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  1. I was put on oxazepam 20 years ago for thyroid issues. I cannot understand why Doctors put me on a repeat prescription and only consulted me once a year. By now I was completely dependent on these drugs and I am sure they were responsible for the brain zaps, head pressure, depression and anxiety . I would look in the mirror every morning and wonder what kind of illness I had. My eyes were red and glassy and the size of a pin head. As soon as I took a benzo my symptoms lifted. When the Doctor asked me how I was, I told him I needed this drug because I still had symptoms. I was going though menopause at that time and put it all down to that, even though a nurse told me if all menopausal women felt like that the medical world would know about it and she told me I was just going mad.!! The most alarming data I came across was that benzo reduce the ability of the Thyroid to convert the T4 hormone into the T3 hormone by a whopping 30%. All these years of taking a benzo to help with thyroid anxiety symptoms and then it turns out the benzo did a lot of damage. By 2013 my thyroid was not functioning at all and I ended up in a mental health hospital because of SI attempts. They said the short acting benzo had stopped working. Who knows ? I was CT off and they gave me diazepine and mirtazepine, quirtiapine to ‘help’ . A nurse told me I would be fine in 10 week when the drug started to have effect!! I did not know it at the time, that I had been CT’d. I had the benzo jelly legs and could not walk and had to be helped by a nurse to meet my visiting husband and son. Their faces when they saw me were appalled at the state I was now in. They were assured by the medical staff that this was normal and I would soon be fine. It took me many months to balance out and for my body to stabilise on 40mg diazepine. One year later, I became very ill with symptoms so bad. I was now sliding down the wall and rolling on the floor and begging my 85 year old father to kill me. Later on, when looking back at my medical records I found that the Doctor had reduced 40mg to 20mg, so again I was experiencing CT withdrawals. A year later I still had symptoms and another psychiatrist put me on effexor stating that they are not addictive and I could stop them anytime. If he had looked at my medical records he would have seen that I had been CT’d a year earlier and still in the throes of withdrawals. I kept on taking 4 psychiatric drugs for 4 years. It was my holistic therapy trained niece who just happened to be visiting me when I was filling up my drug compartment. She asked me why I was taking all those drugs. I honestly could not answer her and feebly replied because the Doctor had put me on them. It was then that I took a long hard look at all these drugs. Not once did my GP question such a large amount , nor did he suggest coming off of them. I started to taper off all 4 pscyh meds at the same time. I had no idea of tapering or Ashton manual. Every week I would cut in half one of the tablets. I tackled Sunday tablet, then the following 4 weeks later I tackled Wednesday and so on. It must have been a micro taper as it took me until March 2020. I now had only 5mg of diazepine to go and I thought by December I would be completely drug free. I had mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms that probably hit me just after each cut. By now I was cutting in half the diazepine every week. October 2020 I started with extreme symptoms, something which scared me because I’d experienced these symptoms many times and I just thought I was going back into mental illness. I started to research drugs on the internet and found this was WD. I updosed back to 8g. I even tried 20mg one day and the symptoms did not stop. I came across Benzo warriors support group and finally took my last benzo August 2022. I thought symptoms could not get any worse but they did in the post acute stage. At 7 weeks off I was hospitalised because of akathasia and insomnia and my husband was at breaking point. In hospital I was given an SSRi , something I took willingly to alleviate the now horrific symptoms. At the same time was dismayed at being back on a psych drug. I encountered one senior nurse who when I fell to the floor because of jelly legs, she simply stepped over me remarking she would not help me up. I crawled back to my room. I was 66 years old. She also reprimanded me for being a drug addict and that I had brought all this on myself. She proudly told me she had worked in a drug addict hospital and she had seen all this before. In effect, she was hinting that I was putting on an act to get a benzo!! I told her my Doctor had prescribed it and I had become dependent. Her face glazed over with confusion and disbelief. I stayed there for 5 miserable weeks and once I got home the symptoms took a twist. Instead of aka and agitation, I became fatigued so much that I stayed in bed for a whole month .I was visited every month by a mental health nurse. I told her all about benzos and BIND. I once asked her outright what her thoughts were when she was handing out benzo prescriptions to her patients. Did she feel guilty, awkward – what a predicament for a nurse to be in. I wondered if she had warned her patients as to the dangers, would she have lost her job. The months passed and I noticed a big change at the 9 month off mark. It was here that the cortisol reduced earlier in the day so I got to enjoy a few hours free of symptoms. I can remember the euphoria of having 3-00pm to midnight back to my normal self. Of course, it is non linear and is always changing. By 12 months off I started having 5 day consecutive windows followed by 5 bad day waves. This went on for some weeks and I thought this was the important turning point for longer windows. No such luck! I had a few windows in the 13 month and went on a short holiday, overdid things and caught a cold. I had bad symptoms for about 8 weeks. Only 1 full window the 14th month. The longer windows appeared in the 15th month with more moderate symptoms. I thought I was back on track and looked forward to the 16th month. I had 1 window again…I became so disillusioned at this time. I soldiered on and the 17th month showed as mild – moderate symptoms, sometimes lifting at noon and a few long day stretches of windows. I hit the 18month healing stage and became upset at how long all this was taking and now I can call myself protracted. Although I do not expect a switch to be flicked at this mark on the calender. I am almost 19 months off and can see I now have 2 full windows every week. Amidst all of this are still bad days of excruciating symptoms that I wish would just go away – why are they still around so far out. It is so soul destroying and today I feel defeated – again! I know a window is round the corner so I keep on battling through. I trust the process and believe in those who have gone before me, but there is still that niggling little voice that puts me in doubt. These drugs should be banned except for extreme circumstances and surgical use.

