I have a YouTube channel called “Benzo Brains.” My channel solely focuses on benzodiazepine education and awareness. You’d think that a personal little channel, with no gimmicks or entertainment value, which focuses on such uncomfortable and unrelatable subject matter as benzodiazepine dependence, withdrawal and associated disability would receive very little attention. Yet I have a surprisingly substantial audience with over 1,300 followers, and that’s just a fraction of the many thousands in online support groups. Why is this?
I think the answer to this question is the same answer to the question presented in the title of this piece: “Why World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day?” The answer is because it’s desperately needed! You only have to look at some of the comments left under the video I made for World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) last year to see how desperate people are for help:
“My withdrawals are still horrible on the Valium and my own family and none of the doctors believe me.”
“I had no idea 0.5mg of K [Klonopin] is equivalent to 10mg of Valium! What was my doctor thinking?!”
“I went to my regular doctor regarding tapering and he told me to take 5 mg for 2 weeks then 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, then stop. The symptoms I went through detoxing this rapidly were actually demonic… since then I have learnt tapering is meant to be 10% every two weeks. but I guess I was unlucky… truly a crime against humanity.”
“I stopped C/T [cold-turkey] as my doctor told me that I would be fine. Hah, go figure!”
“My greatest fear of all… is that I’ll walk into my appointment and be informed that day that she can no longer support my taper and tell me I have 2 weeks to wrap it up.”
The common thread in all these comments is that people who are suffering from a benzodiazepine associated disability (BAD) have little to no support from friends, family or the medical community on whom they are often completely dependent. W-BAD exists to bring those of us who have been injured out of the shadows and into the public conversation so the community of iatrogenically ill can receive the validation, compassion and medical attention they need. Right now the benzo-injured face two main problems in getting the help they need:
- Recognition of the illness itself
- The stigma of taking a controlled substance that is also a psychiatric medication
BAD is bad enough, but to add insult to injury, when we reach out for help to medical providers, we are either labeled as “addicts” and directed toward addiction treatment programs or are misdiagnosed with various mental illnesses (and other disorders) and prescribed even more psychiatric medication. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of people prescribed benzodiazepines never abuse them, and many are prescribed this class of drugs for things other than psychiatric illness, such as tinnitus or muscle pain. The following stories from people I have interviewed show us why both the addiction and psychiatric approaches are not only inappropriate, but also harmful to people who have been injured by a benzodiazepine taken as prescribed.
Robert Pfeffer: Dallas, Texas USA
Robert was a high functioning individual with every expectation of a prosperous career and good life. He started out at the University of Chicago and then received his masters at Oxford University. He went on to complete his studies at the University of Alabama School of Law. Deciding that he wanted to utilize therapy to help him deal with the everyday stresses of such a high performance job and his own strict standards of perfection, Robert reached out to a psychologist for therapy. The psychologist insisted that she would not treat anyone who was not utilizing psychiatric medications in conjunction with her therapy. She referred him to a doctor who prescribed him Paxil and Klonopin. After taking the medications as prescribed for some time, the adverse effects began to take their toll on Robert’s health. Over the next 18 years, Robert was prescribed various psychiatric medications to combat the overwhelming adverse effects of his original prescription, including Prozac, Elavil, Doxepin, Neurontin, Remeron, Buspar, Seroquel, and several blood pressure medications. Robert had many visits to the ER with severe blood pressure spikes but no one ever attributed any of his symptoms to the medications he was taking.
Eventually Robert was able to get off all his prescriptions except Klonopin. To rid himself of the Klonopin required that he spend two and a half years painfully tapering from it. Finally, at the age of 45, Robert was drug free. Unfortunately, this did not mean he was free of the long-term effects of having taken a benzodiazepine for so many years. Six years off Klonopin, while most of his neurological symptoms have cleared up, Robert is still plagued with chronic debilitating neck spasms, head buzzing and tingling throughout his entire body. He is so disabled by the neck and head pain that he is unable to work. Neck injections, radiofrequency to burn the nerve endings, pain medications and therapy have all been utilized to no avail. The only thing that relieves his muscle spasticity is an occasional low dose of Klonopin. His chronic ill health has has led to Robert’s wife of five and a half years moving out (sadly, many caregivers of people experiencing BAD experience “burnout” due to the sometimes chronic nature of benzodiazepine suffering). Robert’s friends keep telling him to “get help,” not understanding that it was the “help” that created this disability in the first place. Having reached the limits of his endurance and feeling that he has no quality of life, Robert has reached out to Dignitas and is preparing for his final interview before they determine if he is a candidate for end-of-life assistance. According to Robert, he has not fully decided yet if he will follow through with this plan, but his situation feels desperate enough that he is giving it serious consideration.
