Posting this as I've come to a point where I undoubtedly need help.
To be vague about myself for the sake of anonymity - I'm a young person, I have a good job, live away from home and my family and at times I struggle with life. Although, generally I've been quite a content person and have a perspective that things could always be worse. I have food and shelter, a roof over my head and I'm grateful for these things. What holds me back in life is that I've always had an addictive personality, and I fear I've gotten myself into a lot of bother this time. I've been taking benzodiazapines (xanax and valium) on and off for about 15 months now, I had actually successfully tapered myself off twice in this period before ending up back on them again, unfortunately. I've been using them for anxiety (mostly social anxiety) and they haven't been prescribed (I know...)
I've reached the stage where they don't even work anymore, I suspect this is due to the latest pills I've got being duds, as while I have a tolerance it isn't so high that I'd be at a point where nothing works. This has led to me experiencing what I'd almost certainly imagine are withdrawal symptoms - tiredness, low energy, occassional bouts of nausea and most frighteningly: some very bad dizziness and lightheadedness. These are honestly terrifiying episodes that last a few hours, I can feel myself losing balance, my legs shaking and tightening up and some very big brain zaps. I've been lucky not to fall off my chair on a few occasions in the past 7-8 days. If this gets any worse I'll be extremely concerned.
My question is: where does somebody even get help? I want it, I am finished with these drugs now and I know I'm fooling myself every single day with them. I know its fake relief and only masking a problem. The longer I use, the more I am running away from my issues. This has added another issue as I now have anxiety about my health (immediate and long-term) and the time to stop has come.
Does anyone have experience of whether a GP is a good option? I've seen comments on other forums that they aren't always so helpful/knowledagble about withdrawals and addiction. Does anyone have experience of helpful groups? Unfortunately I do not have a lot of money to spend on treatments etc and time off work would be very difficult. I don't know how I managed to get through the last week but I have somehow.
I would be extremely grateful for any advice at all! Thanks for reading.
Benzos do stop working eventually as you build a tolerance to them.
My advice would be to go to your GP. If this is really urgent you can present to A&E and they will have one of the Psychiatrists on call see you.
Hi there, let me assure you can get help, it may take some time and patience but the most difficult is acknowledging wou. Need help and admitting you need help is huge.its not going to happen overnight unfortunately. You may need the golp to prescribe antianxiety meds so you don't have withdrawals which could be fatal. If you haven't told wor6 or family, think about doing so. I'm sure your family will be relieved and I hope your boss will be understanding. Your addiction doesn't define you as a person, be kind to yourself x
Definitely start with your GP. They can help you figure out the next steps.
GP would be the starting point.Help with the meds and advice on potential counselling.I would definitely start there, they can point you where to go.
Thanks very much everyone. I'm going to make time for GP tomorrow. I'm praying I'll have enough to get me through one more day of work before that.
I don't see telling family/boss as an option as of yet. My boss for obvious reasons I guess, I don't want to be viewed as someone unable to deal with pressure, even though I suppose that is the truth. That I've got myself into this situation attempting to self-medicate for was probably not serious anxiety in the first place proves it. As for my family, I don't live near home anymore and I wouldn't want to worry them. Having said all that, I know it would help. It's helping even typing this.
Well that was completely and utterly demoralising. I went to a GP and got told off for having obtained medication immediately. "The people who give you that are not your friends" among more. I didn't go for friendship or legal advice. I had to try and bring the conversation back to actually helping me. I said I need help managing these symptoms and he gave me an address for a centre that on closer inspection is for Methodone addicts.
I have a feeling he knew nothing about the subject whatsoever. No idea where to go from here. I'm not even surprised.
Sorry you have had should a bad experience with your GP, there are numerous services if you live in Dublin. Both HSE.ie and Drugs.ie have links to services depending on where you live. You can self refer to any service without needing a GP referral and they will assess you and take it from there. If its a case they can't help, they usually can refer you on to somewhere that can.
It’s a tricky one as you are taking the benzos for anxiety reasons, which means that you will be replacing them with alternatives until you get your anxiety under control.
