Benzodiazepine and Antidepressant Dependence

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August 31, 2015 | 14 Comments


    • Totally agree I’m a PSCH and addiction community london nurse for 38 years and suffering myself all these meds are as bad as each other try coming off seroxat general paroxetine of venlafaxine. Just as bad as small dose long use Diazipan. 38 years I worked with these drugs it used to be barbiturates then benzos now SSRI. SSRI. Mood stabiles. Atypical AD given out like candy here to young kids even

  1. “ALL psychotropic drugs create physiological dependence.” This should be carved at the entrance to every medical school, and maybe every neighborhood pharmacy as well. Thank you, Sally – and sorry you had to learn the hard way!

    It’s amazing how wildly different things are in the USA … and how similar, too. Benzo dependence was a hot topic in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but somehow the taint of danger only attached to one Bad Drug: Valium or diazepam. When Xanax or alprazolam was brought out in 1985 or so, doctors were told it was non-habit-forming!

    Things have more-or-less gone downhill from there, and benzo prescriptions have actually been on the rise since 2000, reaching 93 million in 2013. Xanax and clonazepam are in the lead; both are approved for anxiety and also prescribed like crazy for insomnia. One of the worst results is that they’re being mixed with powerful opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone. Benzos are involved in about one-third of our 16,000 fatal opioid overdoses every year.

    I wish I could say this attitude was paired with less eagerness to use “new” antidepressants and antipsychotics, but no such luck, of course. US doctors prescribe both benzos and amphetamines in amazing quantities. These practices are not written up in “the literature,” because the pills themselves are not that profitable – and because the facts are embarrassing.

    Both benzos and speed are often used to offset the ill effects of those awesome new drugs. Doctors give speed as an “adjunct” to antidepressants that aren’t working so well, and to relieve the paralyzing drowsiness and mental fog many people get from their antipsychotics. Benzos are used to relieve the agitation and sleeplessness people may feel on their antidepressants.

    Last but not least there’s Lyrica! We’ve got an ocean of this, prescribed mainly for pain syndromes. Oddly enough clonazepam is approved for anxiety over here but Lyrica is not. So it’s pushed over here, not as “safer than benzos” but as “safer than OxyContin.”

  2. I don’t know where to begin.
    Rewind the clock thirteen years ago, and my fate could have gone either way.
    If I had known that one tablet (valium) was going to cost me my life, without any doubt, I would NEVER have ingested it.
    I honestly believe that scientists know what these drugs induce.
    I did not have any health issues before I ingested the meds.
    I may have suffered from a few episodes of sadness however, I am certain that many teenagers go through phases where life gets a ‘bit tough!’
    In my mid-twenties, the diazepam I ingested, is proof that there is something in the meds that harm.
    Why was I prescribed this poison in the first place?
    I had a very bad earache and was going for an MRI scan?
    The specialist wanted to get down to the root cause of what was causing it!
    I already knew what had caused it but was scared to speak up!
    First and foremost, when a patient complains of a problem and the doctor dismisses that individual, they are denying that the meds could have caused an issue.
    Just because their clinical data does not reveal a disorder or disease, it does not mean that the meds are not to blame!
    I did not have nerve pain in the brain, migraines, sore feet, aches and pains in every muscle joints and fibres of my body, fibromyalgia, gastro intestinal problems, chronic fatigue, sexual dysfunction, PTSD issues etc. before I ingested diazepam.
    I was relatively fit and healthy.
    I could enjoy a glass of wine, have my hair dyed, spray any deodorant under my arms, use any make-up and hair products of my choice, enjoy many foods keep up with the daily activities of life. When I ingested that ‘one python of diazepam’, I did not know that I would be fighting for my life.
    Coming out of the closet and talking about it isn’t an easy thing for me to do!’
    It shakes me up and makes me question my mortality.
    I believe that my husband and son would have been visiting my grave.
    I could have died and nobody would have ever known, why or how?
    There is some shame associated with my story and how I was treated by some of the medical professionals.
    Looking back, I think that if I was not mentally strong, I would have died, without any doubt.
    When you are so sick, in pain and vulnerable, I found it very difficult to articulate to the doctor what I was feeling.
    I was scared that I would be labelled a ‘malingering’ patient who was making up stories, just to get attention.
    I was very scared and frightened out of my wits because I had no idea what would happen to me and my family if I told my doctor how I really felt.
    Would I be alive if I had complied with the doctors?
    More antidepressants. If I had ‘popped’ another pill, I would not be here telling my story.
    So the story begins……………………………………..
    That fateful night when I ingested that ‘python tablet’, I did not know what I was in for.
    The pain and pressure that had built up in my head was so unbearably painful.
    It was similar to a scuba diver going down the bottom of the sea and no longer having the O2 tank doing its job to make you survive.
    At one stage, I could not see. I had lost my sight. I had difficulties breathing and had no idea what had taken hold of me. The python of a tablet had taken hold of me completely. I was being strangled and felt like I was being suffocated and I had to do something very quick to alleviate the excruciating pain and discomfort.
    I had no time to second guess.
    I quickly acted upon my instincts and took out an old bottle of brandy, out of the cupboard .
    One bottle of brandy was all it took to knock me out.
    It was my only source of comfort.
    I crawled into bed.
    My heart was beating slowly.
    My breathing become shallow.
    I could smell the sweet relief of death.
    Anything to get me out of pain was comforting.
    The sweet taste of death was welcoming. I had to do something quick to get me out of this ‘ordeal’ I was confronting.
    I thought that I would not survive this ordeal, alone.
    I did not want my family to see my suffering and I did not want to go to hospital.
    If I was going to die, I wanted to die with some dignity.

