This question runs through the head of so many who have experienced benzodiazepine withdrawal: “Why? Why doesn’t my doctor/provider know what is happening to me? Why does he/she disregard that I do know what is happening to me? Why do they refuse to confirm my concerns or support me?” Benzodiazepine tolerance and withdrawal are not new. Many have endured and more will in the future. So, why isn’t it simple to diagnose and treat? As both a health care provider and a withdrawal sufferer, I’d like to offer an inside and outside perspective on this question.
I am a 48-year-old wife, mother, grandmother and nurse practitioner. I am now 26 months off of 0.5 mg of Klonipin that I took as prescribed, once daily, for 15 years. I was prescribed this medication to treat my insomnia which was a side effect of the Cymbalta I was taking at the time (which I have since discontinued). In 2015 I began having symptoms of heightened anxiety/agitation, terrible intrusive thoughts, fatigue, palpitations, feeling like the skin on my arms was burning, gastrointestinal disturbance, shakiness and dizziness. I went to my providers (I was seeing a family doctor and an endocrinologist) who, after many tests, said my symptoms were likely because of my anxiety and that I should increase the dose of the Klonipin. I refused. I did not want to “play that game” in which I would have to keep increasing my dose to get the same effect. I knew that the long-term effects could be damaging; I knew, as well, that I would eventually hit a maximum dose… and then what? It was then that I decided I wanted off of this drug.
My primary doctor disregarded my concerns, saying that this drug was “tame” and “such a low dose” that I shouldn’t have any concern and that I would “likely need it for life” because of my “chemical imbalance.” At that time I was also seeing a psychiatrist, who was actually the prescriber, so I went to her and discussed my concerns. She was supportive of the fact that I wanted to stop but her suggestion for tapering was quite fast. By now, I had been reading the Ashton Manual (which my doctors had never heard of) so I suggested to my psychiatrist that I cross over to Valium — which, with her approval, I did, but I went from 0.5 mg of Klonipin (the equivalent of 10 mg of Valium) to 2 mg of Valium overnight.
It was much too big and too fast of a cut and I immediately went into a tailspin. My symptoms were as follows: severe agitation/anxiety, intrusive thoughts, dizziness, heart palpitations/pounding, nausea/vomiting, severe cold intolerance, a burning sensation in my arms along with an icy sensation in my bones, inner restlessness, shallow breathing, urinary frequency, and probably more. The thoughts that were entering my mind were frightening so I went to the E.R. They performed multiple lab tests and an abdominal CT, all which were normal. So what did they do? They gave me Ativan. The LAST thing I needed. The way they treated me was very unprofessional and uncaring, as if I were an irresponsible addict. But, believe me, more drugs were the last thing I wanted. I just wanted help. Help to get through it WITHOUT being loaded up on drugs.
I couldn’t do life anymore. I couldn’t work, be a wife, mom or grandmother. I couldn’t cook, clean, nothing. I was scared. Not one doctor knew how to get me through this and I was desperate. All I wanted was my life back, but I felt trapped. So I reached out to a detox center. They “promised” they could help me get off of the benzodiazepine and get my life back. I believed them, so I went. They tapered me off of the Valium over three weeks. In the detox center I was offered drug after drug (Gabapentin, Baclofen, Trazadone, Seroquel, Visteral, Propranolol, etc.) to “help” with the symptoms I was continuing to endure. I even asked the addiction psychiatrist at the detox center whether the other medications that were supposedly meant to help might be causing further problems. His answer was: “I don’t know, just stop those medications then.” Basically, he didn’t know. Who knew? Does anyone know?
I came home a month later and attempted to get back into the workforce, but failed. The symptoms continued and my providers kept saying, “It’s reemergence of your anxiety” and “It cannot be withdrawal, the drug is out of your system.” But it WAS still withdrawal. There are many studies out there that confirm that withdrawal symptoms can continue after the drug is out of the system. My body has downregulated the gaba receptors after many years of taking Klonipin, so I basically have no working receptors, and glutamate (the excitatory neurotransmitter) is dominant, for now. Why don’t you know this, doctor? Why are you making me feel as though I am crazy?
