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Tapering benzos while hlding down a stressful job
#11
Nothing wrong with going slow. I found I could make faster strides than Ashton called for at the beginning but slowed down after that.
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#12
I speak about this with caution as I myself had 3 monster seizures withdrawing off benzos which I had used both for sleep and for daytime anxiety control. I have a close friend who has been on 30mg of Valium every day for 4 years. It was 100 percent a 30mg daily dose of diazepam. 3 doses of 10mg split up throughout the day. The person knew it wasn’t sustainable anymore because they were initially prescribed it for something terrible that was going on in their life but that stressor is not there anymore and the person was simply taking the Valium to prevent withdrawals, not to actually treat anxiety and panic. It was simply that if the person went a day without them, they would start getting that anxiousness we all fear. Anyhow this person said they did not want to taper and wanted to go cold turkey. I pleaded with the person not to. This individual knew I had 3 seizures coming off benzos but the person said they will never do a taper as it will fail and it’s either they stay on or come off. So the person stops the Valium cold. It takes 3 or 4 days for the real terrible stuff to happen. The person works in a health profession and had to leave work immediately as the withdrawals set in. This person bravely went through 8 days of torture and finally on the 9 th day after the withdrawal started, they could tell the worst was behind them. I witnessed this with my own two eyes. 20mg propranolol every 6 hours for the worst of the withdrawal is all that was used to get through it. Two nights trazadone was used at 100mg for sleep. Another night serequel was used at 50mg to sleep. That’s it. The anxiety and panic was brutal. The person looked very sick and was in horrific condition but they made it. It’s been 4 months and the person is totally benzo free. No lingering anxiety either. Amazing. I think even as bad as the suffering was for this person and it was painful to watch, it wasn’t anything like what I went through because while this person took more than me during the day, I was abusing halcion, midazolam and other things out of desperation to sleep. The reason I’m posting this is it can be done. It will be a tough period of time but sometimes the withdrawals can last less than we think.
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#13
Thanks to everyone who has posted. Hearing other experiences of work stress and benzo use/reduction is helpful. I had a very good relationship with the doctor who originally prescribed diazepam. Unfortunately when I moved for a job in another part of the country I had to get a new doctor. Despite already being on diazepam and tolerant/addicted to it, they were adamant they would not prescribe it and only offered antidepressants (ironically one that lowers the seizure threshold - no I didn't take it!). I was very shocked at just being cut off that way, and aware cold turkey was not good  (seemingly more aware than the doctor). I went back armed with a printed copy of the Ashton Manual and the doctor refused to even look at it "because it came off the internet". I saw another doctor, but by then there was a note on my medical records about "drug seeking" so she wouldn't prescribe anything either, but was at least a bit more sympathetic and told me about the local drug addiction clinic. That turned out to be full of crackheads and heroin addicts - no one was in work, and it was assumed you'd just be available any time of day for appointments. It was totally incompatible with having a job! So that was why I was ultimately forced to seek alternative sources of diazepam (hence being on this forum) and educate myself about benzos. Whilst I have had CBT for the work related stress, and it was moderately useful, really I'm having to do this solo.

Bj990
Quote:Good luck with your plan. Stressful work can have so much effect on your life especially when trying to lower doses or not use a substance. I have a stressful job and ridiculously horrible bosses and as intricate your plan for tapering is, try to make a “work plan” and look into ways to manage stress at work.  My work itself is tough but the people are what make it really worse. One thing that’s helped me is I really sit and think what could be going on in their life to make them how they are and feel very sympathetic instead of frustrated or mad.


My boss shows many signs of psychopathy - I mean that quite seriously. I have had several chats with HR about his behaviour. About a 1/3rd of the staff under him have made complaints to HR, whereas others have left, and one person is on long term sick leave that she attributes to this awful boss. If I didn't hate him so much I would pity him, especially his pathetic need to be right about everything (which reveals his insecurity).

