What your doctors won’t tell you about benzo withdrawal

The Huffington Post recently published one view on benzos and benzo withdrawal. Here’s a patient’s account of the reality of the situation and a plan for what needs to happen to prevent future suffering.

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The Huffington Post recently published one view about benzos. But it’s missing the patient experience. Here’s another view, with a section at the end for your comments, questions, and general feedback. (If you write us, we’ll try to respond to you personally!)

Remember that the sooner you seek help to quit benzodiazepine addiction for yourself or a loved one, the greater the chances for long-term recovery success. You can learn more about benzo addiction, available treatment programs, what the rehab process entails, and how to change your life for the better starting TODAY in this Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment Programs and Help guide.

Benzo awareness is coming of age

Alexander Zaitchik shoved the dangers of benzodiazepine into the spotlight with his edgy article “Is It Bedtime For Benzos?” re-published by the Huffington Post, June 25, 2015.  I’m over the moon that benzo awareness is coming of age. But the whole benzo story needs to be told, not just the bullet points and interviews from doctors who have absolutely no idea what surviving benzo withdrawal feels like every second of every day.

Trying to learn about benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal from a doctor’s perspective is like asking a German soldier what the concentration camps were like for the Jews who had the misfortune of ending up in one. We need to hear from the benzo victims themselves. They know the truth. Let’s take a look at the benzo problem from their perspective.

The “Benzos Are Like Cocaine” argument

Zaitchik’s article rests on the argument that benzodiazepines are addictive in the traditional sense of the word. Citing a study done by Dr. Christian Luscher and colleagues at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and published in 2012, he posits that benzo users crave the dopamine surge that benzodiazepines, like other addictive drugsm cause. Luscher also claims, “Now that we know that it’s the alpha-1-containing GABAA receptor that is responsible for benzodiazepine addiction, we can design benzodiazepines that do not touch those particular receptors.”

He’s moved into fiction here, because he doesn’t know this to be true (for many reasons, and he’s clearly stumping for more drug manufacturing. Let’s not forget that Switzerland is the home of the Valium manufacturer Roche). Luscher doesn’t touch on the problem of what causes the debilitating symptoms that arrive upon tolerance to the drug, dose reduction or cessation. That’s the real story of the dangers of benzos.

The real dangers of benzos

Talk to most benzo users who take the drug as prescribed by their doctor and you’ll hear a much different story than chasing a surge of dopamine. They are trying to stave off what feels like (and could actually be) death and insanity.

Benzo users don’t crave the drug the way one would crave, say, cocaine. They are addicted because the drug causes changes in the GABA receptors (and who knows what else) that cause he following when you reduce the dose:

  • extreme anxiety
  • terror
  • fear
  • paranoia depersonalization
  • derealization
  • panic

If those nightmare symptoms aren’t enough to make you think twice about getting on a benzo then think on this: Going through withdrawal from benzos can cause pain throughout the body: bones, joints, muscles and nerve endings scream in protest. Still not convinced that benzos are the devils doing? On top of the emotional and physical anguish, benzos cause debilitating problems with:

  • vision
  • hearing
  • taste smelling
  • skin
  • digestion
  • balance
  • walking
  • memory, and cognition

Wait. There’s more. The bladder, bowel, heart, stomach, esophagus, uterus, and other organs, and systems can be prey to benzos havoc. Oh, and not to mention auditory, olfactory and visual hallucinations.

Reduce the dose or remove the drug to provoke detox from benzos, and you enter a Faustian world where you will do anything to feel normal. But normal is a long ways away, and there is nothing — no pill or potion – that can reverse the damage the drug has caused. The only cure is time. A lot of time. Sometimes years. Benzo withdrawal makes craving heroin look like child’s play. Seriously.

Let’s get the timeline straight, and other truths

TRUTH #1. Benzo withdrawal can take years.

Recovering from the damage that benzodiazepines cause takes longer than the few months cited by Zaitchik’s source, Rev. Jack Abel, a rehab therapist who runs the sleep program for Caron Clinics. Recovery from benzo use can take years. Many, many years.

TRUTH #2. Benzos damage the brain BEFORE withdrawal even begins.

Zaitchik shares integrative medicine physician, Dr. Peter Madill’s, sentiment that if one removes the drug too quickly the brain, “thinks it is being injured…” I’ll go out on a limb and say that the benzo damaged the brain long before the drug was reduced or removed.

TRUTH #3. Stop prescribing benzodiazepines for more than a few days and there is no withdrawal.

Madill wants more research into drugs that can augment the withdrawal process. That seems backwards to me. I’d rather see the time and energy devoted to banning the use of benzos for more than a few days. Stop the benzos and you won’t have a population of people suffering in benzo withdrawal. There won’t be a need for time and energy researching ways to alleviate their suffering.

TRUTH #4. Benzo withdrawal unravels your life.

Madill argues that benzo users don’t destroy their lives in dramatic fashion, say, like heroin or methamphetamine users are prone to do. Benzo users function just fine, usually. We go to work and raise families. But when tolerance to the drug hits and our brains and bodies need more to stave off the horrific withdrawal symptoms, our lives begin to fray around the edges. Reduce or remove the drug and they unravel, sometimes completely. We are often unable to take care of even the most basic of survival needs in benzo withdrawal. Suddenly heroin or meth addicts seem high functioning in comparison. (I know. I lived it. For years.)

TRUTH #5. Benzos don’t just disempower you; they can kill you.

Dr. Jason Eric Schiffman, the director of UCLA’s Dual Diagnosis Program balks at benzos because he believes they create a sense of disempowerment. Feel anxiety, take a pill. You don’t learn to cope with anxiety. I agree that learning to stand up to the bully called anxiety is a grand idea. Schiffman misses the point though. The danger isn’t that the pill will disempower you. No, the very real danger is that the pill may kill you. And if it doesn’t kill you, you’ll wish it had when you start the long and arduous battle of fighting for your life and your sanity when you try to divorce yourself from it.

We’re barking up the wrong trees

Not to sound ungrateful. I’m pleased Zaitchik wrote a gripping piece to bring more light to the benzo problem. I just want the deeper, darker truth to stand in the spotlight along with his arguments.

Benzodiazepines kill people. They can totally obliterate people’s lives when they try to stop taking them. Granted, not every benzo user will experience extreme benzo withdrawal, but a good proportion will. Benzos are dangerous at any dose and even when used for a few days (not two years, as Rev. Abel believes). Poll a group of benzo survivors and you’ll hear horror stories from people who took them for a handful of days, and then took years to heal.

Benzodiazepines destroy lives. That’s the bottom line. For those of us in the trenches healing from their damage, we are busy trying to put our lives back together again from the debilitating emotional and physical symptoms benzo withdrawal causes. Add in the bankruptcy, abandonment, divorce, and homelessness that withdrawal can cause, and you understand our grumbling when the media doesn’t portray the real reasons why benzos are dangerous.

Bedtime for benzos

Zaitchik writes that it’s remarkable that it’s taken so much time for the conversation about benzos to take place in the U.S. I agree. The conversation has been ongoing for decades in the U.K. Dr. Heather Ashton, who for years, ran a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic, is the leading expert in benzo withdrawal. She is often scorned here in the United States as a “kook.” It’s hard to have a conversation with doctors who don’t even want to acknowledge one of their own. I’m regularly copied on emails that are part of an ongoing legal battle in England with regards to these drugs. The powers that be continue to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the problem.

The benzo problem is hiding in plain sight

Take a look at the people who are suffering through benzodiazepine withdrawal and you’ll see the truth. You’ll see shattered lives. You’ll see people who can’t go on another day and end their lives because the suffering in benzo withdrawal is too much for any human being to bear. You’ll rethink what addiction means. You’ll rethink what the Hippocratic oath means. Doctors are maiming and killing people with the stroke of a pen, and very little is being done to stop them.

We need the truth to be told. Mainstream media needs to listen to another perspective of the dangers of benzodiazepines. Perhaps then more doctors will listen. Perhaps then it will finally be bedtime for benzos.

About the author
Dr. Jennifer Leigh is a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Coach and award-winning author. She works with people worldwide to prevent and to heal addictions.


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  1. Im trying to come off p using valium and zopiclone and its not working very well or should i say im not doing very well. Ive succeeded before but this time im not. Can someone help me

  2. I listen to stories like this to give me hope to carry on, and I will. I took clonazepam for 3 years and was told there safe. Was abusing them near the end up to 7mg a day to stop the tremors my painful burning skin and anxiety like I’ve never experienced before. My doctors lied to me and tell me it’s just my anxiety. I’ve had ultrasounds, xrays endoscopy s the works everything comes back normal making them seem right but I wish they would believe me about the pain I’m in and it’s hard to sleep. I didn’t know the danger s so I stopped cold turkey. I’ve been put on pregabalin 600mg a day for pain to manage my suffering it’s been 8 months since my last clonazepam and I’m proud of that. I just wish I new if the pain will end one day, I’m not after any compensation, but I just want the doctor to say he believe s me and he’s sorry. I don’t hate my doctor but I’m very disappointed in him and if I ever get over this I won’t be able to trust a doctor ever again. I have no family, no friends and no support I’m in this on my own for the long haul but I will never give up. My life has thrown to many challenges at me to let this evil drug win.

  3. cant get below 2 mgs. a day otherwise life is a paranoid,going crazy hell, i’m 62
    been prescibed for over 20 years ,now a witch hunt is on for people using them ( not abusing them)





  5. One day I will be able to write about my nightmare, to put it mildly, of benzo withdrawal. My benzo story started over 22 years ago when I was first treated for depression. I was immediately put on a “cocktail” of several medications. By the time I was able to say enough – I was on 5 different but simultaneous prescriptions for benzos. And all five were fairly high doses. I drove the bus for my own withdrawal but worked with a medical doctor for advice and prescriptions I needed to get me through the process. Unfortunately he knew very little about the process itself….or the pain and agony I would go through. A year later I am off the drugs but the battle isn’t over. As I am beginning to find out – this is just the beginning of my recovery. I may never fully recover from what western medicine said I needed. I now suspect that the benzos may have caused or contributed to bone thinning and/or deterioration. And/or the withdrawal process did this. Is there any evidence that indicate this may have occurred with others?

  6. while i agre benzos can be and are very dangerous and tje withdrawel is worse than any heroin withdrawels. howevor for some people like me benzos are the only drug that works. i have debilitating generalised anxiety disorder and have been perscribed nearly everything for it ssri, clonidine,buspar and a few other drugs oh and xanax. nothing worked until i got on klonopin. so we need a better solution,for some people benzos are the only thing that work. if some other safer drug actually worked for me thatd be great,but for me klonopin is the only med that can treat my anxiety

  7. I have been prescribed benzodiazepines since my mid twenties, I am 48. My last doctor had me on 8mgs of Xanax, when they were stolen. That was two months ago. I sold my home of 17 years at a huge loss I can’t function, and am worried about being homeless can someone please help me? I called 911 twice, after being ambulanced to the ER, one hospital said there was nothing they could do, one female doctor stuck her finger up my butt, and called me a liar. I had told her I was bleeding out my rectum, I was.

    I had no idea, that …things were like this. It’s not ethical or humane, it’s cruelty. Does anyone know a doctor that will help me? I’ve had two seizures, hurt my head bit my tongue in half, and I’m scared. It’s been two months since I had a Benz I I’m never taking that crap again I just want my life back.

  8. @Michelle … find a good hospital attached addiction clinic. Most GPs have no idea about the long term effects of cold turkey discontinuance of long term benzo use. They don’t realize that while the withdrawl phase only lasts a short time the process of repairing what happened to your brain can take months to years. A long, slow taper such as the Ashton Taper would help.

  9. I think what really needs to be pointed out is that these benzos were developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Our brilliant chemists have had nearly 50 years to come up with something to treat anxiety that LACKS ADDICTION POTENTIAL. The best they could come up with? Buspar? Give me a break. It’s nickname is the BRAIN ZAP DRUG. I figured out why. Because the DEA will not allow the development of such a drug. These choir boys still believe in REEFER MADNESS. Their belief is this: if someone takes something that eliminates anxiety, he must then feel better, so therefore it MUST BE GETTING HIM HIGH: and we cannot allow it. Well, there is no buzz at all from a benzo, Remember those raves where they handed out xanax at the door? You don’t because there is no such rave. These benzos only do one thing. Honestly, I think they all suck, except for xanax which can actually stop anxiety in it’s tracks. I guess it works TOO well for the authorities. What about all those stupid you know what chemists, boy there are some brainy guys in those outfits. There is some seizure drug approved in Europe called LATUDA. Search it on google. Apparently, it has been found that by using a really small amount of it, it STOPS ANXIETY. And it is non-addictive. But we will all be dead and gone before that other super efficient agency the FDA gets off their computers, and counting their overpaid wages and keeping track of their 401k’s, and downloading and watching their PORN at work, instead of approving drugs that may SAVE LIVES, which used to be their job. They are so utterly useless at their jobs that Trump had to create an executive order giving DYING PEOPLE the right to try. The FDA threw a fit. HOW DARE HE INSULT US! Maybe the people need to demand a vote where we simply ELIMINATE these corrupt and useless agencies. We will be waiting till doomsday before Congress does their jobs. The FDA could not give a damn how many cancer patients, by the millions, croak over waiting for them to end their card games, and computer games, and internet surfing and get off their butts and do their jobs that the taxpayer are FORCED to pay for their wages. Talk about useless human beings! I previously made 2 posts on this blog. I only see one. What was it about the other post that bothered you? Do you have the nerve to allow everyone to read this post? IT NEEDS TO BE READ BY EVERYBODY STUCK ON BENZOS! The Europeans found the answer. Everyone needs to remember that if they can just hold on till 2040, perhaps those whizzes at the FDA can get around to approving LATUDA. Good grief.

  10. Yeah and why would anyone use a benzo for insomnia? I’ll tell you why. BECAUSE THE DEA AND THE FDA AND RONALD REAGAN had anything useful outlawed decades ago. What they have for insomnia now are a complete joke. They exaggerated barbiturate withdrawal even back then. The DEA couldn’t give a damn whether you sleep or not. The antidepressants especially SSRI’s will give you permanent insomnia after years of use. I can personally attest to that. And they do absolutely nothing for anxiety. And don’t let those loser docs tell you they will help with anxiety, on the contrary they exasperate your anxiety. The whole idea to push the SSRI antidepressant isn’t scientific, it more likely an ORDER from the DEA to push that garbage. Remember that at least 15 of the 20 school shooters were on specifically the SSRI antidepressants, or had only recently stopped them. You think benzos are tough to kick? How about the author describe how fun it to quit one of those antidepressants. It ain’t a 3 day walk in the park like xanax. The DEA don’t give a damn about that suffering, those antidepressants are not technically classified as “narcotic”. I think these drug manufacturers paid off the DEA for this non-classification.

  11. I have a new rule for myself and anyone interested, and that is “Don’t just automatically trust a doctor’s judgement or even diagnosis!” Get second opinion before going on a course of treatment. You may not have what the Dr. thinks you have. Of course we may need doctors (think broken leg, heart operation and much, much more,) but DO NOT take “ANY” medications your dr. may have prescribed without reading the enclosed information very carefully and doing your own creful researtch on the drug. It is often better to find alternatives to many drugs. A supplement called seriphos, for instance, calms the corizol, helping immensely with sleep for me. Just natural or over the counter medications are best. When Drs. don’t know what is wrong with you they often prescribe anntidepressants, when whatyou may be suffering from is Lyme Disease or Epstein Barr syndrome.

  12. I was on benzos for a mere 2 weeks! I simply was stressed out by exams and went to my school counsellor. He got the GP to issue me bromazepam 1.5mg. I had no idea they were benzos and thought they were safe sleeping aids. Boy was I wrong! The moment I got off, my CNS went into shock! I was completely paranoid as every stressor in life came crashing down in my mind and induced the most horrifying bodily response. I would convulse into fits just by thinking of my exams. At night, adrenaline just started coursing through my body non-stop. Every memory and upsetting thought, sent this burning rage into my body that I was completely disinhibited and went into a rage. My brain pulsated. Went to the hospital out of desperation… and guess what… more benzos! When I came out I was sicker than ever – uncontrollable fear, shaking legs, inability to focus, tremors, palpitations, hypnic jerks – I thought the world was crashing down on me.
    4 months later, just as I thought everything was over. The worst of the symptoms set in – insomnia, numbness/tingling of extremities, stabbing nerve pain in the stomach (8/10 on the pain scale), confusion, DP/DR, anxiety. Again, I went to the hospital out of desperation and drugged. One symptom went away, but new ones took their place including akathisia and Parkinsonism. I nearly took my own life. In my head, I knew enough was enough. I got out, and I waited… the pains slowly went away. I’m somewhat better, but the numbness, tinnitus, anxiety and sound sensitivity continue to plague me.

  13. J. Hill, I read your article with interest. I have to agree that the fault lies with indiscriminate prescribing practices. For someone like Ron, who was really in trouble, who apparently really needed an extreme drug like Zanax, I think could be the exception, but prescibing such a dangerous drug for sleep problems or normal depression, is a very, very bad idea. Should be illegal actually to prescribe the benzos except when “nothing” else can help a very desperate situation. I am finally back to nearly normal after two years of insomnia and then another year of waves and finally I only miss a very occasional night of sleep when my brain has been way over stimulated that day. Such an improvement. Time is the healer.

