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Five (5) facts about benzodiazepine withdrawal (you need to know)

Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Psy.D.

 

Published: August 16, 2015

Five (5) facts about benzodiazepine withdrawal (you need to know)

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Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be debilitating. The limbic system in the brain kicks into overdrive. Symptoms such as extreme fatigue, depression, and panic are common. How can you support yourself during the months-years long process of detox from benzos? Quitting a benzodiazepine medication can be made easier if you are prepared for what to expect and equipped with the right information about what benzo addiction is, how you can find the best addiction treatment program for you, and the rehab process entail. Learn more in this Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Programs and Help guide. With a section at the end for your questions and comments.

 

Benzos Overexcite Our Minds And Bodies

Before we talk about what you can do to support yourself when going through benzodiazepine withdrawal, let’s review how benzos affect the brain.

 

There are two opposing systems in the brain: the glutamate and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) systems. Think of glutamate as the gas pedal: it excites things into action. GABA, on the other hand, puts on the brakes. Benzodiazepines damage GABA receptors so that glutamate is free to run rampant, overly exciting everything in our bodies.

 

Without enough working GABA receptors to calm down the excitement from glutamate, our central nervous system goes into overdrive. The limbic system, the region of the brain responsible for flight, fight or freeze kicks into action around the clock. We experience:

 

fear

terror

debilitating panic

Derealization and depersonalization are common withdrawal symptoms, as well. Severe depression, crushing fatigue, weakness, dizziness, burning skin, and a host of other debilitating symptoms can occur from taking a benzodiazepine.

 

Get Help Today! Addiction Helpline Available 24/7.

1-877-387-3552

Sponsored Ad

We’re Still Learning About Benzo Withdrawal

It’s true that not everyone taking a benzo will experience a horrific withdrawal. Genetic mutations are the suspected culprits that cause the drug to mangle some brains but not others. However, the exact pathway of damage is not yet known.

 

What we do know about the experience of detoxing from benzo withdrawal comes from the collective stories of people who have survived it. The Internet is helping collect information about withdrawal and to disseminate more accurate facts to help people better navigate benzo withdrawal.

 

Five (5) Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Facts

Here are five (5) of the facts that everyone taking a benzodiazepine should know:

 

1.  Going to a doctor who is not benzo-wise can make you worse.

 

Most doctors are not very well educated about the dangers of benzos or the withdrawal process and symptoms. It is important that you educate yourself by studying the Ashton Manual, the gold standard to date for getting off a benzo. You may want to join one of the new online benzo communities run by benzo survivors that are springing up in response to the global need for help and guidance in benzo withdrawal.

 

Rehabs and detox centers are not the place to go to stop taking a benzo. Both taper patients off very quickly, which shocks the brain so to speak. This can result in a more symptomatic and longer withdrawal.

 

TIP 1: Consult with a medical doctor with experience in benzodiazepine withdrawal.

 

2.  Time is the only thing that heals.

 

There are no pills, potions, or lotions that speed up the healing process or make it go away. Some things can take the edge off, however. Many of those things come with a steep price tag of their own to pay when you want to stop taking them. It may be better to gut out withdrawal without adding insult to injury.

 

Many drugs, vitamins and supplements make us worse, not better. Compiling the stories of so many that have gone though withdrawal we now know that vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium often rev up our symptoms. Further, herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors should be avoided. Kava Kava, Valerian, Phenibut, and Chamomille are known to cause problems.

 

Medical marijuana usually makes people have an increase in symptoms. Anxiety, depersonalization, derealization, fear, paranoia and panic can result from smoking or eating edibles. CBD, (cannabidiol) is a marijuana compound that does not cause a high. It is not psychoactive like THC. CBD has been shown to reduce seizures and pain. However, some people in benzo withdrawal react negatively to it. It is best to avoid the use of medical marijuana in benzo withdrawal.

 

Many naturopaths, acupuncturists and functional medicine doctors like to prescribe vitamins and supplements. You must do your homework before you agree to take any thing no matter how natural or organic it may be. Not sure how to find out if what you want to take is known to cause problems? Join one of the many online benzo groups and ask other members. Remember, we can’t rely on doctors (yet) because they are not educated about benzo withdrawal. They mean well, however, the often harm instead of help.

