Benzodiazepine Withdrawal is Horrific, but Necessary

Please read the following article. It is important to read to help you, so this NEVER happens to you. The article will follow, after my rambling and many words.

Oh yes, another article about benzodiazipine withdrawal. Unfortunately, it is on my mind due the fact that I cannot do anything other than write. I did go to my daughter’s show choir performance yesterday, because it is something I love to do and I love her. It was hard to be there, but I did it and once again had to act that I was feeling okay when I was not. I pray those days will be over soon.

This time I was not acting or pretending I was happy, when I was not. I am very happy, but my body is not. So, this time I had to act like I was feeling physically well instead of mentally well. That is a very nice change. Happiness is sure a pleasant surprise. I love feeling happy. I missed and forgot what feeling naturally happy felt like. Laughing the way I once did with  my children. Ahhhh…. the joys of living. So very blessed to be alive.

However, still complaining about Klonopin withdrawal. Here I go again. Really it is both complaining and educating at the same time…

I am detoxing from a prescription medication prescribed by my doctor for over 20 years and was NEVER told the adverse reactions my brain and body could have from this medication. I don’t believe my illness would have been as horrific as it was. I was ill from overuse and dependence from the medication I was on.

I want to research more about this, educate and help others, so no one ever has to go through what my family I had to for years. Benzodiazepines, especially Klonopin, are dangerous and never worth the risks and horrendous withdrawal symptoms I am now forced to go through.

Regretfully, I became a substance abuser from following doctor’s advice and now should go to a drug rehab to detox from this horrific medication. I am not going to a drug rehab, but they do have facilities to detox from Klonopin.

I never knew any of this information, until I was forced to research why I was feeling so terrible after I returned home from the hospital after over two weeks of hospitalization from a severe overdose. Even the doctors at Rochester Mayo did not warn me about the withdrawal symptoms after stopping Klonopin cold turkey. I am a little upset by that, because I needed and need this information. It would have been helpful and important information to have, instead of needing to research and educate myself about the withdrawal process I am going through right now.

You should never take a benzo longer than 10 days to 4 weeks.

I read different and conflicting information on the length of time it takes to become dependent on this medication and I am sure it varies for everyone. Bottom line, just never take Benzodiazepines and if you are taking them now, stop them.

The damage it has done is irrevocable. Benzodiazepine’s damage and/or wreck the lives of the person taking them and their families to a point of no return.

I only had one life to live, and it was changed or destroyed because I was treated like a lab rat. That is how it feels right now, while I am going through horrific withdrawal symptoms. The hell I am going through feels like I have the flu, times 32. It is similar, but different than any kind of flu you can imagine.

There is so much they do not know. I feel like a guinea pig in a research lab and the lab was my life. They are using living people to be lab rats.

Now, after an astronomical number of people’s lives have been wrecked and/or lost by suicide due to the adverse effects from Benzodiazepines, they have finally begun to wake up. It is a little too late for many.

I was one of the lucky ones, because I was blessed and God saved my life. I must wait my turn to go to heaven. Jesus is not ready for me yet. I am very thankful to have been saved and live the rest of my life to my fullest potential.

I feel impatient with this withdrawal process, because I am ready to start living. My mind is ready, but my body is not cooperating due to the horrific symptoms from withdrawal from my Klonopin. The scary part is I have no idea how long this process will take and if there will be permanent damage. I do not believe there are any answers because they do not know, not yet. Only time will time.

I know there is a beautiful reason for everything in the end. As soon as the effects of this detox experience end, which I pray is soon, I will stop complaining and will go forward with my life and make the best of the life I have left to live. I have a lot of living to do now.

Please read the following article. It is important so this NEVER happens to you.

Her story sounds very similar to mine. However, her detoxing sounds much worse than mine is, right now.


The ‘Hell’ of My Prescription Drug Withdrawal

Sedative withdrawal left me ‘wanting to die.’

Fiona French from Aberdeen says the prescription drug she was put on 40 years ago led to decades of suffering that only ended after a three-year withdrawal which she describes as “hell and torture”.

The 63-year-old says the benzodiazepine drug she was prescribed for epilepsy in 1975 led to a decade of adverse effects including attempts to take her own life.

This was followed by years of health problems and mental anguish during which no doctor ever warned her that “benzos” are a highly addictive drug that have serious side effects.

Prescription drug dependence

Long-term use can also lead to problems with memory and concentration, anxiety and depression.

