In this video, our director, Dr. Christy Huff, shares about what she was not taught in medical school about benzodiazepines.
Dr. Christy Huff, is a cardiologist residing in Fort Worth, Texas. She attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where she graduated Alpha Omega Alpha in 2001. She completed an internal medicine residency at Washington University in St. Louis in 2004. Her cardiology training was completed at U.T. Southwestern in 2008, with a focus in advanced cardiovascular imaging and noninvasive cardiology.
In 2015, Dr. Huff was harmed by the benzodiazepine Xanax. This was prescribed for insomnia. She was stunned to discover that her doctors were unable to provide effective help stopping the benzodiazepine. Instead, she utilized the patient support forum BenzoBuddies for tapering help. For the next three years, she slowly tapered off the benzodiazepine using a slow taper with Valium.
From this experience, Dr. Huff learned what was missing from her benzodiazepine training in medical school. From her work with Benzodiazepine Information Coalition, she has found this lack of training to be consistent throughout medical practitioners.
This is some of the information that she was not taught about benzodiazepines in medical school:
1. Benzodiazepines can increase anxiety in the long term.
2. Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms can be misdiagnosed as other health conditions.
3. Physical dependence can happen in a matter of days.
4. Adverse events can happen at low or therapeutic doses.
5. A benzodiazepine taper can be very difficult and may last many months, or even many years.
6. She was never taught about the existence of The Ashton Manual.
7. She was never taught that a subset of patients would experience a protracted withdrawal syndrome lasting years.