When language has been ingrained in a culture for a long time, it takes a concerted effort to change it. How do we stop using the word “addiction” in relation to cases of iatrogenic benzo dependence? Here are a few suggestions.
A “not otherwise specified” (NOS) diagnosis is often used when an individual may have some symptoms related to a psychiatric diagnosis but does not meet enough criteria to warrant a full diagnosis. A new study, published online ahead of print in Psychiatric Services, reveals that the proportion of mental health visits resulting in such NOS diagnoses rose to nearly fifty percent, and that these diagnoses do not result in more conservative psychiatric drug prescriptions.
Infants exposed to SSRIs and benzodiazepines during pregnancy show impaired neurological functioning in the first month after birth, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. While infants exposed SSRIs alone showed neurobehavioral effects throughout the first month, those exposed to an SSRI and a benzodiazepine had more significant problems.
Language is important. And when language dictates specific treatment protocols, it should be used with extreme scrutiny. Using the wrong words can put vulnerable people at risk—not only to their sense of self-worth, their sense of self-knowledge, and they way they are treated, but also to their health.
After safety concerns about the use of benzodiazepines in older adults led to updated guidelines, researchers expected the use of these drugs to decline. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, however, these dangerous prescription practices have not changed. Instead, benzodiazepine use has increased among those most at risk of adverse effects like increased falls, memory problems, delirium, motor vehicle crashes, and death.
This week the drug monitoring and patients' rights website, RxISK, launched the Centre for Medication Withdrawal, a page dedicated to establishing what causes dependence and how to treat it.
ITV features and article and video today about the widespread problem of addiction and withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs used to treat anxiety, including Ativan, Librium, Diazepam and Temazepam. Mother of three Sandra Minshull shares her story and discusses how Ativan “robbed her of her life.”
Statistics from the UK reveal that prescriptions for painkillers and antidepressants continue to rise despite concerns over dependence and debilitating withdrawal effects. The British Medical Association (BMA) Board of Science has released a report that acknowledges changes to medical practice, research and policy necessary for addressing the dependence and withdrawal effects of benzodiazepines, opioids, and antidepressants.
Prior use of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Librium, or Ativan, may increase the risk of treatment-resistant depression (TRD), according to a new study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The study, which aimed to examine the determinants of TRD, found that the "regular use of benzodiazepines was a particularly strong correlate of TRD."
In 1980, the British Medical Journal published a “Systematic Review of the Benzodiazepines” by the Committee on the Review of Medicines. The committee denied the addictive potential of Benzodiazepines and limited their suggestions to short term use. The results have been devastating.
Four different studies conducted in different ways examining different groups have linked use of certain psychiatric drugs, particularly SSRI antidepressants and antipsychotics but also benzodiazepines, to bone fracture risks and negative impacts on human bone development. More →
ProPublica uses federal data and its online "Prescriber Checkup" tool to reveal that in 2013, when Medicare officially lifted its ban and started paying for benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan, more than 40 million prescriptions worth more than $377 million were doled out. More →
A meta-analysis of scientific studies found that the risk of dementia increased 22% with every additional twenty daily doses of benzodiazepine medications that people took annually, according to a study in PLoS One. More →
It took surviving all of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, including derealization, gastritis, auditory hallucinations, wasting, dementia, panic attacks and profound depression, for me to come to understand that not only had I really been a cool person before all that shit, but also that nothing was wrong with me. I was smart and a little neurotic at times, but that was it. Drugs caused me to be mentally ill where I had not been before.
I’ve been working steadily on Cracked Open, a book that chronicles my experience being a mother suffering terrible insomnia to a mother desperately dependent on benzodiazepines. I am not alone. I live in a state that ranks at the top for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds and we love to give them to women. But I’m not writing this book simply for mothers or for women. I’m writing it for anyone who has gone into a doctor’s office, desperate and sick, and come out with a prescription that led them down a path to illness and/or disability. It happens so often.
This is the second of a series of excerpts from Cracked Open, a book whose unintentional beginning came after I became physically dependent on Ativan in 2010. After a year of following my doctor’s orders for daily use to treat insomnia, my body and mind began to fall apart. I’m serializing the book here – before sending it out into the world – because MIA became a lighthouse for me. I want this community’s feedback because I want to help make a difference. I want my words and message to be clear and strong.
Pneumonia cases in the elderly are strongly associated with use of anticholinergic medications, according to research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Some anticholinergics are used for treating psychiatric conditions, including benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants. More →
The childhood and psychiatric abuse altered my neurological, hormonal and other bodily functions and it was difficult to say which abuse left what mark. The doctors used medication to fix the changes and the taking of prescription pills became a habit. I took pills to calm me, pills to sleep, and pills to make me happy. A few months after stopping all medications, I was a bundle of nerves and I opened the cupboard for a pill. Living on autopilot as I had been doing for so long had to stop. I switched gears from absentmindedly resorting to pills, to purposefully calming myself without using drugs by breathing the way the psychologist had taught me.
Despite the well-known risks of the drugs, especially for the elderly, prescription use of addictive benzodiazepine sedatives in the United States increases steadily with age, according to a large-scale study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Overall, as of 2008, 5.2% of American adults were taking the drugs. The study also showed that women were twice as likely to be taking benzodiazepines as men. National Institute of Mental Health director Thomas Insel called the findings "worrisome." More →
About 9% fewer Americans are using prescription opioids than were five years ago, but those people are taking more of the drugs for longer periods of time, according to a study by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts reported in FiercePharma. And nearly one-third are being put in serious risk of overdose death by taking the opioids alongside prescriptions for benzodiazepine sedatives, stated the New York Times. More →
ProPublica is well known for creating interesting data bases that allow anyone hooked up to a computer to see by name whether a physician is accepting Big Pharma payments — from dinners to speaking engagements to consulting services. What may be lesser known is that occasionally ProPublica will publish other data that when carefully mined can reveal even more about the use of psychiatric drugs especially when there is a public funding source available.
It was the first time in my Klonopin journey it occurred to me the problem might not be inherent in me. The problem might actually be the Klonopin. Convinced my very life was at stake, I made the firm decision to get off the stuff once and for all.
Benzodiazepine medications that are commonly used for calming or sedating people can sometimes apparently cause violent or aggressive responses in some people, according to a review of the scientific literature in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. More →
I’ve wondered for a long time how I managed to get caught in the razor wire of benzodiazepines. I didn’t sleep for long enough to have me hovering around psychosis — true. My doctor had a dizzy insistence that benzos would resolve the problem — also true. The benzo wire was so low and sharp that I was caught before I realized I’d fallen. How could I have known? But still, the question lingers.
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