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Fibromyalgia and benzo withdrawal - Mind or body?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Andre, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Andre

    Andre New Member


    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 10 years ago and was extremely unwell for many years with painful stiff muscles and a whole host of other symptoms. After discovering Dr. Sarno's work my symptoms gradually reduced. Unfortunately I was put on 1.5 mg of clonazepam (which is equivalent to 30mg valium) which I have been on for around 7 years. I am now withdrawing (I'm at 0.5 mg) and am having a return of symptoms.

    My problem is I now can't remind myself the pain is psychological as it due to benzo withdrawal. I'm in a real catch-22. The comfort and reassurance (not to mention the reduction in fear) from reminding myself the pain is psychological in origin has gone. I have returned to the bad old days of being very fearful of the pain (and also what the benzos have done to my body and how bad the withdrawal might be) and very vigilant.

    Does anybody have any suggestions or has anybody experience with this situation? I live in Australia and it seems knowledge of TMS is non-existant.

    Thanks, Andre
    Malakuru likes this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Andre and Welcome to the Peer Network,

    I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time. We have a great article addressing this very isssue as part of the Q&A project in the article When should I stop taking pain medications. Physican John Stracks responded to the question and said, specifically about benzo: Anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium) MUST be weaned off gradually as stopping them abruptly can cause seizures. Weaning narcotic and benzodiazepine medication should probably be done under the supervision of a health care professional.

    I don't want you to be afraid by reading this. I only mean to show you the need of asking a health care professional on the best way to move forward. A physician can help you avoid any potential problems that may arise as a result of quitting the medication.

    Also, if you live near Melbourne I would suggest looking into seeing Hal Greenham. He isn't a physician, but a therapist. He really understands TMS and may be able to help you overcome the fear and anxiety. His contact info is at http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Additional_TMS_Practitioners#Australia

    You are already having some progress with the method, so it sounds like it will work for you. All you need to do now is take the appropriate steps to carefully and safely wean yourself off of the medications.
  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Andre,

    I took klonopin for a while too. It's definitely something you want to wean off of slowly working with a doctor. That said, when I came off of it I didn't have any side effects that I recall. You could ask your doctor the pain sounds like it's related to withdrawal from klonopin. The good news is, if it's that it will probably go away relatively soon and then you can keep working on TMS.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    :) Veronica
  4. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi Andre,
    I took pregabalin ("Lyrica") for about two years, pain didn't decrease so much, but anxiety. 6 months ago I decided to taper off this stuff. I redused the dosis very, very slowly (12,5 mg every 2 weeks). Since I don't tyke the Lyrica my pain worsened a lot. I think this is some kind of "rebound-phenomenon". Benzos are knownn for this condition. But, the good message: also if it can take a while you will recover!

    best wishes from Germany,
  5. crimslock

    crimslock Peer Supporter

    G'day Andre,

    I am from Australia too, Belmont NSW. Asked 2 doctors about TMS and they had never heard of it and laughed about it!!! So this site has been great...
    I am now receiving treatment from Hal Greenham by SKYPE.. or phone. He is such a gentle, kind and caring person. He really takes time to listen and not force a set of pre-determined treatment plan like so many doctors do. My doctors in my local area are writing up a script before you can even state your name. Another good point about Hal is that he has fully recovered from TMS. So he is just like us and completely understands. I got shivers a few times when i explained to Hal some changes in my body(Weird body changes/positive symptoms) because he could describe it to a tee. Its so good to have someone like Hal just to talk to. It makes you feel like your not nuts and are normal. I am getting a bit emotional writing this, cause for so many years know one new what was wrong with me or couldn't identify with my suffering!!!!
    Hal website http://mindbodyhealing.com.au/
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Whenever you begin to wean yourself off of these strong prescriptions there may be some side affects that occur, hence the importance of seeing a doctor while you do it. I also think that whenever you start to change how you view your symptoms, and go from treating it physically to treating it psychologically, your unconscious may increase your symptoms with the aim to prevent you from investigating your emotions.

    I'm glad to hear that seeing Hal Greenham is helping, crimslock. He really knows his stuff and get it. He actually completed our survey response at http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Survey_Response:_Hal_Greenham,_BSc . There was another member of the forum, Max, who saw Hal and said, He is a great guy and has a really good understanding of TMS and is a previous sufferer. For me it was great to talk to someone who knew what i was going through. There are a couple of other people from Australia in that thread. It's at http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/support-group-in-australia.50/#post-180

    I have always felt that this was the biggest strength of TMS. I had so many tests done and saw so many doctors, all of who said they didn't know why I had so much pain and that there was nothing they could do. After all that I went through it was amazing to finally understand what I had and interact with people who were also going through the same thing. Talking with someone, a practitioner or peer, who has been there and knows what it is like, can give us so much confidence and positivity. Posting on forums like this, definitely helped me recover, perhaps more than anything else.
    Malakuru likes this.

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