Doug Joiner: Lynchburg, Virginia USA
Doug was an extremely motivated and successful pharmaceutical sales rep who graduated in the top of his class. Dealing with the stress of a highly competitive profession and the death of his father, Doug went to his doctor for help. There he was prescribed Xanax. The effects of Doug’s iatrogenic injury from long-term benzodiazepine use became apparent when he began working for a new company. He was unable to concentrate and had difficulty learning the new systems required to perform his job. He was also suddenly plagued by screaming tinnitus, debilitating pain and deep depression. Eventually, all of this led to Doug being let go from his position in the company. He tried yoga, meditation and exercise in an attempt to cope with the “anxiety,” but nothing worked (benzodiazepine-induced “anxiety,” from tolerance and withdrawal is a chemical anxiety as opposed to an intrinsic anxiety and does not respond to standard treatments). Realizing Xanax was the source of his problem, Doug decided to check himself into a “detox” facility, even though he had not been abusing his prescription and was taking it as prescribed. He was prescribed other medications during his treatment which did not help. Like so many others who are subjected to a cold-turkey or rapid withdrawal for benzodiazepine dependence, Doug experienced life-threatening seizures. This terrified him, causing him to check out of the center before he was due to be released. Two weeks later, Doug shot himself, leaving behind his daughter and fiancé. In a note to his family, Doug said the following:
The Xanax, Ativan and ultimately Valium eroded my mind and will to where I cannot stand the depression and fight anymore… I don’t believe I would be able to be employed due to age and inability to concentrate. I am not stable enough now to be accepted at Pathways [another drug rehab center] and withstand further withdrawal… Everyone please, please, go on without me…
I would like to say these stories are extreme examples, but they are not. It may be that only an estimated 20-30% of the population has such a severe reaction to benzodiazepines and that most can and do heal from BAD. However, in the 20-30% who do have severe effects, BAD is so mentally and physically disabling, so unbearable, that those who have experienced chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer, childhood sexual abuse, losing a child and war have all stated that BAD far surpasses any suffering they have previously experienced. People like Doug and Robert are not weak, instead they are like a man in a burning building who seems to have no options other than to burn or jump out of the window. We need better options for those of us who have been caught in that burning building.
Stories like the ones told above are why I am joining with W-BAD today, July 11th, and why I am asking you to do the same. If those aren’t compelling enough reasons, consider that 40-90% of the time benzodiazepines are prescribed there is no clear medical reason for doing so; benzodiazepines are contraindicated in the treatment of PTSD and yet they are regularly prescribed to soldiers; Valium and all the others increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly by 83% and yet people over the age of 65 are prescribed benzos more than any other age group; innocent people are being rendered homeless and friendless because they can’t get a valid diagnosis or get on disability for their condition, as BAD is so misunderstood and disbelieved. Finally, I am participating in W-BAD today, and you should too, because you know somebody right now who is taking a benzodiazepine and that person might just be dealing with chronic health problems, unaware that they are result of taking the medication as prescribed.
When people turn to some random ex-school teacher/musician on YouTube with no medical experience for advice on how to safely taper off their benzodiazepine and appropriately manage symptoms, you know they are desperate for help. Please do something on July 11th to bring these people out of the shadows and educate those around you. Participating is easy. Visit w-bad.org. Change your Facebook profile picture for a day. Share this video. Donate to the “As Prescribed” documentary film. Share an article. Share your own story. Heck, share someone else’s story! Do whatever you can to reach out. If I have learned anything through my own personal activism efforts it’s that you might be saving the life of someone you didn’t even know was listening. While nothing can replace the losses experienced by the victims and loved ones of BAD, your compassion just might mean their struggle was not in vain.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Thank you so much for your efforts. I’m one of the many who have been harmed by taking benzos as prescribed.
I’m sorry to hear this, thanks for your support
“innocent people are being rendered homeless and friendless because they can’t get a valid diagnosis or get on disability for their condition, as BAD is so misunderstood and disbelieved”
Jocelyn, thank you for your article. I understand that benzos are destroying peoples’ lives and causing iatrogenic illness. The part that I find confusing is that a diagnosis is needed. After all, it is the false diagnosis and the fake “medication” that caused the problem in the first place. Isn’t the solution to get as far away from psychiatry as possible? What good would a diagnosis of iatrogenic illness do? More drugs will be prescribed to “fix” the iatrogenic problem, creating more iatrogenesis. Thank you for your response.