  14. I’m on 6mg clonazepam a day for 4 years now I’m 30 years old and was prescribed it for siezures and PAWS from 4 years on massive amounts of heroin and cocaine and meth use. I was speedballing a gram of each or more a day ever since i lost my son i got really bad into drugs and overdosed 9 times and heart stopped for 20 to 40 minutes each time. ICU coma was common for me. So now I’m on just the benzos 3 pills of clonazepam 2mg a day for 4 years and it’s the only thing that has helped me. Now my neurologist is retired and i can’t get a dr to prescribe them and i can’t focus on work because i need a steady hand ( tattoo artist ) but i shake tremendously the same before i started the medication as now that I’m off it. I don’t know what to do.

  15. Good luck to all who are suffering from Benzodiazepines . My life is living hell today after being off the Benzo drug Ativan (Lorazepam) for one year . Approved by the FDA and now taken away from FDA , leaving people to suffer with no help . I started out with anti-depressants fifteen years ago , doctor said i needed to be on them after two years i wanted off they made me into a Zombie no quality of life . Then the Benzo ride started . I had gone to hospital thinking i was having a heart attack and was told i was having severe panic and anxiety attacks and told me to follow up with my primary doctor , in three days i have an appointment and he checks out hospital records of what they diagnosed . Doctor then puts me on Lorazepam 1 mg 30 in the bottle take as needed . After a few months the dosage increased to take one in the morning one in the evening for sleep . In the next years to come the Lorazepam was increased to 1 mg every 8 hours . and then problems started with me feeling lousy and the Lorazepam was not working anymore ,. So then the doctor started me on other types such as Miritzepine . clonazepam , and other Benzos for the next six weeks . I kept telling him i felt horrible on the medications and put me back on Lorazepam increased again . This went on for about 4 months and on my next refill the pharmacy contacted me and said doctors office was not calling back to confirm . I then contacted office and got the BS that it was faxed over . I then made an appointment to see doctor for next day . I asked what was going about refilling prescription and he told me that the government was putting pressure on doctors about Benzodiazepines , and said i would have to go off them , take 1 mg every Friday and sent me on my way said would call script in . Not being benzo wise and trusting the doctor after 17 years , i asked the pharmacist what i should do and told me to do a six month taper , his way was not safe and dangerous . Doctor agrees and had no idea how to detox or taper me .This was very scary to me. In the next six months she tapers me with a cut of .25 every two weeks in which i did and after six months he stopped prescribing and on June 15 2017 i took my last dose . I have never abused drugs nor do i smoke and drink alcohol . This doctor never once told me that i could become addicted . In September 2017 i changed doctors , the old doctor never once called and asked about my well being . Also there were pharma reps two to three at a time no matter what time of day i had a doctor visit . New doctor told me she does not want anything to do with Benzos and should see a shrink for help in which i made an appointment . Big mistake he wanted to put me back on a longer lasting benzo for the next two years and wean me off , i then told him you need to see a shrink and left , rehabs are the same . It has been one year and a week since i took last dosage and still suffer horrible withdrawals every day with no help from doctors or government , have not worked for two years . Finances have diminished and so has health . Cannot find any legal help in Connecticut . I wish i could find help for me and everybody from these horrible Benzos . There is so much more to story but i will stop here. Good Luck to all suffering . Frenchie

  16. all this talk without viable alternatives is why my doctor and every other doctor in my community will no longer give me the drug that completly changed my life. in a wonderful way. i have severe,severe panic attacks, they are crippling. iv never abused the drug,i was able to get a job,i wouldnt even take out my garbage till 3 am, couldnt leave my house. zanax was the only thing that worked, i tried everything before xanax, nothing worked, it was a miracle, suddenly i was enjoying life, it was amazing and almost instant. now my doctor and every other doctor i tried to get this miracle drug, for me anyways, will not prescribe it,im back to the same panick attacks,not leaving the house…. my life is worthless again. and reading all these things online about this miracle drug, for me anyway, is very distressing, i see now no doctor is ever going to prescibe this so called devil drug to my again, and i tries all alternatives. mabe they shouldnt give to alot of people, mabe some people abuse it, but demonizing a drug that does so much good for people who actually need it, leaves people like me back to feeling hopeless. its not right, its the people who abuse it, its not the drug, the drug changed my life in a way that made me a productive well adjusted person who could enjoy life. now im nothing again. its not right,

  17. I took klonozepam for seven months first starting at .5 milligram then it was increased to one and finally 1.5. I noticed that my body was building tolerance and the time I was free from anxiety and was able to sleep got shorter and shorter. By the time I was taking 3 times per day .5 milligram when the effect would wear off the anxiety would come back much more severe than my own anxiety. That’s when I heard the story of someone else having been on 4 milligram and when they ran out of it and went to a hospital to get a refill because of being in a state of severe agitation they were yelling at the nurses for not giving them a dose of it and the nurses got crossed with him and refused to give him a dose of the medication. Finally one of the nurses came to him and gave him a dose and told him his heart would stop in less than hour because of the severe withdrawal. When I met him he was taking 2 milligram per day. Going back to my own experience I did some research on line and spoke to the psychiatric nurse who was prescribing the medication and I told her how painful the anxiety had become. She said she could maximum raise it to 3 milligram. I asked her what would happen when my body built tolerance to the raised dose and the 3 milligram was lasting only 8-10 hours or even shorter time. What would I do with the unbearable anxiety? She said she did not know. So I went home, thought about it and said to myself I must get off this dangerous medication because increasing the dose would give me relief only for a short time and the hours daily that I would have to tolerate the exaggerated anxiety worse than mine own would be beyond my ability to tolerate then what, out of desperation I would want to kill myself to end the unbearable pain? So I started to taper off .5 milligram each week and in 3 weeks I was off the klonozepam. But shortly after I developed this severe tightness and pressure in my forehead. I complained to the GP I was seeing and he did not know what was causing it. I suggested MRI thinking I may have a brain tumor. He said we had to first do a Cat Scan and if it showed anything then the insurance would pay for MRI. The Cat Scan did not show anything so the doctor said he could give me pain medication. I said no I don’t want to mask the symptom. I want to find the root cause. The doctor started to make fun of me because of my anxiety. He became rude and hostile as he had no idea how to help me. I had been on the klonozepam for 7 months when I started the tapering off. At the same time I had been on Prozac for 6 weeks and was taking 20 milligram but had not noticed any change in my feelings of hopelessness etc. so I started to taper off gradually in two weeks. I changed to two other doctors and all they suggested was for me to get on another anti-depressant and some pain medication to help with the anxiety and the pressure in my forehead. I said no thanks. Sometimes at night I lose the tightness and pressure in my forehead. Sometimes during the day the pressure becomes so bad that I can hardly leave my bed. I have been struggling with this condition for over two years and has made my life very difficult. I am not able to work. Now that I have read a lot more about other people experiencing even more severe withdrawal and more excruciating pain I think maybe my eating healthy is helping. Even though I eat healthy, I still struggle with this tightness and pressure in my forehead. Is there a way to collectively start a class action suite about the company that produces Klonozepam. There are several sites on line that people are sharing their horror stories. Dr. Brogan says the tapering off should be done very slowly.

  18. I just turned 30. I’m 4.5 years off of benzos. I’m improving but still disabled. I can’t function. Every time I exercise or do anything physical my symptoms flair up for days some times weeks on end. And then they’ll start to let up and I feel chronically exhausted and crave water like you wouldn’t believe. I gain 10 pounds of water weight, and in waves I lose it all.

    My doctors have no idea what to do for me. They want to give me meds to make life more manageable but I won’t take them.

    4.5 years off xanax. Let. That. Sink. In. Four , and a half years. Not counting the year of tolerance and 2 years of weaning. A decade lost. And no end in sight.

    What lesson came from this? Don’t put trust in people. Be cautious. The world is full of deception and corruption.

  19. People whose bodies were altered by taking a prescription “as directed” are not addicted. They are casualties of ignorant prescribing. “TAKING AS DIRECTED” is the cause of the benzo-illness.

    An actual addict is not taking just a benzo. An addict is using many substances for pleasure. That addict may add a benzo to come down from a high or to alter the effect of an illicit drug. The bona fide benzo-victim is either taking a benzo as directed or is taking multiple psyche-drugs also as directed.
    Conflating drug-damage with addiction allows detox and rehab businesses not only to thrive but also to directly cause additional harm to desperate benzo-victims.

    Obviously a prescription is written for a specific number of pills. So how can a patient take too many in violation of the pill bottle’s instructions? No, patients are not abusing benzos; . Benzo prescribers are abusing patients. These practitioners are ignoring the in-the-field evidence that their compliant patients are suffering from their own seriously bad prescribing.

    Blaming the victim just isn’t working anymore. We have a tidal wave of persistently benzo-sick people who were held responsible for the bad acts of their licensed, physicians. These victims are further lad astray by self-styled internet benzo helpers and antediluvian medical.

  20. It gets better. Recovery gets better. I just wanted to say that first. I took 6 mg Klonopin for 6 years and tapered for one whole year. I have been pill free for 2 years 8 months. I had my first wave about 7 months into my taper but the suffering was indescribable, healing was slow, and the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life. I had every symptom and just knew I was the one who wouldn’t overcome – but I did and so will you. I know so many people are in the same boat and please hang in. My life is wonderful now and I never thought I would say that again. I still have some issues here and there, sometimes they stick around for a bit and sometimes they go as quickly as they came, but I don’t live in that constant windowless prison that held me captive for so long. It is only with God’s help every second that I am who I am today. I give Him all the glory. He will help you, too.

  21. This article is spot on. I have lived in both the US and now the UK, and I can tell you that a doctor will not prescribe benzos for long-term use. The US has got it all wrong, who knows why? But maybe it’s because of the privatised healthcare system. I did suffer bad anxiety but would never muster up the courage to go speak to a professional (in the US) but they were so available on the streets so that I could self-medicate. Anyways after 2-3 years of taking them (Xanax) now and again, I went off the rails and was taking at least 4 x 2mg bars a day for a little under a week. Then I suddenly went cold turkey and although I felt some minor withdrawals, it was nothing serious. Then out of the blue, I had a seizure in front of my friends. I couldn’t believe it but eventually narrowed it down to abusing Xanax at an abnormal rate and then going cold turkey. People have different seizure thresholds, my brother has had 9 all from benzo withdrawal. My overall point is the drug is to cure anxiety, muscle tremors, seizures, insomnia etc. So whatever the drug helps to stop, the withdrawals are going to be the exact opposite…

  22. Hello I am 11 months off of lorazepam I took a milligram and a half for five years a half in the daytime and a milligram at night to sleep for my anxiety I tapered four and a half months this was dry tapering I jumped last June 2017 on 1/4 of an mg and I have still. Horrific symptoms burning skin head symptoms ribs squeezing hot and cold Sensations that’s just to name a few these drugs are very dangerous they should be off the market or only used in emergency rooms or emergency situations people need to understand the horrific consequences and they are not told anything at least I wasn’t about the withdrawal symptoms and when you bring it up to a doctor they just shrug their shoulders and say they’ve never heard of it you shouldn’t be in withdrawal anymore it’s too long of a time that’s b******* I continue to suffer to this day and I pray to God everyday that I pull through this I hear it takes a year to 2 years but believe me it is Hell On Earth as most all of you know and are seeking for answers

  23. those taper plans will help but you still need a doctor to write the prescriptions for you for the drugs as you taper off. If they try to short cut your taper find a hospital associated addiction clinic that will understand what you are trying to do and help you with it. Do not depend on your regular general practitioner to understand what you are trying to do, what the drugs have done to you in the long run and how long the recovery will be.

  24. @Sonoa. google benzo buddies or the ashton manual. It will tell you how to taper off on your own. I wouldn’t even bother with a dr. They will diagnose you with something else and give you more medication. My brother just killed himself. If I can save just one person from stopping abruptly from benzos he will not have died in vain. I saw the hell he went through. Please taper slowly.

  25. How the heck am I suppose to get off klonopin and hydraxazine when my insurances only pay fpr one month of rehab and it can take anywhere from three to six months of rehab to get off these pills?? Thank you!! Frustrated.

  26. To Paul. See if a local hospital has an Addiction Treatment Clinic. I was connected to one by a local emergency room when I went in with withdrawal palpitations. They offered to help with the Ashton Taper. My mind was too far gone to take advantage of it but in hindsight I’m certain it would have helped. There are usually resources for addiction treatment but it is not your regular GP. Most have no idea what the drugs do and how the removal of them affects your system. Find a clinic that regularly treats the addicted.

  27. I am in pure hell right now as Im supposed to be on a slow taper from 5+ mg down to 3mg daily and its too fast and furious i cant cope. Considering suicecide as i have no power over anything in my life. I dont know what to do. Wish i had some right now as Im a dead man walking without it and Ive been on them for years just cant find any means to quit at all. i would be a rich man if there was something to help this withdrawal. Please help somewhere

  28. I am going through a living hell right now and want to die. It has been over 3 months and I can’t do it anymore. I was on 6 mg/daily of Xanax for 27 years. I didn’t start at that dose but it was increased over the years. My doctor lost his license to prescribe controlled substance and I had to quit Xanax cold turkey after weening my dose to half over 4 months. I have had no help from the medical profession and death seems to be the only way out. I can’t describe my hell to anyone as there are too many body sensations of hell. Medical profession only treats me as a drug addict and no one knows anything or cares to help. My life as I knew it is now over. I am seriously brain damaged and can’t do the basis things in life. I was once an active person and am now a shell of a human being. This is the first article that I have found to put my hell in perspective.

  29. Oh God please help me. My doctor is tapering me off KLONOPIN too fast. And as punishment. Im newly blind in my right eye and I have a terrible habit of throwing things away that are in my right hand cause I don’t pay attention to what I’m holding so I tthink it’s trash. Last week I ACCIDENTALLY THREW away a week’s worth of my medication. My doctor for mad and suddenly I’m only getting 2 1 mg tablets a day when I’m used to taking 6 mg a day for the past 8 years. I’ve been on some kinda benzo since I was10 years old. I’m now48 years old. My doctor upped me from 2 no. 2s a day to 3 #2 a day. And that’s what I have been on for almost a decade. Now without talking to me at all he cuts me from 3 #2s to 2 1mg pills. In dieing I’m having so many seizures that I have moved all my area rugs to one space moved all furniture so I’ll stop bashing my head on the concrete floor. I can’t leave my apt.
    I lost my job since I can’t pay bills I’ll lose everything. I just got a home of my own after being homeless for3 years. I can’t see very well. In sick he’s killing me I don’t know wherre to turn. Im scared to go to sleep cause I’ll sieges going to kill me. I have an 11year old daughter I love being her mom. I don’t want to die. It was an accident throwing that bottle away. Why? Oh God please help ne. Tapering is fine but not this fast NOT THIS FAST……..DONT I HAVE RIGHTS??????

    1. Hi Erika. Consult with your doctor about your problems. Also, call the helpline on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

  30. About legal recourse for compensation:: We’ve talked about compensation for medical malpractice. Many states cap med-mal damages at a figure so low that finding representation with a contingency fee basis is not possible. Here is a different tact: Find a different cause of action. The offender may have committed actionable acts other than med-mal.
    A potential plaintiff should write a history of contact with the medical provider, and then look for violations of law as well as civil causes of action.
    Failing to obtain informed consent also is med mal. It applies to almost every benzo-damaged patient. However, here is a more extreme violation: A patient in extreme withdrawal is hastily and improperly committed to a mental institution. While incarcerated there, valid benzo withdrawal treatment will be denied. Damage follows. Damage is incarceration without due process of law, and med mal takes a back seat. How is this not false imprisonment? With evidence of intent, how is this not kidnapping? If this is a crime, criminal prosecution takes over. Now there is more than one defendant, and the cause of action is far more consequence than a med mal case. This one will require a special law firm but a case with good records is worth a lot.. This is a constitutional violation. It’s a federal issue and not a state issue.
    A case involved a young man who took Klonopin as directed. He was in a silly fight. He was arrested and could not pay bail. Over a period of 17 days. jail personnel video taped him naked on the cell floor seizing in agony as the jail personnel refused him access to his legitimate prescription. There is even more abuse. His family are suing and not under med mal.

    Bottom line: We might look at the harm through the lenses of many causes of action and not just med-mal.

    Has a prescriber committed prohibited acts other than med mal? If so, and if the potential award is high enough. a law firm is likely to consider representing the injured person or family.

    Oh yes, Benzo Awareness Day is a British non government recognized day that glorifies outdated benzo-related ideas. America wouldn’t recognize this organization. So the issue remains unrepresented in the USA. The science also is obscure. This is an opportunity for a reasonably educated person to work on awareness in the USA.

    Other people as well as I have connected our representatives in congress and state legislation. We receive form letter answers that are irrelevant to the stated benzo-damage issue. More than letters will be needed to get attention. News media cannot be relied upon to state the problem.
    Peaceful demonstrations may be a start.
    However, to get a firm start we must be fully informed by science-sources and not by undocumented talk from benzo-help sites or uninformed medical media talk. We’ve all read infuriating ignorance from medicine. It will take calm, well informed, and experienced people to expose the real benzo facts and initiate useful legislation. And as long as those who took as directed are labeled as addicts, victims of ignorant prescribing will have no representation.

    We want to bring bad doctors to justice. However, the other defendants should be the detox and rehab providers who take huge amounts of money to further mis-treat the benzo-prescription- victim. Our own bodies detox us continuously. Detoxification is not the problem. Correct discontinuation for the individual patient is the issue. There is so much more to consider than withholding the drug while watching the agonizing results.

