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Lorazepam Withdrawal, Ativan Tapering Help, Side Effects and Alternatives | Alternative to Meds.



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[Music]

hi

my name is lyle murphy i am the founder

of the alternative to med center

and today we are going to be talking

about lorazepam

the first question is what is lorazepam

well lorazepam is also known as ativan

and ativan is a short-acting

benzodiazepine its half-life is less

than one day

in some it's as low as 12 hours probably

about 16 hours

average would be the half-life

it is used for people who suffer from

anxiety people who are having panic

attacks

sometimes it's used for sleep uh

sometimes it's used concomitantly with

antipsychotics to help someone that's in

the psychotic state come down

but it is generally a very heavy hitting

uh benzodiazepine

sometimes the dosing range can be as low

as a quarter milligram which is

considered quite low

and i've seen it as high as 10

milligrams

probably not prescribed at that level

people take it on the street at that

level

but six milligrams is not particularly

uncommon for someone

that has been admitted to a psychiatric

institution

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question number two is lorazepam

addictive

well i guess it depends on who you ask

according to stevie nicks

when she went through rehab the lead

singer for fleetwood mac

she was amazed at how people could come

up with heroin and other drugs while she

suffered for months and months and

months trying to come off of a benzo

benzodiazepines are typically much more

challenging to withdraw someone from

than any other drugs probably besides

antipsychotics

and one of the things that can happen to

people coming off of benzos

is not just that they have anxiety or

that they

can't sleep but coming off of these

medications too fast could actually

cause a seizure

and they're one of the few drugs that

people can die just because of an abrupt

drug withdrawal so the dea

who i'm reading this from right now

classify lorazepam as a schedule for a

drug

their definition of a schedule for drug

is a substance or chemical

that is defined as a drug with a low

potential for abuse

psychological dependence and a low risk

for addiction

so i think their scheduling is a little

bit off i mean if someone has a seizure

and dies from

coming off of lazipam is that a

because of its low potential for abuse

or its

low risk of psychological dependence i

think it's

a big problem if you die coming off of a

drug and that

could by all definitions be considered

that it is addictive

and that becoming dependent on it has

consequences that need to be evaluated

by a professional before um

you know before you just stop suddenly

okay number three what is intradosing

withdrawal

well with a short-acting drug

short-acting benzodiazepine like ativan

like lorazepam what can happen is if

someone's taking the medication just at

night

they can wake up and the medication has

largely

left their system or at least it's not

at a dosing level enough to

keep them out of anxiety so in the

morning they wake up and they're in a

complete panic

that's called intradosing withdrawal one

of the ways to

navigate intradosing withdrawal is to

just spread out the dosing a bit

so that you're taking a little bit of

medication in the day to help support it

so you're not going on this

roller coaster ride of medication

um question number four what is the

mechanism of action of

lorazepam well

the drug companies usually say something

like is believed to

and is thought to and they

they try to leave it ambiguous so that

um no one can really nail them down for

any exact data and then sue them over it

but it is believed to accentuate the

permeability of gaba gaba is a naturally

occurring substance

and when it penetrates the nerve uh

synapse

it makes it so that depolarization of

that nerve is

less likely so it raises the resting

membrane potential

of the nerve depolarization within the

cns so what does that mean

that means that you're much less likely

to have a stimulating

nerve impulse whether it's from anxiety

whether it's from a fight-or-flight

response and the drug

technically is not making gaba so just

like

most drugs it's spending what you

already have

and um when all of the naturally

occurring substance that it's

spending is gone is spent and then

you're bankrupt there's

the the drug has very little left to act

on

so that is what is called downregulation

and that is why people become

tolerant to these type of drugs and some

people can go to an

astronomical level of taking this type

of medication

much more than i could do it would kill

me if i took that much now

but they adapt to it because of that

down regulation

next question should i switch to valium

well we don't particularly do that here

for people we do the spreading out the

dosing

so that they're not going through

intradosing withdrawal but for those

people who are trying to do it at home

that is a pragmatic approach valium has

a longer half-life

and then generally has consequences that

are less

abrupt the medication leaving your

system rapidly

is one of the complications of this

particular drug

and valium can leave your your body over

a longer period of time

giving you um a longer time to to have

this uh

drug you know export out of your body so

how to do a valium crossover is not just

do it all at one time not to just switch

from lazer pam to ativan

but stair step it maybe do half of your

dosing of volume and half of your dosing

of valium

there are conversion tables which you

can find online i won't go into those

mechanics

but lorazepam is certainly a lot

stronger drug than valium

maybe in the range of eight times as

strong depending on the person

so having a professional guide you in

that would be um

warranted because getting that dosing

level right is um

as needs to be followed up by somebody

that um you know is

supervising that okay

last question what are natural

alternatives to ativan or lorazepam

well there's not going to be a naturally

occurring substance that's going to have

the hit or the punch of

the raspberry

one of the things you want to dissect

here is to try to discover

if your symptoms are constant or

intermittent

people who are having constant symptoms

oftentimes they

are neurotoxic so they're i don't know

if it's their only alternative but their

primary

directive on that would be to unpoison

themselves

if a person is plugged up with

neurotoxins plugged up with what are

called excitotoxins

like mercury or pesticides you know

these things

how a pesticide kills a pest is it over

stimulates its nervous system to death

it really dysregulates the way it

regulates acetylcholine and we use

acetylcholine as well so

it can do the same thing to us

particularly if we have a bad hand

genetically and cannot um we don't have

the

we have a genetic polymorphism that

doesn't clear those organophosphates

so if a person's suffering all the time

like their

their nervous system feels like they're

sitting in the middle of a freeway

and they can maybe meditate themselves

to the top of the mountain but

the nervous system still feels like it's

sitting in the middle of that freeway

that's probably no toxic poisoning and

so the alternatives

for that would be unpoisoning other

natural alternatives especially for

people who are having intermittent

anxiety

are well cortisol levels

some things that uh also can help uh are

agasshwanda uh tryptophan

theanine taurine valerian root

passionflower these are more natural

anxiolytics

to get a more robust perspective on that

either visit the website where we cover

those things under lorazepam

alternatives

or go to a naturopath who can maybe

guide you in natural alternatives

your naturopaths and your integrative

doctors are going to be a lot more um

well-versed

in things than maybe your psychiatrist

when it comes to natural alternatives

and i want to thank you for watching

today's session and if you have any

further questions please contact the

alternative

to med center but do not take anything

that we've said here today to be medical

advice or changing medications based

upon what you've heard here

consult with a licensed physician who

has a relationship with you

or with us and have us establish that

doctor-patient relationship

thank you very much and have a good day

or evening

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