View Full Version : any long term benzo users?


Raye
01-15-13, 06:32 PM
I'm kinda stealing someone else's thread idea, but it made me think of this and wanted opinions..


I have read on some sites that some people have been taking benzos ( xanax, klonopin, valium,) for years specifically for panic attacks and anxiety. Yet the benzos still work in their system as if it's the very first time they've taken them. I've also heard that benzos are for short term use 2-4 weeks, so that is confusing in itself.

I don't get it. :doh:

1 mg of xanax does nothing for me, my tolerance of benzos was built up in 2 months time, yet someone who's been taking them a year + can get relief.

Abi
01-15-13, 07:36 PM
I take Klonopin for Chronic GAD. I took it for a year, stopped for a year and a half, and went back on for another 4 years. I had also been briefly prescribed Valium and Ativan in the intervening period.

I started Klonopin at 0.5 mg twice daily. I began developing tolerance in early 2011 and incresed to 1 mg twice daily. About 6 months later, I increased to 1 mg thrice daily. I have been stable on that dose for the past 1 years.

Sometimes I skip my midday dose. Other days, when I am especially anxious, I take extra.

Are you taking Xanax IR? ("regular" Xanax) That stuff leaves your system pretty quickly.

You should switch to Klonopin or Ativan.

silivrentoliel
01-15-13, 08:10 PM
I've been prescribed 1mg of Xanax, but only take 1/2 (I think it's been about a year since I began taking them)... haven't built a tolerance for it, but I really try to not take them, because I can feel myself get dependent on how they make me sleep well.

Raye
01-15-13, 09:17 PM
I have a benzo dependence, if I stop it suddenly I'll go into withdrawal.

I don't take xanax anymore. I am prescribed klonopin. My tolerance for them is so high I only take them to stop from going into withdrawal.

If i go a day or 2 without klonopin, it only makes me tired and helps me sleep. It doesn't help with panic.

I guess I'm just gonna answer my own question, lol. I was wondering how some can use benzos on a consistent basis and still have them work the way they are supposed to work.

When i had surgery and the incision site got infected, I was given percocets that i took every day for nearly 6 weeks and didn't get hooked.

I guess everyone's tolerance is different.

BellaVita
01-15-13, 10:40 PM
I've been taking Clonazepam for about a year and a half now.

It's prescribed as 2x 0.5mg daily, but since starting Lexapro this past summer, I don't need to take very much of it anymore.
Actually, I usually take just one 0.5mg, split it into fourths, and take it throughout the day as needed. Sometimes I don't take any at all. :p Idk if it's placebo or what but it works for me!! :)

starry
01-15-13, 10:43 PM
I've been taking Xanax for 6,5 years now, to treat my night time anxiety and help me sleep better. My life was a mess due to my sleep issues (since I was a kid- both parents having this problem, it's genetic) but with it, I can sleep like a baby now :)

I don't take it during the day. Ever. It puts me to sleep. And I don't need to sleep during the day. Plus I take Adderall in the day time and mixing those two is a no no in my book. Not only would that be dangerous, but would cancel the effects of each med as they are opposites.

I've tried various sleep meds before, but with none of them did I get a quality sleep like I do with this med. I sleep on some meds, but my brain is still kind of awake and I can never get into REM sleep. Sleeping but semi-awake. I wake up tired. With X. I sleep all night and deep. Wake up well rested and can be alert in the day, then so tired that I can barely function.

ADDinHDefgHi?!
01-17-13, 02:22 AM
I've been prescribed Klonopin for over two years probably closer to three, before that I was prescribed Xanax for a few years.

I take the Klonopin daily, mainly because I'll go into withdrawal if I don't. That being said it still has a beneficial effect as long as I take the minimal dose and take it at night and not during the day.

The longer half life makes it a lot smoother than Xanax for me. I used to take over 3mgs a day now I'm taking under 1mg a day. If I don't take it at all the withdrawals are horrible, it's like the anxiety I used to experience before I was was ever prescribed benzos comes back but twenty times worse than it used to be.

They're a blessing and a curse for me, they definitely helped for a long time, now I'm not so sure, I feel if I could taper off completely I'd be better off, but it's hard and painful.

I can handle panic attacks much better than before, they no longer scare me, it's the subtle aspects of anxiety that the klonopin seems to continue to help with after all these years.

I notice that the Ritalin helps me to not worry or ruminate over things, the Klonopin mainly helps when I'm really stressed out and need to sleep. I used to drink to alleviate that problem but I no longer like drinking, which is odd since I used to love it and was basically a functioning alcoholic for years.

Amtram
01-17-13, 12:22 PM
I take xanax for sleep. When I'm on an antidepressant that works well (this was complicated by my meningioma, long story) I need less of it to sleep, and don't have anxiety in the daytime. I'll cut back by 1/4 mg over a week and work my way down.

