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This is a very long post but I’m very scared. The backstory may help if you are patient enough to read to the end.
Note: I know etizolam and diclazepam Thienotriazolodiazepine derivatives, but I refer to them as benzos in this post.
My doctor added Wellbutrin to my current regiment of Lexapro for anxiety and clonidine and gabapentin.
I’m afraid I have tolerance and dependence with etizolam.
I’m familiar with benzo tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal, a few years ago I was forced into a rapid 14 day detox off of 8mg Klonopin and 4 mg of Xanax (negligent doctor then negligent behavior on my part) and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies. I was messed up for months. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson- but I got desperate and I often do stupid things in that state.
I had a horrible bout of depression this winter and the Wellbutrin was the only thing keeping me from suicide (we tried almost everything else).
The problem is Wellbutrin sends me into panic attacks and I have intrusive racing thoughts like cutting myself (I was a cutter, but have stopped for almost 2 years), but the thoughts and the anxiety were making me bananas -except I was no longer suicidal. So I took the lesser of two evils.
Enter Etizolam. I purchased it in pill form to take the edge off of the Wellbutrin and it did. I no longer had the racing thoughts, panic attacks or cravings for cutting. I really want to get off the Wellbutrin, but when we tried, the souls sucking, heart-breaking depression came back. I have been using both the Welbutrin and etizolam at my current dose from the beginning (3 months).
I can’t tell any of my doctors about the etizolam here because there is a contract that if I’m using, they won’t treat me.
I fucked up terribly, but I was stuck between suicidal thoughts and intrusive cravings for self harm.
I’m currently on about 8mg of etizolam a day. I take 4mg after each dose of Welbutrin (I dose two times a day). It takes this much to get rid of the side effects. I feel no euphoria at all, and my behavior is actually more stable when I take it because I’d go hypo manic on the Welbutrin.
My doctor and I are going to work to find something else, for my depression, but that usually takes a few months or more- but I want to be ready to taper off the etizolam as comfortably as possible. I also know the longer I’m on it the worse the withdrawals get. Believe me, I know it isn’t a picnic but I can’t take another withdrawl like I had before.
I know benzos are pure evil, but I was very desperate if I told my doctors, they would just send me in-patient or to rehab where all they would do is pump me up with ancient medicines like Thorazine or detox me way too fast.
I’m familiar with the Ashton Manual, but I’m not sure when and where I should start. I known I will have to simultaneously decrease my Welbutrin dosages or switch medicines for this to work.
I’ve been hoarding these things because I know the taper will be quite slow considering I’m taking a very high daily dose (and never even enjoyed some euphoria).
Currently I have:
800 mg of etizolam 360 mg of Diclazepam 900 mg of valium
I also have clonidine, propranolol, and 600mg (3xs) a day of gabapentin.
I don’t drink since I’m taking them and I’ve never had a blackout.
I truly hate taking the Diclazepam and valium as they greatly increase my depression. I’m hoping there might be a way to keep the taper ratios higher on the etizolam side an only use the lowest doses of Diclazepam/valium until the doses get pretty low.
This was incredibly stupid of me, but any advice on what I should do would be so greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much.
I feel for ya man, I’ve been in similar situations and when you’re there it can be absolutely overwhelming and stifling.
My advice is to try to worry less and approach your problem as logically and cool as possible.
First of all, 8mg is way too much. You need to taper down to 2-3mg a day max as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve gotten your dose down just maintain for a while and focus on figuring out your other scripts and working on your problems.
Don’t worry so much about accomplishing stopping asap. do it on your own time and don’t cause yourself extra stress. Don’t beat yourself up about it, there’s no need and no good that comes from it.
Focus on taking steps rather than reaching your eventual goal all at once. when youre overwhelmed and too focused on the end goal it is much easier to make mistakes.
Instead, allow yourself to make progress on a flexible schedule.
You have plenty of medicine stocked up, just use it wisely.
Over the next 2 weeks try your absolute hardest to lower your etizolam dosage and once you’ve stabilized at 2-3mg just chill there for a while until you’ve made enough personal progress that you can continue tapering without causing yourself any extra stress.
