Citation: Israelite7. "If God Created Hell, This Is It: An Experience with Alprazolam, Ziprasidone & Baclofen (exp110507)". Erowid.org. Jun 13, 2017. erowid.org/exp/110507
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome
I'm am writing this almost 4 years later after the most gut wrenching experience I've encountered while detoxing off of a drug.
A little bit about me. I am a 28 year old male. I just moved back from Florida to Georgia to live with my family. I am still coping with certain symptoms developed after the discontinuation of a benzodiazepine.
I lived in a small rural town in Georgia. I am not a newbie when it comes to mind altering substances. Because of my past drug experiences when I was younger, I developed a severe anxiety disorder that I still have to treat today with certain medications. I'm am not new to psychiatric hospitals. For years, even before my drug abuse history, I struggled with mental health disorders.
I was 24. Living with my parents. I had lost all hope of ever bettering myself. I had a high school diploma with a college degree but couldn't find a decent enough job to really live comfortable as my own man and move out of parents' house. I had just quit my job at church's chicken. At the time, I was on certain psychiatric medications that were giving me really bad side effects. From 2011 to 2014, I experienced a good amount of different withdrawals from these medications which included; Suboxone, Strattera, Bystolic,and Remeron. My goal was to be off of all these medications and function like a normal adult. I was in an online relationship with a woman overseas, who also happened to be married with 3 full grown kids. I was lonely, so I needed a crutch to make it through that isolated time in my life.
It was October. I was only taking 2 medications at this point. Baclofen and Geodon. I figured Geodon would be next on the list. I went to my PDoc one day and told her I wanted off. She strongly advised against it. I really wished I would have listened.
She strongly advised against it. I really wished I would have listened.
Thinking about those two weeks on just those two medications, I was happy and had no side effects from the medications. No anxiety either. I would workout in the mornings and play on my pc the rest of the day.
The first day, I cut the dosage. I was taking 80mgs at bed time. I take a 60mg capsule and went to bed. I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. Although I didn't sleep as much as I normally do. This went on for a week. Then week two, I noticed something. I started to sweat more under my arm pits. I started having really bad anxiety 3 hours before my next dose. After a month I figured I should taper on down to 40mgs. The first night I laid down to sleep, I took the 40mg. 1 hour later I felt like I WAS GOING CRAZY. My mind felt like it had snapped. I could slowly feel myself slipping into a psychotic state. I went and told my mom out of concern. I took 80mgs on top of the 40 mgs and instantly felt relief 30 minutes later. The next day the same symptoms appeared but they only got worse. I had reinstated my regular dose of Geodon and nothing would help. The anxiety just kept building and building every day like I had permanently damaged myself.
Here is where the xanax gets involved. I had ten 1mg xanax pills left over from my dentist visit. He prescribed those to me because I almost had panic attacks while getting my teeth worked on. I remembered how well they worked. So I broke one in half and took it. 15 minutes later INSTANT RELIEF. I felt completely normal and fine like I could carry on with daily living. 2 days later, the anxiety returns. By day 4 my anxiety was at a new height I've never experienced. I took another one. This went on for some weeks. Until I started taking it every day. A month after daily use, something CRAZY happened. I took my regular dose. Oh, and I forgot to mention, when I ran out I was getting them from my mom. She had a prescription she just never took them. After I took my regular dose, and it kicked in, my body violently started to reject it. It's like it made all the symptoms I was trying to get rid of THAT MUCH WORSE. So I figured I should stop taking it.
The first day wasn't that bad but my anxiety was definitely noticeable. I almost couldn't sleep. The second day I'll never forget. I woke up shaking very badly, sweating cold sweat, feeling like my head was splitting in two. I quickly looked up online and found out I was in benzo detox. So I took my dose. And again, my body violently rejected it and I found myself in anxiety hell. Little did I know my body developed a rare reaction to benzos that only a small minority get to experience. It's called the 'paradoxical effect'. Basically when you take the drug, instead of helping the problem it makes it worse. So I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Take the medication and be in hell or don't take the medication and also be in hell. I was unsure about what to do. So I googled online about benzo detox and came across a site called 'benzo buddies'. I had no clue what I had gotten myself into until I started reading what other people were going through. I was reading stories about how people had stopped benzos for YEARS and still had bad symptoms.
At this point I was scared. I was trying any and everything I could to get off. I tried supplements one time. Gaba plus it's called. It put me into such a state I was about to commit suicide. Each time I tried to get off and had to go back on, my symptoms reach a new height of bad effects, I thought to myself. 'If God created hell, this is it.' I tried tapering for a few months and just couldn't get off. And my body was starting to wear out. My hair started to fall out in huge clumps when I would shower. My stomach was UPSET like never before. I always had bad indigestion and vomiting. I tried going to a detox twice and it never helped only made things that much worse. I would always reinstate when I left because my brain felt like it was changing shapes inside of my head.
