Update for Nov. 2021

From the Beating Benzos Facebook Group.....

A brief update on the benzo situation as David and I see it at this moment in time. It’s now ten years since we started investigating Benzos and the withdrawal phenomenon and fifty years since that day I first took a benzo for sleep due to a hormonal imbalance caused by my early, enforced menopause. I only wish I knew then what I know now.

To be honest in all that time very little has changed in the practice of prescribing Benzos or Z drugs and in the knowledge of the dangers these medications can cause. They remain a ‘go to’ drug for many doctors and psychiatrists if a patient comes to them complaining of anxiety or insomnia just as I did all those years ago. There may be guidelines warning of the necessity for limited prescribing but even these are not always followed.

The size and number of the many benzo groups on Facebook alone reveals the extent of the problem and the numerous conflicting answers to quite simple questions show the complexities of the situation. I’ve so often asked myself, ‘Is all this confusion truly beneficial towards helping people recover as quickly as possible?’ Only you can answer that as you recover but certainly belonging to one or two trusted groups can help in educating members safely in the management of their benzo induced symptoms while they recover. I still maintain that knowledge is power and confusion creates fear.

All I can say with any surety after being involved in this for so long is that recovery is individual and can never be compared to that of somebody else’s. We still don’t know why this is although lots of suggestions have been put forward. It remains a conundrum even after 60 years of benzo prescribing.

What we do understand is that there are no hard and fast rules for recovery that are going to suit everybody. Adding further drugs and supplements can help or hinder; reinstating or updosing can cause increased symptoms or ameliorate them; a slow taper can help but not always; detox may be successful or lead to a protracted recovery; exercise may increase symptoms or calm them; diets can help or cause further stress…..there are many other contradictions which I won’t go into here but reveal how difficult it is to advise anybody on their own healing. Please be very, very wary of any advice you follow especially if it’s prescriptive and based only on one person’s benzo experience.

To finish I want to reassure you we will do our best to maintain a safe environment in all our Facebook Benzo groups to allow freedom of expression and sharing of information to help you towards your own recovery. We will continue to make the Ashton Manual and Heather’s updates as the basis for any suggestions as well as any new research material on benzos that may become available. Always remember you are recovering in your own time and in your own way and we will do our utmost to support everybody in this. Don’t forget to read the Success stories in Guides 17 and 20 because focussing on Hope and Optimism will carry you through the worst times.

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Where Am I Now?

As to my own recovery journey.......At this moment I feel calmer and am working on my overreaction to situations as this is a remaining problem for me. Years of being controlled by a benzo has prevented me learning the basic skill of life as my emotions have returned and now need to be helped to calm to normal levels. I also continue to be plagued by congestion and rhinitis but I've no doubt I am continuing to heal. 
Love and Healing ❤️


 

October 2021

Update for Oct. 2021

I haven’t written my final success story as promised in my previous blog posts but the reason is obvious, it just hasn’t fully materialised yet. Whether it will now after so long I don’t know but neither do I want to scare those of you who are in the early stages. This is my recovery after forty years of Benzos and a cold turkey plus my age now at 76. This is not you.

I am now nine years off next month. Nine years of ups and downs, twist and turns, and the obvious non linear pattern that dependence on benzodiazepine drugs brings as the body and brain tweak one down regulated receptor after another. These GABAA receptors are present throughout our physical form and I sometimes wonder even our spiritual presence! Hence the myriad of symptoms and confusing nature of the process.

Over the years I’ve received help from UK Support lines and some compassionate people who help others through with their own knowledge. At this moment in time not one of these people remains in contact and sadly, either because of death, illness or perhaps even believing themselves that after so long off this is not going to happen for me. Long Protracted people have only each other to reach out to and we certainly do. We have few long protracted stories to continue to give us hope, I’m talking eight years plus away from benzos.

This all sounds like terrible doom and gloom but I should emphasise that the addition of COVID concerns over the last year or so have only contributed towards further fear and a restrictive life that has prevented me fully engaging with friends as I would like to. A few remain supportive but again, once suffering an iatrogenic illness for so long with no obvious evidence of this, friends may fall away. Most want to continue to believe in a medical profession that can do no harm and who can blame them.

Sadly more and more evidence is becoming publicised for the dangers that some prescription drugs can cause, especially psychotropic drugs. Unfortunately these may only be disregarded by the family GP because he or she hasn’t received the necessary education on the actions of the drugs they prescribe or how to withdraw patients from them safely. It remains an ever increasing problem. Even the NICE guidelines for doctors in the UK don’t get adhered to so more and more benzo victims come on line for support and our Facebook groups continue to grow.

 Where Am I Now?

As those that follow my previous blog posts will be aware I have often declared myself almost fully recovered several times only to be plunged back down into Satan’s pit within a few days. My pattern has been one of windows and waves written about before here. Since last February I’ve suffered one long wave but I am reluctant to add that I also had the first Pfizer Covid vaccination in February. It could be the cause as a new symptom arrived soon after and remains with me to this day; that of congestion, rhinitis etc which has sometimes made breathing difficult at night. This in turn has increased the problem of insomnia. I was advised not to have further doses for now. I am not anti-vax and really wanted to protect my family as well as myself and have now seen many in benzodiazepine withdrawal, either tapering or well off, have these jabs with no reaction. Once again luck of the draw!

I still remain drug and supplement free and my health status is actually very good for my age with no other disorders and an excellent blood profile and `blood pressure. I have learnt to steer well clear of all supplements, herbs, vitamins, amino acids and the such like and the only extra I allow myself is a tiny dose of melatonin occasionally to help me through the long nights, below 0.5mg. I can’t really emphasise enough how seemingly important it is not to add chemical substitutes for a good, healthy diet to facilitate recovery. I’ll add here that I find intermittent fasting of great benefit and I only eat between the hours of 9am and 6pm which I’m hoping to extend.

I will continue to add updates in this section as my aim is to eventually provide that so needed HOPE for those far away from their last prescription benzodiazepine or even antidepressant or antipsychotic which can have a similar withdrawal profile. My Benzo groups remain active and great support for those that need to talk to others so please join for further help. This is the link to the main group but please answer entry questions for admission……

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Beatingbenzos/