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Mike

I'm a middle aged guy who has suffered from depression for many years. About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with bi-polar mood disorder and began taking lithium. It helped greatly and I was stable until last May. (2007) At that time I became moderately to seriously depressed.

Since I had been there before I was not too alarmed. I knew there were some things I could do to help myself and I was confident that this mood swing would run its course and I would be OK again.

I began to experience insomnia; not unusual with depression. I got a prescription for Ativan from my GP and started to take it. Of course it worked, this time as before. Previously about 20 years earlier I took Ativan for insomnia for two weeks. After that my doctor would not renew the script. He firmly told me it was highly addictive and not meant to be used regularly for any longer than two weeks. This time however, when I returned to my current doctor she was quite prepared to renew the script. I had expected her to refuse just as my doctor had done twenty years previously. She told me that if I needed it I should certainly continue to take it and that I should not worry about addiction until six to eight weeks had passed.

The information sheet that came with my current script indicated that two to four weeks was the recommended time span. I did some research on the internet and was made aware of people who became addicted in very short periods of time. I began to get a bit confused about just how addictive this stuff was. The more research I did the more confused and conflicted about the Ativan I became. I was still depressed, beginning to experience some tolerance with the Ativan, and experiencing the insomnia again. By this time I had made up my mind not to increase the dosage and to start to get off the benzo. I had learned enough about this stuff that getting off became even more important than the depression and the accompanying insomnia.

Although I had not been taking the Ativan for very long (unlike some folks on the internet who had been on it for years)  I was very concerned about tapering rather than going cold turkey. The small size of the pill made simple dry cutting very imprecise. Crossing over to valium, a commonly recommended procedure seemed complicated and somewhat unpredictable. The water titration method seemed sensible and I decided to go with that.

But finding out how to do it- I mean the details, was a whole other matter. Fortunately someone on the TRAP forum put me in touch with Anthea, and the rest is history, as they say.

I cannot adequately describe how helpful Anthea was. I'll always remember her email where she said that I could ask her any question, as often as I needed to about water titration. Those words were exactly what I needed to read. They filled me with joy and hope. I was really pretty depressed and almost frantic about my possible dependence on Ativan.

As I obtained the necessary information from her I became confident that I could get myself out of the benzo nightmare. As I " watered off", and gradually reduced my dosage of Ativan my sense of mastery, so disabled by the depression, started to improve. Sleeping gradually got better as well. I became skilful and knowledgeable with the water titration procedure. Regular email contact with Anthea kept me on the right track, and in about 8 weeks I was off the drug. The titration went very smoothly. I'll never take another benzo again!

I should point out that I started to feel better after about 5 weeks into the titration process. I did not experience any of the nasty withdrawal symptoms that some people do. I attribute that to the relatively short time that I was on Ativan.

I have been feeling good since getting off the benzo. Since I do, however, suffer from bi polar mood disorder, feeling good takes some work! I'm very active physically. I try to handle the periodic insomnia with good sleep practices and I've learned a few cognitive behavioral therapy tricks. Plus mindfulness meditation. (This, I believe, should be taught to kids in school as a life skill; it's quite wonderful )



 

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 22 July 2015