Posted by bleauberry on June 5, 2012, at 13:14:23
In reply to benzo withdrawal stretegy, posted by thefan on June 2, 2012, at 18:06:17
I am all in favor the multitude of disease benefits plant chemicals offer. In your shoes, and I have been there, I would call upon them as a base for the weaning/withdrawal period. I would be using at least two but maybe all of....lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, valerian root, magneesium...as a base for anything else I do. Those offer respectable support in the anxiety/panic/sleep departments.
I would also consider the adaptogen plants, since they impact the very places where that grinding anxiety comes from....dysfunctional signals from pituitary gland or adrenal gland. Rhodiola, Eletheuro, Ashwaganda.
Weird but I started taking rhodiola months ago for its antidepressant and stimulant reputation. A lot of users commented on its great anti anxiety and anti panic effect. Well, it has not been the antidepressant miracle to me that it has been to others, and I do not find it stimulating....though it definitely helps endurance....but the main thing I have gotten from it is anti anxiety. I know there are a multitude of other health benefits happening as well, whether I can feel them or not. It is very finnicky with dose size though and can easily go against me if I do a wrong dose size. I found ashwaganda more immediately calming, and eleuthero good at that too.
So with or without a good base from which to work, all I can say is go slow and in tiny steps. If you are getting profound panic during a weaning process, it simply means the dose was lowered too fast and/or in too large of a step. Have you ever made your own custom doses out of your pills and capsules? If not, a weaning process is the perfect time to practice it.
What to replace your meds with is another issue. Would be nice to have something to cross-taper to and avoid a hard wean altogether. But then again, that kind of thinking keeps us trapped in the merrigoround.
I mention this just for curiousity sake and pondering thought. Anxiety issues are basically....too much stimulating brain chemicals in action and not enough calming ones in action. Too much adrenaline. Too much norepinephrine. Too much epinephrine. Something like that. Something in that arena is too much. So how do we lower it? Well, ok this sounds backwards, but we give it more. Makes things worse in the beginning, but then makes it better. That's because the feedback loops kick in and recognize there is too much going on and so they turn the volume down. So now, despite the fact that a med or herb is actually adding more of the offensive subject, the body itself has readjusted the total end result of that downward. These adjustments begin at about 4 days and continue for weeks and months. For me the med that did that in the most profound fashion was savella. I had viscious anxiety, the kind where you are terrified to even think about going anywhere. I was already wired, so the thought of taking a med that is strong on norepinephrine scared me. Didn't make sense. Sure worked good though.
Anyway, I'm just trying to point out that there are many other options, both inside and outside the psychiatrist's limited toolbox, and sometimes the ones that can help the most are the ones we least suspect or the ones we would logically predict could not possibly be helpful. For example, if we are talking anxiety, then almost all of us limit our thoughts to benzos and cousins, APs, maybe ssris, maybe mood stabilizers, where in fact if we've been dealing with these kinds of meds for a long time and not getting very far with them, then that is a loud clear signal that's the wrong arena to be playing in....time to consider some paradoxical approaches and out of the box approaches, especially after first line, second line, and third line choices have disappointed. Those are all basically just clues trying to tell you, "what you are looking for aint here, it's over there where you aren't looking".