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Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« on: July 07, 2014, 12:40:57 AM »
I know this is a HOT Topic  - but I just wanted to share my own experience in obtaining benzodiazepines throughout the last 15 years, and it is getting more and more difficult in the United States as doctors are now more hesitant with prescribing Benzodiazepines.- and becoming a bigger problem for those of us who can benefit from them and need them!  ::)

First, I want to state my position, that Benzodiazepines are wonderful medications when used by responsible people  :grinning-smiley-003: - and yes, if people have had past or present addiction problems - please disclose this information to your doctor  :yes: - safety must always be firstmost. :happy0062:

My belief, is that most people are seeking help and  just want get better and be "Normal" again, I sure was  :( -

In my case, I started to understand that I need to build a “Trust Relationship” with my doctor.

This chart was given to me by my doctor, (I later found a similar version it on the internet)  - This helped me greatly to determine the difference between "Addict" vs "Pain Patient" in my mind.


Addicts                                                                                       Pain Patients
=====================================================================================================================================================================
Addicts take drugs to get high and avoid life                                       Pain patients take drugs to function normally and get on with life.
Addicts isolate themselves and become lost to their families.             Pain patients get relief, they become active family members
Addicts are unable to interact appropriately with society.                   Pain patients get relief, they interact with and make positive contributions to society.
Addicts are eventually unable to hold down a job.                              Pain patients get relief, they are often able to go back to work.
The life on an addict is a continuous downward spiral.                       Pain patient gets adequate relief, their life progresses in a positive, upward direction.

                                                                                                     

I always have a printout of the chart above - which I would discuss with my with doctors who were hesitant with prescribing Benzodiazepines.

ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES I USED:  Be prepared for your Dr. Visit - (just like a job interview...)


STEP 1:  -  I Created a "Master Medical File Folder" that I would take to all my doctor visits! - for the last 12 years!  :grinning-smiley-003:

My "Master Medical File Folder" Contains the following information:

a)  History of all medical records, Records of every medications, success and failures with medications, blood work, and all medical tests.

b) Completed self-quiz evaluations(similar to ones listed below), with my own self-diagnoses, on Panic Disorder, GAD, Depression, OCD. 

       (can be found on this web site on the following links on the Anxiety Zone Website:)

                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHpanic.pdf - Self Test for Panic Disorder.
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHgad.pdf  - GAD – Self Test
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHdepwomenknows.pdf - Depression for Women – self test
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/MENANDDE-coverpage(1).pdf – Depression for men
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHocd.pdf - OCD - Self-test

         These are Great self-tests and great information - print them out - fill them out - place them in your folder: :grinning-smiley-003:

c)  Printout of all medications that I have used and currently using.  Link to Medication on AZ Website:
                       http://psychiatricdrugs.org/

d)  Brought my “Medical/How I feel” Journal to show my Dr. what meds and dosage I am currently usage. 

e)  I agreed that I would follow-up with my doctor every 30-60-90 days, or sooner, whatever would make my doctor feel more comfortable.

EXTRA Strategy - That I used, after hearing this from another doctor...

f) I even brought my own “WAIVER OF LIABILITY, INDEMNIFICATION, AND MEDICAL RELEASE”  to my doctor visit– you can find a general one on the internet.  This that worked very well with doctors, knowing that I would not hold the doctor legally liable – I would also agree to sign the doctor’s waiver – if it would make the doctor feel more comfortable in prescribing my medications.  :nature-smiley-016:

Also,  From my experience, I would recommend a long-lasting benzodiazepine - Valium or Klonopin, it will last longer in your system to provide "a longer lasting Anxiety Shield - throughout the day"- you don't need to take take every 4 hours as with Xanax, or Ativan and doctors feel much more comfortable prescribing these versus Xanax or Ativan.   :yes:

I believe from my experience, that by implementing any of the steps above - you will greatly increase your chances of having your doctor work with you and feel comfortable prescribing benzodiazepines.