A diagnosis is needed because benzos cause actual neurological damage that can be disabling.
“Isn’t the solution to get as far away from psychiatry as possible?”
Exactly ! I am guessing you smell it too.
I had long exchange with one them and I am very skeptical of their activities.
I see it kind of like Mothers Against Drunk Driving “helping” Alcoholics. MADD started all that show ID crap in America meanwhile in other countries without drinking ages they have fewer alcohol problems.
When does the benzo nightmare really rear its ugliest head ? When they screw with your supply. Who has real problems the first week after getting a new Rx ? Its that last week when the bottle is running dry or empty the nightmare begins.
“I am not stable enough now to be accepted at Pathways [another drug rehab center] and withstand further withdrawal…”
If these “W-BAD” people continue stirring up government types to “do something” about the benzo “epidemic” its very likely to mirror the war on pain patients that is also leading to suicides.
I think its likely Doug is dead because they “helped” him with his Xanax problem by cutting him off.
Are alcoholics better off after MADD declared war on alcohol ?
Are people with opiate dependencies and pain patients better off now with “awareness” and the government actions against opiates ? Friend of mine just died from fentanyl laced dope, I am sure he would have rather had dilaudid and not taken chances but they raised awareness of the pills and so.
Who is at the top of this “w-bad” organization ? I smell something like a NAMI and MADD structure tapping our energy for their agenda.
The Benzo Nightmare came real close to killing me wile it dragged me through an unimaginable hell, I should be all over this w-bad bandwagon making the most noise but I am very skeptical.
I am waiting to see if you get a response, I already had my exchange with them.
Actually I am in support of legislation going on right now in Massachusetts to protect patients rights. I certainly don’t want anyone forced off their benzodiazepine. What I do want is informed consent so that if you chose to take a benzo, you are aware of the possible life altering consequences which far exceed addiction in my opinion. What I want is medical recognition of those who have been mentally and physically disabled so they can get help and not left destitute and alienated from friends and family.
SECTION 6. Section 23 of said chapter 94C, as so appearing is hereby amended by adding the following 2 subsections:-
(i) A written prescription for less than a 10 day supply of a benzodiazepine or a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic shall not be refilled.
Some of us lived the nightmare of “sorry we can’t fill this” with that DMV style attitude of “just doing my job” that legislation always inspires. Sorry we can’t fill this you can always go to the ER if you are not feeling well…
How exactly is this 10 day thing “protecting our rights” ?
What happens if I go to ER and then doctor wants to give me under 10 day supply ?
Why don’t you email Geraldine, who is the BZ survivor who organized the MA legislation. I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions.
Here’s her email: [email protected]
Why can’t it be explained in a public forum ? All this effort and a story on MIA and this person doesn’t even read it or go in the comment section.
That says alot.
What happens if I go to ER and then doctor wants to give me under 10 day supply ?
He could, but you wouldn’t be able to get refills? I don’t know for sure, but that’s the way it reads to me. You shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions if you don’t even know.
And a hassle at the pharmacy is “protecting my rights” how ?
Doesnt NAMI also “protect” patient rights ?
I will not be like a NAMI lemming and just jump on a band wagon or watch this group hitch their wagon to the psychiatric survivors human rights movement without asking questions.
I was reading the website before they edited the crap suggesting drug testing so a benzo patient is allowed their prescription.
Then I am told I read stuff wrong but the webcatch page proved otherwise.
The deceptive vagueness of that entire website is a red flag to me.
The “benzos are bad” theme led to me be handed that sample bottle of Zyprexa. At least on klonopin you can feel and enjoy life if they are not screwing with your supply.
You can’t just go around yelling benzos are bad at government types without thinking about unintended consequences , its reckless and dangerous.
Right, nobody should ever do anything because the gubmint might overreach. Because freedumb. /s
Look, I went through the gauntlet trying to *get* a super-low dose of benzos that i needed to taper. I was denied over and over and accused of drug-seeking and all of that, so i know what you’re talking about.
But why don’t you get the facts straight before you pop off at the mouth like this is the enemy or something. At least get some evidence first. I’ll be the first person to back you up if you can show that this initiative actually screws people over.
