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Prolonged Withdrawal– Will It Ever End?

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  1. What do you make of this abstract, then:

    The prolonged benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome: anxiety or hysteria?

    Higgitt A, Fonagy P, Toone B, Shine P.

    Source

    St Charles Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

    Abstract

    “In an attempt to establish whether prolonged withdrawal symptoms after stopping intake of benzodiazepines is caused by return of anxiety, hysteria, abnormal illness behaviour or the dependence process itself producing perhaps a prolonged neurotransmitter imbalance, a group of such patients suffering prolonged withdrawal symptoms (PWS) was compared on a range of psychophysiological measures with matched groups of anxious and conversion hysteria patients and normal controls. It was found that the psychophysiological markers of anxiety were not marked in the PWS group; nor were the averaged evoked response abnormalities found to be associated with cases of hysterical conversion in evidence. The PWS group were hard to distinguish from normal controls on the basis of psychophysiological measures and thus it was felt to be unlikely to be an affective disturbance. It was concluded that PWS is likely to be a genuine iatrogenic condition, a complication of long-term benzodiazepine treatment.”

    • I think you are missing my point.

      It is an ABSTRACT. I receive submissions to journals often– each from a group of researchers from a university I’ve usually heard of…. convinced that they are really onto something. But when you pick it apart— redo the statistics, challenge the assumptions, look at the data independently— you find that the study has no merit. The abstract you posted is an opinion of one group of people. I notice they look at ‘matched groups of anxious and conversion hysteria patients and normal controls’, for example. How were they matched? By income? By educational status? By their upbringing? Or by all of those things? Why would they use ‘conversion hysteria patients’– a diagnosis that is rarely seen in modern times? What would the results have been if instead of ‘conversion hysteria’, they had used matched controls who had panic disorder or PTSD?

      Go to clinicaltrials.gov. Or go to a major medical center and visit their electronic library. Every day, thousands and thousands of new studies appear. 99.9% of them are never replicated, and contain information that by itself is misleading. Wouldn’t you think that the paragraph above, and the other abstract you listed that suggested an association with benzos and dementia, would have an impact on people… if they were valid? The FDA turned down Probuphine a month ago because it caused too much nausea…. yet benzos remain on schedule IV, in all sorts of doses and types… so you think that the FDA is in on some vast conspiracy, and is deliberately ignoring data that shows harm from benzos?

      What’s funny is that I HATE benzos; I think they do more harm than good… just not for the reasons that you do. But I’ve had these discussions before, with people who discover how to search science abstracts and think they are really onto something…. and I’m sorry, but it would be like me reading about being a pilot and thinking that I can argue with a test pilot about wind shear.

      Remember the silicone breast implant story– the 2 billion dollars paid by Dow for claims, and all of the testimony by ‘victims’ who had autoimmune disorders from implants? And now we know, for certain– it was all garbage. All of the ‘victims’ were wrong. Multiple large studies have concluded that there is NO association. But for a while, there were tons of abstracts and articles that described the association. Since then, silicone implants were quietly put back on the market by the FDA. End of story.

      I think I’ve spent enough time on this issue…

      • I think you have spent enough time on the issue as well, since you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.
        Unless you have experienced benzo withdrawal, please don’t try to tell us we’re imagining it.
        It is real and it is proven.

      • Couldn’t agree more, Quack… This is an appalling article written by someone who, if he had only suffered ONE of the more notable benzo WD symptoms – chronic, agitated insomnia for a year or more, for instance – wouldn’t be long relating to the reality here and arriving at an altogether different conclusion.

        Before you could say “hyperglutamatergic excitotoxicity”), this boy was as quick as the alternative crowd he denigrates to pull an untested hypothesis outta the sky (“brain imprinting”!) and claim it as a “scientific” explanation.

        Pffft!

  2. Dr,

    I know that you are not in favor of prescribing benzos long term, but I am mentioning these points in case anyone else comes across this and doubts the chance of being debilitated long term after stopping the drug…

    We all know that “studies” are to be taken with a grain of salt because we are dealing with THE MOST unreliable medium to ever exist which is a human being.

    I will also say that ‘knowledge’ is a relative term. I know of a self-proclaimed fitness guru in the form of a skinny/fat 18 yr old kid who regurgitates fitness & supplement facts from pubmed articles.

