Lotussong New Member 1st Post

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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/11/2010 6:02 AM (GMT -7)   

I to suffer from many health issues. I have bipolar, PTSD, mood disorder, anxiety, sleep disorder, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs, fibromyalgia, arthritis, asthma, chronic anemia and B12 dificiency. (I think that covers everything)

I am taking Wellbutrin, Geodon, Cymbalta (just quit),Buspar & Trazadone, for anxiety, bipolar depression, PTSD, & mood disorder. I took Klonopin for over 12 years. I first started taking it for restless legs (Requip was not around then) and later continued taking it for anxiety. I take Salsalate for fibro & arthritis. I take Adderall for narcolepsy, Requip for restless legs. And other assorted meds for the other conditions. I have taken so many different meds for depression that I'm running out of options for RX treatment.

Lately I seem to have some side effect that causes me to have to change to another new med. First I couldn't urinate, then I couldn't quit urinating. I broke out in a rash over my entire body from Lexapro. I got weird sores in my mouth from Lamictal. I had seizures from taking so many meds. I just quit Cymbalta because it was raising my pulse to over 100 bpm and my blood pressure went way up. And so on.....

Just a little background - I used to be morbidly obese at 240lbs and 5'2". I had gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and lost 122lbs. Before I had the surgery, at an information meeting, the Doctor mentioned that approx 33% of patients will subsequently develop an addiction to alcohol. He said that it was due in part to the change in the way your body metabolizes alcohol and in part because people that have the surgery have an addictive personality, hence the addiction to food & obesity. It is common to trade one addiction for another.

Anyway, I remember listening to that and pretty much dismissed it because I very seldom ever drank alcohol. If I did, I would have some fruity drink where I couldn't taste the alcohol. I never finished a second drink and usually went home and fell asleep. It just wasn't something that I really enjoyed. After the surgery, when my kids where no longer at home, my husband and I started going to the local bar with friends. I started off being pretty much of a light weight drinker, but it very quickly became a problem. (as predicted...)

Suddenly, I could drink an amazing amount of alcohol and my tolerance changed completely. In short order, I developed a problem. I was in denial because I thought that since I never had an issue with it before, that I couldn't have developed an addiction to it so quickly. I never could understand why people couldn't just quit drinking if they had a problem with it. Now I understand.

Eventually I would drink to excess (the stronger the drink, the better) and then I would often black out. One night, as I was walking/stumbling home, I injured myself very seriously. (I never, ever drove drunk) I lived close enough to just walk home. Along the way, I cut through a yard, not realizing that there was a two foot retaining wall. I walked off of the wall expecting the ground to be flat under my feet. I launched myself out into the street. I split my chin open, broke three front teeth, fractured my wrist & elbow, detached the triceps muscle, had a closed head injury, & hurt my knee.

I have absolutely no memory of the event. I don't remember walking home. I don't remember the ambulance ride or any of the time in the emergency room. I don't remember being stitched up or having a cast put on my arm. My husband had to tell me about the accident the next morning. My injuries resulted in two surgery's to repair my wrist & elbow and also to re-attach the triceps muscle. I developed a serious and often fatal complication of an infection. It took months to get it under control and required yet another hospitalization. I had to have caps on my front teeth. It cost me a big, pile of money. Sadly, that was not the first time I injured myself while I was drunk and blacked out. It also cost me my marriage. My husband was so angry with me that he decided that after 20 years together, he wanted a divorce.

I finally came to the realization that I needed help and I went for inpatient treatment. It has now been over 18 months since I last drank. While I was in treatment, I was taken off the Klonopin. The doctors said that it is a very addicting drug and can trigger relapse for alcoholics. The process of withdrawal from Klonopin takes over 3 weeks. You have to be weaned off the drug very slowly. I was very closely monitored and was put on physical restrictions from exercising or any participating in any activities that were even mildly strenuous because the fact that there is a high possibility of having seizures during withdrawal.

It was an extremely unpleasant, horrible withdrawal and I would never want to experience that again!

I was told by my doctor that while taking Klonopin, I should not drink at all. Of course, I ignored that advice and suffered the consequences of that decision. I was also told that it is very addicting and stays in your system for a very long time - weeks. That is why it takes so long to withdraw from. It is a controlled substance and is often abused or missused.

Since I have alcoholism, my doctor wont give me any medication that is addicting or any med that people tend to like to abuse. (even though I never abused drugs) If you have teens or anyone around that has an addiction to drugs, Klonopin is a drug that users like to take. You should be careful not to leave it where others can get it. Almost all of the young people in treatment (20's to 30's) were addicted to drugs rather than alcohol. Most said they started by raiding the medicine cabinets in their own home. Klonopin was a drug that they especially like because it it helps them when they are coming down off of other drugs like coke or meth.

Since I quit taking it, I have yet to find any medication that gives me even a smidgen of relief for anxiety. I am really struggling. My anxiety is so high I can hardly stand it sometimes. I don't think that Buspar is helping me at all. I attend AA meetings and decided to try out a new place. I was so panicked and anxious that I was shaking so much I could hardly drink a cup of coffee. I had to tell them that I was having an anxiety attack because I didn't want them to think that I was high or drunk.

I must admit that I wish I could still take the Klonopin because it at least gave me some relief. Does anyone have any suggestions for meds to treat anxiety that are non-addictive that I could take?? (actually helping would be a plus)

Thanks for reading this long-winded post. I hope I'm not breaking a posting etiquette rule. I am new to this site. I'm happy I stumbled upon it. Sometimes things just happen for a reason....

Thanks also for your suggestions. yeah yeah

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 26991
   Posted 9/11/2010 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome! I'm so glad that you found us. I am sure that you will learn a great deal and receive lots of support here. I'm sorry, I am not knowledgedable about medications, but someone else can probably help with that soon. I just wanted to commend you on your sobriety. I lost my father to complications of alcoholism, so I find such joy and hope in stories like yours. You are an inspiration, keep up the fight!
Take Care,
Scaredy Cat
"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 358
   Posted 9/12/2010 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Looks like you're dealing with a lot and of course any change in medication especially with all the different things you're taking could cause interactions so one thing that might help with one issue might not be the best when combined with other things. I think it goes without saying that any changes should be made in consultation with a professional.

Some of the benzos do have the potential for addiction and withdrawal difficulties. Usually they are replaced with something else like an antidepressant. Wellbutrin (which I have had personal experience with) can be used for depression, but is not usually used for anxiety and/or panic. SSRIs like Zoloft and Paxil tend to be more flexible in their uses. I don't know the website, but there's a chart that lists all the usually prescribed psychotropic drugs and what they're FDA approved to treat (panic disorder, generalized anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.). You might want to search for it.

You may want to also consider holistic approaches and therapy. Both can be helpful without the risk of addiction. Some people have found magnesium, vitamin B supplements, and certain herbs to help; and if you find a holistic practitioner I'm sure they can offer some other recommendations. Good luck!
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