At least on klonopin you can feel and enjoy life if they are not screwing with your supply.
Can’t relate to that at all.
You need a diagnosis in most countries to get disability – that’s just common sense. If you are rendered disabled from prescribed BZs or wd and need income – you might have to apply for disability to survive. It would be nice to get diagnosed with what you actually have – neurological illness, a prescribed physical dependence, withdrawal, neurotoxicity, brain damage, protracted withdrawal, etc. Instead, the medical community refuses, most of the time, to recognize this for what it is (and they don’t really have any existing diagnoses codes to diagnose it with anyhow that are accurate). No one is calling for people to get diagnosed as mentally ill, that’s exactly opposite of what this writing says.
It is not possible at this point in time to receive Social Security Disability benefits based solely on Drug Addiction. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not grant disability benefits to people with disabilities that have been caused or worsened by addiction.
Typical word semantics games- addiction, dependency, iatrogenically ill. No difference what so ever. Zero Zilch Nada Nothing. Same poison, same effects and same results.
Why isn’t this W-BAD pushing to make it easier for patients to sue doctors that harmed them ? This is a battle between different factions of the psychiatric industry itself, legislation is fair game but suing and lawsuits is too below the belt for them. They argue but will almost always protect their own.
This whole thing is just AstroTurf posing as a grassroots campaign by benzo victims.
Let the doctors off the hook and stick the taxpayer with the bill through disability and make a few bucks at the same time with a new billing code to treat the condition they created.
(Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of adults and children on disability skyrocketed…)
If the medical malpractice insurance industry got the bill doctor behavior just might change.
This whole thing is just AstroTurf posing as a grassroots campaign by benzo victims.
Got any evidence to the contrary ?
When you make a claim, the burden of proof falls on you – not anyone else.
What is this “Public Citizen” Friend of Edwin Fuller Torrey and NAMI
“He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas”
Doug is not dead because “I think its likely Doug is dead because they “helped” him with his Xanax problem by cutting him off.”
Doug was my older brother. He’s dead because he was given alternate benzos like Klonopin and ativan while in rehab which left him in the same state of benzo dependency, and withdrawal became impossible, compounded by severe tinnitus, which was worsened by the benzos. This led to suicide ideation, and he shot himself.
His once brilliant mind chemistry was permanently altered and what happened to him is bigger than the Thalidomide pandemic in the early 1960’s. Please help to spread awareness. Thanks for listening.
Now I am in a heck of a spot not very nice to argue with someone who lost a brother to it. I lost my brother before I got well from this.
But suicide, what other drugs did they send him home on ? Its rare anyone goes home from treatment without a prescription for non benzo stuff. Stuff many will testify doesn’t exactly help. My case Zyprexa. I got suicidal from Revia (naltrexone) this was years before the stuff was well known. It was not for opiates, never had that problem, it was new the thinking was “it blocks the high” from alcohol that I used on the anxiety from the benzo disaster. I blocks the high but not the low is what I think happened that suicidal night broken windows and police cars. And the legal system hell that followed like they wanted me dead.
Benzo was my problem but “addicts can’t ever drink” we all know that one size fits all strategy. Sober or nothing.
I am stuck, I know that place home from treatment feel like hell the shame and guilt if you go back to it. I know this thing inside out from being in a dozen places and worked at one for a wile trying to help people get through it driving them to the ER so they don’t get the ambulance ordeal where they refuse to turn off the flashing lights bring a ladder truck for some reason and insist on making a big scene.
I feel like I should not be asking this but if they did not give him alternate benzos would he have stayed or said screw this and left ?
I have been though so much and know this thing so well but feel wrong questioning the conclusions here. Yes the cause of death is ultimately the benzodiazepines that lead to the entire course of events just like with me.
I will raise awareness, my experience has value years and years of it hospitals rehabs the other pills even worse for me and I kicked it when they all said I was hopeless unless I submitted to a life subdued by anti psychotics.
Sorry for your loss but I have to keep saying it, we can’t mirror the tactics used by the opiate raise awareness people without expecting similar results.
I agree medicine can be a double edged sword. However a valid diagnoses means people can get insurance to pay for their medical bills or therapy. It means they can more easily file for disability. It also means they’d have greater ability to sue their doctors. Above all else, a name for an illness gives you validation when trying to explain what you are experiencing to friends and family. I am not a fan of a mental health diagnosis as this is not specifically a mental health problem, it’s central nervous system damage and should be treated like any other bodily injury.
