Benzodiazepine information page: risks and safer withdrawal info

von freakoutcrazy

by Gianna Kali

As I’ve done with the recovery stories pages: here and here,  I’m giving blanket permission that this post may be cut and pasted in full and shared on blogs or  withdrawal boards, etc. This is a copy of the Benzo Info page that is always available under the Psych Drug Withdrawal tab at the top of the page at the drop down menu. I find it’s helpful for new readers to sometimes share these pages again on the homepage. If you wish to learn more about psychiatric drug withdrawal in general click on the Psych Drug Withdrawal tab above and look at the titles in the drop down menu for more extensive info that includes other classes of  psych drugs as well.

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I thought I would put a page together on benzo information and benzo withdrawal in particular since I have more collected info about this class of drug than the other 5 classes of psychotropic meds I’ve withdrawn from. Basically benzos and now antidepressant drugs are the two classes of drugs for which there is really quite a lot of info on the web regarding withdrawal. It’s still mostly anecdotal and not studied, but it’s been recognized much longer that there are severe problems with withdrawing from these two class of drugs so it’s easier to collect information regarding such.

So here is what has become a rather extensive collection of articles and stories that deal with just benzos. Please visit the Withdrawal 101 page for a larger picture of how to more safely withdraw from these drugs where lifestyle changes are talked about and several books are mentioned to help one support body/mind and spirit. Withdrawal 101 is a generic article to help one understand the risks and benefits of withdrawal of all classes of psych drugs. Much about withdrawal remains the same in each class of drug.

Benzodiazepines can be dangerous to withdraw. It’s important to understand the risks. Medical doctors, including psychiatrists, are often woefully misinformed. Please educate yourself before discontinuing the drugs whether or not you are under the care of a doctor. They often do not realize how ignorant they are and can unintentionally cause their patients great pain and harm. Unfortunately it is often essential to advocate for yourself and stay safe. Sometimes the best we can do is find a doctor who is willing to learn with us. I was blessed with such a prescriber while I came off my cocktail.

These are popular and helpful posts I’m highlighting at the beginning of this resource page:

●  The Accidental Addict — Benzo withdrawal documentary

●  “The biggest mistake I ever made was…going to see a psychiatrist” (Stevie Nicks) a benzo story

●   New video:  Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs: A Harm Reduction Approach | Will Hall

News and general info on benzodiazepines:

Help for getting off of and recovering from benzodiazepine use:

Benzo stories from my own experience (much of this has applicability to others in withdrawal, I often talk about my experience with others suffering from withdrawal syndromes too):

**These archives  now span close to five years. They are a record of a time in my life when I was learning and transforming at a rate unlike any other time in my life. I say this as a way of disclaimer. In the earlier years of this blog I am processing shock and dismay. In the early years I am undisputedly angry. I have worked out much of that and see things in a much less judgmental manner now. This continues to evolve. I sometimes want to take down old posts because they no longer convey how I feel, but I realize that they may still be helpful to people who are going through something similar now. The journey got me to where I am today, it’s just odd to have some of it in writing here for all to see. 


Recovery Stories:

Good books on how to deal with anxiety:

Online support:

There are other online groups and boards if you do a google search. There are also lots of videos on youtube that have been made by people coping with withdrawal.

See here for more info about Online Withdrawal Support

I’ve found that all support groups and forums have their own particular culture and dogma. Please use your own best judgment. The most important thing to remember is that you are an individual and withdrawal manifests differently for everyone.

Also be aware that the benzo boards in general know very little about the particular risks and dangers of other drugs one may be on along with the benzos and in fact often give very bad information. This is a generalization but it pays to be aware of a lack of knowledge and experience by people who sometimes act as if they know more than they do. Multiple drug situations get extremely complicated and most benzo folks think it’s benzos are always at fault when speaking about withdrawal issues when it may or may not be true in any individual situation.

One board made it explicit to me that I was NOT ALLOWED to talk about other drugs at all after I gave some information to someone who had started a thread about antidepressants. The information I gave was limited to responding to a direct inquiry about a particular documented risk involved in taking antidepressants. This silence about another class of drugs in a benzo forum is a dangerous precedent to set and so if you have any other drugs involved in your taper I would recommend going somewhere you can freely talk about all of them.

The same thing happens on antidepressant withdrawal boards where people are routinely on benzos and no one realizes how dangerous the benzos are. Just be aware all the psychotropics have serious issues as well as withdrawal problems. That some people sometimes choose to take other drugs to mitigate withdrawal from a drug is fine…it is their right to do so, but if information is withheld about the risks involved in doing so how is the board different from a psychiatrist saying everything will be fine while they feed us benzos.

As always informed choice is what is missing. Once the information is available people should have the right to make whatever decision is right for them.

Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications – things to think about before deciding if you should discontinue your medications