My friend for whom we’ve been fundraising shares her story of deterioration by psych meds

this is an old post…not an ongoing fundraiser

Amy has been so crippled, traumatized and cognitively impaired by her circumstances she had to get help from her friend to write the below.  She also happens to be very very smart with a mind for medicine so she does go into some detail.

She has not had access to a computer. With much painful effort she has finally written to all her friends and asked that I publish the result here.

You are still welcome to continue helping her get into the appropriate care facility. She discusses her options below. Her family wants her to go to the most comprehensive and most expensive program but yet is not footing the whole bill, so all her friends, church members and this community is still encouraged to help.

Dear friends,

I write to you today very ill and in need of help.

Below please find a letter from my friend detailing my state today.  How I got here is a long story that begins with my first psychiatric hospitalization during which I was prescribed Ativan for a side effect of another medication and reaches its climax at my second and last one as I became homeless from the toll the polydrugging took on my physical and mental health in one short year.

But really it begins before that when an anonymous person slandered my work in mental health in 2007 inciting a nervous breakdown.  Ironically enough, my push for alternative treatments is now exactly what I need as genetic liver tests and GI problems have made it impossible for me to take psychiatric medications.  It is sort of fitting in a way but I have been wholly devastated.  During my last hospitalization I saved a woman from suicide who began stabbing herself in the stomach, witnessed a staff member molest my roomate and suffered a seizure and vasovagal attack and what I would like to call some kind of ego death during a traumatic cold turkey of Ativan.

I then went into a homeless shelter for two months.  You may ask where my family was during all of this and I wonder myself but must say they themselves are quite content with the western medical model and also all of them trauma survivors afraid of what my healing stirs.

Continue reading “My friend for whom we’ve been fundraising shares her story of deterioration by psych meds”

Severity Of Post-Stay Depression in ICU May Be Predicted By Use Of Benzodiazepines

This of course comes as no surprise to those of us who have suffered at the hand of benzos. Especially those of us who have only taken benzos. These docs should be querying us—they would learn sooo much!! We KNOW that benzos cause depression in a good percentage of anyone using benzos not just those staying in ICU!

From Medical News Today:

Psychiatrists and critical care specialists at Johns Hopkins have begun to tease out what there is about a stay in an intensive care unit (ICU) that leads so many patients to report depression after they go home.

In a study reported online April 10 in Critical Care Medicine, the Hopkins researchers say several factors predicted symptoms of depression six months after hospitalization among very sick ICU patients, including a high level of organ failure and being given relatively high doses of a benzodiazepine sedative. (emphasis mineread more here)

Note: if this is your first visit to this site be aware that it is dangerous to withdraw quickly from any psychotropic drug including benzos. Visit the about page at the top of this page for information and direction to additional sources of research to withdraw safely. Your doctor, even if well-meaning, may not know how to guide you properly. Be prepared to advocate for yourself.

Brief benzodiazepine withdrawal update

As most of you know I’ve withdrawn from 50 mg Seroquel, 400 mg Lamictal, 84 mg Concerta, 11 mg Risperdal and 200 mg of Zoloft in the last 5 years.

I’m down to getting rid of the Klonopin that I was on up to 6 mg a day, but only addicted to 3 mg. (only, ha!) 3 mg of Klonopin is equivalent to 60 mg of Valium. Some people take 2 mg of Valium and it kicks their butt–just so you get how powerful Klonopin is.

In any case I cut down to 2 mg of Klonopin a while back and then got horrendously stuck. After much panic and fear and RESEARCH (thank god for our brains and the ability to educate ourselves) I decided to do a crossover from Klonopin to the equivalent dose of Valium which has proven to be really, really awful as well, but not as bad as continuing to taper the Klonopin alone and the idea with the crossover is that it’s easier to come off of Valium because of the very very long half-life and people, in general, if the crossover is done really slowly and carefully do get accustomed to the icky aspects of Valium, which I can assure you there are many.

Some people, do, however, curse the day they tried a crossover. It doesn’t work for everyone, though, even as I suffer I do believe it’s working for me.

I have not been able to do crossovers more than every 10 – 20 days because it’s horribly hard on my body. This last time it took me about 3 weeks to even be able to stand long enough to leave my house for 1/2 an hour but in the last three days I’ve gone out into the wonder of SPRING twice! I do eventually start recovering between crossovers! And this gives me great hope for the future.