  3. Continued……………………..
    The following morning, I woke up in horror.
    How could I have possibly come out alive?
    I was angry that I had to continue living this miserable existence,
    of relentless pain and torture.
    My life had become a nightmare.
    All doors had closed on me.
    For about 7 months, after this tragedy I had terrible symptoms ranging from episodes of : intense pain in my head – it felt like a migraine magnified 50x – felt like there was a kink in one of the blood vessels of my brain .It felt like the blood was not flowing through properly in a section of my brain, blackouts, seizure’s, inflammation of the heart-heart palpitations and unable to breathe properly,sense of space being distorted, inflammation of the brain, eating rice for 7 months (morning, noon and night- until I got down to the bottom of what was causing the anaphylactic episodes), could not take pain killers-only made my morbid condition worse, dizziness, very bad tinnitus, sensitivity to light, panic attacks, suicidal because of the intense pain/pressure in head, dementia type symptoms, re-wiring of neural pathways(took a long time and still feels like something is not right still today), morbid depression, nightmares, pulling out my hair in frustration, chronic fatigue, fear of never healing, complete abandonment by medical professionals.
    These sad memories still stick in my head, like it happened yesterday and it will be a memory that will stay with me forever.
    Yes, I am a survivor.
    To try and get anyone to listen to me is a concern.
    If I have raised issues that concern everyone, why is it that no one is listening to me. Scientists in the UK are admitting to what I have been trying to tell everyone for the past two years –why is no one trying to place appropriate warning labels on antidepressants ?
    “Do more deaths have to take place before there is enough evidence?”
    The evidence is all there and it is a crying shame that my voice is not being heard.
    I have paid my prison sentence and still pay the price by being silenced.
    “Isn’t it time that the safety of people’s lives are put first, before the almighty dollar signs?” This is something which could potentially affect everyone and no one seems to care about who the next victim may be?”

    After so much pain and suffering I believe that one should be entitled to have a voice. ”Why do I have to wait until I go down my grave or another innocent person becomes a statistic of a Russian roulette type scenario.
    I have poured my heart out and it makes me scream inside with fear every time I bring it up because I may not have had the opportunity to be writing this, to you today if I had listened to the doctors treatment plans.
    May 14, 2012 at 4:52 AM

  4. Good Health….

    Daily Mail Today

    Ask the Doctor

    Every week Dr. Scurr, a top GP, answers your questions

    “There is a strong correlation between migraine and depression – 60 percent of people with chronic migraine require treatment for depression at some stage.

    Just as migraine is a disorder of brain function, each episode being set off by certain trigger factors in genetically susceptible people, so depression is a disorder of brain function, ignited in people who are prone, genetically, by a range of factors ranging from bereavement to chronic illness to hormonal changes, to viral illnesses such as shingles or flu.

    Do bear in mind that depression is not the same as sadness.
    Depression is a whole-body illness with many different, very physical symptoms, as well as with an emotional aspect which may tie in with your history of IBS, acid reflux and headaches, all reawakened by your recent experience of sensations of stress and anxiety.

    I am heartened that your gp is treating you with Nortriptyline, an effective anti-depressant medicine.

    This may take some weeks, if not months, to achieve its best effect, and an increase in dosage may be required with 25 mg three times daily being adjusted up to a maximum of 150 mg daily.

    I hope you make good progress.”

    The letter, asking for advice, was published by a lady of 72.

    Good luck with that, Mrs Name and address withheld

    Interesting list of side effects from–__

  5. I had a serious car accident one year ago.. I was having anxiety attacks as a result of the pretty serious concussion I endured as well as anxiety when getting into a vehicle.
    My doc prescribed 10mg of valium.. I would take one half in the morning and the other half at night. I gave a few to my husband who had some sleepless nights from the car accident injuries as well.
    As a result at the end of that month I ran out. The next few days were ridiculous, I ran a pretty high fever, felt like I couldn’t breathe, nausea, severe panic attacks, the lot.
    I was physically dependent in a matter of a couple weeks.
    I told my doc this after the ER diagnosed me with benzo withdrawal syndrome. Her answer was to put me on Klonopin. I had severe brain fog at this point in time and just did what I was told.
    Then she went on maternity leave. A male doc subbing for her since she extended her leave THREE times, decided I needed to taper off and put me on a 6 week schedule.. which was too extreme and I called him and let him know I wanted to wait for my doctor to return to continue tapering and got a hell no.
    Was told I should be off them, and no new script for me. I had been on them for 9 months at this point.

