Evidence Strengthening that Common Benzodiazepine Sedatives May Cause Dementia

Rob Wipond
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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.

Researchers from Chongqing Medical University in China analyzed six studies (involving 11,891 dementia cases and 45,391 participants) that provided risk estimates on the association of benzodiazepine use with dementia. They found that long-term benzodiazepine use was associated with about a 50% increase in risk of developing dementia. “The risk of dementia increased by 22% for every additional 20 defined daily dose per year,” they added.

The authors noted that early symptoms of dementia such as sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression can often begin ten years before people receive a diagnosis of dementia. For this reason, they stated, some researchers do not believe that benzodiazepines are causing dementia, but instead believe that people’s symptoms of dementia are motivating physicians to prescribe benzodiazepines.

The authors of the meta-analysis then put forth data and arguments to refute that perspective. Adjusting for the presence of symptoms of anxiety and depression did not change their findings, they noted. And comparing people who’d stopped taking benzodiazepines with people who were currently taking them also did not change their findings. Rates of developing dementia were about 50% higher for all of these different groups of past or present long-term users, the authors wrote, and the dose-response relationship they’d found persisted across all of the groups.

Such findings, they wrote, support arguments that there is “a causal relationship between benzodiazepine use and dementia.”

“Long-term benzodiazepine users have an increased risk of dementia compared with never users,” the researchers concluded. “However, findings from our study should be treated with caution due to limited studies and potential reverse causation. Large prospective cohort studies with long follow-up duration are warranted to confirm these findings.”

Zhong, GuoChao, Yi Wang, Yong Zhang, and Yong Zhao. “Association between Benzodiazepine Use and Dementia: A Meta-Analysis.” PLoS ONE 10, no. 5 (May 27, 2015): e0127836. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127836. (Full text)

45 COMMENTS

    • I used to use benzos to “treat” the neurological movement disorders I got from psych drugs as a kid. I took Klonopin for about 4-5 years, as well as Ativan, Restoril, Tranxene and Librium at times before, between and after that. All-in-all, I was on them for about 6-7 years. I’ve been off for about 5 years now, and still have major short term memory problems. By major, I mean to the point of daily dysfunction.

      • In some people, especiallya t higher doses, benzos cause complete anterograde amnesia. For those who don’t know the term it means you’re turning into a copy of the famous Henry Molaison case:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Molaison
        a person who cannot form long-term memories and forever lives in the present moment. I have experienced that (luckily only for a few days) and it’s the most traumatic experience in my life. Of course the good “professionals” have not even realized that I could not form a single memory that lasted for more than an hour although I was under constant “observation” in a hospital. These people should be all charged and sent to prison for what they did to me and continue to do to many others. I don’t care if it’s stupidity or malice but sure as hell it does not qualify as medical care.

        • Btw, these “good professionals” are working in Vienna, Austria at the Otto-Wagner Spital (a hellhole straight of “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” in modern day Europe). A bunch of sadists and human right abusers.

          • It’s no secret that benzos CAN CAUSE amnesia. They use them for surgical operations in that regard. I was hospitalized several months ago for a ulcerative colitis flare-up and they had to perform a sidmoidoscope. I told them not to give me anything, they told me they’d only give me demerol. I checked my records and they gave me “midazolam” (a benzodiapazine) and demerol. Apparently, according to the records, I was totally awake and able to follow their commands. I don’t remember a single thing.

            It’s no secret that benzos can cause amnesia. The rationalization on their part is that out-patient, “therapeutic” dosages don’t cause brain damage and subsequent memory problems. To be fair though, and I will be fair, because I voluntarily took benzos for years, although I feel I lacked true informed consent, but to be fair, I think most doctors would admit this. I don’t think there is a real argument out there about it.

          • Exactly. When I told them they cause amnesia in me first tehy denied that is possible and when I got all “really? can you then go to pubmed and type “benzodiazepines and amnesia” and tell me what you see” they immediately changed to “but it’s only in very high doses”. First of all all their doses are high, period, secondly it’s especially true if one is a small female because adjusting for body weight is too much math for them, thirdly people metabolize drugs differently. These people are so pathetically stupid and/or uncaring that it’s mind-blowing.