The symptoms drove me to have thousands of dollars in tests. I was admitted to Duke to rule out adrenal failure. All tests were negative, of course, so what happened while I was inpatient? They brought in psych to evaluate me. What did they do? They put me on yet another psych drug, Prozac, which made me much worse, so I stopped. I was admitted to two separate psychiatric hospitals for suicidal ideation because I could not function and I did not know how long it would take to heal. My family depends on me and I couldn’t be there for them. All the psychiatrists at these hospitals wanted to do was stack more medications on me. It’s like they scanned down a menu of medications to see “what we could try.” I went to rehab, where staff members promised they could help me. They couldn’t. I saw two naturopaths, both of whom wanted to pile supplements on me, none of which helped.
No one knew how to help. Not one. Why? Why didn’t I know this could happen to me? I mean, I’m medically educated, right? But I didn’t know, and neither did my doctors.
I lost faith in the medical system, but I gained faith in my Holy Father. I had to keep fighting and maintain patience. I did. Am I healed? I feel that I am healed from benzo withdrawal, but I still have to taper off the “other” drugs that the detox center started me on, which I am working on now. I feel this is an endless cycle of withdrawing from drugs that, if I had known then what I know now, I would have never started.
So why don’t doctors know? When doctors and mid-level providers are in the midst of their education, prior to practicing, the main focus is diagnosing and treating. Our education begins with learning the basics of anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and microbiology. So basically we are learning about the human body and how it works, down to the cell. This is where the infamous gross anatomy class comes in, which entails dissecting a human body. All of this is taught over a few courses over a few semesters at the beginning of our college career. Later on in our medical education, the knowledge expands to pathophysiology — basically, what happens physically/chemically to the body when things go wrong. In medical school, they break the education down into systems (i.e. neurology, respiratory, cardiovascular) with each system covered over a number of weeks. Students are given one, maybe two, semesters of pharmacology class (typically 15 weeks each semester, meeting two or three days a week for 1-2 hours). So as you can see, in-class learning is minimal for what is needed to know out in the real world. In the later semesters, learning continues in the clinical setting (i.e. residency, etc.). It is nearly impossible to learn everything about every condition through our medical education. Over the years of education we are formally tested through exams as well as hands-on demonstration of our knowledge, and, finally, through a board certifying exam. However, much of the learning is through our continuing education, depending on new practice guidelines, and is basically a “learn as you go” process.
During our education we are taught that, based on a patient’s history of present illness (what the patient tells us their symptoms are) and physical (what we see and lab or radiological testing), we should come up with a list of differential diagnoses (or list of possible diagnoses) and based on the most clear possible diagnosis, treat for that condition. However, if the treatment given does not improve the symptoms, we start going down the list of differentials we compiled. For example, here is a case study:
Mrs. Jones is a 45 year old female who comes into your office with complaints of the
following: dizziness, nausea, gnawing abdominal pain, increased agitation/anxiety,
palpitations, shakiness, cold intolerance, fatigue and a 10 lb weight loss over the last
month. Patient denies headache, loss of consciousness, fever, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, diarrhea, constipation, blood in stool or extremity swelling/weakness.
Past medical history:
Hypothyroidism, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, anxiety
Levothyroxine 75 mcq once daily, Clonazepam 0.5 mg once daily,
Monthly estrogen shots.
Has been taking levothyroxine for 20 years and Clonazepam 15 years.
