The Idiosyncrasies of Recovery from Benzos

Posted on 6th January 2020

This may be useful information to explain the idiosyncrasies of recovering from these drugs. I'm not sure who the original,author was...

‘The reason I believe that there is so much speculation is because the overwhelming majority of information we have on benzo withdrawal is peer driven. We are literally making things up as we go, in order to make some kind of sense out of this condition, which for the most part, is filled with inconsistencies and paradoxical outcomes. I'm going to list a few of them.

The first and most important one is that the severity or duration of withdrawal is not proportionate to either the size of the dose one took or the length of time one was taking it. There are people who were on huge doses for long periods of time who had relatively mild withdrawals in terms of both severity and duration. Conversely there have been people on relatively small doses for short periods of time, as short as two weeks, who have suffered immensely and for exaggerated periods of time. This is the most frustratingly confusing part of withdrawal because it means there is a huge part of it that we don't understand. A broken bone heals pretty much in the same way, in the same amount of time for everyone, unless you have some genetic disorder. Most illnesses affect us in proportion to the strength of our immune systems. Benzo withdrawal has no clear measurable expectation of severity or duration. It is therefore something we can only speculate on because the mind is forced to speculate when there is an absence of information. That's pretty much one of it's core functions. We will fill that void with whatever makes sense to us and makes us comfortable.

The second inconsistency is the non-linear aspect of recovery, where one's symptoms at 40 months out can be more severe than those at 4 months out. Again, there is no parallel, at least that I can think of, in the medical world for this type of recovery. In the absence of this parallel, people will again attempt to fill the void of information with whatever makes sense to them. It is much easier to do that with subjective experience than objective, because there are so few consistencies in the limited amount of anecdotal evidence across the benzo world. We are much more prone to believe in what we have experienced than what others claim to experience. For example, when somebody comes on and claims that a particular supplement or vitamin gave them a window, the initial reaction of many people is to try it as well, despite the widely held belief that nothing helps. When somebody tries it and sees no effect on their condition or is actually sent into a bad wave, they will immediately dismiss it. But that doesn't mean that for that particular person, on that particular day, that bit of supplement or vitamin didn't actually minutely have an effect on them. We don't know because we have no way of measuring it, because we have no real understanding of the mechanism.

When it comes to the idea of doing too much, of over-exertion, it is simply something we have adopted from other illnesses. When you over-exert yourself when you have the flu, you will likely increase the severity of the symptoms and possibly extend the recovery period. This is pretty much the standard accepted belief for all illnesses. The reason being is that you are diverting cell energy required for healing to other areas and functions of the body. As a matter of fact, the body is designed to shut down certain functions in order to not divert that energy. This is why we feel weak when we try to get out of bed when we have the flu. The body is attempting to limit the divergence of cell energy away from the immune system. At other times, the body will cause you to pass out. When there is trauma to the brain, the body will go into a coma to protect it.

When it comes to recovery from benzo withdrawal, which we believe is the reemergence of down-regulated GABA receptors, something that requires cell energy in order to occur, the idea of not diverting energy away from that function makes sense to me. Whether that is factual or not, or whether it actually has an effect is irrelevant because we don't have the information we need to make that determination. If it makes sense to you that there is no effect and that the process of upregulation is occurring in a disconnected manner from the level of activity we are participating in, then it is impossible for me to argue with you because I have nothing to support that my opinion is somehow more valid than yours. Until we have some scientific discoveries, both are valid hypotheses until proven otherwise.

Why the idea of being able to affect one's withdrawal by doing too much makes sense to me is because there are already widely held beliefs that we can affect it in other ways. Fox example, it is widely believed that alcohol is to be avoided because we believe that the same GABA A receptors are effected by both. If this is actually true, and we don't know for sure because there is conflicting anecdotal evidence, then the notion of other things having a negative effect on withdrawal makes sense to me. If we are cautioning people against cold turkeying or jumping from too high a dose, then we are operating under the idea that we have some kind of control over our outcomes, even though there are stories out there of people going through a cold turkey and only suffering a short period of time, while at the same time people who have jumped from the smallest possible way of cutting a pill go on to suffer for an extended period of time.

All I know is that at this point in time, there are no absolutes and all we can do is put forth our anecdotal experiences and share them with others, in the hopes that somehow we can make sense of what we are going through, until finally we aren't going through it anymore. ‘ (unknown author)

Useful to remember when talking and receiving advice from others in Benzo groups because there just aren't any 'givens' and you should always be your own advocate knowing that nobody's recovery will be the same as yours. 

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