Thank you for reading, hope this might be helpful  :winking0008:

Just my 2 Cents... :twocents: :twocents:

My wish - for all of us, - is to heal, and reclaim our mental and physical health, so we can all live a higher quality life :action-smiley-065:

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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

Offline zav4999

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 01:10:27 AM »
you mind me asking what benzo and how long you been on it? I've been on Ativan for about 5 years now. I know i'm not suppose to be on it that long but it's all I've ever known to take since my anxiety got bad in 2009. I recently started taking Zoloft to help with my anxiety issues but the doc's want me to get off Ativan which I know I should because it really doesn't last long and I hear valium/klon are more long lasting. I'm not currently getting off the Ativan until hopefullyyy Zoloft helps but im nervous about getting off them because hell I still get anxious while i'm on them and sometimes like today I held out for 14 hours fine without taking one then I start over thinking and get myself anxious .
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Offline NeverAgain2

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 12:41:42 PM »
I know this is a HOT Topic  - but I just wanted to share my own experience in obtaining benzodiazepines throughout the last 15 years, and it is getting more and more difficult in the United States as doctors are now more hesitant with prescribing Benzodiazepines.- and becoming a bigger problem for those of us who can benefit from them and need them!  ::)

First, I want to state my position, that Benzodiazepines are wonderful medications when used by responsible people  :grinning-smiley-003: - and yes, if people have had past or present addiction problems - please disclose this information to your doctor  :yes: - safety must always be firstmost. :happy0062:

My belief, is that most people are seeking help and  just want get better and be "Normal" again, I sure was  :( -

In my case, I started to understand that I need to build a “Trust Relationship” with my doctor.

This chart was given to me by my doctor, (I later found a similar version it on the internet)  - This helped me greatly to determine the difference between "Addict" vs "Pain Patient" in my mind.


Addicts                                                                                       Pain Patients
=====================================================================================================================================================================
Addicts take drugs to get high and avoid life                                       Pain patients take drugs to function normally and get on with life.
Addicts isolate themselves and become lost to their families.             Pain patients get relief, they become active family members
Addicts are unable to interact appropriately with society.                   Pain patients get relief, they interact with and make positive contributions to society.
Addicts are eventually unable to hold down a job.                              Pain patients get relief, they are often able to go back to work.
The life on an addict is a continuous downward spiral.                       Pain patient gets adequate relief, their life progresses in a positive, upward direction.

                                                                                                     

I always have a printout of the chart above - which I would discuss with my with doctors who were hesitant with prescribing Benzodiazepines.

ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES I USED:  Be prepared for your Dr. Visit - (just like a job interview...)


STEP 1:  -  I Created a "Master Medical File Folder" that I would take to all my doctor visits! - for the last 12 years!  :grinning-smiley-003:

My "Master Medical File Folder" Contains the following information:

a)  History of all medical records, Records of every medications, success and failures with medications, blood work, and all medical tests.

b) Completed self-quiz evaluations(similar to ones listed below), with my own self-diagnoses, on Panic Disorder, GAD, Depression, OCD. 

       (can be found on this web site on the following links on the Anxiety Zone Website:)

                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHpanic.pdf - Self Test for Panic Disorder.
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHgad.pdf  - GAD – Self Test
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHdepwomenknows.pdf - Depression for Women – self test
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/MENANDDE-coverpage(1).pdf – Depression for men
                        http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHocd.pdf - OCD - Self-test

         These are Great self-tests and great information - print them out - fill them out - place them in your folder: :grinning-smiley-003:

c)  Printout of all medications that I have used and currently using.  Link to Medication on AZ Website:
                       http://psychiatricdrugs.org/

d)  Brought my “Medical/How I feel” Journal to show my Dr. what meds and dosage I am currently usage. 

e)  I agreed that I would follow-up with my doctor every 30-60-90 days, or sooner, whatever would make my doctor feel more comfortable.

