Ativan caused panic attacks

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Vegan
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/17/2009 10:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi,
 
I'm new and fairly new to forums period.... 
 
I have severe fibromyalgia; been diagnosed for 16 years (I'm 55).  I've been on pain relief (T3 and then T4-- now on Oxycodone to avoid the Tylenol) and 1 Flexeril to sleep at night.  It did the job and I was on it for many years.  Then I read about it and realized that it is chemically identical to tricyclic antidepressants.  That didn't thrill me one bit!  So I stopped them.  They aren't supposed to be addictive but it ended up taking me 2 1/2 months to get off them.
 
Problem was-- I wasn't sleeping and I have to run a business so I kind of needed my sleep.  Plus, of course, it makes the fibro worse.  about that time, my mother (my best friend) became ill with lymphoma and I was taking the 1 1/2 hour drive to my folks' home 3 times per week.  It really screwed up my health and my business.  Mom died a year and a half ago and I started taking the occasional .5 Ativan to sleep.  I knew of the problem with addiction with the stuff (or thought I did) so never went more than 3 or 4 days in a row and then would take at least a day off.
 
I asked my doctor and two pharmacists (one whom I completely trust) if I took a half an Ativan one night and a Flexeril the next, that would help me sleep without becoming addicted to either; right?  They agreed-- good idea, they said.
 
And so I did, and I slept.
 
However, I'd been having pretty bad heart palpitations on and off for some time.  Now they were much worse.  I did notice that, when I took the Ativan, they were almost gone.  Didn't think why; duh!  Finally, I did start thinking and began really researching Ativan.  I was horrified.  I knew that Flexeril caused heart palps but I thought that maybe, taking them every other day would avoid that.  But I started to realize that I was in fact, addicted to Ativan and I was going into mini-withdrawals every other day.  So I stopped; cold turkey.  Had I read more at the time, I might very well have taken another route.  I still hadn't put it all together with the heart palps (had had an ECG while they were happening-- non-dangerous type but yikes!).  I then went into extreme withdrawal-- horrible panic attacks, and such horrific heart palps-- every third beat was delayed with the resultant crashing so severe I'd feel it in my back!--  extreme anxiety, restlessness, insomnia worse than usual, no appetite, horrible back pain so bad that I couldn't even lie down, and other pains, and so on.  The heart palps were so scary as were the panic attacks.  But at the beginning, I didn't really realize I was in withdrawal.  I thought I had the flu-- especially since my husband had just gotten it.  I was really scared about the heart palps-- wasn't sure why they were so much worse.  Of course, the fear of that made them even worse....
 
I stayed up most the night and watched TV--- researched on my laptop.  That's when I realized exactly what was going on and why I'd probably had palps all those years.
 
It took 8 days-- which seems like a long time since I was taking such a low dose and intermittently.  I did find some homeopathic remedies that helped, took some Valerium (herb), and found someone who talked about the "one move" so I didn't have to buy the program.  Basically, it's understanding that one is not going to die from the attacks, telling one's body to "go ahead and do your worst-- I'm not afraid of you anymore!"  It's probably significantly more involved but the basics did it for me. 
 
Many years ago I got myself out of depression after the deaths of my two babies (that after 4 miscarriages).  I'd stand in the shower (running water and negative ions) and just repeat a silly sing song about how I loved myself and my body, and forced myself to smile, thinking that maybe it would reroute my brain.  It worked and I was out of a very deep depression in two weeks.
 
So I tried it again with this and it was amazingly effective.
 
How many people, are on meds that in actuality, give them the symptoms they are trying to avoid?
 
I know that oxycodone is also very addictive, but I have to have a life and I've tried everything under the sun to help my condition-- that's natural.  They do help-- I am functioning.  Perhaps someday there'll be a cure and I can worry about that withdrawal then.
 
My rheumatoligist told me that if I was not a vegan and thin, I would be in a wheelchair.  The vegan thing wasn't done originally for health (14 years ago)-- my husband and I went vegan overnight because of ethics.  We'll just take the health benefits! :-)
I just thought I'd relate this in case it might strike a cord with someone else.  Sorry if this is too long.
 
