Tuesday, May 24, 2022

How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?

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After long-term use, most people are going to have serious symptoms when stopping SSRIs. Many people are going to have transient, mild to moderate difficulty and some are going to end up falling down the akathisia rabbit hole. That is a long, difficult drop.

Three Suicides: Honoring Lives Lost to Benzodiazepines

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I am still trying to reconcile what these chemicals are capable of, how the urge can morph into an action, how we maybe just don’t understand suicide all that well. For me, the suffering was so intense it was too painful to stay alive. I understand how my friends felt in their last moments.
doctor

Benzo Withdrawal: Why Don’t Doctors Know?

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Many have asked: “Why doesn’t my doctor/provider know what is happening to me?” Benzodiazepine tolerance and withdrawal are not new. 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.

Benzos: A Dance With the Devil

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Beginning with the glamorization of Miltown in the 1950’s, the “I don’t care” pill was a way to ease the growing awareness that the world is indeed unsafe, and that something is deeply bankrupt in the promises of burgeoning science, technology, and industrialization. Still, we sought to heal these wounds through application of more of the same mentality – one of dominance, management, and suppression of all obstacles into submission. As our bodies, minds, and spirits become more and more separated from nature, each other, and ourselves, the worry, discomfort, and unease mount. Now that the going has gotten very tough, we are reaching for medications more than ever. Surely, however, turning off the smoke alarm is not the best way to deal with a fire.

Is Long-term Use of Benzodiazepines a Risk for Cancer?

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A large study of the population in Taiwan reveals that long-term use of benzodiazepine drugs, commonly prescribed for anxiety, significantly increases the risk for brain, colorectal, and lung cancers. The research, published open-access in the journal Medicine, also identifies the types of benzodiazepines that carry the greatest cancer risk.

Setbacks

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Oddly enough, it had occurred to me over this past year as I’ve been writing these essays for Mad in America that maybe I was “too healthy” to speak to the withdrawal experience with authenticity, to have street cred. It’s now a moot point. I write this not to scare people, but to present a reality. This reality has been difficult to accept, but the fact remains that my nervous system is more sensitive than before and might always be so, at least to some degree.

Matt Samet: Climbing Out of Benzo Madness

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Rock climber, author, and MIA Blogger Matt Samet discusses his experience becoming addicted to, and subsequently coming off of, benzodiazepines.

Tapering Strips for Benzodiazepines

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One size fits all does not work. It is not possible to use the same tapering schedule for all patients who wish to stop with a certain drug. Therefore we had to come up with a flexible solution that was both practical and allowed doctors and patients to make the choice they deemed appropriate.

The Gauntlet of Protracted Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

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My doctor insisted that my symptoms could not be associated with withdrawal – they had to be symptoms of an underlying condition. I have since learned from legitimate sources that protracted withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines can intensify long before it abates, with some symptoms lasting for years.

Still Mistreating the Elderly with Psychiatric Drugs: Benzodiazepines

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Despite safety concerns, a new study reveals that there has been no change in the use of benzodiazepines in the elderly from 2001 to 2010.

Duty to Warn – 14 Lies That Our Psychiatry Professors in Medical School Taught...

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Revealing the false information provided about psychiatry should cause any thinking person, patient, thought-leader or politician to wonder: “how many otherwise normal or potentially curable people over the last half century of psych drug propaganda have actually been mis-labeled as mentally ill (and then mis-treated) and sent down the convoluted path of therapeutic misadventures – heading toward oblivion?”

Benzodiazepines Linked to Treatment Resistant Depression

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Prior use of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Librium, or Ativan, may increase the risk of treatment-resistant depression (TRD), according to a new study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

Bridging the Benzo Divide: Iatrogenic Dependence and/or Addiction?

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As the benzodiazepine crisis spreads throughout the United States and other parts of the world, so does the debate within the benzo victim/survivor community. We know that it can be terribly invalidating to label and treat a person as a “drug addict” who is only physically dependent on benzos — and taking these drugs exactly as prescribed by a doctor. However, it can be equally invalidating to deny that “iatrogenic benzo dependence” intersects in multiple ways in the lives of people struggling with “addiction.” People will ALSO SUFFER when yanked off of their benzos, or forced into similar rapid tapers when a doctor becomes aware of their addiction history. 

The FDA’s Latest Black Box Warning: Don’t Mix Opioids, Benzos

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday mandated updated labels for nearly 400 opioids and benzodiazepines, following a review of scientific evidence and a citizen...
integrative mental health

8 Years of Mental Health Research Distilled to 4 Infographics

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Pictures are worth a thousand words. So I’ve chosen pictures to distill the mountain of mental health research I’ve examined over the last eight years. Three infographics summarize research on psychiatric drugs, and one asserts why I think Integrative Mental Health is the best path available for mental health recovery.

Cognitive Impairment from Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use Remains Even After Drug Withdrawal

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Long-term benzodiazepine use shown to effect cognitive function during current use and for years after drug discontinuation.

Don’t Harm Them Twice: When the Language Surrounding Benzodiazepines Adds Insult to Injury (Part...

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Language is important. And when language dictates specific treatment protocols, it should be used with extreme scrutiny. Using the wrong words can put vulnerable people at risk—not only to their sense of self-worth, their sense of self-knowledge, and they way they are treated, but also to their health.

On Pharma, Corruption, and Psychiatric Drugs

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"My studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion: Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good." - Peter Gøtzsche, MD; Co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration

On the Other Side

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It was the first time in my Klonopin journey it occurred to me the problem might not be inherent in me. The problem might actually be the Klonopin. Convinced my very life was at stake, I made the firm decision to get off the stuff once and for all.

Researchers Address Dangers of Polypharmacy and Inappropriate Medication Use

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A new special issue brings together articles exploring the harmful effects of simultaneous multiple medication use.

Update: Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill Hearing

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The hearing for Bill H4062: Informed Consent for Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepine Hypnotics took place on Monday – in the middle of an April snowstorm! The discussion clarified some important points in the legislation and gave survivors an opportunity to tell their stories. I was so proud to be there and witness the courage, camaraderie, resilience, advocacy, and vulnerability of fellow survivors. This legislation is our chance to be heard. As one survivor said, through tears, to the committee, “Do not let my suffering be in vain. I beg you to pass this bill.”

Is Xanax Really the Bad Guy?

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While any effort to generate awareness and potentially curb the benzodiazepine epidemic is commendable, we have to ask ourselves, is Xanax just the scapegoat in this situation? Will legislative action and media attention for only one benzodiazepine out of so many make any difference?

Major Risks from Drug Interactions in Common Psychiatric Polypharmacy

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It is very common for psychiatric patients, especially those diagnosed with schizophrenia, to be prescribed two or more psychiatric medications at once, and this...

“Benzo Blue”: a Song of Protest and a Search for Liberation

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In commemoration of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day coming on July 11th, I am providing an early first time debut at Mad in America of a new song and music video titled “Benzo Blue,” along with a brief commentary on the evolution and significance of this song.

Withdrawal Symptoms Routinely Confound Findings of Psychiatric Drug Studies

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Researchers examine how rapid discontinuation can mimic the relapse of mental health symptoms and confound psychiatric drug studies.

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