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Anyone use benzo's regularly?


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My tdoc, when seeing what a mess I still was, asked me about my meds and if anything had ever helped. I said the only thing that helped the anxiety was klonopin, which I initially used PRN. But then a new doc told me it's okay to take daily, so I did. Then I read about all the horrible things about tolerance and dependence and awful withdrawal, and I didn't want to be on it. I wasn't sure I really needed it every day anyway. Even at a low dose, I had a pretty bad withdrawal (although only for a week, albeit a miserable one).

 

But my tdoc said I should ask my pdoc about it. She basically thought I was so bad that anything to help me feel better would be worth considering at this point.

 

Any thoughts? Anyone take it daily, long-term? Think it's worth it if things are bad enough?

 

A few other notes:

 

Antidepressants were a miserable failure but they haven't ever tried anything else for anxiety (which is actually a relatively new symptom, last 9 months). I take Abilify, which initially worked great for depression but now I'm not so sure. I take 2 mg and tried 3, but I got crazy anxiety. But I know there's kind of a tipping point if you raise the dose that sometimes goes away... 

 

Anyway just curious about others' experience.

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I have taken benzos daily of one type or another for over 10 years.  I have experienced withdrawal, but it was only due to my stopping the med cold turkey.  Never a good idea.  As long as you taper off using a schedule designed by your pdoc, you will very likely be able to come off the medication with no problems when you and your doctor determine its time.

 

I also take Gapapentin (Neurontin) and a beta-blocker for anxiety, along with Klonopin.

 

It's ok to take the meds prescribed by your pdoc.  You shouldn't have to suffer with anxiety.

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I was an anxious mess when I saw my doctor in late October. I have known that I suffer anxiety at times and have even had a few panic attacks, but never really thought about getting help for it. Why not? I have NO idea. 

 

The past year has been hellish to say the least. I have had occasional insomnia, but since last February, was not sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night for on top of the most stressful job situation I have ever encountered. 

 

It took me going to the doctor for a sinus infection when I broke down and cried in his office. He was shocked. I have seen this doctor in every possible humiliating painful way (blown discs, migraines, gall bladder) but I was never this messed up.

 

Thank g-d he gave me a prescription for Klonopin and I told him I wanted to go to therapy. I take .5mg before bed, in order to sleep through the night and when I am  not an anxious mess, I take .25mg a night.

 

I have even forgotten to take it at all (on the weekends) and have had no problems. It could be the fact that I am on a low dose?

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I have been taking klonopin since around 1995 and xanax since 2001, with no problems.  Klonopin I take daily 2x/day and xanax I take daily as needed.  i have gone into withdrawal, but that was when I stopped all meds at one point,  That won't happen again though!

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I was on Ativan or Klonopin for about 10 years.  Initially I took Ativan for anxiety but found that it really helped me sleep, so on my own I just started taking my whole daily dosage at once at night for sleep.  Eventually I was switched to Klonopin and took 2mg for sleep. That worked for years, but then I got to the point where it would help me fall asleep but I couldn't stay asleep, so my pdoc added Seroquel, and that worked fine.

 

After a few years, I realized that Klonopin was no longer really helping me fall asleep, but that I couldn't fall asleep if I didn't take it.  That made me decide to wean off it.  I did so very slowly, and I was able to sleep with just Seroquel.

 

Good luck.

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Well saw my pdoc, told her I was worse and that tdoc suggested a med check and mentioned benzos... She only brushed on the pdoc, who works in her office, saying "well when therapy doesn't work right away therapists always think it's medications." She never said any more about benzos. She reiterated she thought my problems were probably mostly situational and I might just have to resolve those issues. Right. That will probably take years. And one of my biggest issues is stress from raising a 2 year old... Not much "resolution" for that any time soon.

Meanwhile, she upped my abilify, which we did already, and went back down cause it caused bad anxiety.... Which I already told her is my worst symptom. She seemed skeptical that it REALLY was caused by the abilify and that I should try again. Ugh. She seems knowledgeable but I get the impression she thinks I'm looking for a quick fix, even though I've agreed to everything and I'm in therapy too... And all I did was pass on what the tdoc said!

Sorry for the vent... Just very frustrated.

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Sorry to hear about your frustrating appointment, that stinks.  I wonder if it would be helpful for your tdoc and pdoc to speak directly to one another, that way the tdoc can explain to the pdoc what she's observed that made her suggest the benzos to you, and you will no longer be the middleperson?  Just a thought.  This has been useful for me in the past.

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I was on .5 klonopin once a day to two a day than to 1mg once a day to two a day and that's where I am now......I have to take it everyday....Either it's the rebound anxiety or OCD anxiety because it seems to be that it is really the hardest drug to get off of. I do agree with you on that.....Sometimes doctors just don't want us to suffer....They know we are in pain....My pdoc is actually a pain management patient and he says his doctor treats him like crap and says I believe do unto others as you would have them do unto you.....I have told my doctor so many times that I took to much or that I was tempted on abusing them. This was in the past and he still showed compassion.....I took several years for me to take control but I no longer abuse it because I know I need it to function normally.

