Bad Benzos: Cass Narburgh’s Parting Message to the World

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From Bad Benzos: “I have Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome (BWS) which is not withdrawal at all but rather a brain injury caused by benzodiazepine prescription medication. I took this medication as prescribed by my doctors, never abused it and was never warned about the dangers. Over time benzodiazepines (benzos) damage GABA receptors throughout every part of the brain causing every system in the brain and body to become disabled. The GABA system is the body/brain’s brake pedal. It tells each thing in the body when to slow down or stop. The glutamate system is the gas pedal signaling things to activate, rev up and go. With the GABA system disabled, everything is stuck in the on position with no brakes. It’s difficult to regain balance without a brake pedal and leaves every body part, every system, every tissue, every organ in a disabled state. The more time that passes without repair, the more fatigued and broken down everything becomes. There isn’t one part of my body that was unaffected by this brain injury…

Dear scientists: Please come up with a better term for BWS. Doctors hear the word ‘withdrawal’ and can only think of the short period when the body struggles to overcome the physical dependence from a drug. It does not adequately describe the lasting brain injury that benzos inflict. Even within the community of BWS sufferers, most people use addiction language to describe what’s happening to them which is part of the problem when trying to educate the medical community. It needs to be called out in plain language for what it is: a brain injury. Please educate yourselves, the medical community and the general public about the devastating effects of benzodiazepines. The only way to prevent this from happening to others is to raise enough awareness that doctors will drastically change the way these medications are prescribed or stop prescribing them altogether…

I tried very hard to find medical help or anything else that might turn my health around and heal my brain or at least ease my suffering to a more tolerable level. Everything I tried only amplified my suffering. Everything I’ve learned about this condition happened well after my last dose of medication and sadly none of it came from my doctors. It’s beyond cruel that doctors did this to me and then offer no acknowledgment or help in the aftermath…

…Each symptom alone would be challenging to deal with, but together, they create a symphony of suffering that is difficult to describe sufficiently. I’ve talked to many other BWS sufferers who also had cancer, or been through recovery from heroin or opioids, and they all agree BWS is far worse than any of that. The suffering is incredibly intense and complete. It has destroyed every aspect of my life, mind body and spirit. It has stolen my health, my ability to care for myself, my connections with others, my dignity and all quality of life.”

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