Nice to see this in mainstream US media…the UK is generally ahead of covering this stuff in the media and I’ve often linked to pieces from the UK media on benzodiazepine iatrogenic injuries.
Benzodiazepines are the most recognized psych drugs to have serious adverse withdrawal issues and still people are harmed in the tens of thousands. SSRIs and other antidepressants and neuroleptics and “mood stabilizers” all have potentially very serious issues as well but it’s less recognized. Please get information before taking any of these drugs. One class is not necessarily worse than the other. It really depends on the individual and knowing who might be most harmed by which drugs is simply not known. It’s a game of Russian roulette to take psychiatric drugs. If you want to spin it more positively you can call it the lottery…some people are happy they took these meds and seem to come out unscathed. This is the complex reality of these drugs.
It will be nice when it’s made clear that all psych meds can cause similar painful and debilitating withdrawal syndromes because even though they work by different mechanisms of actions they all potentially impact the autonomic nervous system in a way that results in similar harm.
Withdrawal for those of us who develop disabling withdrawal syndromes is clearly the worst and most painful part of our lives. And far worse than what any of us were originally treated for. This is true even in cases that get labeled “severe mental illness.” Please educate yourselves on both the risks and the alternatives. There are many even though most of the mental health system doesn’t know how to help people access such alternatives. We are largely on our own for now but the more we talk and share about how we heal naturally and move beyond the harm these drugs impose on us the more options will become available. I’ve seen many changes since I started doing this work.
For some ideas there is a drop-down menu on this blog. It is not an exhaustive list. There are as many ways to heal as there are human beings.
From the Boston Globe:
John Zielin realized his daughter was in trouble when she called him unexpectedly, saying, “You’ve got to come and get me. Something’s wrong.”
Alison Page was catering a Waltham wedding in the summer of 2012 when she began feeling ill.
“At sunset, I just got really dizzy,” said Page, 29. “I go outside, and I’m sitting down, and everything’s spinning. I felt like a wild animal that was being preyed upon. It was petrifying.”
Zielin, 66, arrived to find Page in a parking lot, her eyes filled with fear and confusion. In the car on the way to their Andover home, she experienced her first panic attack. “I’ve seen people like that, but they usually have a long history of it,” said Zielin, a retired social worker. “This stuff is showing up out of nowhere.”
The family later learned that Page was experiencing withdrawal between doses of Ativan, a drug often prescribed for anxiety or insomnia. After taking a dose that night, Page felt fine — for the moment. But her struggle to recover continues more than two years later.
While rampant abuse of heroin and prescription opiates dominates public attention, dependency on benzodiazepines — a group of tranquilizers that includes drugs such as Ativan, Klonopin, and Xanax — remains less widely acknowledged or understood. (read the rest)
Please do not come off psychiatric drugs without thoroughly educating yourself on the risks involved. Do not assume that your MD understands those risks either. Most of them do not. Worst of all this is true even when they claim to understand. Seek as many educational resources as possible.