EXTRA Strategy - That I used, after hearing this from another doctor...

f) I even brought my own “WAIVER OF LIABILITY, INDEMNIFICATION, AND MEDICAL RELEASE”  to my doctor visit– you can find a general one on the internet.  This that worked very well with doctors, knowing that I would not hold the doctor legally liable – I would also agree to sign the doctor’s waiver – if it would make the doctor feel more comfortable in prescribing my medications.  :nature-smiley-016:

Also,  From my experience, I would recommend a long-lasting benzodiazepine - Valium or Klonopin, it will last longer in your system to provide "a longer lasting Anxiety Shield - throughout the day"- you don't need to take take every 4 hours as with Xanax, or Ativan and doctors feel much more comfortable prescribing these versus Xanax or Ativan.   :yes:

I believe from my experience, that by implementing any of the steps above - you will greatly increase your chances of having your doctor work with you and feel comfortable prescribing benzodiazepines.

Thank you for reading, hope this might be helpful  :winking0008:

Just my 2 Cents... :twocents: :twocents:

My wish - for all of us, - is to heal, and reclaim our mental and physical health, so we can all live a higher quality life :action-smiley-065:


Thanks.  Good posting for a hot topic.  Which shouldn't be a hot topic, but that is life now in these United States.
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Offline 2sungo

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 04:52:48 PM »
I think it depends on the doctor or pdoctor and of course the patient.  It might also vary from state to state.  I have no problem getting klonopin thru my pdoc, and I have not had problems in the past thru others.  The last two times I needed it I was on it for at least half a year and the first time for maybe two or three years, not sure, but I got off when I was ready without issues.  Just carried them with me, "just in case" but rarely used them (sometimes not for years).  Of course I was on an AD of some sort when I weaned off the klonopin.  This time I am on it again for almost a year and a half, not going off soon, even though I am better but I still do not feel confident enough in the other meds I take nor have I been feeling good long enough to get past the "is it going to get worse again" feeling before I go off again.  Its a good med at least for me, I don't drink, and I don't take more than needed.  My pdoc is in no rush either, the main goal it to put the anxiety/depression into full remission.  I have, however, seen some pdocs who do not view benzos favorably, so there are differences of opinion (and experiences?) out there.
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Offline NeverAgain2

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 08:36:14 PM »
The one thing that is very important here and should not be glossed over is the very good "Addicts" vs "Pain Patients". 

Anxiety and depression manifest differently for every person, but for those whose anxiety/depression manifests as pain primarily (muscle pain), benzos will work where most muscles relaxants and most other pain medications will not.  Without relief from the chronic pain, the depression and anxiety will only grow and deepen. It wasn't until I did take Ativan and at a different time, Valium, that I was able to get enough pain relief to work on the cognitive things I had to change.  How many times it was said to me, "Just deal with it and move on."  This was right advice, but pain is a negative motivator, and very real, so while the spirit was willing the flesh was screaming "no".  The med help me deal with the pain and helped me reconstruct my life.

Again, a very good post by "Never Quit".
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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 10:38:25 PM »
a)  you mind me asking what benzo and how long you been on it?

b)  I've been on Ativan for about 5 years now. I know i'm not suppose to be on it that long but it's all I've ever known to take since my anxiety got bad in 2009.

c)  I recently started taking Zoloft to help with my anxiety issues but the doc's want me to get off Ativan which I know I should because it really doesn't last long and I hear valium/klon are more long lasting.

d) I'm not currently getting off the Ativan until hopefullyyy Zoloft helps but im nervous about getting off them because hell I still get anxious while i'm on them and sometimes like today I held out for 14 hours fine without taking one then I start over thinking and get myself anxious .

Hi Zav,  :action-smiley-065:

To answer your questions -

a)  I have been taking Valium 10mg 1x at night for about the last 20 years, (I started with 20 mg and actually dropped to the lower 10 mg) with no long term side effects  :yes:

b)  Ativan has always been a good med for me, because they work :happy0151:  and work very for anxiety  :grinning-smiley-003:

c)  My doctors have always seem to be a lot more comfortable with Valium or Klonopin, they have less issues with them vs. the short-acting Benzos Xanax or Ativan, when a patient wants to discontinue their issue. 

