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Tapering benzos while hlding down a stressful job
Hi guys,

I have a significant diaz habit after 10 years. Long story short, my GP got me addicted and when I moved no doctor would write a benzo script for me (the most ever was 4 x 5mg).

The Ashton Manual (bless her for making it free!) indicates slower is better. In my case there is no rush (although I need to be careful I don't mistake that for "no rush so I'll just carry on as normal").

I'm considering a longer and arguably smoother taper than the standard Ashton one. 2mg cuts, then below 10mg/day move to 1mg cuts, below 5mg, 0.5mg cuts (or something like that). I need this to be as withdrawal free as possible as my job is stressful, I'm responsible for a lot of things at the moment (work & family) and must be able to function 100%. Whereas lots of tapers I've read seem to assume people are off work or something like that. I need my firing on all cylinders, hence the ultra slow taper idea. This could take 2 years, maybe more if I have to pause the reductions to deal with some life drama, but that's not a problem.

The downside will be all the pill preparation, very possibly requiring volumetric dosing. That sounds ok if at home, but not easy if staying somewhere.

What do you think of my plan? I've drawn up a spreadsheet that shows each step to zero, and to get it really smooth I've ended up with 46 reductions! It may be that some of the earlier reductions can be bigger/faster and it is later on that I need to use my schedule. Probably need to keep a proper diary and log of progress so I keep moving forward. I know some will say I'm drawing out the pain, but the plan is for there to be no pain.

Anyone have experience of a really long taper and did it minimise the withdrawal?

Thanks, barq
Your plan look pretty solid. I suggest you to add Theanine, that natural extract from tea, it really have calm down effect, may be, specially cause your stressfull job, it can help you in long run.
I tried tapering and failed every time. I then tried quoting cold turkey and had multiple seizures. I then was given propranolol at 20mg every 6 hours of the acute phase of the benzo withdrawal and I was able to quit the benzos seizure free. I was also given depakote which may have helped.
Thank you both. I have some Theanine so might use that at the more challenging points.

Wannabenormal18 - I can totally understand tapering, and falling off the wagon (like the problem drinker who goes a while without alcohol but for whatever reason hits the bottle one might). The weakness in my plan is that by going slow I might basically stop making cuts ("I'll do it next week"). But at least I'd get my level down.
(08-22-2019, 09:15 PM)killingstress Wrote: Your plan look pretty solid. I suggest you to add Theanine, that natural extract from tea, it really have calm down effect, may be, specially cause your stressfull job, it can help you in long run.

I was going to suggest the best exact thing, same because I am a health nut,

I was thinking:

Mindfulness meditation+ exercise. Yoga helps me also
Barq do you want to quit and be benzo free? I was just wondering. If you have been on 10 years without a break you probably do need to and see how you do. I have quit but never with a taper. Just cold turkey is horrible and dangerous. You may find out you function better on a low dose than without anything. For me that's how it is.
(10-02-2019, 04:12 PM)JK1976 Wrote: Barq do you want to quit and be benzo free?  I was just wondering.  If you have been on 10 years without a break you probably do need to and see how you do.  I have quit but never with a taper.  Just cold turkey is horrible and dangerous.  You may find out you function better on a low dose than without anything.  For me that's how it is.

I'm only going to find out how I'll cope benzo free buy trying it - that's the bottom line.

I was relatively new in my job when first prescribed diazepam and have built up more coping strategies over time (which probably helped me not to escalate the dose too much). That said, I am aware of research on the effects on cognition and my memory is not what it was. There is some encouraging research suggesting that turmeric helps. But if I had a simple A or B choice then I'd prefer to be benzo free. It would save the hassle of acquisition, the fear of running out (which has become quite pathological in my case), and additional long term -ve side effects.

It could be that tapering gets my tolerance right down so a low dose might be the ultimate outcome. There is a quality of life issue and given my new boss is the worst human being I have ever met, then I may discover that zero benzos is a very unhappy situation and that as you say, a low dose could be the best option. I think I need to taper to zero and see what happens.

