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Author Topic: Decided to quit ativan  (Read 6131 times)

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Offline koi1

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  • Posts: 713
Decided to quit ativan
« on: March 31, 2007, 11:33:45 AM »
I decided to quit ativan, since I pledged to myself that it would only be to get me through tough initial stage of diagnosis. Upon reading more about ativan, I think it is a good thing, though I am not discounting that it helped me deal with anxiety in the beginning, especially since I lived alone and it helped me not focus on the seriousness of the disease. It was kind of an ignorance is bliss sort of deal with it, even though I could not and never will be able to put HIV out of my mind for one day.

Apparently ativan is nothing to mess around with, and if you can get off of it, you should, unless you have serious emotional problems and this the only alternative for you.

I got the expected symptoms, insomnia, anxiety dreams, and now an inabiltiy to focus my vision. I freaked this morning when I went to look in the mirror and saw a blurry mess.

I am going cold turkey which is not recommended, but I need to. I think the high blood pressure feeling and nausea in the afternoons was my body screaming out for more ativan. I felt a tightness in my chest and got really dizzy. I have not felt that since off of it. It may be that the side effects I was attributing to the atripla, could be more linked to ativan.

I don't know at this point. What I do know is that I am tired of feeling that afternoon nausea and high blood pressure feeling, and I want to see if these symptoms could be helped by not taking this benzo.

Anybody have a similar experience with benzos?


rob
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 11:38:09 AM »
Rob, you REALLY need to taper off a benzo.  Seriously, cold turkey is not advised.

And yes, I've gone off of benzos after being on them for 5 years.  It's completely doable, just don't cold turkey.  Cut them in half for at least 10 days and then maybe in half again.  May I ask what the dosage was?  If it wasn't that high you may able to just do the 10-day taper once.

I'd still coordinate this with your prescribing doctor... the tapering that is.  Going off of the drug should be your decision though.  Don't mess with your blood pressure.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline scotttt

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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2007, 12:02:01 PM »
Hey Philly,

I agree.  We just had an argument about this, but he refuses to refill his prescription.  Apparently the mid-day symptoms are too much for him to endure.  I understand that sometimes when people take benzos as sleeping pills they get afternoon anxiety and chest constriction.

I am here in case he needs to lash out at anyone, but I am going back to the SF Bay area on Monday.  I am worried and I want him to have a prescription just in case he has a panic attack.

Scott 


Offline Robert

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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2007, 12:19:17 PM »
great decision rob.  After my diagnosis my Dr proscribed those along with other and I don't know what I would have done without them.  But as soon as I could  dropped them.  Right not I'm taking Effxor, after dropping the prozac for sexual reasons but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

 I really agree with Philly.  Just cut them in half and take 1/2 pill for the next few days.  It's easier that way.

robert
..........

Offline libvet

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  • Posts: 327
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2007, 12:22:40 PM »
I went off ativan cold turkey and ended up in the emergency room.

I don't recommend it.   Tapering off is a lot easier on you mentally and physically.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2007, 01:13:42 PM »
OK Rob... verdict is in!  Go refill that prescription and cut them in half.  Don't make us all worry about you.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline mjmel

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  • Posts: 2,069
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2007, 03:51:31 PM »
Wow, what a wicked drug. Jeeeeeezzz! Sounds like it creates as many problems as it's designed to help alleviate.

Offline Ihavehope

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  • Posts: 1,366
  • Yes, I'm a cry baby, AND WHAT?
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2007, 04:07:59 PM »
Do your research first Robbie. I think you are in the right direction by trying to quit Ativan but withdrawal from drugs can be very distressful. I agree with Philly, try to minimize the consumption first and then stop taking them. Also try to do it when you know your work schedule is not so demanding. I remember when I quit certain drugs in October of last year I had the worst withdrawal symptoms and people at work thought I was on heroine or something because I looked like Whitney Houston and was acting very ood. Just do your research first girl.

Al

(who wishes you the best)
Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

Offline DanielMark

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  • Posts: 1,475
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2007, 04:08:28 PM »
Ativan (when I was on it years ago) had my hooked in no time at all.

Going off it cold turkey could be quite dangerous. Not recommended.

Daniel
« Last Edit: March 31, 2007, 04:13:11 PM by DanielMark »
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,353
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2007, 05:04:46 PM »
You can also discuss with the pharmacist how best to withdraw.