I have quite detailed work plans because there are so many things going on at once I just can't keep it in my head. There are some good techniques I can use, e.g. getting the task I dislike/fear most out of the way first, so it doesn't loom over the day (I'd recommend that to anyone). My role is very reactive to situations, so there is only so far that work planning can take me. It isn't unusual to go into work with a specific plan of what I'm going to accomplish that day, but arrive and find something has happened or a member of staff has done something stupid and I need to get involved.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the diazepam I'm known within the organization as a troubleshooter/safe pair of hands who can deal with various extreme situations without getting in a panic. But I think it is like an emotional debt. Yes, I can seem cool and sort the problem, but then carry the stress of it home with me. Some of the CBT techniques help with that, but I think this workplace is a bit disfunctional - mainly due to my boss. I just keep reminding myself he won't be in charge forever (it is a role that rotates between people). I think he has burnt so many bridges and is so universally hated that I don't see how he'll be able to continue working here once he stops being in charge! There are a number of people taking antidepressants etc to cope with his failings as a human being! I am open to moving to a different job. However I work in a very niche area so there genuinely aren't many positions that are suitable. So my personal plan involves a complicated sideways move to get out from under my boss rather than leaving altogether (since my contract is genuinely good), but it will take time.

As for the taper, I have heard others say that they've been able to make quite large cuts at the start and it was only towards the end they had to go slow and steady.
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#14
I really appreciate all these well thought out posts on reducing benzo use while trying to function at work. I’m a week benzo free but really struggling now. I thought I was past the worst of it but guess not. Thanks again to all your beautiful souls that open your journey for us in similar situations to read.
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#15
(10-10-2019, 07:54 AM)Wannabenormal18 Wrote: I speak about this with caution as I myself had 3 monster seizures withdrawing off benzos which I had used both for sleep and for daytime anxiety control. I have a close friend who has been on 30mg of Valium every day for 4 years. It was 100 percent a 30mg daily dose of diazepam. 3 doses of 10mg split up throughout the day. The person knew it wasn’t sustainable anymore because they were initially prescribed it for something terrible that was going on in their life but that stressor is not there anymore and the person was simply taking the Valium to prevent withdrawals, not to actually treat anxiety and panic. It was simply that if the person went a day without them, they would start getting that anxiousness we all fear. Anyhow this person said they did not want to taper and wanted to go cold turkey. I pleaded with the person not to. This individual knew I had 3 seizures coming off benzos but the person said they will never do a taper as it will fail and it’s either they stay on or come off. So the person stops the Valium cold. It takes 3 or 4 days for the real terrible stuff to happen. The person works in a health profession and had to leave work immediately as the withdrawals set in. This person bravely went through 8 days of torture and finally on the 9 th day after the withdrawal started, they could tell the worst was behind them. I witnessed this with my own two eyes. 20mg propranolol every 6 hours for the worst of the withdrawal is all that was used to get through it. Two nights trazadone was used at 100mg for sleep. Another night serequel was used at 50mg to sleep.  That’s it. The anxiety and panic was brutal. The person looked very sick and was in horrific condition but they made it. It’s been 4 months and the person is totally benzo free. No lingering anxiety either. Amazing. I think even as bad as the suffering was for this person and it was painful to watch, it wasn’t anything like what I went through because while this person took more than me during the day, I was abusing halcion, midazolam and other things out of desperation to sleep. The reason I’m posting this is it can be done. It will be a tough period of time but sometimes the withdrawals can last less than we think.

I take the withdrawals VERY seriously, for precisely the reasons you've described. I'm glad your friend is ok now. But I can't have weeks/months out of action as it is incompatible with work. The idea of the taper being teeny tiny steps is to make it so smooth I don't feel it too much. I am open to using things like beta blockers since the same anxiety that had me start taking diazepam hasn't just magically gone away. I've got a few more coping mechanisms, and perhaps a bit wiser, but I'm not so naive as to think that I can just taper down and then carry on as though nothing has happened. My brain is extremely used to being soothed by diazepam and however slowly I stop I suspect I'll feel very vulnerable when I hit zero (even if that takes three years!).

(10-10-2019, 11:58 PM)happyvibe Wrote: I really appreciate all these well thought out posts on reducing benzo use while trying to function at work. I’m a week benzo free but really struggling now.  I thought I was past the worst of it but guess not.  Thanks again to all your beautiful souls that open your journey for us in similar situations to read.

How long did it take you to taper? Congratulations on getting there, and I'm sorry you are now struggling. Do you mean struggling in the sense of withdrawals, or in the sense that now you are benzo free you are fully exposed to all the stresses of work?

