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Benzo withdrawal 14 months off, still suffering with cognitive impairment

benzodiazepine withdrawal cognitive impairment

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#31 RS3RS

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 04:13 PM

Have you given this thread a good read-through and considered any of the substances discussed within?

http://www.longecity...age-and-repair/

#32 Nootr

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:54 PM

What about Etifoxine? It is reported to be a little weaker than benzos and without any tolerance. It may help to bear the withdrawal but i dont know if it will restore your receptors.

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#33 Galaxyshock

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:22 AM

Have you tried adaptogens? Siberian Ginseng has been very good for restoring cognition and energy output in my post acute withdrawal from 6 months abuse of GABAergics (phenibut, alcohol, ashwagandha). The only side effect is that it can initially make me agitated but I just "use" the stimulation to working out. The key with adaptogens is to restore the stress-induced changes and teach you a better way to function.
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#34 Kompota

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

I have nothing to contribute, but this topic is interesting. Can you describe in detail what your brain fog is like? Is it pure fatigue, do you feel a difficulty in having a string of thoughts? Do you have gaps in your thinking? How is your cognitive state now compared to how it was before your exposure?


It is difficult to explain. A combination of mental fatigue and inability to string together more complex thoughts. Simple tasks are challenging, exaggerated by the fact that I often forget what I was planning to do a minute before (no short-term memory). An example: writing some computer code, I define a variable at the top of the class and when I scroll down to the method where I would use the variable, I notice I have already forgotten it's name. It makes things happening very slow and the additional frustration about that gets me even more unfocused.

The lack of motivation is not a simple laziness (I am not a lazy person basically), it is much more than that - it is like a lack of mental strength plus apathy.

Before the whole ordeal started, I was happily writing computer code with classes, methods, thinking abstractly and creatively.
In the very thick of acute withdrawal I could barely perform 2+2 math.

I really like your idea of a cascade of neurotransmiter downregulation. It would explain a lot of why there are so many unrelated psychological withdrawal symptoms, but then if it were true then it also means that the extent of the initial process or secondary process of downregulation varies a lot from person to person by a lot.


Yeah, I mean it seems GABA alpha-5 subunit deregulation is the very root of the problem, but how would a GABA / Glutamate imbalance by itself explain cognitive deficiencies ? It has to be due to some chain effect on Acetylcholine (mainly), a downregulation within the cholinergic system as a homeostatic response maybe ?

Have you given this thread a good read-through and considered any of the substances discussed within?

http://www.longecity...age-and-repair/


Yes, I have read the thread multiple times. That is where the flumazenil - idea came from.

#35 Kompota

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:18 PM

What about Etifoxine? It is reported to be a little weaker than benzos and without any tolerance. It may help to bear the withdrawal but i dont know if it will restore your receptors.


Although much weaker than benzos, it seems Etifoxine is still a GABA receptor agonist. As I stated earlier, at 14 months off I am already feeling well enough (apart from cognition) not to look for a simple alleviation of symptoms (which would be temporary). Weak GABA agonists might just do that, but I am aiming at a long-term solution, and in that case those only make things worse.

#36 Kompota

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:29 PM

A small update: about 10 days ago I started taking a "mini-stack":
- Bacopa Monnieri - a supposed GABA receptor antagonist
- Ginko Biloba - helps with the blood circulation in the brain
- Theanine - was important to read it is NOT a GABA agonist

I was looking for Magenisium in the malate form, but haven't managed to find one here.

It is looking good so far, having noticed a bit of an improvement in cognitition and elevated mood. It comes together with some additional agitation (don't know if I would call it anxiety) as opposed to the apathy and dulled mood, which has been the more prevalent state so far. Then again, it could be just another corner in recovery I am turning around.
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#37 RS3RS

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:00 PM

Sounds like a solid stack. I'd also be interested in the effects of Kava Kava in this situation, as it has turned out to be much more than a simple GABA agonist, and produces upregulation (or is at least thought to):

http://www.longecity...r-upregulation/

#38 Nootr

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:46 PM

Magnesium acetate can be obtained in the kitchen from magnesium sulfate using baking soda and apple cider vinegar (non-filtered) with all benefits of vitamins and proteins contained in apple vinegar. No need to buy magnesium malate.