Klonopin is harder to titrate down. You need to go 1/8 mg down over as long as two weeks to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

But I've been on the xanax for about 4 years now, and see no reason to stop. I mean, a good night's sleep just doesn't happen without it.

Raye
01-17-13, 01:47 PM
how much/small is 1/8 of a 1 mg pill?

Amtram
01-17-13, 02:54 PM
Not easy to divide. You would probably need to find a pharmacy that would compound it for you in a liquid form.

Talk to your doctor before making any changes, though!

chsguy88
01-26-13, 05:24 PM
I take Ativan and Ambien for sleep, and I do notice tolerance buildup.... I feel like if you take it as prescribed though, the therapeutic benefits are still there even though it may not feel as 'good' as the first few times you took it.

I feel like the FDA recommends them for short term use just because of the risk of addiction is increased with long term use, and with addiction comes withdrawal when the drug is stopped. Also, like a few other users have said, treatment with an SSRI/SNRI can help solve a lot of the problems that cause people to turn to benzo's in the first place. So the way I see it is, the FDA basically suggests it be used for the shortest time possible while trying to find a less addictive solution to the problem.

Ambien is the same way, recommended for short term use but I know people who have been on that for years... Also they can only recommend a drug be used in a way that's been tested and whatnot. If you've ever read in the "prescribing information" you will see efficiency study results listed. Most of the studies are short term just so the drug can be released ASAP lol. For instance this is what is on Klonopin's prescribing information:

"The effectiveness of KLONOPIN in long-term use, that is, for more than 9 weeks, has not been systematically studied in controlled clinical trials. The physician who elects to use KLONOPIN for extended periods should periodically reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient."

I always read the prescribing info for the pills i'm on, mainly because you can find out some interesting stuff in those things!!! A lot of it may as well be written in greek, but some of it is easily understandable.

starry
01-26-13, 06:34 PM
Xanax for sleep for the past 6 years. Still on the same dose that I started on and works great. It's the only thing that gives me a quality rest, eases/eliminates my night time panic attacks. I could never take it in the day though, since it puts me to sleep fast. So I only use it to sleep - as prescribed.

ADDinHDefgHi?!
02-12-13, 07:37 AM
I recently realized that Klonopin is making me depressed. Even at a dose of under 2mgs a day which is low for me, I was on over 4mgs a day at one point and I've been rx'd one benzo or another daily for over 7 years.

I now prefer to take breaks from Klonopin and take Xanax instead for a few days to a week at a time. The Xanax leaves my system much quicker and as a result I notice the little cloud of depression I've become so used to disappears. My Ritalin also lasts longer.

I wouldn't want to switch back to Xanax full time, the Klonopin is smoother overall, but I have gotten used to taking the minimal amount of Klonopin, I'm basically not even rx'd enough to cover an anxiety attack if I had one, I'm RX'd enough Klonopin to keep the withdrawals away and that's it's main function.

I know the long acting benzos are best for tapering but they all make me depressed, not severe, but as I taper down I've come to value the clearer mind that comes with it I didn't even realize it until I ran out early one month and was forced to make due with some Xanax I had stashed away.

I have to be careful though, the key to klonopin is keeping the blood levels steady, so I just do the Xanax thing a few days here and there when my brain is feeling heavier than normal.

I'm not on any antidepressants, I've never responded well to them. Besides I'm getting a lot out of CBT and I like being able to handle my anxiety without a pill. I actually find it refreshing that my doc doesn't push me to be on anti depressants. She gives me what I need but always reminds me that drugs aren't a permanent answer and that ultimately I'll enjoy life more the less I'm forced to rely on them.

She's not the least bit afraid to prescribe what you need, but she is up to date on all the meds she prescribes and knows how CBT is a very effective way of learning to deal with your anxiety without pills.

Let me clear something up, my Klonopin works well, I don't have anxiety attacks anymore, it's just as I lower the dose I'm more and more sensitive to a heaviness and a kind of foggy feeling that goes away only when I stop taking the Klonopin. I have more incidents of short term memory loss on klonopin too.

I only recently made this connection, need to tell my psych what I'm doing, besides she's too good to event attempt to deceive in anyway whatsoever. She's like Sherlock Holmes, there is nothing she doesn't pick up on. I used to use a lot of opiates and would always be a little loaded during our appointments. She never mentioned it until I finally kicked the habit, she totally caught me off guard by congratulating me on the positive decision to stay clean. All I could think about that whole session was how did she figure that out?