Vegan
 
 

Vegan
 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 31814
   Posted 1/17/2009 11:08 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello Vegan and welocme to HealingWell.  I understand you problem with the meds well and I am so sorry you had to go through so much with the withdrawal. sad

I was on the Ativan and was getting so I depended on them mentally but also knew that going off them cold turkey could be very  hard as well as dangerous.  I also was using Vicodin for my back pain............that I got so I really liked feeling good on,  I never took more then prescribed but I was beginning to worry that I might.  So I weaned off both.

Here is a great site to print and take to your physician for anyone wanting to wean off benzos.

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

It took me nearly 9 months to get down to 2 mgs of Valium but I made it with no withdrawal.  My Pdoc monitored me thoughout the whole process.

Welcome to the HealingWell Family and know you are welcomed here with open arms.

Take care and keep posting. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


Vegan
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/17/2009 11:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Kitt.

Well, like I said, the apparent way that the docs and pharmacists felt was that I wouldn't have a problem using it intermittently. I am educating them!

I do know the protocol now-- I told my pharmacist what happened-- he was shocked but he also knew the protocol. I'm actually glad that it's all over now though-- I wouldn't have wanted the heart palps to continue that long!

Thanks again.

Vegan
Vegan
 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 31814
   Posted 1/18/2009 12:02 AM (GMT -6)   

I agree, heart palps can be scary so I am glad this is behind you and I wish you peace, my new friend.

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 1/18/2009 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
HI and welcome to the HW Anxiety/Panic family

I was RX 3 Flexeril a day I cannot take them and if I take one at night with my Trazadone and Valium I am so tired and out of focus as soon as I open my eyes.....I spoke with pharmacy too and I was told "That should not happen" okay well it did and I am now not taking flexeril unles my body is really hurting
The trazadone help me sleep with no thoughts running thru my head and I wake rested and feeling good as can be with crohns and fibro...........
I am on Oxycontin and percocets for Breakthru pain

I was on ativan for many yrs and I found I was losing my short term memory and getting grumpy for nothing'
Also had the pals so I did go off of them as well
I now take Valium 10 mgs 2wice dail with a 5 mg valium along with it
Morning and night about 6 pm

Others have had simuliar probs with this med especially the elderly and those with Alheimers

I wish you all the best and I do hope you find a way to feel better.........
Stay with us

LYN
 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at  www.healingwell.com
 
                               Moderator@Alzheimer's..
              CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........Co Moderator   @ Crohns                    
                            Keep The Fight Going..Or YOu Will Lose
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         
   
                                     LYN


Vegan
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/18/2009 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Lyn,

Are you not concerned that the meds might be causing the panic attacks? Have you read the link that Kitt gave?  http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

There are some very interesting points in there.   So many people took these benzos to stop anxiety and it created more.  Then it took a full year, after withdrawal, to get rid of them, but they did.

I cannot believe that the heart palpitations that I've been having for a year and a half, tried everything (I thought) to get rid of them, and all it was, was the Ativan and probably the Flexeril.  They are now 99% gone, thank goodness! 

And so are the panic attacks.  The other day (during the withdrawal) I couldn't even have a bath.  I felt like I was suffocating in it.  Tonight I had a lovely, long soak.  I'll tell you, I sure do have a new-found respect for people who suffer from those things on a regular basis.  No fun!

I live in BC (American/Canadian duo citizenship) but I sure wish I was in DC right now!

Vegan


Vegan
 


Vegan
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/19/2009 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Kitt,
Do you have any experience with yourself or others with how long this withdrawal can go on? I was doing really well but today am having palpitations again and feel very agitated and anxious.

I've also been reading on how horrendous Oxycodone is and am wishing I hadn't switched from T4's to it. I think I should have just gone to straight codeine. I know it's also no good, but I do need pain relief. However, I'm thinking that Oxycodone was not the way to go.

And the withdrawal from it just looks more horrible than the other! Well, almost.

I did read in that link that some people's symptoms went on for a year (from benzo's) but that they had windows of normalcy. I don't know if that's what is happening or if it's now the Oxy that's doing this.

I took the Ativan intermittently for a year and a half; .5 mg once daily.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
Vegan
 

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