According to government guidance, the recommended maximum time for which benzodiazepines should be prescribed is four weeks, to reduce the risk of dependency.

Doctors’ leaders have recently called for the urgent introduction of a UK-wide 24-hour helpline for prescription drug dependence.

Benzodiazepines – taken for severe anxiety, insomnia and sometimes pain relief – are a particular concern.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said it did not support the long-term use of benzodiazepines other than in exceptional circumstances.

Fiona was just 20 when she was diagnosed with myoclonic epilepsy, which causes sudden jerks of the muscles.

She was prescribed the benzodiazepine Nitrazepam, a sedative drug which is also a muscle relaxant.

Fiona told BBC Scotland: “I was concerned about the sedative effect of the drug but, in actual fact, it caused me to become hyperactive.

“I really couldn’t stop. I had to be on the go all the time. Within two months I had virtually stopped eating. I lost a quarter of my body weight and I returned to a state of pre-puberty.”

She also made her first attempt at suicide.

Fiona says: “We did not link the change in my behavior to the drug even though you would imagine it was perfectly obvious.

“I was referred to psychiatry. That started four decades of seeing psychiatrists and being prescribed anti-depressants.”

Long-term effects

Fiona says that all her symptoms were put down to a depressive illness and they would continue to be for the next 40 years.

She says she lost 10 years of her life going in and out of hospital and being suicidal before eventually finding a way to cope.

She went back to university and did manage to hold down a job as a researcher in the NHS but she says she never had a “normal life”.

Now retired, Fiona says the long-term effect of the drug has left her with “cognition” problems in which she has trouble assimilating information.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepine

In 2012 she changed GP and her new doctor told her that Nitrazapam was no longer a recognized treatment for myclonic epilepsy.

However, the GP gave no help and advice on how to come off the drug and so Fiona attempted to withdraw herself.

She describes the withdrawal as “hell and torture for every hour of every day for three years”.

She says: “I became so desperately ill that I find it very difficult to describe what happened.

“I lost sensation from the waist down. I could hardly walk, I couldn’t have a shower because I couldn’t stand for long enough.

“I could not tolerate sound or light. My entire body was affected from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

“All these sensations were intolerable. I just wanted to die.”

Millions of prescriptions for Benzodiazepines are issued every year.

Due to her history, the doctor again diagnosed depression, she says.

She was again referred to a psychiatrist.

Fiona says she was forced to find communities of people online who had experienced similar effects.

She is now convinced that she was suffering from withdrawal from the drug to which she had become addicted.

Earlier this year she says she had a “jolt” in her brain that seemed to restore “some sort of normality”.

She has started to write to experts on the subject of prescription drug withdrawal such as Prof David Healy, who is supporting a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for action “to appropriately recognize and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal”.

Doctor writing prescription

Fiona says she does not know if there were legitimate reasons for putting her on the drug 40 years ago.

But she adds: “It was disappointing that the doctors at the time did not realize I’d had an adverse reaction to that drug.”

“If I had been taken off the drug immediately, who knows what might have happened.

“I might have put back on the quarter of my body weight I lost, I might not have been suicidal any more, I might not have lost the next 10 years of my life going in and out of hospital trying to commit suicide.”

She says: “I do question why over the next 30 years no-one said to me ‘you may be suffering from the adverse affects of prescription drugs. This may not be depression’.

“Every single day of those 40 years I felt completely alone. I never knew it was the drug until I came off it. I have really not had any sort of a normal life and that is due to the drugs.”

Fiona adds: “Now I’m off the drugs. I don’t suffer from epilepsy. I have no idea when that resolved itself.

“I’m not depressed. I’m upset and angry and lots of things, but I’m not suffering depression.”

“There is a real lack of education around addiction to prescription drugs and the impact they can have on someone’s life in the long-term. The number of people addicted to these legal medicine is overtaking those tackling heroine addiction,” said Eytan Alexander, founder of UK Addiction Treatment Centres (UKAT).

“As these drugs are legal, it is often hard to spot addiction. GPs need to help with this education process and make people more aware of the risks attached to taking prescription drugs. They also need to monitor the use of prescription drugs among their patients and identify how they can help prevent addiction. ”

Copyright © 2018 BBC


Copyright © By Susan Walz and myloudbipolarwhispers.com – All written content and personal artwork is © myloudbipolarwhispers.com and Susan Walz. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner/artist is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Loud Bipolar Whispers and/or Susan Walz with appropriate and specific directions to the original content. (With the exception of the article.)

