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laydefish: All I Wanted was Pain Relief

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Admin note: link to benzo forum thread laydefish: No Tolerance for Tolerance



All I Wanted Was Pain Relief!

As of May 1 2019, I am 8 months Benzo free after 7 long years & Antidepressant free after 11!!  
                I hope this story will inspire You to Keep Going -  It does get Better Everyday!!

*I would like to preface my story by stating that I'm a 53yr old female with a long History of Severe Chronic Neck Pain, including radiating nerve pain down into shoulders, arms & hands and "Pre-exisiting Tinnitus" stemming from TMJ, prior to any "significant" Benzo or Antidepressant use. I also have never experienced depression, sleep issues, anxiety or any other mental disorder prior to taking Benzodiazepines or Antidpressants.

In Sept 2018, in a little under a 1 month period, I Discontinued:(Prozac 60MG daily in 1 week) and (Diazepam 6MG daily-CT),  I also Reduced:(Hydrocodone 10-325MG 5x daily to 10-325MG 4x daily) and (Gabapentin 2400MG to 2000MG daily).  I now know after researching, how ridicously quick that was, and potentially dangerous as well.  But at the time, I was completly desperate for some type of relief from the ever increasing, puzzling, and horrendous pain and anxiety I was experiencing everyday! 

Most of these physical symptoms I was having, seemed to be like the same as the everyday pain I experienced from my chronic neck issues, but this was much worse, a lot more intense. The pain was so excrutiating it would make me come to tears on a daily basis.  My "Pre-existing" Tinnitus became constant & much louder (where as in the past, stress would have to be present for symptoms to increase).  I lost a lot of muscle mass, as well a loss of elasticity in my skin.  My hair & nails were dry, brittle and broke easily. I also experienced intense undereye bags & dark circles,  I had gastrointestinal issues, extreme sensitivity to light, sound, taste, smell and movement.  I experienced sexual dysfunction, full-body tremors, nausea, sweating, blurred vision, headaches, slurred speech, I was light-headed & dizzy, and had flu-like symptoms.

Then there were the new mental symptoms as well such as, daily 4 hr-long panic attacks and general anxiety.  I was self harming, I felt anger & rage, suicidal thoughts, I had general apathy, sleep disturbances, paranoia, confusion, emotional outbursts, cognitive disabilities. I was easily startled, there were daily mood swings, long periods of rumination, irritability, aggitation, derealization/depersonalization, vivid dreams & nightmares, loss of appetite & weight loss, general depressive state, inpulsiveness, intense crying spells, disinterest in grooming, I experienced mania, extreme Brain Fog", poor concentration, and more.  Although these symptoms became a daily occurance during the 2 months prior to my "Final Taper/Redution/Stoppage of medications, they started out a good 6  years prior to the final taper coming in the pattern of windows & waves, once again intensifying over time.
But,  happily at the end that month (Sept 2018), the "Brain Fog" started to clear and although I was still dealing with some anxious thoughts & feelings,  the daily panic attacks had stopped, and they became more like waves of intense emotions instead of the constant feelings of panic, sadness, and anger I had been experiencing.  Overall mentally I was doing better, even though there were some new & worsening of symptoms  I was determined to stay strong because there was already such a big improvement.  Remember, I've never had anxiety or panic attacks prior to any of this!

Jump to 6 months later,  in Feb 2019 thats when I realized there must be a bigger problem since I was still having withdrawal symptoms that were so intense and so much longer than the drugs' website said it would be (LOL), so back online I went.  This is when I found the wonderful Forums for the support in the Tapering & Withdrawl of Benzos and Antidepressants,  and this explained so much!  This was the time I also learned about the negative aspects of long-term use, Tolerance & Interdose Withdrawal,  antidepressant "Poop Out",  as well as Post or Protracted withdrawal (PAWS), and quickly realized that I in fact I was in PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and had been for some time!

You see the worsening pain symptoms and definetly a lot of my most extreme behaviors (some Manic), that I had been feeling and exhibiting for the last  6 years (in varying degrees) were actually due to long-term use,  abrubt dosage changes,  a period of having to go "Cold Turkey" for 3 wks off all meds,  and a developed Tolerance, which became "Tolerance Withdrawal" of Benzodiazepines & Antidepressants.