Thanks for your reply. There’s the rub. There are very few doctors who understand iatrogenic illness, and even fewer who understand the truth about psychiatry. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/the-truth-about-psychiatry/
Unfortunately, I’m having awful chemical anxiety today (40 months out) and cannot write much, but I want to THANK YOU, Jocelyn, for all you’re doing for the benzo community. You have been tireless in your efforts to sound the alarm about these drugs.
I’ve been to a number of medical people and have, many times, been given a diagnosis of GAD. However, I have NEVER in my life before benzos experienced the debilitating chemical anxiety that I have. I have often thought of what it would be like to die, yet I have a son to think of. Normally I would never have those thoughts, but going through this has caused me to think of them.
Blessings to you, and keep up the excellent work!!!
Thank you and keep going, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I am not particularly liking my role today many might perceive as being a poo in the punch bowl on your benzo awareness day but I am skeptical. Sorry.
Thank you, Jocelyn! You made me cry. It was just what I needed to hear. Love and joy to you!
My doctor, a highly regarded doctor in a highly regarded medical group, put me on 1 mg of Klonapin for sleep when I moved to Denver. Then I read it could be addictive so I said to him I didn’t want to get addicted and he answered: “You already are”. He also told me I read too much. Soon after when I questioned him on another med he was pushing he just fired me and sent me packing with no doctor at all. When you are on medicare finding a good doctor is not easy. Life was hell and getting increasingly more hellish. I started waking up screaming, calling people and reaming them for whatever I could think of. Sometimes, and I still do, I would be driving around in my convertible screaming “I want to die” or screaming “I hate you God”. or just being plain rude or nasty to people. Sometimes I would be doing it in stores. I am pretty well considered crazy in my condo building and neighborhood. Any little thing, like dropping a pen, could set off an entire hour or more of raging. Every morning the first words that ooze from my half sleep awakening are “I want God to kill me!!” EVERY MORNING. I have lots of self anger and PTSD from intense childhood sexual abuse and lots of guilt from an auto accident where someone died, though I was not at fault. Over the last 7 years I have gotten to the point where I have no more friends. NONE because of my insane and volatile behavior which makes what I am going through all the worse. I try to quit and have gotten down to .25 mg but at night what starts happening in my brain requires another dose or a bullet to the brain. I frequently smash my head into walls in hopes of stopping what is happening. Quite often I think just finishing the bottle I have, as it is my last, is the best idea. My latest doctor said she was not going to prescribe any more unless I went to a psychiatrist she picked for psychotropic meds. I said no and that I was just going to tough it out and quit. She said nothing of the danger of doing that. She is well respected in the medical community here but not advising me on cold turkey dangers or how to taper was irresponsible. Now I read that the full healing can take years. I am 71 and years at my age are more precious than gold. I don’t have ‘years’ to hang out getting better. When she prescribed them for me I had to sign a form of proper behavior in her office if on the sh!t. Obviously this document showed her knowledge of the dangers and covered her office but clearly what I did at home did not concern her but the form proved she knew full well the dangerous potential that myself and those around me were facing. Yet she and too many others still prescribe the stuff. I am awed. So awed that I wonder if they are partners in detox centers.
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Sorry for your situation, which is ALL TOO COMMON.
They call it “Benzo rage” on the support boards.
I, too, am ‘older’ and sometimes wonder what’s the point of the years of intense suffering.
I can honestly say that the iatrogenic damages have forced me to literally ‘live in the moment’ and find joy in the small. Getting thru yet another shitty day sometimes feels like climbing Mt. Everest. I *do* have periods of time when I feel ‘almost normal’ but they cannot be counted on to last…
Nobody gets it unless they’ve been thru it, and WE SHOULD BE COMPENSATED for the loss of our lives as we knew them…financially, physically, spiritually and interpersonally too; many of us have had our lives ruined without any sort of acknowledgement from the powers that be, which is just another insult to add to the myriad of crap we must contend with daily.
I hope you find someone who you can share your experience with who will listen and not judge. I had a good ‘friend’ dump me not long ago after supporting me for 3 years–I emailed a video made by a benzo victim that featured Dr. Heather Ashton and Dr. Malcolm Lader who speaks frankly about the brain damages and the duration of the suffering. I asked her to please just watch the first 10 mins. She came to visit a few weeks later and apologized; tears were shed and the friendship ‘patched’ up, but not really. I will never fully trust her again.