    If I could go back, I would have NEVER EVER touched these meds.
    I feel dead inside. I feel no more love. No more energy, no more joy. I am depressed but refuse to take any more psych meds ever.
    My marriage has suffered, my body has suffered.. I’ve gained 20 pounds because of the Klonopin.. I have headaches almost daily.. dry skin.. irritability, you name it, I’m probably experiencing it.
    Please do not ever touch these. It’s truly hell.

  6. I would say that benzo withdrawal was nothing if not dramatic…so much so (terror, close to paranoia) which must have been noticed by well-meaning friends who “called the authorities”….fast forward to being popped into a psych. unit “for my own well-being” for ten days. Me! A prescription drug safety fighter from way back, who had been put on Dalmane years before for trouble sleeping due to breaking up with a boyfriend….of course the doctors never mention short term use and there was “family history”….
    However, as to the point of the danger and damages caused by SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics, funny how the cheaper drugs become demonized in favor of the new and pricey ones –
    All good and thought-provoking points brought up in this article – thanks!

  7. Thank you Sally. Diazepam can very rapidly reverse the bizarre and frequently misdiagnosed, severe, life threatening SSRI toxicity: – Akathisia. This must be recognised immediately as an acute medical emergency, potentially heralding imminent serotonin syndrome. Hence need to consider referral to Medical Assessment Unit, from which resuscitation facilities and I.T.U immediately accessible.

    How many severe akathisa “presentations” lead to further psychiatric admission and addition of more psychotropics, plus of course detention, when the akathisic patient tries to request no further medication? They may be extremely ill with prescription medication toxicity, but they are the one person, often, who has recognised the cause.

    Didn’t Germany originally intend that SSRI’s should be co-prescribed with diazepam to minimise akathisia? (I am not certain on that.)

    Rational, short term use of this perhaps least dangerous of all the dangerous and profoundly toxic psychotropics may be better accomplished now that Study 329 has been re-visited.
    There can no longer be any excuse whatsoever for lack of prescriber awareness of extensive very high risk, SSRI toxicities (who could fail to recognise severe, acute SSRI induced akathisia if they had heard of it?) – as well as dependency and withdrawal syndrome.

    Retired Physician.

  8. These medicines are dangerous.
    There is a big difference between life threatning response and psychotic.
    Some doctors do so many tests that lead the patient to get more sick.
    This is not called healing.
    This is called: ‘Induced sickness/disease, which sadly may lead to death if not handled with care.

  9. I have suffered greatly at the hands of psychiatrists’ through my local Community Mental Health facility for 30 years. First, by believing in their mythical ‘chemical imbalance’ theory and told I would need to take their medicine for the rest of my life. Secondly, due to very serious iatrogenic illness from taking their drugs I spent 30 years in & out of psychiatric hospitals, emergency rooms, intensive care units (from intentional overdoses to end the suffering), and jails. My family deemed me a menace to our family, beyond help, giving up all and any hope for me, as I eventually did too.

    But it was the emotional & mental torture while enduring multiple psychiatric drug withdrawals that caused the most damage to my brain, my life, and my ongoing mental health as doctors kept informing me it was ‘just fine’ to abruptly stop taking them. Effexor, Trazodone, and Lithium withdrawal induced so many emotional and mental disorders including suicidality, but also homicidality. There are not enough words to describe the horror of my benzo withdrawal. After 10 yrs on Klonopin, it is far from ‘OK’ to cold turkey from Klonopin as my Addiction Specialist from my Community Mental Heath worker informed me. He never, ever mentioned one withdrawal symptom I may experience. I suffered the most excruciating abject terror, and mental torture while home alone for over 6 weeks. I’m lucky I survived and I am not an isolated case, as I found out. This is blatant neglect, abuse, and total disregard for quality mental health CARE. I no longer take psychiatric drugs, no longer suffer iatrogenic illness, nor have I been hospitalized since. But there are many unsuspecting, naive patients/clients who are still being told ‘it’s ok’ to just stop.

    And I feel they need our help before putting a gun to their head as I prayed for every second of every minute of every day for weeks trying to end my suffering.

    So I started this Petition to protect future patients. I need support with this if anyone is willing to help:

    Demand ALL Community Mental Healthcare Facilities Have A Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Program In Place

  10. But I thought anti depressant is a better alternative for anxiety disorder.. and to suppress benzo tolerance..

    Been changing antidepressants from TCA to Ssri even the newest brintellix.

    My doses now Klonopin 1,8mg with alprazolam 0,3mg 3 times a day.

    I would like to cold turkey but I heard it’s not recommended.

    Is it better to keep lessen the benzo dose slowly whilst taking antidepressant?

    My prob now the antidepressant seems not working anymore.. just feeling meaningless most of the time.

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