The safety of using Benzodiazepines for very long periods of time is quite remarkable from what I have researched - Valium has been around for about 50 years now B-;, and has a very good long term safety record for responsible users - IMO. 

I really liked this this article -

"It has been folk wisdom within medicine that using benzodiazepines for a long time is a bad idea. They were believed to make people mentally slow. However, recent years have produced a number of studies comparing people who have taken a benzodiazepine for years nonstop with people who have never taken a benzodiazepine. Most of these studies show no ill effects of benzodiazepines on either mental functioning or physical health. On the other hand, chronic anxiety is a life-destroyer of the first order,..."
CNN - Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist, -Emory University Medical School


d)  Zoloft is a very good SSRI, - After taking Zoloft, and many others SSRI, I found Prozac to have the least side-effects (esp. less sexual side effects - than Paxil or Zoloft for me  :winking0008:) -

I take SSRI's to control my OCD, which it does great,  :happy0151:

Benzodiazepines will do nothing for my OCD issues, - BUT, it will control my Panic Disorder and GAD very quickly (if I taken daily) - without the use of an SSRI  :yes: 


Hang in there Zav,  :happy0151:


 
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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2014, 12:39:39 AM »
I take SSRI's to control my OCD, which it does great

There is evidence from small scale studies that N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) supplements can significantly increase the effectiveness of antidepressants for OCD. There is a large scale study starting soon to provide a definitive answer on this. NAC is cheap and usually has no side-effects so may be worth trying.

HOWEVER, another recent study has shown that NAC (and also vitamin E) can greatly increase the odds of developing lung cancer if taken by those at risk of developing it - smokers, those with some lung diseases - so it is contraindicated in these circumstances. Note that NAC doesn't cause the cancer, it just helps it hide from the immune system (this may also be the case with most antioxidant supplements).

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline zav4999

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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 01:28:41 AM »
thanks never quit. yea I have took Ativan for 5 years. I'm currently at 1mg twice a day, hoping I can at least get down to taking it once a day and i'd be happy with that. It's weird because some of the doctors I see, especially the one I had been seeing the past few years has no problem prescribing me it, but ever since I got on medi-cal, all the doctors ive seen have had something negative to say about me being on them. Hell the social worker/therapist I had saw a couple weeks told me that taking Ativan can cause irreversible brain damage. I was like "what the hell is she talking about". yea maybe for someone taking it for a high daily at excessive amounts. I'm not sure if it's true or not, and ill admit it had me nervous for a few weeks when I heard that but I don't take it in high amounts so I don't think that'd happen to me. I don't know it's just a complicated subject with some doc's .
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Re: Sharing My Experience of Getting My Benzodiazepines Meds.
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 02:42:41 AM »
Hell the social worker/therapist I had saw a couple weeks told me that taking Ativan can cause irreversible brain damage.

In his/her case it might be true. ::) Lorazepam (Ativan) is one of the naturally occurring benzodiazepines found in small amounts in all foods therefore s/he's been exposed to it every day of her/his life, possibly even in the womb.

Ativan isn't usually used to treat epilepsy, but Klonopin is, typically at doses of between 10-20mg, which equates to 20-40mg/day of Ativan. If benzodiazepines irreversibly damaged brains then there'd be a lot of epileptics in big trouble. Afaik, there is no evidence that they do, even in overdose.

Wildman J, Ranalder U. (1988)
Presence of lorazepam in the blood plasma of drug free rats.
Life Sci. 43(15):1257-60.
(Abstract)

Wildmann J, Vetter W, Ranalder UB, et al (1988)
Occurrence of pharmacologically active benzodiazepines in trace amounts in wheat and potato.
Biochem Pharmacol. Oct 1;37(19):3549-59.
(Abstract)

See also: Benzodiazepines naturally

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

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