Best next step is probably a local addition support who will be better equipped than your useless GP. Make sure to mention anxiety as the original reason why you started taking them, so they can hopefully refer you to an appropriate counselling service
Getting off the benzos won’t work until you replace them with alternative coping mechanisms.
I've been on to the drugs.ie helpline as was suggested by another poster above. The woman on the other end was very helpful/understanding and has given me a couple of numbers to call for local services. I was going to try another GP but I'm scarred by this morning and I'm not going to waste any more money in that direction, I haven't paid for this morning yet and the woman on the helpline said definitely don't, that I received no service.
I fear I'm going to reach a point where I'll need quick assistance in managing the current symptoms and I may be left with no choice but to visit A&E. I have been told that as I'm not registered with any local GP here that they would be extremely unlikely to prescribe me anything to manage symptoms.
I’d try the local services directly if you do not have a local GP that you have a rapport with.
I only take benzos periodically/ when required, albeit not for anxiety, so have no idea what the withdrawal symptoms are like. There is great comfort in knowing that you have something “in case”, so I can imagine that this loss caused you some panic right now.
I might be wrong but I doubt a GP would easily prescribe you a “replacement” drug to combat your anxiety.
You need to get a local GP. Many GPs these days have websites. Of course the website is putting the best foot forward and selling themselves but often a little bio of each doctor is included and sometimes there will be a list of "special interests" that a particular GP will have such as "women's health", "cardiac care", "mental health" etc.
Don't be afraid to ring up various practices and ask questions. Practices are very busy these days and some might not be taking on new patients. Emailing a practice rather than ringing might also be an option as you can compose your email in your own time and then digest whatever reply you get back.
You could ask local centres if they could recommend a good GP for you. They would have lots of experience with all the local GPs and would have a good sense of who's good to deal with.
Also... If you need immediate attention then A&E is exactly where you should present to. That's what it's for. You have taken a very positive step by realising, and admitting that this has gotten out of control for you. You have been proactive today and yesterday in taking steps to address the problem and to get help. You just need to find the right people to help you. Send a few email today. Maybe try talk to the local places and get recommendations for a good GP. You're taking the right steps.
I would echo the opinion of going to A&E. I know the wait time is horrendous sitting there waiting to be seen.
I had a big problem with Benzos about 6 years ago. I came off them suddenly and had seizures (so don't do that) and went to A&E where I was kept in for 2 days. From there I got a referrel to an addiction counselor who was brilliant and who I still see today. I'm clean now 6 years!
Seek out the help that is there. I hope everything works out for you. I know how bad the anxiety and paranoia can be. Your head must be absolutely wrecked.
Thanks a lot for your comments and replies, to someone who is down it means a lot that people will take their time to try and help.
The advice of presenting to A&E has been a massive help as over the weekend I reached the point where it was a necessity. I really hated doing it, was nervous and once or twice nearly turned back before I reached the door to be honest. The doctors and nurses were great, understanding, non judgmental and everything you could ask for.
I'm now on a tapering plan (which will need my GPS cooperation, so hopefully there's a change of tune there) and I see a bit of hope for the future. A week ago when I started this thread, I wasn't so sure...
I think the next part of my journey here is to learn methods and ways of dealing with stress and anxiety that are healthy and not dangerous
Thanks again everyone
Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better about things ChickenSoup.
It's not going to be easy but with the right supports in place you can do it.
Hi ChickenSoup. I'm sorry I didn't see your posts at the time you wrote them but I'm glad you got some help. The HSE community substance abuse teams are excellent and will give you good support if you haven't found them already. They also have a free counselling service and are a route into rehab. How are you getting on since?
I'm 10 1/2 weeks off the cannabis and cocaine. It seems all my life I was coming off one thing or another. The sheer volume was unreal!
I'm sitting here thinking how grateful I am to have a good job and a property I can afford and not to have been left brain damaged.
No matter how hard things get it would be 10 times worse if I was still on that ****.
OP you'd be best to come off benzos. They are one of the worst drugs to be addicted to.