Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Feel free to read or create a new topic about benzodiazepine questions or detox. (*Note - Benzodiazepines are not opiates. They are Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and many more. Additionally, cessation of benzos without medical supervision can be very dangerous.)

Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:02 am

Almost every night I take 1 to 3 valium for sleep on top of my prescribed med for sleep (quetiapine), in addition to benadryl, melatonin and my atenelol for blood pressure. I occasionally take nyquil for the doxylamine because it's still not enough to sleep. Even less commonly I'll have a few drinks to help sleep. Insomnia is a terrible plague on me. The soonest I can get in to see my psychiatrist to adjust the sleeping medicine to a more efficacious level is April 18. That's about a month and a week. I've been taking the valium for about 2 weeks so far.

I never take the valium during the day, even though I have panic disorder, I only take my atenolol if I fear a panic attack may come on. My question is, is there a significant risk (obviously there is a risk, I just don't know how great a risk) that I could become dependent on the valium to the extent that it will cause withdrawals upon sudden cessation. What I don't want is a benzo withdrawal. I have to stop anyway because my doc will never prescribe me a benzo on account of a history of substance abuse (which was self-admitted, and I will forever kick myself in the a$$ for admitting to it), so I have to stop anyway at some point for a job at a hospital I'll be applying for (unless I decide to throw 2 years of training away and get a non-drug testing job, like sales).

How much benzo use and for how long is required to induce withdrawal symptoms? I've already got issues with prescribed opiates. All I need is one more drug to try to detox off of. If it will cause WD's after another month of nightly use, I'll just flush what I've got right now. What are your opinions?
Should I admit to lying to my doctor, break his trust, and hope he'll prescribe a benzo I've been inappropriately taking? Will I become dependent? (not tolerant, which is different, but dependent)
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby celticpride4Life » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:16 am

Ohh meee Gee! A little help ovah heeyah!

First of welcome. I am a bit stunned at what I just read. I would admit lying to your doctor, he has to ween you! Dont just try and kick the benzos!
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby cheeps » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:57 am

I'm no expert at alll....maybe we can get xeno's opinion or someone who knows benzos! Keep the thread bumped for a day or two.
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Postby 10lives » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:01 am

Last edited by 10lives on Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby xenofears » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:00 am

krd1212 wrote:Almost every night I take 1 to 3 valium for sleep on top of my prescribed med for sleep (quetiapine), in addition to benadryl, melatonin and my atenelol for blood pressure. I occasionally take nyquil for the doxylamine because it's still not enough to sleep. Even less commonly I'll have a few drinks to help sleep. Insomnia is a terrible plague on me. The soonest I can get in to see my psychiatrist to adjust the sleeping medicine to a more efficacious level is April 18. That's about a month and a week. I've been taking the valium for about 2 weeks so far.

I never take the valium during the day, even though I have panic disorder, I only take my atenolol if I fear a panic attack may come on. My question is, is there a significant risk (obviously there is a risk, I just don't know how great a risk) that I could become dependent on the valium to the extent that it will cause withdrawals upon sudden cessation. What I don't want is a benzo withdrawal. I have to stop anyway because my doc will never prescribe me a benzo on account of a history of substance abuse (which was self-admitted, and I will forever kick myself in the a$$ for admitting to it), so I have to stop anyway at some point for a job at a hospital I'll be applying for (unless I decide to throw 2 years of training away and get a non-drug testing job, like sales).

How much benzo use and for how long is required to induce withdrawal symptoms? I've already got issues with prescribed opiates. All I need is one more drug to try to detox off of. If it will cause WD's after another month of nightly use, I'll just flush what I've got right now. What are your opinions?
Should I admit to lying to my doctor, break his trust, and hope he'll prescribe a benzo I've been inappropriately taking? Will I become dependent? (not tolerant, which is different, but dependent)


Get out.. get out now. There is no answer to your question.. sometimes it is as quick as a few weeks, sometimes (rarely) people skirt by with no withdrawals after a year or two. But after a period of time.. 2 months maybe.. cold-turkeying to find out no longer becomes a viable option. Adding alcohol decreases the time-frame to get physically dependent and increases that dependency.

