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Using benzos to help in AD withdrawal


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Is it true that (as in my case) if you become addicted to a benzo and then taper off it, and then get into AD reductions, using a benzo is no longer an option because your system will have become sensitized to it and it will no longer be effective?

I want to know this because in my tapering of ADs I was going to remain on 5mg of Diazepam to help. But it seemed to me that if I got right off the benzo first, then I could perhaps use the odd one to help later.

But I may have got my facts wrong here.

Is it always the case that you become sensitized, or is that just with certain people. My psych didn't see a problem here but that doesn't mean a lot. Ive only been on benzos for 3 months and have tapered from 12 to 6 so far.



. Been on some kind of meds since 1982,mainly on and off things like imipramine.,2000 on75mg venlafaxine til it bottomed out, then 150, also no good. about 7 years. Almost ct from it and put on cocktail of  Cit, Mirt and Lithium. Remained there for 7 years.

Tapered Citalopram in June2014 and was off in 6 weeks. Mood slumped about 6 weeks later. Found this site sept 5th and got some idea why this happens.18th Sept stopped lorezepam and due to misunderstanding with GP was without it for 36 hours which caused a crisis.

from 19thsept 18mg diazepam to replace lorezepam(possible addiction) 24th sept 12 mg diaz per day. 29th sept 10mg diaz per day and tapering at 1-2mg per week. At 5mg will slow down taper. At same time increase of mirtazapine to 45mg per day.

Taking fish oil and magnesium as suggested on this site.

Also have menieres syndrome, a cause of vertigo, vomiting and partial loss of hearing, also very occasional drop attacks.

As of 8th October on; Mirtazapine 45mg, Citalopram 20mg Lithium 500mg Diazepam 6mg (tapering by 2mg per week) Fish oil and magnesium

As of 25th October Mirt 45mg, Citalopram20mg Lithium 700mg Diazepam12mg

As of 12th November Mirt 37.5 Cit.20mg Lithium 700mg Diazepam 8mg (to taper after 14 days by 10%)

As of 17th November Mirt 35mg Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg Diazepam 8mg (to taper after 14 days by 10%)

As of 25th November MIrt 35mg Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg Diazepam 7mg

As of 1st December MIrt 35 Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg         Diazepam 6mg  (been stable for the last 2 weeks)

GP intervention 19 December now on 150 Ven, 37.5 Mirt, 600 Lithium  Diazepam 7mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Simon, there's no rule that applies to everyone. Peoples' experiences vary a lot. I think a lot of people can taper off benzos and then later use one from time to time without problems. Some people, that doesn't work for, usually because when they take the benzo again they get a bad reaction (not so much because it doesn't "work" for them). Same thing seems to be possible with all psych meds. 


I would say with the scenario you describe the things you'll want to look out for are, first, that you'll need to taper that benzo more slowly as your doses get lower, and second, after tapering off the benzo you're not going to be able to taper that AD right away, you'll need to allow some recovery time. If you can do those things and keep yourself healthy and stable, you might not have any trouble with taking the occasional benzo.


However, in my experience benzos are quite a tricky trap and I would probably try everything else possible first.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.


Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes stay away from benzos.. It took me a long time to figure out that Ativan was a trap that made me go back to Ads.. Stay Strong..

2002 22.5mg paxil Cr for anxiety 2003 22.5 quit cold nighmare 2004 30mg paxil 2005 30mg quit cold nightmare 2006-2010 40mg-50mg generic paxil 2011 20mg 2011 MAY 10mg paxil then swithched to prozac failure..bad GI ISSUES 2011 sept back too 25 paxil .. major GI Issues 1 year and a 1/2..2012 15mg ..figuring it out. 2012 june paxil liquid to 14mg GI Issues disappeared!!2012 oct 13mg..1 mg a month weaning. 2013 Feb. 9mg headaches.Mar 2013 8.5mg, 3/27 7.6mg 4/24 7 Mg.. Made it back to 7mg 2015 but Im not using Liquid it irritated me to much.. Cutting the pills down..Bad GI Issues..

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Don't do it! There is a thread "how to taper ativan" in the Benzo section here that details my struggle in AD WD with this stuff. Don't do it. It's a trap.

2005-Zoloft bad reaction.....2006-Lexepro......2012-Upped Lexepro.......2013-Upped Lexepro......2/2014- Attempted Taper Lexepro...2/2014- Updosed Lexepro.......3/2014-Ativan.....5/2014- CT switch from Lexpro to Effexor.....

5/2014-7/2014-Tapered Ativan from 1mg to .25mg.....6/2014-Bad reaction to Effexor........7/2014- Rapid taper Effexor every other day......7/5/2014- Off Effexor.......7/2014-12/2014 - Ativan .25mg.......12/25/2014 -Taper Ativan by 4% due to paradoxical reaction .24mg...11/18/2015-Taper Ativan 1% CURRENTLY ON: .2376mg Ativan taken in 6 .0396mg doses.

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