Gastroparesis and Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

What I am posting is sort of a success story. I can eat normally again. By normally I mean anything. I am not taking prokinetics or eating frequent small meals or avoiding any particular foods (except alcohol, for other reasons) or making any other adjustments related to compensating for reduced GI motility, and my bloating, stomach discomfort and chest pain are basically gone or gone enough that they don't bother or affect me.

I am very happy about this, though the improvement really occurred very slowly over many months. But it is evident that I am no longer suffering from GP symptoms.

I may however still have GP. I had an ulcer surgically removed from my stomach in 1999, and recovered fully. I developed agonizing GP symptoms in August 2011 immediately after overly rapid tapering of the benzodiazepine drug clonazepam. I was convinced by doctors this was a coincidence. Reinstating the drug did not resolve the problem and so the idea of withdrawal was dismissed. But I am now 100% certain that the clonazepam withdrawal caused some lasting damage, either to my visceral sensations or to the nerves controlling motility, that produced my GP symptoms (I would not be surprised if my motility never recovered fully after 1999 and that it is still not recovered now, but the symptoms are gone which is what counts).

I was only off klonopin for only a week back in August 2011 when my problem began and I remain addicted to it. I must now must finish tapering off slowly, so my troubles are not over yet. I have a headache from the tapering efforts at this very moment so I apologize if any of this is a bit convoluted, but I thought I should post my story so that anyone who might develop GP during or after benzo withdrawal will find it. By the way I am confident that the benzo is not directly treating my symptoms since changes in dosage over the last 13 months (up and down) never helped or hurt. Just trying to discontinue without a careful enough taper triggered something severe and not easily reversible.

I am not posting to dissuade anyone with or without GP from using benzodiazepines, but I believe one should be extremely cautious when discontinuing or decreasing the dosage of such drugs after years of constant use.

Unfortunately nothing in my story is likely to be of any help to anyone else suffering GP. I did get relief from mosapride and domperidone, and tried a million other remedies with no apparent benefit. Either I developed severe visceral hypersensitivity that eventually waned, or some nerve damage occurred causing a motility loss which slowly healed as can happen in post-viral cases. In either case I can't point to anything as having 'cured' me other than time. I will keep praying for healing for all GP sufferers and for future medical treatments that can correct these awful motility disorders.
-JX

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Dear JX,
What great news...everyone loves a success story and happy ending.
Although I have t1 diabetic gp I don't think that's in my future but it is good to hear someone who has escaped the gp rabbit hole.
My best for continued good health.

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Good news! Please take the rest of us with you on your healing journey!

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That's Great news, I hope alot of us see your post and see real hope, thank you for haring :-)

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I know just how you feel, I first started taking Xanax so I could get on an airplane, my new job had me flying quite a bit, first I started with taking 1 mg of Xanax, then after a month, I had to take two, 1mg's, then I had to start taking two 2 mg's, then I started taking the same amount when I wasn't flying, breaking the 2mg in half, basically four 1 mg a day when I was at work, I was a restaurant manager for 20 years, it's very stressful, and I notice it kinda took the edge off the stress, I functioned normally and did my job. I didn't have to do the flying anymore So basically I was on Xanax for 5 months, but I started to depend on the them at work, and now at home, 1 mg, four times a day, the last one at bedtime so I could sleep, but I knew this really was wrong, but I was really getting dependent on Xanax, so to taper of off it some, I started taking Lunesta for sleep, it was wonderful, I didnt wake up groggy, which I realize now that was a mistake, but my Doctor gave me what I felt I needed. Well I decided not to renew the Xanax prescription, and just take Lunesta at bedtime, one 3 mg, but I started to having withdrawals from the Xanax, and really couldn't wait till I got home at night to take the Lunesta, it satisfied the withdrawal symptoms, but it wasn't enough, all day I was thinking about the Lunesta I take at bedtime, and also was struggling at work from the Xanax withdrawals. I went back to my doctor after the 4th day to see if he could prescribe something else and go one a weaning off program, he prescribed Clonazapam, cut the 1mg in half and take twice a day, then continue the weaning, .50 mg a month,well that was to much to handle, after just a few days with this new prescription, I still had the withdrawals, so I went back to the Doctor and asked for an increase of dosage, I went to taking 1mg twice a day, plus taking Lunesta at bedtime, well I knew that I really didn't want to take anything and really wanted to get back to normal, I never ever had to take anything, and I used to fall asleep on my own. Well I went back to search for another way to wean, I found the Dr. Ashton chart to wean off benzo's. I still was taking two 1 mg a day for 6 months, on the chart, she recommended using diazapam, it had a longer life than any of the benzo's, so I went back to my doctor and asked to make the switch, the clonazapam I couldn't wean. So he put me on one 5mg of diazapam for 2 fifthteen day dosages, well I stuck to it for 30 days but still did't help with the withdrawals, and prescribed trazadone for sleep, he said I needed to stop taking Lunesta, that it wasnt going to help me wean down. Well I took the trazodone which helped me sleep, but I was groggy when I woke up for a few hours, I went back to him and showed him the Dr. Ashton chart I needed to go by, he upped me to 2 mg of diazapam daily, I guess he didn't know that 10 mg of diazapam was equal to .5 mg of clonazapam, I made a job change, put in a 2 weeks notice. and left my job of 2 years, then I was let go after 45 days on the new job, I was a threat to several long time employees, they threw me under the bus, several threatened to quit, and my new GM didn't give me any support, so Im out of a job, no insurance till the cobra process starts, and no income, so I took a few extra doses, I was depressed, and the diazapam helped me cope with this trajedy, well I ran out on day 21, I can't get a refill for 8 days, oh no! Can I make it 8 days? well I hade the trazadone for sleep, and luckily my wife had some hydrozines from a subscription back in 2010, it was expired, but most medicines last long after their expiration, I was ok for the first day, then the withdrawals started, I took the hydrozines which helped a little, and by day 3 I was under full withdrawals, it really was the worst 8 days of my life, yes the hydrozines helped a little, but I had 2 panic attacks, the trembles, my head was very foggy, leg cramps, I literally stayed in bed for 5 days just staring at the tv, I did step out a few times to make a quick stop at the grocery store, but could barely concentrate driving and shopping. I took long hot showers 3 times a day, which helped a little bit, if I did have to work, I wouldn't of made it. But the withdrawals wasn't as intense the last 2 days, but still had the withdrawals. Well luckily I got my refill of diazapam, but I had to take a 2 extra pills to finally stop the trembles, but they stopped tonight. I don't want to go through that again, I will continue to follow the proper dosage, one 5 mg twice daily and stick to it, then every 2 weeks dropping 2 mgs, till I get to zero, I have to do it, I cant and won't let benzo's run my life, I will post every 2 weeks on my progress.