Benzos don't work long-term. An addiction will creep up and then you'll find yourself just as sleepless as before and with a benzo habit.. please get out now. Just stop.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:39 pm

I appreciate everyone's feedback. I will stop the valium immediately. I just wish there was a definitive answer as to how long before "dependence". It's probably like when I used to smoke cigarettes. One day I smoked cigs occasionally and then one day I woke up and "needed" a cigarette, whereas I had never "needed" one before.

Sorry I failed to give a complete medical history, but I didn't realize one was warranted. Essentially, I'm on disability with the VA primarily for bipolar disorder but also for my leg that was broken in Kuwait, hypertension and a MRSA infection on my neck that scarred plus a couple other minor things. It took 10 years to diagnose but I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder type II in 2007, and I have been on numerous drug cocktails to control it since the diagnosis. Every so often they stop working and have to change it. Right now I take 20mg aripiprazole and 150mg zyban, and they work beautifully for the depression and to level me out and stabilize my mood, but they cause terrible insomnia. The doc has switched me from mirtazapine (remeron) to trazadone and now finally to quetiapine (50mg at night) but it's just not enough by itself. Even with the OTC meds and herbal melatonin and quetiapine I still can't sleep, a lot. Sometimes I can sleep, but not often. I follow all the doc's advice: no caffeine after 5pm, exercise every day early in the day, lights out completely black, white noise to help me sleep, doesn't matter.

I don't remember admitting to opiate use, but there is: vicodin, couple at night. Usually I have no problem with substance abuse during the day, then like some demon that swoops down on me at night I have the uncontrollable urge to use. I'm active in AA and NA, and read my literature and have a sponsor (that i'm not completely honest with), and that's helpful. I'm better than I was. Before about a year and a half ago I was concurrently abusing alcohol, ambien, ativan, vicodin, oxycontin, hydromorphone, on top of my scripts for hydroxyzine (an anxiolytic also for sleep) and buspar and fluoxetine and quetiapine (for bipolar disorder). I crashed a car due to the ambien/ativan mix (I took literally a handful of each to try and sleep after abusing adderall) and I ended up in the hospital once when my family couldn't wake me up probably due to the ambien/ativan/hydrocodone combination I took the night before. Activated charcoal cured me of that polysubstance abuse problem, at least for a while. That stuff is gross. I will never, ever take ambien again. It caused anterograde amnesia and I don't remember the accident (in 2009) or what happened after, not until I was released from jail which they only brought me to in order to keep me safe. So relative to how I was, I'm "better". All I have to kick is this issue of valium. Oh, and I'm prescribed tramadol for back pain which is empirically proven to ease withdrawal symptoms from the vicodin I'm inappropriately taking at low doses and tapering off. But not too long ago I was abusing oxycontin and I quit that cold turkey, and that sucked.

I also ended up in the hospital once in 2010 for what was presumably serotonin syndrome, but doctors labeled it "encephalitis" (disease of the brain). That was when the psychiatrist had me on a huge, huge cocktail of meds. Like 10 different meds, 5 of which were psychotropic. The shrink I see now feels uncomfortable giving me 3 psychotropics, and would like to wean me down to two, except for this damn sleep issue.

Years ago, I struggled with cocaine addiction. I haven't touched that since 2007 and no longer have cravings or a desire to use it. In fact, I've had numerous opportunities but declined every time. So it's easy to rationalize my prescription drug abuse problem as "better" than my prior illicit abuse.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby xenofears » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:33 am

Wow that's quite a history you got there.. thanks for sharing..

With your history, and being on psychotropics for mental disorders, I really so strongly urge you to get out now before there is any chance of w/d. But see, you've been on them before (ativan, ambien is very cross-tolerant,) that greatly decreases the time to get addicted. If you don't stop immediately I'd be worried about telling you to stop cold-turkey.

