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Suffering from benzodiazapine withdrawal syndrome. How do I find relief?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 1115 Questions
My name is Susan: I wanted to ask a question about benzodiazapine withdrawal syndrome. Severe tolerance withdrawal within a two week time span of taking Ativan for spike in blood pressure. First time taking a benzodiazapine. Tried cutting pill in half per pharmacist to taper off. Symptoms got worse. No appetite, nausea, shaking, tinnitus, anxiety, panic attacks. Went back on original dose but no relief. Was put on Klonopin to have compounded into liquid form to slowly taper. Again no relief and taper took months to complete by going so slowly. Upon completion of taper symptoms remained with some slowly abating. Was left with GAD although never had prior to taking the Ativan. It is now five years out and still struggling with anxiety, insomnia, tingling, inabiliy to gain weight, muscle loss and tinnitus. Have become very sensitive to medications and supplements since this happened. I will not take any SSRIs or benzodiazipines due to fear of worsening side effects
Posted Wed, 27 Nov 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jose Ignacio Artero Munoz 6 hours later
Brief Answer: Anxiety Detailed Answer: Hello.Delighted to be able to help. Several issues : 1. - The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is greater with lorazepam or alprazolam than with clonazepam or clorazepato.However if lorazepam or alprazolam are used, if the dose is decreased slowly withdrawal syndrome is minor. 2.-In a person with prolonged anxiety is essential prescribe and SSRI .Paroxetine or Mirtazapine are widely used in the treatment of this condition. 3.- The benefits of using SSRIs and benzodiazepines are much greater than the risks . 4.- Paroxetine and Mirtazapine have double effect: antidepressant and sedative ( also increase appetite , would help you to gain weight .) Over the days you can decrease the dose of benzodiazepine. In short , I recommend the following treatment: First week: Paroxetine 20 mgr half tablet per day + Clorazepate 5 mg thrice a day . Second week: Paroxetine 20 mgr 1 tablet per day +Clorazepate 5 mg thrice a day . One month after starting paroxetine , your psychiatrist can slowly decrease the dose of clorazepate . With this regimen , side effects of SSRI and benzodiazepines are minor, you will earn weight and will improve your anxiety symptoms. Please go to your your psychiatrist for prescription and control. I Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help.If you do not have any clarifications, please don’t forget to evaluate my answer.I wish you good health.
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