Estrogen replacement started after hysterectomy
Septoplasty (septum repair), Tubal Ligation, Tonsillectomy, Total Hysterectomy
Non-smoker, denies alcohol or illicit drug use
Married, 3 adult children
Works in healthcare
Physical (by systems):
Mildly anxious female, alert and oriented with normal BMI
Respiratory: Lungs clear, respiratory effort unlabored
CV: Heart rate/rhythm normal, no murmurs
Musculoskeletal: Normal strength and range of motion of all extremities
GI: Mild epigastric tenderness on palpation, abdomen non distended, soft, liver not enlarged. Bowel sounds normal
Neuro: Cranial nerves, balance and pulses normal
Skin: Color normal, no lesions, warm, dry, intact
Based on the history and physical, what is your possible diagnosis? Breaking the symptoms down into systems, the diagnosis could be cardiac (palpitations, dizziness, fatigue), neurological (extremity burning, dizziness, anxiety, agitation), endocrine (fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, cold intolerance, anxiety/agitation), GI (nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss), psychiatric (increased anxiety/agitation, weight loss, palpitations, GI disturbance, fatigue) or medication-induced (too much hormone replacement). So from this list, there are a multitude of diagnoses that could be given from the symptoms of this patient. The next step for the provider is to start from the most likely diagnoses and work through the differential list. In order to do so, he/she will need to start out with testing (i.e. laboratory, radiological, etc.). If he/she is unable to do so, then there is one of two possibilities that you will likely run across: 1) You have anxiety/depression, so let’s start you on some medication to help you, or 2) You will be referred to a specialist (i.e. cardiology, neurology, endocrinology, etc.).
This patient’s tests all come back normal. So, what could it be? The most likely diagnosis will be reemergence of her anxiety. So what is the treatment? You guessed it: medications. Either increase the clonazepam or add another psychiatric medication (SSRI, SNRI, etc.).
Now here is the big question: Why didn’t the provider even have a clue that the patient’s symptoms could be from the reduction of the clonazepam? Four words: they did not know.
Back to pharmacology, the class where our future providers learn about the medications they will be prescribing. In this class, the primary focus is on pharmacokinetics (what the body does to the drug) and pharmacodynamics (what the drug does to the body). This is based on what I will call a “control” person. Although the pharmacodynamics of a drug will likely be the same or similar for all of us, the pharmacokinetics will not. That is because we are all biochemically different. Our DNA, illnesses we may have, environmental chemicals we are exposed to as we grow up, and so forth, all contribute to how our bodies react to the medications we ingest or inject.
Additionally, in this one — maybe two — semester course only the most common medications are covered, which is a fraction of all existing medications. According to the FDA’s Orange Book, which lists approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations, page 9 of 64 of the Cumulative Supplement for March 2018 shows a total of 19,294 prescription drug products as of December 2017. It is simply impossible to learn about all of the FDA approved medications and their interactions with each other in one or two semesters.For example, on Georgetown University School of Medicine’s pharmacology department webpage, description of the class is written as follows,
“The second year’s course in pharmacology introduces the student to the scientific basis for the use of certain drugs in medical practice and the essential principles of clinical pharmacology. Since it is impossible to learn about each of the several thousand prescription drugs currently available, the course concentrates on selected prototype drugs and general pharmacologic principles that govern the action of all drugs in the body.” [emphasis mine]
After these classes, the future medical provider’s education is in the clinical setting, or “learn as you go” and mandatory annual medical continuing education (CME); however, many states do not have mandatory specific pharmacology CME requirements. The number of CME hours required by state varies but averages only between 20-50 hours annually.
So having been on the inside as a nurse practitioner, as well as on the outside, I can see why benzo withdrawal sufferers go years without being diagnosed properly. Bottom line is that there is a lack of education. It is 100% impossible for any one doctor or provider to know the pharmacokinetics (for YOUR biochemical makeup) and the pharmacodynamics, potential interactions, and potential adverse reactions of every medication available and prescribed.
Where am I now? I have slowly eased back into working again. I could not physically or mentally help patients during the worst of my withdrawal, but now that more than two years have passed, I am ready. Since I am basically a new provider for the patients I see, I am not prescribing benzodiazepines; however, I am helping with weaning. I am hoping and praying that I am contributing to the increase in education of the ramifications of long-term prescribing and the necessity of a slow taper, as well as the reduction in prescribing in our medical offices.
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.
Great article, thanks. I’m also an NP, doing primary care within a mental health clinic. When I first started working here I had a patient who’d been started on clonazepam by a psychiatrist in another state 10 years prior when he was stressed and anxious due to family problems. He desperately wanted to get off, but his new psychiatrist (one of several at my clinic) offered no support and was unsympathetic and dismissive. The patient ended up committing suicide, and forever after I’ve understood what a huge problem benzo dependence is. I wish pharmacology classes spent as much time and energy teaching de-prescribing as they do teaching prescribing. Happy for you that you’ve managed to get off benzos (no thanks to your many prescribers); best wishes as you taper off your remaining meds.
