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Addiction to Drugs/Ativan Withdrawal

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Question
My friend is currently on Zoloft (not sure of the amount, but I can find out if relevant) and .5mg of ativan, 3 times a day,  to control her anxiety.  The ativan was prescribed as she is breastfeeding, and her doctor's preferred prescription of Buspar doesn't jive with that.

Her mental health facility is a nightmare. They sent her a warning that if she doesn't make an appointment with the therapist within a certain time, the psychiatrist will drop her. Unfortunately, the therapist has not had any openings to fulfill the required visit. She is almost out of Ativan, and of course, because she has built a tolerance, they aren't working for her anyway. Her psychiatrist won't be available until Thursday (which she was told is also a big maybe), and apparently, whoever she is able to speak to refuses to bring an available psychologist in.

She is currently shopping for new mental health professionals, but in the meantime, she is afraid of the withdrawal symptoms she might experience. She's already extremely irritable, and is afraid of more severe symptoms, especially while caring for her breastfeeding child.

What kind of withdrawal can she expect from going from 1.5mg ativan a day to zero (cold turkey)? How worried should she be?

Answer
Hi Jess,

This is a medical question that I'm not qualified to answer.  Benzodiazepan withdrawal can be serious at times.  Her dose is low, but I wouldn't say she's not at risk.  Being pregnant raises these concerns further, of course.

Does she had a primary care physician she can see?  I would expect she does, to monitor her pregnancy.

Peter  

Addiction to Drugs

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Peter L.

Expertise

I am available to answer any questions about substance use, abuse, and dependence. I can also offer perspective on treatment options and how to motivate someone to get help. I have over 27 years of experience as a substance abuse treatment professional, working with adolescents and adults in a variety of treatment settings. I feel I can answer just about any question in this topic area but can also access reference sources, or direct you to these for additional information gathering or education on your own.

Experience

I am a professional addictions counselor working in a very highly respected treatment center, as well as having a private practice in two states.

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Masters Degree in Behavioral Science Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in three states. Also an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

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