Nicole Lamberson, PA
Nicole is a Physician Assistant residing in Virginia. She obtained a BS at James Madison University in 2000 and then went on to complete the Master of Physician Assistant program at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2004. She practiced in an Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine setting until severe illness from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome left her unable to work.
In 2005, she was prescribed Xanax for “work-related stress”. Over the course of five years, she developed many classic symptoms of benzodiazepine tolerance withdrawal, which multiple psychiatrists misdiagnosed as mental illness. This resulted in prescribed polypharmacy to “treat” the troubling symptoms of tolerance, including two benzodiazepines prescribed simultaneously, a Z-drug, an antidepressant, and an antipsychotic. In late 2010, after discovering a magazine article authored by a journalist experiencing similar symptoms from his prescribed benzodiazepine, Nicole was prompted to research further and made the connection between her own troubling symptoms and the medication. This was followed by her immediate decision to withdraw. Unfortunately, lacking the proper guidance or information at the time regarding the absolute need for a slow taper, she was negligently cold-turkeyed in a detox center. This ultimately resulted in a severe and protracted withdrawal syndrome that persists to date. When symptoms allow, Nicole writes about benzodiazepines and their potential for severe and/or protracted withdrawal syndrome and volunteers her time helping with ongoing benzodiazepine awareness initiatives, including Benzodiazepine Information Coalition. She hopes to continue to use her lived experience to advocate for more education and awareness around benzodiazepine risks and harms as well as for changes in prescribing and withdrawal practices. Other interests include the primal lifestyle, cooking, and spending time with her supportive family.
Doctors, Patients Struggle with Benzodiazepine Use, Matt Smith, WebMD, May 16, 2019
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2018 Podcast, James Moore, Mad In America, July 11, 2018
Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair with Prescription Medication, Teresa Carr, Consumer Reports, August 3, 2017
Are benzodiazepines “the worst thing that’s ever happened to people”?, KevinMD, July 17, 2019
Why Prescribed Benzo Patients Shouldn’t Go To Detox or Rehab, Medshadow, June 12, 2019
The tip of the iatrogenic iceberg, KevinMD, March 1, 2019
Words can hurt those on benzodiazepines, KevinMD, September 20, 2018