Author Topic: The Dizziness Group: For those who are floating, boating, falling or flying  (Read 312640 times)

[Buddie]

Dizziness and disequilibrium are common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Once off the medications and while doing some intensive research on them, I found out that they are classified as “vestibular suppressants” in the medical literature. I couldn’t believe it! That means that the whole time one is taking the medication, that little pill is effectively interfering with the function of the very system required to stay balanced. I also learned that repeated doses could have cumulative effects. In addition, withdrawal from benzos requires the vestibular system – which is finely tuned and highly sensitive – to go through a process of “compensation” in order to normalize. And that can take some time.

For some of us, it can take a very long time.  :(

From exchanging notes here on BB, it seems I’m not alone in having tired or wobbly legs along with my dizziness. It makes sense if you think about how much extra energy is required to maintain balance when you’re being pushed and pulled this way and that. Many of us also have ringing or hissing in the ears – known as tinnitus – since these medications are “ototoxic” (i.e. toxic to the ears).

The word on the street – or online, at least – is that the disequilibrium DOES go away! While I’m waiting impatiently and fearfully to get back to normal, I [...] to have a little company along the way. And that is why I’m starting this support group. Please wade into these wavy waters if you’re a fellow “floaty boater”, share your experiences and resources, and offer support to your fellow dizzy dames and dudes. It could be a lifeboat for those of us who feel “lost at sea”!  ;)

I’ve come across an array of descriptions of this wacky sensation. Below is a partial list. Please add more if you’re feeling creative!

Dizziness
Disequilibrium
Floaty Boat/Floating/Boatiness/Boaty
Vertigo
Falling
Flying
Wobbling
Undulating
Bobbing
Rocking
Swaying
Wooshy
Fishbowl Head
Magic Carpet Ride
Banging Into Walls
Pushed and Pulled
Force Field
Magnetic Force
Moving Floors/Tilting Floors
Resisting the Current
Up and Down Elevators
Pulsating to the Rhythm of the Heartbeat
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 02:33:57 pm by [Buddie] »
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[Buddie]

Here's a link to a website that gives information about vestibular problems. This particular page discusses various medications, and it has some key facts about benzodiazepines.

http://vestibular.org/understanding-vestibular-disorders/treatment/vestibular-medication

If you're having any trouble with the link, have a look at the first section here:

"Can Medication Help Me Feel Better?

The use of medication in treating vestibular disorders depends on whether the vestibular system dysfunction is in an initial or acute phase (lasting up to 5 days) or chronic phase (ongoing).

During the acute phase, and when other illnesses have been ruled out, medications that may be prescribed include vestibular suppressants to reduce motion sickness or anti-emetics to reduce nausea. Vestibular suppressants include three general drug classes: anticholinergics, antihistamines, and benzodiazepines. Examples of vestibular suppressants are meclizine and dimenhydinate (antihistamine-anticholinergics) and lorazepam and diazepam (benzodiazepines).

Other medications that may be prescribed are steroids (e.g., prednisone), antiviral drugs (e.g., acyclovir), or antibiotics (e.g., amoxicillin) if a middle ear infection is present. If nausea has been severe enough to cause excessive dehydration, intravenous fluids may be given.

During the chronic phase, symptoms must be actively experienced without interference in order for the brain to adjust, a process called vestibular compensation. Any medication that makes the brain sleepy, including all vestibular suppressants, can slow down or stop the process of compensation. Therefore, they are often not appropriate for long-term use. Physicians generally find that most patients who fail to compensate are either strictly avoiding certain movements, using vestibular suppressants daily, or both."

Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

On the question of vestibular testing and the effects of the medications, this webpage gives some information:

http://www.vestib.com/antivertigo-drugs.html#vert-implications

Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

This article pinpoints the particular part of the vestibular system that's affected [...] benzodiazepines -- in this case, lorazepam:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517315

Here's the key sentence in the Discussion section:

"Based on the fact that lorazepam increased the affinity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) for the GABA(A)-receptor and its effects on the utriculi, the site of action seems to be the lateral vestibular nucleus."