The other day I was talking to one of my close friends who is a survivor and who also runs a detox center to get off these drugs. I’ve visited the place. It’s one of a kind place that gets great results and my friend is great. He also acknowledges that my circumstance stumps him. Nonetheless we chat on the phone often.

The other day he made a suggestion that had crossed my mind already so it was ripe to jump on it. I have made it slightly past the half-way point in the crossover. So I was telling this to my friend the other day and saying how awful it’s been, how debilitated and crippled I’ve been. He told me that at his center in situations like mine where high doses of Valium are concerned he just does half the crossover then resumes the taper with the Klonopin (or other original benzo). And so I jumped at the chance of resuming my taper as doing the crossover feels so stagnant. The thought of a few more months to just get to an equivalent dose of Valium before I could again withdraw has been making me feel stuck.

I want this poison out of my body and now. My body needs it out to really start healing as far as I can tell.

I’ve made great strides in healing emotionally and spiritually but my poor body if suffering so. And so last night I TAPERED again!! YAY!! I was at .875 Klonopin and 22 mg of Valium. For simplicities sake we cut 1/2 mg of Valium about a week ago because I have 10 mg pills and 2 mg pills. So I did do a tiny withdrawal a few days ago.

And last night I did another 1/8 mg of Klonopin down so I’m down to .75 mg of Klonopin and 22 mg Valium. Progress!!

Here’s a good post that covers a lot of issues on benzos. And there are a whole bunch of links to more info on benzos at the bottom of the page that is linked to.

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SSRI/SNRI withdrawal symptoms and then Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms

The SSRI/SNRI symptoms are originally from this website on Effexor withdrawal.

I thought after this list I would also put a benzo withdrawal symptom list. Unfortunately there has not been enough study of other psychotropic drug classes to come up with comprehensive lists, though in my experience in all my groups I’ve seen there is a lot of crossover among all psychiatric drugs even when they have different methods of action. This is, most likely, due to the fact that they all effect the autonomic nervous system.

Certainly mood stabilizers and antipsychotics have all sort of similar issues and the withdrawal syndromes also can look quite similar.

I made a list last year of my symptoms but I did not look at these lists. Might be interesting to compare and contrast. I imagine I left stuff out. Here was my list which I’ve not revisited at this time. (my list got longer and more complicated later in the process: here they are revisited later)

For support and help in withdrawal visit these posts for information and resources:

Sadly, these lists are not exhaustive.


ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS.
(SSRI/SNRI)

1. Crying spells
2. Worsened mood
3. Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise)
4. Trouble concentrating
5. Insomnia or trouble sleeping
6. Change in appetite
7. Suicidal thoughts
8. Suicide attempts
9. Anxious, nervous, tense
10. Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless)
11. Chest pain
12. Trembling, jittery,or shaking
13. Irritability
14. Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity)
15. Impulsivity
16. Aggressiveness
17. Self-harm
18. Homicidal thoughts or urges
19. Confusion or cognitive difficulties
20. Memory problems or forgetfulness
21. Elevated mood (feeling high)
22. Mood swings
23. Manic-like reactions
24. Auditory hallucinations
25. Visual hallucinations
26. Feeling detached or unreal
27. Excessive or intense dreaming
28. Nightmares
29. Flu-like aches and pains
30. Fever
31. Sweats
32. Chills
33. Runny nose
34. Sore eyes
35. Nausea
36. Vomiting
37. Diarrhea
38. Abdominal pain or cramps
39. Stomach bloating
40. Disequilibrium
41. Spinning, swaying, lightheaded
42. Hung over or waterlogged feeling
43. Unsteady gait, poor coordination
44. Motion sickness
45. Headache
46. Tremor
47. Numbness, burning, or tingling
48. Electric zap-like sensations in the brain
49. Electric shock-like sensations in the body
50. Abnormal visual sensations
51. Ringing or other noises in the ears
52. Abnormal smells or tastes
53. Drooling or excessive saliva
54. Slurred speech
55. Blurred vision
56. Muscle cramps, stiffness, twitches
57. Feeling of restless legs
58. Uncontrollable twitching of mouth

And for a list of benzodiazepine withdrawal symtoms from Wikipedia (I’ve seen very similar lists on benzo boards everywhere (you may need to google a medical dictionary)—click on the continue here link:

Continue reading “SSRI/SNRI withdrawal symptoms and then Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms”

An awesome wikipedia page—benzodiazepine withdrawal

Wikipedia has a great page on benzodiazepine withdrawal and the potential hazards. If anyone ever doubts your experience of horror at getting off benzos direct them to this page that includes documentation of studies that prove benzos are nasty addictive shit.