Thanks for writing your story.
Another blog documenting the horrible “treatment” by psychiatry and mainstream medicine when it comes to DSM labels and the subsequent psychiatric drugging of people.
The author only answered the first part of the question as to why there is almost total ignorance in medicine when it comes to benzos. Her answer was “a lack of education.” True, but a more important question to ask AND answer is : WHY is there a lack of education???
Here we have to examine the entire corrupt history for the FDA approval of benzos that involves collusion, of a criminal nature, by psychiatry (APA) and Big Pharma. The author of this blog needs to read the books of Robert Whitaker and Peter Breggin. These books document a history revealing that the above mentioned institutions have all kinds of economic (profit levels) and political (power and control) reasons to keep people in the dark about the harm done by benzos, including the horrible withdrawal symptoms.
If the entire history of the worldwide benzo disaster were revealed, it would be the one of the biggest medical scandals in the last 100 years.
Why should our medicos know benzos are addictive? The detail people from the manufacturer aren’t going to tell practitioners that their companies are pushing addictive substances on them. The experimenter guys who publish sponsored journal articles aren’t going to tell anyone until patent protection ends for the drugs they’ve just reviewed. The sponsored journals aren’t going to tell anyone they’re pushing to. The only way you’d know, as a practitioner, is if you knew that all sedative-hypnotics are addictive by their very chemistry- and you’d draw heat if you publicly expressed this simple reality.
I think a lot of doctors “do know” but they’re not prepared to step “out of line.” It would also appear that inadequate medical performance is acceptable in this area.
The original handling of the Irish Cervical Smear Crisis would be a good example of unnecessary medical disrespect:-
I withdrew from strong psychotropic medication many many years ago. I was given permission to abruptly withdraw, and when I did I ended up in a state, and was classified as “relapsing”.
I got off this medication eventually through a careful taper. It had never initially occurred to the responsible Psychiatrist that tapering was the way to do it – but this would be ‘medical common sense’.
Psychiatrists refuse to knowledge the drugs they prescribe can mimic worsening “mental illness” and these toxic effects are intensified during a taper. They like to blame it on our “chemical imbalance” which they say needs treatment for the rest of our lives. I had no idea when I entered the psychiatrist office due to life stressors I would be poly drugged into oblivion. It took me years to taper off the numerous drugs with no help from the psychiatrist. Thank you for helping patients taper off of benzos.
I am a doctor, and I can tell you that doctors do know. They just like quick, easy, guaranteed monthly income. Psychiatry has never been about “treating illness”. It has always been about permanently managing society’s outliers. When it started to not have enough of these “patients”, it ventured into turning normal human experiences into “chronic mental illnesses”, and into dealing addictive drugs, in order to recoup its lost clientele.
The success of this business formula has been copied by “pain management” doctors, who also knowingly deal addictive drugs that turn transient pain into chronic/worsening pain, in order to create the permanently dependent customers which are their bread and butter. And the “hypothyroidism” you referred to is a similar way to produce eternal clients. Although levothyroxine isn’t physically addictive, if taken for too long, it causes the thyroid gland to “forget” how to make its own thyroid hormone, leaving the person dependent upon outside thyroid hormone. That’s why, when I went to medical school, we were taught not to rush in and treat abnormal thyroid levels unless they were very abnormal at several different visits, and accompanied by clear symptoms. That’s why thyroid hormone went from being a rarely prescribed to the most commonly prescribed drug. Before it became #1, vicoden was the most commonly prescribed drug for about ten years. For much of the ’80s it was xanax, and in the ’70s it was valium.
I also believe that many people (but not all) who go on benzodiazepines know they are physically addictive (just as many people who drink alcohol heavily know that it’s physically addictive), yet are willing to take the risk anyway. I don’t know the explanation for this, but it has something to do with American culture, since we lead the world in virtually every category of legal and illegal addictive drug use.