 

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27 Comments

  1. The hardest thing about medications for mental illness and I guess for pain meds as well, is if the first one doesn’t work for you, you have to take a few days or weeks to get it out of your system, then you start a new one. In the mean-time, you brain gets badly screwed up. Then when they find one that works for you in the present time, they don’t think about what will happen to you, a few years down the road. It’s like they think, “oh well, this person will not be my problem by then.” I’m just fixing what needs to be fixed now!” I have been on the same medication for 27 years now. I did try to decrease the amount with my doctors approval, but as soon as I did, within a week, the psycosis came back. I am on it for life. I better start researching if there are any warnings by now for this drug. It is not the same as the ones you have mentioned. Effexor is what I take but in the generic brand cause it is cheaper. I must again reblog one of your posts Sue. I dont mean to be stealing your posts, but it is so important. I promise I won’t reblog every one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reblogging. I love that you reblog my posts. It makes me happy and I hope people like them. You can reblog everything and anything of mine if you want. You have my permission always. Thank you for reading and reblogging and commenting and being so kind and encouraging and supportive of me. You made some great points. I agree with you. I think you might be right that they are fixing right now and it is working now. I don’t think my Pdoc knew what to do with me because he thought Klonopin was the only med. that worked for me but to find out in acutality it really wasnt working for me but was doing the exact opposite. They know it now, but didn’t know it over 25 years ago. I think it is the benzodiazepines that and pain killers like Oxycodone that are the most dangerous and addictive of course. I don’t think other meds are addicitved like that. I have never loved any medicagions like I loved my Konopin. I didnt realized I loved my Klonopin so much becasue i was additced and dependent, but I know now. With the other meds I think we definitely need to get our blood levels checked often to make sure everything is balanced and working right. I hope you are feeling and doing well. Hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Susan, I am feeling well, just a little frazzled as always. I think people don’t know they are getting addicted becaust they feel good when taking them, it is too late once it is figured out. Thank you for letting me reblog!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Rant and Reason and commented:
    Once again, I must reblog a post from My Loud Bipolar Whispers. Medication is the biggest issue with dealing with any mental illness. Research your meds, then talk to your Dr. Or psycologist, whoever it is whodeals with your mental health meds. I am just so frustrated with the amount of people who are not getting the help they need. I guess when new medications are avail. They havent been around for years to do long term studies, so if it helps short term and continues to work, no one thinks to monitor the wellness and change the meds when necessary. Have a read of you have time, this post has important information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Beckiesmentalmess – I was going to comment about how generalized statements such as some of the above warnings can be detrimental… but i didn’t want to take away from the shared experience/point of this post. I’m devastated to see another person have to go through dependence, abuse, and withdrawal at the hands of ignorant doctors, but that doesn’t mean any particular medication is anything to be worried about.

      You should always speak to your doctor about the pros/cons, as well as research and be an advocate for yourself. If you don’t have a current or history of addiction or currently have a tolerance/dependence due to dosing schedule, it isn’t something to be overly worried about. Yes, these medications are addictive, but that does not mean they should be so demonized, as they are incredibly helpful for some people.

      I have been on Klonopin or Xanax for 6/7 years now, with no problems concerning dependence, abuse, or withdrawal. I do my best to keep an eye on myself, and do my best to only take it when my anxiety or insomnia are at their worst (usually 3/4 times a month, maximum). I get a bit frustrated when i see people speak in definitive language, as it has impeded my ability to receive adequate pain management in the past, and i fear it will affect my ability to continue on my medications in the future. I tried for years and years to find a sleep aid, but at the end of the day, Klonopin was the only thing that “did it” for me. If it was not for that medication, i’d be sleeping 3-4 hours a night still, plagued by my nightmares.