Of note it points out that people can become dependent within 7 days as well as intermittent use being the cause of rebound insomnia which is why I caution people, in general, to not even take regular intermittent doses of benzos. Once in a blue moon is really all that is safe.

Here too is a page they have on benzodiazepines half-lives and equivalencies.

And here is a list of all the names benzodiazepines go by.

These pages are certainly not the final word on benzo withdrawal, but if you need a place to start it’s a good one.

And to the man (WillieJ) the other day who was challenging my comments about benzos, here is your answer in spades.

Being that benzodiazepine withdrawal is really the only psychotropic drug for which withdrawal has been studied, this is about as good as it gets on info about how nasty withdrawal can be from a somewhat credible source. There are of course many people who think Wikipedia is far from credible. But they do site their sources so follow the documentation links to studies if you must.

Unfortunately all psychotropics have similar profiles, with the exception that addiction may not set in quite as quickly. I know from my experience in withdrawal groups, however, that withdrawal can be just as nasty with all the psychotropics—antidepressants to neuroleptics to mood stabilizers. This wikipedia entry is a foreshadowing of the future once people start wisening up and struggling to get off the other psychotropics they’ve been put on.

For an extensive collection of information on benzodiazepines and withdrawal from them see here: Benzo Info

Benzos again—this time in the US media

I know and am friends with two of the people in this article. ABC news seems to be following the Guardians lead.

Tranquilizer Detox Withdrawal Can Last Years
FDA, Patients Say Quitting ‘Benzos’ Abruptly Can Lead to Horrific Side Effects

The positive effects of benzos are widely discussed in blogs, and in the media. But the much appreciated “mother’s little helper” drugs can have dangerous side effects that last for years. Some of the worst problems actually start once someone tries to stop taking them.

Americans take a lot of “benzos,” even if they don’t know exactly what “benzos” are.

In 2007, U.S. doctors wrote more than 82 million prescriptions for a type of tranquilizer called benzodiazepines, often called “benzos,” which includes Valium, Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin.

Now we just need to get them clued into how damned difficult it is to get off all psychotropic drugs. Someday…it took forty years to get benzos in the news like this. The new generations of neuroleptics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers have only been around a couple of decades at most. And most people are still clueless as to how nasty they are as well as to how often they are misused and over prescribed much like benzos.

You can bet that one reason the media is ready and willing to trash benzodiazepines is because they are all generic now. No big pharma interests behind keeping the truth hidden like there is for a lot of the other psychotropics that are still cash cows.

I’m currently withdrawing from Klonopin or clonazepam, the last of 7 drugs I was on. I’ve been through the ringer. My case is so complex it’s hard to say what’s what. But I know my most debilitating withdrawal effects are most closely associated with discontinuing Lamictal. I’ve gotten no worse since starting my Klonopin withdrawal. I began at 3 mg and am now at 1.75 mg. We’ll see how it continues. I can only hope and pray I don’t get worse. I’m already bedridden most of the time, illustrating that any psychotropic can make you sick as hell when withdrawing.

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The truth about benzos (Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, etc)

In The Guardian today:

motherThey used to be called ‘mother’s little helpers’, pill prescribed to stressed suburban housewives as a miracle pick-me-up. Now benzodiazepines are proving popular again, this time as an alternative to heroin.

The tranquilliser boomed in the Sixties and Seventies as a supposedly safe alternative to barbiturates. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones immortalised it in ‘Mother’s Little Helper’, their 1966 song about a housewife addicted to prescribed drugs because of the pressures of domestic life. Prescriptions peaked at 30 million in 1979, but evidence grew that ‘benzos’ could lead to addiction and horrific withdrawal symptoms, prompting a backlash.