  31. In regards to some of the legal conversation above… I think there can be legal recourse in certain situations. It really depends though. There is a cap, at least in CA for medical malpractice suits (250K). You really have to find a lawyer who is familiar with benzos and the damage they can cause who can find a way around the medical malpractice cap. But you also have to show a causal link between the damage and benzos. Or the improper withdrawal. Also one of the main questions is if the damage is permanent, and you can’t really tell if the damage is permanent because it takes years to determine. It’s a catch 22 because there is a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. The statute only gives you a year to file from the date of discovery of the malpractice. If you can’t prove that the damage is permanent… you can’t really file a claim but you don’t really know until time passes. I am not a lawyer. I’ve just been finding this out because I have been speaking to many lawyers and drs about this. It took me a while to even find people knowledgeable. Most lawyers immediately dismiss the case because of the cap. It’s pretty unbelievable to me that there are no long term studies on these drugs and their effects since people do take them off label for years. Basically the millions of people taking them worldwide ARE the study. And the FDA will find out the effects as the human race starts logging complaints with the FDA etc. There is a website called w-bad.com which puts together some interesting articles and resources. I guess for the past two years there has been a “World Benzo Awareness Day” on July 11. I’m not sure if it’s a federally recognized holiday, but I’ll be promoting it. I admire people like Stevie Nicks and other high profile people who go public about their horrendous experience with these legally prescribed drugs. It’s a true crime that these are allowed for human consumption.

  32. Hi Sal,
    People have tried class actions for decades. There are problems. Who are we suing comes before these. If a doctor prescribes a benzo, he/she will assert that the drug is FDA approved and that this absolves the prescriber of wrong-doing. Actual court cases have established this.. Prescribing off-label is not illegal.

    We might mount a great law suit against the drugs’ manufacturers, even a multibillion award will not be felt by the manufacturers. We’ve seen these companies carry on while considering huge fines as a cost of doing business. What happened when the Zyprexa papers were leaked? Eli Lily felt no punishment. These companies are Too Big To Nail!
    Physicians either deny the obvious damage or sometimes say that their education didn’t address the harm. The didn’t know? When droves of patients present with damage, well the Doctors do know.

    THis is only my take on the long-standing problem. No legal action or government action will do a thing to address the devastation of bad prescribing. The only remedy is to work to be surer that everyone who can read knows that psycho-active medications, used as directed, can be sneakily deadly.
    I see billboards addressing unwanted pregnancy help. Now our only hope is like advertising to show the results of “taking as directed”. Medicine will say that we are not educated. Well I will say that medicine is not only uneducated in these matters but also incapable of learning.
    We must inform ourselves and work for public awareness. Modern medicine will not do this for us. However, modern medicine will still make a nice living by offering “treatment” for the disorders that modern medicine continues to cause.

    A calm and well-informed public is our best hope. “Just say KNOW”.

  33. Any lawyers out there? Has there ever been an attempt at a class-action suit against the makers of Klonopin? Certainly no long-term studies have ever been done or they’d find what we’re saying here. Puzzled.

  34. To Sonia.
    Dépersonnalisation and déréalisation are 2 nasty symptoms in an acute, cold turkey withdrawal from benzodiazepines, and in particular from Klonopin.
    If you want the more elaborate explanation of these 2, google it…..
    In a more layman’s explanation, dépersonnalisation feels like you are cut off from yourself, disconnected from your life as you once knew it, as if you live in a bubble with no info coming in and no info going out.
    Déréalisation feels like you are disconnected from the outside world, seeing it like through a veil, a sort of unreality, as if in a dream.
    Together, and you think you have gone mental.
    Some people have these intermittent, coming and going, others live in this state 24/7 for some time before it slowly goes away.
    Of all my 135 acute withdrawal symptoms, these 2 were the most painful and lasted the longest…for me many years.
    Still today, 20+ years later, in times of stress, I still can feel some déréalisation coming on……it doesn’t last long though.
    Be very careful in coming off these type of drugs, including antidepressants….a cold turkey is never a good plan.
    Nor is one pill every other day..this will set off an acute withdrawal which is difficult to reverse.

  35. Please explain what depersonalization and derealization are as regards to stopping or withdrawing from benzodiazipines. My doctor wanted to stop me cold turkey on doxepine, I had done research beforehamd and I told her one cannot just stop doxepin altogether as they will get very very physically n otherwise sick.

  36. This message is for Nancy.
    I indentify with your story Nancy.
    I too was on Klonopin for 8 years and not knowing what I was taking everyday…..like you, trusted the doctor.
    I came off cold turkey back in 1996 and in my words at the time “ I blew out my brain”….my world as I had known for 46 years was no longer.
    Your taper of 2 months is similar to a cold turkey unfortunately……Klonopin is one of those benzodiazepines that requires a slow taper over a period of many months, if not several years.
    Certainly after an 8 year usage…..
    You are correct in thinking you have brain damage although, like also in my case, scans and MRI’s don’t pick this up.
    The good news is, as TIME goes by, things will improve.
    Will they return 100% is anyone’s guess and as in my case, I still have a fragility in my nervous system today, some 20 plus years later.
    With some tools I picked up over the years, i have learned to live with it . I am grateful my brain has recovered from this onslaught as much as it has…
    At the time it didn’t look to me there was going to be any possibility for healing….every doctor I did consult would be very puzzled if not downright rude by blaming me while I knew this was done TO me, not BY me.
    I understand fully you are afraid of your future…..and rightfully so……
    But if it is any help to you, my case has been one of the worst I have seen over the last decade being involved in the Benzo world and online support Benzo groups, I have recovered enough to have a normal life.
    It took many years though so have patience……

  37. I took 1 mg of Colnazepam for 8 years, my doctor gave it to me for sleeping. I was 39 at the time. I did not even know what I was taking I trusted her. I decided to take myslef off at age 46 I tapered off for 2 months thinking that would do it but I think I caused myself brain damage. Now I am 51 have have been lightheaded everyday for 5 years. i have been to 11 doctors and Brain MRI’s that look good. I look fine on the outside by inside I am a swirling mess. Some days are better than others but it never goes away. Like I just got off a cruise ship. I have only seen a very slight change over the past 3 years of this getting better. Do you think my brain will ever heal? I push through every day, but am afraid of the future. I think I will quit my desk job soon I feel so bad.

  38. I am someone who recovered from having taken low dose xanax for two months, prescribed for sleep. But what an ordeal! I would say it took a good two and one half years to get back to normal. But at least my recovery shows that the brain has the capacity to heal! I found alka seltzer and alka seltzer-cold, gave some relief from the suffering of insomnia. So just keep (keeping on) and know your brain is slowly figuring it all out and healing!

  39. I was on 2 mils of Adavan for 6.5 years morning and night as prescribed. I have NEVER felt this bad in all my miserable existence, my last dose being 3 months ago. I get no traction with my doctors talking about the symptoms and it seems to be getting worse right now. I can only hope that I can wait this out.

  40. It saddens me that some of us have real problems that benzos helped a lot. the worst part is how long doctors allowed us to stay on them with no warning. Yes everything has been altered, don’t know if I will ever be the same again. I continue to pray.

  41. People need to find out about this. These drugs are given out way to easily. My brother who is a vet got prescribed klonopin for anxiety for ptsd. The VA just kept giving him Rx and upping his dose and adding more variety of meds to the mix. He was on it for five years and developed alcoholism to dull the physical pain that klonopin caused. He tried to go through withdrawal a couple of times but the VA Dr did not know how to really do it. He ended up in a detox center that nearly killed him. They stopped klonopin cold turkey. He was on 2mg at the time for five years. Down from 3 at least before they cut him off. My family trusted the detox center. My brother ended up in the ER multiple times. He cannot function at all. This is a bright man who flew rescue helicopters and went to top colleges. He has a family and lives in an affluent area. His family is now in financial ruin. We take shifts around the clock because he is suicidal. This is not my brother. This drug is totally to blame and I am heartbroken. How can drug manufacturers put this on the market. How would they feel if their loved ones ended up like this?

  42. I have had panic disorder for many years. I was given valium for when I had an atteck. Four years ago,I had a nervous breakdown after a very stressful period. I was taken to hospital and given 1mg of Ativan every hour. When released, I was given a prescription and told to take it whenever I wanted. Now I am in withdrawal and it is awful. I knew nothing of what would happen. I am angry because I feel I was put on these drugs without any knowledge. An addict through no fault of my own.

  43. BEING 60 YEARS OLD AND ON BENZOS FOR OVER 20 YEARS (CLONOPIN) I have tried many times coming off them gradually. I’m reduced to a person who is only capable of literally sitting on my bed and holding on to my knees rocking back and forth. Add into that equation the pain of head jolts, profuse sweating, the inability to eat and the vomiting and dry heaving., that goes on and on until you don’t want to live anymore. Who would want to live like that..

    I don’t have YEARS and years to “come off of clonopin* I’m not 40 YEARS OLD anymore! I have ALWAYS had an anxiety problem dating back as long as I can remember. CLONOPIN HAS TAKEN THE EDGE OFF OF THAT ALLOWING ME SOME PEACE IN MY HEART AND SOUL NOT A RUSH OF DOPAMINE OR ANY OTHER RUSH. I’m truly scared (with good cause) that when my Dr. Retires I WILL be taken off of CLONOPIN, because of all this controversy SWIRLING AROUND.

    I will more then likely die (maybe of my own hand) but probably from the mini seizures that bring your entire body off the mattress or jerk through your whole body all day, added to my previously stated issues with withdrawal from a benzo. (Elizabeth I totally agree with your statement).

    Stop benzo prescribing if necessary, but to TORTURE those of us who are and have been, for some time, physically dependent upon these drugs is unhumanitarian. YEARS AND YEARS AND MORE YEARS , we don’t all have that time to come off a drug that will inhibit if not TOTALLY make us unable to work. BTW I was on 5 mg per day, I now am on 2 mg. That seems to be my threshold before the severe symptoms of withdrawal set in and STAY. Any questions feel free to ask.

    I forgot to mention, forget sleep, so add long term, extreme sleep deprivation to my list of debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Thank you.

  44. To Jennifer,
    I’m sorry you are experiencing this awful withdrawal from Clonazepam, one of the worst drugs to withdraw from. Especially when done wrong, in your case a cold turkey.
    While they are right in to say your withdrawal is long over, the damage to the brain and nervous system from a Clonazepam cold turkey takes a long time to heal.
    While on the drug, your brain and nervous system have been “ asleep at the wheel “ so to speak…….the surge of a cold turkey withdrawal is like a tsunami hitting it with such a force, it is causing enough damage to last for years.
    This is not understood by the medical white coats and too quickly dismissed as all your symptoms being your fault or from your previous illness.
    Your symptoms have been experienced by many before you and unfortunately still by many to come.
    I have been where you are and I know how desperate you must feel.
    There is really not much you can do in the form of more drugs which only aggravate your already irritated brain and put your nervous system on a higher red alert but TIME away from these Benzos.
    How long this is going to take is anyone’s guess……it’s an individual thing.
    But you can help it along by living a clean life…good food, try to move around and not sit on the couch in self pity, develop some tools to deal with anxiety and panic and let time do the rest.
    You will not die from this but in the meantime I know it often feels like it.
    You might want to do some research yourself on Benzo withdrawal or join an online support group……there is a lot of information out there now.
    Good luck.

  45. I was on clonazapam since 2001 after I had a heart ablation done because I started to have panic attacks. in 2014 I tried to commit suicide after taking more and more of them combined with drinking. i was put in detox where they cut me off cold turkey and basically let me sit in a room practically dying unable to answer any of my questions when I was having symptoms of withdrawal and sent me home on day 11 even though I was in an awful state. i suffered from extreme sweating especially through my feet, my bp would sky rocket, my face would go numb, it felt like a finger was coming towards my head and when it would touch me I would get a brain zaps and now 9 months later I am terrified of being alone and of dying, feel like I have every scary disease there is, my vision is blurry, i have bad neck aches that dont go away, my right arm and hand feel shake, at times my body feels like it’s trembling and legs feel weird and have severe panic attacks. no-one will help me and says my withdrawals should have been over a long time ago. I feel like this will never end and I’m a burden to anyone I tell these things too because they are sick of hearing it and it’s all in my head. someone please tell me this will end soon and this is from the withdrawal yet…feeling very hopeless 🙁

  46. Ive been on clozapam for 20 years. My doctor stopped them completely..im haulisinating n im dying i feel my body shutting down..no other doctor will help me..n i can’t leave my house..paranoid n im hoping death comes quick…i have list my sanity

  47. I am happy to say that ( three years) after having taken low dose Xanax, l am feeling mainly normal once more. However, l took it for only two months, so was was fortunate in that!
    I hope this gives some sufferers hope. When I wasn’t sleeping I tried many things like Gabapentin, which made me dizzy. The doctor gave me Ambien which made me nervous. So I say beware and some of these remedies only add to the distress. I think natural remedies are best plus time.

  48. Hello my name is Robert. I’ve been off of Xanax for 3 years and 2 months, coming off of this was a living hell. Not knowing any better I went into a detox center and paid over $4,000 to withdraw within 5 days. They told me it was safe and I didn’t know any better. I went through a lot of seizures during the first 18 months basically body seizures twitching real hard, and a lot of people didn’t understand what I was going through at the time and they still don’t. One thing you will find out who’s who your true friends are going through this I myself felt very alone at times until this day I still suffer from a lot of body jerks and twitching and that’s after 3 years to months withdrawal, the one thing that helps me out his that when you beat a drug like this it feels good. I have good days where I feel good but the last two weeks before sending this message has been not very good my head spins a lot a lot of balance problems in a lot of twitching real bad my central nervous system screwed up. So I feel for all of you and I hope that you all get better and you will eventually

  49. The taper has destroyed me, nothing feels real anymore. The only time I have peace is when I’m sleeping. It’s like a bad hallucination trip from hell that is 24/7. I don’t find comfort in anything

  50. I am feeling so awful today. I actually had a nice afternoon yesterday, but today I feel like my life is over. I have not taken benzo for over 90 days and I am shaking, depressed, have weird head sensations, feel like everything is going wrong and just so incredibly fearful about everything. It is all I can do to put on clothes and go for a walk. The saddest part is that I have a 20 year old son who spent the last 4 weeks watching me go through this. I have totally let him down.

  51. These are great articles. I have read 3 of them. I am half way though a 23 year use and 70 day (so far taper) ( I can feel my brain beginning to come back) I am sure that there is much to go! (I personally thank God though His Son Jesus Christ) But I will take what I can get. I must echo what Bil said on 8-29-15:

    Saturday, August 29th, 2015
    Thanks, this article nails it. I was on valium for 23 yrs. Im now at 25 months off, Im about 90% healed. I must have been in tolerance for about 10 years, looking back. The problem im having now is that its starting to sink in, all the years of being numb, i feel robbed. There needs to be a major shake up in the medical world about the dangers of benzo poison.

  52. Sharon: if the last benzo your husband took was three months ago then the drugs are out of his system. He is now in the process of repairing the damage done to his GABA receptors by the benzos. It will take awhile yet but normalcy will return in time. Been there and am a few months ahead of your husband. It does get better.

  53. To Sharon…..obviously I don’t need to tell you that throwing your husband’s pills in the toilet while in a slow withdrawal mode given by his doctor was a dumb move.
    These drugs can’t be stopped cold turkey with high risks of terrible and unbearable withdrawal symptoms and a long post withdrawal syndrome.
    The problem is not how long the drug residue is still in his body but what the 4 year usage has done to his brain and now the abdrupt stopping of the drug.
    The stuff clears very fast from the system but the changes in the brain need time to readjust to function without the drug.
    The time it takes differs for everyone so impossible to predict your husband’s.

  54. Has anyone here heard of using Gabapentin as an adjunct for benzodiazipine withdrawal? This study can be seen at ommegaonline.org. Very interesting and happily encouraging for people addicted to benzos!

  55. Timothy, Jennifer Leigh is no longer involved with benzos as far as “coaching” or “helping” people. This is an old article that just keeps popping up. Pat

  56. My husband is now 3 months clear of taking ativan yet the symptons can raise its ugly head – trigger points high weather related heat (we live in the Wairarapa – summer temperature can be 30 degrees – drought conditions) how much longer will it take for that nasty drugs to be clear of his body – He was on prescribed ativan for 4 years and under a doctors reduced withdrawal program – until I had had enough simply through them down the toilet – Yes our family unit has been fractured – please advise how much longer he has to endure this nasty nasty drug

  57. I tried sending you very sincere and personal messages twice, but apparently they’re too spammy, and this is something I am so passionate about .

  58. Thank you for reaching out with this article. I have been going thru protracted withdrawals for 6 years now. I want it to be over, the hellish crap I have to deal with every day is sometimes to much. I have gotten sooooo much better then I was in the beginning but it still is awful. The only time I am at peace is when I sleep. Thank goodness I found out about magnesium. It stopped the negative ribbons that ran though my head over and over in the beginning but it was 1-1/2 years before I found it. When I finally found out what I was dealing with, which was 3 years into it, I had a name to apply to it – Protracted Withdrawals. I would ask any doctor I went to if they ever heard of it, they all said no and then would look at me like I needed go see a different kind of doctor. I quit going to doctors and now just live with it. It is slowly leaving me but I am afraid of what it is going to leave me with when it is finally gone, or if it ever is going to be gone completely. I agree that the doctors need to know what they are doing to us by prescribing this poison. Our whore politicians in DC have been bought off by big pharma who is pushing this shit on us. 40% of the doctors get kickbacks by prescribing their drugs. I was prescribed Gabapentin which is in the Benzo family. This drug was ONLY approved for Epileptic seizures but the doctors are off marketing it for everything from restless leg to alcoholism and beyond. I was prescribed it for nerve damage in my left arm due to ripping all the nerve ending from my deltoid muscle. They don’t know how Gabapentin works on the brain, they just know that it works for a lot of different things. Unfortunately, I have found that all these medications they are pushing on us, will cause different symptoms which the doctors will prescribe yet more pills to fix those symptoms. I had all the symptoms of A-fib, got tested, don’t have it but this drug pulled up those symptoms. I have all the symptoms for hyperthyroidism, but I don’t have that either. My poor body is getting jerked around by one thing then another. I just have to wait, the symptoms go away in a few days and something else will show up, hang around for a few days and then leave. It just goes on and on. I am sorry any of us are going through this but I am glad this site is here at least I don’t feel so utterly alone now. Hang in there all of you, we will get though this. When I get a little more of my brain back I hope I can reach out and start something that will start a fire about this. This has taken everything away from me. All I have left is just now, this minute, because the next minute might be hell on earth for me. I have survived this so far but I am getting very tired, my body is tired from getting jerked all over the place. We all need to pray for each other. Stay strong.

