Greg

Benzo Trap

40 posts in this topic

This is a very difficult post for me to write, but Im just going to write it. I started taking xanax about 8 months ago last August. I did toy with my dosages. I would take more on one day and less on another. And eventually in January I had my doctor bump me up to another higher dosage.

 

About a couple weeks ago, I hit tolerance withdrawal. If I took it, I still experienced withdrawal symptoms. 

 

From the start I was running out early every month, about 3-5 days before my prescription was due for a refill. I would just allocate to take less at the end of the month and then pick the prescription up three days early. They usually let me pick it up three days before it was due for a refill.

 

Suddenly, with this last prescription, those 5 days or so I would run out early turned into BAD withdrawal. The symptoms of benzo withdrawal are completely different from Adderall withdrawal. You lose your appetite instead of gaining appetite. Instead of crashing you get insomnia. Instead of apathy, you get anxiety.

 

I realized something was off about two or three weeks ago. I suddenly would wake up in the middle of the night..I couldn’t sleep anymore.  I actually left work early one day. And then I called out entirely on another day.  I was feeling horrible.

 

I think about a week ago I realized it was benzo withdrawal.  I went on the internet and researched and saw that I had they symptoms of benzo withdrawal. Thankfully, it coincided with this week – which is my spring break week. I would never have been able to endure benzo withdrawal/detox during a regular week where I had work. I would be able to handle classes, but not a 9-5 schedule with benzo withdrawal.  It is rough.

 

I am in the beginning stages of benzo withdrawal. I don’t have as severe as the symptoms of what others have – I have the main ones – insomnia, loss of appetite, and anxiety (although I have had legitimate anxiety recently, so im not sure whether the anxiety is from legitimate causes or from benzo withdrawal)

 

This month was my worst month. I cut the remaining count of my pills in half and have enough to last three days before my next refill.   I’m now taking half my dosage each day. And bearing through the withdrawal. It is getting better and I’m hoping I will be much better on Monday when work starts again. Xanax is something that is supposed to be tapered off of. I found another forum – our benzo counterpart – called benzobuddies. I did a lot of research on that forum. That’s how I knew for sure what was happening. I have a physical addiction but psychologically I am okay with getting off—I think. To me, getting off Xanax is more similar to my experience getting off Effexor – I think. Im not freaked out about the idea of getting off Xanax. Like I was Adderall. I am just freaked out about the withdrawal effects – which are very uncomfortable.

 

I don’t know how I could be so foolish. I am really ashamed to write this post. I started to write this post many times the last couple days but I was ashamed to continue.  I have been pulling on all my skills from being on this website to get through this hopefully as quickly and painlessly as possible.  

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You need to switch from short acting benzo like Xanax to a longer acting benzo like Valium to taper off safely. Benzo addiction is no joke..not to scare you but the only two substances that you can literally die from withdrawal are Benzo's and Alcohol.

Check out the Ashton taper method.

It saved my life.

Good luck.

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I read the Ashton method, and also know about switching to valium. I dont have enough left to taper off 10 percent. So i am tapering off 50%. There is no way I can get my doctor to prescribe me valium. I am all the way down in Florida and he would need to see me first. I am hoping Im early enough to do 50% and still be okay. Thank you for the support. 

 

I honestly didnt realize alcohol and benzos targeted the same brain receptors. I would have been much more careful. I had been drinking alcohol a lot recently. I even started drinking alcohol to help me sleep when i woke up in the middle of the night and I didn't understand the connection until I researched benzo withdrawal. i think drinking alcohol pushed me over into this stage? 

 

I do think I'm okay. Its the beginning stages for me. I just feel I need to get on this quick and nip this in the bud and then it will be okay.

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Benzo tolerance escalates so quickly and is so difficult to get out of, given the seriousness of the withdrawl. I hope you're being safe about it, sounds like you're doing your best to find out what's going on. I don't think you should be ashamed though, you're doing all you can at the moment, and these things happen. It sounds so painful, but I think you can get through it. If the withdrawl gets any worse maybe try to get some medical help where you are? Or maybe you have a friend you can trust to make sure you're ok? Sorry if this is no help, hang in there! 