It’s such a long, hard, lonely road…and I’m still not sure I’m glad I’m ‘med free’ at this point~
You are not alone.
I used a benzo (ativan) for over a decade for a sleep disorder and it saved my life. I hate seeing this hysteria over a class of a very useful and relatively harmless class of drugs. If you didn’t know they were ‘addictive’ then now you know and don’t take them in the first place and mess things up for everyone else. “My doctor never warned me” – puh-lease.
Why is it so hard for you to understand that even though you have had a great experience with Ativan, that many people have gone through hell with Benzos, including this woman who chose to die by assisted suicide?
Sorry I can’t tell if that’s satire. http://addictionmyth.com/welcome-to-the-club/
Benzos cause *brain changes*…even yours.
Some are lucky and escape the worst of the iatrogenic damage (did you know that benzos are derived from BENZENE, a well known carcinogen?) but piling on psych meds to mask the adverse effects of tolerance withdrawal helps ‘kindle’ the brain, making PAWS more likely.
But of course, *everyone* is just like you:)
OH MY GOD if you don’t like them then don’t take them. If you think they are dangerous then stay away. But stop telling doctors and ultimately the government how to regulate them. This is hysteria and will lead to war. It’s like you’ve learning NOTHING from past experience. If I had any brain changes it can still run circles around you halfwits. Blaming prescription of other psych meds on ativan really takes the cake. Congrats.
AA, I don’t think that this person is interested in in anyone else’s experiences with benzos.
I am interested in protecting both the people that benzos help while preventing the start of a new drug war against them, which hurts those people as well as the innocent who get caught up in your hysterical alarmism.
Hysterical alarmist? Classy. I am dealing with long-term neurological damage as a result of taking benzos as directed. What do you have against informed consent?
Its not about informed consent, they say that but have another agenda. Its about stirring up the government to “do something” and just ask people with chronic pain how that works out.
There is no drug war against the recipients of ANY of these drugs. The war (if that is the right term) is against the PURVEYORS OF LIES who pretend that these drugs aren’t addictive or that they have no adverse effects or that anxiety is “treated” by giving these drugs over the long term. Informed consent merely gives people like you the information needed to decide if you want to or don’t want to use them. There is no hostility intended toward the users of these substances.
You’re the type of person we, as fellow survivors, have had to fight for almost 60 years. You’ve had your time to be heard. Can’t you get it into your head that some people have suffered damage to their CNS because of benzos? Maybe you got off scot-free the first time. Don’t ever take them again. They’re like playing with fire.
Fight me?? I SAID DON’T TAKE THEM.
In fact you are the person that reasonable people like me need to fight constantly because you are trying to take away our rights. Take the drugs or don’t take them – I don’t care! Just don’t ruin it for everyone else. Ativan SAVED MY LIFE. I shouldn’t ever take them again because SOME people took them for years without ever looking up the well known side effects? HAHA I don’t think so.
I am a survivor, I did an unbelievable hell and back ride. I agree with this person, not so much the screen name “addiction myth” its provocative but the part about these We-Bad people don’t need to be stirring up a government drug war. Of all the psychiatric drugs I bet they have never had to force beznos anyone cause in a crisis they really help.
Once these We-Bad people get done how many people in an emotional crisis will get Haldol instead of Ativan cause the “We-Bad” benzo prohibitionists made such a stink and got there way ?
“the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” And sorry but its only the few, including myself, that get hurt.
You’re fighting to save YOUR life. I get that. No one is going to take your benzo away if you act like you are here, fighting to the death to defend them.
No, I’m saying that there are people who have committed suicide and who, like me, are years out from the drug and still having problems. There are people who are now taking the drug and have terrible side effects. What tipped me off to the fact that Ativan was causing damage were the dizzy spells I got. When the dizziness turned into vertigo, I knew I was in trouble. I received NO help from doctors. NO help at all. They didn’t understand and still don’t. We need to educate them. They apparently get a lot of their info from pharma reps, who know nothing and simply parrot what they’ve heard from their superiors.
We need to defend these people who have taken benzos and have suffered immensely, have lot their incomes, their families, their friends, their whole way of life as they knew it. Maybe we were too trusting with our doctors. We weren’t familiar with “don’t trust your doctor” yet. We need to get this out into the open, where it belongs, and WE WILL. We’ll keep pushing, and neither you nor anyone else can stand in our way.