I've now acquired everything needed for volumetric dosing, so at least I'm in a position to make this a really smooth taper.
If you still have your doctor that initially prescribed you the diazepam you might want to ask about moving down to serax or oxazepam. It's one of the main metabolites of diazepam and is prescribed for most of the same indications as diazepam except for muscle relaxant reasons. It's one of the most mild benzos, maybe even more mild than librium, simply because drowsiness is not nearly as pronounced as any of the others.

I had a family member who was prescribed diazepam when she was experiencing very high stress levels at her workplace. To be honest, most of it was brought upon by her never-ending desire to climb the corporate ladder. She worked harder than everyone else, always stayed later than everyone else (salaried so never received overtime), and like most jobs, regardless of individual drive, had to deal with incomptent coworkers (she was a manager at this point, so many subordinates were simply lazy and she would end up fixing or just doing their work for them, which added to the amount of time she worked, and of course, her overall stress).

Being very sensitive to medications, she went back to her psychiatrist after only 2 weeks because the diazepam was too much...daytime drowsiness, began forgetting daily/weekly task deadlines, and overall just felt like she was in a state of fog.

BUT, being very aware of how the medicine was making her feel and having a psychiatrist that wanted the best for her; for her to succeed and at the same time giving her something that she could use in her 'toolbox' of coping strategies, ultimately gave her a script for oxazepam. It allowed her to continue doing everything she already was doing, didn't drain her energy levels, did not put her in a mental fog,, just as she very accurately put it at the time "helps me deal with idiots at work without making me want to scream".

Anecdote aside, I don't think I've read much about serax being used to help oneself 'wean off of benzos', but your mentioning of continuing to work a stressful job and a desire to get off of benzos reminded me of her story. If you have a psych that you've been with for a while, I'm her he/she would be more than happy to switch you over to oxazepam. It's considered one of, if not, the mildest Benz still prescribed without much hesitation as the recreational value is incredibly low, yet for people who need a little 'something' and work high-demanding, highly stressful jobs, this is an easy decision for a psychiatrist to make IMO. I think one of the only reasons it's not prescribed more often, is that most people who are looking to be on a Benz want something stronger, like Loraz/ativan or clonazepam/klonopin. Doctors are very aware of oxazepam, it's probably that they've just not been asked about it for a long time, or if they have, it comes from an extremely small percent of their patients...patients that want to still have 99% of their mental faculties available, but need just a TINY bit extra, to, as my relative put it, 'help me not want to scream at my coworkers.'

If you can make it down to a few mg of diazepam, it may be worth trying out oxazepam. Especially in an office setting, it's much more safe and the only noticeable effects for her was just allowing her to not become overly stressed about the things she couldn't control. In terms of sides, there was none. She stayed on the serax for years before making it into the C-suite, and at one point I asked her about if she was still taking oxazepam. She told me 'no'. When I asked why and what had changed, her answer was simply that she felt that she didn't need it anymore. Those feelings had dissapeared and no longer felt she needed to take it. Getting off of it after years of taking it did not require any taper. She simply stopped. Of course, I'm sure she did a taper without realizing it, by only taking it toward the end during highly stressful days. Which ultimately became few and far in between

Sorry for the long post, I hope this story provides you with a different perspective and another possible option if you hadn't already considered it, given your concern about holding down a stressful job.
Good luck with your plan. Stressful work can have so much effect on your life especially when trying to lower doses or not use a substance. I have a stressful job and ridiculously horrible bosses and as intricate your plan for tapering is, try to make a “work plan” and look into ways to manage stress at work. My work itself is tough but the people are what make it really worse. One thing that’s helped me is I really sit and think what could be going on in their life to make them how they are and feel very sympathetic instead of frustrated or mad.
Nothing wrong with going slow. I found I could make faster strides than Ashton called for at the beginning but slowed down after that.

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