“I also believe that many people (but not all) who go on benzodiazepines know they are physically addictive (just as many people who drink alcohol heavily know that it’s physically addictive), yet are willing to take the risk anyway. ”
In the context of psychiatry, people are coerced and forced to take the benzo and all the other drugs, irrespective of what they know, and even if they do know, how many realise that they have to taper off very slowly using liquid titration ?
But yes, it does happen. The answer maybe found in the history art. Humans think they can make themselves more human than human. The ancient Greeks demonstrastrated this when they perfected sculpture (kritian boy) and then – bored with depicting reality – they proceeded to produce idealised ‘improved’ humans (riace bronzes).
Here we go with the victim blaming theme; and total ignorance regarding thyroid issues.
I’m not sure I have the energy to attemp a coherent rebuttal to “Dr.” K’s assertions here and my Internet device/connection tenuous…but a rebuttal is surely needed to this guy’s drivel.
I am not putting all of the responsibility on psychiatry’s voluntary customers, just some of it. How are people supposed to resist psychiatric enslavement unless they are encouraged to acknowledge their free will, and to take responsibility for their own choices/lives? Promoting this is how we can defeat psychiatry.
B-but… muh free will. Muh personal responsibility…
Humanbeing, I had a thyroid condition until I threw out the Lithium I wasn’t going to take voluntarily anyway. Apparently, the thyroid condition was an adverse effect of the Lithium I had been taking. The Synthroid I was taking for it was completely unnecessary after I got rid of the Lithium.
Geez, the things people would be learning if it wasn’t for the faith shrinks have in quick chemical fixes.
It’s that licit drug use that becomes so problematic here.
Autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease. An epidemic of it’s own.
No lithium taken: offered at one point while trying to find “the right combination” but I declined.
“The faith shrinks have in quick chemical fixes.”
And the faith the vast majority (still) has in the shrinks.
In defense of Dr. K, he did say “many (but not all).”
“I also believe that many people (but not all) who go on benzodiazepines know they are physically addictive (just as many people who drink alcohol heavily know that it’s physically addictive), yet are willing to take the risk anyway. I don’t know the explanation for this,”
I know one explanation. Bc calling it “addiction” or saying “people know they’re addictive” is the wrong terminology. I knew they were addictive, but I also knew I wasn’t abusing them, so falsely took comfort in that that was the only way they could cause me issues. I had no idea that taking them exactly as prescribed, daily by my psychiatrist, was actually putting me at THE MOST risk for physical dependence and a subsequent withdrawal syndrome.
You hear iatrogenically-ill benzo patients in the withdrawal support communities all the time saying, “my doctor told me they were addictive but said I would be safe taking them because I didn’t have an addictive personality”. See: http://w-bad.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/addiction.jpg
More ignorance which ultimately leads to harm; specifically patient harm. Part of providing the patient with TRULY informed consent is letting them know of this risk that occurs IN ABSENCE of addiction/abuse, simply by way of being a compliant patient.
Physical dependence and addiction are not synonymous. See: http://w-bad.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/druginsrt-addictionvdependence.jpg
I knew they were addictive, but I also knew I wasn’t abusing them, so falsely took comfort in that that was the only way they could cause me issues. I had no idea that taking them exactly as prescribed, daily by my psychiatrist, was actually putting me at THE MOST risk for physical dependence and a subsequent withdrawal syndrome.
You hear iatrogenically-ill benzo patients in the withdrawal support communities all the time saying, “my doctor told me they were addictive but said I would be safe taking them because I didn’t have an addictive personality”
This is exactly what happened to me.
Stayed on the lowest possible dose, thinking what a good patient I was, and every time I brought up my concerns about Klonopin being ‘addictive’ I was told (over and over by different ‘providers’ over a ten year period that “it’s such a small dose and you don’t have an addictive…”yadayadayada”). And then there’s the part where none of my ‘health care providers’ knew what tolerance withdrawal was/akathisia when I was crawling out of my skin during one rather stressful Thanksgiving.