  59. I was addicted to heroin for years I got clean. I then started taking Xanax for anxiety for a few years. My doctor then retired. The withdrawal was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. 100 times worse then heroin. Hallucinating thinking people were at my house when then never where. Texting people shit they had no clue about. I thought I was literally losing my mind. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  60. Thank you Jennifer for this wonderful article. I was prescribed Xanax for about 8 years. Remarkably, I didn’t realize I had become addicted until I was in a situation where my prescription was unavailable for several days. By the 4th day without the drug, I was hallucinating and literally went through phases where I didn’t know who or where I was. Pictures on the wall began talking to me. Like the Pretender’s song, muzak filled the air even when I wasn’t in an elevator. By the 7th day, the withdraw became more physical and I began sweating profusely and felt as if each individual fiber of my body was being torn apart. i truly though I was dying. On the 13th day, I checked into a detox facility where, ironically, they started me on a Valium taper. For better or worse, the Valium worked and i slowly, but surely, rejoined the world of reality. That was 104 days ago. I am still suffering post-acute withdrawal symptoms but my state of mind has improved dramatically and I continue to feel better as time goes by. I also suffer occasional bouts of severe anxiety but, on the whole, am getting better. Looking back, i see the long-term problems the drug caused in my life. Over a relatively short period of time, the beneficial effects cease to exist and you are left with highly elevated levels of anxiety, anger and depression. Eventually, the drug robs your energy and leaves you in a perpetual search for sleep. Taking Xanax, I went from an insomniac workaholic to a bedridden zombie. This drug will destroy you.

  61. I wish there were more articles like this that tell the truth about the horrors caused by benzos. I have been off benzos for seven years now. It is only by the grace of God that I am alive. I started taking benzos after my ex-husband abandoned me with four young children because I was experiencing extreme anxiety and depression. I got addicted IMMEDIATELY. Instead of calming me down and putting me to sleep, benzos gave me energy and made me feel high. I started off with a small dose of xanax and developed a tolerance very fast. Even though my doctors increased my dose I took WAY more than prescribed. I got to the point where I would take a months supply OVERNIGHT. It was ridiculous! It felt as though I wasn’t even the same person anymore! I abused benzos for more than a year and went from high dosages of xanax to even higher dosages of valium. Even though I was on high doses, I took way more than what the doctor prescribed because my tolerance had become so high. Since I took way more than prescribed, every month I had to suffer horrendous withdrawals until I could fill my next prescription only to start the same hellish cycle all over again. It was ALL CONSUMING! There was no way to hide my drug abuse. I was told repeatedly by family members that they were concerned for me. Their concerns enraged me because I was ashamed of what was going on but was trying to protect my addiction. I was repeatedly confronted about my slurred speech and the fact that I would fall asleep at the dinner table. I even remember falling asleep while standing up in my room holding my laptop only to awaken when I hit the floor and had a broken computer and bloody elbow! This dance with the devil went on for over a year until I got help. I went to rehab more than 4 times and kept relapsing. Then I reached a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I was going through my usual cold turkey withdrawals and the rehab that I had been to before wouldn’t take me back again. My withdrawals were so horrific. It was like the devil was clawing away at my soul from the inside. I lied to the hospital and told them I wanted to kill myself in order to be committed to a mental institution. I did that because I didn’t want to have to go through the horrific withdrawals around my children. While in the psychiatric hospital my mother found a rehab in florida that integrated Christianity into their program and that made all the difference. For me, it was hard to tackle such a monster alone. Knowing that God was there for me gave me strength. I honestly think benzos should be ILLEGAL. Anyone who mentions benzos to me hears an earful about what I went through. I literally call benzos THE DEVIL.

    It’s funny, because benzos are supposed to help anxiety, but the truth is that they make it worse. The first rehab I went to told me my withdrawals shouldn’t last more than a week or two. They were soooooo wrong. My withdrawals went on for MONTHS. I couldn’t even write in a notebook because my hands shook so badly more than a month after my last dose. I had diarrhea for WEEKS. Benzos caused me insomnia, nightmares, more anxiety, diarrhea, stomach aches, mood swings, confusion and black outs. Thanks for the article. I hope more people are made aware of what benzos do because there is a lot of misinformation out there.

  62. Please advise if any doctors in Toronto Canada practice dr heather ashton manual for benzo withdrawal. Would appreciate any leads or names or phone numbers. Many thanks

  63. Thank you Dr., yes Benzos are the pink elephant in the room.i have been on alprazolam since 2009. I started on .50 x3daily, and over the course of 8 years went up to 2mg-2x per day.
    I was trapped in the cycle and in October I quit cold turkey. The pain I have felt is immeasurable and I don’t think the medical community knows the w ithdrawl is pure h ell. I have ringing in ears titinnus, shakes, sweats, sore body and neck, sore teeth, blurred vision, pain all over, feeling my head is trapped in a vise and other symptoms which have gradually gotten worse. I’m 49, married w 2 children and paralyzed at home with this condition. I don’t know what do to and agoraphobia now has gotten hold of me. I hope no else reading this has to ensure what I been thru this year…it is really the worst feeling I have ever felt and not worth the moments of clarity I had while on the drug. Please get off it, or don’t start…if you do stay away from short half life of Xanax or similar drugs, they will destroy everything in your life.

  64. By the way, Sal, what you’re describing – a cut of a half mg of Klon – is a 50% cut and way too much; bound to provoke a withdrawal reaction after being on it for so long. That is the same as going from 20mg vallium to 10mg. (from four standard 5mgV pills to two).

    I don’t have direct experience of Klonopin, but know very many who do. As far as I know it is available in pills of .5 (which is 10mg vallium equivalent). All the best, whatever you decide.

  65. The advantage, apart from the longer half-life, of crossing over to valium – as recommended by Ashton – is that the medication is available in very small dosages. By permutation and combination it is possible to make the smallest cuts. Valium suits some people better than others.

    Benzobuddies – the voluntary support site – while partly taken with horror stories and tough cases – is also a very good source for understanding, peer knowledge and real know-how (and also for camaraderie and the benefits of that). I would recommend it – it benefited me greatly, but I would advise wearing blinkers 😉

  66. Everything u said about benzodiazepine are the truth. I have been weaning since the end if Aug,2017 and it’s nightmare. My BP is out of control and everything else. Yes it affects every pore of your body. I am crying as I write this. I have been on it for over.five years and a pain clinic thinks I can cone off it in 3 mos. About right now
    I am not liking my PvP or any other doctor. Nobody said I should get off this until THIS big so called epidemic started. I am miserable. The doctors don’t listen and your friends don’t understand. I have been to ER three times just to get blood pressure down. Help

  67. I agree with CD’s experience. Kaiser Permanante’s docs are the most ignorant of the benzo withdrawal syndrome. The withdrawal programme is under the control of psyche nurses. They provide constant personal abuse to accompany the ignorant programme.

    To add to the problem, Kaiser may easily have a drug diversion problem. Controlled substances sometimes are filled with the correct number of tablets on the bottle while containing sometimes less than half the number. Obviously a benzodiazepine patient who reports that too few tablets were in the bottle would be accused. So people don’t report. I would report to government. KP is untrustworthy.
    One KP doc uses the “every other day” method”. Can you imagine living through that?

    I did seize more than once. All three phases were present, and I was in physical agony. KP cared not at all. BTW KP sometimes tapers with 50% cuts every week and then forces a jump off of an often large dose.

    KP patients will have a difficult time going outside for help. KP has your money. However, no doctor of medicine knows how to write a valid taper. You are on your own unless you can find the rare help available to the few. And that is supervised by a physician but created and written by a more educated person.

    Will a drug aid withdrawal? Will a drug reverse the acclimation to a benzo? This is not a realistic goal. Right now, drugs are used. They do not reverse the condition. They hide it. When the taper is “over” the benzo dependency is laid bare. It is in full force.

    Are benzos used legitimately? That depends on the condition and the duration of treatment. Clonazepam can save an epileptic’s life in a crisis, but a constant use can kill.

    It is clear that the experts are not expert in guiding benzo recoveries. It is equally clear that charlatans rule internet recovery sites. When a speaker can’t cite her source, she is not worthy of our attention..

    Finally, taking as directed is the certain cause of benzo dependency. We know it. The medically trained do not.

  68. Thank you Ken, Madelon and Alex. I believe it is true that I haven’t reached tolerance, although I’ve been taking Klonopin for several years now before bed, but no other times. I really don’t see any benefit worth risking that outweighs the downside… it’s not like Klonopin is necessary for my well-being. Will look into Ashton. Too bad the drug company doesn’t make smaller doses like .5, .25, etc. So far the worst i’m experiencing on 1/2 of my 1 mg tablet is waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep, or pretty ugly nightmares. If I get the nightmares I take the other half. (I realize this will keep me spinning my wheels)

  69. @ Sal

    Don’t be afraid to taper off these ugly pills. It would seem that you have not reached tolerance and that makes a significant difference. I did – ‘toxic’ tolerance (neither up-dosing nor down-dosing worked anymore) and that is why I had the horror show and needed a fast taper. Now I’m 15 months off and things are improving slowly all the time.

    Do it very, very slowly – one sliver at a time, holding for long periods, and spread it over the longest period you can think of – like a year or more, so that your receptors can upregulate at the pace of your taper.

    All the best.

  70. To Sal,
    You could print this article and drop it off at your doctors office…or better yet, hand it to him personally.
    I’m sorry this article has scared you in starting a withdrawal…..just know that not everybody does experience this horror show.
    But your doctor is right, many elderly people do fall while on these drugs, driving becomes dangerous so it’s better to try to come off.
    Do not listen to advice of fast tapers, or take one every other day…..you put yourself at risk for a cold turkey withdrawal which once it starts, will be nearly impossible to backtrack from.
    If you can find the Ashton Manual, which is not guaranteed to work for you, it’s simply a guide, you will already be much ahead with crucial information.
    Read it first before starting the withdrawal to get you acquainted with the pitfalls in a benzo withdrawal.
    The good news is there is a life after benzos…nobody needs these drugs.

  71. @sal you really must taper. It will lessen the problems when you finally have to stop taking them. The taper should be very slow and, depending on which benzo you are taking now, you should look into the Ashton taper, if it hasn’t been mentioned yet. My doctor cut my taper short and when I finally ended up referred to a local addiction clinic they offered to put me on the Ashton taper. In retrospect, I might have had an easier time if I’d taken them upon it but the Xanax was already clear of my system and I didn’t know how long the recovery would take.

    You will recover. Take care.

  72. I wish my psychiatrist had an email address so I could send this to him. I can’t understand why none of his patients have spoken of these horrors, as he is convinced it’s not going to be the beast of a withdrawal that my neurologist thinks it will. He would like me to taper off because he says the drug can cause falls in people over 65, and there could be problems getting it from Medicare, which I switch to in January. I’m hoping my withdrawal experience will lie somewhere between his casual confidence and your alarmism. Until then, your site has been making me too scared to try.

  73. Hi I just wanted to say I haven’t written for a while but I do want everyone to know how it does get better. I suffered with insomnia for two and a half years practically off and on after stopping Xanax. I thought I’d taken it for only a one month but it turns out I did have it refilled and I did take it for 2 months.After about a year-and-a-half I began sleeping pretty much every night, but I’ll have to say right up until this time and I’m pushing 3 years now I’ve suffered from occasional bouts of all night insomnia but truly I feel that I’m in a good place now as I sleep almost every night and if I go through an occasional night where I don’t sleep, at least I rest better and I do dream a little so a little sleep. I believe it’s possible to get a few relapses, or wave?, My advice is to hang in there no matter how long it takes. I found that Alka Seltzer and Alka-Seltzer cold helped with the suffering of insomnia and now I do take some Benadryl or Tylenol PM, a little magnesium and 1 mg or less of melatonin and I can usually fall right to sleep and get a good 6 to 8 hours sleep and I feel wonderful.My Dr. Is now prescribing Hawthorne to prevent the flu and colds and am beginning to forgive him for having prescribed Xanax for sleep.?

  74. Great article but the reactions are better. I’m 10 weeks off benzos with no regrets yet. I was on clonazepam, lorazepam and diazepam. I was able to get off of both clonazepam and lorazepam after years of use but it was at a time when I was feeling good and had very little stress in my life. When the stresses came back, I re-instated and things got ugly. I was using lorazepam mostly and at the beginning it was helping and taking it would last one to three days. I found that slowly becoming one day. I would take it, it would make me feel better within a few hours and then the next I was also fine. The day after I needed it again. Eventually it became that I needed it every day. I would wake up panicked and I had to take lorazepam to feel better. That also didn’t last long and eventually I needed to take more and in my last year it didn’t work at all. I was in a full blown withdrawal and I didn’t abuse it. The main difference between the two times is that the first time I had very little stress in my life and my nerves were strong enough to take the withdrawal. The second time my nerves became so sensitive that withdrawal became a nightmare for me. Benzos made me far worse than I was before taking them.

    I agree that doctors just don’t understand or are playing ignorant. My own doctor doesn’t believe I’m suffering from withdrawal and because of this I question myself every day. But when you look at the facts and my symptoms, I’m 90% sure it’s withdrawal.

    I also agree that they need to find a drug to help withdrawal and certainly a new drug to safely help anxiety suffers.

  75. Well yes, this is me. 5 months in to tapering off. I’ve gone from 3.5 mgs a day down to 1.25. my teat hurt, my neck hurts, my eyes look zombified. Fortunately I can get by without working. But I’m functioning an talking normally to people. Just going slow. The withdrawal and taper at the lower doses is tougher than at the top. Slow slow slow

  76. Okay, but what if you’ve had extreme Generalized anxiety disorder since the age of 8, now 35 and have been prescribed clonazepam for 5 years? You’ve only talked about the dangers of taking them, but not about how to come off of them?? You’ve just instilled more anxiety in me after reading this, as I don’t want to die and you have not given a solution to detoxing off of these pills. Kind of horrendous. More education on the solution for long time benzo users please, as this article did nothing but create fear.

  77. There is no naloxone type drug for benzo withdrawal because the problem is not actually the discontinuation of the drug but the damage that the drug was doing to the brain while it was being taken. The damage to the GABA receptors must be repaired in order for the subject to feel well again and the amount and rate of repair needed for each individual is different depending on the dose and duration of taking the benzos and their own internal repair mechanism. There is no quick fix to repairing the damaged GABA receptors.

    10 years on Xanax, taper short cut by my doctor who misread a Long Term Opiod Treatment policy by our local College of Physicians and Surgeons. Find a doctor who knows the long term effects of discontinuation. Not withdrawal, discontinuation. Any taper must eventually come to a point where you take no more then the effects of discontinuation begin.

    As bad as that sounds and as long as it seems to take, you will recover. As soon as the discontinuation happens, your system will start to repair and compensate for the damage.

  78. This article is better than usual. It did omit the extreme physical pain caused by a crude withdrawal. Also, There are many forms of seizures, and most benzo-victims experience this excessive electrical activity. The tapers in use today cause this seizure activity.
    It may be tempting to align with the prominent “expert”, but be aware that the story has been tarted up for decades. Heather Ashton did not run a benzo withdrawal clinic in the sense that people understand clinic. In her own words, she merely saw benzo patients on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her protocol had been formulated before. Taking from a quarter of a mg to one mg less and hoping to recover from this act is far from safe.

    Better methodology is available. No masking drugs are needed. Let’s stop praising the failed methods of the seventies.

  79. So we have great medications for opioid addictions, why haven’t they come up with something like that for Benzo addiction?? Doctors need to open there eyes and realize Benzo addiction is just as bad as opioid addiction!!

  80. I am answering too the benzos story. I am withdrawal off of this devil pill and i feel like i am in the depths of hell! !!, my whole body is burning when i cry hot tears come out of my eyes. My doctor says it’s got to be something else. What is wrong with theses doctors i aint talking too the wall! !!!!!! I hurt so bad i can’t stand this much longer !!!!!why would the doctors do this too people if they know what this drug does to you?

  81. For years the remaining family wondered what had happened to the parents…Two people who had once been loving, thoughtful, and responsible souls had turned into paranoid, heartless monsters, abandoning their children, breaking loyalties, and basically changing into completely different people. Had anyone not known them from before, they’d have never detected anything was wrong about them, but there was something terribly wrong. Lives were ruined as they divorced. They were void of emotion and had no recollection their own loved ones nor of the gracious way they had once been. They grew paranoid and delusional. They still functioned; not as themselves, taking early retirements and embarking on activities they once shunned. It had once been a lovely family, honored in church, school, and community…revered by friends and relatives,… until Valium was prescribed to them decades before. Piece by piece lives were dismantled without explanation. Words cannot describe the years of sorrow and suffering brought on by this “medication”. Doctors who prescribe this drug are committing a criminal act, whether they know it or not. It may be legal up front, but behind the scenes it is a slow murder of the lives and persons of everyone involved. God help all those who are trying to recover. Thank you for exposing this so people can be warned.