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Yeah - this caught me completely by surprise.  I went from fine to not fine at all over a couple weeks. I am doing everything I can do learn about this. It's very different from getting off of adderall. That benzobuddies site has helped me learn a lot about it. Really, the insomnia is the worst part. But I dont think its at the severity where I would need medical help. I just think (and hope) I need to taper off and it will get better from here. I am hoping Ill be functioning on Monday for work.

 

I want to stay as a functioning person. Im hoping I can. I have a phone interview tomorrow morning and Im preparing some for it tonight.  I have exams around the corner...Work...And assignments due...Im praying these last couple days and this upcoming weekend of rest and tapering will help a lot in recovering. 

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I have been concerned for your benzo dependency for the last year or so, InRecovery.  I remember when you first started grad school and you *found* a bottle of Xanax and you posted how much it helped your anxiety and how you were going to save them for only when needed.  Then you made another post last August when you got the script written and you expressed concern about the growing dependency.  Then, like last week, you posted how you took a Xanax before an interview and how it helped your anxiety.  You haven't said much about your drinking, though.

 

I don't have any wisdom or advice, only my heartfelt sympathy for the difficulty of kicking another addiction, and I admire your strength and bravery to write about it here.  My benzo of choice during Adderall was Ativan.  I would take them during my weekend adderall binges for sleep but not during the week.  But I figured out the awful insomnia bouts during the week was likely caused by Ativan withdrawal, although I stayed in denial about it for a long time.  My withdrawal experiences were  insomnia in the middle of the night, when I really needed that sleep to recover from my Adderall binges.   It was accompanied by these awful abdominal pains in my middle and lower back.  I would have to get out of bed and try to sleep in a chair or on the couch.  I thought my mattress was worn out and spent a lot of money on new beds, lol.  So, I suffered from Ativan and Adderall withdrawals on a weekly basis.  I had mostly kicked the Ativan habit by the time I quit the Adderall, thank God.

I still have a full bottle of Ativan and it should last me several years as the ONLY time I take it is when staying in hotel rooms.

 

Good luck kicking the Xanax. 

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Thanks everyone for your support. You were right quit-once. You had warned me early on to get off when i first got my script in August. I remember all those discussions you mentioned including the one about taking xanax before interviews. 

 

I had only meant to take it before i had to give presentations which really stressed me out, but i found it helped with a lot of things. So i started taking it daily.

 

The insomnia thing is really strange. I've never experienced anything like it. The horrific stories i have read on benzobuddies parallel my (our) own horrific stories of quitting adderall. People sleeping only 2 hours a night for months and months. I am able to sleep more than two hours but I could see myself at that place if I continued with the xanax. How hard was it for you to kick ativan? Also GDTRFB what was your experience like kicking benzos?

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It really wasn't a challenge for me to kick the Ativan because it was a habit that never really blossomed into an addiction.  The most I would take it for was about 3-4 days in a row then I would give it a break.  Same way as I used Adderall and stayed in the "tool stage" for the first seven years of my addiction, and kept me in denial that I even had an addiction until those weekend binges turned into daily usage and dependency for the last 2+years.

 

Here is the thing I don't get about addiction: you knew you were going down that road to being dependent on Xanax long before the addiction reared its ugly head.  You were astute enough to post your concerns about it but you couldn't seem to avoid the train wreck.  I think it is a good reminder to all of us around here that we are vulnerable too becoming addicted to other things besides Adderall.  Personally, I have two addictions that I live with (coffee and weed) but they don't seem to cause any problems in my life, I enjoy both substances,  and I have used them without harm for most of my life.  I also like to drink alcohol, but not too much, and not daily, and I no longer like getting drunk.  But I have abused alcohol in the past and must be very vigilant about using it responsibly because I still have the ability and desire to catch an alcohol buzz.  I have a strict "no drinking after dinner" rule to help me use alcohol responsibly.   I also like to gamble in a casino a few times per year but not for high stakes. 

 

Just curious, what is the benzo buddies website like?  Is it a cool community of like-minded people, like we are, but they just struggle with a different drug?    I have heard that a cold turkey quit of benzos is actually dangerous but I don't know why. 

At least with Adderall, one can decide they are ready to be done with it, put down the pills and face their recovery in a matter of days.

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It was the addict mentality that i could somehow get away with using it the way i was using it. I dont know. I thought it was fine. I always told myself that i would keep a lookout for signs of dependency and deal with it as soon as it arises. The addiction part of me I guess compelled me to go down this course.