Try to identify the problems that are the cause of your chemical dependency and work on them so that you’re in a better place when you do stop taking them.
Remember to act and speak kindly to yourself, you’re a human too.
Take steps and be patient with yourself. As long as you’re being honest with yourself and making progress you’re doing a good job.
Good luck and take care man.
Thank you very much. I have a diary all set up and plan to go from 8-6 today. And then I’m on vacation in Acadia Maine for two weeks with will help me take that down to 2-3 grams. I’m not sure what the seizure risk is for this though- especially since I’m on the Wellbutrin. I will usually enjoy the occasional beer up there- but I think I need to skip all alcohol for a while.
Thing is- since it was taken to combat the Wellbutrin- I didn’t feel anything off of 4 mg when I take them together. I just needed to keep my job and not feel like my heart and soul was being ripped out of my body.
I was sober off of benzos for 16 months until my doctor put me on Wellbutrin. We had tried everything else so it was the last resort at the time- it’s also the only approved medicine for seasonal affective disorder, which I have. I’m setting up my SAD lights NOW and plan to start using them the beginning of August-It made me want to cut and gave me panic attacks, but it took away the suicidal thoughts.
My problem is that he goes away for a few months ever spring and I have to hang tight to see him. I didn’t want the suicidal thought off Wellbutrin but I didn’t want the anxiety on it. I made a stupid move by want I did. I just didn’t want to end up in-patient because I’ve only come out much worse. (Like seriously. Thorazine and Risperdal for generalized anxiety???) My area is seriously underserved by psychiatrists, so it’s either the hospital or a 6 month wait.
Also I’m on the very lowest dose of Wellbutrin, but as soon as he comes back, I’m going to really push for an alternative.
I’m not a fan of benzos (even though it seems like). They make me tired, depressed, and addicted. I have never gotten euphoria off of them.
I’m just very anxious with PTSD and extremely susceptible to med changes that mess with my anxiety.
My first long and awful haul with benzos was when they took me cold turkey off my lexapro at age 27 which I had been on since I was 14. Went absolutely bananas. The 13 day detox from the 140mg of valium to 0 (I was also dependent on alcohol at the time because by then I was doing ANYTNG to stave off the withdrawals-never even got drunk my tolerance was so high-things got better around day 4-5 when I was over the alcohol hump)
Thanks a bunch for your advice advice and this definitely adjust my plans to use the a Ashton Manual at the starting dose for the benzo equivalent. That would have had me on a relatively high dose of valium for a long time- and though its the gold standard for tapering, I don’t want to be on that longer than I need to. Metabolites from that can be in your system for over a month if used long enough and they definitely make me depressed.
Again my only worry would be seizures. I’m a tough cookie and I know it isn’t easy, I just don’t want to have one on the top of Cadillac mountain. I’ve learned how to ride out a panic attack med- free and until 2/3 months ago I used clonidine and propranolol as my “rescue” meds and on 600mg gabapentin 3x a day.
One time (previous doctor) tried to taper me off of 2 years use of 6mg Klonopin in 2 weeks- I was in the same place on vacation and thank god their ER was compassionate- gave me a month scrip for a slightly lower equivalent of Ativan. I don’t remember that PA’s name- but he was an angel from heaven. Said that a taper that fast could kill me😬 But I know there is a local hospital I can go to if needed. 🤞🏻 I might just go and let them know what’s up and what they recommend or if there are any comfort meds the can prescribe.
One think I’m hoping is that then Etizest I’m getting isn’t “really” a bfull 1 mg. I switched between that and some much more expensive liquid preparation and 1mg of that felt like 4mg Etizest (and I was very careful not to confuse mg and ml. 0.25 ml was the dose)
I don’t have much to add in regards to medication, the commenter above gave good advice and I’m confident you will get it sorted out eventually. Now, I know what I’m about to say will come across as hippie BS but just trust me. For the SAD, you said you’re getting the light which is a good start. But, the best thing that I’ve found to help with it is to pick a room in your house and absolutely pack it with house plants. Do this in the same room that you keep the light in. Like seriously turn that room into a jungle.