I’d like to thank Rebecca for her contribution. I’m copying this blog post and handing it to my nurse practitioner next time (the last time?) I see her. I’m dealing right now, at the moment, with a health care ‘provider’ who is NOT LISTENING to what my concerns are regarding my ongoing PAWS/ID symptoms and instead, lowered my thyroid supplement (Armour) by 30% because she seems to think that’s the source of all my discomfort. (Those TSH test results are so damn accurate /s)…and the whole HPA axis dysfunction that plays into all that. Yes, Dr. K, I’m reveling in my Hashimoto’s autoimmune issue and becoming ‘dependent’ on my Armour…I need MORE…cuz I’m an addict. O! And she recommended via the lab tech who called with the happy news, over the counter lithium!!!
What I would love to find is a functional medicine doc *that I can AFFORD* who could help me figure out what is going on with my adrenals…even the drug insert for Armour mentions fixing adrenal deficiency before addressing the Hashis. But straight medicine doesn’t “believe” in adrenal insufficiency. I know; huh??
I tell ya, ya get a real education sleuthing this shit out. And *everyone* needs to do it when dealing with ‘modern medicine.’
Yeah, WHY don’t the doctors know??? Hard for me to believe that doctors DO know…but then they go to great lengths to distance themselves from the damages they cause, cognitive dissonance and all.
In nursing school we had exactly one semester of pharmacology. So many drugs…so much ignorance.
I also believe that many people (but not all) who go on benzodiazepines know they are physically addictive (just as many people who drink alcohol heavily know that it’s physically addictive), yet are willing to take the risk anyway. I don’t know the explanation for this
Haha… Yeah – it’s a complete mystery why patients think a medication is safe when a doctor has explicitly told them that it is safe.
Dr. Kelmenson – Having experienced severe withdrawal effects getting off klonopin ( from being prescribed a benzo then left on it at the hands of psychiatry), I am well aware of this class of drugs and its risks. However, having also been prescribed lithium (off it as well now) and then never monitored for its effect on the thyroid, I later -once wised up- learned from an endocrinologist that the lithium had made relative mincemeat of my thyroid. I now see an endocrinologist regularly for the medication given me for hypothyroidism. By what evidence would you say this might be the wrong course for me? I am gratefully and happily off the psych. drugs I never needed in the first place, but left with this remnant of that unnecessary treatment – a small price to pay, really, considering the alternatives.
I did not mean that medication for hypothyroidism is wrong for you. If lithium permanently damaged your thyroid gland, resulting in your inability to produce enough thyroid hormone, then of course you need it. I was referring to how lately tens of millions of Americans are being quickly put on synthroid based only on an abnormal thyroid hormone level, often without a clear workup and definitive discovery of some underlying source of permanent damage to their thyroid gland as was found for you. I also believe that the threshold for what’s considered hypothyroid was changed in 2002, resulting in more people being considered hypothyroid. But I am not an expert in this area.
I resent the implication that those of us who have been prescribed benzodiazepines knew that they were addictive. I was a sheltered, 21-year-old, Mormon girl when I was first prescribed clonazepam. I didn’t know the first thing about benzodiazepines, let alone that they were addictive. I didn’t know anyone who used them. My only mistake was trusting a doctor. When I tapered off clonazepam, I had horrific symptoms. I lived in a state of constant terror, with repellent intrusive thoughts. I had to start taking it again. Now, years later, I’m slowly tapering off valium. I hope to God it’s not as bad as quitting clonazepam. But I can’t live in benzo-induced stupor anymore, so I’m taking that chance. If I’d known what I was getting into, I wouldn’t have taken clonazepam in the first place. Sure, it helped the anxiety at first, but at what cost?
No educational excuses for these people, they damn well know ! but are so protected, they get away with it.
The serious questions – in view of the fact, that at least in the UK, there is no complaint route that is independent that actually works for the patient. Based on my experience they, the Health Trusts investigate themselves so any complaint goes to the very people you are complaining about and they can lie, can and do get away with it and make you wait a long long time, in my case a year and counting for any reply – that are not being asked :
1. How are these people going to be stopped.
2. How are these people going to be made responsible for the terrible horrendous harm of benzo withdrawal toxic psychosis/akathisia and the subsequent suicides/homicides, custodial sentence?