  2. I have been on benzos for approximately 13-15 years and I’m losing hope. There are no Dr’s where I live that will help me, they either say they only help with Opioids or don’t know how to taper me, or just say I don’t deal with benzos. I’m in excruciating physical pain 24/7 except the hour and half of sleep if I’m lucky, sometimes I don’t sleep at all.
    As You Said “We Need More Support And Doctors That Understand The Process Of Tapering”
    How do we go about doing this? I think it should be mandatory for a Dr to take courses in medical school and practicing Dr’s to go through special training. At times I want to give up. How do we get Dr’s to do something with this crisis?
    Someone needs go to Washington DC as benzos do more harm than Opioids as I was on Opioids for years and tapered myself off, but it’s impossible for me to taper off Ativan, I tried and I just want to die its so horrible the pain I experienced. I didn’t start the benzos on my own, my pain management Dr treating me for an autoimmune disease said the Ativan would help relieve the stress from my pain and cause less pain, but I was never told the harm benzos do and he didn’t know how to taper me. I’m already experiencing cognitive issues along with my horrifying physical pain. I’m not able to sit, stand, or lay down without excruciating pain. The benzos had caused me to be in a wheelchair due to so much pain walking and I’m mostly bedridden as it hurts terribly to sit in the wheelchair. I am totally isolated from everything and everyone including my adult children and grandchildren.
    How do we get Dr’s to do something for this crisis?

    1. I wanted to mention I am on 8 mg Ativan a day and some days 9 mg as well as Soma. When I told my pain management Dr I was having interdose withdrawal long ago, he just said no I’m not, but gave me Soma to take with the Ativan, so I have been on 350 plus half of the 350 to add, so thats 350 mg 4x a day plus an Xtra 175 mg added to the 350 mg Soma a total of 525 mg, but I only take the Xtra 175 two to 3x a day added to the 350 mg. All the horrifying pain myself and what others are going through is nothing more than inhumane.

