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Benzodiazepines and memory loss

Discussion in 'Therapy and Medication' started by Petal, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Hmm, I have been on benzodiazepines for several years at high doses. Mostly xanax and valium. I am on valium now(20mg daily, rarely 30mg if I am very anxious). I've noticed my memory has gone fuzzy even trying to remember important details of things and important conversations that I am guessing I would remember better had I not been on benzodiazepines daily. It's frustrating, sometimes I suffer with amnesia, for example waking up and not remembering going to bed or what I was doing and slowly during the day the details will vaguely come back to me. They are great drugs but highly addictive and I have looked it up a lot and yes a lot of people do suffer with amnesia/memory loss from benzodiazepines. Not only is it frustrating for me but also people around me. Does anyone else have this problem with benzodiazepines?
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Actually the Pdoc stated that it was a medication that decreased ones ability to learn it does take memory away and the ability to retain information only if used to much
    but it does slow the mind down
  3. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    I have taken diazepam on and off in the past and never really noticed much difference, but I have noticed a lot of difference in my memory since starting psychiatric medication. I have a really, really, really good memory, even now but I'm nowhere near as sharp as I used to be. I used to be able to recall details and events pretty much spot on and word for word but I do struggle sometimes these days and it bugs me sometimes. But that's the price you pay for stability.
  4. AsphyxiateOnWords

    AsphyxiateOnWords Eρεβος/Νύξ

    Yep. Benzos and some sleeping pills (such as ambien and temazepam) definitely affect memory. I've been prescribed Klonopin, Xanax, and Ambien before and used to eat them like skittles and those several years are a blur to me. I've had many, many experiences with Klonopin, Xanax, and Ambien during which I had taken them and...well, that's about all I can tell you cause I don't remember a damn thing that happened afterwards. One specific time though, after taking several Xanex, I woke up the next morning to a text from my ex saying what the hell were you doing last night? I was like what are you talking about (thinking I hadn't talked to him in months), and he said he got a bunch of texts from me that weren't even words, but apparently they made sense to me at the time cause I followed up the gibberish with several exclamation points. Didn't remember a damn thing until he mentioned it to me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2014
  5. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Really suffering with my memory now that I am on 30mg valium, painkillers,sedatives,anti depressants,sleeping pills. It's not that they are too strong for me, it's just a side effect unfortunately. As butterfly said, it's the price you pay to stay stable and tbh i'm willing to pay that price.

    Waking up, not remembering how I got to bed, I refuse to cook hot meals incase I leave something on by accident. If I do, I make sure someone is there. And yes asphyxiate I am on ambien, 20mg. It's known as stilnoct here. My memory here is clear though because I'm typing the things out if that makes sense.
  6. MisterBGone

    MisterBGone Well-Known Member

    Maybe if you bring this specific issue up with your psychiatrist, they can do something adjustment wise, with the medications to help. I know that one time I mentioned this very same problem, and he said something to the effect of, "Ah... You must be experiencing a disruption of cognitive functioning." Unless you've already done so, in which case, forget everything I just said!
  7. W Miller

    W Miller Well-Known Member

    I lose days/weeks/months, from Bezo abuse.

    50mg Valium
    8M Xanax
    Other Benzo's I won't tell you about.

    Keep fighting. I need help too, still. Maybe we can help each other here.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2014
  8. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    W Miller

    50mg valium? Wow yeah-that would certainly cause memory loss as would 8mg xanax. Would you take these together? How much are you actually prescribed though? Or maybe you aren't prescribed them as I cannot imagine a doctor prescribing both at the same time.

    I wouldn't exactly call my issue abuse of benzo's because I do take the valium as it is prescribed except for the rare occasion where I may take 1 more (which is allowed by the doctor for rare occasions).
    However, I may be able to help you as I have good knowledge of these medications, I have plenty of books here at home written by doctors including the mims books. Also have a book that covers 8,000 medicines and drugs which I have read so many times over, I believe that one was written by the British medical something lol Cost me more than 40 euro but worth it as I like to know what I am putting into my body.


    I don't think I should bring it up to be honest as what I am on now is helping and keeping me stable, I wouldn't want to go back to being very anxious and depressed again, I can deal with the memory loss, it's just annoying sometimes. Quite annoying actually but better than the alternative.
  9. W Miller

    W Miller Well-Known Member

    I want people to read your posting, so I quoted it. I really abused Benzos in my day...Don't do it, just use as prescribed by your doctor. I was a bad addict. I admit it. I messed up my brain.

