or stop the attack symptoms completely. This is impossible to cure and you must learn to live with it as best you can. Just to let you know that if you took the "general lowest dosage recomendation" of xanax for panic disorder, not anxiety disorder, equivilant to ativan it would be 8mg of ativan strenght in 24 hours or 4mg of xanax. I have been on 4mg of xanax and other medications for a long time but my condition is significantly different then yours. I still get panic attacks but I do not ever consider raising the dosage. I take this amount because it was the lowest dosage that would stabilize me enough to function after going off an ssri to fast on a Doctors request. I knew little about these meds at the time so I fell into a real learning lesson which disabled me. Anyone who thinks ssri's are safer then benzos and have no addiction should try what I did and sleep for 8 days and in your mind think you were awake suffering the whole time. I actually during this episode gave up and did not care if I lived or died. I still have the memory of being awake the whole time and suffering to the point of thinking this. I had to be convinced that I was asleep the whole time by others. Learn to control what you take, manage your own condition and learn your own medications. You are the expert on your condition as well as the effects of the medications on you, no one else. Take what works but be safe in all aspects of medication usage. Have a very nice day pattycake.

    Sincerely,

    Sickman Moving post to Panic disorder topic on Board

    Last edited by Sickman; 02-21-2004 at 01:33 PM.

     
    Old 02-21-2004, 11:39 PM   #4
    lori j
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    Re: benzodiazepines

    I also talked to my pdoc about taking Klonopin and he said I'm on such a low dose that he is not concerned. He is the top pdoc in that area, very smart with these meds. He actually told me he is thrilled how well I'm doing on my cocktail of meds, as I'm at the lowest dose on all three of them & he's very pleased that even at that low dose I'm doing so much better. He said I'm not even at half of what they consider a normal dose for an adult on any of the meds. So, I'm not going to worry & look things up on the net, I used to do that, it can drive you batty. Did you know that you can even overdose on vitamin C? Yep, it's true, so anything that you abuse can cause you problems. I know I have to be on meds, I'm glad I have a good pdoc managing them & that I'm doing it on such a low dose. You are not abusing the ativan, you are on a minimal dose also. If the Buspar isn't working & you want another med to use in conjunction with the ativan, tell your doctor.

     
    Old 02-22-2004, 08:51 AM   #5
    pattycake
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    Re: benzodiazepines

    Hi Lori

    Thanks for your response. I realize I need to be on meds, I've denied it (and suffered for it) long enough. I think the Ativan alone is good enough for me (so far). I'm 5'1" and 100 lbs., so I think that may have something to do with the fact that this low dose is working for me (and it only takes 2 beers to get me drunk too ). I don't drink that often though, was a bartender for 10 years and saw TOO MUCH.

    You're right, the internet can make you batty (especially for a hypochondriac). That darned ***** symptom checker! According to them, I've got lyme disease, thyroid disorder, and probably a brain tumor LOL!!!

     
    Old 02-22-2004, 08:36 PM   #6
    Jennita
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    Re: benzodiazepines

    It's clear with this conversation that the term "addiction" is being mis-interpreted. What you were feeling, Pattycake, was withdrawal when you missed the pill....but that isn't addiction.... it's actually just plain ol' physical dependancy. The two terms are interelated yet are quite different. Addiction in it's true definition involves behaviors and compulsions. Physical addiction, or dependancy, is simply the brain getting used to an artificial chemical taking over certain brain functions....so the brain doesn't produce it's own chemicals anymore. Even professional websites don't clarify the difference.

    When dependancy happens, you can't just quit the drug, because your brain will not be able to respond correctly....thus symptoms. The brain can recover from such imbalance that a situation creates, but since it can take awhile, withdrawal symptoms can be mis-interpreted as not related to withdrawal. Even brand new symptoms will be assumed part of original condition or worsening condition. But it's simply dependancy and withdrawals.

    Now, the term withdrawal is also many times mis-understood. If someone told you they had withdrawals for 2 years after benzo use, your doctor would say that's impossible because withdrawals only last two weeks- 1 month. He would be "techically" correct, but the person who told you is not lying or coo-coo about what they have either.

    So are they both right? Yes! Because the actual definition of withdrawal means the time it takes for a chemical to be completely out of the body system! However, the brain needs to re-learn it's old functions that the chemicals had overtaken....this is a "recovery' period. During recovery, withdrawal-like symptoms still persist because the brain hasn't returned to it's ability to function properly yet. The recovery process varies by person, drug, dosages, etc.

    I think terms like Protracted Benzo Withdrawal should be re-termed Protracted Benzo Recovery.

    All this mis-interpreting leads one to believe only those who "abuse" these drugs have problems with them. That is far from the truth. I myself know this from personal experience. I also have contacted many people who also know this....people who never took more than the doctor gave them.

    On the subject of tolerance (you start having symptoms inbetween your dosage, or the same dosage becomes ineffective) well, unfortuately, depending on type of benzo/dosage/personal chemistry, etc., one can never know when this will happen...it can take months--years. But when it does happen, your body and brain will go through withdrawal even though you haven't stopped the medication.

    This is a bad situation to be in...I should know...it happened to me. At that point, the only choice is to start elevating the dose. I refused, even at my doc's ok! Does that sound like an abuser/addict attitude? Not me. I never abused any substance. So I decided the doc was full of it and quit.

    I suffered horribly, I did however, survive it and came out of it. It took a long time. It was worth it. Those benzo websites? When I found them, I assumed the same thing....these people must be addicts/abusers. I didn't pay attention to them. When I was in heavy tolerance withdrawals, I read through them more thoughly and was shocked to find people who had never abused these drugs. I read all the information including the Ashton Manual.

    They turned out to be right all along.

     
    Old 02-22-2004, 08:41 PM   #7
    Jennita
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    Re: benzodiazepines

    So, in conclusion, I'd recommend people do not start these drugs. Very low dosages, short term or as-needed use may avoid some of the problems, but you never know. I would not chance it if I had it to do over.

     
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