BENZO STORY: Jill from Grand Junction, Colorado
Updated: Mar 23
A benzo story of struggle with a long series of psych medications including Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Paxil, and others.
Key Topics: Anxiety, Benzos, Dependence, Withdrawal, Doctors, Xanax (alprazolam), Polydrug, Paxil (paroxetine), Menopause, Progesterone, Ambien (Zolpidem), Z-drug, Restoril (temezepam), Prozac (fluoxetine), Klonopin (clonazepam), Remeron (mirtazapine), Suicidal Ideation, Fluoroquinolones
Listen on the Podcast: https://www.easinganxiety.com/post/the-dangers-of-benzodiazepine-use-in-the-elderly-bfp015
Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content for certain segments of the population. If this is a concern for you, please refrain from reading any further. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. Opinions stated are those of the author only. See our disclaimer at the bottom of this post for more information.
NOTE: Jill’s story is told in a bulleted format by topic and date.
Anxiety after horrible experience building new house/moving.
Paxil and Xanax
Tests for thyroid-negative.
Confirm I’m in full menopause, however, I never had any symptoms except for very rare hot flashes. Given HRT. Bad reaction. Progesterone is GABA antagonist (explained later in article), so made me worse. Laid on the floor with stomach pain for a day.
Insomnia worsened, thought it was from Paxil, took more Xanax. Paxil dosage increased 2 times more. Had genetic testing for medication compatibility.
Tried Belsomra, Temazepam, and Ambien — didn’t work. Adverse reaction to Ambien. Texted husband in the middle of the night and had no recollection of it. Started losing weight and became more depressed. Looping, intrusive thoughts. Went to doctor in Boulder for another opinion, prescribed Lexapro – no change.
Started having interdose withdrawal (didn’t know it at the time) and suicidal ideation. I have never had those thoughts before taking Xanax. Weight loss now 25 lbs. Memory loss and chipped tooth from night grinding now added to list of symptoms tied to benzo use.
Tolerance developed. Anxiety/depression worsened. Went to psych hospital because I felt suicidal. Still didn’t know I was in benzo tolerance.
Dr. poly-drugged me
Switched to Prozac, Mirtazapine, and Klonopin. Anxiety, panic, manic behavior worsened. Irrational behavior, sound sensitivity, paranoia, feeling of tightness around head, ear fullness, eye pain, hair loss, and UTI.
Floxed with Cipro and went into acute benzo withdrawal. Fluoroquinolones are antagonists of the GABA-A receptor, meaning that they prevent the binding of GABA and can displace other molecules bound to the receptor, such as benzodiazepines. In other words, someone on benzos should NEVER be given a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Both the doctor and pharmacist missed this potentially life threatening drug interaction.
Follow up with Nurse Practitioner. Told her I wanted to get off Klonopin. Said to half my dose every week. (Way too fast.) Got down to .25mg, had to updose back to .5mg due to extreme anxiety and agitation. Then switched to 5 mg Valium. Mental torture. Regret, guilt, remorse, looping thoughts, depersonalization and derealization.
Went to California docs. Said I needed to taper off of Valium. Switched me to liquid. After 1 week, dropped to 4 mg Valium. Nightmares (bugs crawling out of my skin and nails being hammered into my eyes), agitation, extreme anxiety, suicidal ideation, sweats.
Found Ashton Manual and Benzo Buddies. Realized my taper was too fast. Currently at 1 mg Valium. Will also have to taper from Prozac and Mirtazapine (Remeron). Still have looping, intrusive thoughts, extreme anxiety, fullness in ears, feeling of a tight band around head, numbness in fingers, nightmares, and stiff neck.
Did more research, used Facebook, LinkedIn, and other benzo websites to start connecting with other people who have a similar story. Starting grassroots effort to pass legislation for “Informed Consent” in Colorado.
As soon as I took Xanax as prescribed, I began to get sicker and sicker. I was labeled with depression and had suicidal ideation. Why is it I HAVE NEVER had a thought of suicide until I took that little orange pill?
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All stories shared on Easing Anxiety are done so with the author’s permission. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect those of Easing Anxiety or its founder. Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content for certain segments of the population. While provided as an informational resource to our community, some stories may not be beneficial to those who are sensitive to their content. Regarding benzodiazepine withdrawal or BIND, most people can withdraw safely, successfully, and without serious complications if they are informed and have a solid support system. Many of the stories shared on Easing Anxiety are extreme and should not be used to create any expectations of one’s individual experience. Please read the Ashton Manual formore information and work with your doctor. Withdrawal, tapering, or any other change in dosage of benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs), or any other prescription medication should only be done under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. View our complete disclaimer for more info.