Around March of 2014. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't stomach food anymore and drinking just a sip of water sent me into vomiting spells. I was sure my neck was going to break from the force of puking. I was making my peace with God and begging for mercy. I spent my last month in GA getting taken by ambulance to the hospital to get fluids, a shot of ativan, and a shot of phernegan. Eventually the hospital caught on I was in benzo detox and refused to give me at ativan anymore. I went to see a GI doctor and he said he found nothing when he did the endoscopy. Before the procedure they gave me a benzo called VERSED. That took away every symptom I was experiencing and I felt normal for a whole day. After that, back in benzo hell again. I was frantically searching for a solution as my mental health center had no patience left with me and wouldn't even prescribe me my baclofen anymore. Come to find out, Baclofen works similarly to xanax but on a different channel of the main receptor. There is a receptor in the body called GABA. GABA is to regulate the body's calm state.
I looked online how to taper baclofen and came across a rehab in Florida. I phoned them up ASAP. He asked if I had insurance. Now I need to stress I knew nothing about rehab and insurance because I've never left my small town and there isn't any of that stuff here. Just a state run detox. After a week of trying to get me a flight, I was booked. On April 8th I woke up at 4am. This actually is making me tear up a little LOL. I was sleeping 16 hours a day because being up past 8 would make my stomach messed up. I packed my things not knowing what was going to happen. I was scared. I felt like the little bird about to fly my wings out of mommy's nest for the first time in my life. My father drove me to the airport. I hugged him goodbye and started my way through the airport. By this time, my window was approaching when I should sleep. I made my way through the Atlanta Airport going through the worst withdrawals imaginable.
Being on the plane for the first time in my life was very terrifying. We had so much turbulance that I thought we were going to crash. Thinking back on it now, and after having flown nearly 8 times since, it was not a normal flight. As soon as we landed I felt a sense of relief. My driver met me at the airport and we were on route to the detox. I started seeing palm trees and nice cars. We were in a Mercedes. But I couldn't take any of it in because of the hell I was experiencing. We seemed like we were in that car for two hours when it was actually 30 minutes.
When we finally got there, a few techs greeted me. I started going through the intake process and was begging them to help me. I was clearly scared and visibly shaking. After that was over, I was taken to a nearby restroom. 'Here, Pee in this cup' He says to me. After trying to do this feat, I figured it would pointless. MY kidneys were not working it appeared. Then... Blackness. I woke up on the floor shaking so bad I thought I was dead. I had a nurse holding my head up and techs all around me trying to be sure I'm okay. They quickly gave me a cup with two pills in it. It ended up being valium. I'm in this wheelchair they put in the nurses station, 30 minutes later my shaking stopped and I felt 10X BETTER than before. I spent the 7 days in this detox bonding with people who were in the same situation. And this rehab wasn't cheap or run down. We had a personal chef who cooked our meals, we had groups, we had everything provided for us. I made a decision to stay in Florida and give it a shot. I got out and went to residence, the place where you live while you stay there the rest of your time. And I wasn't on the valium anymore. I spent the next two months detoxing MY ASS off. Not physically but mentally. I was put in the mental health portion of the residence. I WASN'T CRAZY. And I hated being treated like I was. I graduated rehab and moved into a halfway house. Only stayed there for like 2 days because all my roommates were shooting heroin and drinking... This was all new to me.
Throughout the next 3 years of of my life. I got involved with the program of AA. If I hadn't found that program, I might not have made it through. I was experienced over 100 different symptoms in those two years post discontinuation of benzos. Around 18 months sober I started feeling better.
Around 18 months sober I started feeling better.
Like 75% mentally and physically. I had joined a gym and became the most ripped dude people had ever seen. I never imagined how dramatically fast my life would change. I got to live life sober in southern Florida. I met thousands of people. Worked many jobs. Helped many people. I made it to 2 and a half years sober and relapsed last year in August. I fell in love for the first time in my life. And she left me. I cried for a whole year. Eventually ended up using again over it. I started smoking cigarettes again to cope. Eventually, my stomach issue flared up again. And until this day, EVEN TODAY AS I WRITE THIS, I still have those stomach issues and nobody can find the cause. They are not nearly as bad but it's still annoying. I had to leave work on medical leave to come home because my stomach had gotten super bad. I ended up getting laid off from my job right before I was going to fly back down to Florida.
Right now I'm back at my folks' place with little to no hope... I am 2 days back in the program of NA. I'm going through ALOT, but at least I'M NOT DETOXING off of benzos again. I'll never forget it. I get scared to take that mess now. Man it was all so traumatic I'm actually crying right now. IN MY HOPES... Someone will read this and take heed to not make the same mistakes I did. They have alternative medications for anxiety. Working out and eating right is also good.
I experienced almost every symptom on a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome list. Please be safe y'all... I don't want anyone to go through this.
June 7 Update:
I take 160mg of geodon now... they had to up the dosage to fix my brain.
I was taking 40 mgs of baclofen also at night. I forgot to mention that when I took baclofen and geodon, my symptoms seemed to disappear completely.
When I went to Florida I got put on gabapentin, vistaril, and clonidine. The last two I'm still on.
I was smoking a pack a day back in GA. I quit smoking in rehab and my stomach instantly got better. I just had to quit again because my health was just not good at all.
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