 

TIP 2: Avoid the following vitamins and supplements:

 

Chamomille

Kava Kava

Magnesium

Medical marijuana

Phenibut

Valerian

Vitamin B

Vitamin D

Any herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors

3.  Watch what you eat. Food can trigger an avalanche of symptoms.

 

It’s not just drugs, vitamins, herbs or supplements that can cause an unbearable spike in benzo symptoms. Food can trigger very uncomfortable reactions as well. Many people going through benzo withdrawal become food sensitive. I couldn’t eat garbanzo beans without an increase in symptoms. Salmon revved up my symptoms too. Cane sugar and honey can increase withdrawal symptoms.

 

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) needs to be avoided. It is an excitotoxin. Food additives, colorings, preservatives and artificial sugars can increase withdrawal symptoms. Sugar substitutes such a xylitol have been known to cause severe gastro problems. Caffeine and alcohol also make us much worse and should be avoided.

 

Benzo survivors usually try many different eating styles in order to feel better. Some try the GAPS diet, while others go Paleo. Some become strict vegans, while others just shun gluten. Diet is personal choice that only you can decide for yourself. Nothing to date speeds up the healing of the damaged GABA receptors, however, some diets do allow us to feel a bit better than others.

 

TIP 3: Find a diet that works for you. Look into GAPS, Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free diets. Avoid certain foods like:

 

Alcohol

Artificial sugars or sugar substitutes

Caffeine

Cane sugar

Food additives, preservatives, or coloring

Garbanzo beans

Honey

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Salmon

4.  Don’t up dose or reinstate unless it is to save your life.

 

One of the worse pieces of advice people are given in benzo withdrawal is to take more of the drug if they are struggling while tapering, or to reinstate (go back on the drug) if they are off.

 

A process called “kindling” can take place once you have been exposed to a benzodiazepine. No one knows exactly what takes place in the brain to cause this phenomenon. However, we know that it exists. If you go down in dose then go up, getting back down can be even harder the second time. The brain has been “kindled.”

 

If you are off the drug, especially for more than four (4) weeks, going back on the drug can backfire. You may become tolerant to the dose you reinstate on, and up dosing will not bring relief. You may be far more symptomatic and tapering may be brutally hard.

 

TIP 4: Keep moving down in dose. Once off, stay off, unless you feel your life may be in danger.

 

5.  Chances are good your old anxiety will be history!

 

Many people who have navigated benzo withdrawal find that the original complaint that drove them to see their doctor is long gone after withdrawal ends. You may be frightened in the midst of withdrawal and feel that your old anxiety has returned. That is your damaged brain misfiring fear.

 

You’ll know when withdrawal ends if you still have your original anxiety. (you’ll be able to seek appropriate help if you feel you need to do so.) Once we are healed, many of us feel we are made of titanium. We’ve lived through hell on earth. Nothing much ruffles our feathers. Chances are good that you will feel this way, too.

 

TIP 5: No matter how much fear, anxiety and panic you have in withdrawal, know that once your brain heals, it will fade away. The amount of fear you feel in the depths of withdrawal is not the way you will feel the rest of your life.

 

https://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/five-5-facts-about-benzodiazepine-withdrawal-you-need-to-know/

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"Many drugs, vitamins and supplements make us worse, not better. Compiling the stories of so many that have gone though withdrawal we now know that vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium often rev up our symptoms. Further, herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors should be avoided. Kava Kava, Valerian, Phenibut, and Chamomille are known to cause problems."

 

I would like some input on this. Do these make withdrawal worse?

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Five (5) facts about benzodiazepine withdrawal (you need to know)

Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Psy.D.

 

Published: August 16, 2015

Five (5) facts about benzodiazepine withdrawal (you need to know)

SHARE

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be debilitating. The limbic system in the brain kicks into overdrive. Symptoms such as extreme fatigue, depression, and panic are common. How can you support yourself during the months-years long process of detox from benzos? Quitting a benzodiazepine medication can be made easier if you are prepared for what to expect and equipped with the right information about what benzo addiction is, how you can find the best addiction treatment program for you, and the rehab process entail. Learn more in this Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Programs and Help guide. With a section at the end for your questions and comments.

 

Benzos Overexcite Our Minds And Bodies

Before we talk about what you can do to support yourself when going through benzodiazepine withdrawal, let’s review how benzos affect the brain.

 

There are two opposing systems in the brain: the glutamate and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) systems. Think of glutamate as the gas pedal: it excites things into action. GABA, on the other hand, puts on the brakes. Benzodiazepines damage GABA receptors so that glutamate is free to run rampant, overly exciting everything in our bodies.