            Btw, they also don’t recognize that benzos can cause aggression. I don’t know if I was because of the drugs or because they totally deserved it but I (allegedly – I can’t say if it’s true because of amnesia and I know for a fact that they were not very truthful in their documents to say it politely) have thrown chairs at them. If I did kill one of those a***oles I’d be responsible as for killing an actual human being and no one would treat it as a defense that I was drugged against my will with stuff that can cause suicidal and homicidal impulses. These people are a danger to self and others and should be locked up (in prisons – I’m not that cruel to advocate for them to be psychiatrically raped).

  1. Unfortunately, we Americans have been brainwashed into thinking that we have to depend on Western medicine’s toxic pharmaceuticals to cure us of disease. But toxic medicines are only adding to the problem. Please try a new mindset, consider that Nature actually has the answers.
    Disease is the slow accumulation of toxic compounds in the body at the cellular level. When you retain more toxins in your body than you can effectively eliminate, they will end up storing in cells, tissues, organs, joints, and bones and wreak havoc on your health.
    I have seen many people have dramatic results from simply detoxifying their bodies. Cellular Tea is the very best natural detox. It detoxifies every cell in the body. It is not just a colon cleanse or just a liver cleanse etc… It is the combination of a Native American remedy and 90 years of research.

    • I totally agree. Toxins are the enemy (and come from all sorts of sources, both physical and emotional) and detoxing allows our bodies’ natural self-healing and regenerative properties to be active and effective. I found that especially bringing liver and kidney into balance is really helpful, because they are organs of detoxification. Toxins basically inhibit our natural immune and detox systems from doing their job. On a physical level, it begins with the cells, indeed. When we get it right, no meds or anything artificial (unnatural) is at all required.

      You are correct, profound and generational brainwashing has occurred, so that we consume needlessly rather than honor nature, and look for safe and effective support from this infinite resource. Great comment!

  2. Smoking, too. Same authors.

    PLoS One. 2015 Mar 12;10(3):e0118333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118333.
    Smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies with investigation of potential effect modifiers.
    Zhong G1, Wang Y1, Zhang Y2, Guo JJ3, Zhao Y2.

    BACKGROUND:
    Previous studies showed inconsistent results on the association of smoking with all-cause dementia and vascular dementia (VaD), and are limited by inclusion of a small number of studies and unexplained heterogeneity. Our review aimed to assess the risk of all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and VaD associated with smoking, and to identify potential effect modifiers.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    Smokers show an increased risk of dementia, and smoking cessation decreases the risk to that of never smokers. The increased risk of AD from smoking is more pronounced in apolipoprotein E ε4 noncarriers. Survival bias and competing risk reduce the risk of dementia from smoking at extreme age.

  3. I’ve read the benzos are horrendous to detox from, it truly seems mainstream medicine has completely lost it’s way.

    I’m glad I was only force medicated with benzos when I was medically unnecessarily “snowed” by V R Kuchipudi and Humaira Saiyed at the ELCA Advocate Good Samaritan hospital in Downers Grove, IL – so they could attempt to cover up prior easily recognized and controversial iatrogenesis and medical evidence of the sexual abuse of a three year old child for the ELCA religion.

    Here’s Kuchipudi’s arrest warrant for having lots and lots of patients medically unnecessarily shipped long distances to himself, “snowing” lots and lots of patients, and performing unneeded tracheotomies on patients for profit.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDEQFjACahUKEwjMh5elo4rGAhUFmYAKHfl1AFo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.justice.gov%2Fusao%2Filn%2Fpr%2Fchicago%2F2013%2Fpr0416_01a.pdf&ei=ieB6VYyfDYWyggT564HQBQ&usg=AFQjCNFZUC8OxCVtnXcVlirFEgjgYoUTTA&sig2=wGIsAmKUgZ4lkXkyYwQ8mQ&bvm=bv.95515949,d.eXY

    Truly, the medical community and some of the religions have lost their way. Read the chapter on evil.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=xI01AlxH1uAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

    • “I’ve read the benzos are horrendous to detox from.”

      Yes, horrendous is a good word, also excruciating. It was the most surreal and insidious pain, no precedent in my life for it, nor in those who were around me at the time. No doubt they are truly a health risk.