So armed with that info. as well as aquiring my Dr Records and Pharmacy Medication History,  and I was able to piece together when it was that my major emotional & behaviorial issues really began.  It seemed to start around April 2011,  when many of my abrubt medication changes were made as well as my subsequent personality changes.  This is also the point when my Dr. started to introduce new medications, and started increasing & decreasing  dosages as well, sometimes without warning of the change, all without warning of side effects of those changes! (Abrubt changes to dosages and/or drugs themselves can lead to withdrawal symptoms, and a highly "Sensatized" Central Nervous System, AKA  "Kindling".

Please note, I took all Medications as directed, and I never, I repeat Never Abused them in any way!  Here I listed the most abrubt changes.  During  this 7 year "Drug History" there were aproximatly 58 differant dose changes made, as well as at least 14 differant medications added and/or taken away, and a complete 3-week long cold turkey off of all "regular meds" due to an emergency hospitalization for Pnemonia in 2015, which also unfortunatly included Flouroquinlone Antibiotics which react very badly on your body  when taking Benzodiazepines!

The most notable changes were as follows: (No Tapers unless noted).
May -June 2011  Hydrocodone daily dosage more than doubled @ same dose for 4 yrs, 22.5MG to 50 MG.
June 2011  Diazepam introduced @ high starting dose 40 MG (no lead up)
July 2011  Hydrocodone reduced 50MG to 37.5 MG 
Nov-Dec 2011  Gabapentin introduced 300MG; Diazepam decreased 40MG to 30MG, Hydrocodone decreased 37.5MG to 30MG
Jan-Feb-March 2012  Prozac dose doubled after 4yrs 20MG to 40MG, Gabapentin increased 300MG to 800MG, Hydrocodone decreased 30MG to 22.5MG, then increased to 30 MG
April-May-June 2012  Prempro, Estradiol 1MG, Progesterone 200MG- 2 months
June 2012  1st signs of manic behavior
March 2013  Hydrocodone decreased 30MG to 22.5MG, Prozac increased 40MG to 60MG
Aug 2013  Hydrocodone increased from 22.5MG to 40MG
Sept- Oct 2013  Manic behavior
Aug-Sept 2014  Diazepam doubled from 30MG to 60MG, Prozac decreased from 60MG to 40MG
Oct 2014  Prozac increased 40MG to 60MG, Diazepam reduced 60MG to 30MG,  Manic Behavior
July 2015  Emergency Hospitilization (3 wks), diagnosed w/double Pneumonia & severe malnutrition. (Please note with Benzos use there is a 54% increased risk of developing Pneumonia. www.News-Medical.net/News/20121212/BendodiazepinesAssociatedWithFatalPneumonia.aspx).
 I was put back on all meds @ full doses @ end of Hospilization.
July-Dec 2015  Doxycycline, Amox/K clav, Metronidazole- Flouroquinolone Type Antibiotics
Dec 2015  Manic Behavior
Jan 2016  Levofloxacin -Flouroquinolone Type Antibiotic
Feb 2016  Spiriva Respimat Inhaler
April-Aug-Oct 2016  Hydrocodone decreased 40MG to30MG, Introduced Cyclobenzaprine 30Mg (Antidepressant)
May 2016  Emotional Otburst, constant Brain Fog 
July 2016  Hydrocodone increased 30MG to 40MG
Sept 2016  Diazepam decreased 30MG to 15MG, no warning no taper
Nov 2016  Hydrocodone decreased 40MG to 30MG
Jan-March-April 2017  Prozac 60MG switched to Cymbalta 60MG (no warning of switch), Hydrocodone decreased 30MG to 20MG, shakines began regularly
May 2017  Hydrocodone increased 20MG to 30MG
June 2017  Cymbalta 90MG switched back to Prozac 60MG
Sept 2017  Manic Behavior
Nov 2017  Diazepam decresed 15MG to 6MG no warning or taper, Tremors began
May 2018  Hydrocodone 30MG switched to Oxycodone 40MG
June 2018  Switched Oxycodone 40MG to Hydrocodone 50MG
July-August 2018  Manic Behavior 
Sept 2018 Prozac 60MG to 0MG, Diazepam 6MG to 0MG, Hydrocodone 50MG to 40MG, Gabapentin 2400MG to 2000MG
Oct 2018  Hydrocodone 40MG to 35MG
**For a complete Drug History please see the end of this Posting!

So to recap, some reasons why you may be misdiagnosed with suffering from side effects of being prescribed a Benzo or Antidepressant would be as follows: #1). The fact that Psychotropic Drugs (Benzo's & Ad's) have side effects that can mimic many of the symptoms of chronic pain, hence a big part of the reason why many patients with "pre-exisiting Pain Issues" can go undiagonosed, especially when still taking meds for chronic pain that can also mimic the same symptoms. #2). If age-appropriate, menapausal symptoms may be blamed, i.e. extreme temperature changes, mood swings etc...  #3). Life's Stresses  may be blamed i.e. family estrangement, medical disability etc...