 

Without enough working GABA receptors to calm down the excitement from glutamate, our central nervous system goes into overdrive. The limbic system, the region of the brain responsible for flight, fight or freeze kicks into action around the clock. We experience:

 

fear

terror

debilitating panic

Derealization and depersonalization are common withdrawal symptoms, as well. Severe depression, crushing fatigue, weakness, dizziness, burning skin, and a host of other debilitating symptoms can occur from taking a benzodiazepine.

 

Get Help Today! Addiction Helpline Available 24/7.

1-877-387-3552

Sponsored Ad

We’re Still Learning About Benzo Withdrawal

It’s true that not everyone taking a benzo will experience a horrific withdrawal. Genetic mutations are the suspected culprits that cause the drug to mangle some brains but not others. However, the exact pathway of damage is not yet known.

 

What we do know about the experience of detoxing from benzo withdrawal comes from the collective stories of people who have survived it. The Internet is helping collect information about withdrawal and to disseminate more accurate facts to help people better navigate benzo withdrawal.

 

Five (5) Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Facts

Here are five (5) of the facts that everyone taking a benzodiazepine should know:

 

1.  Going to a doctor who is not benzo-wise can make you worse.

 

Most doctors are not very well educated about the dangers of benzos or the withdrawal process and symptoms. It is important that you educate yourself by studying the Ashton Manual, the gold standard to date for getting off a benzo. You may want to join one of the new online benzo communities run by benzo survivors that are springing up in response to the global need for help and guidance in benzo withdrawal.

 

Rehabs and detox centers are not the place to go to stop taking a benzo. Both taper patients off very quickly, which shocks the brain so to speak. This can result in a more symptomatic and longer withdrawal.

 

TIP 1: Consult with a medical doctor with experience in benzodiazepine withdrawal.

 

2.  Time is the only thing that heals.

 

There are no pills, potions, or lotions that speed up the healing process or make it go away. Some things can take the edge off, however. Many of those things come with a steep price tag of their own to pay when you want to stop taking them. It may be better to gut out withdrawal without adding insult to injury.

 

Many drugs, vitamins and supplements make us worse, not better. Compiling the stories of so many that have gone though withdrawal we now know that vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium often rev up our symptoms. Further, herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors should be avoided. Kava Kava, Valerian, Phenibut, and Chamomille are known to cause problems.

 

Medical marijuana usually makes people have an increase in symptoms. Anxiety, depersonalization, derealization, fear, paranoia and panic can result from smoking or eating edibles. CBD, (cannabidiol) is a marijuana compound that does not cause a high. It is not psychoactive like THC. CBD has been shown to reduce seizures and pain. However, some people in benzo withdrawal react negatively to it. It is best to avoid the use of medical marijuana in benzo withdrawal.

 

Many naturopaths, acupuncturists and functional medicine doctors like to prescribe vitamins and supplements. You must do your homework before you agree to take any thing no matter how natural or organic it may be. Not sure how to find out if what you want to take is known to cause problems? Join one of the many online benzo groups and ask other members. Remember, we can’t rely on doctors (yet) because they are not educated about benzo withdrawal. They mean well, however, the often harm instead of help.

 

TIP 2: Avoid the following vitamins and supplements:

 

Chamomille

Kava Kava

Magnesium

Medical marijuana

Phenibut

Valerian

Vitamin B

Vitamin D

Any herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors

3.  Watch what you eat. Food can trigger an avalanche of symptoms.

 

It’s not just drugs, vitamins, herbs or supplements that can cause an unbearable spike in benzo symptoms. Food can trigger very uncomfortable reactions as well. Many people going through benzo withdrawal become food sensitive. I couldn’t eat garbanzo beans without an increase in symptoms. Salmon revved up my symptoms too. Cane sugar and honey can increase withdrawal symptoms.

 

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) needs to be avoided. It is an excitotoxin. Food additives, colorings, preservatives and artificial sugars can increase withdrawal symptoms. Sugar substitutes such a xylitol have been known to cause severe gastro problems. Caffeine and alcohol also make us much worse and should be avoided.

 

Benzo survivors usually try many different eating styles in order to feel better. Some try the GAPS diet, while others go Paleo. Some become strict vegans, while others just shun gluten. Diet is personal choice that only you can decide for yourself. Nothing to date speeds up the healing of the damaged GABA receptors, however, some diets do allow us to feel a bit better than others.

