Author Topic: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?  (Read 3277 times)

[Buddie]

do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« on: February 24, 2011, 06:27:26 pm »
Hey there,
I'm sitting here wishing I could have an anxiety free day. Not just an hour or two in the evenings (sometimes).
Is this the one symptom that we all share?
If so, will it be the last one to go away?
Even in those evenings when I feel pretty relaxed, I'm not sure I am truly anxiety free. I think I just feel that way because it feels better than before. But I will still have other symptoms, like tight throat.
Anyways, how does anxiety eventually go away?
Does it gradually lessen to nothing, or does it start to break up into windows, until you have more days without than with?
Just looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. Haven't had a 'window day' for a couple weeks now.
-Tanya

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[Buddie]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 06:42:40 pm »
The benzo anxiety will gradually leave you as you heal, it might be your last symptom, it's hard to say.  You'll know when it's finally gone, you'll feel peaceful inside and it's wonderful.
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[Buddie]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 06:52:26 pm »
I completely understand what you are going through! I went from 6mg of Xanax to 3mg of Clonazepam in just a few weeks. I am having a lot of trouble with the anxiety too. I am eventually going to try to decrease the Clonazepam, but right now I need to adjust to the decrease in meds. Good luck to you! I will be thinking of you.
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]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 07:04:23 pm »
in a word yes,depending on the person for how long on, or there personality traits.
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[Buddie]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 07:46:26 pm »
Hi Tanya!  Yes, anxiety is quite common during w/d.  The benzos provided that calming effect for us and when it is taken away our receptors have to adjust and it just takes time.  I am myself looking quite forward to that peaceful, no benzo anxiety day!  It does get better and better.  I know that at 4 months free my anxiety is nowhere near what it was in the first month.  And dealing with 'real' anxiety seems to be getting a bit easier too.  It is so good to know that and to see that maybe just going through this process resets things so much that we are able to deal with the 'real' anxiety better than we ever did before benzos.  At least I keep hoping that is true and I just keep making myself look at life as positively as possible.   Just keep hanging in there!   :thumbsup:
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[Buddie]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 09:02:20 pm »
Hi [...],
How can you tell the difference between benzo anxiety and 'real' anxiety.
I've been pondering that ever since I started to practice the Claire Weekes 'acceptance' approach.
 I think for me the 'real' anxiety is when I get a new symptom and am fearful of it, then after a while I manage to accept it (well somewhat... I 'practice' acceptance). But there is an ever present GAD that I can't seem to banish no matter how much acceptance i practice. That, I believe is the benzo withdrawal anxiety.
Is it the same for you all??
One thing I wish Claire Weekes talked about is the role of meditation in acceptance. I think it is still facing your fears, but another way of floating past them...
I think I will feel better when the roofers have come and gone. They start tomorrow (was supposed to be Monday but got delayed).
I look forward to that peaceful inner feeling [...]. It kinda brings tears to my eyes thinking about all of us being well again...
Cheers, Tanya
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]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 10:48:37 pm »
Unfortunately I don't have a very good answer to your question about real vs. benzo anxiety.  At this point in my w/d however, I can tell what the benzo anxiety is.  It is a ramped up version of the real anxiety over situations that I used to get anxious about before I took any benzos.  Does that make sense?  It is like I go back in time in my mind to some previous '[...]' state of being and those anxieties get amplified and I definitely do not like that state.  The benzo anxiety is more physical for me as well.  I have tinnitus, chest/throat pain and tightness, and jaw pain/tightness, heart palpitations, and just a general uneasy, restless feeling all of which I attribute to benzo related w/d anxiety.  Hard to explain.  Also, I have found that when I enter these super feel good windows that I have from time to time, all of the fears and 'anxiety' whether real or benzo related, fall away, including most of the physical stuff.  None of it affects me when I am in those windows.  I just keep hoping that that will be how I normally feel once I am truly healed.  Hope this helps! 
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[Buddie]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 06:51:50 am »
Dear Tanya,

You have below very good advices on how to deal and to recognize your benzo anxiety from your "natural" anxiety. I was introduced to Benzos just to lower my panic attacks and anxiety. I am now close to 50 days Benzo free after 9 months of 1.5 mg of Clonazepam per day (tapered it for 3 months) and I am not anxiety free, in fact, I have anxiety almost 24/7 and sometimes I have less anxiety and I feel very good :).

Acceptance of anxiety is important, confronting it also works. Running away from it just fuels the anxiety more. I have read tons of books on the subject and so far I think the best approach to deal with anxiety is the CBT manner. Working on how to re-train the way we think and expose ourselves to anxious moments to face them and realize we can overcome them. I am even doing one free CBT course on internet that seems to be quite good I should say.

The GAD will not fade away in 1 week or 2. It will stay there for quite some time but it will slowly become milder and easier to carry on with, at least that has been my experience. One days I am fueled by anxiety, other days I am quite good. The key is to remember the good moments, live them to the fullest and on your worst days just divert your thoughts and do a lot of things to divert yourself. In your case try to "force" yourself into painting, even if you dont feel like it, but give it a try, your mind will be thinking about something else, maybe not on the first try, but it works. I tend to read, do exercise or simply going out to do some food shopping or talking a walk in the neighborhood.

You will get better, for sure. Also you were on Benzos for a very short period of time and that will also help :).

Have a great weekend with your family!