      I was extremely fortunate to find very compassionate, intelligent, kind-hearted, and grounded, focused healers who knew the dangers of these “medications,” and the harms produced by them. Because of their support, I was able to heal fully from the damage done by these drugs and move on with my life, feeling healthy, clear, and relaxed again.

      It took a while, probably a couple of years or so, for my body to feel relief from the stress of re-structuring itself after having been so violated by these toxic “medications.” But eventually, with good care and focus, our system can find its balance again and heal naturally. Everything heals eventually, if we allow it to.

      • Alex,

        I’m really glad you escaped, too. I truly believe God is good and elicited some of His faithful and intelligent followers to help point out the crimes being committed against humanity by today’s too powerful psycho / pharmaceutical industries. Thanks for all you do, and my best to you.

        • Thanks, SE, I really appreciate that. I always wish I could do more that would be effective in making this kind of social transformation occur. Trying to hit it on many fronts. Even trying to bring a bit of joy to the situation by making music as a way of healing the spirit. Producing a documentary about this currently, so I’ll be focused in that direction for a while.

          I appreciate your truth, courage, and faith more than I can say, thank YOU!

          • You’re producing another film? That’s so great, I’m looking forward to watching it – I have really enjoyed the last one :).

    • If you’re being helped by what you are taking and not hindered by side-effects, then why stop what is working for you? Were the side-effects to begin outweighing the benefits, that’s the time to look into alternatives. Unless your intuition is telling you something, here. I wouldn’t make a decision based on fear, however, but more on what your gut instinct tells you.

      There are a lot of alternatives to medication which usually tend to be a combination of healing practices that move energy (e.g. acupuncture, qi gong) with herbal support which can detoxify and regenerate cells, strengthen the nervous system, and balance organs. That’s Chinese Medicine, which saved my life.

      I had been on medication for 20 years. I was living a full life, not at all disabled in any respect, when, after 18 years, these drugs totally turned on me in a way that was kind of bizarre, all these weird side effects started happening and I went into a mental fog.

      Of course, my psychiatrist responded by adding more and more, like a pez dispenser. I ended up on 9, which practically killed me, and which did disable me temporarily. I HAD to come off of them, for the sake of my survival. Not a fun time in the slightest, but well worth the effort, considering that the drugs had put me on a downward spiral. I’m totally fine now, back in business all around.

      The right kind of nutritional support (appropriate to your specific body, but leaning on the probiotic and alkaline side) builds a healthy inner ecology in the gut (compromised by the drugs), which is calming to the mind and heart while fortifying our auto-immune system. When we have this balanced out, we are a self-healing human machine.

      As far as your life story goes, tell it from a new perspective. That worked for me better than I could have ever imagined. We really ARE the creators of our own reality!

    • Hi,
      The thing about the nondrug approach (psychotherapy, mindfulness) is that it can be more painful at the start but once a problem is ‘fixed’ then it remains fixed. The tranquillisers might help for a while but long-term they weaken the system and make things worse. This goes for anxiety but also the big labels as well (or my experience of them).

    • When I was still taking benzos, I was oblivious to the “side effects”, it wasn’t until after I managed to get off them that I could realize just what they were doing to me. Nearly the first decade of my adult life was spent in a virtual coma. I hardly even remember it. Looking back, they never helped me and I only kept taking them out of habit and because I felt I “needed” to be “on something”, an abusive indoctrination I suffered as a child. They made me mindless and lethargic. My medical records from my family doc from that time are littered with the word “malaise”.

  4. Another trash research report showing association and not cause and effect.Nobody on here seems to actually want to think these papers through.Rather they lavish in being ideologues.

    The more thorough appraisal of this report is that benzodiazepines are prescribed for anxiety.Anxiety is often co-morbid with depression.Depression over time is neurotoxic through inflammation and IDO activation resultind in elevated quinolinic acid and Kynurenic acid which are destructive to neurons.

    That is how this goes.Paper should not have been published.

    Summary=

    Benzodiazepines are often overprescribed-they likely do not lead to dementia and certainly this article provides not one shred of evidence to say it does.

    • “Rather they lavish in being ideologues.”

      Or perhaps this isn’t the only research paper we’ve seen, that and many people here have experience with these drugs and have suffered these kinds of harms themselves. To me, most everything that pops up here like this just makes me think “Well, duh!”