And this quote from the Conclusion highlights how the different the effects of the medications can be:

"Meclizine, scopolamine, and lorazepam selectively suppress specific parts of the vestibular system."
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

From the Cleveland Clinic website, here's pertinent information about "Drug-Induced Dizziness", taken from the page at the link below:

http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/neurology/dizziness/Default.htm

"Drug-Induced Dizziness"

"Drug-induced dizziness is common. Given that medication use is ubiquitous and the mechanisms are complex, it is no wonder that so many drugs are implicated in causing dizziness. Certain antiseizure medications (carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone) and alcohol can cause acute reversible dysequilibrium and chronic irreversible dysequilibrium as a result of cerebellar dysfunction. Sedating drugs (barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and tricyclic antidepressants) can cause a nonspecific dizziness that is believed to be related to diffuse depression of the central nervous system. Antihypertensive medications and diuretics can induce lightheadedness and presyncope [...] induction of postural hypotension and [...] cerebral blood flow.

A number of drugs can produce a characteristic drug-intoxication syndrome with disorientation, memory and cognitive deficits, gaze-evoked nystagmus, and gait and extremity ataxia. This can be confused with more serious disorders. Alcohol is one example of these drugs; it can cause central nervous system depression and cerebellar toxicity, and it can change the specific gravity of the cupula (motion sensor within the ampulla of the semicircular canal). This change in the cupula explains the positional vertigo and positional nystagmus that are noted with alcohol ingestion.

Drug-induced dizziness or imbalance can be caused [...] ototoxic drugs such as aminoglycosides (gentamicin, streptomycin) and cisplatin. Vertigo can ensue if hair-cell loss is asymmetrical. If injury is bilateral and symmetrical, oscillopia (the optical illusion that stationary objects are moving back and forth or up and down) and dysequilibrium may be experienced."
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

thank you [...] for all this imfo!

mine did not start right away. i just remember last May it got really bad.

[...] 3 and half yr off [...]. i think it did damage. [...] [...] not stuck w it.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

[...] 2, the reason i decided to taper as i am doing is due to Tenitus in my left ear. After i spoke to a good ENT about what was going on he told me it was not the Ear causing the trouble the noise is from your brain and he told me he has it also. So after a little research i figured GABA brain Klonopin umm ok off we shall go but i must say since i started the taper i am on the Tenitus is roaring ! and being i have been around chainsaws all my life i figured it was from not wearing ear protection but now believe it was the GABA damage from Klonopin. Feel Better ~[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Hey [...] and [...], thanks for wading into the waters here! [...], I know you've been struggling for a long time with this symptom too. We're in the "same boat"!

And [...], I've had hissing in my left ear [...] much since my dizziness started, which is almost four years ago now. I was still on the meds for another two years. But I know that tinnitus is very common in the general public, and I think that if I have to put up with this symptom for a long time, I can handle it. But I CAN'T handle the dizziness. NOOOOO! It has to go. With the tinnitus, I've noticed that the volume can go up and down. Today it's fairly quiet and I just ignore it.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 01:37:48 am by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Here's another good resource page. This one's from Northwestern University, and it discusses "Dizziness in the Elderly". Clearly, there are numerous things that can cause dizziness, so it's best to ensure that all issues have been checked out.

http://projects.galter.northwestern.edu/geriatrics/chapters/dizziness.cfm

And this page describes "sea legs", which is what one gets after being on a boat for awhile:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524832.400
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Hi Floaty Boaters,
Here's a question: Have you noticed any patterns in your dizziness? Is it the same intensity everyday? Mine varies from bearable to completely unbearable. I don't usually get two unbearable days in a row, and those bearable days give me a little window into the world of feeling better. It seems that my brain "gets it" one day and then doesn't get it at all the next day. I know that [...] isn't linear but it seems so extreme. On those better days, though, I feel [...].
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.