  3. Hello

    Im looking to start tapering off of 15mg of diazepam. Ive also been diagnosed with cirs . I’m confused on whether to start cirs treatment or start tapering the benzo. I heard that Dr. Christy Huff has spoken about benzo withdrawal at a recent cirs conference. Is it at all possible to get in touch with her or her team? Does she provide consultations. Thank. you

  4. I just read the 19 comments, all true especially the breathing problems and blood pressure swings. I have been prescribed clonazepam for over 15 years, VA Dr instructed me that he was taking me off the benzo asap. He said oh 5 or 6 days and it’s out of your system, well 4 trips to the hospital with grand mal seizures and no luck in getting any of my doctors to recommend a taper, I tried everything and finally found the Ashton manual online. It’s been over 2 years of living hell. I don’t know how this will end but it may be many more years until I see improvement. The neglect and ridicule from Drs is criminal, this medication is not a good thing it’s poison that alters your physiology, brain, nervous system. And it requires long gradual supervised taper to minimize permanent damage from cold turkey or tapering too fast. I’m not one to stir the pot but when I experience how horrific this problem is I have to fight this inhumane treatment with all I have. God bless the good Drs and clinicians who try to do what’s right “do no harm “ and all patients that have suffered this atrocity must fight for justice.

  5. So thankful for Dr Christy Huff who provided support and information during my 5 year taper. In all it took 10 years to get off the Benzos and sleep med. as prescribed by my Dr. I’m now 5 years post all drugs. Yay! The most difficult terrifying thing I’ve ever lived through. Still have symptoms but I’m doing much better.

  6. Thank you so much for giving a voice to the voiceless. For providing scientific backing and research to the mostly unacknowledged suffering of Benzodiazapam users, most especially whilst trying to discontinue the use / taper of Benzodiazapams and the horrors of withdrawal. Please c

  7. Who can I talk to about my benzodiazepine taper which I am towards the end of having started my taper over 16 months ago from 3, one milligram tablets of alprazolam prescribed by my primary care doctor over 18 years ago. Need info on what time spect post taper re: paws and protracted withdrawal system. I assume these are the factors I need information on.

    I have also been taking Bupinorphine/Naloxone or Suboxone going on 10+ years as well. Started with the prescribed dosage of (3) 8 milligram tabs of Suboxone and quickly went down too (2) 8 mg. About three years into it I wanted off badly so I tapered myself down to under 2 mg’s of Suboxone films and stopped taking the suboxone over six times, each time I stopped for over six months and some up to a year plus before the withdrawal symptoms came back around so quickly I had no choice but to start them up again. Biggest side effect was the absolute worst depression you could ever imagine. Told this to many doctors and every one of them did everything but call me a liar to my face which I wish they would have, it would be less degrading. My biggest concern or fear is the absolutely debilitating breathing or respiratory issues I have been dealing with for over 7 years now with hospitalization five times over that time span. I have gone to hemotologist and pulmonologists and have been very adamant that this condition is so severe that it has kept me from working for over seven years and they will not approve me for Dissabilty which I have applied for six times with no luck. I even told my pulmonologist that I’m sure it’s due to the two medications I am taking together, Suboxone and alprazolam because I have read many times they can cause respiratory issues if combined togeather. This claim was also dissmissed stating that the dosage that I’m on can’t cause respiratory problems. Now that I have done more research and have read more studies I’m almost certain this is the factor and one of the main reasons I am discontinuing my benzodiazepine use and am very close to achieving that goal with no relief to my respiratory issues as of yet. They may be getting worse. I watched a video with Nichole from medicating normal and Dr. Michale Boham and Dr. Boham spoke of a patient he needed to revive in his waiting room due to respiratory failure from taking Bupinorphine and benzodiazepines togeather and he also spoke about how dangerous being on the two medications combined can be and how that is the first thing he addresses with any patient he has on the two medications. Not any of the 15-20 doctors I have adamantly spoken to about this, even while being rushed to the emergency room a half dozen times and spending between 6-18 days at my longest stay in the hospital and over these past 7+ years dealing with this I have gotten nothing but a phobia to going to see anymore doctors and I now stay at home 24/7 and only go out once a month because I’m forced to do I can get the medications that are keeping me in this state of mind and not because I’m week but because they are impossible to get off of. I am almost completely done with my long term benzodiazepine use and the Suboxone’s are next, only because I can’t live like this anymore not being able to work or leave my home. Yet I still have lost my family who assumes I’m a drug addict and every doctor I’ve seen over the past 15 years assumes that I go out of my way to seek these drugs because I get high off of them! Yet I’m a hostage but like I said nobody will listen to me.