#39 protoject

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:59 PM

This is only worth a grain of salt but have you considered Flumazenil treatment as I heard that this restores the receptors' activity. I would love to try this myself as I've blunted my receptors down through gaba agonist usage a year ago as well. I've also heard on this forum that sodium valproate might upregulate gaba receptors, I haven't confirmed this myself but if it does I'd be willing to try that for sure.
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#40 inw

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 01:15 AM

The benzo withdrawal is fn real unfortunately, I got slammed with it after following a stupid dr's prescription and even taken as prescribed and with a slow taper, I got debilitated.

Total time on xanax - 4 yrs up to 3mg/day and slow taper over ~2 years.
Hit tolerance withdrawal at .2mg/day in Jan '12 and had to leave work
Now almost 6 months off xanax

Symptoms: Insane debilitating fatigue, derealization, aritficial anxiety, dizziness, get panic/anxiety symptoms when driving or going somewhere not close to home, random stomach bloating, throat tightness, among tons of others.

A few days out of the month I can walk or try to do pushups and physical stuff but the rest of the time I don't go anywhere.
Recently, I had 5 days in a row where I felt normal then it went back to hell, it's 'very tough and I tried bacopa,theanine,5-htp,inositol, did nothing... The only remedy is time and possibly these untested drugs.

Edited by inw, 29 October 2012 - 01:16 AM.


#41 Nootr

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

Try CILTEP stack.

#42 Nootr

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:16 AM

Try afobazol. It restored GABA receptors after phenibut.

#43 Kompota

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:07 PM

The benzo withdrawal is fn real unfortunately, I got slammed with it after following a stupid dr's prescription and even taken as prescribed and with a slow taper, I got debilitated.

Total time on xanax - 4 yrs up to 3mg/day and slow taper over ~2 years.
Hit tolerance withdrawal at .2mg/day in Jan '12 and had to leave work
Now almost 6 months off xanax

Symptoms: Insane debilitating fatigue, derealization, aritficial anxiety, dizziness, get panic/anxiety symptoms when driving or going somewhere not close to home, random stomach bloating, throat tightness, among tons of others.

A few days out of the month I can walk or try to do pushups and physical stuff but the rest of the time I don't go anywhere.
Recently, I had 5 days in a row where I felt normal then it went back to hell, it's 'very tough and I tried bacopa,theanine,5-htp,inositol, did nothing... The only remedy is time and possibly these untested drugs.


Sorry to hear about your suffering. I am afraid 6 months off is still early days. I remember at that time I still felt quite bad. You can expect to turn a major corner somewhere between months 11 and 14, although occurence of waves may continue beyond that. They get shorter and easier to handle though.

#44 thegron

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:13 PM

Sorry to hear that you have Benzo PAWS inw. It's horrible isn't it? I can assure you one thing and one thing only. It will get better with time. I can't say for sure how much you will improve but you will definitely improve partially at the very least. I know that probably doesn't make you feel much better but it is something I suppose.

Kompota! Hey how are you feeling these days? It seems like your message to inw was very positive. Can I assume then that you are starting to feel better?

#45 inw

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:12 PM

Thanks for the support and suggestions guys, still toughing it out! It looks like a lot of people are getting more 'functional' around the 8-12 month mark so that's what I'm looking forward to. It's insane that these idiot dr's prescribe this garbage for daily use! I had no idea it was causing my issues until I researched.

#46 thegron

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:52 PM

Same here man. Same here. I'm actually trying to convince my Research Adviser to submit for a grant to look into whether or not selective GABAa alpha 5 antagonists (or inverse agonists) ameliorate the symptoms and pathology of Benzo PAWS.

