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.

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.

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.
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.

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.
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.

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?”

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.

There’s No Duct Tape for Benzo Withdrawal

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It’s stunning what a quarter milligram of a benzodiazepine can do to the body. I’ve been detoxing off a high dose of benzodiazepines since September of 2011. The first few months were a failure. But this past May, I found my expert and thought I had the formula. Things were going well for detoxing off a substance many deem more addictive that heroin. That is, I realized, until they weren’t.

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.

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.

SSRIs and Benzodiazepines Associated with Problems in Infants

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Infants exposed to SSRIs and benzodiazepines during pregnancy show impaired neurologic functioning in the first month after birth, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. While infants exposed SSRIs alone showed neurobehavioral effects throughout the first month, those exposed to an SSRI and a benzodiazepine had more significant problems.

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.

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...

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.

The Reckoning in Psychiatry Over Protracted Antidepressant Withdrawal

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Medically-induced harm—affecting tens of millions of people worldwide—has taken the field decades to take seriously.

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

Social Vacuum

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I remember the feeling, one of not exactly isolation but otherness. A sense that not only did I not fit in many places where I used to, but also that I lacked the energy to even try — to, like an actor, wear the skin of the old me for an hour or even a few minutes so that others would not feel uncomfortable in my quivering and clearly perturbed presence.

PTSD in Withdrawal

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Can withdrawal from psychiatric drugging be so terrible as to leave you with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — to somehow rearrange your psyche for the worse even once time and hard work have undone the damage caused by the chemicals? To so profoundly alter your core self that you acquire a new diagnosis meriting special considerations or further treatment in order to resume a normal life again? If the real definition of insanity is “repeating the same mistake over and over and expecting a different result,” then embracing a psychiatric diagnosis of PTSD as a result of psychiatric damage would surely make you “insane”.

Deafening Silence: What Happens When the Whistle Blows and Nobody Hears?

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September 11th 2015 was my last day working as a counselor/therapist in the U.S. community mental health system. After 22 years working within that system I resigned out of protest having waged a concerted effort (2½ years) to challenge potentially dangerous psychiatric drug prescribing patterns at my workplace. In late April of this year these challenges led to the filing of a major complaint with the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health and eventually the Dept. of Public Health. I never expected to discover just HOW unprepared, dysfunctional, and totally oblivious the entire state bureaucracy is when it involves any serious complaints detailing possible abuses and harm being done to its citizens by a branch of medicine called Psychiatry. Just how broken is "Broken"?

German Psychologists Declare “the Drugs Don’t Work”

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Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, both well-known psychologists at the University of Bochum in Germany, claim that psychotropic drugs are no solution to mental...

Government Calls US Benzodiazepine Prescription Levels “Worrisome”

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Despite the well-known risks of the drugs, especially for the elderly, prescription use of addictive benzodiazepine sedatives in the United States increases steadily with age, according to a large-scale study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Overall, as of 2008, 5.2% of American adults were taking the drugs. The study also showed that women were twice as likely to be taking benzodiazepines as men. National Institute of Mental Health director Thomas Insel called the findings "worrisome."

Killer Brain Candy: One Woman’s Odyssey Through Benzodiazepine Addiction and Withdrawal or How Chicken...

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I have almost four months to go until I am done with the little pills. After that, I’m told it will take two to nine months until my brain will regulate, until I will be able to eat normally, to stand without shivering, to hold my children without fear of falling. I will make it. But I am here to state the obvious: Benzodiazepines are dangerous. We need more research. We need to know that an invisible epidemic is in our midst and there is much that can be done.

Call To Action: Massachusetts Bill H4062 for Informed Benzodiazepine Use is Official

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On February 24th, 2016 Bill HD4554 - An Act relative to benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was filed by Representative Paul McMurtry in the Massachusetts State House. The bill received 47 co-sponsors during the seven-day open period in which legislators can co-sponsor. This is an impressive and promising turnout.