    Please don’t respond back telling me that your to busy making your next documentary and please try to help me find out who I can talk with who would take me serious as I believe Dr. Michale Boham would but cannot locate his contact information.

    I really hope you can help me some how.

    Thank you,

    David B.

  8. After seven years, I still suffer greatly but each year the condition becomes a bit more bearable. I was prescribed Ativan by my Primary Care Physician. Was in and out of emergency rooms numerous times. Docs saw that the only med I took was Ativan and never put two and two together. The prescribing of benzos should be deemed criminal by our legal system. I may never be the same again. Sincerely, Ellen Everman Deaton

  9. As of 2/18/2024 I am 14 months benzo-free. I am an Ativan,(Lorazepam) survivor. 23 months on a drug that is to be prescribed at the lowest possible dose for NO LONGER than 2-4 weeks. 23 months on a drug I took religiously,3 times a day, “as prescribed” when it is SUPPOSED to be used as a “prn/as needed” dose,in the smallest amount for 2-4 weeks. My interdose withdrawal started nearly immediately with “dope sickness” that was relieved only by another Ativan. When I said I was afraid I was becoming addicted,my family “doctor” informed me of the following:”…you don’t have an addictive personality type,so I’m not worried about you”.Well,I was plenty worried about me. When I finally KNEW I was terribly dependent/addicted and tried to talk with him,he told me that “when the time came” HE would “help me get off Ativan”, That time NEVER came. His parting words to me were that I would:”…be on whatever meds. God wanted me on”(!). I wonder now, WHO he thought was God? Very scary,and I was scared for my life. He never saw me again and while he was “dealing” 90 Ativan tabs with 3 refills at a time to me he NEVER had me in his office. All “virtual” through a screen,as this was 2021 and he refused to see me in person. At this point,I knew that the “doctor” had no intention of helping me,so I found a doctor who,although equally benzo illiterate,would write the script so I could wean myself off. I had,by this time found the life-saving “Ashton Manuel” online. It took me from April 2022-Dec.2022 to slowly wean myself off 1.5 mg,(0.5mg TID) of Ativan per day using Dr Ashton’s “cut and hold” method. It.Was. Hell. As Dr Ashton says:”nothing substitutes for a benzo,but a benzo”,so I utterly refused starting ANY other drugs. The withdrawal is FIERCE. Know that and take it as it comes. Read the “Ashton Manual” and follow it as though your life depends on it. It very well may.Don’t expect the “dope-dealers -in white-coats” to help or know how to even access or read the “Ashton Manual”,even though it’s widely available. They are dangerously ignorant and willfully in denial of the dangers of wrongly prescribed benzos that THEY are dealing out like a “Pez”candy dispenser. No patient should EVER have to come “hat in hand”,begging for help and literally, their life, from an incompetent,reckless,clueless,arrogant, “healthcare provider”.I am FREE of Ativan and more importantly the “dope-dealing-white-coated-killer”who so dangerously put my very life at risk.. These “doctors” don’t need “educated”,they need unemployment.

  10. I dont believe anybody should be taken off this drug abruptly.
    The American Medical Association must be made to address this benzodiazapine epidemic immediately before more people’s lifes are destroyed. I feel that the primary care doctor who took my primary care doctors position stopped this drug abruptly on me was using it as a weapon against me for whatever reason that it didn’t seem to me that she liked me. By the way this primary care physician’s rating is a 2.9.

  11. I was prescribed clonazopam 13 years ago after my husband passed away for anxiety . 1mg 3 x a day and then .05 mg max 3xs a day for remaining years my new psychiatric NP started taper immediately took away 1 pill so still .05 mg max 2x a day been with that for four months she seems to be pleased that I have not to date had to be seen in the emergency room ie for panic attack. I’m in a lot of physical pain and I don’t know if it’s do to being tapered off . I suspect that next step will be only 1 pill maximum daily dose . I honestly don’t think drs really no of side effects or about withdrawal symptoms. Any info for me would be greatly appreciated. I am a 49 year old female who had no idea what a benzo was when I was prescribed by psychiatrist 13 years ago .