However, their use is on the rise again because heroin is in short supply in some parts of the country or its purity is compromised, according to drugs campaigners. They say that benzos such as diazepam can be far more addictive than heroin and potentially lethal if withdrawn abruptly or mixed with alcohol and methadone. But there is a dire lack of provision for addicts seeking help. (read the rest of the article here)

Benzos were the first highly addictive and highly abused drug of the psychiatric industry. There are dozens of withdrawal groups online. More than for any other drug, even though, contrary to popular belief, neuroleptics, mood stabilizers and antidepressants can produce equally vicious withdrawal syndromes. I’ve lived through all of them now, tackling the benzos now as the final drug I come off of.

People haven’t figured out how bad antipsychotics and mood-stabilizers are yet, though it’s pretty well understood that antidepressants can be a nightmare. But they will. Give it another decade and there will be hundreds of withdrawal groups for all these drugs.

Our cultures are creating hundreds of thousands of “accidental addicts.” People who unwittingly become hooked to drugs they have no idea can destroy their lives when they are told that they will help them. And some do for a short time for some people. In general they don’t help forever, and often they makes matters worse. We all have to do what we can to learn what these drugs can do to us before we start taking them. And we can’t rely on our doctors. They truly still, in general, have no clue what they are doing.

More info on benzos HERE — this is a good list of resources and information on benzodiazepine use and withdrawal information as well. BENZODIAZEPINE INFORMATION

Please do not attempt to discontinue psych drugs without first very carefully educating yourself on the risks involved so that you might minimize the chances of developing grave iatrogenic illness if you decide to withdraw: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

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The possible perils of Benzodiazepine use

Updated 9/09
This is another post from very early on in the life of my blog (day three to be precise.) I’ve amended it quite a bit as I’ve learned much more and my circumstances have changed significantly, so it’s up to date:

I have suffered ill effects from all the classes of psych drugs; benzos, neuroleptics, anti-depressants, as well as stimulants and mood stabilizers. However because there is such an organized withdrawal community of benzo users on boards and email lists I’ve learned a significant percentage of what I know about psychiatric drug withdrawal in general from the benzo boards. We have yet to have the thousands of people withdrawing from neuroleptics though I certainly hope to see that day too (hey! it’s come…this edit from 2018).

Benzos have been around a lot longer so there are simply more people who have figured out how damaging they are and have networked to get help from one another. Among neuroleptic users it’s much harder to find support and people who know what they are talking about regarding withdrawal.

This post will rely heavily on the work of Dr. Heather Ashton who ran a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic for 12 years in the UK. She has been involved in the withdrawal of hundreds of addicted consumers. The medical establishment at large has little credible coverage of the ravages of this class of drugs.

I’ve been withdrawing from benzos for close to a year now, following getting off of 5 other psychotropic drugs and I’ve been involved in forums and email lists of benzo users who’s participants run into the thousands. Much of what I will share will be the anecdotal information I have gleaned from these groups, as well as my own experience on benzos, convoluted as that may be with the multiple drugs I’m on. I’ve currently withdrawn from multiple anti-depressants which I now refuse to take ever again. I’ve withdrawn from 50 mg Seroquel, 11 mg of Risperda and 400 mg of Lamictal.¬† As a side note the ever increasing amounts of all these drugs never relieved my symptoms and instead, I think, exacerbated them.

I’m close to the end of the benzo withdrawal now too, but being that it is the tail end of a 6 years withdrawal process it may take several more months, much to my dismay. I was on 3 mg of Klonopin which I tapered to 1.5 mg and then I did a switch to Valium as it’s supposed to be somewhat easier because of the long half-life. The equivalent dose was 30 mg of Valium. I am now at 6 mg of Valium. It’s an excruciatingly slow process at this point.

I first wrote this post when I’d not even begun my benzo withdrawal because I learned so much, in general about psychotropic drug withdrawal, in the benzo groups. These groups helped me withdraw from all the other class of drugs I’ve withdrawn from.

I’ve basically found out that the symptoms are not all that different. By some accounts benzos are the most difficult drug to withdraw from—this is something Breggin believes, but it seems to be it depends entirely on the individual.

It’s become clear we are all individuals and any psych med is potentially hell to withdraw from, or alternately there is the potential of any withdrawal from any psych drug not being so terrible as well.

There are accounts of people who have come off of benzos relatively easily, but the forums I participated in show a group of people who’s lives have been destroyed by their dependency on benzos. And certainly my disability has been caused by the cocktail of drugs I’ve been on and now the ensuing withdrawals have continued my disability.