      I don’t need scientific research to tell me that psychiatric drugs — all of them — cause irreversible brain damage. I live the reality of it every day of my life.

    • I am curious, did you actually read the study? I mean no disrespect but your post sounds like a preconceived opinion as one of those professionals in the mental health field who thinks that psych meds never cause damage long term.

      Anyway, I thought this exert was interesting:
      “”The prevalence of psychotropic medication use among the elderly is high [34, 35], with a reported prevalence of up to 73% in subjects aged 65 years and over [34]. Use of psychotropic medications except benzodiazepines has been found to be associated with an increased risk of dementia [36, 37]. These facts provide a critical reminder that our findings might be biased by use of other psychotropic medication among included study population.””

      So another interpretation of your conclusion regarding depression is that the antidepressants that the elderly are most likely on could be causing the deterioration and not the condition itself. If it is just the depression, then that is a poor indictment of the efficiency of ADs.

      Anyway, I love articles like this in which everyone has full access to the study so that all issues can be fairly evaluated and hashed out.

    • Sorry one more thing – If depression is an issue of inflammation as psychiatry claims it is, why aren’t they starting with treatments with the least side effects just as fish oil capsules and an antiinflamatory diet?

      If meds are the choice, why not start with something like pain meds that are anti inflamatory? Not claiming they should be used for depression by the way but just pointing out the claim of depression being an inflammatory issue makes absolutely zero sense. It just seems like another way to justify depression as a biological illness that is only amenable to drugs.

      • I do.Most dont.I have my patients tested for food allergies and we have just published this.

        There are many papers in the psychiatric literature on using fish oil

        The problem is that depression is a heterogeneous disorder.Most likely some patients have an inflammatory endophenotype This can be both nature and nurture induced.A good paper was written and published this week on early childhood abuse and resetting of the immune response by Baumeister in molecular psychiatry.

        Sadly, things change slowly.The hierarchy in psychiatry controls the education of new physicians.For years that meant everyone could be cured by psychoanalysis.Then it was valium.Then SSRI.Psychiatrists get paid to give out pills.It just how it is.That said-that does not make the pills bad.Rather (as i wrote) it is the implementation of them that can be harmful.

        The only study that would alter my opinion about this specific issue is if rodents were treated with benzodiazapins in appropriate doses,stopped and then had their cognition checked.While translating rodent into human data has its own problems, it would at least than suggest a cause and effect.To further that hypothesis one would need to find a molecular mechanism to explain it.

        Skewering psychiatry and the medications as is routinely done on this site is both pathetic and mostly counterproductive.The attacks are never cojoined with a more productive approach to treatment.As I mentions-ALL treatments have risk.Fish oil can be very dangerous as well by altering killer t cell function and can cause bleeding.Having used them extensively in clinical practice-they can be both anti, and pro inflammatory (see all the blogs about them causing skin rashes)

        The reasons people present baseless vitriol about medications on this site can only be guessed at.

        • Addressing your last point about claiming that people present baseless vitriol about medication is easy. What seems to be hard for folks like you to understand is many people don’t have psychiatrists who seem very thoughtful regarding treatment like you appear to be.

          They get subtly or forcibly coerced into taking meds come heck or high water. And if there are complaints about the lack of effectiveness, in response, they get more meds because it is their mental illness that is causing this.

          Instead of slamming people for what seems to be extreme positions, why not try to understand where they are coming from? By the way, many folks have rightfully equated their experiences with psychiatry to chemical rape so keep that in mind since I am sure you wouldn’t accuse rape victims of being vitriolic who may appear to hate men.

          Regarding fish oil and side effects, I have definitely experienced them such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate. I would would still take that over my best days on psych meds in which they were horrific. I just don’t think comparing side effect of fish oil to pysch meds is valid although you rightfully point out which I have done on this site that nothing is side effect free.

          Anyway, I am glad to hear about the approaches you take to minimize medication. Sadly, what you do is not common and is the reason people are so angry towards your profession.

          • The fort hood killer was a psychiatrist-that should not be an indictment of either psychiatry or psychiatric medications.There are terrible and corrupt psychiatrists-many are not.

            The same holds for teachers,priests and and politicians:anyone or any field where there is a power discrepancy is dangerous-but I believe not always nor inherently.

            Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment.

          • theloniustmonk,

            Are you aware of the fact that many of the anti-infammatory meds do cause “psychiatric” symptoms? The NSAI are “notorious” for their adverse effects. And prior to claiming, “Depression over time is neurotoxic through inflammation and IDO activation resultind in elevated quinolinic acid and Kynurenic acid which are destructive to neurons.” Without an acknowledgement that the NSAIs are notorious for causing psychiatric adverse symptoms which are commonly misdiagnosed as “depression,” I believe you’re likely remiss.

            I know my adverse reactions to a NSAI, withdrawal symptoms from a “safe smoking cessation med” / dangerous antidepressant, and a synthetic opioid, were inappropriately misdiagnosed by a PCP, who was paranoid of a potential malpractice suit due to a “bad fix” on a broken bone where her husband had been the “attending physician,” resulted in DSM-IV-TR misdiagnoses of “bipolar,” “paranoid schizophrenia,” and “depression caused by self” by various unethical doctors, all within three weeks.

            And I know an ethical pastor confessed to me that such psychiatric misdiagnosis of actual medical malpractice (and in my case I went for a second opinion outside my health insurance group, but ran into another doctor hellbent on covering up the sexual abuse of my child for her pastor, so misdiagnosed me based upon lies from the alleged child molesters, but I do now have medical evidence of the child abuse) to be “the dirty little secret of the two original professions.”

            My theory is your belief “depression” is an actual “disorder,” and equitable to disgust, rather than a normal human reaction to being put into a disgusting situation by unethical professions, is inappropriate.

            Can you actually prove “depression” is not the same thing as disgust, as subsequent doctors I’ve dealt with agreed were not the same thing. Can you prove the NSAI’s don’t cause “confusion?” Can you prove “depression” is a disorder, rather than an appropriate disgusted reaction to unethical medical and religious crimes against humanity?

        • “ have my patients”

          “Sadly, things change slowly.The hierarchy in psychiatry controls the education of new physicians.For years that meant everyone could be cured by psychoanalysis.Then it was valium.Then SSRI.Psychiatrists get paid to give out pills.It just how it is.That said-that does not make the pills bad.Rather (as i wrote) it is the implementation of them that can be harmful.”

          I don’t want to sound confrontational, because that is not my intent. But I really don’t think you’ve read, or at least understood, Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy Of An Epidemic. Which, to be fair, and only fair, is the only reason this site and exists, the only reason this issue is out there. The drugs are “bad”, in and of themselves. They cause harms. That is scientifically proven. That doensn’t necessarily mean that they have no place, but they are from the outset “bad” in that regard. A doctors responsibility then is supposed to be to make sure that the “benefits” outweight the “risks”… that isn’t possible if the doctors don’t bother to acknowledge them, first and foremost.

          • Firstly, it your note is not confrontational-it is poorly done.If you had read the thread that is exactly what I wrote.A physicians job is to share risk and benefit ,and often they don’t.

            That said-it is a big arrogant of you (and many on this site) regarding the comment about Robert Whitaker’s book.I have read it.It is sensationalistic and not based upon one shred of scientific fact.It is tantamount to a birther or conspiracy theorist.It is a collection of information, then slanted with poorly thought out assumptions.

            Robert Whitaker will never be confused with being a scientist, and to boot, he has an agenda.My child know to always argue against ones own hypothesis.He accomplished what he wanted-press, hopefully some money and some notoriety.

            Even if there is a rise in medication, and mental illness in america (not clear vs reporting rates)-so is the prevalence of breast cancer and medication used for that as well.

            Im my opinion a poorly written book that garnered press, and will be forgotten along with what I write and what has been written for years in the past.There were 3 theories of gravity-none of those who posited them thought theirs would be “the answer”-only Whitaker knows the answer to this? Shame for the distress he caused people by just adding confusion and positing nothing but attacks instead of actually thinking through what he wrote about.

            My last post.Thank you all for the thoughtful conversation.

          • Let me put this one other way, for some perspective.

            When I was a child, I went through a traumatic abuse that lasted for years. It’s the same one that I’ve come to know from many others who have received “psychiatric treatment”, at any time of their lives. The drugs were prescribed like candy, messed me up, then some “underlying illness” was blamed for the problems. I lived with tardive dyskinesia for two years undiagnosed from when I was 12-14, because the doctors told my parents it was just a “tic” and it was no big deal. I still suffer from tardive dyskenisia. This is 20 years later.

