This post includes the Beyond Meds Benzo Info Page with lots of links, info and resources. Please scroll down after the initial comments that deal with the politics of the benzo withdrawal world.
Video from RXBenzo.org — a resource for benzodiazepine information. (note: apparantly there is discord in the benzo world about this organization. I’m not up to figuring out the current politics of the benzo withdrawal world…if you are here is an article about this site from another benzo site: RxBenzos Mission Statement Has Become Unclear)
The below comments were made by me to the person who alerted me to this conflict on Facebook. This is not much of an issue in my mind — if you want to read all of the comments in context visit the Facebook post:
**frankly addiction vs dependency is a non-issue in my mind…splitting hairs kind of thing. I think of all dependency regardless of how you want to view it as part of the same cultural phenomena…kind of like drugs are drugs are drugs…but I do understand that people want it to be clear that they were prescribed drugs and that is what made them ill…I do. Still, I support the well-being of all people regardless of how they got on drugs…street and/or recreational addicts deserve love and care too. I did get treated like “an addict” at a detox center and it was ugly…but all it made me think was how tragic that “addicts” are being treated so badly…it broke my heart for all of those unlucky enough to be labeled that way…I’m simply inclusive. I do appreciate that we got our drugs prescribed…but I don’t want to throw anyone away…this culture makes us all.
later on I added:
You might take a look at Gabor Mate’s work…truly enlightened and lovely…bringing us together with our deep similarities…all human beings in this consumer/materialistic and sick culture have some variant of addictive nature…I’m sorry if that repulses some people, but it’s true.
I am cutting and pasting the Beyond Meds benzo info page below as well. It’s always available in the drop-down navigation menus at the top of the page as well. Under the psych drug withdrawal tab.
Benzodiazepine Information and Resources
Benzodiazepines are prescribed primarily for anxiety and/or sleep issues. They are a highly problematic class of drug. Most people are not told the risks involved when they are first prescribed. This page provides information on the risks of taking benzodiazepines. It also offers information and resources for freeing oneself from benzodiazepine dependence.
I thought I would put a page together on benzo information and benzo withdrawal in particular since I have more collected info about this class of drug than the other 5 classes of psychotropic meds I’ve withdrawn from. Basically benzos and now antidepressant drugs are the two classes of drugs for which there is really quite a lot of info on the web regarding withdrawal. It’s still mostly anecdotal and not studied, but it’s been recognized much longer that there are severe problems with withdrawing from these two class of drugs so it’s easier to collect information regarding such.
So here is what has become a rather extensive collection of articles and stories that deal with just benzos. Please visit the Withdrawal 101 page for a larger picture of how to more safely withdraw from these drugs where lifestyle changes are talked about and several books are mentioned to help one support body/mind and spirit. Withdrawal 101 is a generic article to help one understand the risks and benefits of withdrawal of all classes of psych drugs. Much about withdrawal remains the same in each class of drug.
Benzodiazepines can be dangerous to withdraw. It’s important to understand the risks. Medical doctors, including psychiatrists, are often woefully misinformed. Please educate yourself before discontinuing the drugs whether or not you are under the care of a doctor. They often do not realize how ignorant they are and can unintentionally cause their patients great pain and harm. Unfortunately it is often essential to advocate for yourself and stay safe. Sometimes the best we can do is find a doctor who is willing to learn with us. I was blessed with such a prescriber while I came off my cocktail.
These are popular and helpful posts I’m highlighting at the beginning of this resource page:
News and general info on benzodiazepines:
- Benzos: a short video — “it really is that bad” (new)
- Many existing detox centers for psych drug withdrawal are dangerous
- Benzodiazepine use linked with development of dementia
- Army warns against benzos and antipsychotics in PTSD: they can “intensify symptoms and lead to addiction”
- Doctors sued for creating benzodiazepine (Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, etc) addicts (UK)
- Disturbing stats: 37,485 deaths to prescribed drugs — many of those deaths are improperly used benzodiazepines.
- Shrinks get patients hooked on drugs and then cut the cord — until the seriousness of withdrawal syndromes are recognized doing it wholesale like this is a very scary prospect. As these sorts of policies increase in popularity, it’s vital that those implementing them understand what the fallout might be.
- Multiple drug sensitivity (the outcome of grossly over-prescribed medications)
- Drugs linked to brain damage 30 years ago and a personal post using this info to confront my prescribing psychiatrist in an email
- Benzodiazepines, Sleeping Pills and Tranquilizers: what happens to the brain on drugs?
- Sleeping Pills (benzo and Z-drugs) shorten life-span and a list of other adverse reactions
- Benzodiazepines work like heroin
- Benzo Land
- The truth about benzos — a post with lots of links to other posts about benzos.
- SSRI and Benzo withdrawal symptoms lists
- Warnings of the dangers of benzodiazepines hit the media
- More media coverage
- Benzo withdrawal can last for years
- Return of the benzos
- The truth about benzos
- Mother’s little helper — America’s love affair with benzos
- Wikipedia on benzos
- Most benzodiazepine addicts take the drugs because their doctors assured them they were safe
- GABA, benzodiazepines and the brain
- GABA/glutamate system and how it might work with Benzos and Lamictal
- Benzodiazepines, too cause chronic issues and rebound “anxiety” that is a much worse monster than anything initially treated
- Psychiatric drugs (including benzos) as agents of trauma
Help for getting off of and recovering from benzodiazepine use:
- Benzo Withdrawal—Heather Ashton Manual Not the final word on benzo withdrawal as some would have you believe, but her tips work for a lot of people. Some people really need to go MORE SLOWLY….and valium backfires for some.