The tools and skills I have learned from being a part of this site are being HEAVILY drawn upon as I deal with this. If i didn't know as much as I do now about addiction, I could be going down an entirely different road. Im afraid for people who get addicted and dont know what is ahead. I HELL KNOW what is ahead and I cannot afford to go there.

BenzoBuddies is a totally different atmosphere. Actually here is the link and this is to their forums. I have just been lurking their site since I came across it. Apparently if you taper off too quickly you can make it worse (??) another symptom is benzo withdrawal induced seizures.

edit - Benzos seem to be an entirely different animal with their own set of evil symptoms. The ones that I see the most that havent affected me yet are aches and pains, xanax flu (I might have experienced this once a few weeks ago, but I thought I was just sick), ringing in the ears, pins and needles, something called "band around the head"

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...pins and needles.....I actually experienced this sensation, but it was stress - caused with no drugs involved.  or...  hmm,...maybe Adderall and Ativan withdrawal were part of the cause and I just didn't see it until now?  it was nine years ago today.

 

ugh, I wish the auto correct feature on these forum boards wouldn't Capitalize the Names of these Drugs because they deserve no such respect.

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InRecovery

 

Thank you for your honesty and bravery for talking about this here. Each of us used an adderall counterpart drug. One drug was used to treat another drugs side effects and another one used to treat the side effects for the second drug. It can become a complete medicine chest full of drugs and a sticky spiders web of addiction.

 

We are addicts. Anything can become addictive for us. We need to steer clear of the BIG trouble makers (google top 10 addictive things).

 

I take xanax too and look forward to learning of your of your success story. It seems that I am afraid of just about everything these days, even of getting out of bed.

 

**Quit-once,  I stopped gambling when I was 19 years old. I went to Atlantic City Raceway and accidently hit two trifectas. The adrenaline rush lasted for days and scared me to death. I had some kind of guardian angel in my body or brain because I've never gambled again. It could have easily gone the other way.

 

One time I had to go into a casino to pick up a person who had called a cab, (I was a cabbie for a few years), I felt nauseous and overwhelming sadness for what I saw. Poor people gambling away money they couldn't afford to lose in a place glittering with diamonds.

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I just wanted to say hang in there, and I'll post my story here tomorrow. I'm on my 8th day adderall free, and am too tired to write it tonight.

Good night, dear people...

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Thanks Jon - it is true, addicts are not safe. When I was using adderall, I also used xanax, Kolonopin and lorazapam at various times but never developed problem. Adderall and xanax literally cancel each other out. It seems like a lot of us were using both.

 

I look forward to hearing your success story GDTRFB. I plan on napping today. And just resting as much as possible until Monday. i slept 5 hours last night with difficulty. I still have the insomnia but plan to stick to the 50% taper.

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Hi InRecovery, my fellow benzo buddy,

 

First of all, I'm really proud of you for deciding to quit!!! 

 

I'm so sorry to hear it's become like this for you.  Welcome to Benzo dependency.... it's not the best place to be.  Benzo withdrawals in my opinion are 100000000000x worse than adderall withdrawals.  

 

For full disclosure, I still take Klonopin and I'm not planning to quit anytime soon. I know what I'm posting might sound bad or worry some people but I'm fine with it for now, and I know what trap I'm in.  Klonopin helps me way too much and so far it's been the only way I can cope with my panic attacks.   But I do have hopes to cut back on it eventually.  I'm trying Zoloft now to see if that helps.   

 

IR, how much have you been taking?  If it's a low dose, you probably won't have seizures.  So just knowing that helps.

 

Quitting xanax is REALLY HARD.   It's so effective and kicks in so fast and sometimes I still wish I had it for that.   But that's part of the xanax roller coaster.  They hit hard, and leave your system fast.  I got switched against my will to Klonopin and that dr told me I'd have no withdrawals from that switch. She lied. I had horrible withdrawals from the switch, probably because the dosage was halved too.

 

 Another time, when I was on Xanax, I ran out in another country...I lasted almost a month before going to a dr and getting a prescription there. It was pretty bad, but not as bad as I would have thought to be honest.

 

I will say the alcohol combo is REALLY BAD news.  That might be what set you over the top.   Also you can die that way so don't do it!