    Never abuse a benzo; period!
  10. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Thank you :)

    Benzo abuse is a major problem these days, much worse than people realize because a lot of it is hidden. I feel bad for people with any addictions but it does annoy me when people abuse benzos they get from doctors for this reason- it can prevent the people who really need to take them due to panic attacks/stress/ptsd ect.. from getting them. And because of this there is now strict guidelines here in Ireland (so the doctors say) for prescribing them. Such as the lowest dose,no longer than 2 weeks. But that doesn't apply to me as I have major history with anxiety going back years of being unable to leave the house etc. Also, rohypnol was made illegal a few months back due to the new guidelines, it had been available as a sleeping tablet and pre surgery sedation but completely banned now.
  11. random33

    random33 Well-Known Member

    Never really abused them (maybe a couple of times), only used them as prescribed and been noticing some memory and concentration issues, I've already started the process of tapering them off, so maybe it's the withrall causing this issues, I'll probably stop xanax in a couple of weeks, after my next appointment.
    The big issue is lorazepam I simply cannot sleep if I stop it or take a lower dose :S, i've tryed reducing the dosage for a couple of weeks and felt like a zombie, I slept like 2-3 hours at night and had major nightmares. I do think I will need to take a month or 2 off work to stop it, see if my brain adjusts.
  12. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Hi there random. Last year from march to july I tapered off slowly from xanax, I had requested to be taken off it and the doctor made that plan. There was little to no withdrawal from tapering off so slowly. But it was worth it in the end, xanax is evil to me and I think its only best used PRN due to how fast tolerance builds up.

    See your doctor, be entirely honest even about abusing them a couple of times. I personally think actual sleeping pills such as zolpidem would help you better than the lorazepam for sleep. It's not a benzo, it's a hypnotic and very strong. Talk to the doctor, best of luck...the withdrawal from benzos is hell if you go cold turkey and can be dangerous and lead to seizures so you DO need to see whoever is prescribing.
  13. random33

    random33 Well-Known Member

    I'm not planing on going cold turkey, I'm actually tapering xanax off pretty slowly, I'm now on 0,5mg a day, maybe I'll need I few more months I don't know, but will follow the doctor's plan, I've stopped taking it a few times, because I ran out and it's not fun at all:) lorazepam is the real problem, I've tryed other sleeping pills but with no luck :( I always had insomnia, even when I was a kid so this is going to be a tricky one, not even benzos work, unless I take massive dosages, so that is not a solution either.

    I'm lucky that I don't have major side effects from them, but I notice that my mind is less sharp and I have a more difficult time focusing, it's still better then before benzos when I suffered from extreme anxiety I couldn't even stand still let alone focus on anything, but when I was normal things were a lot easier than they are now.

    Thank's, sorry if the post does not make a lot of sense it's really late where I am, and lorazepam is starting to kick in.
  14. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Hey there again,

    Glad you are not going cold turkey, not fun as you know. 0.5mg per day is great to have gotten down to, well done! :) I would definitely think you do not need months to get off that dose. The doctors reduce by 0.25 per week, so this could be easier than you think thank goodness.

    I also suffer insomnia and I know Lorazepam is very addictive. I have major sleep problems, I am currently on a waiting list to see a sleep specialist, I think you should ask your doctor to refer you to a sleep specialist, 'cos it seems that if you keep going with the lorazepam it's going to get rough. I have been on nearly every benzo and hypnotic that exists and trust me you don't wanna go down the road of taking higher and higher and higher doses every night because your tolerance is going to sky rocket and eventually you will be so tolerant to the lorazepam, I don't think it is going to keep working. Benzos are a godsend and evil all in one. I would definitely talk to your doctor about a referral to a sleep specialist.

    I wish you the best of luck. I know how hard it is, and what has been driving me nuts lately is the feeling of having to rely on chemicals every single day. Right now I am on 30mg of valium a day, I do still get anxiety but 99% of the time I am absolutely fine. I do realize that valium is a very addictive drug too but to me it's much better than xanax and I'm happy on it :)

    Good luck and keep us updated please! Oh and don't worry your post makes perfect sense.
  15. random33

    random33 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the support and great advise.
    A sleeping specialist really does seem like a great ideia (actually curious to see how my brain works during sleep), I will talk to my doctor about it next time, It would be great to be off drugs :) The doctor told me that he wanted me to stop everything except antidepressants, currently Effexor 150mg, the plan is to take me off xanax, then Lorazepam and see how I cope without them, the final goal is to keep me stable with 75mg of Effexor or other antidepressent, I may need a switch.

    Thanks again, I really wish you the best.
  16. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Sounds like a smart doctor you have there :) Hopefully he can refer you to some specialists who can help while coming off the benzos. That is a good goal, just anti-d's, you will get there my friend..it just takes time and patience, you are very welcome =) x