      Rambling aside – there is no need to be scared out of your wits if you are mindful, educated, and open with your doctor! It’s a medication usually prescribed acutely due to it’s addiction potential, so be mindful & honest with yourself moving forward – i’m sure you’ll be okay!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your honesty. I didn’t mean to offend anyone and I will be more careful with my words. However, I still need to warn people and I will still talk about it. I will be more mindful of others, but I still need to educate about its possible very severe life threatening complications. I wished someone had warned me and talked to me about it. My doctor never warned me about the addictive properties of this medication and even if he did maybe I would have dismissed it because I loved my Klonopin. I was addicted to it for 20 years and never knew it. I still feel people should not take this medication on a long term basis and it is what research is now showing. It is supposed to be taken on a a very short term basis or at a very low dosage like yours, at an as needed basis only. That is good you only take it a few times a month. I was on it for 20 years and thought it was helping me too. I didn’t think I had any problems with it at all. I would never believed it either until I had severe complications and almost died. I was on a high dose for years. It is great it is helping you and you are taking a very low dose. So I think you are safe. I have been off of Klonopin for over 3 weeks and I am still dealing with severe complications and can hardly walk honestly. Many others have had the same experiences when stopping cold turkey like I was forced to after my overdose. I will see a new Psych. the middle of April. I am happy I am off my Klonopin and can start living my life again soon. Thank you for your feedback and take care. Hugs, Sue

        Like

      2. Thank you, for your candidness in explaining this to me. Since reading that post, I did contact my doctor to discuss this further with her about my concerns. We are supposed to meet in a week.
        Thank you, so much again for your concern, and your thoughtfulness on this very subject matter that did in fact, scare me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am sorry. I did not mean to scare anyone. But, I want to help people, so they do not have to go through what I did and still am now. I feel like it is my job. I went through it for a reason and I believe I must explain what happened to me to help others. We need to help each other. We are all here for each other. It is such a beautiful family of people here on WordPress. There is so much support and love. I believe with the new research they are finding new results from people that were on it for years. I realize everyone is different and reacts differently to medications, but still feel it is imperative to warn people so they are aware of possible complications that are happening to many people now. I don’t want to offend anyone but I still feel I want to be honest from my own personal experience and from what I have learned and read. Another blogger just commented that she had a very similar experience as me. It always helps to know you are not alone and also helps show that others have had similar experiences. I hope you have a great outcome next week. I hope it goes well and she can help you decide what is best for you. Please let me know how it goes next week. I am interested in hearing about it. It will be interesting and educational for me and others, as well. I am happy you are looking into it for yourself. Thank you. Hugs, Sue

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      4. I completely agree! I still take Clonazepam up to 2 nights per week, even after detoxing from it. Because if I didn’t I would never get any sleep. I believe that I have low GABA and that benzos are the most effective thing out there. Until something safer and equally effective comes along I would be willing to become addicted again. I know how to detox safely with Valium and it’s totally worth it.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Benzo detox. I wanted to reach out because after experiencing chronic anxiety and panic I was able to completely heal long term by applying methods in neuroplasticity. I built new neural pathways in the higher brain that sustained a mindset of calm and safety. Ultimately what this does for individuals with low GABA (particularly post benzo use) is it allows us to naturally begin producing serotonin (necessary for GABA production) in the brain, thereby relearning how to manufacture GABA transmitter and receptors. After working with this strategy on my own I then began working with others and turned it into an eight week program that has proven extremely effective, allowing individuals to heal very very quickly. I hope this helps! -Warmly, Kathleen

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thank you for sharing this. I hope your words of wisdom help many people. I am psychotropic medication free and am feeling and doing better than I have in over 25 years since my diagnoses. I am happy are doing well too. Be well. Much love and hugs, Sue

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Thanks Sue! That’s wonderful, yes I specialize in working with individuals who are recovering from benzodiazepine medication and are experiencing symptoms related to CNS. My eight week “Healing the Anxious Nervous System” program, has been really helpful for many types of clients.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. That sounds like an amazing program. I wish they would have had something like that for me when I was going through it. It was a horrific experience. We definitely need to get the word out about the dangers of Benzos and we need more people like you to help the many people who are having these struggles. Be well.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I appreciate your feedback and insight. I am doing much better now compared to when I wrote that post. It has been horrific, but worth it. I still have some residual effects from Klonopin withdrawal syndrome but I can make it. Since I have worked through the worst of it, I would never want to start Valium now. I am happy it helped you. Thanks for the information. It is great to know. Keep spreading the word about Klonopin and Benzo addiction etc. It is important to spread the word. Hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just posted on this topic. Please read the Ashton Manual (online). Valium is great for benzo detox, and the manual will help you figure out what dosage to start at. You reduce by 1 mg every 2 weeks. It works because it is a long acting benzo and you can get it down to extremely small doses, compared to other benzos. You just need a doctor who is willing to prescribe it. There is no need to suffer!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading. I am happy you liked my post. Thank you for the wonderful feedback. I am excited to check out your blog. It definitely sounds like it will be one I will like. Sounds very interesting. Hugs, Sue

      Like

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