 

TIP 3: Find a diet that works for you. Look into GAPS, Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free diets. Avoid certain foods like:

 

Alcohol

Artificial sugars or sugar substitutes

Caffeine

Cane sugar

Food additives, preservatives, or coloring

Garbanzo beans

Honey

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Salmon

4.  Don’t up dose or reinstate unless it is to save your life.

 

One of the worse pieces of advice people are given in benzo withdrawal is to take more of the drug if they are struggling while tapering, or to reinstate (go back on the drug) if they are off.

 

A process called “kindling” can take place once you have been exposed to a benzodiazepine. No one knows exactly what takes place in the brain to cause this phenomenon. However, we know that it exists. If you go down in dose then go up, getting back down can be even harder the second time. The brain has been “kindled.”

 

If you are off the drug, especially for more than four (4) weeks, going back on the drug can backfire. You may become tolerant to the dose you reinstate on, and up dosing will not bring relief. You may be far more symptomatic and tapering may be brutally hard.

 

TIP 4: Keep moving down in dose. Once off, stay off, unless you feel your life may be in danger.

 

5.  Chances are good your old anxiety will be history!

 

Many people who have navigated benzo withdrawal find that the original complaint that drove them to see their doctor is long gone after withdrawal ends. You may be frightened in the midst of withdrawal and feel that your old anxiety has returned. That is your damaged brain misfiring fear.

 

You’ll know when withdrawal ends if you still have your original anxiety. (you’ll be able to seek appropriate help if you feel you need to do so.) Once we are healed, many of us feel we are made of titanium. We’ve lived through hell on earth. Nothing much ruffles our feathers. Chances are good that you will feel this way, too.

 

TIP 5: No matter how much fear, anxiety and panic you have in withdrawal, know that once your brain heals, it will fade away. The amount of fear you feel in the depths of withdrawal is not the way you will feel the rest of your life.

 

https://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/five-5-facts-about-benzodiazepine-withdrawal-you-need-to-know/

 

Very interesting, will follow if you add information, thanks Mary 💜🙏☮️💜🙏☮️

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"Many drugs, vitamins and supplements make us worse, not better. Compiling the stories of so many that have gone though withdrawal we now know that vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium often rev up our symptoms. Further, herbs and supplements that work on GABA receptors should be avoided. Kava Kava, Valerian, Phenibut, and Chamomille are known to cause problems."

 

I would like some input on this. Do these make withdrawal worse?

 

I would say it all depends on the individual.

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I really hate seeing the tips of "no vitamins" or no B or D vitamins during withdrawal. While vitamins can make a person worse, there were several others who had they withdrawal "symptoms" go away after treating a vitamin deficiency, even though taking the vitamin at first seemed to rev them up.  Considering that many people in withdrawal suffer neuropathy, or burning skin, avoiding vitamins can make this issue worse.  Lack of vitamin B itself causes:

 

Vision issues

Digestive issues

Nerve issues - burning, tingling, numbness, etc.

Heart palpitations

Lightheadedness

Depression

Mood changes

breathlessness

 

I have seen people with these symptoms assume they were from benzo withdrawal, and when they finally corrected their deficiency, these issues lessened or went away completely.  I'm certainly not saying everyone should run out and take vitamins, but telling people to avoid these things is not the best advice in the world and could be causing more problems for many.  I remember one case in particular, the guy was in withdrawal and suffering all of the above, in addition to hallucinations and other strange symptoms.  His doctor told him he was vitamin deficient, and he started taking the vitamins.  They revved him up and made his symptoms worse, so  he didn't take them.  Upon going back to his doctor, his levels were still really low, and the doctor convinced him to take the vitamins.  He was worse the first week or so, and by the third week on the vitamins things settled down and many of his symptoms went away.  He "healed" completely from benzo withdrawal a few weeks later.  I personally feel much worse when I don't take my vitamins for a while. 

 

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I wanted a magic cure for benzo withdrawal symptoms, but time, a healthy diet and a significant reduction of stress are the things that have really helped me. This doesn’t mean, that I haven’t taken magnesium, vitamin D, etc., but in the end nothing has really helped. I took tons of chamomile tea, I never noticed it did me any harm, until I read it was contraindicated...now I take other teas.

We all have to experiment with different things to see what really helps, but it takes time and yes, most doctors know nothing about benzo withdrawal, I could write a book on the opinions of doctors I’ve gone to for my symptoms.

Stay strong.

 

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