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Are benzos *okay*?


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I am on Strattera (which is supposed to help my anxiety but DOESN'T) and am supposed to take Zoloft (which makes me sick to my stomach and dizzy and unable to function, but really really happy!, so I don't take it), and then I have my lorazepam, which I take for those times when I am crawling out of my skin.

And it helps! Half an hour later, I'm good. Calmer, clear-headed, able to move on.

I take 1 mg a day, under the tongue.

But I feel guilty. I must be ADDICTED! Benzos are BAD!

I can get through an attack without the pills, it's just not pretty.

Basically my question is: is it okay to take the pills daily? Is it okay to tell my doctor that I think that I need them daily?

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I dunno.  Some voices lately have been suggesting benzos.  I don't take them at the moment.  What you get from me is other people's opinion filtered by my own ignorance and forgetfulness.  Someone with experience should post eventually.  Until then, here's what I've got. 

Short term seems okay.  You start getting into dubious territory after a few weeks of habitual use -- something about neurotransmitter downregulation and such, which means your brain will have some trouble losing them even if you aren't technically addicted -- but lots of people here have taken them for longer, and eventually gone off them, and been fine.  It's just trickier than if you're an occasional short-term user. 

Or something. 

It's okay to tell your doctor you need them daily.  A smart doctor will ask lots of questions to figure out why, and maybe come up with a more efficient plan for you, or raise your script accordingly.  A not so good doctor won't ask questions and may raise your script (but maybe there's a better solution) or if REALLY dangerously idiotic, cut you off completely because OMG they're addictive or something.  You have a smart doctor, right?  Smart doctors are okay. 

I'm told dropping them cold-turkey is very very very bad.  Smart doctor will understand.  If/when you do stop, taper. 

Ask me about lithium.  I know lithium.  Benzos are still "out there" for me.

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But I feel guilty. I must be ADDICTED! Benzos are BAD!

I can get through an attack without the pills, it's just not pretty.

Basically my question is: is it okay to take the pills daily? Is it okay to tell my doctor that I think that I need them daily?

okay.  i use xanax xr to treat my GAD.  just that.  no ssri.  i work hard to make sure i skip a few days here and there.  but i take it knowing that i can become habituated/addicted to it.  i've been addicted to klonopin before and had to do a slow taper off it otherwise i would shake.  but, to me, it wasn't that bad.  sometimes benzo withdrawl can manifest as panic, which complicates the whole issue.

but all meds have their risks.  it's up to you and your doctor to do a cost-benifit type analysis of your life to see if taking the risk of addiction is worth how much they help you and to find was to reduce this risk.

Loon-A-Tik made a post yesterday that, i think, very eloquently expresses the choice you make when you decide to use benzos. 

it's a choice.  and just that.  not an inherent sin.

penny

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i believe a lot depends on whether you have any history or tendency toward substance abuse. This obviously creates a whole risk in itself. in my experience , as long a s you don't take more than your pdoc presribes you should be ok- maybe i am addicted- i've been taking some form of benzo daily for almost 20 years. I've never gone over the presribed amount ( except perhaps when i've had to fly). I still suffer from anxiety , but not all the time like i used to. I don't think there's anything bad about something that helps you feel and function better- unless it becomes its own problem ( like substance abuse) Again- like everyone else- talk to your doctor. they won't make you feel any better sitting in the bottle.

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I am on Strattera (which is supposed to help my anxiety but DOESN'T) and am supposed to take Zoloft (which makes me sick to my stomach and dizzy and unable to function, but really really happy!, so I don't take it), and then I have my lorazepam, which I take for those times when I am crawling out of my skin.

And it helps! Half an hour later, I'm good. Calmer, clear-headed, able to move on.

I take 1 mg a day, under the tongue.

But I feel guilty. I must be ADDICTED! Benzos are BAD!

I can get through an attack without the pills, it's just not pretty.

Basically my question is: is it okay to take the pills daily? Is it okay to tell my doctor that I think that I need them daily?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi Beckajo. I guess I am on the benzo top ten list of users and have been for years.

24 MG -

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I am on Strattera (which is supposed to help my anxiety but DOESN'T) and am supposed to take Zoloft (which makes me sick to my stomach and dizzy and unable to function, but really really happy!, so I don't take it), and then I have my lorazepam, which I take for those times when I am crawling out of my skin.

And it helps! Half an hour later, I'm good. Calmer, clear-headed, able to move on.

I take 1 mg a day, under the tongue.

But I feel guilty. I must be ADDICTED! Benzos are BAD!

I can get through an attack without the pills, it's just not pretty.