3. How are people going to be financially compensated for this harm outside of the lawyer/court game and all the fear, anxiety, stress of that.
Thanks for your article. It was most clear and succinct.
Also, this “lack of education” explanation might fly for a primary care doc, but it’s no excuse for a psychiatrist. That is literally WHY there are specialities in medicine, so doctors can become more proficient in one system and the drugs used in that speciality. I’d expect my cardiologist to know a hell of a lot more about my heart than my orthopedist. Besides, all psychiatrists know how to do is Rx psych meds. So, they should know that benzodiazepines cause prescribed physical dependence (when given past 2-4 weeks, and sometimes even sooner) and withdrawal syndromes. And they should certainly also know how to get people off the drugs they prescribe. But they don’t (with the rare exception, of course).
It reminds me of those memes: “You had ONE job” (and still managed to f*ck it up)
my experience with psychiatrists has been that they knowingly create addiction in their patients. I imagine a lot of it is about income. I also think (honestly…) a lot of psychiatrists use it as a power chip. A misbehaving patient finds her xanax reduced sharply, for instance. And of course…its -psychiatry-, so when things go wrong, its always that patient’s fault, somehow.
My experience with family doctors has been that they’re cautious about benzodiazepines, a bit too liberal with the stimulants. Of course, now I don’t take or want either one, but…I do find it interesting that amphetamines are Schedule II, but stopping an amphetamine is relatively simple, whereas the benzodiazepines are Schedule IV, but stopping a Mother’s Little Helper can sometimes prove fatal. What’s that about?
My comment removed from the guardian:
Psychiatrists, the fraudulent drugs and methods they use can’t help anybody. There is no real oversight nor regulation. It needs to be abolished and we need to start again. Far too many people have died.
“On September 23rd 2014, 43-year-old Rubina Khan held her 10-year-old son Amaar as they clambered down from the platform on to the tracks at Slough Station (top), and lay down with him before they were struck by a London-bound train.
More than 3½ years later, their inquests took place over two days this week at Reading Town Hall”
People from the South Asian communities are even more likely to suffer drug toxicity akathisia/toxic psychosis because their cultural cuisine contains the very spices and herbs that inhibit the drug metabolising enzymes. Also recall reading Prof Heather Ashton’s benzo manual on a CYP 2D6 (important drug metabolising enzyme) genetic problem common to SA communities. Meaning that their communities are likely poor metabolisers of benzodiazepines.
Loved this article…. Psychiatric Enslavement, pretty much says it all. Those little tiny pills of Xanax, .5 mg, looks so harmless. What person can guess that they pack quite a punch, including inter dose dependency, seizures and easy OD’s, when mixed with Opiates or alcohol. Most people get them from their PCP, not a psychiatrist, who knows even less about psych meds than the psychiatrist. Because most of these meds are approved with fraudulent data submitted to the FDA.. In the cattle drive that managed care has become, theres no time to consider anything but writing that prescription. Maybe that’s why medical mistakes are the third leading cause of deaths in the USA, likely more since so much is covered up. Then of course the Insurers, are more concerned with increasing their profits so they slam dunk it all.
Benzos are HORRIBLE but SSRIs deserve second place in Most Addictive Drug Class. Came off abilify in 10 weeks with just a few headaches, insomnia, and disorientation. Took me 13 months to taper off Effexor. So sick my Mom worried I might need a “group living” situation. I urged her to wait; I knew it would end. Still puny after 9 months living drug free.
Oh thank you for sharing your story Rebecca, I’d like to share mine too here, because i’ve been in the same shoes for the last almost 4 years. i’ve been going through a terrible withdrawal from benzos for 10 months now, and I’m so mad at the doctor who initially prescribed it for me, but most of all I’m mad at myself. I’m a nurse, and i should have known about the ‘consequences’ of taking benzos, but I thought ” oh well it’s going to be a couple of months of depression and anxiety’ once I get off, and I needed to get my life back on track after a divorce, plus my job was very stressful at the time, so I went to the doctor because I was having issues with anxiety, and I was started on clonazepam 0.5 mg bid right away.