Ambien is weird, weird shit. Causes hallucinatory symptoms, blackouts, I got lost in a bathroom once on Ambien.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:26 pm

xenofears, thank you for the advice. I did stop immediately, for 2 days. Then I could not resist using them on a really sleepless night (got 3.5 hours only that night, even with 30mg of valium, 50mg of quetiapine, 100mg of benadryl, and two beers, and 2 valerian, and one dramamine, and one beta blocker---atenelol). Now I am afraid that I may already be addicted. My doctors know, because I honestly self-admitted like an idiot and volunteered the info that I had abused ativan and ambien, that I have a substance abuse problem. They believe, incorrectly, that it is in remission. Certainly my addiction to cocaine is in remission as I have not used that since 2007 and have no cravings or desire despite numerous opportunities to use. Yet I have panic disorder and insomnia and benzos and z-hypnotics are second-line treatment after antidepressants and antipsychotics, but they will never prescribe a controlled substance for me again. If I admit to having self-medicated for panic disorder and primary insomnia with valium I acquired through inappropriate means, what will be the consequences? They know addicts lie. They might not believe I'm clean and sober as I have claimed to be anyway. Yet, my psychiatrist is the bomb and I don't want him to switch me to another doc, nor do I wish to damage the fragile doctor-patient relationship by self-admitting to valium use. Do you think he would prescribe a small amount, perhaps 20 of the 2mg, in order to taper off if I admit the truth that I've been taking anywhere from 30-90mg of valium every single night? Or would he recommend me for in-patient psychiatric treatment and detox, something I am NOT going through because I am almost finished with school and can't just leave now.

I believe I have found a legitimate online pharmacy (progressiverx) which, by faxing them my prescription (although it's been discontinued) that will fill my mirtazapine. And when I take mirtazapine AND quetiapine together, I can finally sleep. But the doc doesn't want me on too many types of drugs, due to drug-drug interactions, so it would have to be concealed from the doctor. Or I could fill through the online pharmacy my now discontinued prescription for trazadone, and use that with the quetiapine, which would also work. None of them are controlled, so I wouldn't have to worry about drug tests once I start working in June.

I am also loathe to discard the valium that I have left, because like treasure, it is so hard to come by, and it represents a considerable investment of time, energy, research and money in order to acquire it. I cannot, will not, flush it away.

What are your opinions? Thanks.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby xenofears » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:25 pm

Wow that list of meds is making me dizzy, I don't know if I can give you any medical-type advice here.

I can't say what your doctor would do, I don't know your doctor, but in-patient detox for benzos is a DISASTER. They send you home far more fucked up then when you showed up.. sometimes not even on your own two feet.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:16 am

xenofears,

I appreciate the advice you have already given me. With that said, I will avoid in-patient detox. I'll just tell the doc I'm on benzos and need to quit and hopefully he'll just write a short low-dose script. The docs I have are wonderful. They'll know what to do if I'm honest. I wish I was sleepy right now though. Damn insomnia.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby celticpride4Life » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:57 am

Sleep well, Insomnia BLOWS!
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby CTCheryl » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:08 am

in-patient detox for benzos is a DISASTER. They send you home far more fucked up then when you showed up.. sometimes not even on your own two feet. - What Xeno said here is true, for sure.

Just have someone help you with monitoring your blood pressure, you said you were being treated for Hyterpension among other things. You've got a lot going on, do you have anyone close to you that can help you out daily?
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:59 pm