Basically my question is: is it okay to take the pills daily? Is it okay to tell my doctor that I think that I need them daily?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My personal experience is that if you are taking 1.5mg/day lorazepam or less, you can stop pretty much cold turkey (unless you have a history of seizures or other risk factors) without any significant withdrawal.  but people's tolerance for different discontinuation symptoms varies a lot.  i stopped taking my lorazepam without any problems at 1.5mg/day.

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Guest Guestxyz

Hi. It seems that Strattera and Zoloft are not the right meds for you. There are plenty of alternatives, I suggest you discuss this with your doctor. Side effects tend to abate after time, but it sounds like there are serious and I suspect there are better alternatives. I don't know why you take Zoloft, it is a somewhat stimulating antidepressant (at least in the beginning), but if you want a fairly neutral (generally not stimulating and not sedating) antidepressant Lexapro might be THE choice for you.

Benzo's are bad ?

Well, I've read a lot of nonsense about benzos. I believe there is this whole organization called www.benzo.org.uk that depicts benzos as the ultimate evil.

Whether benzos are bad depends largely on whether you get a craving for them, and especially if you can't control your craving and seek out more, from a doctor, multiple doctors or the street. They are especially bad if you drink alcohol when there is still a (even small, how much that is an issue depends on the individual) presence of a benzo in your system. A good way to predict whether benzo's are dangerous for you is to examine whether you have family members that abuse benzos or alcohol. Addiction is partly in the genes. In some way, benzo's work like alcohol, but they are different.

The other issue is that the human body tends to adapt to medication that works on the mind. I think this is true for at least most of those medications. The body adapts (counteracts) the working of antipsychotics generally very slowly (sometimes not at all??), the body usually adapts to antidepressants faster. The body usually adapts to benzodiazepines even faster ! Probably, if you keep using the same dose of lorazepam for a few weeks it's effect will weaken a lot. How much and how fast depends on the individual. You can't keep raising the dose indefinately. And at some point even that probably would not help.

But on the other hand, there are plenty of stories from people on this site who have used benzo's for years. Klonopin/clonazepam is probably one of the less addicting benzo's.

I'd say, think it over. If you do not have a negative family background, have a fairly strong personality, a stable life, you could give it a try. You'll probably have to increase the dose after some time, but it's my personal (and noting but MY personal) experience that the body adapts more slowly after the initial time period. And yes, you 'll have to increase the dosage at some point, but if it's the right medicine for you, the adaptation will slow down after a while. But you have to consider the VERY real possibility that, even with large dose increases, after some time the benzo will do noting or almost nothing. I think you should not start on the benzo unless you know you have the strength to stop taking the benzo if it doesn't work out, gradually decreasing it's dosage of course. During that process, you may feel a lot worse than before you started lorazepam, or any other benzo. You may feel heightened anxiety, and have trouble sleeping. Take that into account. But hey, we're all unique, I have had almost no problem stopping taking benzo's. I don't have statistics, but most people who use benzo's on a daily basis "get in trouble".

There is for most people nothing wrong in using benzo's occasionally. But for most people, daily use of benzo's becomes at least ineffective.

See if there is a better alternative. Do some research on the options, and discuss this with your doctor. I must admit I did not read all the reactions to the original poster.

I think therapy, or learning to deal with your problems on your own is the better way. I understand you take it for panic attacks, but I may be wrong. Benzos can be useful if you want to try to change your way of thinking and behaviour, and need the benzo as a temporary support to change your life or yourself. Change can be difficult and scary !

You did not write much about your problem. Well, I wrote quite a story. And I certainly don't want to play the psychiatrist or even GP, but I have some knowledge about these things.

For others, with regards to choice of benzo or other things, feel free to chime in.

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I've been using klonopin for some time now (since last September), at first it was 2 mg at bedtime and .5 PRN.  For the past Month, it has been 1.5 at bedtime and .5 3x during the day at set times.  It seems to be controlling my anxiety much better now.

Tommy

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I didn't read all the replies, so if I'm repeating anything, my apologies.

Benzos are addictive. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It just means that when/if you decide to go off them, you are going to feel withdrawal. This is the case for a lot of meds. If you're just taking 1 mg and never raise the dose, this shouldn't be too bad.

The bigger issues with Benzos is their propensity to be abused, in other words, taking more than is prescribed or in a manner not prescribed. But again, this is the case with a lot of meds (pain medication, stimulants, etc.). And again, this doesn't make them bad.

But given that they are both addictive and highly abused, you should be very careful if you start feeling like you need to keep upping your dose. This doesn't happen to everyone. I've been on .5 - 1 mg of Xanax XR every day for the last year. Occasionally I take .25 mg of immediate release as well. I've never, not once, taken more than this or even felt the need to increase my dose.

Benzos, for the most part, are that much different than most meds. You need to take them as prescribed and you need to be honest with your doctor about how much you are taking, etc.

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