#47 Kompota

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 05:29 AM

Kompota! Hey how are you feeling these days? It seems like your message to inw was very positive. Can I assume then that you are starting to feel better?


Things continue to improve, cognition included. It is the very slow pace at which that is happening, which is a bit frustrating. If not for the cognitive issues, I would declare myself healed. It appears those are the very last symptoms to go away.

Looking back at the huge progress made so far within almost 17 months, and trying to extrapolate it, then I guess I might reach 100% within the Two-year (around 24 months) time frame. From what I know, it is very few people who need more than 2 years and those are rather complicated cases: multiple cold turkeys with kindling, taking "rescue" doses, poly-drugging, additional alcohol / opiate abuse.

#48 thegron

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 05:32 AM

I'm so pleased to hear that !!! I'm sure you'll be healed in no time. Keep us updated.

#49 Kompota

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:07 AM

thegron,
I have a question.
If I go for a GABA-receptor antagonist / inverse agonist treatment, logic says I may experience some Glutamate hyperactivity with possible excitotoxicity. Should I consider taking a NMDA antagonist ? Magnesium, though very safe and without ill side effects, might be too weak for the purpose. Ketamine or Memantine might be useful, but when researching NMDA antagonists, I came upon the issue with neurotoxicity (not to be mistaken with excitotoxicity, which NMDA antagonists are aimed to prevent). I guess it depends much on dosage / duration of treatment though.

#50 neuropill

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:09 AM

thegron,
I have a question.
If I go for a GABA-receptor antagonist / inverse agonist treatment, logic says I may experience some Glutamate hyperactivity with possible excitotoxicity. Should I consider taking a NMDA antagonist ? Magnesium, though very safe and without ill side effects, might be too weak for the purpose. Ketamine or Memantine might be useful, but when researching NMDA antagonists, I came upon the issue with neurotoxicity (not to be mistaken with excitotoxicity, which NMDA antagonists are aimed to prevent). I guess it depends much on dosage / duration of treatment though.


I don't believe that will be the case unless you're GABA-receptor antagonist / inverse agonist will be in high/toxic doses. I don't see a problem using 1 gram doses of Magnesium

I've used GABA antag's with good results in lower doses and when I go too high I a notice strong anxiety reaction.

Edited by neuropill, 30 October 2012 - 10:42 AM.


#51 Kompota

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:39 AM

I've used GABA antag's with good results in lower doses and when I go too high I notice strong anxiety reaction.


Do you mind if I asked what GABA antagonists have you used ?

#52 neuropill

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:41 AM

I've used GABA antag's with good results in lower doses and when I go too high I notice strong anxiety reaction.


Do you mind if I asked what GABA antagonists have you used ?


You can pm me.

#53 thegron

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 02:37 PM

Kompota,

What GABA antagonist were you thinking about using? If I am to assume you are talking about a non-selective antagonist like Flumazenil, I would say that an NMDA antagonist probably wouldn't help that much. It might counteract some of the negative effects but I'm pretty sure you would be in trouble no matter what. Of course, it all depends on the dose of the Flumazenil. Personally, I'm trying to convince my Neurologist to administer the Flumazenil but it is an uphill battle. I guess if that failed, I would consider trying larger oral doses of the drug.

Neuropill, why wouldn't you just post what antagonists you've used?

#54 protoject

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 04:48 PM

yeah please share, if not then PM me,. I was also interested in low-dose gaba antagonists.

#55 Christopher Rockwell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:14 AM

