Benzodiazapines And Regaining Brain Function

Tess Says:

How long is it taking everyone to regain cognitive function after withdrawing from prescription benzodiazepines such as Valium and Clonazepam?

It took me 2 years after I stopped taking clonazepam to have the neurotransmitters reconnect, to the point where I could problem solve again. (I am still not back to 100% brain function, as I am on Lyrica and that is causing horrible memory problems and a feeling of being emotionally disconnected). There is a great feed on this site on Lyrica and memory problems.

The benzodiazepines even affected my eating habits, as I was a vegetarian for 30 years, and on clonazepam for nerve pain, I no longer could stand vegetables. This was better than the I could not eat anything on that medication, and all I wanted to do was throw up if I smelled any food at all.

On Valium, I could not walk, speak or eat and went down to 102lbs from 115lbs. Benzodiazapines flipped my brain upside down, and put me on autopilot, unaware of my surroundings. I did and said things I would never have done prior to taking any medications. I was only on 5mg of Valium and after 2 months it almost killed me so they switched me to clonazepam. When you have severe burning and electric shocks from pudendal neuralgia, you have to take something to get you to sleep, so it was a double-edged sword.

I read in the Aston Manuel that it can take up to '12 months or more" for cognitive function to return, after stopping benzodiazepine use. So two years for someone that has been on them since 2006 to 2014 (except for when I was on the Valium) and who is sensitive to all medications, does not seem to be so strange to me. After the first year and a half is when I saw the first glimmer of my brain returning, but 2 years to really recognize myself.

I have also read patients testimonies that say they have taken 2 years also. The British National Formulary says "Withdrawal symptoms for long-term users usually resolves within 6-18 months of the last dose." That is a year and a half, and again that is close to the two years it took me. I am still not thinking straight but I think it is the Lyrica and Lexapro I am still on, for pudendal nerve pain. I have the memory of a gnat. My slow withdraw from clonazepam was sheer hell, however my side effects were severe emotional and cognitive turmoil as opposed to physical manifestations and I was terrified to be alone.

There are no studies that say it can take up to two years to regain cognitive function, as I have been researching like mad. Why aren't doctors picking up where Professor Ashton left off and studying how long it takes for our brains to function again? There are a lot of doctors that are shocked when I tell them that it took me so long and yet the patient testimonies can say 1 1/2 to 2 years. I just want the research to mirror that. Please tell me if it took you 2 years too. Thanks and my heart goes out to everyone that is on any of these amazing sites that let us share info.

8 Replies

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Verwon Says:

Hello, Tess! How are you doing?

Such things can vary from person to person. It may take a few weeks, or a month for some people, while it could take a much longer period of time for others, according to NIH studies. We are all different.

What type of cognitive function issues were you experiencing? Generally, these medications are known by the FDA as possibly causing sedation, and memory loss.

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Elam Says:

Verwon, I was on 30 mg of Valium day for roughly 25 years and had to stop this past March, as the powers to be decided that the combination of opioids and benzo's caused respiratory distress, therefore banned the use of the combination.. I did fine on both, as Valium is a great med for controlling muscle spasms that often accompany trauma to serious back problems, like putting a spine back together.. Withdrawals?? Ha! It's a daily thing to live with.

Tess, I'm sorry you had so many problems with it, and now Lyrica? Wow, that's something else.. Good luck to you finding something that works.

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Burbot Says:

It's hell if you do and hell if you don't, when you take certain medicines. I'm on 2mg of larazepam (Ativan) and have had no problems with it and It's a "benzo". But then again everyone is different. I take gabapentin (2700mg) and quite a few other medicines for psych reasons and cervical spinal stenosis and arthritis. I've actually gotten into aromatherapy and topical application of essential oils for some of my problems, and for me at least many of them help a lot.
Since we all are often just guinea pigs with medicines anyway, I though I might just be my own guinea pig. I know you might resent it, but maybe you need new doctor. The're just people too and don't know everything. I have several doctors.

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bbkm Says:

I have withdrawn from all Statins that I was taking and I am wondering if the withdrawal symptoms will last as long.
I have had two strokes prior to me withdrawing from statins, so I don't know if some of my cognitive feeling are from the strokes or from my withdrawal from statins

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Elaine Says:

Hi, I can relate to the emotional/cognitive turmoil of withdrawing from Clonozapam. It was initially a cold turkey, then because of the SEVERE effects (sheer terror to do absolutely anything), I began a very slow titration. It has now been around 3 years since my last TINY titrated dose. How do I feel? Well, I am past most of all the effects...However, I don't feel exactly as I once did. Anxiety and worry and, yes, some brain fog, still tends to linger. I feel like this journey may take a few more years or perhaps I will never be the way I was prior to taking Benzos. I seem to need more reassurance about things. I will say that staying away from sugar, gluten and dairy seems to help stabilize my mood. Also I am a Christian, so Bible reading, prayer and worship are very healing. God is good Thank you for sharing your experience!

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Paul Says:

Hi Tess, I could ask the same about Alcohol and Pain meds. I was prescribed pain meds and drinking on top of them since 1995 but sober for about 5 years. I'm 62 yrs. old and feel I have real bad short term memory failure and is still present so I don'[t know if it's just plain getting older or the effects of what I did. Probably a combination of both. I have to put up with some bad chronic pain and very limited to what physical things I can do but somehow I feel that part of it may be worth it. I do have problems with being bored and have to be creative on what I can and cannot do. Glad your memory improved if so but watch out for every year you age.

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Elaine Says:

Re: Burbot (# 3) Expand Referenced Message

True about doctors being people too and the probable need for more than one to get things right for YOU??

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Nick Says:

Hi! I permanently Disabled from taking (as prescribed) 2010. I have my Masters in Social Work. This medication is deadly!

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