But I can almost always tell when someone is on opiate based painkillers, and she's a healthcare professional, it's her job to know these things. I do have real respect for her, which is important for any patient but especially one with addictive tendencies.

medicatedchev
02-23-13, 11:53 PM
It seems that benzos seldom, if ever, loose their anxloylic effects, while tolerance to the sedative effects occurs quickly. As previously noted, the studies for these drugs were all short term, and thus the FDA doesn't have any solid evidence that long term use is effective. But from personal experience, benzos will continue to work for anxiety indefinitely as long as you are responsible with them. This means do not abuse them to get high, and try not to take them if you don't need them. I'm kind of undecided when it comes to taking them everyday, at the same time, if prescribed that way. On one hand, keeping blood levels stable will prevent anxiety from ever occurring, but it will also cause dependency over time. I suppose what it comes down to is which benzo you are taking and why you take it. If you have constant anxiety, then your doctor will probably put you on something like Klonopin, Valium or Tranxene. If you suffer occaisonal anxiety, you will likely get something shorter acting like Ativan or Xanax. Although I know people who take short acting benzos everyday, in my experience this caused a roller coaster effect of anxiety, then pop a pill, feel great, then get anxiety again, then pop another... the cycle repeats. This is what I found happened to me after being on Xanax 3x a day for a few months. I told my doctor and she switched me to Klonopin, which solved the interdose anxiety problem, but was not fast acting enough to effectively kill an anxiety attack. Personally, I think valium is the best of both worlds. It has a rapid onset, kills anxiety attacks, and then sticks with you to prevent rebound anxiety. I can take it once a day and be fine, and if I need to, take another one for an anxiety attack. Unfortunately, at least in the USA, doctors seem reluctant to RX it.

Traveler5
04-08-13, 12:45 AM
Been on low doses of benzos, off and on (mostly on), for about 13 years.

ADDinHDefgHi?!
04-26-13, 08:55 PM
I realize this is an old thread, but I finally got off Klonopin a few weeks ago and what a huge difference it's made!

I realized most of my anxiety was coming from the fear of running out of medication. I also realized that there were a whole range of colors that I wasn't seeing as well as a whole range of emotions I wasn't feeling. I also remembered I have a sex drive.

I can't believe I spent three years on Klonopin everyday! I look back at where I was before I quit and I feel like my anxiety was worse than it is now and I was such a zombie that I had lost my ability to enjoy the most simple things in life.

It's crazy but in the last few weeks I've reunited with tons of old friends, I've been way more social, had more energy, way less depressed... basically I feel Like I was dead for three years and I just woke up.

To be fair they worked really well at first, but my advice to anyone in the same boat is to take periodic breaks if you can and see how bad you need them. I was having more anxiety on the Klonopin than I've had since I got off of it.

Swhite1
08-06-13, 12:22 PM
It depends on what your looking for. Euphoria? that will fade away in about two months but if your looking for just some anxiety relief then yes the pill will work on your anxiety and maybe a little sedating. I have been on klonopin for five years and even tho I have had to raise the dosage by a point it still works to take the edge off of life. But I truly wished that I would of worked hard and did CBT or ERP for my OCD....Instead I'm semi addicted to a benzo that I just can't seem to get off of......Xanax haf life is crap. So that is the reason you take one then feel like crap because it's only like five hour's. I will never touch xanax again after going thru a total detox and stupid staff and doc's saying well he just need's to go thru it......I wished I never had any MI but I do and there really isn't anything I can do about it.

Raye
08-10-13, 06:40 AM
I realize this is an old thread, but I finally got off Klonopin a few weeks ago and what a huge difference it's made!

I realized most of my anxiety was coming from the fear of running out of medication. I also realized that there were a whole range of colors that I wasn't seeing as well as a whole range of emotions I wasn't feeling. I also remembered I have a sex drive.

I can't believe I spent three years on Klonopin everyday! I look back at where I was before I quit and I feel like my anxiety was worse than it is now and I was such a zombie that I had lost my ability to enjoy the most simple things in life.

It's crazy but in the last few weeks I've reunited with tons of old friends, I've been way more social, had more energy, way less depressed... basically I feel Like I was dead for three years and I just woke up.

To be fair they worked really well at first, but my advice to anyone in the same boat is to take periodic breaks if you can and see how bad you need them. I was having more anxiety on the Klonopin than I've had since I got off of it.


I'm going on almost 2 years of klonopin everyday. I take it for dependence, just so that I don't withdraw from the benzo. I'm glad you finally got off it. How do you physically feel now being off of it after so long?

sublimed4
12-10-13, 02:03 PM
I just started taking Klontropin for anxiety and to help me sleep. I was given .5mg to take once a night. Last night was the second night I took it and I got a really good nights sleep. However, I have woke up both nights with a majorly stiff upper back. I don't know if it is because of the meds or just me sleeping wrong.(I have a bad back which is usually muscular but the last few nights it feels like my spine is out of whack) Has anyone ever experienced this?

Also, I have read of all the horrible withdrawals from this drug. What are some of the withdrawals symptoms people experience?