            All across the country, kids are going manic on stimulants and “antidepressants”, and doctors are just re-diagnosing them with “bipolar disorder”, calling the drugs a “diagnostic tool” that “unmasked the underlying condition.”

            Is there any scientific support for that? Whitaker has brought forth a good degree of research showing that these drugs could, from a scientific point of view, be most probably the cause of that. I know from experience that he is right. But the science itself should at least put a dent in the delusional belief of psychiatrists that these drugs are benign. Cognitive dissonance and rationalization seem to be the achilles heel of psychiatry in this regard.

          • “I have read it.It is sensationalistic and not based upon one shred of scientific fact.”

            Yeah, except for all the studies it is based upon… Btw, Whitaker is not alone in his criticism of psychiatry, he has only joined an ever growing club which includes many people who are psychiatrists themselves.

      • Good point. If it’s inflammation maybe one should prescribe aspirin or paracetamol for depression? It’s of course absurd and would come with it’s own issues (these drugs are not as bad as most psych drugs but not safe upon long-term use either) but should that not be logical?

        • The doctors statement that “depression is a heterogeneous disorder” does go to the heart of things. Even drugs like sari’s that sound like they have a focused effect touch a lot of things directly or indirectly. I would disagree with him in that many of these drugs are just bad drugs, as in ineffective, or just transiently effective. As far as inflammation goes, its a lot more complicated than getting your ESR and c-reactive protein checked to find out if you’re depressed. I have a fulminating autoimmune disorder and there are a lot of flavors of influencing factors, cytokines etc. A lot of this comes down to a trade off. For some, benzos can help get them though rough patches better than anything else. They may pay later but nobody gets out of this alive anyway.

    • Hi theloniusmunk

      Could you please clarify if there is any research pointing to the reverse causation you mention: That the dementia is caused by a neuropathological process of anxiety and is not exacerbated or in other ways causally connected to the use of benzodiazepines ?

      As a psychologist I’ve had some experience with elderly people who have been prescribed benzodiazepines for decades and who show steady cognitive decline, which is often also reflected in their life histories. In many ways it also appears that this treatment-path leads to lives which in many ways are impoverished. This also affects brain function longterm…

      When you point to the problem of association versus causation is this not a general problem? Here is for example the conclusion from another study:
      “This case-control study based on 8980 individuals representative of elderly people living in the community in Quebec showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was increased by 43-51% among those who had used benzodiazepines in the past. Risk increased with density of exposure and when long acting benzodiazepines were used. Further adjustment on symptoms thought to be potential prodromes for dementia—such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders—did not meaningfully alter the results.”
      http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5205

      It appears this study also found a positive dosis-effect relation. Where some of the commenters on this study also raise the association versus cause problem, the more astute ones are quite thoughtful in their conclusions, for example:
      “It is important that we appreciate the clinical implications and relevance of the above study to our elderly population. There is growing evidence on the long-term cognitive effects of benzodiazepines(5-8) and although concerns around protopathic basis are valid, we should be aware our own limitations and look to future advancement of science and technology to help provide us with a clearer picture of this complex link.”
      http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5205/rapid-responses

      Perhaps it is the case, that it is extremely difficult to conduct the ideal experiment. But this also makes it difficult to substantiate the claim, that benzodiazepines does not raise the risk of dementia, and that all correlation between benzodiazepin use and dementia are artifacts of protopathological processes.

  5. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
    I am a geriatric psychiatrist.I have treated well over 10,000 pts over a 28 year period.

    What you wrote is a reiteration of my comment-there is an association.Association is not cause.Drop an apple-there is no apple magnet underneath the ground.

    Partially treated depression, and poorly treated insomnia have both been associated with progression of cognitive decline-not the medications used to treat these problems.Its that simple.There was a recent publication implying allergy medications increase dementia rates.It has the same problem as this paper.Inflammation (as I noted) can be neurotoxic due to the biological cascade I noted.