 

My withdrawals are like this: horrible insomnia, daily panic attacks, stomachaches, feelings of deralization and general weirdness, chest pain, trouble breathing, being really fidgety, speaking too quickly, horrible social anxiety, overanalyzing every little thing, running like a hundred miles a week because I can't take it, visual and audile disturbances.  Everything is so intensified.   It kind of feels like really bad speed.   It's totally incapacitating, I can't get anything done, I get distracted by my own anxiety.   UGHHHH.

 

And sometimes...... after a few days...... there are moments of this weird mental clarity.  And little things like, I noticed I can pronounce Spanish words better while I was traveling.  

 

You might want to think about switching to a longer acting benzo like klonopin or valium.  After I adjusted, I actually like the long-acting one better.  It's smoother and better for longer term anxiety.  Also for tapering.

 

Well, for until you get to your dr, I wanted to offer you a few things that help me during these tough times:  

 

  • Sleep aids (like Benadryl) either for sleep, or for really bad anxiety attacks (yes, I've taken the sleep dosage during class and it did just a litttle bit! haha.)  
  • I've been taking Trazodone at night and it's helping me not need it for sleep as much. But that's a prescription.  
  • Exercise... run, do push ups.
  • Stay busy if you can
  • Taking walks when the panic is too horrible to bear.  Fresh air
  • Unfortunately, I usually find myself drinking to cope.  Don't do it!!!!!  Alcohol ALWAYS makes anxiety worse the next day!!!  So as hard as it sounds, no drinking!!!!  
  • Also, I've read a little bit about anti-anxiety diets.  Avoid sugar, coffee, white carbs, the usual culprits...
  • GABA and L-Theanine supplements help some people it seems.
  • Be kind to yourself!
  • Hot baths
  • You have to let the anxiety pass.  Know that's what it is.  Knowing that's what it is can help.
  • A mental approach: don't obsess or worry about the withdrawals you're expecting to be having.  Don't repress it, but don't expect it to be that horrible.  Just keep going.  The bad withdrawals don't always happen for everyone, and they're not always all that bad all the time.  If you don't tell yourself that story as much, you might notice the withdrawals less, or experience them less, if that makes sense.  That has worked for me.  Just remember you don't NEED xanax and you aren't going to die or have seizures.  Remember you CAN do this.  
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Wow that was a lot of good information occasional. I am going to have read that a couple times. I needed clarification about the alcohol. I really agree with u and think that did me over and now I know it's not good. I have though been drinking to cope with withdrawal. Because it really helps. I will look into benedryl.

I was prescribed .5 mgs 3 x a day and as I mentioned above now I am at half that. Like I mentioned sometimes I'd take more, other times less. Is that low enough to avoid seizures?

I experienced the derealization and weirdness once. And I was so weirded out I told my boss I had to leave. What was that?? Today I was tempted to take more than what i appropriated myself because I was so anxious I became short of breath but I stuck to the 50% taper dosage only. (I kept telling myself it wasn't worth it)

Are you experiencing withdrawals still? Or did u level out after the switch to kolonopin?

Edit - I have tried to switch from drinking soda to water but sweets and carbs..that is really tough!

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Wow, occasional, what an insightful post. Hang in there, InRecovery! I'll say a prayer for you tonight (even if that's not your thing, it can't hurt). I really think you're going to be okay. The anticipatory anxiety of what withdrawal could be like is perhaps equally as scary as the actual withdrawal symptoms. I've known a couple people that said they stopped cold turkey off benzos (which I know is totally dangerous). One said it wasn't bad at all. And the other didn't even know it was dangerous until I told her months later. She said she went through a period of not being able to sleep well for a little while but that was it. I'm not suggesting it couldn't be dangerous, but they went cold turkey, and you're tapering.

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IR, I forgot to add, I bet your tolerance will drop pretty quickly.  On my occasional little adventures in running low/out, it always drops right down.  You're going to be fine!   You're on a low enough dose that your chances of having a seizure etc are really, really low.  I was on .5mg, 3-4x a day, and the dr who switched me told me I COULD go cold turkey at that dosage and I wouldn't die from it, but she switched me to clonazepam instead (just in case?) and it was def easier than it would have been.