  82. Excellent information. Hope I can survive clonazepam withdrawal. Dr is weaning me off it, hope any new med she puts me on doesnt exacercerbate symptoms as have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis too n from what I’ve researched thyroid probs cause anxiety attacks too?. Thanks so much!

  83. After taking clonazapam for 6 years my dr said no more and gave me 10 pills to taper. 4 weekks later and after trying to get another dr to help me because mine obviously didn’t give a flying f**k and he found out I’m wondering what my next appointment will be like when I go to get my pain contract renewed. If I would’ve known what I knew now I would never taken them out n the first place.

  84. Thank you so much for this article. I was put on 3 mg of Xanax on my first psych visit and after a year started having side effects. I weaned off and finished my taper four years ago and I’m still struggling and contemplating suicide every other day. This article gave me validation. My life has been slowly destroyed from not being able to function withchonic insomnia, burning nerves, and numbing depression.

  85. I’m 19 & was prescribed Xanax at for over 4 years, I started tapering off in April. I’ve lost 25 lbs & it’s been about 5 months. My symptoms are an swollen inflamed stomach (gastritis; bad nausea, I puked & retched all day for weeks, feel really bloated, no appetite or stomach gurgling while hungry, & feeling full after eating a tiny bit), numbness randomly all over, pinching in my wrists & down my arms, muscle tension even more, heightened anxiety to the point where I don’t feel like things are real still (derealization), exaggerated shaking, little ability to concentrate & remember anything, I can’t even look people in the eyes let alone talk to them because I’ve withdrawn myself to my room all day, I feel really depressed from it, & suicidal thoughts & urges have reared their head. This new sense of “normal” really gets to me. I don’t have good doctors I feel like I can trust either, which is making it a lot worse to deal with. Only one doctor tried to get me off the Xanax too, & I was taken off cold turkey by the same doctor for a few days. It was also my decision to get off of them finally & I’m glad I did it now rather than later. I burst into tears reading through this article & the replies

  86. I would like to smile and be grateful for so many things, but I am not. I am 55 I am just hanging on to a rented flat in the UK. I was put on these tablets, benzodiazepines at 15 yrs old for anxiety. Nobody told me from 1977 – 1997 that these tablets were addictive beyond hell. Thank you for the article, sadly it’s ally true. Tapering from 65 mg now on 40…Goduck to everyone.. Yes we are warriors xxx

  87. I was on Xanax for 3 years (on and off maybe 1mg a day for anxiety and insomnia). I haven’t taken for 7 days and the first 3 days were tough. Insomnia, irritability were the worst symptoms. Finally getting some sleep and starting to feel great though now. Hoping this lasts and hoping mine is not as tough as some of these other cases.

  88. I am 28 years old and on 79 of no Clonazepam. I was on 3.5mgs for 12 years. The withdrawals are absolutely terrible and physically painful. I have bad insomnia, muscle pain, brain fog, dizzy spells. Benzodiazepines are the worst drug imaginable.

  89. I am 55 I was in a mania due to hoshimotos and wrong medications. So I checked myself into a mental hospital. About 3 months latter I noticed I was experiencing what I know now as tolerance. I was becoming afraid to leave the house I couldn’t even put together a grocery list. Driving became undo able. Started loosing a ton of weight. Terror became my new existence. I was told by a councilor that 1 mg Xanax at night was a lot. Then it all began to make sense. I was never told about this drug thought it was just a sleep aid. When I realized it was effecting me so badly it was to late. My phy cold turkey end me when I told him of my symptoms. He almost seemed uneasy. Like he knew. From there I began a horrific journey I’m am now 3 weeks cold turkey and can’t function. I can’t leave my house even shower now. I have very little help I’m so afraid. The tremors and spasms my mind not being able to help me. I know I need help but can’t even do that. I’m desperate. No one seems to understand that I can’t help myself. Everything is falling apart around me and I can’t react . I just want to die now.but can’t even do that. This medication has totally disarmed me. I can’t even get to a doctor because the fear is so horrific !!!! People on line keep telling me to call an ambulance but I just can’t !!! Help

  90. I was put on 12 mg of Clonazepam a day for at least 3 years. After trying to go cold turkey myself. I ended up in the hospital where they decided I should no longer be allowed to take them anymore. I am now dealing with many issues that doctor’s can not seem to find any answers for. Abdominal, neurological, pain. And this is a year and a half later! I have contemplated a way out ever day since…………………enough said.
    But frankly, I do not want the benzos banned. Just wish someone could have tapered me off of them!

  91. My 85-year-old mom has been on benzos for many years. Over the past year she has made many trips to the ER with an array of digestive and anxiety symptoms and no one could say what was wrong. She has now been diagnosed with benzo withdrawal syndrome, but we can’t find a doctor who will oversee a proper taper for her. My mom managed to reduce to approx. 1.5 mg of Klonopin per day, but recently she has had horrible “tolerance withdrawal” symptoms at this dosage. Our family doesn’t know what to do. At age 85 and in a fragile state of health, can she taper from her Klonopin safely without facing 1 – 2 years of hell in the process? Is there such a thing as a “comfortable” way to withdraw from a benzo — for example, is there a compounding pharmacy that can help her to slowly taper in a relatively comfortable manner? Or, given that she is 85, should we adopt the approach that William has suggested, which is to try to stabilize her on the lowest dose of the benzo that she can get away with in order to help her maintain her sanity and keep the worst of the symptoms at bay? Our fear if we try this latter approach, though, is that she will then need more and more of the drug over time and quickly get to a point where she reaches the maximum dose per day that can be safely taken. Our family is desperate for any and all advice that people have on this subject – particularly with older people who have been on benzos for many years. Thank you, Dr. Leigh, for being there and for sharing your story and wisdom.

  92. I have been on klonopin for twenty years and I tried and tried to taper off this poison. My body is so used to the drug it just shuts down. I don’t crave it I hate it my body needs it. I get seven days clean ,and all my organs freak out. You will think you ate rat poison trying to withdraw from this poisoning. How on God’s earth do they turn good people into a slave for a BENZO. MY BODY JUST CAN’T STAND THE PAIN. OH MY GOD THE PAIN JUST NEVER LETS UP AND THE MIND SCREAWS SO BAD WITH YOU YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE.. I PRAYED I WAS A HERION ADDICT THAT WOULD BE A CAKE WALK. GOD HELP US ALL.

  93. I was on benzos for years and have a horrific story to tell coming off of them..i quit cold turkey while supposedly put in rehab for detox, and they let me with no help. I have been off them for 10 weeks and feel like I am dying still, it is awful and a fight everyday to survive. I would earn everyone DO NOT ever take clonazepam or any benzos! I would like to stark speaking for people to earn them about the he’ll they will endure.

  94. This article is THE REAL…i have been on Benzo’s for 14 1/2 years. I have tried to come off before, I have had 10 seizures in my life directly related to benzo withdrawl. I have PSTD, Head Trauma, multiple internal injuries (i lived a hard life)…but NOTHING I have been through compares to this. I was currently on 3 mg of Ativan and 3mg of Klonipin (smart doctor, prescribing two seperate drugs of the same class…do the research on the dangers of that and the dangers of trusting pill pusher doctors out for that BUCK$$)….just started my taper … so my roller coaster begins again. God Bless and best of wishes to ALL of you out there ‘WALKING the YELLOW BRICK ROAD and not just reading THE WIZARD of OZ…like Dr. Christian Luscher. Brilliant Piece written here..a true help!!

  95. I have GAD. ( generalized anxiety disorder) I have had it since the age of 8 years old and I am 35 now. I went through horrific anxiety which consumed my childhood and life for all these years. I, to this day, don’t know what it’s like to live without anxiety. I turned to drugs and alcohol at one point. That made anxiety even worse. Eventually I was able to get clean and sober and have been for over 5 years now. At about 7 months sober, I was not taking anything, no supplements, no medication, just working recovery. However, my anxiety returned full force out of nowhere. I was barely able to go to work, hold a conversation, or keep my focus on anything. I have no reason to have struggled with debilitating anxiety for so long, as I have a great family, I love life and I to this day, do not understand why anxiety ruled my life since the age of 8. So, at 7 months sober..I sought out help and was prescribed clonazepam. I have been taking 1.5 mg a day for over 4 years now. I am able to work, have been able to focus on my recovery and family and function for these few years and not in a “numb” way, as some would describe their experience. When I have anxiety, which still hits me at times, I am left with no energy, I feel depressed, I am disempowered. So, I would ask, is it worth tapering off of this prescription to go througho another 2 or 3 years of hell and lose everything I’ve worked for? Everyone is different, brains are all unique, and the severe anxiety I have struggled with is different from another’s.

  96. I was on xanax at 12mgs a day for almost 6 months along with methadone and roxies and insane combination to be on. Went into a rehab got properly weaned down had no long term benzo withdrawal. Went back on a way lower dose of 1mg 2 times a day for almost 2 years and it’s taken so long to recover been over a year now.

  97. My mother in law is addicted to diazepam and has been for many of years. As well as being an alcoholic and taking anti depressants too. It makes me so angry that doctors won’t do anything to help. They are doctors right, they are supposed to save lives not end them. Yet they keep giving her more and more and more even when she isn’t due for more they give it to her. Over here in Australia there are no measures to stop the over supply of drugs. There are no ramifications for doctors that keep handing it out.

  98. I had a stroke 16 years ago and was prescribed Klonopin .5 mg at night. New Doctor took me off of this and I went Cold Turkey. I am 75 years old and after 2 days off Klonopin I have had insomnia , anxiety, nervous, jumpy, jerking when resting. Scared, fear, should and back pain. All symptoms I have heard read in your site. I need to know now that I have been off Klonopin for over 12 days, should I just not go back or see doctor as I am homebound with fear and try my best to cover it up for my family. I tried Meletoma at night it worked one night but also was taking Magnesium as I have a Magenisum defiency and sometime need Magnesium 2mg infusions. I seen where Magnesium should not be taken during withdrawal. . I know it probably is impossible to give me an idea of how long this all will last or at least an idea of when I will find some relieve I am afraid at my age, not sleeping for 9 days in a row will effect my health. Please help me, Thank you and this a wonderful site.

  99. I’m beyond thankful I successfully got off Benzos. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. If anyone is going thru it, hang in there. It gets better!

  100. . I am very worried about himmmmMy husband w as prescribed xanax to be taken four times per day. He took the prescribed he only took as directed he had taken this drug for eight years then the Dr. took him off of thrse cold turkey. All of a sudden he needs to see another specialist. In thr mean time. My husband is a changed man, he cannot cope,he stopped eating and sleeping is very difficult for he is like living a shell

  101. I’m in withdrawal. The withdrawal is long and hellish. These poisons need to be banned. This article is a godsend.

  102. well, my doctor became aware of the problem when the local college of physicians and surgeons published a policy paper, but about opiods. he skimmed it, found mention of benzos and cold turkeyed me. fortunately, i was already tapering but it’s still difficult.

    find a local health services (part of a hospital) addiction clinic as soon as possible if you find yourself facing a cold turkey end to your benzos. some will even help with a taper. guaranteed you will not find proper support through your family doctor if they’ve already been your pusher for however many years.

  103. I have been on benzo on a daily basis for over 14 years non stop now. I rather continue to have an endless supply of benzo that I can use to stave off the horrific withdrawals than to deal with who knows how long the dreadful detox and recovery will be. Everything said in this article is 100% the truth but I can not give up my benzos as its too dangerous. I think Benzo withdrawal is equivalent to alcohol withdrawal Delirium Tremens and can be fatal if abruptly discontinued. The other issue here is that your doctor never understands why you keep begging desperately for more benzo and looks at you like a pill addict trying to get a high or something… Best for anyone not to get on these miracle wonder drugs over insomnia.

  104. Upon reading some of these blogs, l feel it to be. Inappropriate for someone to actually
    be defending Benzo drugs. Certainly a devilish drug, there are better drugs to combat anxiety, ones that do not cause years of misery when one quits them. At the very least drs. Should be required by law to warn their patients of the ,” possible” detrimental affects should one quit taking them. I think the patient should ,” sign,” a consent form saying they fully understand the DANGER. It is only fair and right.

  105. I’ve been on lorazepam 1mg for over a year sometimes taking 2 or 3 a day it’s been awful trying to get off them they are the devil’s tablet for sure , if I had known what benzodiazepines were I would never have taken them , the ENT consultant put me on them when I had vocal chord dysfunction and my vocal chords went into spasm stopping me from swallowing or talking really scary stuff but ive weened off these now completely stopped a few weeks back the thing I wanted to ask is what skin problems do they or can they cause as I have had Morgellons for 14mths it is making my body produce things in the skin that should Not be there ? I’m wondering if the benzodiazepines have caused the body to react in a strange way and maybe caused a chemical imbalance or the brain maybe sending wrong signals the skin is the largest organ in the body so maybe benzodiazepines caused this horrendous affliction ?
    Please can you look into this as thousands are suffering from Morgellons all over the world.
    Kind regards

  106. how do I startt a proper tapering process? I don’t take Xanax everyday , but I take it 5 or 6 times a week?should I take 10% less everyday, even though I don’t take it everyday?

  107. I have been on Klonapin for over 20 years. I was initially given the drug for insomnia and panic disorder not being helped by over the counter Tylenol PM.and also for panic disorder . Never told it was addictive. I was prescribed .25 mg at night to go to sleep. It worked great but over the course of the next 20 years I had to keep increasing the dosage by .25 mg each time with my primary physicians till I got up to where I was taking 2 mg at night and sometimes .50 during the day for anxiety.
    That is 4 times the initial dosage. I finally decided that I was tired of living in a fog and so December 2016, I began the slow crazy tapering of .25 each time I would taper. To say it has been HELL is an understatement. I am now at the end of April and I am about to taper to .25 mg where this all started so long ago. I have had every side effect imaginable and now am having severe benzo flu (sore throat, coughing and runny nose that just won’t go away) and severe anxiety. I am hopeful to be completely off within the next two months but am already dreading the last dose because I am quite sure it will kick symptoms into overdrive. That said I am so looking forward to putting this nightmare behind me. This drug should not be prescribed ever to anyone. Not even for a few days. Little did I know the effect it would have on my life. Never again. I will deal with whatever is going on and find alternative ways to sleep. Good luck to you all.

  108. I was prescribed Xanax for early 4:30 am waking. He said ” just take this and it should put you back to sleep. The prescription said ” take one by mouth every day as needed,”.
    I complied and took one every day as my early waking happened every day. The prescription was refillable for three months. My Dr my told me “nothing” about the drug and gave me no warning and l thought they were sweet little tranquilizers of some kind. I had only taken synthroid to that date and was completely uninformed. Fortunately l took them only for month for l only had to go through a year of sleeping only a few hours every night and then a year of waves and many missed nights of sleep. Two years later l am am sleeping with my potion of 1\2 Tylenol PM crushed, 1\2 magnesium, 1\2 benedryl and l mg melatonin. What an ordeal!! And thankyou Dr. Leigh for your good advice and support.

  109. I started being prescribed .5mg 3 times a day 2 years ago. Having been a heroine user (not IV, rather I sniffed it), in the past, I jade used Xanax before as a means to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Needless to say .5 three times daily had zero effect. Two years later after very slowly increasing my dose (it almost seems like he’s afraid he’ll get in trouble if he gives me a more theraputic dose straightaway), he had me on 1mg 3 times daily. i asked him at least 3 times in 6 months to try klonipin, because the Xanax doesn’t seem to work unless I take double or more of the 1mgs. His response was to up my dose to 4mgs a day (1 bar in the morning, and on at night, increasing my total to only 1 additional MG per day. This is not working and I have been so patient. I have tried 1 and 2 MG klonipin on the street, and have read that often times, when Xanax no long is no longer theraputic, that many doctors will move to klonipin as a way to regain the desired reduction in anxiety. I even told him that I had my first debilitating (about 1.5 hr)panic attack two months ago for the first time since he began the refining two years ago. Can anybody tell me or speculate as to why he is unwilling to take my feedback seriously and at face value? He’s never treated me as a drug seeker, and he is aware of my past heroine use, and u do know that doctors are now required to register with the state or the federal government each time they prescribe a benzoyl, but jeez, im actually asking for a lower dose of a different drug, you’d think he would appreciate the fact that I’m being honest in my self assessment. What’s the deal here?

  110. You want the use of benzos for more than _a few days_ outright banned? Great, just what we need, another way to put drug users in jail. Do you really think anyone so irresponsible to take benzos on consecutive days for an extended period of time would be deterred by prescription instructions, or even a limited quantity of legally prescribed pills? The FDA already recommends that all benzos, when used as anxiolytics or hypnotics, should be used only on a short-term basis, and every remotely responsible doctor already avoids prescribing them AT ALL unless all other recourses have failed. Just because you used these medications irresponsibly doesn’t mean you need to inflict your resentment on others who can use them responsibly. There are (albeit rare) people who should absolutely be permitted long term treatment with benzo. Epilectics most definitely. Also, people with panic disorders who only take them when an attack hits.

    Another thing: benzo withdrawal almost never results in death. Most deaths related to benzos are from combining them with other CNS depressants, especially opiates.

