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.
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.
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