So what is up with Gianna??

I’m sure you’re all wondering.

I wrote this post a long time ago without outing who treated me. At the time I still thought they might actually be honest people who had simply erred in ignorance. That is still probably true for the majority of the staff, but I have now collected enough information to know they do stuff by design so that people, in general, make it out of their clinic before falling apart.

I’ve now become aware of 2 others who were at Novus Detox at the same time as I was who are now also bed bound and crippled due to the withdrawal methods used at Novus. While I was very ill before being admitted these two people WERE NOT. They fell apart due to the rapid and dangerous detox they went through at Novus.

Also I encountered someone who was also grossly abused in a very similar fashion as I was here in my home town a different state than where Novus Detox Center is. That’s a bit odd, don’t you think, since they only have a maximum of 12 people at a time and usually it’s not full to maximum. And I randomly ran into someone who also felt they almost died at Novus and had to escape in similar fashion as myself when Novus refused to treat emerging psychosis in this poor woman?

Novus Detox is hurting people by essentially cold-turkeying them off dangerous drugs that should be weaned very slowly over months and sometimes years. The recipe in the nutrient cocktail they use to allegedly mitigate withdrawal symptoms is also extremely weak and they do things in such a way as to render the most important nutrient, Glutathione, inert, while also using such a tiny amount as to be negligible in any case. This is information I found when it was too late.

I hope only to be able to stop these people from hurting others.

Below is the original post. I didn’t want this at the top of my blog so it’s buried in the archives. I’m hoping those who need to know Novus Detox will bilk you of thousands of dollars and leave you disabled will find it. (The fact is some people do fine coming off cold-turkey by their method—the criminal dimension is that they do not pay attention to those of us who DO NOT and it seems we are a large percentage of the people they see whether it’s a minority percentage or not) I’m still actively struggling to get off the Valium 2 months later. I’m down to 9 mg so I’m making progress but no thanks to them.

This is a letter I wrote to Steve the director of Novus who never answered, though he did reply with this one line: “Gianna, I am pulling together information and will send you a detailed response. Steve”

That response never arrived and you’ll see, though angry I gave him the benefit of the doubt and offered him a chance to pay me back and to learn from my experience so he would not hurt others. He did not take that opportunity to do right. It’s now well over a month since I wrote him. This is the next step. Especially since I’ve found others since then too. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt by him and his center.

this is the original post:

Basically after being sucked in by seductively nice people (who were genuinely nice, but criminally ignorant) –the fact that they were nice people was validated by a key person in our movement who knew the director and my husband who spoke with them before I decided to go to their clinic. In any case I trusted them and I got heavily screwed and traumatized.

They had acknowledged to me on the phone after I really pushed it that no they had never worked with someone with as extensive and mind-blowing a history on psych meds and so I asked them to be my partner and trust me as well.

But in the end they determined they knew what was best and pushed a far too rapid withdrawal. (Frankly I think it had to do with my limited funds as a man there who clearly had more means than I was scheduled to be there three times as long and had 2/3s less drug to come off of—that makes no sense whatsoever!! unless one concludes they are figuring out how to bilk us and it seems pretty clear that that is the case. When he laters asked for the records of the withdrawal itself they took him off all the drug in the last week—the first two weeks they only reduced about 1/9th of the total amount which also speaks to them arranging by design that he not fall apart until AFTER he left.)

The bottom line is there is no one in any of the more enlightened detox centers who have worked with people with my history, but I know had I been able to make it out to my friend’s detox center that this would never have happened. I now know several people who have gone through that program and they do NOT ALLOW psychosis because it’s simply not necessary and they KNOW that psych med withdrawal is different and people MUST go at an individualized pace and not be pushed into a dangerously fast detox. These people told me psychosis was sometimes inevitable!! And refused to make it stop! Which would have simply involved reinstating some of the benzo had they listened to me when I first raised the alarm. Their program was all about “protocol” and though they gave lip service to “individualized” care it was bullshit.

If I was well enough to travel by air I would have gone to my dear friend’s detox center and I still hope to do his sauna detox once I’m drug free and if I’m ever well enough to travel again.

In any case here where I am, I insisted on changing the pace of the withdrawal and they refused turning into illicit drug rehab monsters claiming I was drug seeking as I slipped into psychosis. I went on like that for over 48 hours perhaps closer to 72 but it’s all a blur at this point. I ran. Literally bolted out of there. My mom being my savior in this instance.

I’m fine but deeply re-traumatized and in a new way because these people were nice and respectful in general and so the mind-fuck is more delicate and complicated.

