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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
There is mounting evidence that benzodiazepines are causing Alzheimer's Disease. I cannot imagine any genuine medical specialty ignoring or downplaying information of this sort. But psychiatry, with the perennial defensiveness of those with something to hide, promotes the idea that they are safe when used for short periods, knowing full well that a huge percentage of users become "hooked" after a week or two, and stay on the drugs indefinitely.
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.
About 9% fewer Americans are using prescription opioids than were five years ago, but those people are taking more of the drugs for longer periods of time, according to a study by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts reported in FiercePharma. And nearly one-third are being put in serious risk of overdose death by taking the opioids alongside prescriptions for benzodiazepine sedatives, stated the New York Times.
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.
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”.
Long-term benzodiazepine use shown to effect cognitive function during current use and for years after drug discontinuation.
A new special issue brings together articles exploring the harmful effects of simultaneous multiple medication use.
It is the deadly cocktail of benzodiazepines and opiates that is most responsible for the rising rate of opiate overdose deaths... and benzos may actually be THE decisive deadly component in the lethal drug combination. Yes, fentanyl and propofol can be dangerous drugs, but to focus the main attention in this crisis on these rarely used drugs is deliberately misleading...This minimizes the critical role of benzos and rather conveniently lets certain institutions and their leaders off the hook as the main suspects in such a vast number of cases that should be labeled as crimes of negligent homicide.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
"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
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...
Rock climber, author, and MIA Blogger Matt Samet discusses his experience becoming addicted to, and subsequently coming off of, benzodiazepines.
In this piece for New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan traces the history of the use of opiates in the U.S. and explores the social, economic,...
Killer Brain Candy: One Woman’s Odyssey Through Benzodiazepine Addiction and Withdrawal or How Chicken...
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.
On October 23, the New York Times ran a very nice feature story about a Los Angeles woman, Keris Myrick, who, even though she...