Psychiatric Drug Ads Lead to More Prescriptions and Worse Treatment

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A new analysis published in the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry investigates the public health effects of direct-to-consumer advertisements for psychiatric drugs. The researchers...

Benzodiazepines Co-operation Not Confrontation (BCNC)

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BCNC is a website aimed at helping people reduce from benzodiazepines. It includes links, book reviews, support groups, and other information.

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.

One Gutsy Woman

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The childhood and psychiatric abuse altered my neurological, hormonal and other bodily functions and it was difficult to say which abuse left what mark. The doctors used medication to fix the changes and the taking of prescription pills became a habit. I took pills to calm me, pills to sleep, and pills to make me happy. A few months after stopping all medications, I was a bundle of nerves and I opened the cupboard for a pill. Living on autopilot as I had been doing for so long had to stop. I switched gears from absentmindedly resorting to pills, to purposefully calming myself without using drugs by breathing the way the psychologist had taught me.

Benzodiazepine Use Linked to Dementia and Memory Loss

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A recent review of the research found that benzodiazepine use may have long-term effects on memory and increase the risk for dementia. The study,...

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.

Existential Therapy Assists Patients Withdrawing From Psychiatric Drugs

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Confronting existential anxiety through “Basal Exposure Therapy” shows promising results in people withdrawing from psychotropic drugs.

Why More American Teens Than Ever Suffer From Severe Anxiety

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In this piece for The New York Times, Benoit Denizet-Lewis explores the social, cultural, and economic factors that have contributed to the significant rise in...

Benzo Drugs, UK Fudge, Cover Up and Consequences

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In 1980, the British Medical Journal published a “Systematic Review of the Benzodiazepines” by the Committee on the Review of Medicines. The committee denied the addictive potential of Benzodiazepines and limited their suggestions to short term use. The results have been devastating.

Differentiation of SSRI and Benzo Dependence/Withdrawal “Not Rational”

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Researchers from the Cochrane Center and University of Copenhagen in Denmark, publishing in the May issue of Addiction, "explore the rationale for claiming that...

The Unmedicated Life

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It has been 7.5 years since I got off benzos, the drug that damaged me the most, and 6.75 years off all meds; the final medicine I tapered was a tricyclic antidepressant, nortriptyline, in autumn 2006. Since that time, I have not taken another psychoactive medicine, nor have I had any desire to. Neither have I sought out therapy or the like. Personally, I’m sick of labels, sick of the industry, sick of talking about my “problems,” sick of navel-gazing, and would just rather live.

Discontinuing Psychotropics Reduces Falls in Elderly

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Australian researchers look at the literature on the effect of psychotropics on falls in the elderly; largest effect of any randomized trial was achieved...

We Have Seen the Evidence Base, and it is Us

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Anyone who has used benzodiazepines and sleeping pills knows how difficult it is to get off them (worse than heroin!) and how much time it takes to recover. Although there is a lot more helpful information on the web these days, a lot of it is based on anecdotal accounts, personal stories and theories rather than “real” evidence.

In Case You Missed This

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On November 12th, 2015, the third anniversary of the day that I abruptly stopped taking benzodiazepines, my dear friend, J. Doe, published a two-part article here on Mad in America examining the language that is commonly used to describe benzodiazepine (benzo) iatrogenesis. I wanted a summary of these articles captured in a Youtube video so that those in the thick of benzo neurotoxicity could tune into these ideas in a way that might be more easily digestible. I hoped more benzo sufferers would begin to question how they describe (and allow others to describe) an illness that remains decades behind in understanding and recognition. I also wanted to draw attention to the content again in hopes that more medical professionals would read and understand the crucial distinctions in language surrounding this problem.

Death Grip: Then and Now

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From what I’ve learned, it seems that the minute you walk into a psychiatrist’s office or have the misfortune to be locked up on a ward is the minute you’re given a diagnosis and medication(s), and perhaps even electroshock. There is no “normal”; “normal” is not allowed. You have a “lifelong disorder” of whatever ilk, and it must always be medicated. This is the paradigm.

The Female Subject in Psychiatry From Pathology to Prozac

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In this piece for The New Inquiry, Sophie Putka chronicles the mental health profession's long history of pathologizing, diagnosing, and medicating women's emotions. "With Freud’s claims...

Benzodiazepines: Disempowering and Dangerous

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I recently read an article by Fredric Neuman, MD, titled The Use of the Minor Tranquilizers: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium.  Dr. Neuman opens by telling us that benzodiazepines are "Very commonly prescribed for any sort of discomfort . . . They are called anxiolytics, and they are prescribed for any level of anxiety and more or less to anyone who asks for them." Dr. Neuman has been working at the Anxiety and Phobia Center for 41 years, first as Associate Director and then as Director. So when he says that benzos are routinely given to "anyone who asks for them," it's probably safe to say that he's being accurate.

Pushing for an Informed Consent Benzo Bill in Texas

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Dr. Raymond Armstrong and I are currently working together to push Texas lawmakers to adopt restrictions on the prescription of benzodiazepines and sleep drugs. We feel fortunate to be able to draw from the experience of the benzo movement in Massachusetts, and we are grateful for the information that long time advocates like Geraldine Burns have provided us.

How Many Pills are too Many?

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From The New York Times: Overprescription is becoming an increasingly prevalent public health issue, especially for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. "Though studies have found...

Call to Action: Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill is Going to Committee

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The Massachusetts Benzo Bill H4062: Informed consent for benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was just scheduled to be heard by the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse on Monday, April 4th. Less than a week away! The committee will decide whether the bill moves forward to the house and senate, goes to study, or is denied.

Evidence Strengthening that Common Benzodiazepine Sedatives May Cause Dementia

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A meta-analysis of studies found that the risk of dementia increased 22% for every additional twenty daily doses of benzodiazepine medications annually.

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.

Little Victories on Breezy

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In my most recent blog post, “The Unmedicated Life”, I attempted to answer a question I’m frequently asked by other survivors — “How did you get better from psychiatric medication damage/withdrawal?” But there is also a part two to the question that I didn’t address, which is, “How did you know when you were better?”

Benzodiazepine Use and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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If a person in mid-life is feeling anxious, or depressed, or can't sleep? No problem. No need to figure out the source of these concerns. No need to work towards solutions in the old time-honored way of our ancestors. Today, psychiatrists have pills. Pop a benzo! And by the way, you'll have a 40% increased risk of Alzheimer's Disease in your late sixties.
hope for benzodiazepine withdrawal

My Ativan Affair and the Aftermath

My sincere message to those whose vitality and lives have been sapped and zapped by this iatrogenic dis-order: most of us DO recover! And even if it is not without some benzo remnants lodged in our cellular memory, what we learn about our own resilience will guide us to places in our lives we didn't expect to reach. HOPE was my key through the arduous path of withdrawal and recovery.