  111. I have been xanax free for two years and two months and have recovered to the place where I can sleep almost every night. I have tried many over the counter remedies and herbs etc. and have published them here. I am still drinking the tsp, honey mixed with two tsp. apple cider vinegar (good for all over health and digestion as well as relaxation) but now before bed I crush one half tylenol pm, one half benedryl (the chalky pink kind), and one half 250 mg magnesium pill. It sounds like a lot but really is not….. then I mix it in water and drink. Lastly I take 1 mg melatonin (the kind that tastes good and dissoves under the tongue) — but only 1 mg. as More is not good for sleep for me and they say is actually not necessary. Now — I fall alseep within twenty minutes max, whereas before I would never get to sleep until at least 2:00 AM. Maybe this might help you. If I am overstimulated during the day, I still occasionally miss out on sleep all night. I can very seldom take naps.

  112. I can’t decide what is worse… bi-polar without a manic pillow or an anxiety cover to leave the house. Yes I agree…Benzo nightmare is about right. You have to dig deep and accept. Yet I still lean to then for comfort. Wish I learned meditation rather then pill popping. Still a chance.

  113. Hi. I am now 3.5 years into Benzo withdrawal and my symptoms have never been worse.
    Unbelievably, my doctor just to re-diagnosed me as..you are no longer in withdrawal. That stopped a long time ago. You now have mental disorders such as anxiety, depression etc. etc… She even wants me to go back on Benzo to, as she put it “Get your life back again.” Naturally I fired her immediately and will stick to the truth as outlined in your fabulous web site. Thxs everyone. Dennis

  114. They put me on clonzepam in 2008.. I’ve been taking 2mg 4 times a day for 9 years. I need to get off these but i have 5 kids. My support system is small. Maybe 1 person. I wish i would have never taken this ever. I think it’s time i face this battle. For myself and for my kids. God give me strength.

  115. This is like a reefer madness speech directed towards benzos. Evert single statement you make is biast to maybe some experiences you had or ideas that peoplease have taken past the point of extreme. You can’t possibly say there is no good medical purpose for them and compare it to heroin addiction for God’s sake. They’re being prescribed by a medical professionals who when you were going through an attack or episode you gladly stuck out your hand and took it. I myself have had general anxiety disorder since my early teens of drug abuse and physical abuse. I’m nearing 30 now and still have isues but benzos have personally saved me in times of where I thought I was dieing or it just felt like it from my crippling attacks. Those were relentless not the pills. The pills were able to clear the way so i could find alternative measures to addresse my anxiety. Exercise, yoga, meditation, hobbies, being active, meeting girls… sometimes some of them made things worse but there where good ones too. Basically I’m saying it’s absurd to come out with a radical propaganda like rant about a classification of drugs. That’s not the answer. Educate the consumers and prescribing doctors more and have more control on prescribing it. Sometimes we can’t control why we have or get our anxiety or condition but we can control the choices we make. Don’t just take pills expecting everything to be easy. Nothing is ever easy and it’ll probably be a battle for most if our lives but there are alternative measures that can be used with these life saving benzos. Just don’t abuse it because you can abuse anything in this world. At the end of the day it’s the heroin addict sticking the needle in his own arm it’s not anybody else fault even tho society likes to spoon feed people all the way through their lives. Theres recorded deaths of people dieing from taking tylenol.. how many people take that a day its not being condemned just like benzos arent a gateway to hell and addiction. Open your eyes people everyone reacts differently to many substances. There’s alot of trial and error so what doesn’t work for you could be saving somebody else’s life. I am for the smart and rational use of benzos all the way.

  116. My current state and life: March 31, 2017

    I am 1095 days free of benzodiazepines. Free, Yeah right. My state of mind is dark, fearful, anxious, detached. I experience derealization all the time. I hardly ever sleep. The tinnitus is just blasting all the time. My symptoms seem even worse now than in the beginning. For the last few years I have just been surviving.

    I live in an altered reality of derealization and, now and then, depersonalization. Sometimes I get so depressed I think about suicide. There is no self. I feel disconnected from everything. I have constant intrusive thoughts. I have strange perceptions of people, the world and my life. I’m not really sure what is real any more.

    I have felt no joy or happiness or aliveness. I cry so much from the fear. I can barely function. My ability to think is gone. I have no interest in anything or anyone. No spiritual life or connection. I feel I’m observing life from some distant place. I feel like I am the only one in my private Universe. My thoughts are convoluted, thick and drowning in negativity. They are dark and fearful. I have horrific, intrusive thoughts. All of the thoughts are horrifying. It is impossible to try and make sense of anything. I pace around when the huge waves of horror attack. There is no place to hide.

    This “state” I exist in and all thoughts and perceptions of my experience of reality emanate from this “state” making living and experiencing anything good in life impossible. I can’t think my way out. I watch television shows and I become them momentarily. I morph in and out of these selves. People look like they are made out of rubber or plastic. I can’t find the real me. I have forgotten what reality feels like.

    Paranoia is noticeable. I’m unable to be in crowds. Everything is so noisy. The tinnitus is almost always screaming and driving me even more insane. I’m not sure if the derealization is feeding off of the tinnitus or visa versa.

    This is a horrible way to live. And I am so terrified most of the time.

    There is no peace. There is no fluid natural movement, no relaxed calm state of being and no peace ever. There is no place to hide from this hell. I love life. But the only thing that stops me from killing myself is that I don’t want to hurt my wife.

  117. I don’t know what to do. I have extreme social anxiety, panic and general anxiety disorder and was prescribed clonazepam in 2001. I’ve reduced my dosage of 4mg clonazepam to .5mg..I’ve developed extreme hypochondria, panic, deep dark depression, loss of facial expression, tinnitus, shortness of breath, joint pain/stiffness, depersonalisation, loss of all motivation, obsessive thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and I’ve gone back to 2mg in sheer desperation for a sense of normality. The only thing that can alleviate this hell in my mind is resuming the clonazepam. I have been trying to taper down since 2012 at a wellness clinic, and I don’t think I can deal with the severe withdrawal without losing my mind and my life completely. I believe staying on this is the only option for me, as at least I am functional while on a small dose. I am currently investigating phenibut/kava, gabapentin, ashwagandha and magnolia bark as possible adjuncts to help me stabilise a small, functional dosage of clonazepam while trying to lead a normal life. The way I see it, this is like a chronic manageable disease like HIV, hypertension or hypothyroidism whereby the only option to live life normally is to be medicated for life and manage symptoms along the way. I believe some people who experience acute, severe withdrawal cannot come off this substance without threatening their life and sanity, so stabilisation of a low dose is the only option.

  118. …so my hands will eventually stop shaking? ..my mind will stop as if my conscience is bouncing off of the wall? Reading some of the comments i can truly say these people seem to understand me. But I am in fear of what’s to come.I am experiencing so many emotions it’s as if I’m feeling as raw as a newborn. The rawness is undeniable. thanks for the encouragement, though.

  119. After years (plus) and continuing the experience waves or relapses, and having tried many things for sleep which have been as natural as possible, l’d like to share my latest ,( and greatest) help. I read about this on the internet and and also it can be found on you tube, but you mix l teaspoon natural, unfiltered honey, two teaspoons apple cider vinegar, and warm water. Drink before bedtime. It relaxes one and is a great aid. To make it more potent l crush one half Tylenol PM and 1/2 magnesium pill and add that. I slept really well last night and if you might want to try this recipee. Tumeric didn’t help me, nor many other things l tried, but l feel comfortable and excited about this. Also the honey and vinegar are good for many other health conditions.

  120. A message for Tim….
    Overblown? Just make the effort to become a member on some of the online support groups and see the agony that is going on….
    It seemed to have been a walk in the park for you and lucky you……the same can not be said for countless others who suffer for years from the after affects.
    I find your ignorant post offensive.

  121. What your doctors won’t tell you about benzo withdrawal . . . this automatically caught my attention, as it’s how I became addicted. Benzos have been around for a while, but I wonder if benzos based medications are still studied? Benzo medications can be prescribed for just about anything. I’m heading into my twelfth year of taken 2 mg. of Klonpin nightly. I would love nothing more than to stop taking this medication, but one missed dose and I begin to shake like a naked person standing in the snow. I’m more than immune to the 2mg., but I refuse a increase. Keep the shakes in control and ensure 5 hours of sleep and I fine. Oh, how I started. I didn’t become pregnant until I was 35 years old. A touch of postpartum depression, a of lack sleep and the need of a complete hysterectomy, all happened in a 8 month time span. A new mother and sent straight into menopause in the same year. Mammograms are then required due to HRT (Estradiol 1mg. daily). Life was good, until the doctor found two tiny, unseen by the untrained eye, benign fibroid cysts in one breast. The 1mg. Estradiol was quickly taken away as the chances of developing breast cancer is increased. The 1mg. of Estradiol was replaced with 2 mg. of Klonopin. The reason given was I was no longer able to produce or take estrogen and the deprivation of estrogen leads to the death of dopamine cells in the brain. In order to stop this from happening, a benzodiazepine is prescribed in order to bathe the brain in dopamine. I’m not addicted to just a opiate, I’m just as addicted to dopamine. Couldn’t there been a better way to administer dopamine? I blame myself just as much as the doctor who handed out opiate based drugs like candy. One day I hope I can find the strength to overcome this drug and I strongly suggest that anyone who is prescribed any opiate based drug to please get a second opinion before taking it. My prayers and thoughts are with you all.

  122. I absolutely agree with everything I read bout benzos in the above articles . It’s the doctors foult and big pharmaceutical industries who are making the big money of the poor souls who get addicted on this drugs by the ignorance of the doctors who have no clue what is like to quit this monster. I’m talking from personal experience . Without knowing what they can do to you got addicted to them . I suffer from anxity so that’s the reason I got introduced to this evel even thow it help in the beginning after I found out what they really are a I stopped them cold turkey. Oh my dear god it was he’ll on earth all I could do was hide in my room and roll in a ball and pray to die. I’m year and a half off since I stopped it gotten so much better sometimes I get little waves but nothing like the first few months and I only took them for several months what bout the ppl who try to stop taking them after years of use I do pray for them and the hell they have to go thrue. What I think is every doctor who is ignorant and say they it addictive and u will be fine in couple of weeks should be forced to take them for a few months to a year to see what is like . Only then they will stop prescribing them if they will hold on to their sanity to even go back to work as doctors . My point stop manufacturing benzos full stop . Thank you for your time to read this massage even thow I have a lot more to add bout my expirience with this evel drug . Regards Jasmina.?

  123. Hi folks,some of the stories here are to me a bit overblown,I was on benzos for years along with psychiatric meds for bi polar disorder,I was also a long term heroin user,clean 8 years now.I did a benzo taper over a couple of weeks and am now off them a couple of months,my sleep was disturbed for a while and I had bad sweats and appetite problems for 2 weeks but now I’m fine,don’t want to take them anymore and don’t even crave them,heroin is a much worse kick,as for benzo symptoms lasting years,I think that’s a total exaggeration from my experience.

  124. I was forced to go through two very painful and sickening detox’s of of Klonopin. The phycs keept me on 3 mg for 11 years saying it was a sleep aid. The medical people refused to give me my medicine saying it was against the law. No medical help was given. I felt like I was going to die and then wished I would. I am still suffering from pain and it has been 6 moths plus some. No one will help me stop these people. I tried to kill my self thinking the only way to punish them all would be to haunt them. I am now seeing a new doc but no body cares about me and my pain and suffering.

  125. Thank you so much for this article. HuffPo has never been reliable to me, but after reading that initial article, I’ve never been so disgusted by them.

    I’ve been on Kolonopin for 14 bloody years before a new doctor told me point-blank I needed to get off of them. I thought it would be a great thing! I got off Kolonopin (I was up to 4mg a day) to a diazepam taper. Sounded like it would go well – diazepam has a longer half life, I’d be safe. That’s what he told me. Sadly, my dr did not tell me anything of what to expect and I’m going though hell nearly 3 years later. It wasn’t even until 6 months ago, 2+ years into this taper, did he casually tell me I was having withdrawals. Needless to say; I was extremely pissed. I’m learning more and more about the dangers of both being in this terrible drug and coming off it. Hell, I wish it WAS like cocaine, it’s addiction is more understanded and treatable.

    I found one silver lining, and I know it’s not for everyone, but smoking medical marijuana at night helps me sleep, stops the very painful physical effects, calms my overworked mind. Zero addiction, no lasting side effects, no deaths. And guess which is illegal.
    Disclaimer: (Yes, I do know people with anxiety disorders can have very adverse effects from marijuana – that’s the great thing about people actually studying it now. Plants grown with low thc are safe for me who would have attacks smoking street grown. It’s honestly kept me sane and I’ve told all my doctors in hope this is looked into.)

  126. It’s very harmful to even visit a doctor without being as informed as you can be about the problem you have and what sort
    of meds might be prescribed for you! I had a very negligent doctor who at one point had me on 10mg of Clonazepam, 120
    mg of Oxazepam as well as Zopiclone, narcotics etc. etc.!To make a long story short, because I’ve been. on benzos for 20
    years and am 65 yrs old with a lot of medical issues due to these and all kinds of other drugs he had me take, here I stand
    in poor health being flat out told by my current dr. to simply get off the benzos before he’ll give me the pain meds I need!
    Come on, it was a doctor who I ignorantly trusted that put me between a rock and a hard place to begin with, that I have
    horrific damage to my Gaba receptors. It certainly is extremely problematic that doctors knowvery little about most drugs,
    never mind the benzos! Personally, I feel now that having all the health problems I do, it is ridiculous at this age to
    ask this of me, thus making me endure a private hell for who knows how many years, this close to the possibility of
    an early death that ALL the drugs I’ve been and am on, have caused! Please just leave me alone and let me live out the
    rest of my earthly life in as much peace that is possible!! Thank you so much for this informative page that I “happened”
    to come across………God bless you for sharing the truth with innocent people so they can understand that taking drugs of
    anykind should require INFORMED consent!

  127. I’m 75 years old and genetics in my family are high for depression and panic attacks so my family doctor put me on Clonazepam 0.5 mgs. I didn’t realize it should be short-term, but my doctor at that time said that my panic attacks kept coming back so severely he wanted me to continue on this drug. I felt great and had my life back. My family doctor retired and I was forced to go to a clinic doctor and he seemed fine with what I was on (I do not abuse this drug and on no other medications.) I went in two weeks ago for another issue altogether and as I was walking out the door this clinic doctor out of the blue said he wanted to start to wean me off Clonazepam. He was gone like the wind and I was left standing in the hall in shock. I am seeing him on Friday, March 3rd and I’m terrified after reading about the withdrawal symptoms. I live alone and have no support to lean on. I feel at age 75 why fix it if it isn’t broken! I am a recent widow and now have a foothold on a new life for myself and if this doctor weans me off Clonazepam it will ruin my life and I know I can’t go through panic attacks again. The article was a good one and it’s true these doctors seem to know little about benzo’s or care to know and with a swipe of a pen on a pad can make or break your life. I live in B.C. Canada and there is a terrible shortage of doctors so if my clinic doctor (he’s arrogant) pushes me into weaning off this drug I have nowhere else to go to continue on this medication.

  128. CK, thank you for your response. I was actually asking for a family member. We’ve noticed some things but weren’t sure what was going on…this article has really opened my eyes. I’m unsure how to approach this person about this medication–I can’t see them ever wanting to get off of them. They are convinced they “need” it. Tragically, it’s been decades long usage of these meds.

  129. To Meems. Usually within approx 2 days without the drug after longtime use can you feel some of the first withdrawal symptoms popping up. Anxiety, panic, sweating, fast heart beat etc. These symptoms can also appear in between doses. This is called in between dose withdrawal syndrome when tolerance to the amount has set in and only an augmentation of the dose will remedy this. Unfortunately, the nature of benzos is such that one needs to continue to up the dose to stay ahead of the symptoms . This can only last so long before the dose becomes too high and an overdose is at risk. The only way to proceed at this point is to withdraw, slowly, and stay off benzos. Many doctors do add another benzo or even a neuroleptic, saying you need this combo for life. They can’t be more wrong.

  130. In reply to Jenn……it would be cruel for long term benzo users to ban and leave them without their daily friend. A cold turkey withdrawal is dangerous. Depending the age, older people in their 70’s or 80’s might as well stay on them. Many people have no issues with these drugs but it is impossible to predict ahead of time who falls into severe withdrawal and who not. By the time they find out the worst, it is too late. You can come off safely by going at it very slowly and be informed before you start.
    Unfortunately with this type of drug, there is a very short time of it being therapeutic……these drugs are not meant for long term therapeutic use since they do peeter out after a few months and all you do is feeding an addicted brain. Benzos do not treat nor cure anything but buy time for you to deal with your issues in a better and long lasting way.

  131. Yes, you can have withdrawal symptoms between doses. Please get help to get off them, it’s not safe to suddenly stop without medical attention. Please don’t stay on them just to avoid withdrawal, I have seen my sister change so much – from a hardworking, friendly nurse who loved people to someone who is nearly home bound. She has no short term memory and falls frequently, and now is getting to the point where she can’t get up on her own. I miss her so much, and I am so angry that doctors prescribed this medication at the doses they did for as long as they did. Please don’t let this happen to you. Get help, get off them and stop any further damage to your brain and your life. I know you are scared, but you are worth saving.

  132. How quickly do withdrawal symptoms appear after stopping benzodiazepines? Can you see withdrawal symptoms in a person just between doses?

  133. My social life is ruined. I have no friends left and despite my efforts to behave like I was prior to Xanax(4 yrs.), I continue in this nightmare. I did ,however lower the dose from 3 mg. a day to 1mg.
    I have 30 years in sober AA living but no one believes I am sober anymore.

    Stupid, huh?