 

I have no idea what those derealization feelings are. Things just start looking and being weird.  I learned to start seeing them for what they are, and I'll give the anxiety weirdness a few minutes to pass. Good job working through it without taking more!

 

I don't have xanax withdrawals anymore.  I've evened out with Klonopin.  It took a few days or maybe a week though to make that switch.  And then I found a new dr.  I take .5 mg, 2x a day, plus antidepressants.    I try my best to make them last and only take them when a serious panic attack is coming on, because not having one when you need it is the WORST.

 

I think drinking in moderation is fine for you, just don't drink so much that you're anxious all morning the next day.   (Cutting candy and sweets and caffeine, I think are more of a long term solution.... If you look up "anxiety diet" you'll find some info on controlling it through food. Which I believe DOES help anxiety, but not with hardcore withdrawals!)

 

Let us know how you're doing.....!

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Thanks guys. I feel better from what you guys said and I'm also feeling less withdrawal. I'm devoting today to rest and relaxation. While I'm not completely comfortable, I was able to sleep last night and I forced myself back to sleep every time I woke up. But I was happy I could sleep. My appetite is sort of coming back and I was relieved by that. I drank a little yesterday to help with withdrawal but today I don't have any intentions to do that. The peacefulness on campus is being replaced by lots of people coming back with their suitcases. And Monday the craziness begins again...work..classes..papers and exams..I really hope by Monday morning ill be alright -- or at least be able to sleep somewhat regularly.

Edit - the derealization really was bad because I felt like people could tell something was not right with me. Especially when on the way to work someone told me I looked high. And I looked in the mirror and I did. That's why I couldn't stay at work. We have a small office..

Thanks guys. I feel better from what you guys said and I'm also feeling less withdrawal. I'm devoting today to rest and relaxation. While I'm not completely comfortable, I was able to sleep last night and I forced myself back to sleep every time I woke up. But I was happy I could sleep. My appetite is sort of coming back and I was relieved by that. I drank a little yesterday to help with withdrawal but today I don't have any intentions to do that. The peacefulness on campus is being replaced by lots of people coming back with their suitcases. And Monday the craziness begins again...work..classes..papers and exams..I really hope by Monday morning ill be alright -- or at least be able to sleep somewhat regularly.

Edit - the derealization really was bad because I felt like people could tell something was not right with me. Especially when on the way to work someone told me I looked high. And I looked in the mirror and I did. That's why I couldn't stay at work. We have a small office. The idea of people suspecting me of unsound mental health was too frighteningly similar to the adderall days. That's why I said I could tolerate withdrawal in class and stuff but just not at work.

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Hi InRecovery,

 

I hope you are getting the relaxation you need and starting to feel a little better.  Your post really scared me as we have the same quit date. Somehow, I guess after reading this post I really felt your pain and I began contemplating what it would be like to relapse. I actually had a nightmare the night after reading this.  I dreamed I was supposed to get married in a week and I was dying to be thin in time for my wedding. I decided I had no other option other than to get some Adderall. I found someone to give me plenty so I had some for 7 days straight.  I was crawling out of my skin because I knew I didn't really want to take them and if I did it was probably going to send me backwards into addiction and ruin the marriage anyhow.  I wasn't sure what to do, but I just felt so overwhelmed that I had to make a decision right then. I wanted them SO BAD.  I even started contemplating the time of day it was and how if I took it right then (it was late afternoon) I'd be awake ALL night. Everything just felt SO CLEAR like I was already back in Adderall addiction. In my dream I was SO CLOSE to taking the pills. I had them all in my pocket.  CRAZIEST thing happened.  I actually decided to wait for just a little longer before taking it because I was SO SCARED. Then all the sudden I saw the guy I was supposed to marry.  His face was blurry at first.  As it became more clear I realized I didn't want to marry this guy whatsoever and I realized I didn't have to take the pills because I could just call off the wedding.   And I didn't take them and I was SO FREAKING RELIEVED. 

 

What is my point?  My point is ADDICTION SUCKS.  It is not something people who aren't addicts seem to understand very well.  For me, addiction is about trying to procrastinate from uncomfortable feelings.  Feelings that just plain suck and I want to drown them out with something that feels better.  I think your situation is extremely common and I am not really that surprised by it.  I think it caught you off guard.  You seem to know in your heart of all hearts that Adderall is not the answer and going back to it is off limits.  So I think you tried to convince yourself you could handle the Xanax and maybe you wouldn't have ever truly known until you tried it.  So at least now you know and you can be more guarded for the future. 