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Definitely talk to your doc.

I've taken various benzos (valium, then Xanax, now Clonazepam) for years. I've been able to go up and down in dose with no problem. I take 1.5mg clonazepam daily, but find myself only need 1mg daily, with the 0.5mg for PRN. I would say "use" more than "they're part of my treatment".

 

Addiction and abuse can happen, but if you find it helps your anxiety, it is possible to take them long term. I've been on benzos for over 10 years. I've never run out, I generally have extras at the end of the month.

 

It is possible to take them long term, and taper off. The withdrawal/discontinuation isn't as horrible as some say. Just follow the doc's taper plan.

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When I was on a high dose of Klonopin, I had a terrible time with withdrawal/weaning to a lower dose.  I ended up having to decrease by 0.25 mg for 1-2 weeks at a time, then another 0.25 mgs for another 1-2 weeks, etc until I was down to a lower level.  The anxiety and edginess and restlesness was hard to deal with.  I'm doing fine on a lower level now, but it was hard getting here when I had to.

 

 

ETA:  Xanax for me wasn't a problem with any withdrawal, as long as I tapered it.

Edited by melissaw72
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I do. I take Clonazepam 0.5 twice daily for anxiety and racing thoughts. I have taken it for about 4 years. I'm now trying to reduce my dosage because I think it's interfering with my ability to think for school, but that could just be the Zoloft I take.

 

But it's weird, I saw one psych NP who told me to get off clonazepam, and not to take it every day, b/c it's only supposed to be taken PRN (as needed), not every day. I was in the process of weaning off it, then I got different insurance and I had to see a different psychiatric NP, who told me I should take it every day, twice a day, to keep my anxiety in check.

I realize that each psychiatrist or psych NP has different ways of diagnosing and treating their patients.

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Well saw my pdoc, told her I was worse and that tdoc suggested a med check and mentioned benzos... She only brushed on the pdoc, who works in her office, saying "well when therapy doesn't work right away therapists always think it's medications." She never said any more about benzos. She reiterated she thought my problems were probably mostly situational and I might just have to resolve those issues. Right. That will probably take years. And one of my biggest issues is stress from raising a 2 year old... Not much "resolution" for that any time soon.

Meanwhile, she upped my abilify, which we did already, and went back down cause it caused bad anxiety.... Which I already told her is my worst symptom. She seemed skeptical that it REALLY was caused by the abilify and that I should try again. Ugh. She seems knowledgeable but I get the impression she thinks I'm looking for a quick fix, even though I've agreed to everything and I'm in therapy too... And all I did was pass on what the tdoc said!

Sorry for the vent... Just very frustrated.

IDK what your DX is but I don't understand why a small dose of a benzo couldn't be given.  Yes we all know benzos can cause dependence and potentially lead to addiction and abuse, but I don't understand the view that many doctors take that all benzos are evil and to be completely avoided.....................  yet those same doctors will dish out AAPs like abilify as an augment for depression/anxiety like they are candy, when actually they have a long list of dangerous and potentially permanent side effects. 

 

I started Ativan recently after 15 years of crippling social anxiety and too many failed medications/therapies to list.  Ativan has been a godsend.   I'm sure I will end up hopelessly dependent on it because it is the only thing I have found that allows me to do normal every day stuff without being completely destroyed by anxiety. Who wouldn't get 'addicted' to a medication that actually works for the problem?  I also find it helps the OCD intrusive ruminating thoughts; something antidepressants have never helped me with. 

Edited by crazyguy
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  • 1 month later...

Being dependent is maybe not the term that is worrying some.    I'm dependent on air and water (and lots of Pizza) but no one but my GP will dispute that all three of these are needed and ok.   If I have high blood pressure I take a drug (And other stuff) but being "dependent" on the drug is not a bad thing.   Its a great thing that there is a drug that works for me so I don't have a stroke or heart attack.   Why are Benzos any different?   I had this sort of discussion about awful insomnia.   Like the I can't function sleep problems.   I asked a nurse about using Ambien so much (Like every night)   I was worried about dependence or addiction.   She said if it means sleeping or not I would take the ambien.   I just read an article about Anxiety Attacks and how the problem is not curable.  That it requires treatment (TDoc, Med Docs)    I was a little put back because I thought (like so many) that its going to go away after enough therapy or the drugs won't be needed.   

 

Doesn't it all sound the same?    If your Anxiety can't be reduced to functional levels except when you have Ativan?  I say refill on time and follow your Doctors orders.  If she/he (The Doc) wants to try other stuff like Buspar I would personally say "Lets try it but if it doesn't work lets go back to what we know works"   Anyway you ask a timely question.   For me at least.

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I consider myself "dependent" on all of my medications, because without them I'd be batshit crazy and running around manic or depressed like a loon.. I don't see why benzos are much different. They have a bad stigma.

 

I'd probably have worse discontinuation syndrome from lexapro if I stopped it suddenly than clonazepam IMO.

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