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Some people in benzo withdrawal swear that holding at a dose for a few days, or even a few weeks helps then “stabilize.” That doesn’t mean they are symptom free, but rather they can better cope with their symptoms. Others have a more direct approach and grit their teeth and never hold a dose.

When I  started tapering, I screamed down the first .5 mgs of my  1mg clonazapam dose in four weeks. I don’t recommend doing that. I was terribly symptomatic and quite miserable. I held at .5 for over a month. Most of my intense symptoms lessened.

Now, as I work my way down into the smaller numbers, I am once again coping with intense symptoms.  I finally cried “Uncle!” I am holding my dose. I have no intention of cutting again until I am more functional.

Part of me wants to keep tapering and just grit my teeth and be done with the process.

But the truth is, the process isn’t done with me. My brain needs time to heal.  I can give it time by holding.

Every one has an opinion about how to step down from benzos. I respect everyone’s path. I also respect my body and I know I have pushed it to the point where I need to back off and give it a break. I need to hold my dose and wait until I have more energy. Then I can start the slow, steady, downhill march.

Long holds can help if you understand that they won’t bring you relief from all of your symptoms, but rather they will allow your brain to catch up with your cuts. That can help reduce symptoms.

The “no pain no gain” approach may work at the gym, but in benzo withdrawal, there is enough pain without adding to it by ignoring your symptoms and pushing through when a hold in your dose could help you feel a bit better.

I am reminded over and over again, “this is not a race.” This is my life, and I intend to live with less suffering and more peace.  With that in mind, I am holding at this dose until I feel better.

To your victory over benzo withdrawal!

Dr. Jenn

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