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I have been on low dose benzos for almost 12 years straight…

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Quick question. I have...

Quick question. I have been on low dose benzos for almost 12 years straight up until recently. I had been on .5 mg of lorazepam per day for about the last 3 years. About 2.5 months ago, my doc switched me to 2mg of clonazepam at night. it hasn't really worked and for some reason I reacted badly to the dosage increase so about 3 weeks ago I began to taper off at my docs advice. .25 mg less per week. given my history with benzos and length of use, is this too fast? This is my 4th day at 1.25 mg and I don't feel too bad but im just worried because ive been using benzos daily for so long

Doctor's Assistant: How is your mood? Are you experiencing regular sleep disturbances (e.g. trouble falling asleep, waking up early)?

Oh yeah total insomnia and some anxiety but I can deal with that

Doctor's Assistant: How long have you been dealing with this? Is there anything in particular that seems to make the symptoms better or worse?

Well up until 2.5 months ago I was on antipsychotic drugs for 12 years and I guess they destroyed my ability to sleep. my doc tried using the anti anxiety medication for sleep but the most I ever got was like 2-3 hours

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 2 hours by:
10/15/2017
Mental Health Professional: LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker replied 8 months ago
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,057
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
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Hi, thanks for writing. My name is***** does sound a little fast as a lot of tapers for long-term benzo use are pretty conservative at around a 10% per week decrease. But, reactions to tapering vary a lot person to person so if you are tolerating this okay, then I think it s probably fine to keep going at this pace. If you do end up hitting a stage where your body doesn't like the decreased dose, you could slow down a step at that point, holding at hat dose a few extra days and decreasing by a smaller amount the next week.

Congratulations, in general, on undertaking this process. Hopefully you will maintain feeling well!

-Leah

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Ok, and what should I do for sleep? Tried melatonin, tart cherry juice, ornithine, and collagen(often all at once) and can't sleep for even an hour most nights.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I've tried magnesium glycinate lysinate
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I should mention that at the same time my doc upped the benzodiazepines dosage I stopped using antipsychotic medication after 12 yeArs of daily use. Was able to sleep a couple hours a night on the benzodiazepines but not since cutting down
Mental Health Professional: LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker replied 8 months ago

You'll have to talk to your doctor about alternative medication approaches to sleep like OTC things like Benadryl but also prescription options like Ambien. However, NO medication is good for long-term use when it comes to sleep and behavioral approaches to conquering insomnia are equally effective to use of meds and far safer with typically longer lasting results.

From a behavioral angle, first, start reading about sleep hygiene and make sure you are maximizing your odds of your brain associating your bed with sleep... https://www.howsleepworks.com/hygiene.html

Second, start reading about Cognitive Behavioral therapy for Insomnia and consider searching providers that practice this in your community or an online course (face-to-face is ideal). The premise of CBT involves exploration of how your thoughts impact your sleep. For instance, as of now, you are thinking that the stopping of that antipsychotic has permanently derailed your ability to sleep and that is having a paradoxical effect (and physical effect) that is perpetuating anxiety. the mere thought - "i am not going to be able to sleep tonight" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy . These are minor examples of how our thoughts, feelings and behaviors impact our sleep. CBT-I seeks to affect sleep by addressing this.

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-insomnia

http://www.myshuti.com/

Unfortunately, there isn't often a quick fix to insomnia which is scary in and of itself when you need sleep to function. but for now, start notice the thoughts you have around sleep and engage in positive sleep-hygiene practices. With time and patience, you will find your sleep again and i the mean-time, you can ask your doc for more temporary fixes through medication.

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