How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr_Anderson Your Own Question

Dr_Anderson
Dr_Anderson, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 335
Experience:  Psychiatrist
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr_Anderson is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I abruptly stopped taking Baclofen, about April 29 because

Customer Question

I abruptly stopped taking Baclofen, about April 29 because I ran out of the medicine. I contacted the Doctors office on April 30 to get a refill order to the pharmacy. The Doctors office didn't get the refill order to the pharmacy until May 3, despite daily calls to get them to refill it. At the time I was taking 80 mg per day. I had been taking Baclofen since September of last year. On May 1, I went into severe Baclofen withdrawal. I did not sleep for several nights. My mind was a big mess. I was afraid I would die, I had lots of weird thoughts. I finally got my prescription restarted on May 3. At the time I didn't know that the Baclofen was the source of my psychosis. After I started taking it again, I started feeling a little better. Then I got the idea to look up Baclofen on the internet and found out it was the source of my problem.I returned my dose to where it was before I went into withdrawal and I started feeling better. I decided to wean my self off of the Baclofen, and I reduced it by 10 mg every 5 days. I was doing not so bad until I got down to the lower doses, so I asked my Doctor how to withdraw and he told me to reduce from 20 to 10 t0 5 to 2.5 to 0, a week at a time. When I went from 20 to 10, I experienced dizziness and my heart was racing. I went back up to 15 mg, and saw the Dr. again. This time he told me to go from 15 to 10 to 5 to 2.5 to 0. When I went from 15 to 10, I suffered the dizziness and fast heart rate again. The next day I started feeling better. I am still at 10 mg, and I plan on going to 7.5 after I feel OK for a couple of more days. My main problem is this. At the time this happened to me, my co-worker had a mother-in-law who was dying from cancer. She has since passed. He would give me details about her condition and what she looked like , etc. Since the severe withdrawal, I always have death on my mind, wither my own death, or others around me, even the death of our world someday. I can't get it out of my head. Some days are better than others. I hope when I am completely withdrawn from Baclofen, my mind will go back to normal thinking. What can I do to alleviate this? I still have very poor sleep, mostly because of the withdrawal. I am lucky to sleep 4 hours most nights and it is a restless sleep. I really want to be normal again. I have other stress in my life too, like possible job loss, losing my home, having a lot of debt that I need to file bankruptcy, etc.
By the way, the Baclofen was prescribe to me by my neurologist for a condition called torticollis. He never explained the medication to me other than to say it would take care of the problem. Well it didn't. I didn't ask about it because I trusted a doctor to tell me if there were any dangers about a medication.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.

Dr_Anderson : Greetings, and thank you for your questions. I'm sorry you have had such a struggle with this medication! Baclofen, although not a "true" benzodiazepine, acts like one in many respects. Thus, when a pewrson has been on it a long time, they can go through withdrawal symptoms just as if they had been on Valium or Xanax for years. The symptoms you describe are quite consistent with that. In my patients who withdraw from long-term use of these kinds of meds, it can take several months before they feel back to themselves again. At the longest, it took a year for one patient. The restless sleep and rebound anxiety are all part of the withdrawal picture. Certainly, you could approach your doctor about spomething to manage the anxiety and fear of death, but then you are landing back into the same boat of needing to withdraw from another medication. My advice would be to get in with a therapist to use cognitive strategies to deal with the anxiety until it passes. Presuming you have no personal history of anxiety disorders, it is safe to say the anxiety will pass once you are through this withdrawal process.
Dr_Anderson : The addiitonal benefit of a therapist is they can help you as you struggle with these other real-life and legitimate struggles.
Dr_Anderson : As mentioned above, there are medication options to deal with the anxiety, both long and short term solutions, and I can certainly elaborate if desired. But, therapy is a non-medication option and research shows it is very helpful for anxiety (as helpful as medications in some cases).
Dr_Anderson : Sorry for the long reply, but hopefully it is enough to get you started. Please let me know what other questions you have and how else I may be of service!
Dr_Anderson : Regards,
Dr_Anderson : Dr. Anderson
Dr_Anderson, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 335
Experience: Psychiatrist
Dr_Anderson and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.
What Happens Now?

Your chat has ended, but you can still work with your Expert to get an answer to your question if you have not yet received one.

Come back to this page at any time to see additional information from your Expert.  You will also receive an email when your question is updated.  If you want to send a message to your Expert, use the box below.

If you have already received a satisfactory answer to your question, click the Accept button above.  Experts are credited for each accepted answer they provide.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What kind of therapist should I see? Should I wait until after I finish withdrawing from the Baclofen? What do you recommend for how fast to withdraw from the drug?
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.
Preferably, one who is skilled in cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. Most therapists have received training in CBT, so one who also professes anxiety disorders as a special area of expertise will be helpful. I'd recommend starting it right away rather than waiting.

With respect to the Baclofen, a slow taper off is important. In general, the rule of thumb is 30% of the dose every 3-7 days, with a slower taper if withdrawal symptoms become worse or unbearable. As you can see, the last bit is the longest and hardest to come off of!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One more question please. For the poor sleep/insomnia, is it OK to take Ambien occasionally while I am still withdrawing from Baclofen to get a good night's sleep?
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.
Of course, happy to help.

Yes, an occasional Ambien is ok to take. Restful sleep is VERY important in this process, so the use of a sleep aid like Ambien or melatonin can prove to be quite helpful.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Hang in there! This will pass soon!

Regards,

Dr. Anderson
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have been off the Baclofen for a little over three weeks. I am still feeling occasional symptoms. like muscle stiffness, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, etc. I even went to the emergency room and was treated for a TIA, although I think it was probably the Baclofen. I was in a hospital for two days.. A couple of days later I was feeling light headed/dizzy. back to the emergency room. Every time, nothing was found physically wrong with me. When I was hospitalized, the only thing that was found was high cholesterol, and now I am taking Pravastatin for that. How long can I expect to feel withdrawal symptoms from Baclofen?
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.
Greetings, and thank you for the follow-on question,

I'm sorry to hear of this protracted withdrawal state! In some patients, withdrawal symptoms that last longer can persist for weeks or even months following cessation of the medication, although months is VERY rare. Hopefully you've been able to connect with a therapist adept at CBT to help aid in this process. Something the therapist will also help with is to monitor you for any evidence of an underlying anxiety struggle, independent of the Baclofen. A lot of the symptoms you mentioned are consistent with a panic attack. Panic attacks from Baclofen withdrawal would be highly unusual, so addressing their root cause is important. A therapist can help you do exactly that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your answer. You may be right. I will make an appointment with a therapist. However, here is a list of Baclofen withdrawal symptoms that I found on Wikipedia. Maybe you can tell me what you think of it.


"Withdrawal symptoms may include auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, tactile hallucinations, delusions, confusion, agitation, delirium, disorientation, fluctuation of consciousness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, feeling faint, inattention, memory impairments, perceptual disturbances, pruritus/itching, anxiety, depersonalization, hypertonia, hyperthermia, formal thought disorder, psychosis, mania, mood disturbances, restlessness, and behavioral disturbances, tachycardia, seizures, tremors, autonomic dysfunction, hyperpyrexia, extreme muscle rigidity resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome and rebound spasticity."

Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 2 years ago.
Yes, all very consistent with drugs like it, or cousins to it, like the benzodiazepines.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education