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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Passion thank you for sharing your story. I hope that others will heed the warning. Benzos are VERY dangerous. Benzodiazepines alter brain chemistry and functioning in a major way. They are HIGHLY and RAPIDLY addictive drugs and among the most difficult drugs to stop. Stopping abruptly can be very dangerous and cause a grand mall seizure; seizures like an epileptic experiences. Drinking alcohol while taking benzodiazepine is extremely dangerous and life threatening. To learn more about benzodiazepines just type the word into Google or any search engine....look for reliable formal education or government websites; they will have .edu or .gov as part of their webaddress. When I home detoxed from Xanax I was helped through the process with the tapering guidelines established by Professor Heather Ashton in the United Kingdom who has researched and published much of her work online for the public and for medical professionals. She has developed guideline recommendations for tapering from all benzodiazepines and published them in the Ashton Manual, available free online. The bottom line is that the greatest hope for success with Benzo detox is transitioning from a short half life Benzo to a longer half life Benzo and then doing a taper. It is almost impossible to do a taper with a short half life Benzo because the WDs are like hitting a concrete wall at 100 miles an hour. Tapering from a longer half life bridges and then the taper gradually lessens the impact. I achieved my Benzo detox by switching from Xanax (short half life) to Valium (long half life). My doctor seemed to virually know nothing about the process or the objective. He refused to knowingly help me get off of anything. How I managed it was deceptively using his interest to keep me on something with me agreeing to stay on something IF he would switch me from Xanax to Valium. He was befuddled, like what's the difference. I didn't even bother trying to explain it because if he figured out that the switch was an actual taper support he probably would not have agreed to do it. As it was he thought it was a way to just keep me on something. I am convinced that this doctor is just a legallized pill pusher. He knowingly kept me on this stuff too long, put me at risk, caused the dependency, and then wouldn't help when he was told there was a problem. I am not blaming him for it all....he didn't follow me home and take the cap off the bottle for me....I did that on my own. I was in serious trouble before I ever knew there were any risks and by then it was too late. Thank God for online message board support forums and that I found the work of Professor Ashton online because I had to plan and manage my own detox without medical support. I could have told my family and switched doctors where I would have likely been referred for inpatient treatment....something that for me was not an option because of my profession and my pride. I was very ashamed of what I had allowed to happen to me. I am an educated, intelligent,professional person....I felt that I should have known better. I could live with my private shame, but there was no way I was going to live with family and public exposure. For me, a discreet home detox was the ONLY alternative. Unlike the post above, OTC coping products did help me. However, what I learned was most things only work if taken in mega doses in order to be able to combat the intensity of WDs. If taken as recommended I agree that they do little. I used the OTC coping options as outlined in another thread on this Board, Vicodin Home Detox Plan, the OTC coping options are outlined on page 1 of that thread. One VERY important additional OTC supplement in a Benzo detox is the addition of Taurine which helps to protect from grand mall seizures. For me that was the scariest part of Benzo detox...I was terrified because part of the detox symptom is a feeling of a band tightening around your head....the tighter it got the more terrified I got and worried about how close I might be to an actual seizure happening. Fortunately during that period I read every online post I could find on Benzo detox where I somehow found the strength and courage to hang on and endure it. Good luck to all who are struggling with this horrible family of Benzo drugs. My heart and prayers go out to you.
Passion, you have been through a lot, and you CAN do this. I encourage you to journal and post your experience and feelings regarding Hydro dependency/detox. And, yes, you may feel free to use the Vicodin Home Detox or any Hydro thread. The recent experiences of two other Hydro Detoxers (board posters GSX and Muler) are on "DAY 2 WD...can hardly type" and "Another Addict Trying To Recover".

Regarding SamE, I learned about it and started taking it after my detox. I actually first learned of it when I was seeking OTC pain relief options to cope with Fibromyalgia. I am trying all OTC options in order to avoid rx level pain relief after what I have been through I never ever want to mess with that stuff again. In my opinion, it has its place and value, but is a SHORT term relief option for SHORT term pain and, for me at least, should never be an option for treating long term pain conditions since it always ends up in dependency/detox. There is a HUGE boomerang effect with painkillers where they truly wonderfully short term and then they change where they actually start magnifying the pain they first helped. There is no way for the patient to delineate the cause of that change as it just feels like PAIN that needs to be treated so the natural progression into dependency hell begins. Posting your experience/feelings will not only help you, but will help others who are reading and contemplating their own dependency options. I check the Home Detox thread frequently to see if others need support....just my way of giving gratitude for all the help and guidance I received through others on many Boards. I try to help all that I can.
Elizabeth, you are quite welcome. Do not feel bad about not knowing!! Most of us didn't know until we were in trouble! Thank you for sharing your story which oddly seems similar to mine --- high-profile job, lots of stress, death in family, a doctor eager to prescribe, and well you know the story all too well. The difference for me was I wasn't taking Vicodin and Benzo at same time. First Vicodin, then Benzo (Xanax) and then Tramadol---3 different doctors as I was referred out to specialists for followup care---none of the 3 ever warned about tolerance dependency being a real problem that would involve horrible WDs...all treated tolerance very lightly and just increased doseage when I raised concerns.

For me, I eventually chose to home manage my own detox so that there would be no medical file documentation and reduce risks of jeopardizing my job. I mean obviously it was in my file regarding what I was being prescribed, but at the time I did not understand there was a medical distinction between addiction and tolerance dependency---all I knew was I could do nothing that might put my job at risk.

If you should choose to discuss it with your doctor, be sure you understand which applies to you, addiction or tolerance dependency, so you can accurately describe it and not unknowingly create the impression of a more serious problem than what you may have.

Addiction is associated with with inability to safely manage prescription useage in accordance with directions; abusing drugs, specifically taking prescription drugs beyond levels of how they were prescribed. For example, acquiring "additional" supplies through other sources than your doctor; friends, online, sellers, etc. Therefore, understandably, if you tell your doctor you feel you have an addiction problem, policies in some facilities require doctors to red flag the drug problem on your file for the awareness of any doctor who sees you so they don't prescribe for you.

Dependency is associated with taking drugs as prescribed, but developing a predictable tolerance associated with the basic inherent nature of the drug, and not the associated with your ability to properly manage your prescription as directed.

For physicians the diagnostic difference is an indicator as to whether a person has foundational drug management issues. Those who can't manage drug use in accordance with prescription must be halted from further abuse potential. Those who have developed tolerance dependency are not likely to be red-flagged. It is all an issue of semantics, but important semantics in the medical world that us lay folks generally would never have a clue even existed. I didn't know it either; my cousin is a doctor so that is how I learned it.

For some folks they MUST have that disclosure/external control in order to quit. Only you know which category you honestly feel that you fit within.

You were very wise to realize that when you started to count pills that it was a warning signal. In retrospect I think that was one of the first signs, and I wish I had known that and done something long before I did. Counting pills, splitting pills, waking thoughts that you need to take a pill the moment your feet hit the floor, scheduling things around your RX refill date, arranging to be able to pick up your RX refill as soon as the pharmacy opens, horrible feelings of panic and dread when your doctor has not yet called in your refill.....all are warning signs that tolerance and dependency have set in and difficult choices must be made---doctor can increase dose level or change to a more potent medication (all leading to tolerance and dependency of a worst substance that will be harder to detox from)---or detox and get off the drug merrygoround and get YOUR life back.

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