    Now on paper & in video he sounds smart, but does he look the part? Not at all, because he never did the work, he never went through a real diet or training program to get in shape, he just spews out “facts” and these facts always have outliers & majorities. YES there are certain people who can still lose weight by eating potato chips everyday. NO the majority of us can’t, but it exists…

    The aforementioned is not about you Dr. but it IS about many others, I know you went through your battle.

    ************************************

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1978465

    “It was concluded that PWS is likely to be a genuine iatrogenic condition, a complication of long-term benzodiazepine treatment.”

    ************************************

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1675899

    “Twenty-one patients completed an intensive in-patient and out-patient group-based programme, to achieve withdrawal from long-term benzodiazepine dependence. By 6-month follow-up (post-withdrawal), eight patients (38%) had achieved a ‘good’ outcome.”

  3. t improve as a cyclist because of good cycling training.
    Any sort of communication is better than no communication.
    Download the Toronto Cycling App for Android or i – Phone.

  4. I was prescribed valium (20-30 mg daily) for relief from a severe leg cramp which is a symptom of idiopathic sensory/motor neuropathy. I took this drug successfully for over a decade. When my family physician retired, I could find no other medical professional in my area who would continue the script. Therefore, a cold turkey scenario was my fate. Ten months later, I still have regular episodes of diaherra and dry heaves—these symptoms occur approximately every 3 weeks. Other symptoms include tinnitus (very loud) cold and shaking, insomnia (3 hrs a night) a others. I don’t believe I can stand this for another 6 months as the literature suggests. Appreciate any comments or suggestions.

    • I’m grasping at straws, but I wonder if gabapentin would help. It is not a controlled substance so more doctors will prescribe it; it is often used to treat anxiety by docs who don’t want to prescribe benzodiazepines. It is structurally related to GABA, but it isn’t clear how it works. It increases the amount of GABA at the synapse and may aid GABA production. Benzos work by increading GABA activity.

  5. As Dr J knows, there are MANY medications that can help with neuropathy, sleep disorders, anxiety, etc. Back in the 1960’s a stockbroker wrote a book about his (good) experience w phenytoin for what sounded like bipolar spectrum disorder…and sent it to every doc in the country! (A Remarkable Medicine Has Been Overlooked)

    A good family doc or psychiatrist may be willing to try you on a number of meds for your symptoms. The problem with all of them is they don’t work for everybody. In fact, my reading tells me that most work on less than half the folks who use them. If you try enough different ones, it’s likely one will work for you. (Gabapentin, pregabalin, venlafaxine, other SSRIs, SNRIs, valproate, other anticonvulsants, high dose fish oil, benfotiamine, codeine, iron, B12, tricyclics, lidocaine infusion or topical, etc. etc. etc.)

  6. 3-1/2 years off a c/t and my spasticity is almost beyond belief ,can’t walk!

    • I am so sorry about your continuing side? effects! I was totally weaned off of Clonazepam and then Cymbalta as of
      September 2016. Shortly after I began experiencing continuing dizziness, tinnitus, very awkward gait, very
      uncoordinated…was playing pickleball almost every day up until these symptoms manifested. I pray we both can
      find a safe way to move on!

  7. I could deal with this if there was a tiny sign of improvement ,it’s the worsening each year and lately each week ,that is so insane and too hard to accept.people around us are burnt out on putting up with us and some tell me to just snap out of it and all I tell them is chemically induced brain damage like any kind of brain damage means the brain has to heal and we have no mental ability to control our issue ,just like you can’t use a broken arm until it heals ,same with a brain! But none except others like us understand!,and this is me in year 5 !

  8. I could deal with this if there was a tiny sign of improvement ,it’s the worsening each year and lately each week ,that is so insane and too hard to accept.people around us are burnt out on putting up with us and some tell me to just snap out of it and all I tell them is chemically induced brain damage like any kind of brain damage means the brain has to heal and we have no mental ability to control our issue ,just like you can’t use a broken arm until it heals ,same with a brain! But none except others like us understand! And this for me is my 5th year of this and 4 doctors over 5 years have been clueless ,so sad for us that no professional help is out there!

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