The people on the benzo boards are in vast majority “accidental” addicts. Unsuspecting individuals who trusted their doctors. On the bright side, many people go on to recover completely with perhaps only minimal permanent cognitive impairment. On the dark side is the phenomena of protracted withdrawal syndromes for whom a not so small minority can be a permanent condition. The below is taken from this website.

For some chronic benzodiazepine users, withdrawal can be a long, drawn-out process. A sizeable minority, perhaps 10 to 15%(3) develop a “post-withdrawal syndrome”(4), which may linger for months or even years. This syndrome is clearly not a disease entity; it probably represents an amalgam of pharmacological and psychological factors directly and indirectly related to benzodiazepine use. The syndrome includes (1) pharmacological withdrawal symptoms involving the slow reversal of receptor changes directly induced in the brain by benzodiazepines(1,5-7), and (2) psychological symptoms resulting indirectly from long-term benzodiazepine use, including exposure of poor stress-coping abilities and other personal difficulties. These symptoms merge into a complex clinical picture that may be further complicated by (3) the reappearance of underlying anxiety or depression and (4) possibly also by ill-understood long-term neurological effects of benzodiazepines(1).Thus, the totality of the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is as difficult to define or demarcate as a bout of influenza, which may include overlapping pathologies of acute viral toxaemia, secondary bacterial infection, prolonged post-viral depression and somatic damage such as cardiomyopathy. Nevertheless, an awareness that symptoms may be protracted is important for clinicians supervising benzodiazepine withdrawal; proper management of the initial withdrawal can decrease the incidence, severity and duration of protracted symptoms and improve the prospects for eventual recovery.

After being on benzos for sometime most people end up in a state of “tolerance withdrawal.” I stopped adding to my dose of benzo when I reached 3 mg of Klonopin. My doctor was encouraging me to double my dose, but I refused.

I started out as a Xanax user, which I quickly gained tolerance to, as it has the shortest half-life among the benzos and one can reach the ugly state of “tolerance withdrawal” rather quickly. I woke up in the middle of the night with panic attacks once reaching tolerance. Psychiatrists don’t really understand this phenomena and in general simply change the benzo being used and increase doses. After increasing my Xanax dose several times, I was switched to the longer acting Klonopin. I ended up hooked on a much¬†¬† higher dose of Klonopin, making the problem worse.

….the evidence suggests that benzodiazepines are no longer effective after a few weeks or months of regular use. They lose much of their efficacy because of the development of tolerance. When tolerance develops, “withdrawal ” symptoms can appear even though the user continues to take the drug. Thus the symptoms suffered by many long-term users are a mixture of adverse effects of the drugs and “withdrawal” effects due to tolerance. The Committee on Safety of Medicines and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK concluded in various statements (1988 and 1992) that benzodiazepines are unsuitable for long-term use and that they should in general be prescribed for periods of 2-4 weeks only.

What exactly is “tolerance withdrawal?” As I understand it and experienced it, it is the result of, having developed tolerance, the body craves more. In between doses the body goes into “withdrawal.” This is experienced by break-through anxiety and or physical and mental discomforts of various natures. The discomfort goes away once the scheduled dose is administered. What is of importance here, in my case, is that I was not prescribed benzos for anxiety. I was prescribed them for insomnia. I have since developed what might be commonly called general anxiety disorder or GAD. I’m convinced that this in part is the result of benzo tolerance and damage as I’ve seen it referred to by scores of accidental addicts, most notably by people who were not initially prescribed the benzo for anxiety.

Before deciding “my drugs were my problem,” (to borrow a phrase–modified for my purposes–from Peter Breggin) I was taking 3 mg Klonopin each evening and then up to 3 mg a day PRN (ie: as needed.) Yes, up to 6 mg a day. Evidence of¬† tolerance withdrawal was exemplified by a daily anxiety attack or some other kind of discomfort in the evening before I took my regular scheduled dose of meds. I stopped taking more to alleviate the symptoms a very long time ago. I’ve learned a lot about coping with discomfort since starting my withdrawals. If I’d been willing to live with a little discomfort years ago I wouldn’t be in this position today. Behavioral coping mechanisms are really a much more effective long term treatment and infinitely safer.