  134. Good article, but doesn’t fully explain the consequences of long term use of this drug. My sister and most of her family have struggled with addiction to it. She has gone from mild anxiety to panic attacks in the meantime, also has what looks like dementia from taking it long term, she can get lost going around the block and has no short term memory. Terrible drug, people need to start suing for the damage it has done them, likely the only way overprescribing will stop.

  135. I do completely understand your side of all this. However, my gyno prescribed me a weeks worth due to my PMDD. No more. I took them, never gave them another thought. So I don’t agree with the short term use being a huge problem. Ten years went by, and due to terrible debilitating panic attacks I’d had since I was a teen, a dr put me on them regularly. This is where I completely agree with you. A new dr I’ve been seeing for a couple years, mentions taking me off of them every time I see him. But I see no seriousness or he would have made a move by now. It seem like he enjoys hearing “no you can’t do that, I won’t be able to leave my house” which is true, I am terrified of not having them though I’m sure I they no longer work for me as I’ve been on the same dose for 5ish years. Really? Can I come off of them safely without my life crashing down around me? And if you’re pushing to have then illegalized, what about all of us productive/semi productive human beings out there who are already on them? Just take them away and see who makes it out alive and who ends up in homeless shelters, or turns to street drugs? I can see banning for new patients, but not long time patients. What do you think about patients who have been on them therapeutically for years?

  136. I still cannot believe that any Dr. would knowingly prescribe such terrible drugs? It is no excuse that they “were unaware of the dangers” there is no excuse and yet they are still prescribing them to innocent, trusting patients.
    After two years, l still have the occasional sleepless night. I am now trying tumeric and it seems to help! It is a powerful spice so l am going conservatively with it too, but it relaxes and does seem to be helping. It increases seratonin, dopamine,and is good for the immune system. I am drinking lemon water to counteract the oaxalates in it which might contribute to kidney stones. Lemon water keeps the oaxalates from forming stones somehow. I wish everyone patience and healing!!

  137. Getting a little discouraged with what doctors know or don’t know about the drugs they casually prescribe. I have had two doctors in a row tell me that there is no evidence whatever that gabapentin can cause swollen feet and ankles (mine are like balloons). Finally I stumbled across a neurologist who stared in disbelief for a minute, then told me she uses gaba all the time and the chief complaint is swollen feet and ankles. Then she called it up on her computer and showed me. How can doctors say “no evidence” when they’ve never read anything about the drug? They just tell me not to believe everything I read on line. Can it be part of the God thing? As long as I am under their care, nothing bad can happen to me?

    I am midway through a protracted gaba withdrawal overseen by the neurologist. A little insomnia so far, and just a bit of the PHN pain coming back in occasional flashes, but I’m OK. When I told her I’m also on klonopin, she said let’s take these one at a time. When you’re successfully free of the gaba, we’ll deal with “that other beast.” Finally!

  138. I have been taking Xanax and other benzos off and on for 20+years and there have been occasions when I have taken 5,6 even 10 mg at once for a week or so I even took 30 mg of Xanax and had to go to the hospital but I was aware of everything and awake with iv in my arm. I have a super high tolerance for benzos. In the last year I have been doing some research on benzos and some testing said you can get Alzheimer’s and dementia from benzos then there are tests that say you can’t get no such effects from benzos.now I’m so scared that I’m going to get one of these diseases. I haven’t really forgotten anything I have had some minor memory issues in the past. But sometimes I will look at something or someone that’s familiar and it’s like its/they are unfamiliar. I have been told it is dissociative disorder but I’m super super scary nervous and anxious all the time. Even words look weird sometimes. I was diagnosed 20 years ago with a severe panic disorder agoraphobia OCD tendencies. What is wrong with me???????

  139. So, I was prescribed klonopin after facing severe nervous system damage from taking an antidepressant that I took as prescribed and tapered according to directions. The withdrawal from the antidepressant was debilitating. A doctor saved me with a prescription of low dose klonopin (.5mg) taken every night before bed time and excellent therapy. This drug literally saved my life. I did end up feeling ill on it, but I tapered it very slowly. I even had to reinstate and micro taper. I am 2 weeks off of a micro taper and still have withdrawal symptoms, but I do not regret taking it for two years as I was able to be a mom and keep my job. The answer is not to ban benzos or even benzos taken long term. The answer is for doctors to understand how these drugs can effect the brain-to keep patients at low doses and to offer therapy. Also for doctors to help patients get off of them with methods that are more slow and gentle. My doctor did not help me with my titration, an online forum did. I am functioning, not well, but functioning and that benzo saved me from an even worse hell. There needs to be an awareness of tapering and not just an outright ban. Doctors are not evil, nor is psychiatry, there just needs to be a lot that should be improved and unfortunately people fall through the cracks.

  140. I went to ER for high blood pressure.I’d never had a panic attack in my life.The doctor gave me ativan.I thought it was for blood pressure.Now how do i get off this mess????

  141. I have been suffering from coming off of Gabapentin to quickly, that was 5 years ago that I withdrew. I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting better but I can’t breath sometimes. I am taking Benadryl which helps a little. I wish I had someone to talk to about this, I am completely alone in this. I quit going to doctors as NONE o them ever heard of Protracted Withdrawals, and the symptoms that my body is manifesting go on for a few days to a few weeks then go away. The breathing problem is tough. I have had several chest X-rays which show nothing. I have read on other sites that Gabapentin is a demonic drug and I will testify to that. I have never experienced anything like the withdrawals that I had and am still going through. I have found some things that are helping. I take no prescription drugs now and haven’t for two years. I ear 98% organic, I do FIR saunas every other day, which have helped the dizziness and head floating. I am ordering some Living Clay and going to do clay baths. I have incorporated probiotics into my diet. That helped the “negative ribbons” that tormented me for 3 years. After taking 2 caps for 3 days all the “negative ribbons” stopped. If you can help me connect with others to talk to about this I would appreciate it. I have just been able to get back on the computer this last year. I couldn’t form sentences in my head let alone try to wrap my poor brain around searching on the net. I can read a book now again also, so I know I am getting better. Please help me


  143. Every time I stumble on something that may assist healing from a benzo, I am driven to share it with fellow sufferers. I have posted a few times before. In my last post I said my integrative medicine doctor discovered I was close to adrenal failure/insufficiency as I had next to no cortisol in my body. I am taking pregnenolone and my cortisol levels are rising nicely and I am feeling a lot better. Insomnia has also improved, but I seem to go through good and bad patches. Anyway, my latest discovery through my integrative doctor is ozone therapy. I have tested positive for the Epstein Barr and Shingles viruses. My doc is positive that the Epstein Barr virus is the reason my adrenal system was in such a bad way. He also thinks it is the cause of the insomnia and chronic hair loss that I have. The Epstein Barr virus attacks the body when the immune system is weakened and it’s main aim is ultimately to attack the central nervous system (first it attacks other organs such as the liver, moves on to the thyroid where one can then display symptoms of hypothyroidism, and then moves on to the nervous system). I was so terribly sick when I went through acute benzo withdrawal, I am sure bad things happened to my body during that time (one day I had such pain in my head, it felt as if my brain was being squashed in a vice). Anyway, I went for my first ozone therapy session today. I have to go for a minimum of 5 sessions, so time will tell whether it helps or not. When my doc first told me that I had tested positive for the viruses, I shrugged it off (at that stage I was still certain I had brain damage from the benzo). However, I’ve been reading about the EB virus lately. So-called modern medicine does not help, so I am constantly looking further. My latest discovery is the book by Anthony William called Medical Medium. It is quite eye-opening. After over 11 years of chronic insomnia, I have to remain optimistic that healing will take place one day. I’ve had many days where I feel there is no hope. Those are the really dark days when continuing with this life seems pointless and bad thoughts start to enter my head. Since my benzo nightmare I am of the opinion that the really, really dangerous drug dealers are not the ones on the street corners, but your friendly neighbourhood doctor, pen poised, ready to write out another benzo prescription and pocket the kick-back from big pharma.

  144. Are you still responding to this article? I am currently going through post-acute withdrawal syndrome from a 30-year addiction to benzodiazepines! It has been 4 months … I am currently going out of my mind… Is there anyone out there willing to help me?

  145. I’m still hanging in and simply surviving. I’ve been suicidal and my mind and body have been completely destrour by long term use of Librium in a pill called Librax that my gastroenterologist prescribed for severe ibs when my Dad was dying. I went into tolerance withdrawal while on it, twice and tried to wean off and twice stopped cold turkey. It bo longer worked and I’m longer on it and my life is spent in embarks anguish and fear and anxiety.

  146. I think what those of us who have ,( are) suffering from the after effects of Benzo drugs need is to hear that eventually, life can become normal again. We wonder why we aren’t hearing much from those who have recovered? I don’t know the answer, but want to say that l am now sleeping every night where for many “months” it was only every other night and for only a few hours. I have never heard that one doesn’t recover, only that with patience, they do. But, thanks drs. for putting us through this…there’s ” NO” excuse for prescribing benzos. Get well everyone! I am finally quite well again.

  147. Quitting a 0.5 mg every other night for sleep did not make me crazy, it made me insane (YES INSANE!!!) I wanted to sleep so very bad but when I would drift into sleep, I would stop breathing and wake up, within seconds of falling asleep, in a panic. Days with no sleep. Horrible thoughts– for example an eyelash or lint in my eye would send me into a panic attack. All this coming off of 0.5 mg Xanax every other night. It’s been 140 days and I still have difficulty breathing, tightness in my chest. STAY AWAY FROM THIS DRUG!!! STAY AWAY FROM ALL BENZOS including Valium. You better listen or you will find yourself in hell like I did. I just now feel well enough to write this. If you are on them don’t stop but taper, slow taper, cardio exercise, keep your mind busy, go to sleep listening to motivational audio books. I got myself into this, I took responsibility and got myself out by seeking help from the right people. However don’t count on your general practice doctor because more than likely he/she will not have a clue of how to get your off or even what you are going through. Think “Slow Tapper, very slow tapper”

  148. Attributing different meanings to the same words does cause misinformation. The benzo-patient is not an addict in any sense. The element of compulsive use is just not there. This causes the public to consider benzos to be another addiction problem and to promote detox centers as help for weak characters. Benzo patients are not weak. They have no compulsion to use a drug. Addictionology may do fine work elsewhere, but it causes harm to the benzo-patient.
    Clinic is another misunderstood word. We are told that H. Ashton, DM ran a benzo clinic, and we see something like a Betty ford Clinic. However, Dr. A, saw benzo patients in her general practice on two days per week, and this she called a “clinic”. It may be so in her country. A lot was lost in translation. This is contained in Dr. A’s writings.

    I see that this blog is for real addicts. Bot even addicts are addicted to benzos. The word, addict, is misused. When people must taper from anti-seizure meds or beta blockers, are they called adducts?

    Why are advertisements for rehab posted here anyway?
    A little careful thinking, care and respect for people would do much more good.

  149. This is the way l feel about benzo drugs, that they are poisen. Drs. should not be poisening their patients……it should be illegal.

  150. I just wanted to share something that gave me much relief during my withdrawal. It is a simple thing. When l was desperately tired l found an “alka seltzer cold” tablet made me feel better. I got a little energy back. Also it helped my central nervous system.
    I compared it to a cocktail, how a relaxation seemed to come. Tylenol didn’t help, but the combination of aspirin and the ingredients in it for colds helped. Best not to take at night as it acts as a stimulant when you need to make it through the day.

  151. This in response to Harry who wrote a very disqualifying message about Professor Heather Ashton…..I hope he is mistaken her for someone else because his discription of her is not correct.
    I know Prof Ashton personally and she was and is the only professional in the world who took a stance against benzodiazepines when her peers laughed at her at the time.
    When she showed us her notes left behind in a drawer, we felt these deserved to be in a proper guide and so the Heather Ashton benzodiazepine withdrawal guide was born.
    Millions have been helped by safely coming off their drugs using the guidance of this booklet rather than the unsafe protocols most if not all doctors recommend.
    In particular the once every 2 days, once every 3 days method , never mind a 6 day or 2 week withdrawal time.
    These will cause in many long lasting damage in their brain and nervous system and God only knows if some might be permanent.
    We are the guinea pigs in this affaire with benzodiazepines.
    I am myself a survivor of a cold turkey Klonopin withdrawal, done back in the 90’s.
    While it took me 15 years to recover, I still have lasting symptoms in my nervous system.
    These drugs might have a place in a medical setting, they are not designed to use for more than 2 weeks when all you continue to do is feeding an addicted brain.
    I am very sad that this problem still continues today where the medical profession just pads you on the head, making it look it’s your fault, your mental problem and completely ignores the fact the root of the problem lies with their prescription pads for a drug that does not treat or heals anything but shoves your issues under the carpet…..and for you to deal with at a later date.
    Your issues will be back in most cases coupled with the horrible dependency which is extremely painful.
    I have tried to help thousands over the last decades and it is heartbreaking to hear their stories.
    We have tried to lobby the governments without success……..they send you packing and show you the door the moment it’s about benzodiazepines.
    At least in England they are much further ahead…….with Prof Ashton the initial whistle blower.
    Harry if he could explain what and where these so called logical derived methods and real science are……
    So far no doctor nor addictioloque has any inkling about it.
    I am working with someone in France who has seen a dozen of these clowns over the last 12 months and is now completely bed bound and on the verge of suicide.
    He has been in 2 clinics for withdrawal from Valium and none has been successful but making him much worse.
    If there are these logical scientific methods, I am sure everyone would like to hear about them.
    So far any method coming from a medical professional has done nothing but harm and create a lot of destruction.

  152. Hi, I have posted here before. I am posting again because I want to share this news and hopefully help a fellow benzo withdrawal sufferer/s. It’s been more than 8 years since I tapered off Alprazolam (Xanax). 8 years of pure hell, mostly because of the chronic insomnia. I’m now seeing a doctor that practices integrative medicine, i.e. he is a qualified medical doctor but prefers to practice alternative healing methods. He found that my cortisol levels were extremely low. He said I was close to adrenal failure. I have been feeling terrible since 2008. I blame the benzo. I am pretty sure benzos mess with cortisol levels. He has prescribed pregnenolone, a master hormone, to help my cortisol levels rise to a healthy level. I get it from a compounding pharmacy. I’ve been taking the pregnenolone for just under a month. The improvement in my sleep, mood and well-being is huge and almost unbelievable. This is the first time since my benzo nightmare that I have any hope. So my message to any sufferers out there is to get your cortisol levels checked by a doctor you really trust. I had my cortisol levels tested 3 years ago by one of my city’s top physicians. He found it to be on the low side but said I didn’t need anything for it. How wrong he was. He could have saved me another 3 years of suffering, but then if he had given me anything it would probably have been cortisone, which is very bad for the body. I am 53 years old and in menopause. For any ladies around my age with benzo problems, I also recommend a natural progesterone cream or bio-identical progesterone. Progesterone is very calming. Between the pregnenolone and the progesterone, I think I may actually be healing and I have some hope at last. If this post helps even one person, that would be great.

  153. It is unfortunate that the word, clinic, has many connotations. Just accepting benzo dependent people on Thursdays and Tuesdays within a general practice is what H. Ashton did. She had absolutely no training or insight into the syndrome. She simply ordered unendurable dosage reductions which she called, “Cuts”. Her treatment did take a long time, but “slow” meaning safe it was not. Today we have logically derived methods and real science. I caution the afflicted to abandon any protocol that worsens the often risky symptoms exacerbated by an inappropriate protocol.
    H. Ashton, DM seems still unaware of the pharma kinetics that are known by more accomplished physicians. Let’s not allow celebrity to over rule competence.

    1. Hi Harry. Thanks for your perspective…. However, I believe that Ashton is a professional who helped many people overcome benzo dependence.

  154. I want to say that, indeed, one does recover from Xanax poisening. I am sleeping better actually now than before my challenging ordeal! I think that the receptors do heal…..but it is a very, very slow process. Don’t give up! The suffering will eventually ease and don’t let relapses throw you. It just ( eventually) got better ( so slowly) for me and l am glad to be a voice from the muddy hole of withdrawal saying that it gets better and better with lots and lots of time.?

  155. My current physician, previous ones that prescribed Clonazepam retired, has decided that I can just stop now. He is not comfortable with prescribing it to me without backup from Mental Health Professional. I cannot get there with out them, perhaps not even with them. Catch 22. I am very scared. 63 and content with my 2 tablets a day. Dropped down from 3. Tried to drop to 1, consequences were less than unpleasant. I was happy with the 2. He promised if I saw him more often than the other doctors required he would take care of me, then changed his mind. Suffer agoraphobia as well. Live completely alone 24/7 365 (smoker). On fixed income and Medicare. Took care of house, after husband died, mowed lawn, landscaped, cleaned, cooked, depressed and sad but functioning, quilting, knitting and sewing. Then my best feline buddy died and needed to go back to the 3 a day for a while. I cry every day for her. Ten years now since husband died, medication prescribed by Psychiatrist. When that cat died, it was worse than loosing my husband. You bet I am scared and no doubt the old symptoms, for prescription will return, with a host of new ones. I am old, let me be comfortable until it is my time. No central heat, cut my own wood for wood stove. Please, at my age, how much longer do I have, no family, no children (except that beloved cat), no visitors or calls and bother no one. I suffer so without her, now I have to suffer more? Why? I desire the 2 pills a day until God calls me home. GAD is hard enough, now this and that loving Siberian Cat not by my side. Hoping a mental health specialist will relocate within my “safe Zone” driving. Then I might be saved. Now face winter, no medication, no best friend, cleaning and trying to tie up loose ends for fear of consequences. I did not plan the end to be like this. Some medication, save for furnace if things around here would just stop breaking down and get another Siberian, live out my days in peace.