At this point in my healing, I'm still experiencing the "Windows & Waves" pattern of symptoms although the windows are longer & the waves are not as intense.  As I heal, I'm trying to stay really positive and not waste time by dwelling on what in my opinion is the incompetance & greed of some in the Medical Industry.  Instead I'm determined to participate in any & all research projects I can to help spread the awareness of the dangers of these potent Psychotropic drugs, and to help spread awareness to the Medical Profession as well as to friends & family.  

Below I've listed the ones I have come acrosss.  I hope you too will consider getting involved to help get the word out.  I've included helpful & informational websites as well. (as of May 2019)
Good Luck in your Journey & God Bless!!  You will Heal!!!!

W-Bad.org- World Benzo Day  July 11
*Full history   **All Dosages are Daily Totals
Prozac (Fluoxetine):  (Nov 2007: 10MG), (Dec 2007-Dec 2011: 20Mg), (Jan 2012-Feb 2013: 40MG), (March 2013-July 2014 60 MG), (Aug 2014-Sept 2014: 40Mg), (Oct 2014-Dec  2016: 60Mg), (Jan 2017-May 2017: Switched to Cymbalta,*See Below!), (June 2017-Nov 2017: 60MG), (Dec 2017: 80MG), (Jan 2017-Sept 2 2018: 60MG), (Sept 3 2018-Sept 5 2018: 40MG), (Sept 6 2018-Sept 8 2018: 20MG), (Sept 9 2018-May 2019: 0MG)
Cymbalta (Duloxetine):  (Jan 2017-May 2017: 60MG)
Cyclobenzaprine:  (Aug 2016: 30MG), (Feb 2017: 30MG)
Elavil: (July 1995-Feb 1996: 60MG/No Taper)
Vicodin ES: (Jan 2002-June 2004: 1/2 tab daily), (July 2004-July 2007: 3 tabs daily)
Diazepam (Valium): (July 1995- Feb 1996 10MG) May 2011-Oct 2011: 10MG), (Nov 2011-July 2014: 30MG), (Aug 2014-Sept 2014: 60MG), (Oct 2014-Aug 2016: 30MG), (Sept 16 2016-Oct 2017: 15MG), (Nov 2017-Sept 2018:6MG), (Aug 20 2018-M4/7ay 2019: 0MG) 
Gabapentin (Neurotin): (Nov 2011: 900MG-300MG/3 daily), (Jan 2012: 1800MG/3 daily), Feb 2012-Aug 3 2018: 2400MG), (Aug 4 2018- May 2019: 2000Mg) 
Hydrocodone (Norco):  (July 2007-April 2011:22.5Mg-7.5-750MG/3daily),(May 2011-July 14 2011:50Mg-10-325/5daily),(July 15 2011-Oct 2011:37.5MG-5daily), (November 2011:30MG-7.5-325MG/4daily),(Dec 2011: 30MG-7.5-500MG/4daily),(Jan 2012-Feb 20 2012: 22.5Mg-7.5-500MG/3daily),(Feb 21 2012-March 2012:30MG-7.5-500MG/4daily),(April 2012-Feb 2013:30MG-10-325MG/3daily),(March 2013-July 2013:22.5MG-7.5-750MG/3daily),(Aug 2013-March 2016:40Mg-10-325MG/4daily),(April 2016-June 2016:30MG-10-325MG/3daily), (July 2016-Oct 2016:40Mg-10-325Mg/4daily),(Nov 2016-Feb 2017:30MG-10-325/3daily), (March 2017-April 2017:20MG-5-325/4daily),(May 2017-April 2018:30MG-10-325/3daily),(June 2018-Aug 25 2018:50MG-10-325/5daily),(Aug 26 2018-Sept 2 2018:40.5MG-10-325/4.5daily), (Sept 3 2018-Sept 10 2018:40MG-10-325/4daily),(Sept 11 2018-Sept 18 2018:30MG-10-325/3daily),(Sept 19 2018-May 1 2019:30.5MG-10-325/3.5daily)
Oxycodone: (May 2018:40MG-10-325MG/4daily)
Tizandine: (Dec 2016:4MG),(June 2017:8MG),(Dec 2017:8MG)
Baclofen: (May 2018-Aug 2018:20MG)
Prempro (hormones): (April 2012)
Estradiol (hormones): (May 2012:1MG)
Progestrone (hormones):  (June 2012: 200MG daily for 12 days each month)
Benzonatate (cough supressant):  (July 2015:100MG)
Doxycycline: (Flouroquinlone Antibiotic):  (Aug 2015:200MG)
Metronidazole (Flouroquinlone Antibiotic):  (Dec 2015, Feb-March 2016: 500MG-1 tab 2x daily)
Levofloxacin (Flouroquinlone Antibiotic):  (Jan 2016:500Mg-1 month)
Amox/ KClav: (875-125MG:2 tabs daily for 30 days)
Propranol (anti-tremor): (Jan 2018:120MG)
Epidural Steroid Injections (Cervical Neck Area): (Feb, April, June 2017)
Spiriva Respimat Inhaler:  (March 2016: 2.5MG 2 sprays daily)