LOL That's why I'm on 70% disability: my leg (was broken, and fixed), my neck(was infected w/ MRSA, and scarred), I was diagnosed with substance abuse disorder in remission as well as bipolar disorder type II, and hypertension, and primary insomnia. I almost can't function daily, so I should almost be on 100% disability, but I would still like to think I could contribute something of value to society other than being a drug addict. I wish I was in a better program---like a PA program---instead of sterile processing, which is low prestige and for medical, low pay. I'd like to work for the VA because I here once you get your foot in the door there's no end to how far you can go. It's too late for med school or PA school, and as an addict I probably shouldn't be around access to meds anyway. I might land in prison.
So that's another senior member who recommended against in-patient detox. What I'm afraid of is if I'm honest with my doctor that he'll try to send me to the in-patient psych ward in Battle Creek. I've been to two different psychiatric hospitals in my lifetime and I'm never going back, as they say.
My family is only an hour away. They could help me, but I can't be honest with them, I just can't. it would hurt them too much, and break the trust I've been re-building since 2009. I'd rather suck it up and deal with it on my own. My brother I'm totally honest with, and he's kept all of my relapses confidential surprisingly even from family, so I trust him and he would help, but he lives in Chicago and is so busy working at a CPA firm having just started that his 60 hr. work weeks would proscribe his hanging around for moral support. Which leaves NA/AA with which I have a love/hate relationship, and forums such as this one. Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it.
What I really need is to make some friends and develop some healthy hobbies (other than writing, which I love to do in my spare time) that don't revolve around drinking, smoking or doing drugs. It's very hard for me because I'm an introvert and w/o alcohol I have trouble talking to strangers. I feel like no one wants to get to know me. It doens't help that I'm broke because all my money is going to pay back my grandpa for a car accident in february. So I suppose one good by-product of being broke is not having any more money for benzos, and once they're gone, they're gone. But I've got enough to last for months is the problem, if I used them at therapeutic doses.
I finally did get to sleep last night. It took 80g of valium, 20mg of ambien, 2 benadryl and 150mg of seroquel (an atypical antipsychotic) and my blood pressure meds. I threw out the valerian because it STINKS (literally). It was repugnant. As soon as I get paid I plan to refill my legitimate script for mirtazapine (remeron) from progressiverx.com, and combined with the quetiapine that should help me sleep without having to rely on benzos or z-hypnotics, which I can save for an emergency.
I just worry about drug-testing. My script for the benzos is expired (it's from over a year ago), and I like an idiot threw it away. I start an internship at a hospital april 5th. I may or may not get a job there depending on how well I do and if there are openings. I'm afraid that I am going to hate sterile processing, which I have been training this past year. Part of me just wants to pick up and move out to Seattle and wait tables or take whatever job it takes to survive, and screw the medical field.

so I just called the nurse and told her my panic disorder symptoms (which I've already been diagnosed with) and hopefully they'll prescribe a low-dose benzo at low amount so I can taper off and do it legitimately

well it turns out they didn't and my primary psychiatrist will be back tomorrow and either he'll give me something else, tell me to suck it up, or i'll have to admit to lying to him and using benzos. none of which are appealing.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:44 pm

Will ambien ease withdrawal symptoms of benzo dependence?
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby celticpride4Life » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:20 pm

Did the nurse get you a script for the benzo's? I am no expert but Ambien never helped me for WD's in anyway for alcohol WD's or opiate WD's.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:58 pm

my psychiatrist was out of the office for the second day in a row and the psychiatrist filling in she still wouldn't fill a benzo script so no I don't have one. I have all the benzos I need all I need is to a) quit or b) get a script for it and option a scares the crap out of me with the risk of seizures. I'm already on bupropion which lowers seizures thresholds. I don't know what to do. Lie or tell the the truth. Or if it will even make a difference. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing. It's not like I'm addicted to crack or heroin.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby celticpride4Life » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:23 am

Famous last words..."It's not like I'm addicted to crack or Heroin" How many times have we all said that?
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby krd1212 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:57 am

Are you suggesting that I'm downplaying my addiction? Because if so, you're probably right. What would you do if you were in my shoes, so to speak?
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby celticpride4Life » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:25 am

Not even a little bit dude! Sorry if I came off like that, if anything I am concerned 10 fold over your situation. I think you shuld take your addiction serious and NOT down play is as we have all done so in past.
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Re: Benzos for Sleep - Risk for Dependence/Withdrawals?

Postby Rainier » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:47 am

Wow, that really is some history!

Insomnia sucks the big one. I've been on everything under the sun for it at one time or another (I also had blackouts on Ambien, which I took along with lots of Soma - not a good mix). But y'know? I'm on almost nothing for it now - I do take Zanaflex at night, but that's all. And I don't sleep any worse than when I was on a load off different drugs for it - just something to consider. I got to the point where there just weren't enough drugs in the world some nights to put me to sleep short of OD.

Taking 60-90 mgs of Valium per day will get you addicted fast. Careful with that shit!

So, um, you're not addicted to heroin or crack and you were addicted to oxycontin? :shock: Not to be an asshole or anything, but that stuff is like, synthismack.
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