Here I will give you the best medical advice ever: if you are not truly sick then stay away from doctors. And if you ignore my advice and go to the doctor anyway, please don’t complain about how they didn’t help you and almost killed you. And if you ignore my advice and accuse them of trying to kill you, PLEASE don’t demand the government restrict life saving medications from patients who ARE actually sick and need them. (Because we’ve been there and it doesn’t end well.)
Hi, I have been taking a 100 mg bottle a week of Valium for almost 7 years now and I used to alternate it with xanax 0.25, I had some lack of sleep and anxiety for traumas month when I stopped xanax 0.25 cold turkey. How would you recommend tapering off safely from Valium please? Thank you!
Hi, I never took those but I can tell you my experience with Ativan, which I took 1-2 mg/day for a few years and a lower dose for over a decade. To taper, I’d recommend taking it only when you feel vertiginous or dizzy. The side effects will last a week or two. Sleep will be difficult. You might want to take a week off as a ‘taper holiday’. If you don’t work then there’s your problem and no drug can fix it.
Why is it so hard for you to believe that *your* experience is not universal?
I discontinued Klonopin after a few months use cold turkey the first time I was prescribed them. It was a rough 2 weeks or so but I got past it. It’s the ‘kindling’ phenomenon you seem to be ignorant of. Again, everyone is different. I’m 45 months out from what I thought was a slow taper after a subsequent ‘script that I took *as directed* for almost 10 years. It has been hell on earth–no joke. How many commit suicide due to the myriad of horrific symptoms that occur after even a slow taper? It will never be known. Benzos are poison. I can see a use for them for only very short term, but brain changes happen as soon as 4 days. There is no true informed consent because practitioners are clueless when it comes to long-term damages caused by benzos.
So basically anyone who has taken benzos cannot speak about them because their brain has changed after only 4 days. Did I get that right? Sorry but you are peddling fearmongering hysteria. I’m sorry you had a bad experience but ATIVAN SAVED MY LIFE and though I don’t take it any more, I would certainly not want doctors to with hold it from the people who need it – because THAT is what kills far more than the people who say, “Oh I didn’t know that ativan was addictive and I just followed my doctor’s orders like a good boy.”
You might look into the “Surviving Antidepressants” website. There’s extensive information and support about slow tapering Benzos. All those brain meds have similar PAWS profiles.
“Addiction Myth” is not good source for help with tapering.
You might also check out some of Robert Whitaker’s books, (the founder of this website) and youtube for videos regarding safely discontinuing benzos.
thank you everyone I will try some of this, I will try tapering off and looking at the resources
That comment is like the blind leading the blind. Nothing works for everyone. It isn’t a one size fits all.
And your comment is like the hysteric leading the hysteric. Take a half a tablet and get some rest. You’ll be fine.
“Written prescriptions for less than a 10-day supply will not be refilled.”
They think that one size fits all work will work for everyone, I bet it works so well for many they end up in the ER after their doctor doesn’t answer and they get that message call 911 or go to the ER.
And like I said already then the ER gives them Haldol for anxiety cause benzos are bad
Or you could do a micro taper. I wish I’d done that. I thought nothing of cold turkeying .5 mg. of Ativan, and it was TERRIBLE. I didn’t know any better. BenzoBuddies has some really good options. They’ve been a lifesaver for me!
For those seeking tapering advice please visit benzo.org.uk or benzobuddies.com. Just like vaccines or any other pharmaceutical, some people can tolerate drugs without severe side effects. Then there is the population that is injured. When it comes to benzodiazepines that injured minority is a very large one and the injury is severe. The question is, when is it immoral to injure so many for the benefit of the majority? I don’t have the answer to this question. What I do know is that by requiring doctors to give informed consent, educating doctors and patients in the signs of a benzodiazepine associated disability and how to help someone humanely taper and recover, a lot of suffering can be avoided. Whether or not this leads to difficulty in obtaining such a prescription is yet to be determined. As I said before, my desire is to protect the rights of patients who are already dependent. No body should ever be forced off these drugs. As for a war on drugs, anyone who knows someone with BAD understands that we barely have the energy to take a shower, much less wage war.
“Much less wage war.” You are Waging war with “Public citizen” those snakes from Washington.
“Written prescriptions for less than a 10-day supply will not be refilled.”
-the Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill.
