On March 31, the Colorado Consortium held the Lunch and Learn Safe Prescribing Protocols of Benzodiazepines: Lessons Learned from the Opioid Crisis, presented by Drs. Alexis Ritvo and Christy Huff. The entire series, planned by the Provider Education Work Group, offered continuing medical education (CME) credit.
In this session Dr. Huff shared about her own experience of being harmed by benzodiazepines, leading to her seeking help from Facebook patient support groups and BenzoBuddies. Dr. Ritvo shared about benzodiazepine safe prescribing. The full presentation may be viewed here.
As a parent of a benzo harmed person, it has been brutal watching the suffering caused by these drugs. The casual way they are prescribed and the complete and total absence of information on exactly how harmful these medications are is unconscionable. The continued lack of knowledge and complete lack of understanding from every subsequent medical professional since who has had to deal with the chronic issues that have lingered for a year now after the taper is beyond disheartening. It does not surprise me that perscriptions have increased more than 800% since 1996 and for longer than the recommended 4 weeks (max).
Aside from black labeling and education, we really need to go to the crux of the problem. The US profit driven healthcare system, where finding excellent mental health treatment, meaning CBT/DBT for anxiety specifically, in-network is virtually impossible. Those are the two modalities recommended and yet neither specialty is covered. Many therapists have some training in these areas, but the intense and specific programs are out of network and insanely expensive. The less specific therapy is also not covered for very long.
It is obvious why a drug, already generic and fairly cheap, would end up being prescribed instead. What a lot of money saved by the insurance companies! What a tidy profit for pharmaceutical companies! The anxiety specific mental health treatments like CBT/DBT need to be available to all patients with GAD and other anxiety disorders and covered by all insurance plans. Benzos are not meant for patients with these issues they are meant only for short term use during a difficult time in a basically neuro-typical person’s life and are devastating and life altering in ways one cannot imagine unless you have been there.
Thank you all so much for all this work you are doing – it is a tough system to crack and your dedication is greatly appreciated.
Xanax completely changed my life for the worst.. horrible.
It led to me suffering beyond comprehension… Beyond HELL.
I have never been the same…. 27 years of agony.