- Water Titration for slow and controlled withdrawal
- Klonopin/Valium crossover explained
- Natural sleep or generally soothing supplements
- Benzodiazepine Recovery Tips
- WARNING Many existing detox centers for psych drug withdrawal are dangerous
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal story. Through hell and out the other side
- Cindy’s recovery from long-term benzo dependency
- Jayme’s method of dealing with anxiety
- A recovery from benzos–into severe benzo illness and out
- Recovery stories from all sorts of psych drugs here
- Antidepressant withdrawal leads to benzo addiction, then withdrawal and recovery
Benzo stories from my personal experience (much of this has applicability to others in withdrawal, I often talk about my experience with others suffering from withdrawal syndromes too):
**These archives now span close to five years. They are a record of a time in my life when I was learning and transforming at a rate unlike any other time in my life. I say this as a way of disclaimer. In the earlier years of this blog I am processing shock and dismay. In the early years I am undisputedly angry. I have worked out much of that and see things in a much less judgmental manner now. This continues to evolve. I sometimes want to take down old posts because they no longer convey how I feel, but I realize that they may still be helpful to people who are going through something similar now. The journey got me to where I am today, it’s just odd to have some of it in writing here for all to see.
- Histamine intolerance (likely to apply to others on psych meds and coming off them too)
- Chronic pain (psych drug withdrawal induced and chronic pain in general too)
- Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
- PTSD, whistleblowing and chemical injury: There are some human experiences that others can’t really understand
- Dyesthesias: abnormal pain from psych drug withdrawal (and info about other sorts of withdrawal pains too)
- Multiple drug sensitivity (the outcome of grossly over-prescribed medications)
- Dear psychiatrist part 2: Benzos and brain damage — an email to my prescribing psychiatrist that he might know what the drugs have done.
- Starting off with a Klonopin taper (later I did switch to Valium which is often, but not always easier—depends on the individual)
- Cross-over story
- Cross-over story in progress
- Withdrawal continues
- Question posed on a benzo board
- Personal Update 12/09
- Say no to benzos
- Drug Freedom — anniversary of the blog and the end of my 6 year withdrawal process
- This is what it’s like… (post benzo withdrawal, still recovering)
- GABA, benzodiazepines and the brain
- An email to close friends
- Recovery sometimes goes so slowly you don’t know if it’s happening
- Extreme sensitivity to noise, touch, movement, commotion etc…
- And I thought my Lamictal withdrawal was from hell? What I’m dealing with now is much worse: post benzo withdrawal
- In the near absence of friendship
- Improvement, by god, yes!
- When I think of my relationships I have no regrets — with Baylissa Frederick
- Benzodiazepine Speech Withdrawal Symptoms (Dysarthria) – brief personal progress update too
- Four month anniversary post
- This is a brain injury situation
Good books on how to deal with anxiety:
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioner’s Treatment Guide to Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Values-Based Behavior Change Strategies
— this book is for practitioners and I personally found it more useful than the workbook. It’s got tons of exercises in it on a CD and it explains it to the professional.
There are other online groups and boards if you do a google search. There are also lots of videos on youtube that have been made by people coping with withdrawal.
See here for more info about Online Withdrawal Support — it’s worth being aware about the limitations of boards online.
I’ve found that all support groups and forums have their own particular culture and dogma. Please use your own best judgment. The most important thing to remember is that you are an individual and withdrawal manifests differently for everyone.
Also be aware that the benzo boards in general know very little about the particular risks and dangers of other drugs one may be on along with the benzos and in fact often give very bad information. This is a generalization but it pays to be aware of a lack of knowledge and experience by people who sometimes act as if they know more than they do. Multiple drug situations get extremely complicated and most benzo folks think it’s benzos are always at fault when speaking about withdrawal issues when it may or may not be true in any individual situation.
One board made it explicit to me that I was NOT ALLOWED to talk about other drugs at all after I gave some information to someone who had started a thread about antidepressants. The information I gave was limited to responding to a direct inquiry about a particular documented risk involved in taking antidepressants. This silence about another class of drugs in a benzo forum is a dangerous precedent to set and so if you have any other drugs involved in your taper I would recommend going somewhere you can freely talk about all of them.
The same thing happens on antidepressant withdrawal boards where people are routinely on benzos and no one realizes how dangerous the benzos are. Just be aware all the psychotropics have serious issues as well as withdrawal problems. That some people sometimes choose to take other drugs to mitigate withdrawal from a drug is fine…it is their right to do so, but if information is withheld about the risks involved in doing so how is the board different from a psychiatrist saying everything will be fine while they feed us benzos.
As always informed choice is what is missing. Once the information is available people should have the right to make whatever decision is right for them.
Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications — things to think about before deciding if you should discontinue your medications
(***To navigate the rest of the archives on this blog check out the drop-down menus at the top of the page)
Also see: Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs & Withdrawal (newly revised edition)