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2007, 05:46:24 PM »
Actually Rob these queers are quite right. Benzo withdrawal can be fatal if not done carefully. Seizures and brain-damage and all that unfabulous carry on.

Tapering off is indeed the best way.

MtD

Offline Benc7

  • Member
  • Posts: 33
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2007, 10:12:24 AM »
I've taken 1mg of Ativan every evening before bed for 12 years.  My doctor is amazed that it still works at that dose but it does; one little pill taken 45 minutes before I want to go to sleep and I'm assured of a seven hour stay in the Land of Nod.  Seven hours EXACTLY.  Followed by two hours of mindless fog, short term memory loss and the inability to operate machinery of any kind, heavy or otherwise (LOL).  My doctor sent me to a sleep specialist eight years ago and, after extensive quizzing and testing, he concluded that there was really little to be gained by quiting the drug but cautioned me to do so only under my Doctor's supervision.  The ability to "switch off" has been worth the side effects...so far.

Offline koi1

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  • Posts: 713
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2007, 10:29:16 AM »
I really, really thank you guys for the advice.  But, I think I have gone through the worst part of it already. My vision is returning in the mornings. I am not getting the chest constriction or the nausea, and I seem to be able to think better. In typing this message, I would have already made about 8 mistakes. So far, I have only made one. It helps me to think so much more clearly being off of it. I used to blame my wireless keyboard for all the mistakes. But now I know it is the fog created by my friend Atie. I will however keep in mind that if I feel serious psychiatric or physical symptoms, I should get to the emergency immediately. I will sleep at my sister's for few days after Scott leaves, just in case.

I really appreciate all the concern. You guys are great!
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 24,205
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2007, 12:24:01 PM »
Did it really effect you that much?  Were you on a high dose?  I've never taken Ativan but Klonopin doesn't do that at all... well, unless you throw back 15mg or something which of course I've experimented with.  That can be messy... though I'm not trying to infer you were doing that. Just curious as it's not one of the benzos I've ever been prescribed.  I've always found all the benzos incredibly sooooooooooooothing.  Like manna from heaven.

Anyway, I'm glad the cold turkey thing isn't bothering you.  Welcome back to reality. I'm sure that it helped you through your rough patches the last couple of months.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Christine

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,069
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2007, 12:47:31 PM »
Rob,
Call you doctor, tell him you are stopping Ativan, and follow the doctor's advice. If needed, you get to the emergency room.

The choice to take or not take meds is completely ours, but it is best to be under a doctor's guidance so you don't accidentally hurt yourself.

Christine, who is worried about you....so keep us updated.
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline northernguy

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  • Posts: 1,347
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2007, 01:40:46 PM »
I've got 1mg pills that I take for flying, so not everyday. It hasn't proved a problem, though I do remember my old boss being quite concerned. I think a friend of hers had a bad ativan experience.  I'm at the point where I really don't need them, but I don't want to risk a bad flying experience.
Apr 28/06 cd4 600 vl 10,600 cd% 25
Nov 8/09 cd4 510 vl 49,5000 cd% 16
Jan 16/10 cd4 660 vl 54,309 cd% 16
Feb 17/10 Started Atripla
Mar 7/10 cd4 710 vl 1,076 cd% 21
Apr 18/10 cd4 920 vl 268 cd% 28
Jun 19/10 cd4 450 vl 60 cd% 25
Aug 15/10 cd4 680 vl 205 cd% 27
Apr 3/11 cd4 780 vl <40 cd% 30
Jul 17/11 cd4 960 vl <40 cd%33
April 15/12 cd4 1,010 vl <40 cd% 39
April 20/12 Switched to Viramune + Truvada
Aug 2/12 cd4 1040, vl <40, cd% 38
Oct 19 cd4 1,110 vl <40 cd% 41

