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mindhealer
mindhealer, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 693
Experience:  Licensed in MD and am also a Board Certified Diplomate (Advanced Practioner) I have over 10 years experience
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I have been taking ambien for 6 years (10 mg. at night).

Customer Question

I have been taking ambien for 6 years (10 mg. at night). About 4 years ago Lorazapam was added to the ambien due to higher anxiety levels. I take 2 lorazapam (1mg.) each at night with my ambien. When I have the worse stress, I have even taken 3 lorazapam. It always does the trick and I sleep good.
I am concerned about the depressive side efffects of all this stuff. I also have mild to moderate depression and I know that lorazepam might be contributing to this.
So I feel I am in a unending loop--need my sleep, have anxiety, but now increased anxiety.
The lorazepam is addictive too. How do I get off this stuff?
Is there something I can get substitued? Do I have to go to rehab to safely get off lorazepam?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  mindhealer replied 6 years ago.
mindhealer :

Good afternoon. I am online and would be more than happy to help you with your question. Let me know when you are back in the room and we can discuss this further.

Expert:  mindhealer replied 6 years ago.

Good afternoon and welcome to Just Answer. First please let me say that I am sincerely ***** ***** you're experiencing such difficulty and it would be my pleasure to help you to the best of my ability. Furthermore, I also tried to wait for you in the chatroom and then changed to Q and A format to ensure that receive a prompt answer.

As for your question the most appropriate and safest way to get off of the lorazepam is to have it tapered down SLOWLY under the supervision of your physician. I say this given the dosage that you have been on as well as how long you've been on the medicine. I wouldn't say that you need to go to rehab as this can be done on an outpatient basis.

Furthermore, there are few alternative medicines that will have the same impact as lorazepam though one medication which is labeled as an anti anxiety without being addictive is available. That medication is Buspar. It works for some and is certainly worth an attempt. Another suggestion would be to consider seeing a therapist that is experienced in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is the most effective treatment approach in the management of anxiety. The approach explores one's thoughts and the resulting emotional response which ultimately leads to the anxiety.

Another consideration would be to consider using a workbook which utilizes the same principles of CBT mentioned above and further goes into scientifically proven relaxation techniques such as Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Guided Imagery, etc. Consistent use of these techniques can be extremely beneficial and help to decrease anxiety over time.

Here is a link to the workbook mentioned.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastery-Your-Anxiety-Panic-Treatments/dp/0195311353

Another consideration would be to speak to your physician about being started on either paxil or prozac as you're being tapered off of the lorazepam. The reason I suggest these medications in conjunction with the above mentioned is because prozac and paxil are both FDA approved for the treatment of both depression and anxiety.

Please feel free to ask any further questions as I want to ensure that you're completely satisfied with the answer I've provided you. Please let me know if I can help any further or if you require further clarification on any of the suggestions I've offered.

If you're satisfied with the answer and suggestions I would appreciate your clicking the Accept button but please ask anything further before doing so. Thank you again for the opportunity to help you.