    1. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you. Unfortunately your physical pain is probably due to withdrawal. It seems like you are being tapered too fast. Ask if you can slow it down. I have withdrawal with horrific physical pain 24/7 minus the hour or hour and half I might sleep. May God be with you during this terrible time in your life.

  12. I still find that a lot of PCPs are ignorant about withdrawal from BENZOS. They tend to refer you to specialists who can be equally ignorant. Ex. a gastroenteroligist I was referred to knew nothing. I was on a benzo for 30 years, not requested but given to me as I had a horrendous reaction to prednisone. I had difficulty with proper word retrieval. One pill of Limbitrol DS took care of the problem. No doctor I had suggested getting off the pills.The company stopped making them at the beginning of the pandemic. New doctors in two states, I was on vacation for a short time, told me to stay off all meds and I would be fine. I returned home to a new PCP who hooked me up with nurse specialist where I was put on diazepam for 6 months. I have been on no meds since then. It will be 4 years drug free this August 2024. I have relied solely on your organization, Dr. Janet Leigh, benzo buddies, books, research to survive. I have only physical reactions. Doctors view them as minor especially when you give them a long list. Being in BIND IS NOT EASY. I am not interested in seeing a psychiatrist who basically are interested in prescribing more drugs or dealing with mental problems. ( Suggested by doctors I know, your organization and others – avoid them. I have a good PCP now who I am trying to educate.) Right now burning nerves, painful joints and stomach issues, etc. I am dealing with. My biggest concern is the reaction that I got from the third Covid shot that I got a year ago. It made the nerve burning a severe one for many days. I am in too much pain now to entertain another shot. We know the shots make people worse and that Pavlovid and other remedies are not suggested. I am 81 years old and see people outdoors, never inside. My husband is healthy but stays out of buildings as well. I should be playing golf with him! Please let me know where I can find good information on these Covid shots and what to do. I am hoping that a nasal delivery system may come along that could be better tolerated. There have to be

  13. I was prescribed benzodiazepines for a total of 27 years–first, Xanax, and then, Klonopin, because I had a movement disorder: blepharospasms (a dystonia which was cured two years ago by neuroplasticity therapy, not by drugs, surgery, or medical Botox injections). Although a series of doctors over those years kept blithely—and I know now, carelessly—prescribing a benzo that should not be taken longer than 3 weeks, not one doctor would agree to help me taper off after nearly three decades. In fact, my then primary care doctor, who had been writing my Klonopin prescription for many years, suddenly treated me as though I were a junkie when I asked her to taper me off of it slowly and refused to write another prescription.
    The only medical person who came to my rescue was a functional medicine MD. He wrote a Klonopin prescription for me and recommended supplements. I tapered gradually on my own and became benzo-free…but not without a host of painful and nerve-wracking withdrawal symptoms, some of which lasted several months after I completed the taper.
    I feel extremely fortunate that all those years of taking Klonopin did not leave me with a brain no longer capable of normal GABA uptake, because I’ve read that can happen. There is no way I’d every knowingly take another one. And I made sure my current primary care doctor knows it. Is it any wonder that I no longer trust traditional medical practitioners?

  14. We need people that have had experience in withdrawal from benzos to speak at group functions or whatever.
    The docs just aren’t helping us. Not a lot of support out there with understanding of this hellacious wd process we go thru.
    I so wish more understanding was out there about wd from benzos..and especially the duration it can take to recover.
    I’m very protracted and have been for yrs.
    Thank you for all you do.