I'm so glad I found this thread. I am in a similar situation. I was on 3mgs of xanax for 12 years and did a 14 month valium taper. I am currently approaching 11 months off and still am suffering from a significant amount of symptoms. Just about all of which had disappeared for a 6 week period several months ago. I have read approx 11 studies on flumazenil and it's effects on benzo withdrawal. All of them positive to a degree. The latest one being in the November issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. I have been in contact with the research team from Australia. I have spoken to several doctors who administer flumazenil to patients both in Perth and Melbourne, Australia. They all report similar findings in that positive results are displayed by most of these patients undergoing treatment but that some patients need follow up treatment. They use subcutaneous infusions for a period of 12 days. The center in Perth has now begun using a flumazenil implant that breaks down over 6 weeks time. The problem I have is that I'm an American and the only place I have found here is the Coleman Institute in Virginia which wants to charge 2600 for a 7 day treatment. The price of the treatment is not unreasonable due to the cost of the drug but there would be expenses in traveling and accommodation that would bring it up closer to four thousand. Again, not unreasonable if I only required one treatment and it worked. The problem is that there is no guarantee that one treatment will suffice and it is unreasonable to pay that kind of money more than once for the desired effect. Are there any suggestions as to how to go about getting access to this type of treatment locally and repetitively if needed? I, of course, would also be interested in low dose gaba antagonists besides flumazenil. Thanks in advance.

#56 Kompota

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

What are your symptoms now ?

They follow a certain protocol, but I don't know if they have made it public. If so, a qualified medical person in your area might perform the treatment. You are right that flumazenil is quite expensive, so that would explain the amount they charge you at the Coleman Institute. I am considering a treatment myself, and I am still gathering info.

Other GABA antagonists I can think of now:
- Wormwood - at 11 months out tried some wormwood tea, not much of an immediate effect, didn't make me feel any worse though
- Thujone - not sure if a good idea
- Bicuculline - some plant alkaloid
- Valproic acid
- Bacopa Monnieri - not sure though, it is supposed to help with upregulating GABA receptors somehow

#57 inw

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:38 PM

I saw a few benzo withdrawal sufferers take a few doses of Flumazenil and one said it relieved the symptoms for hours or a few days then they came back. So of course we are not sure of a substance/drug that can "RESET" the specific receptors that are currently messed up from benzo withdrawal.

Christpoher-
How functional are you now on a daily basis? I'm ~8.5 months out of a slow taper of 3mg xanax and I have seen good windows over the last few months but there is zero consistency, I would still say that ~90% of the days are bad where I don't go anywhere b/c I'm too fatigued and spaced out. Still have an insane fatigue, mood is shot, dereleazation vision, get hightened anxiety building towards panic if I try to drive far, throat tightness. I can also drink coffee once in a while but sometimes it will increase anxiety, these are all things I never had before as I used to drink a lot of coffee with no issues, I used to drink alcohol on the weekend with no issues as well, of course I have stayed away from alcohol for the past 8 months due to withdrawal.

Edited by inw, 22 January 2013 - 09:43 PM.


#58 Christopher Rockwell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

My symptoms are a high level of anxiety when I leave my apartment and when I'm around people. I also have a significant amount of cognitive impairment. I have a few lingering physical symptoms but those have abated over the 11 months. The anxiety symptoms disappeared in my last window but have come back strong. The cognitive impairment never left though. So basically my functionality went from decent to very good to now being low again. I can get about if I need to run errands but it's otherwise really difficult. I know that the anxiety symptoms will go away again and that I'll be able to be functional again but it's the cognitive impairment that frustrates me because it shows no signs of letting up. This is why I want to do the flumazenil treatment.

INW, when you say that you saw a few benzo withdrawal sufferers take a few doses, what exactly do you mean? I'm not aware of any pill form of flumazenil. Not sure it would work that way. The method used for subcutaneous infusion is basically a mix of low dose, 2 or 4 mgs, delivered daily for 7 to 12 days based on the program.

#59 thegron

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Christopher, I feel your pain and frustration. I also suffer mostly from cognitive impairment. It sucks... I used to be such an intelligent person with an amazing memory. But don't lose hope. I know I haven't. Of course, I'm only 6 months off benzos at this point but still. 11 months may not be enough. It seems as if the cognitive impairment takes the longest to get better/go away. It could take more around the 2 year mark to feel appreciably better. It isn't a bad idea to consider the Flumazenil treatment however.. Hang in there!

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#60 Christopher Rockwell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:04 PM

Have a read, guys. Let me know what you think. This is from the November issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

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