I was hesitant on taking this because I abused Temazepams 15 years ago while in college. I eventually stopped cold turkey and never noticed anything bad. However, I was smoking a lot of marijuana back then. I wonder if that dulled the withdrawal symptoms?

I am going to stick with the doesage my Psych rx'd me because i need my restful sleep and my anxiety to be gone. This is something I will not abuse again.

I am a casual drinker and I will not drink when I know I will be taking this med. I still smoke marijuana every now and then but I never notice this affecting me in a negative way.

Also, I am currently taking 60mg of Vyvanse and 300mg of Wellbutrin in the morning.

janiew
12-10-13, 03:51 PM
I think some people have issues with benzos and others don't - even when they are prescribed. I don't think it's a matter of abuse per se. I think it's more a matter of genetics, what causes the anxiety, addressing the causes. Anxiety is not a catch all term - it's a description of the symptoms. We are all different.

For instance, I think I developed anxiety - OCD, social, etc. - as a result of living with untreated ADHD and trying to live up to some rigid notions I had of perfection and not understanding my differences. I do not think benzos are an option for me based on my grandmother's and father's experience and I refused even though my pdoc tried to prescribe initially. Nor do I seek pain meds for my rheumatoid arthritis and have been fortunate to treat it with first line treatment - plaquenil which is an antimalarial drug that can modify the disease.

I am doing well with Adderall, Prozac, and Intuniv. Not perfect, but better. Therapy was helpful as well.

Laserbeak
12-12-13, 05:13 AM
Not all benzos are created equally, just like all opioids (e.g. codeine and heroin) are not created equally. Some are much more addictive than others, unfortunately doctors don't seem to be very educated on the differences among them.

inbetweenshades
04-22-14, 12:53 PM
I have chronic anxiety and occasional panic attacks, along with ADD.

I've been taking Valium now every night for six or seven years. I stopped "feeling" it ages ago, but it is absolutely still working. My doctor prescribes me Xanax as well, for the panic attacks, but they happen very infrequently. Often I can go months, or longer, without having one, as long as I'm taking the Valium. (One at bedtime, or one during the day too, as needed.)
I take Melatonin to actually fall asleep. Xanax helps me sleep deeper, but I prefer to avoid taking it unless I absolutely have to.

Although I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder many years ago, I didn't require medication daily until I had a child and discovered that I had ADD, and started taking medication for that. For me personally, everything available for ADD right now causes my anxiety to act up.
(The original Adderall didn't, but I won't even start on that.) :umm1:

My doctor let me choose what I wanted to take for my anxiety. I consider myself very lucky in that regard.

Years ago I was given Xanax to treat my anxiety long-term, and it took 16 days to wean myself off of it. I didn't want to go through that again, and I'm allergic to anti-depressants, so I went with Valium. I haven't regretted my choice.

But a word of caution.
Although I have learned the hard way that there is a major difference in generics for ADD meds, it didn't occur to me that of course, that applies to everything else too.
After a three month long horrible experience of almost daily panic attacks, I realized that my pharmacy had switched brands on me, and that the brand I was taking wasn't working. (I thought I was having a nervous break down, and actually considered hospitalizing myself before I figured that out, quite by accident.)
I spent hours researching it, and finally discovered what the problem was. I found a new pharmacy that would order the brand I had been taking before, and just like that, the panic attacks are gone.

If anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation with any generic, and the pharmacist insists that that all generics are the same, mention the "Orange Book." That should shut them up, and get them to listen. If it doesn't, I strongly advise finding a new pharmacy.

I hope my reply is helpful. :)

Abi
04-22-14, 01:06 PM
Update: Still on Klonopin 1mg thrice a day for 3 years now, no tolerance issues. I've been on Klonopin on and off for 9 years now, the last 6 years uninterrupted, and the past 3 of those at my current dose.

I am also on Nitrazepam 10mg at night for sleep. I take it 3-4 nights a week.

FocusPocus10
03-18-15, 11:25 PM
Update: Still on Klonopin 1mg thrice a day for 3 years now, no tolerance issues. I've been on Klonopin on and off for 9 years now, the last 6 years uninterrupted, and the past 3 of those at my current dose.

I am also on Nitrazepam 10mg at night for sleep. I take it 3-4 nights a week.

Didnt you say zannies FTW in the other thread?

Karamo
03-19-15, 10:24 PM
Didnt you say zannies FTW in the other thread?

I saw that too. I guess he's just one o' dem peoplez who can do KILOS of all kinds o' crazy benzo without getting hooked or going through withdrawal like, you know, plebeians ;) Neuronal plasticity? Ain't nothin' but a thang...

sarahsweets
03-20-15, 04:16 AM
I believe abi was just joking about xanax.

Cotter67
04-26-15, 09:52 PM
I binged really badly for months of a time on diazepam, and other benzos, ambien no longer sedates me nor does any benzo but its all my fault, my gaba receptors got messed up.