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Congrats on being free of the benzo gastro. And good luck with the taper dbraver. I know that I would not be able to change jobs while tapering. It is difficult enough for me trying to keep an existing job while tapering.
I am currently at 0.17 mg/day of clonazepam. I take precise doses by dissolving a half mg tablet in 100 ml of milk and taking a percentage of it (currently I take 34 ml). I also divide that daily total amount into 4 separate doses evenly spaced throughout the day. Using this approach I am able to tolerate daily reductions of 0.005 mg/day. I hope I am able to keep that rate up; if so I will be off this drug by sometime around Christmas.

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Guys, OK, you've got me worried. I had never taken an anti-depressant drug in my entire LIFE until a few months ago. I have taken Ambien to sleep - which actually worked best to get me TO sleep and KEEP me asleep, but I hated the nightmares and extra depressive state I know it added to my life. So stopped - Yes, cold turkey. But I replaced this with other trials of 'sleep aids' - Trazadone - only one night - which done nothing but make me STAY wide awake - go figure...Hydrocodeine (only a few times after my gall bladder surgery to help with abdomen pain and insomnia) - valium ONCE - and it made me way too groggy - during the day have taken Ativan and Xanax (off and on but not continually) but...I've been on Temazapam at night only - 30mg - for sleep. I still wake up every two hours or less - so I don't think it's working anymore.

This has only been since late June to now that I've been on any anti-depressants. Mainly for digestive issues - including post gall bladder surgery and nausea prior to the surgery and other pains and aches - I have been told my esophagus muscles are no longer operating - not moving food down. Don't know how long this has been going on along with motility problems in my small bowel and intestines. Also, wondered if this might be the result of these damned meds.

I have such agony with my esophagus issues now - burning of my tongue and mouth that is almost constant - so it's next to impossible to sleep with this pain - my stomach and abdomen burn most of the time - but I'm no longer experiencing the horrible nausea I once had.

I want to stop the sleep meds but I also want to sleep! What should I do??? Has anyone had any luck with Melatonin? I have some liquid Melatonin that I wanted to try but not sure if I can add that to the Temazapam I'm still taking. I see my psychiatrist Wednesday and plan to tell him the Tem isn't working anymore and ask for help.

The reason for the shrink - after all these years - was my severe agony with my digestive issues that started in late May. I'm still having issues - but managing to survive with them. Quality of life sucks - little to no joy left with this pain. I realized the only thing I seemed to have to look forward to was relief from the pain and the only relief I had (still only relief I seem to have) is the benzos...

Suggestions? I'm seeing a new GI doc tomorrow, too...and internist today...trying to get some help and other opinions on how to stop this awful burning in my body and my mouth...

YES...GERD has been bantered about as the source. But I'm taking PPIs, maybe not as often as I should - I hate prescription meds, thats' why if something doesn't work right away I stop taking it - I know that's bad.

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