  15. My own doctors response to my tapering myself because no one would help me in the medical community was, “I don’t know why you want to do this to yourself.” In other words they’d have just kept me on them. I have been off all now for more than two years but still have issues with severe pain in my head that comes on. I have only been belittled and poo poo’d but my doctors when I’ve tried to discuss my issues from both getting off and now being off these medications. I have a fear of being in a compromised state and be given these medications again. I no longer trust physicians and feel unsafe going to them. I take no medication now and take the stance that medical issues will probably eventually kill me because no doctors listen or are honest-it’s only about money and numbers now and no longer about my well being.

  16. I was prescribed lorazepam for anxiety after a TBI. I was suffering anxiety attacks that I did not have prior to the TBI. I am also an alcoholic that had been sober for 2 years. I was not given any information as to the risks. My research online says that it is not a long-term solution – showed that it should only be prescribed for 2-4 weeks. I was on them for 4 months and was experiencing short term memory issues from them that I did not have prior to starting them. My doctor increased the amount from 18 pills per week to 60 without even consulting me. How can he increase the prescription of this drug without even checking in with the patient? I found out about the increase from my Walgreens phone app. One day, I took some in the morning and I have no recollection of taking another 40 pills over that day (0.5mg). That was scary enough that I quit them cold turkey after that point.

  17. Not only have I NOT been helped by the medical community including the Dr who prescribed those.I have been ostracized and labeled a a drug addict. My own pharmacy where I have been going to for thirty years accused me of Dr shopping to get pills ( yelled at me thru the plexiglass ) Not one medical professional has tried to help me.
    Rather then admit their ignorance on this epidemic they label you. They all should have their licenses revoked.
    As a 72 year old woman whose only reason for taking lorazepam at the suggestion of her Dr. was because of her husbands horrible death. NEVER was a word spoken about addiction.
    Four months I have been on this poison. I could have got off had any of the many so called “ professionals tried to help. I had to resort to online support to get any help.
    This has been a nightmare. I am a shell of a person I was. Lost over thirty lbs. The only high I ever got was from my weightlifting and cardio not from this poison. And after thirty years of exercising it disappeared after only 4 months. Shame on all those Doctors and psychiatrist who put me down and refused to help.

    1. It’s not just doctors who will not admit their ignorance. It’s their culpability in this pandemic of benzodiazepine dependence that they caused.
      They care only about protecting their license and their business practice not about helping the victims they created.
      Like in so many other ways, they are not held accountable for their actions. They prefer to blame the victim. In this case, the patients who took their medication as prescribed, and now are being treated like criminals.
      As for Dr. seekers? You bet we are Dr. seekers. We are looking for that rare needle in a haystack doctor, who understands that every patient is an individual, that Benzo patients are not criminals, and that they need a tapering schedule tailored to their circumstances, their bio chemistry and ability to tolerate withdrawal side effects and their timeframe.
      So far as the Hippocratic oath to “1st, do no harm,” most doctors have blown it as it relates to Benzo dependence. They should lose their license or be sued or both.

  18. When prescribing benzos, a tapering plan should be included at the beginning of the time a patient begins taking this drug and should be followed by the prescribing doctor. These drugs should not be banned until everyone currently on them tapers off successfully. Some may never be able to taper off. Banning this drug is a very dangerous idea.

    1. Many folks are out there trying to do it themselves meaning taper slowly off Benzos.it can be done even after many years .So banning is a terrible horrible idea now with so many tapering far many more than ppl think trying to cut back slowlt safely .If given enough time a s i said most can do it leave benzos available esp to those tapering it will help all in long run,,Panic attacks themselves were horrible horrible horrible these drugs did and have provided relief to the intensive suffering and kept us out of the ER its complicated and this alll take s patience time Finally there is a lot of hope keep positive there is a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel

      1. Just an other fast comment on Benzo withdrawal MDs dont know of .Benzos and the GUt specifially fatigue and Benzo belly.Alot of folks feel their anxiety in the Gut and stomach and benzos interfere /interact w at bacteria that absorb help you digest and produce gas so in with drwal this becomes a prblem to deal with bu t it can be done so eating healthy and light no acid or spice bland and sparingly will help alot too in many ways