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 24,205
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2007, 02:24:00 PM »
There's a big difference between taking benzos for specific instances such as you mention northernguy and having to take one every day for a chronic issue.  I had a handful of very strong panic attacks every day when I first went on klonopin.  Then, they continued to get worse and I gradually worked my way up to 4 mg/day which is getting up there.  It was hard work just to get over that hump and reduce my daily intake to 2mg.  Definitely had to do it gradually and just learn to endure a low grade sense of panic which is now just a constant with me.  I'm now on "0" mg/day but I still have panic attacks, they're just not as severe and long lasting as they used to be.  Of course, half the issue when it's chronic is having panic attacks ABOUT GETTING PANIC ATTACKS.  It's like you're anticipating and waiting for the next attack, that you actually create more of them.  Very vicious circle.  I basically feel like someone just snuck up on me and screamed really loud and I just jumped out of my skin and got a massive rush of adrenaline... then amplify that periodically through the day.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline koi1

  • Member
  • Posts: 713
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2007, 06:51:22 PM »
The good thing is I never got above half a milligram a night. But when I first started to take them, I missed a dose one time and went into panic mode. I had never ever had a panic attack until that time. I think that had I started upping the dose I would be in much more trouble now and tapering off would have been
crucial to avoid serious psychiatric and physical withdrawal problems. The nausea and chest constriction always between 12 and 2 depending on when I took them the night before was what kind of gave me a clue that the ativan might be responsible for these side effects/withdrawal symptoms.  Since being off of it, I have noticed so many cognitive improvements, like being able to retrieve the right word with less reaction time. Not feeling so out of it...I hope never to experience a panic attack again, but one never knows with other side effects, especially sustiva how one might be affected. At least for now, I know that I am feeling better. I also that there is a hierarchy of strength in benzos, ativan is less strong than xanax and klonopin, but stronger than valium and librium. Of course you could take 15 milligrams of ativan and have a "lord how high am I moment" that would make Ana Nicole smile from heaven in reminiscence.
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline mjmel

  • Member
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Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2007, 08:34:44 PM »
... Definitely had to do it gradually and just learn to endure a low grade sense of panic which is now just a constant with me.  I'm now on "0" mg/day but I still have panic attacks, they're just not as severe and long lasting as they used to be.  Of course, half the issue when it's chronic is having panic attacks ABOUT GETTING PANIC ATTACKS.  It's like you're anticipating and waiting for the next attack, that you actually create more of them.  Very vicious circle.  I basically feel like someone just snuck up on me and screamed really loud and I just jumped out of my skin and got a massive rush of adrenaline... then amplify that periodically through the day.

Regarding anxiety disorder: This is an exact account of what my partner, Jeff, would go through when we lived in Chicago. On the "L" , particularly returning back home from work, he would have to disembark halfway through the route just to regroup his thoughts; then jump back on the train and resume his trip home. After a while I began to perceive the vicious cycle you write of--and it's really tough to short circuit. As I tried to help him introduce different thought patterns, I slowly began to understand what a true menace this disorder poses and just how frustrating it can be to an individual. It is still within him but in a considerably more controlled and quite sort of way. I was naive to think it would not resurface in a more rural, relaxed setting like where we reside.

Offline koi1

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  • Posts: 713
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2007, 10:41:02 PM »
Yesterday,

When I went shopping I started thinking what if I get one? I had to talk myself out an impending panic attack by calling Scott and he reassured me I would be okay, and it worked. I thought, at least my sister can drive me to the e-room if I need to get there pronto.

rob
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline ndrew

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  • ....-.-.-.-.-.....
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2007, 12:36:19 AM »
OMG, just reading about this is making me anxious.  I didn't know all the withdrawal stuff, yeesh... hope yer feelin' better rob...

(I sometimes take Ativan or Xanax for anxiety, but it makes me very stupid for days after...)

drew

Offline koi1

  • Member
  • Posts: 713
Re: Decided to quit ativan
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2007, 08:35:30 AM »
I think the convenience of mind meds make them convenient, but they come with their side effects. I am not bashing them outright. I know there are people who depend on them because they really, really, need them. However, doctors tend to prescribe them like candy, wihtout telling you what you are truly getting into.

The healthcare system saves time and money by keeping you calm and cheerful and therefore having to spend less time with you. However for many of us who can't live with the haze, and side effects, they become a barrier to feeling as normal as we can with our disease.

I think, that unless you have a chemical imbalance, there are other forms of treatment for anxiety. I wish we all had access to quality counseling. Again, the need for quality physical and mental health services is paramount.

And yes, I am feeling so much better.

rob

« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 08:37:10 AM by koi1 »
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

 


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