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, Benzo Buddies and the various support groups are all participating. This initiative developed after speaking to the non-profit organization “Public Citizen”
“Public Citizen” is calling for “widespread assisted outpatient treatment programs” Forced drugging
“widespread assisted outpatient treatment programs” Read more https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/2330.pdf Page 12.
“assisted outpatient treatment programs” = Kidnapping, restraint , injection
The whole Idea of working with “Public Citizen” the architects of “widespread assisted outpatient treatment programs” is being like Nazi Collaborators http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Nazi_Collaborators
Nothing but dishonesty, deception and lies by omission from you people.
This whole thing is AstroTurf as you people troll the internet fishing for victims to make it look grassroots.
This whole thing is AstroTurf
You keep saying that, but where’s the proof? And why don’t you make the case against the refill language if you don’t like it, instead of calling people Nazi collaborators? Do you even know for certain what that sentence about refills actually entails?
Of course I don’t know for certain what that sentence about refills actually entails. It was designed as deceptive vagueness because they knew if they explained it too many people wouldn’t like it.
What doctor would write a 10 day supply with 3 refills instead of 1 Rx for 30 days ? Why would they possibly do that ? You really don’t need to be that smart to see they are attempting to ban small prescriptions.
I have tried reaching out to you via email but have had some difficulty getting in touch.
Unless there is any proof that W-BAD is “astroturf posing as a grassroots campaign by benzo victims,” repeating this statement amounts to misrepresentation, which is against Mad in America’s posting guidelines. As the moderator, I will not be allowing any further misrepresentations of W-BAD.
I forgot the password to that e-mail years ago.
What did I misrepresent or misinterpret ? Thought this was a public forum and we discuss things.
You might have the the ability to not allow “misrepresentations” here on this article or website but as long as you are making threats at me I must remind you you have no power over what I can write on the rest of the internet. And since I am not a representative in any way of the We-Bad that makes misrepresentation impossible.
I am going to make a new e-mail for this account out of curiosity of what was sent but it still seems if my thoughts about this are “misrepresentations” simply pushing the reply button and explaining how things really are is a real easy task.
Why cant someone just explain how it is not AstroTurf or point or post me a link to a page explaining all this ? Thats it what I have been after the whole time.
The_cat – I really like your comments. I hope that you are not banned but if you are please contact me. I say this not because I have a specific idea but I know it is painful to be banned and perhaps I can provide support in some way. I don’t know what W-BAD is but evidently it’s a touchy issue. I don’t understand why someone can’t respond to you with facts instead of threats.
I tried to put a new email https://www.madinamerica.com/forums/topic/tried-to-change-e-mail-and-that-page-to-do-it-is-no-place-to-be-found/
BenzoBuddies uses the Ashton Manual like a bible–from what I’ve seen online in my limited experience over the last 45 months, it seems to me a micro taper is the way to go.
Lots of information about that on Surviving Antidepressants~~~~
There are many ways to go in BB. They have General Taper Plans, Titration Taper Plans, and Substitute Taper Plans. Anything you want. I haven’t found that it “uses the Ashton Manual like a bible,” although people can adhere to that if they choose to. There are many doing micro tapers, and they have a Daily Micro-Tapering Support Group in which members give advice, etc. There is a Long Hold Support Group as well.
I was on a different forum at the start of my taper, and they didn’t offer any of that. I wish I had been with BB at that time.
I did your homework for you and contacted Geraldine about the line in the bill concerning 10 day and under prescriptions. This is what she had to say:
With informed consent hopefully many will think twice about taking a benzo for any reason. But the short prescription is for someone who needs it to fly, a death in the family, exams, situational stress, etc. Many ended up on these drugs for years for these reasons. If someone needs it longer they won’t be denied it but at least there are precautions there.
The third part which is missing from the house bill but is in the senate bill is to protect someone already on benzos. It will be there choice if they want to taper. I have three childhood friends on benzos who will not be able to come off. An amendment will be filed for the house bill.
The other thing to mention is a commission will be set up to help with this. No one with anxiety will be denied a benzo. But if we can protect people who go in with a muscle ache, a rash, mild insomnia (a 36 year old just killed himself on 5/5 for a minor problem sleeping and six months off couldn’t take the withdrawal), having the flu too long, etc then we’ve done something. I would never want someone with anxiety to suffer. But would hope they would look for other means to recover from anxiety, but their choice.
So to answer your question, “What happens if I go to ER and then doctor wants to give me under 10 day supply?” — You would get an under 10 day supply with no refills on it.