The UK continues to report on the dangers of benzodiazepine drug use in a way that the US media has simply never done. All the best mainstream media coverage on this class of drug comes from the UK. There is a much deeper and uglier denial about the problem in the United States.
Lawyers and medical experts have reported an increase in clinical negligence cases by patients left physically and psychologically broken by “indefensible” long-term prescribing of addictive tranquillisers such as Valium, collectively known as benzodiazepines.
Patients taken off the drugs too quickly, leaving them disabled with pain for months if not years, are also seeking legal redress. Many say they were never told about the dangers of rapid detoxification, which can lead to seizures and even death in severe cases. Doctors have been accused of being “in denial” about the problem.
Experts have warned of a coming flood of legal action against doctors who failed to inform their patients about the addictive nature of some tranquillisers, currently given to millions of people worldwide. They are prescribed to deal with common social and psychological complaints, from exam stress to relationship problems and bereavement.
He told The Independent: “There is no sign that such prescribing is diminishing. The Royal College of GPs is in denial about this because they fear being sued. (read the rest)
This article includes some case studies. It also includes mention of a friend of mine who has started a charitable organization that offers support to those suffering from withdrawal syndrome. Baylissa Frederick has offered me support many times and contributed on this blog as well. Her articles on this blog offer a gentle and promising guiding light for those who are still in the darkness of withdrawal syndrome.
Her website is Recovery Road. She has also written a book that chronicles her torturous journey through protracted withdrawal while offering support and hope to those who are still in the midst of it: Benzo-Wise: A Recovery Companion
This article and much discussion about withdrawal syndromes often talk about the dangers of sudden withdrawal. Rightly, so, however, I sometimes think there is too much emphasis on those who “cold-turkey” the medications. The fact is that even with reasonably responsibly conducted withdrawal some people still suffer intensely. I wrote about this recently: Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications.
These drugs change our nervous systems and coming off of them is just plain difficult for some people regardless of how long one has been on them or how long one takes to come off. It’s certainly true that slow withdrawal can help mitigate issues, but it doesn’t get rid of all problems. I am a case in point. Granted my case is complicated by several other drugs that also can cause dependence and withdrawal syndromes.
In fact, I sometime get frustrated when one class of psychotropic drug is held up as particularly problematic as is the case in this article. The fact is all psychotropic drugs can potentially cause severe withdrawal syndromes and this fact needs to be better understood. Still, I love to see any information hitting the mainstream media about the dangers of these drugs.
For more info about benzodiazapine use and withdrawal issues on Beyond Meds see here. I now have a large collection of information that can get one started on understanding the issue of use and withdrawal. Much of the mainstream media news items are from the UK as is today’s piece. Benzo Info.