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I have been ill for a few years now. Some of you may remember me as thinking I had dysautonomia. It is now my belief that I developed tolerance/protracted withdrawal from prescription benzodiazepines-namely clonazopam.
Panic disorder is what lead me to begin taking clonazopam. Panic attacks actually turned into depersonalization disorder. After a panic attack one evening at work I came home and my stomach was gurgling non-stop for two days. Then I began getting a feeling in my head that there was a weight sitting on my brain and pushing me to the side or straight down. I began taking clonazopam and the gurgling and weird feeling in my head eventually stopped. A year and a half later I felt I was ready to cut the dose of clonazopam to .5mg per day. I felt fine after doing this, but shortly after this a member of my family was tragically killed, and then six weeks later we had a hurricane that left us without power for 10 days. About a month after the hurricane I began to become ill. I was having terrible dizzy spells, brain fog, digestive problems, and the weird "weight on my brain" feeling returned. I got bad every time I ate anything, no matter what it was that I ate. I didn't have a clue what was wrong and began seeing every doctor in town. Blood work, brain MRI, abdominal CT, sleep deprived EEG, and an echocardiogram all came back negative. My cardiologist did diagnose me with exercise intolerance after taking my blood pressure lying down and then standing up. It dropped from lying to standing. However, that doesn't seem to be an issue anymore. I finally discovered that benzodiazepine withdrawal can cause many of the symptoms I was and still am experiencing. One of the main symptoms of benzo withdrawal is the feeling of there being a weight inside your head, pushing you to the side or downward. Benzo withdrawal can become protracted, meaning that the symptoms can last for many months or even several years. It is also possible to develop benzo withdrawal through tolerance of the medication. I'm wondering if tolerance to the meds is what made me sick. After cutting to .5mg the effect seemed to wear off, and it seems this is about the time that I began getting sick. But then I wonder; I had the "weight in my head" feeling before I began taking benzodiazepines which apparently was triggered by the stress of anxiety. Just before I began getting sick one of my family members dies and we had a hurricane, all while I was still dealing with anxiety and depersonalization disorder. I don't know if my health problems are coming from benzo withdrawal or from stress. I haven't taken benzos on a regular basis in two and half years, and I stopped taking rescue doses last March. I have made major improvements in my health since I stopped taking benzos on a daily basis, but one increasing problem is that certain foods are still triggering the old symptoms, and in an exagerated way. I can no longer eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, cayenne pepper, lemons, chicken, beef, corn, rice, potatoes, or anything fermented. It seems that any time I eat something for more than two days in a row I become intolerant to it and I get the "weight in my head" feeling, along with confusion, increased anxiety, increased depersonalization, and brain fog. Supplements of any kind have the same effect on me. My mind seems to have cleared up substantially with the exception of food intolerance symptoms, although shadows on sunny days still have a "dreamy" look to them, almost like looking at a shadow at the bottom of a swimming pool full of water.
I guess I'm trying to figure out if this was all caused by stress or if, infact, it is benzodiazepine withdrawal. If it is benzo withdrawal, can the 3ls help? I can't eat a whole food diet anymore because I have so many food intolerances. I can only eat what agrees with me, and that is often something less than healthy. If I didn't have my peanut butter sandwhiches I don't know what I would do. I have had my method of SR, which is deep breathing, certified with biofeedback. I'm not very good at sticking with it because I don't know if is actually going to help me or not. I just can't understand why I can feel so much better in so many ways, but my intolerances to so many foods only seem to increase. I'm on a benzo withdrawal forum, and there only seems to be a couple of people that can relate to the reactions I'm having to so many foods. I can't seem to stop worrying about all of this and I know that isn't exactly helping my situation, although I have made improvements while constantly worrying, so who knows.
I apologize for the length of this, but I'm have a lot to be concerned about and I'm turning anywhere for help. Thanks.
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