The other lovely result of my benzo use is the cognitive impairment I’ve developed. This, in my case, is exacerbated by the use of neuroleptics, another class of drugs that cause severe cognitive problems. As far as benzos go there is a description of the cognitive issues involved after long term use:

Studies of cognitive function: Several studies have shown that chronic benzodiazepine use is associated with specific cognitive impairments which are different from those seen on acute administration (Hendler et al.1980; Petursson et al. 1983; Lucki et al. 1986; Brosan et al. 1986; Golombok et al. 1988; Lader 1987; Tata et al. 1994). For example, Golombok et al. 1988 tested the performance in a battery of psychomotor tests of 50 patients who had been taking benzodiazepines (up to 30mg diazepam equivalent daily) for at least once year and by control subjects who had not taken benzodiazepines regularly. The cognitive performance of the chronic benzodiazepine users was specifically impaired in two main areas: (a) visuospatial ability and (b) ability to sustain attention in a repetitive task under time pressure. The pattern of impairment was consistent with deficits in posterior cortical (parietal, posterior temporal and occipital) rather than frontal lobe function.More recently Tata et al. (1994) found a wider range of cognitive impairments in 21 patients who had taken larger doses (10-100mg diazepam equivalent, daily) for a mean of 13.2 years compared with 21 normal control subjects matched for sex, age and I.Q. The benzodiazepine users showed significant impairments in verbal learning and memory, and in psychomotor, visuomotor and visuo-conceptual abilities. The main adverse effects of benzodiazepines on memory and psychomotor performance in this study appeared to implicate functions of the hippocampus and diencephalon/recticular formation. In neither of the studies (Golombok et al. 1988 and Tata et al. 1994) were differences in anxiety levels between benzodiazepine users and controls considered likely to account for the rather specific differences in performance.

Another common “side effect” of chronic benzo use is depression as well as a host of other problems including “querrulousness” and agression. Scores of people prescribed benzos end up on anti-depressants. For me depression predated benzo use. But I don’t doubt that my benzo use increased and protracted my depression.

Long-term Side Effects: All the psychological changes mentioned above may occur as long-term side effects when the use (or abuse) has become chronic i.e. has been going on for many months or even years. The frequency of such side effects is significantly higher than the frequency of “paradoxical” side effects. The long-term effects include depression, querulousness or aggression, and subtle personality changes. Further, fatigue, passivity and symptoms of memory and cognitive impairment may ensue.

Querulousness,” perhaps another way to say irritable? My irritability since beginning treatment with psychiatric drugs has sky-rocketed. This has led to greater and greater doses of neuroleptics of all things! Yes, my psychiatrist got me up to 11 mg of Risperdal, paired with 50 mg of Seroquel for irritability. Granted it’s now become clear to me that the anti-psychotics were also contributing to the irritability. But my god, ANTI-PSYCHOTICS in massive doses for irritability! The irritability never improved, yet I stayed on these drugs for years. As I’ve come off of them my irritability has neither gotten worse nor has it improved. I can only hope that the withdrawal of benzos will give me some relief.

Many people withdrawing from benzos report problems with rage that tends to remit once the withdrawal is over.

I will end this post with a positive message from Dr. Heather Ashton. While being on benzodiazepines, and then the process of withdrawal can be an ugly proposition, Ashton comforts people with the following words:

Contrary to public impression, you definitely do NOT have to “go through hell” to come off benzodiazepine hypnotics or tranquillisers.Most symptoms are due to too rapid withdrawal or to fear. But do not be afraid. With individually tailored, gradual , dosage tapering, adjusted to your own lifestyle and personality, and with support, encouragement, and advice from appropriate mentors, it is possible to become benzodiazepine-free without suffering or with only minimal discomfort. I have personally seen hundreds of people withdraw after taking benzodiazepines for 1 to over 20 years. Many of them actually started to feel better during withdrawal: their minds became clearer as dosage was tapered and their self-confidence increased with each reduction. Over 90% withdrew successfully and after withdrawal (as many other studies have also shown) their physical and mental health improved, they slept better, felt stronger, and were able to take control of their lives without medication. Almost anyone with the right motivation, the right withdrawal schedule, and the right advice can become benzodiazepine-free without intolerable symptoms.

Perhaps, my experience on the benzo boards illustrate the experience of the 10% who have a hell of a time withdrawing.

Certainly with all the classes of drugs there are those who have it easy and those who have it rough, but it pays to know that one never knows where they will fall when they choose to take that first pill and thus we need informed consent.

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