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]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2011, 08:49:59 am »
Hi [...],
How can you tell the difference between benzo anxiety and 'real' anxiety.
I've been pondering that ever since I started to practice the Claire Weekes 'acceptance' approach.
 I think for me the 'real' anxiety is when I get a new symptom and am fearful of it, then after a while I manage to accept it (well somewhat... I 'practice' acceptance). But there is an ever present GAD that I can't seem to banish no matter how much acceptance i practice. That, I believe is the benzo withdrawal anxiety.
Is it the same for you all??
One thing I wish Claire Weekes talked about is the role of meditation in acceptance. I think it is still facing your fears, but another way of floating past them...
Cheers, Tanya

Hi Tanya.  Did you take your benzo for anxiety?  I took valium for insomnia and anxiety.  The insomnia has been gone a while but the anxiety remains one of my last symptoms at 15 months post taper (ironically I'm posting this reply because I got up and couldn't sleep! but it's a rare thing now).  

 I've pondered some of  the same questions you have posed.  I probably had some form of GAD too.  So the question is whether one would expect anxiety to be totally eliminated if one had it pre benzos?  I've had anxiety most of my life, at least on a low level.  I've "worked" on developing coping skills including mindfulness and meditation the last year.  I've also read books on ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) which includes mindfulness and acceptance.  A good book in that type of therapy is "The acceptance and Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety" by Forsyth and Eifert.  Of course it's a paradox.  To "diminish" anxiety, one needs to let go of it, accept it... but if  under the surface one is "letting go in order to accomplish the goal of getting rid of it" then you're really not accepting it so in fact it becomes a bigger deal.  Oh well, it's a tricky issue.

My anxiety was very high during my taper a year ago.  When I finished my taper, I still had a fair amount and I ended up getting Shingles.  Then I swung to fatigue for a while because I was just wiped out.  I think I had adrenal burn out from the long taper and a few family issues (my father has had leukemia for four years but was very ill about a year ago and has had to have caregivers with him beginning around the time I finished my taper in 2009). By six months off the benzo beast, anxiety was down significantly.  I had a bit of benzo rage and over sensitivity last year.   I still think I tend to react a little more than I used to, to stressful or new situations.  I think my CNS is still healing.  I'd say I have about 20% more anxiety on most days now than I did before benzos.  I had a few 15% days earlier in the week.  I'm hoping that it's trending down and will be down to about 10% above pre benzo levels by next month.  It tends to ebb and flow.

 Ultimately, I don't think one really eliminates anxiety but learns how to cope with it better, just my opinion.  By the way, I noticed in your signature that you only took ativan for two weeks.  I only took valium for three weeks and got accidentally "addicted".  I took it for a trip to Europe with extended family to take the edge off and for jet lag and motion sickness.   I went c/t and ended up in the ER back in 2008, reinstated and started a taper in early 2009 (2 years ago), finishing the taper in Nov 2009.  Got Shingles six weeks later (13 months ago) which ended last February.

  So a year later, my last symptom seems to be anxiety but I had that before the benzo so am I healed?  Can I expect all anxiety to be gone off the benzo?  I think most likely not.   I think my anxiety is still a little worse than it was before the benzo, but a lot has happened in the last 18 months that could contribute to that (father has been ill with cancer, several hospitalizations, not getting along with my sibling, recently got a puppy, some work stress...).  By the way , I see from your signature that you have an 8 year old.  My son was eight when I first took valium for that International trip.  Now he's 10 and fortunately, I'm well enough to enjoy doing things with him again... My benzo journey is almost over, just working out a few final kinks.  I agree, the mindfulness helps.

[...]
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 09:12:05 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]

Re: do all withdrawlers have anxiety?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2011, 04:02:13 pm »
It seems that stress can slow down your recovery. This is the gist I get from reading other people's blogs etc.
I did start Ativan for anxiety. But then I believe the anxiety was artificially elevated by a bad reaction to an antibiotic. But I will never know for sure, as I will never take that antibiotic again.
I did have low level anxiety from time to time before all this. I mean who doesn't. Especially by the time you get to your 40's. One good thing that will come from this is my learning to not be so "non-stop" in my rushing around to get everything accomplished by the end of the day. I am learning to space my time so that I have time to relax between errands, chores etc. A bonus is that it is giving me the where-withall to be more patient with my daughter, who is high functioning autistic, and needs a bit more patience than the average kid.
I want to paint/sketch, but I find that the time I've saved is now filled with acupuncture and yoga. So I am working on this.

[...], do you meditate? I find that if I take 7min to meditate with deep yoga breathing, it always takes my anxiety down a notch. Sometimes I have to make myself do it, but am always glad that I did. I'm so sorry your father is going through that. I can't imagine the stress of it on you. My parents are so important to me. In fact it is my mom that has helped me the most through all this. We call each other almost every day.

[...],
I never thought about confronting my anxiety. But I guess the important thing is not to run from it. Sometimes I wonder if meditating is running from it. But I guess it depends on your mindset as you meditate. I think I need to accumulate more 'good moments' to remember and think about during the bad ones. During the bad ones, I like to listen to audio books about anxiety, like Claire Weekes'. At least I can read books again too  :thumbsup:

I am 51 days post benzos today. I had to look on the calendar, as I have stopped keeping track for the most part. The time just passes too slowly, and then I get sad. But I am having a good day today, despite the landlord being here and the roofers showing up in a few minutes. I have acupuncture AND yoga to look forward to. I plan to go slowly and enjoy it as much as I can.
You all have wonderful weekends too!
-Tanya
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.