Edited by Shep
added link to benzo forum thread

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Welcome, laydefish.


I am so glad you are doing better. What are the residual symptoms of your PAWS? Was there any pattern you saw in your healing?

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Thank you Altostrata for the warm welcome!!! It's truly a pleasure to see your response to my post I'm a big fan of you & the extent of your knowledge when it comes to these awful drugs, as I have seen not only your posts here in this forum but also in the Ethernet- Mad in America & Beyond Meds if I'm not mistaken, I very much have enjoyed the information you've shared.  As far as the residual symptoms of my PAWS, I feel overall I'm 85%-90% better, my Tinnitus is still very loud (sounds like a water faucet in the next room with the water turned on full blast),  I still have to be very diligent when it comes to not over-exciting my CNS- minimum caffeine intake, I still suffer from some minimal Akathisia, some repetitive thoughts (although controllable), sweating, and as far as aches & pains go, I've had 1 really bad emotional outburst around 2 weeks ago, but prior to that it was about 2 1/2 months before that, I suffer from severe chronic neck pain which involves a lot of muscle & joint ache to begin with & I'm still taking Hydrocodone & Gabapentin, so hard to differentiate between possible lingering Withdrawal Symptoms & the chronic pain.  As far as any pattern to my healing, I feel like everything seemed to improve at around the same time, although slow. I think because I was in Tolerance for so long, it was an immediate improvement especially mentally, so I see it as all good progress.  Everyday I see & feel improvement.   Once again thanks for your interest, I look forward to sharing more with  you & the other members in the future!  Take Care, Laydefish

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Thank you, laydefish.


Since you're still taking drugs for pain, it might be helpful for you to keep daily notes of your symptoms along with the times of day you take your drugs -- this will indicate if any of your symptoms are adverse drug effects. Sometimes a simple change in drug schedule can reduce them.

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You Altostrata!  Thank you for your input. I have a feeling that I'm having some side effects from the current pain medication I take for my severe neck pain. At the same time I'm so leery of irritating my already exhausted, over-stimulated & over-sensitive CNS. And because I don't have the best Dr (fortunately not the same who was prescribing the poison I was taking)  I'm not sure what would be a good substitute for the Hydrocodone I take for example. And as far as the Gabapentin, I would actually like to see if I could taper slowly & eventually not even need it, though I'm not sure?  Any suggestions would be great!   Thanks for your help!  Your Awesome!

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Hi laydefish,

And welcome to the site, the good ship of survivingantidepressants!

Thank you for greeting, and encouraging so many of the new members.  I noticed.  And thank you for doing that.


Have you given the daily notes a try yet? 

daily notes how to

It can be a really simple process to do and may be really helpful, as often something will stand out, when it's all laid out for us, in this simple manner.  You could give it a try on paper first and then share a day or two right here on your introduction page.


We do suggest tapering of Gabapentin, just like all of the other neuroactives/psychoactives.

And here's the specific topic on it:  Tips for tapering off Neurotin(gabapentin)


I'm so glad that you've seen some marked improvement in your PAWS from your benzo and AD WD's as well.

I also love Maya Angelou!  Great quote.


Love, peace, healing, and growth,




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Hi @manymoretodays Thank you for the warm welcome as well as acknowledging my posts, it means a lot to me!  I wasn't able to get my info together along with my med history until much later in my WD Journey to be able to post sooner, but I was always inspired by others stories & I learned a lot too.  So I hope to keep encouraging others as time goes on.  I like your idea regarding "Daily Notes" I think I might be ready to make more changes. So with that being said, I'm going to start taking notes. Thanks again for taking the time to read my post & Congratulations in your Journey as well!  Laydefish

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