    This is not to say that psychotophic medications are necessarily safe.In fact, it is not clear that they are.The mechanism being epigenetic alterations of the genome.The only question in my opinion is risk/benifit. What is better ,what is worse.That is a clinical decision that we get paid to do.This paper, as I wrote is misleading and should not have been published as it serves as fodder for sensationalists trying to skewer the field of psychiatry.

    This issue of long term effects of antidepressant use is still being uncovered.It likely is similar to the use of NSAID in that long term use is likely not good.On the other hand, untreated pain has well been show to be detrimental to ones healthy.

    I am not a big fan of pills and use CAM and non pharmacological interventions (esp diet and exercise) whenever possible.That said-it does not always work and aging,this paper in my opinion is misleading and should not have made it into the literature.Open access is good-poorly thought out conclusions are less helpful.

    • Fair points about the meds and as I previously mentioned, am glad to hear that you minimize them in your practice. Unfortunately, most doctors do not give their patients a through analysis of the risk/benefits regarding medications and by the way, I am referring to all physicians.

      For example, I was given a medicine by a physician at the end of the appointment that I knew was contraindicated and the pharmacy printout confirmed I was right. In all fairness, she was desperate to help but she would have been better off not doing anything. Anyway, I am moving on from her but my guess is I am going to keep encountering similar type situations.

      You said,

      “”This paper, as I wrote is misleading and should not have been published as it serves as fodder for sensationalists trying to skewer the field of psychiatry.””

      Since non psychiatrists prescribe about 80% of psych meds, I find the above statement puzzling. Isn’t the issue no matter what is criticized whether it be benzos and Vitamin D to have a fully informed discussion about the risks/benefits and not worry about whom this might serve as a fodder for.

      Finally, thank you for your respectful replies as they are greatly appreciated. I also appreciate you disclosing your profession so we know exactly what perspective you bring to these issues.

    • It’s not the first paper to show that association and if you have a prospective study, when people are given benzos for different reasons and end up with dementia at higher rates then it is pretty obvious that one should apply precautionary principle. Not to mention that according to various guidelines produced by your own specialty benzos should not be prescribed for more than 2-4 weeks due to the risk of addiction and serious side effects.

  6. Yes-that is the matter.Informed decision making.My point about this paper is it is irrelevant to that excellent point as there is no information that can be intelligently used to help a patient decide what to do.I don’t care if someone takes my recommendation for an antidepressant or not-its their choice.

    This paper implies science of which I can not find any included.Not to demean the sincere effort of the authors ,but the paper s pseudo science and can sadly be misinterpreted by those who would benefit from benzodiazapines not to take them.

    Thank you kindly for the exchange.

    • “I don’t care if someone takes my recommendation for an antidepressant or not” pretty much sums up psychiatry’s attitude, to me anyway. References to alternative therapies, other than common sense diet and life style changes always trigger the obvious question of if there were any truly effective alternative treatments out there, why would this conversation even be taking place? The one exception that I can think of is bright light, but that’s in the mainstream, kind of, it doesn’t kindle much interest, probably because its almost free.
      Benzos can help if used judiciously, especially to dampen the effects of a massive stressor, like a very serious health diagnosis, financial ruin, etc. Why sleep-aid benzo-family drugs aren’t discussed separately here I don’t know, I’m no expert in pharmacology. Seems like I’ve heard a lot more about their long term negative effects.
      Polypharmacy is kind of a red flag that nothing that you’re taking is working and the shrink is hoping for some kind of ping pong ball thrown in the mousetraps chain reaction effect, or, as noted above, doesn’t care.
      The collateral damage from endocrine disease such as Grave’s deserves more attention, as does why and how do autoimmune impostors like Lupus do what they do.
      Too bad that this stuff doesn’t all cook down to some whale songs, qigong, and adaptogens. Wouldn’t life be grand.

      • Previously, theloniusmonk said: “regarding the comment about Robert Whitaker’s book.I have read it.It is sensationalistic and not based upon one shred of scientific fact.It is tantamount to a birther or conspiracy theorist.It is a collection of information, then slanted with poorly thought out assumptions.”

        Another science-denier who makes assertions, but can not back them up with science. He cant tell you why this study is pseudoscience, for the same reason that nobody has been able to rebut Whitaker, despite the fact that we know that thousands of professionals have tried and doing so would serve the interests of mega-billion dollar industry.