 

For me, I still battle with plenty of other addictions since I quit drinking and doing drugs.  Basically, anything that will help distract me from whatever it is I'm feeling that I just don't want to deal with will pop up.  Like that game when you hit the ground hogs on the head.  If I'm not on guard, it seems like I am always trying to squash yet another addiction.  However, I feel better today in that at least the things I'm addicted to now are less severe than alcohol/drugs.  Internet addiction won't land me in prison thank god. :)

 

So what am I trying to say in all of this?  I just want to let you know I don't think this bump in the road is as bad as you feel it might be all things considered.  For starters, you didn't relapse on Adderall.  Second, you didn't really know how it would all play out in the end. Did you take a risk?  For sure, but at least now you've learned from this experiment and can move forward.  I have a feeling you won't be willing to risk experimenting with a lot of other drugs again.  I just think that's what life is all about. As long as you live and learn from your mistakes you will only continue to get stronger.  We're all human and sometimes we make mistakes.  Now if you keep repeating the same mistake over and over...well, that's a little different.  They call the definition of insanity, right?  You're a smart cookie and I have total faith in you that you'll beat this one too. 

 

Just hang in there buddy!  We're all cheering for you and on your side.  :)  You CAN DO THIS!

 

Hugs!

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I just returned home from a work trip where I spent a couple of nights in a hotel room.  Normally I would take a couple of Ativan and have a drink to help sleep.  Considering the lessons learned from this thread, I just turned down the room temperature and did not take the pills.....and I slept just fine.  I'm not gonna play that game any more.  Hope you are doing OK, InRecovery, and for what its worth, I think you bailed on this addiction before it really kicked in and kicked your ass.  Just take it easy for now.

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Thanks guys for your messages! Li'l Tex that dream sounds terrible. Im sorry if my story somehow caused that. You are right about addiction being used to cope with uncomfortable feelings. I have been using it do deal with stress and work and all the anxiety that comes with it.

 

This addiction could REALLy kick my ass, as you said quit-once. Wow. I could fall out of school, I could lose A LOT. I have to keep reminding myself of that despite all the anxiety I am facing..

 

The only thing I find frustrating is that I have been experiencing heightened anxiety - and I don't know if its because of legitimate reasons ( i spent 7 hours on an excel spreadsheet crunching numbers today for a project), things feel like they are piling up, or because of benzo withdrawal.

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I really hate the backspace button sometimes. Fuck did I have a lot written. Sadly I can barely give a half-assed reply because I'm on a strict sleeping regimen I set for myself, but 

 

I'm glad you posted this. I truly am.

 

You need to be safe here. 

 

You will go through withdrawal. Everyone's withdrawal is different. Some worse and some better than others. From my personal experience at that stage of taking xanax/kpins, I had at most gone 3 days without it and received seizure like symptoms however never experienced a full out seizure. Siezures can can cause serious problems and can be fatal. 

 

Good-news is with that dosage you probably won't recieve a seizure but like I said before everyone is different. As a safe measure, I would honestly consult your doctor before discontinuing use. You want to quit, but you need to do it safely. I used depakote for 25 days after when discontinuing use (was taking 4-6mgs). Depakote will prevent seizure symptoms http://www.drugs.com/depakote.html

 

Hopefully tomorrow I will get the time to write more.

 

Good luck my friend. 

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Good job Quit Once!  Def don't want to have to quit twice.  ;) 

 

I'm proud of you!

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I might have my own hidden benzo issue to deal with.  Although I do not use them, and I just recently learned that I will NEVER need my Lorazaspam, I just can't bring myself to throw them away.  WTF?? 

I have a bottle of almost 100 pills.  It was my Mom's prescription, and we had many discussions about her frustrations regarding an Ativan addiction that she didn't develop until she was in her 80's.  She took them to her death.  She used to share them with me and would sometimes give me a bottle for Christmas.  They did help to quell the Adderall and stress-induced anxiety and insomnia while she was dying.  The pills I have now has been expired for over two years, but it makes me uncomfortable to even consider throwing them away.  Is it possible to have an emotional attachment to these stupid pills?

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