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Benzo Bulletin is a Benzodiazepine Information Coalition series highlighting some of the latest benzodiazepine-related information.

Lisa Loomer, award-winning screenwriter known for the film Girl, Interrupted, shared on Mad In America about her son Marcello’s horrific experience with antidepressant-induced akathisia. 

We called his psychiatrist, who said, “Gee… this sounds like akathisia!” She pulled him off Prozac and prescribed Xanax, which, we now know, masks the symptoms of akathisia in the short term. He took Xanax for two and a half months, during which he embarked on a backpacking trip with friends near Mount Rainier in Washington. But he couldn’t do it. He wound up sleeping in his car instead of under the stars. He felt terrified, and physically, just really off. He came home to L.A.

Something was different and very wrong. He couldn’t go back to school in New York. He wanted off the Xanax, so his psychiatrist, whom I had great faith in, put him on a taper regimen for ten days. We now know this was extremely dangerous, that he could have died, and that he should have been weaned slowly over a course of at least a year.

As we learned from this blog that Marcello is a BIC follower, we’d like to send our encouragement in your struggle to survive this harm. We empathize with your suffering and applaud your courage!

As he went from doctor to doctor, Marcello also got involved with a Facebook group called “Living with Akathisia” and a couple of other online groups like the “Benzodiazepine Information Coalition,” “Neurotoxicity and Toxic Encephalopathy,” and a group called “Cymbalta Hurts Worse.”

Read Boy, Interrupted: A Story of Akathisia HERE