Benzodiazepines and addiction

I have been taking Xanax and valium as needed. I take Xanax when I am faced with a situation where I need instant relief of anxiety such as before a meeting etc and I take valium when I need a longer lasting smooth relief from anxiety symptoms usually when I go out for dinners or parties. Of course the added advantage with these 2 medications is that they control my vestibular symptoms as well for a short period. I am thinking of adding Ativan and Klonopin to the mix. The Klonopin to replace the valium and Ativan to replace the Xanax.

I am also on Cymbalta which has controlled my anxiety and MAV to some extent but not completely so still searching and trying out other medications to add as a second preventative to the Cymbalta.

My plan is to keep swicthing between Xanax and Ativan or Valium and Klonipin in order to avoid addiction to any of these benzodiazepines and to use them continuously in small doses long term.

I would like your input on the above and whether you think this will work and stop me from getting addicted to a particular drug?

Nabeel,

No, I don’t think this is a good strategy to avoid addiction - or more accurately, tolerance and dependence.

All benzos act on the Gaba receptors, just in slightly different ways. Xanax and Ativan are short acting and Valium and Klonopin are longer acting. But they’re all benzos, so mixing them up may have a minor impact on how effective they are for you in the short term but ultimately you will develop a tolerance to all of them if you take them too often. It’s like substituting gin and tonic for whiskey and soda - they are both still alcohol.

You need to discuss with your doctor how often and how much of any benzo you can use. As a rule of thumb keep the dosage low and for emergencies.

Vic

I completely agree with Vic…a benzo is a benzo.

Before I got MAV I took (and still take) Xanax. Used to take it for horrible panic attacks, now take it for sleep. Have ALWAYS been super concerned about addiction and always shared my concerns with my Doc. Basically the advise is to not worry about it. 1st off I have been at the same low dose for years and years. 2nd, it helps me. If and when the time comes to stop using Xanax, I’ll deal with it. Having been recently dx with MAV that time is not now.

I think the fact that you’re very conscious about addiction is really going to help you not to over use. But please talk to your Doc about it, the last thing you need is more anxiety…especially over an anti-anxiety med.

Judy

Thank You Victoria and Beachgal

— Begin quote from "beachgal"

Before I got MAV I took (and still take) Xanax. Used to take it for horrible panic attacks, now take it for sleep. Have ALWAYS been super concerned about addiction and always shared my concerns with my Doc. Basically the advise is to not worry about it. 1st off I have been at the same low dose for years and years. 2nd, it helps me. If and when the time comes to stop using Xanax, I’ll deal with it. Having been recently dx with MAV that time is not now. Judy

— End quote

If you take benzos long enough or take short acting benzos then eventually the benzo receptors will down-regulate to the point that you will fell even more dizzy than you did before you started them. Regrowth of benzo receptors is very slow.

-Wexan