Before I knew it, it was already 2 years of me taking clonazepam and instead of making me feel better, the drug itself was causing lots and lots of side effects including stomack problems, increased anxiety, heart palpitations, my blood tests starting coming back abnormal, all of a sudden I was pre-diabetic, so from being a generally very healthy person at the age of 39, I went to having all these health problems. I also started having insomnia, and even problems with alcohol where I would have a drink and then not even remember having another 5, nobody in my family has ever had any problems with alcohol, so I started reading online and came across this great website called ‘ benzobuddies’ where thousands of people daily share their awful experiences with benzo withdrawal. It was then only that I realized that it was the drug itself that was causing all the issues. At the same time my doctor was intending to put me on a higher dose of it, stating that it was anxiety that was causing me to have all these issues.
I didn’t listen to him and I tapered off of clonazepam over the course of the next year( it took me a year because it was so hard to deal with all the symptoms). It’s been 10 months since I’ve been completely off it and I just want all the providers/doctors out there to know this and to NEVER prescribe benzos to their patients for mild anxiety which was my case.
I went from being a straight A-student who graduated from 2 colleges with honors, and a very bright person in general, somebody who loved people and enjoyed going out and doing things to somebody who’s now been home-bound for the last 10 months, I had to quit my job, broke up with my partner of 5 years, moved in with my parents, completely isolated myself from the rest of the world, and have been doing everything out there possible to heal, but the symtoms are still not subsiding: the worst ones of them for me right now are depersonalization and derealization ( where I feel all the time that everything around me is completely unreal and i’m not myself), extreme confusion( cogfog), agarophobia, paranoia, insomnia..etc.. etc.. these are only the most troubling mental symtoms which I have never had in my whole life. I won’t even start to list all the physical symtoms.
At the same time I’ve been living the healthiest lifestyle for the last 2 years since I found out what was causing all the issues: i exercise every single day, I go to the swimming pool now twice a week( because it really helps with anxiety and joint pain), I’ve been eating fruits and vegetables in large quantities and am trying to eat a low carb diet, because high carbs affects your levels of glutamate in the system. I’m journalling every day, I’ve cut out all alcohol for the last two years and all caffeine, and I’m feeling a lot better compared to the first several months, but i’m still having all these debilitating symtoms and have no idea when I’ll be able to return to work and to get my life back on track.
I’ve stopped seeing all doctors who only know to prescribe more pills and because of course all my tests are absolutely normal, so if it wasn’t for the benzobuddies.org which i try not to go on every single day, because distraction is another thing I found very helpful, but whenever I’m in crisis I turn to them, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the last 10 months without its help.
So I’m just writing this in Appeal! to all the medical professionals out there, Please, Please be very careful when putting people on these medications.. I had no idea the withdrawal could be so debilitating and difficult.. I never used to be a religious person, but now I am cause faith seems to help too.. Thanks again Rebecca for sharing your story, and I hope sharing mine helps somebody who is out there. If I was a little less confused I’d be really out there advocating against these drugs, but I just haven’t really been able to do much here.
Drs Don’t know because it’s a job to them and they honestly could care less. I mean psychiatrists usually get into psychiatry to fix themselves. So unless u happen to get one who’s had panic disorder then you’re kind of screwed. And from my own personal experience most Drs think they know more than everyone else about everything .. at least everything in their field. So it’s hard for them to see any new view on anything they’ve been taught especially with an intestinal blockage comprised of their head. And if anyone is reading this seeking help with this issue, for the love of God if you have ever done any kind of drug recreationally even just once NEVER tell any Dr EVER. You’ll be branded for life. I’m 35 and did recreational drugs when I was 15-19 and haven’t touched one since but am still to this day given Advil for broken bones and Benadryl equivalents for severe panic disorder I’ve had for the last 15 years. I’ve been self medicating with 2mg of Xanax daily for the last 12 years and function perfectly. Before that I was a basket case who couldnt form sentences after 4 straight days of panic attacks. Doctors would rather throw medicine at you then listen to a word you have to say. Don’t believe me? I had stomach problems for 18 years and had Kaiser the entire time and saw the emergency room no less than 100 times. Guess how many times I was ask about my diet or even what I ate that day? 0. End of story