About 2 decades too late and a good decade after the alarm bell was sounded in the UK but it’s better late than never.
Benzodiazepines, often prescribed to manage anxiety, panic and sleep disorders, include Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Klonopin. Originally pushed as an alternative to barbiturates, their use has grown rapidly in the past 30 years. But critics say their long-term effects have gone largely unaddressed. Health professionals and consumers are increasingly recognizing that taking the drugs for more than a few weeks can lead to physical dependence, often ending with a grueling withdrawal….
….John Steinberg, a physician and former medical director of the chemical dependency program at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, estimates that 10 to 20 percent of those taking the drugs for extended periods will have problems with dose escalation and physical dependence. “For a serious side effect, that’s a fairly large, significant number,” he said. “It is, after all, a devastating and debilitating adverse effect for those who experience it.”
The ordeal of withdrawing from benzodiazepines can rival that of kicking a heroin habit, according to some who have had success. Abrupt withdrawal can result in hallucinations, seizures and even death, experts say.
Uh, I’ve been told by people who’ve withdrawn from both benzos and heroin that benzos are far worse!
Last year, after jail officials in Cleveland denied R&B singer Sean Levert’s repeated requests for his Xanax, he hallucinated for hours and ultimately died from the effects of withdrawal, according to the coroner’s report cited in court records. His widow sued the corrections center and medical staff. The suit is pending.
And people DON’T die from heroin withdrawal, period.
And from the balancing side of the equation…or in other words those docs who still have their heads up their asses:
Robert DuPont, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who has written several books on addiction and anxiety and maintains a psychiatric practice in Rockville, said the drugs are widely successful in treating panic and anxiety. He said that 90 percent of his patients have no difficulty taking the medicine, and those with problems are most likely to be people who’ve had issues with addiction in the past.
This guy is truly full of it. These drugs were given to me by my doc and I never asked for more and as the dose increased, by his recommendation, I was told I could take twice as much as I was taking and I refused because I’d heard it was addictive. Had I followed my doctor’s instructions I would have ended up on twice as much. Nonetheless I still ended up with a massive habit.
I’m painfully withdrawing from the tail end of a huge dose. Should be over in a matter of weeks. No thanks to the people responsible for my prescribing the drugs of the addiction. People like Robert DuPont. So sure they were acting in my best interest and dealing with me, someone who was clearly NOT a drug seeking addict. You make these lame judgments with the health and wellbeing of your trusting patients, doctors. Drug addicts can be made..they need not seek…they only have to find YOU who tell them the drugs are safe.
I was subtly coerced to believe it was okay to take more and more, even as each time the dose increased I hesitated…I knew…but I had no one to help me follow the light of my knowing and I needed that. I very much wanted someone to give me alternatives, but I never got them and had to find them 20 years later on my own after I was hooked on 6 drugs.
Shame on you, you legal drug pushers. Doctors.
For additional information including an extensive list of links on Benzodiazepine use and withdrawal go here: Benzo Info