I’ve spent the past 9 months living in a city where I saw the sun probable less than 5 times during a 6 month stretch. It was always gray, and about 40 degrees F and raining about 4 days a week. Pretty sure everyone there has SAD to some degree. The artificial light helps a lot, but bringing lush, vibrant nature into your house in an otherwise bleak setting worked wonders for my mental health.
I tapered over the course of a month, however it was not comfortable. Nonetheless I was able to go to work.
I immediately tapered from 4mg Etizolam to 0.75mg Diclazepam. Over the course of a month, I made cuts every week until I was at 0.1mg Diclazepam. I was on that dose for about a week when I switched back to Etizolam. I took 0.1mg Etizolam for about a week and jumped. I’m now a month off everything and feel about 90% normal. It was uncomfortable but I was still able to go to work and meet my obligations. It’s scary but you just have to do it. Nothing will prepare you but as long as you taper it won’t be so bad. You can do it
Thank you for your advice. I’ve been through the hell of a fast taper once and I’m kicking myself for even getting started again in the first place.
At least it doesn’t make me crave alcohol like Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin do- so I’ve managed to stay out of trouble.
I think my first course of action would be to just jump from 8 to 6 and take some clonidine, or propranolol to help. Then I’ll talk to my doctor (he’s been away for a month and won’t be back until June – otherwise I’d ask him to lower my dose of Welbutrin or try something else ages ago) and see if he can either lower the dose or take me off (hopefully the crippling depression won’t come back).
I think that will help me with withdrawals. Then I think I’ll follow the Ashton Manual using 1mg=10mg valium and 1mg Diclazepam = 10mg Valium.
The manual has a gradual switch over from the Xanax “etizolam” to the Valium “Diclazepam”.
I’m not 100% sure about the purity of the Diclazepam but the valium is legit. I can cut it down to 2.5g and then if I can’t make the jump, I can make a solution and use that.
I’m so angry that I got myself in this place. Winter was hell with the depression and I’m an idiot for doing this.
I hope to move through the decreases faster than in the manual, but I’m struggling as is.
I’m just grateful I know to stay away from detox.
Me too. Severe anxiety disorders including ptsd, SAD, major depressive disorder. I had no choice going cold turkey off Xanax after years due to a biased practitioner (never failed a drug test, never asked for more). Until then, between the Xanax and Wellbutrin I was able to stop cutting (for people who don’t understand it, it’s addicting and yet helped me to keep my suicidal thoughts in prospective. Not gone, just in prospective). Anyway, now the Wellbutrin not only isn’t working but the anxiety and need to cut is almost putting me over the edge. I’m muddling through and living for the day my body and mind are back on a better road. My thoughts are with you.
They can as long as you get the proper gear. Save up for some quality:warm winter things and you will see, you will be much more comfortable than you think you’d be. The stars are usually more lovely on cold winter nights,
It’s pouring here, but my dog and I both have our rain gear. As long as it isn’t unsafe to be out- we go.
Was very hard at first, but I reached a point where I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Best wishes to you.
I can’t help you with an exact taper plan because I myself am pretty much caught up in this same web, haven’t tried to quit yet. Everything I have is prescription, but that doesn’t justify it at all. My prayers are with you friend.
Thank you. I’m at such a high dose now but no matter what- at least don’t go higher and stay away from the stronger stuff. Don’t drink on it if you can help it crosstolerance can be an issue.
Sorry I don’t have much to offer either.
Best wishes to you.
I don’t drink either, it definitely affects me different than others. Not sure if it’s the meds, but I literally can’t fall asleep after drinking. I have insomnia, but I find it really weird it has that effect on me. Anyways, thank you. We’ll get through this!
Get off the Wellbutrin. You shouldn’t have to take benzos so you can handle your normal medication. Benzos will trick you into thinking of reasons to use.
Some people’s chemistry just doesn’t jive with certain antidepressants. I literally almost tried them all(except MAOI’s and Tricyclics). I had terrible reactions to most and none of them helped with depression (they just turned me into a flat person with no genuine emotions).