Because they were also arrogant assholes who deemed to know my truth and basically did not believe me when I told them I was headed to psychosis ONLY because of their WAY TOO RAPID withdrawal schedule. THIS DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN!!! They basically told me I wasn’t hanging tough enough—you had to be tough to get off benzos and I apparently didn’t have what it took. Nice way to shame me. Pretty.

Forget about the fact that I’ve been hanging tough for 5 years coming off all this shit. That fact was lost on these losers who couldn’t understand I didn’t fit in their nice little box of people who do well in their program. And it’s clear people do alright in their program. I cringe though to think how many people are left to be re-traumatized alone in their rooms because that’s “part of the deal,” rather than having enough staff so that someone can be with them in their darkest hours of withdrawal. Illicit drug addict or not, we all deserve that sort of care and they neither had enough staff nor appropriately trained staff for trauma care.

It was that whole reformed drug addict mentality. It’s gotta hurt real bad coming off drugs. That’s just part of the deal. All the staff were ex-addicts. That’s what they learned and that is what they went through. But none of them had my psychiatric and trauma history and didn’t know jack shit about how to deal with someone regressing into PTSD land and eventually what was going to turn into toxic psychosis.

They had NO TRAUMA informed care. As I slipped into crisis and despair they left me alone in a room with no support for hours on end. Cruel ass fucks who thought they were doing good. Most frightening couple of days in my life.

I escaped on Thursday of last week, so it’s still fresh and painful and I’m tender and raw.

So what is good here? I will salvage the good. A few good things have come out of it.

1) I finished the crossover to Valium.

2) I’m on less of a total dose of benzos than when I started the program even though I had to take emergency measures to maintain my sanity including two days of .5 mg of Risperdal. (I’m a pragmatist, people…I preferred that rather than going into a TOXIC psychosis—an organic psychosis is something altogether different which I would have entertained going into and through had I had the proper supports.) I only took the extra drug for two days and now I’m down to a lower level of benzos than when I made my way down here.

Crises such as these are really the only time these drugs can be used responsibly—of course this would never have happened had I not been irresponsibly put on drugs in the first place!

3) My bodily pain, the pain I feel mostly in my limbs and spine has almost completely abated. I don’t know if that is because it was the Klonopin detox causing it and I am no longer on Klonopin or because the IV therapy, but I’m in very little pain anymore.

Granted I still can’t walk around or sit up much because of weakness and low blood pressure but often it was pain that kept me down. So as long as the pain relief continues it’s one less hurdle to being up and about.

4) I still believe I’ve found a doctor I can work with down here who is good, but that remains to be seen. I see her today and tomorrow for IV nutrients and on Thursday I have a follow up appointment with her.

I’ve had dozens of tests done and my clearly screwed up endocrinology system may finally be addressed appropriately.

5) IV nutrients DO actually seem to be very good stuff. Where they fucked up was in taking me off  the benzo way too fast. The fact that I am on a lower dose of benzos than I would have been otherwise attests to this fact. I can continue getting IV nutrients and aminos on an outpatient basis even when I return home.

6) I have a new, deeper and profound appreciation of my husband who heroically drove down here over night after he talked to the staff and realized they had their heads up their asses. He too thought they sounded grounded and safe before I entered the program but when a nurse suggested I was drug seeking while I was in crisis he knew they were way off base and he came down here, my hero.

7) My mom too has once again proven her deep and abiding love for me and been by my side.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone here among my readers for respecting my privacy so profoundly. I put moderation on on purpose in case anyone got nosy before I was ready to talk. This has been painful and humiliating really. The trauma feels like a rape. Before this morning I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever speak of it.


About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

35 Responses

  1. God, Gianna, that’s HORRIBLE!!!!! So you’re not back to square one, but you’re not where you hoped to get to… damn. Let me know when you’re home and I’ll call (and talk to you IF you can talk, as usual).



  2. Sherry

    Wow. Gianna, I am so impressed with your clarity of thought, your trust in yourself and your willingness to deal with the complexities of nice people doing not nice things in their ignorance. And your ability and willingness to seek out the pony in this pile of sh*t.

    Good on ye, Gianna. I saw you’d left a comment on FS so I came on over here to see how you are.

    I’ve been in a similar situation and did not handle it nearly as well as you are. Give yourself a big, fat hug, girl.


  3. I am so very sorry that you had to go through this. I hope that the pain continues to abate and am glad that you have your mother and husband in your life. They sound wonderful.


  4. Whoa! You are my hero Gianna! I thot you were VERY BRAVE to go into that situation! And yesh – I thot maybe that the amount taken off so quickly was a tad too much. My Mom’s on 2.5 mg of valium 2X a day – so 5 mg in all. It’s harder to get off than heroin.