Good luck!
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#16
As Ashton points out, the period after benzo withdrawal can be really tough...flashbacks, anxiety, mood swings, etc. But stay strong. The journey is worth it.
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#17
(10-11-2019, 10:58 AM)barq- Wrote:
(10-10-2019, 07:54 AM)Wannabenormal18 Wrote: I speak about this with caution as I myself had 3 monster seizures withdrawing off benzos which I had used both for sleep and for daytime anxiety control. I have a close friend who has been on 30mg of Valium every day for 4 years. It was 100 percent a 30mg daily dose of diazepam. 3 doses of 10mg split up throughout the day. The person knew it wasn’t sustainable anymore because they were initially prescribed it for something terrible that was going on in their life but that stressor is not there anymore and the person was simply taking the Valium to prevent withdrawals, not to actually treat anxiety and panic. It was simply that if the person went a day without them, they would start getting that anxiousness we all fear. Anyhow this person said they did not want to taper and wanted to go cold turkey. I pleaded with the person not to. This individual knew I had 3 seizures coming off benzos but the person said they will never do a taper as it will fail and it’s either they stay on or come off. So the person stops the Valium cold. It takes 3 or 4 days for the real terrible stuff to happen. The person works in a health profession and had to leave work immediately as the withdrawals set in. This person bravely went through 8 days of torture and finally on the 9 th day after the withdrawal started, they could tell the worst was behind them. I witnessed this with my own two eyes. 20mg propranolol every 6 hours for the worst of the withdrawal is all that was used to get through it. Two nights trazadone was used at 100mg for sleep. Another night serequel was used at 50mg to sleep.  That’s it. The anxiety and panic was brutal. The person looked very sick and was in horrific condition but they made it. It’s been 4 months and the person is totally benzo free. No lingering anxiety either. Amazing. I think even as bad as the suffering was for this person and it was painful to watch, it wasn’t anything like what I went through because while this person took more than me during the day, I was abusing halcion, midazolam and other things out of desperation to sleep. The reason I’m posting this is it can be done. It will be a tough period of time but sometimes the withdrawals can last less than we think.

I take the withdrawals VERY seriously, for precisely the reasons you've described. I'm glad your friend is ok now. But I can't have weeks/months out of action as it is incompatible with work. The idea of the taper being teeny tiny steps is to make it so smooth I don't feel it too much. I am open to using things like beta blockers since the same anxiety that had me start taking diazepam hasn't just magically gone away. I've got a few more coping mechanisms, and perhaps a bit wiser, but I'm not so naive as to think that I can just taper down and then carry on as though nothing has happened. My brain is extremely used to being soothed by diazepam and however slowly I stop I suspect I'll feel very vulnerable when I hit zero (even if that takes three years!).

(10-10-2019, 11:58 PM)happyvibe Wrote: I really appreciate all these well thought out posts on reducing benzo use while trying to function at work. I’m a week benzo free but really struggling now.  I thought I was past the worst of it but guess not.  Thanks again to all your beautiful souls that open your journey for us in similar situations to read.

How long did it take you to taper? Congratulations on getting there, and I'm sorry you are now struggling. Do you mean struggling in the sense of withdrawals, or in the sense that now you are benzo free you are fully exposed to all the stresses of work?

Good luck!



struggling in terms of the withdrawals and rebound anxiety.  ive been on xan for years but only in the last few months i ramped up by dosage (not by a crazy amount but i suppose my brain got used to it)  had a small setback today but tomorrow is a new day.  i went to a shrink that gave me gabapentin and an anti d to help but i hated the gabapentin and i dont notice any change with the anti-d.  (yet) 
work for me is actually a good distraction when im busy.  when its slow i just start obsessing. also it really helps to talk to people when i feel the anxiety coming on.  i have a good group of friends at work who really support me. as well as fantastic people i met on this forum that are more knowledgeable than a lot of dr's ive been to. 
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#18
I have only to add that my heart goes out to you and I hope you can get the results you are after in the most healthy way possible.  I too need to slow down a bit but like others have said, sometimes it's easy to just say "just today is ok, I'll do better with the tapering tomorrow" and it makes the taper that much harder, so I understand that point too.  Good luck friend!  You have this board as constant support, I'm sure of it!
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