Saturday, September 18, 2021

Comments by YvonnePaige

Showing 3 of 3 comments.

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond. I actually read every word of your article, but with discernment… the overt and the covert. All I can say is: To anyone reading this article who may be involved in policy and procedure decisions that could affect people iatrogenically dependent on benzodiazepines, please, please, read the comments – specifically those from Barry Haslam and Jane Doe. They are relevant and extremely important. I have nothing more to say.

  • Thank you for writing this article. The author makes some valid points, in particular, the need for recognition of the group of people prescribed benzodiazepines who are dealing with addiction related issues. What bothers me is that what he seems to be also saying is that Jane Doe and anyone advocating for recognition of “Ashton Syndrome” have no right to do so. That by asking for the needs of this specific group (people iatrogenically dependent without addiction issues or whatever term anyone chooses to use) to be met, implies a lack of consideration for those iatrogenically dependent with addiction issues.

    It is surprising to hear you challenge the voice of an unsupported and misunderstood group of people, on such an urgent matter that will positively impact their lives. This article perpetuates the very problem created by proponents of the Disease-based medical model who have used said arguments to avoid accountability and provision of services.

    This attitude has created devastating problems for people with no history of addiction – a significant number of whom, like myself, were prescribed benzodiazepines for medical conditions such as chronic pain, neurological movement disorders, menopausal symptoms, migraine headaches, etc. people with no psychological issues or addiction issues, who have not been able to get appropriate care.

    This article gives the impression those who are both iatrogenically dependent AND addicted are not acknowledged and at the same time is asking for those who ARE iatrogenically dependent to be disregarded.
    I wholeheartedly concur that someone who is both iatrogenically dependent and addicted is entitled to the same level and quality of care given to those with no addiction issues. The reality is that there are far more services available for people with BOTH issues but little to none for those without addiction issues. As you must be aware, there are differences in treatment approaches to both groups (although safe tapers and appropriate and adequate aftercare apply to both). In addition, many within the withdrawal community have reported not being able to access services unless there was an illicit drug use or other addiction problem. This is the reason Jane Doe’s article is so important and invaluable to us.

    You refer to a “gap” within the benzodiazepine community. The online groups are very supportive of every one affected by withdrawal, regardless of motivation or reason for taking the drug. Support groups and organizations do not turn away someone discontinuing a benzo because of a history of addiction and they do not identify members in terms of having addiction issues or not. I don’t know how this concept evolved but it may have to do with the misinterpretation of the requests of the “iatrogenic without addiction issues” group.

    It is common knowledge that there are many people prescribed benzodiazepines who are affected by withdrawal and are also addicted to illicit drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. Many of them are actually quite open about their drug-taking history and they can afford to be this way because the withdrawal community accepts and supports them. I don’t know how the notion of this “gap” came about but as someone who has worked in this community for more than a decade, I have yet to see the divide you refer to or any stigmatization of people who have a history of addiction. Both groups are stigmatized and I speak from experience. Asking for recognition of “Ashton Syndrome” does not indicate division. It does not mean that one group perceives itself to be “better” or more mentally balanced than the other. It simply means that there is an urgent need for acknowledgement of this syndrome in order for there to be accountability and provision of best care.

    It should not be a problem that people in prescribed withdrawal without a history of addiction are asking that “Ashton Syndrome” be acknowledged.

    It should not be an issue that someone who has anxiety or a medical issue, when given a drug taken as prescribed, who broaches and initiates tapering off the drug with his or her doctor, chooses not to be labelled an addict or substance misuser.

    The difference being able to get a disability benefit due to “Ashton Syndrome” will make to someone who has lost a home, who has become bankrupt due to an inability to work as a result of severe physical and psychological symptoms will be monumental.

    You wrote: “On one level, when considering all the cultural prejudices against people with addictions, it is understandable how some strictly benzo dependent people might arrive at some of their conclusions about the need for distance from all things addiction-related.”

    I think the point has been missed here: There is no need for distance from all things addiction-related, except in avoiding inappropriate care. Addiction related issues such as relapsing, cravings, etc. are irrelevant. No, people in the withdrawal community without addiction issues do not want to be distanced. There is no “us” and “them” ethos. They simply want to be acknowledged and cared for adequately and appropriately. And their wanting this does not mean they think people with addictions issues are not entitled to the same.

    How can we justify concluding that one group’s pleas for recognition implies a lack of acknowledgement of the existence and needs of another group? This article could have simply advocated for the needs of those iatrogenically dependent on prescribed benzodiazepines WITH addiction issues, without implying that those without should be silenced. Thank you.