    God bless you and I hope I said NOTHING to bother you …


  5. Gianna,
    So sorry things did not work out the way you hoped they would. I know you had high hopes for this place, but in the end, you know what you need better than anyone else does.
    Hugs to you, and I’m so sorry you had to go through that!


  6. Wow, Gianna, I’m so sorry. I had assumed you would talk when you were ready to, and that’s why I didn’t ask any questions– to me, that just sounds like common courtesy? I’m glad you can see the good in everything…

    I will speak to my own experience. I have been on and off klonopin for about a year and a half, mostly off of it- I hardly took it for most of that time. About 2 months ago, I started a new job, so I started taking it every night, 2mg. Last month, I decided I’d had enough, and stopped taking it cold turkey. I know you would never do that, nor advise it. I got SO SICK. Fluish, achy in my arms and legs, and I could barely walk. So the bodily thing could very much have to do with klonopin being out of your system. I have a very sensitive muscular-nervous system due to a physical disability.


  7. Reflecting what others have said – wow! It always saddens me when I hear about people who’s only version of the ‘truth’ is how life is, according to them and their experiences. The world is such a varied place and its insane to think that our truth is someone else’s.

    But that’s what these people did to you, and with horrific implications. Thank goodness you were able to see the light, and for your mom and husband. Lucky you, to have that kind of support. You’ve clearly made the right call to get out of there!

    However, it sounds as if not all is lost. And you have options. So that at least is good news. Here’s hoping its forwards and upwards from here, in a safe and controlled way!!


  8. Dorothy

    It’s very similar to my story … perhaps we can exchange notes someday …Maintain your sanity and you’ll be on the other side soon and your nightmare will end …The past will just be a bad memory.


  9. I am happy that things are starting to be on an upswing for you Gianna. I am also impressed by the support system you have in your husband and mom. Many of us don’t have that kind of system…

    I will keep you in my thoughts..


  10. I’m so sorry that it turned out to be like that. I agree with you – that place really did sound different. I am so glad you have a good mother and a good husband. My husband is like that, too.


    I hope your pain stays gone. I hope you feel better and better each day. I think you are doing the right thing by protecting yourself. You’ve been through enough trauma.


  11. You know what, Gianna? It really makes me angry that you were treated like some kind of junkie or something. That’s another thing doctors don’t tell us will happen when they’re shoving psyche drugs at us and telling us how ‘sick’ we are. They call them ‘medicines’ when they brow-beat people into taking them, but now they’re drugs, huh? They would again be medicines instead of drugs if you walked into a doctor’s office right now and had the same diagnoses and ‘medicines’ that you had to start with. What a bunch of sick con artists. The system is terribly broken. I don’t know what it’s going to take for these idiots to stop abusing traumatized people. I guess they had all better hope they never get that kind of ‘sick’, eh? Their colleagues will turn on them if they do.


  12. Gianna,
    This literally made me cry. I know how much research you did to go here. It scares me and sickens me that others may go, or have been, and could have been treated the same way.

    I am so glad that you are fortunate enough to have an incredible family.

    As always I am keeping you in my thoughts.


  13. Joan

    Just want to add my voice to the others, dear Gianna. I’m so sorry that this happened to you–it truly sucks.

    You were very brave in following what your gut was telling you to do. When you can move, give yourself a pat on the back (alternatively, tell your husband I asked if he would do it for you:)

    I’m glad you shared this and more glad that you waited until you were ready. You know yourself better than anyone else–its awful how they try to convince us otherwise.

    Take gentle care and as always, my thoughts are with you/


  14. Maureen


    I too am so very sorry this happened to you. I know you had such high hopes for this place and then they treat people like drug addicts. What a horrible travesty that even though you went there voluntarily knowing what you know about benzo withdrawal, they still felt empowered to do whatever they wanted in spite of this! Arrogant and uncaring, for sure.

    I am a long-time iatrogenic benzo addict. I was on 3mg. xanax and now on my third attempt at withdrawal, am down to 1.5mg. People have no idea who have not gone through this, what it is like. My prayers are with you. I have gone down the equivalent of 5mg. of valium in the last 3 months, but I don’t care how long it takes, for me turtle-tapering is the best way. And I cannot tolerate valium, so I’m doing a direct xanax taper. May God be with us all.


  15. Doe

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I am glad some good was salvaged out of it. You’re in my thoughts and I hope you feel better soon.