It took me years till I was properly diagnosed with bipolar. Lamictal has been a godsend for the depression end of bipolar. Research shows it might even be good for major depressive disorders on its own.
I am planning on it as soon as my doc returns. I have an appointment early June.
I just didn’t know what to do when stuck between intrusive suicidal thoughts and crippling depression (could not function at all) vs. no suicidal thoughts, some function, but almost constant intrusive urges to self-harm and multiple daily panic attacks. My decision to use benzos was incredibly stupid and the first thing I’m going to do when my doc gets back is to work on having a back-up psychiatrist for when he is away (about 4 months of the year).
Our in-patient psych ward is like taking a trip back into the 1960’s and I avoid it at all costs.
I’ve taken Lamictal before and it didn’t seem to do anything for me- but I wasn’t depressed at the time, just unstable. When my doctor is around he is really good and I’ll mention it to him.
Thanks. It seems that I can make a jump from 8-6 then if there are no problems with that, stay at that does I until I can see my doctor if I can safely get off the welbutrin. That should make the comedown much easier, I think.
Thanks again for your help. When I’m done with these they go in a locked cabinet where the key is in another state or they get destroyed. I was truly desperate this time and it’s terrifying when your own brain had turned against you .
Wow man. You and I are in very similar spots. Like other posters have said the first step is getting down from that 8 mgs. Start with whichever dose you feel you need the most. For me that means I feel the most anxiety at night so I start with my cuts on my AM dose because my mind is occupied during the day. Get down to a reasonable dose of 2-3 mg of Etizolam a day. You have some additional substances that may help. Gapabentin and propranolol are both immensely helpful in my taper plan. Perhaps you could increase the dosages of those?
I’ll also say that CBD has been beneficial in my taper. I take 30mgs twice a day. Start small and work up. I use isolate because the tiniest amount of THC makes me panicky. Eat well get some but not too much excercise. Take a 20 minute walk every day. Try to get sleep when you can.
Once you’re stable at those 2-3 mgs of Etizolam make the jump to either diazepam or diclaz. Go as slowly as you can.
I will say this. Doctors do exist that WILL write a benzodiazepine taper. They are few and far between and will usually be private practice. Most medical groups have policies preventing them from dispensing certain drugs. But a doc that owns their own practice can do what they want for the most part (US at least cannot speak for the UK and Canada.)
Best of luck to you, it’s hard but not impossible.
Thank you. I have about 900 mgs of Valium and 400 ish of diclazapam tucked away so I hope that it is more than enough.
I’m not sure exactly how the benzo laws work in my state, but I’m “red flagged” from years earlier and they all go into a state database. This was implemented just as I was finding a doctor to help me safely taper off, but my yearly “quota” had already been exceeded and I was cut off completely- and the flag stays permanently.
I don’t binge on them- I take what I need so hopefully all will be ok.
Thank you for your advice
I have bad anxiety and Wellbutrin increases dopamine and norepinephrine (precursor to adrenaline). I’m super sensitive to that and it increases my heart rate to an uncomfortable level and will sometimes tip me over to panic
Propranolol lowers your heart rate and calms the central nervous system a bit.
Wellbutrin was the last ditch effort to pull me out of my crippling depression and I did something stupid to stop the panic attacks and intrusive thoughts to hurt myself.
I’ve definitely learned my lesson.
Most people do fine in it, but I’m really prone to anxiety. It’s just when I felt suicidal it was the only medicine that at least stopped that feeling.
I literally begged. Besides surviving, a trip to the hospital for an evaluation sooo doesn’t sound good to me. It does make me both sad and mad. I worked so hard to stop cutting, find some good internal dialogue, did counseling, and 1 idiot set me back years. I just started counseling yet again and I’m working my anxiety and phobia workbook. It’s helping but it’s not enough
My only solution is to go outside and walk until the feelings go away. Sometimes it’s a half hour, sometimes it’s two and a half.
I’ve tried a lot of other things that can get me though for a while, but nothing works as well as a long walk with a favorite playlist and a good cry if need be.