  16. It is unfortunate that these people did not treat you with the same respect as what you had for them. It is sad to go to such a place with so much trust, only to be treated that badly. I hope this serves as a lesson for the rehab place, that they learn how to treat their clients right. It is good for you Gianna that you have been able to share this, and to share it with all the honesty and all the emotions. That is good for you because you won’t have to keep all those painful emotions on the inside. Wishing you the best in the next leg of the journey.


  17. Val

    Crap, crap, ca-RAP!!! I’m so sorry to hear that this place turned out to be such a PITA. Glad you’re outta there babe.
    Kudos all around to dear hubby & your mom – glad they were there for you!
    keep on keeping on I guess, honey.

    lots of love,


  18. Jan


    I’m so, so sorry that happened. What a bunch of #&*(@#%!!!!! I can’t imagine how betrayed you feel – and how you describe it, like being raped, is very accurate. I would think I’d feel the same way had I been there and treated like that. And even though you show just a portion of who you are, it is a very, very good portion and I’m so glad you do share it. You are certainly doing the right thing by NOT sharing everything and keeping some of the most private things to yourself. And to that idiot of a psych nurse – not only is it a shame you call yourself “nurse”, but a human being, too!



  19. Jenny

    Oh no poor you I am so very sorry to hear what happened. I do hope you recover from what has happened safely and quickly – you really did not need that to happen from the very people you trusted to help you. It is such a very big mistake to try and rush the withdrawal from these drugs and they should have known that. I have been there too re too rapid a withdrawal once from a prescription drug and I really feel for you. Slow and steady as you so rightly say is the way to be free of prescription drugs. Everyone is different. I was someone who took a long time to taper off the neuroleptic I was on and then eventually off the Valium I had to take to finish the last of my taper off from the neuroleptic. Hang on in there you will reach the end of your journey and I feel sure doing it your way will achieve the result and happy ending you so deserve.
    Thinking of you
    Much love
    Jenny xxxx


  20. Ana

    First I’m angry and infuriated with this clinic but I’ll leave it behind for the moment.
    I hope you find balance and peace Gianna.
    I will say something you will not like but I think that you have taken too much drugs and you need a rest.
    Klonopin withdrawal is hell.
    I keep on taking it because I have no courage to go through all the withdrawal process again.
    Effexor withdrawal has really traumatized me. Two years and had to go back because I could not function physically and mentally.
    I glad you are home and safe. I was really worried.



  21. Jeanne Allyn

    I went into a “dual diagnosis” treatment center in 09/07 for help in getting off the drug DXM. I got addicted to it because it relieved the side effects of all the other psychotropics I was on. I was put on klonopin when it came out 20 years ago. Because in the interim it became a street drug, everyone who entered this place was immediately detoxed off of it. They took me off it in TWO WEEKS! They also started me on cymbalta and then kept increasing the dose without telling me. When I became suicidal, this was attributed to “addict behavior.” I had to be transported to a psych unit to be restabilized.

    It was a cruel experience, but the retraumatization did lead to my decision to come off ALL chemicals.

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down. You know your own mind and body.


  22. Ana

    I understood now! It’s because when I’m angry I only write one sentence at a time without any connection not even an “and”. It really looks like a list and I will write this only not to make another list and be put at spam folder one more time.
    Thank you for what you wrote for me at the post I wrote how sad and angry it’s to talk about mental health.
    It’s really too hard for me. I have to write about he trauma I’m of withdrawal that reached a degree that whenever I see this word in English in a sentence that has nothing to do with tapering off a psych-drug I associate it with this subject.
    The troops will withdraw… Good! This is a good new not a whole lot of terrible physical and mental symptoms.
    I hope I made myself clear.


  23. Hello, Gianna,

    I am just now reading about your horrible experience. It brings great sadness to me that this Center would ignore your needs, and not trust you to monitor your withdrawal. And just as horrifying, that they would say that you were drug seeking. It seems the abuse is unending, even when one believes one has found a supposedly safe place.

    It is so wonderful that you have such a loving husband and mother and I am so glad you have their presence in your life. I am inspired by what you were able to “glean” that is good from your experience. I am so very sorry this happened to you and know that you will continue on your healing journey.

    I want to say that I hope I am not one of the people who has offended you for I do not want to be invasive or to cause you pain in any way.

    I wish you the best always.




  24. Oh my Gawd, Gina! I have been out of the loop with my own personal issues and was finally trying to catch up today on your detox progress. I’m so sorry to hear all this. Where did you go and who are these idiots??? Hopefully, nobody I’m referring people to! This is tragic!

    I continue to send you love and light as always. You are my hero! –Gwen


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