  156. I have been on Klonopin for 23 years. I was feeling suicidal so I went to the hospital and they put me in the psych ward. The “psychiatric doctor” “weaned” me off them in 6 days. When he was sending me home I told him I had withdrawal symptoms. He patted me on the back of the head and said, “no you aren’t you it’s all in your head”. This is my fourth day home and my 6th day without Klonopin.

    I’m going crazy. I have almost all the withdrawal symptoms and they are severe. I’m going crazy. My BP is so high I’m at risk for stroke. I had a stroke 8 years when I was 50. I am now 58. I can’t function, I tried to tell the Doctor that he needed to taper me and he said “I did and you have no symptoms”. Yeah no joke, I have no symptoms they just started. Klonopin has a long half life and it takes about 3 days to develop SEVERE symptoms, which is the stage I am in now. It’s getting worse not better. I’m trying to reach my doctor. I need to be put on this drug and then tapered off. I was on Klonopin for 23 years at 1mg 4x per day. I’m in hell right now and have to go to work in two hours. I’m not sure I can drive. This is a great post. I knew about the withdrawal symptoms, so was not surprised to hear about them or feel them acutely. I just want help. I can’t do this anymore.

  157. I’ve been on klonopin for 8 years straight. 3mg a day (1mg 3x a day), I moved and out of no where I’m suppo43rd to taper to .5 2x a day.. I have 2 1mg pills left and no doctor will see me treat me or prescribe my tapered dose. I am willing and wanting to be off klonopin.. I am
    I am 100% for this. Problem is I have no doctor since the “war on benzos” forces users like me, who have a gaba receptor and adrenal gland disorder, to be a chronic user without the dependency at firat, of course it came within the first months script.

    So as I’m a writting this I can attest the following for myself, on .5mg

    Digestion is out of order. It hurts. Even a gas bubble hurts.
    My rectum doesn’t want to open. So I have to open it for my body..
    My body feels like there is a tremor happening from the earth. Obviously there is not.
    My lips feel sore, dry and tingly.
    My bladder hurts.
    I have severe abdominal pain that even oxycodone 10mg immediate release won’t help.
    My fingers feel awkward and hurt from taking care of my 2 children. As does my forearms, legs and thighs.
    My head feels cloudy, heavy as hell and a constant loss of memory is of course present.
    My feet hurt from putting shoes on.
    My teeth, which are destroyed from years of mountain dew abuse, are just aching at times.
    My penis is extremely sensitive to touch feel and sex.
    I have no sex drive.
    My marriage is on the verge of destruction due to my inability to keep the house and kids up.
    The random heavy eye lid feeling is great.
    The forced voluntary breathing is great too.
    The change in perception of the world around me is insane although nothing compared to full withdrawal which will be in 2 days.

    The list just goes on..

    No psychiatrist will see me. No emergency room here will give me a shot or a small script to bridge me to get into the local addiction center for any help to stay tapering. Instead of cold turkey.
    No doctor will take me.

    I am not an abuser. I am simply a man who got panic attacks and went to the hospital 3x a day thinking I was dying for 3 straight years. Then was finally put on medication at home.. And I regret that moment. But then again it made my life normal. So I can’t really regret it.

    The best they say they can do for me is out me in a patch ward and no give me klonopin or any benzo so I can recover…. How is cold turkey after 8 years of use…at all legal… I could die from this. I could seize up. I could seriously have real heart problems.

    This epidemic is partly the fault of the state and the dea for their strict rules.

    I agree with guidlines and cutting normal users down for some time then off completely but people who have brain disorders like myself can’t just come off of the medicstion, especially after 8 years… That’s just.. Withdrawl for me is me laying in bed until I go back to bed. I have no life. I have no morals. I have no esteem. I have no freedom from pain. I have no freedom. I am literally trapped..

  158. I just would like to say that this is a bang on article about what I’m going through. Thank you for making it more clear to me because I really feel like I’m going through hell sorry but I just feel absolutely terrible. 🙁

  159. I am almost in tears reading this…. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I was on benzos for over 5 years, everyday at large doses! I ran a company on them, trained staff, presented mass deals to huge corporates, yet I couldn’t get out of bed nor go to work without them, nor go back to bed. They were the sanity of my day and without them I did not “do to well”..They killed my life and my extremely hard earned career. ! I had to kick the addiction cold turkey, in my house whilst trying to develop and run a new company and be a new Dad, in a new city…it almost killed me. But by the grace of God, I am tough bastard and wouldn’t let the horrific side affects, withdrawal symptoms take that last bit of fight from me. This is the first article which truly points out the addiction and all that comes with it, so for that I once again say thank you! I gave up smoking recently and people asked ” How did I do it with such ease?” and my response was.. smoking addiction is a laughable joke when compared to that of Benzo’s and in my case Rivitrol.. Thank you again!!

  160. It is illegal to do bodily harm to someone, as in an assault. It is illegal to murder someone. Why is it then legal to prescribe medications that do these very things? I believe that in time, we heal, but it certainly takes patience, bravery and fortitude. I am feeling much better now but it has taken eighteen months, that that from takin one month, low dose Xanax. I believe natural medicines work. These brain damaging drugs don,’t.

  161. Marchelle,

    Copied from a very recent post of mine in a Benzo Recovery group. The pain is also in my neck and left shoulder blade. Other physical symptoms are:

    Bulging eyes
    Stinging tongue
    Extreme fatigue

    It’s not a competition, but I do my best not to state that nobody has it worse than me. I’ve CT’d all meds except Norco with the most recent being Elavil in late May. It’s pure f*cking hell, but I’ve been dealing with DP/DR since first CT’ing Effexor in Feb./March of 2013.

    I am aware that my symptoms are very rare but I can’t say how they compare to others. I have had a throbbing knot in the back of my skull since it all began that actually emanates extreme heat. It’s beyond description.

    My anxiety caused by this extreme pain is a 24/7 loop stating that there is no GOD, no higher power, nothing, and insisting that all is hopeless and that I will never be able to feel an ounce of joy or peace again.

    I don’t get into spiritual debates either, just attempting to relay the level of desperation that my own personal symptoms have brought about.

  162. The question is, are doctors still freely prescribing benzos? I think enough people need to complain to the food and drug administration that ” something” will finally be done!!
    I have a bit of good news: my dr. “actually” said that after my experience, he is no longer prescribing Xanax.
    I am sleeping reasonably still after 16 months from taking Xanax. Still don’t know if it is safe to take “any” antibiotics? Flu shots? Pneumonia shots?
    It seems drs. are woefully uninformed on these things. ( I don’t trust their answers) after my Benzo poisening.

  163. I could not agree more with this article. It’s been more than 8 years since I went through acute Xanax withdrawal, after taking the hideous drug for only 7 months. I had every single withdrawal symptom in the book, including vomiting 10+ times a day about 3 days a week for about 2 months. Indeed it is worse than heroin withdrawal, I believe. I could not have been sicker. The worst remaining symptom is chronic insomnia (with anxiety every night). My life will never be the same. I am depressed, anxious and exhausted all the time. Alprazolam and all other benzos should be illegal, but I doubt that will ever happen. Pharmaceutical companies and the good old doctors that we put so much faith in (not any more!), are lining their pockets hugely with the kick-backs they receive with each prescription that is filled. This is indeed a sick world.Thank you Dr Leigh for putting this information out there.

  164. Coming off Ativan, even after one month of use, was Living Hell! Please, Please, Please, avoid using benzos. You have no idea of HORROR, until you have been through it. I have never experienced such HORROR in my entire life. I am tapering slowly, and hope to get my life back.

  165. Please help me. I am 20 years old, and spent a long time in and out of a mental health ward for severe anorexia nervosa, PTSD and panic disorder. I was being administered up to 400mg a day of diazepam (Valium) intermittently for 18 months and have since stayed out of hospital and tapered down to 6mg/day. I feel like I am in hell. This withdrawal syndrome has and continues to destroy every aspect of my life. I am housebound, fighting an eating disorder on my own as I have lost complete trust in all health care “professionals” and am in constant mental agony. I have no quality of life and no will to live as I cannot face tapering further down off my current dosage after one particularly horrendous cut I made from 6 to 5mg and went back up to 6mg. Have stayed here for several months terrified to try again even by 0.1mg. I have an very supportive partner who I would not be here without, but no one else for additional support. I have such a multitude of mental health problems and stresses and to add these to benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is a living hell. I am at a complete loss, I am living with my parents until my partner and I find a new home (which is terrifying as I have an incredibly difficult time with adjusting to changes) I do not recognise myself anymore and I am frightened for my life. Please help me with what I should do ? I cannot bear to leave the house anymore, I’m trying to recover from anorexia on my own, I am in excruciating pain mentally and physically for the better part of my mere existence, I do not want to die but want this agony to stop, please help me as I am feeling increasingly suicidal and do not know what to do.

  166. My experience is a little different. A bromazepam patient for years, I must have been going through ‘tolerance withdrawal’ for a very long time – but inconsistently, sometimes feeling awful, sometimes passable – never “good”. I never upped the dose, and sometimes reduced it; never had a “craving”. Matters came to a head following an extremely stressful period involving selling up and moving house under duress and I came to ‘burnout’ – utter exhaustion across the board.

    At this point, it was assumed by all that “stress” was the cause and, on paper, that’s what it looked like. But I was going through quite an extraordinary and completely foreign hellish experience that seemed far above and beyond anything I thought “stress” could produce. Absolutely overwhelmed, no executive mental control, chronic and serious insomnia, nightmarish intrusive thinking – the works “This just isn’t me” was a regular self-analysis. But I couldn’t ‘nail’ the cause. At this time, benzos just weren’t working at all. My suspicion was that not alone were they not working/helping, but that they were actively hindering; poisoning me. I felt poisoned. I self tapered over about our months and now, seven weeks benzo-free there are tiny signs of regeneration and some grounds for hope.

    My contention – and I’m reasonably experienced – is that not only was there “withdrawal” for who knows how long, but there was active paradoxical effect. Benzos were killing me – and I came close. The entire experience was “worst nightmare”, horrific and shattering and it will be some time yet before I will be able to declare: “freedom”.

  167. we have survived 3 years of ativan as prescribed by the medical – sleep is the common thing hydrating loss of functional memory short term – family life is gone – 4 months of withdrawing from the so called medicine is wrecking our life – no support groups for a family unit

  168. hi i was on ativan 1.5 a day for 10 yrs. yes the wiyhdrawal nightmares are true,ty all forsharing. i found this blog today thank God bc i was searching why i feel this way after like 34 months clean. i call it “beingzapped” little worries that normal people deal with zapp me. to descibe feeling zapped its like a my nerves just got hit bolt of lightning nmy nerves thru out my body fry out. i dont drink caffien. is this ever evergoing togo away? it renders me fearful for a few seconds n i feel helpless!

  169. Thank God for this article and many others I have read recently. Today is 42 days for me and I would have thought I was going insane if it wasn’t for all the brave people sharing.. I don’t care how long it takes, I am in this for the long run. I will keep sharing because everyone who has done the same helped me. God bless everyone, don’t give up. I won’t.

  170. There should be informed consent papers before taking these medications. This should be required to prevent possible lawsuits and mostly to protect patients!!

    1. I totally agree with you, Elizabeth. Doctors should inform their patients what happens after stop taking benzodiazepines.

  171. My anxiety was present before I started taking benzos. ( clonazepam) but not nearly as bad as now. Benzons seemed to ease my anxiety while taking it, however the withdrawal was terrible. Its been a year since I’ve been off clonazepam and I STILL feel the “waves” of symptoms. They come and go. Somedays its bareable, others its terrible. Can’t stress how dangerous this medication is. Supposedly they stopped prescribing clonazepam because the crazy severe side affects. Hoping it doesn’t last another year…

  172. To add insult to injury, my wife’s GP refuses to accept that her 2 years on benzos and 3 years since withdrawing can be blamed for her present problems. She’s had blood tests and scans, and so far she appears to have a minor vitamin B12 deficiency. In other words they’ve found nothing. In GP logic it follows that as the benzos can’t be to blame there must be something else (unspecified of course) wrong with her. Naturally there is nothing to be done.

  173. Yep, your right about everything you said. I have extreme paranoia to the point where it’s ruining my life and I can’t control. It’s all due to getting off klonopin. I was on it for 5 years at .5 mg a day. The doctors told me it was a low dose and I would be fine. Yeaaaaaa that explains why I’ve been sick ever since I got off. I’ve been off for 2 months. I see a bit improvement but by no means enough to brag about. These drugs need to be illegal! Thanks for getting the word out! ❤️

  174. Wow, I have never felt this hopeless. I have been taking four 2mg Xanax a day for 5+ years. My doctor just retired and I have enough bars for less than a week and no refills. I pray that article keeps as many people as possible from taking Xanax.

  175. It was enough Xanax to cause me horrid insomnia. Plus bouts of extreme anxiety which l had not before known!! I would try to imagine all the people who work night shifts ( as l lay in bed awake all night) and liked to feel that there are others who are awake all night at their jobs. But– darn, l was so tired and this went on ( sleeping about four hours every other night) for around six months. I would like to know, if it is alright to get innoculations ( like pneumonia shots?) Also are there any antibiotics that are relatively safe to take if l ever need them? I know that there are some that Benzo withdrawal sufferes

    I tell all my friends and family to “Never take Benzo drugs”!

  176. Hi, I was orescribed Clonazepam and Xanax and several other sych meds and stimulants seven years ago following a life-changing tragedy that is too much to bear. 4 months ago I went to a hospital to as per friends and doctors who oticed how different and out of balance I was. They took me off of everything cold turkey. Now I am in living hell. Nothing makes sense. I can’t perform basic tasks. I’m isolated alone, scared, and a mess. It’s all of the things described as benzo withdrawal and it’s maddening. I was trying to get off of everything and be able to be more clear and handle a lot of messes and now I’m much work. My brain and body are not aligned. Every day is a scary nightmare and I can’t stand it mch longer. I can’t wait much longer or I’ll be out of house and home and my mind. I have no one to help me. I tried searching online for doctors and can’t find someone who will help me. The few people who got back to me are ridiculously priced or can’t see me or are too far. I will not make it much longer by praying, meditating, doing small things and working up to functioning. PLEASE, if anyone knows who to call for help inNYC please tell me. I’m losing my mind.

  177. Hi, l am the one who finally began to sleep ,” every” night. Then, out of nowhere and after sleeping regularly for four months, l had a rather severe relapse ( wave). I was distressed, but was advised not to panic— that it gets better. Sure enough, after going two nights with 0 sleep, and a week of sleeping only a few hours per night, l again began to enjoy good, regular sleep again. I do think it takes a lot of time for the brain to heal, but l have a sense of confidence again, knowing that ( waves) occur as we heal….l appreciate Dr. Leigh’,s encouragement and understanding on how is healing seems to work. There should be banners stating ” BAN THE BENZO!”

  178. This is a message for Marchelle. I know what you are going through…..did this myself off klonopin 3 times back in the nineties. Prof Ashton is retired. If you like to have a pen pal you can email me. I can’t do it for you but I can at least let you know this is not you…you do not imagine things..this is real stuff caused by klonopin and the likes. Your doctors are so wrong in this. I don’t know if the administrator of this site lets me give you my email address through here. Maybe she can send this you. Let’s wait what she says.

  179. Hi I’m Jonathan, 44 year old mechanic.
    tapering off of Clobozam (frizium) started 60 mg in 2003 currently down to 30 mg
    My wife doesn’t understand what’s wrong with me. I have urged her to read articles about it, don’t get me wrong its not that she doesn’t love me but the problems it has caused. I cant work and we are fighting for housing benefits etc. to me that’s the side of it that’s really frustrating and the way I could feel fine for a week and then feel like s*** the following week, there is no pattern, I cant write in a diary “oh Jonathan its ok to go on holiday august the 16th because all that week you will be fine” when I do have a bad day it feels like a bomb has gone off in my head and leaves me with aftershocks for ages. I’m 3 months into my taper and have another 3 months until I’m clean but no one had told me side effect problems can go on for moths to years after………..I am getting counselling for coping with my symptoms. it doesn’t work for me

  180. Thank you greatly for this article! Literally as I come from another doctor’s appointment, turning me down on the fact that YOU CAN WITHDRAWAL or have discontinution symptoms FROM KLONOPIN (Clonazepam or me), with the finger pointed at me for “underlying depression being the blame for my body going crazy”, I read this article in tears. I know I am not crazy. The thousands of people who are experiencing this are not crazy. I don’t understand how so many doctors are blind to benzo’s and how they affect people. Seriously this drug is evil and should be banned. Does anyone know of a good benzo doctor in the northern New Jersey area? Even Philadelphia, PA. I am in great need of help because I do think these doctors will kill me because they won’t listen. (I also have a pulmonary embolism in both lungs and 3 deep vein thrombosis in my leg so its kind of important for me to know whats really in pain and what is not) . Benzo withdrawal is a real thing. Not some mystical creature thousands of people have created. I can tell you everything that is going on with me and they still shrug their shoulders and say “it’ll pass. I don’t think you are that bad. Clonazepam would not make you feel this way”. What??? They don’t understand the hell you see, smell, think, and feel every second of thE day. They get to go home and be “normal” with a family they can raise while I go back to “benzo hell”. This is not whining, this is real life, here on Earth happening everyday. It breaks my heart to know that everyday more people are “innocently/ignorantly” being introduced to a drug that will consume your life for the months, years to come. This article gives me hope to keep searching for a doctor or psychiatrist who knows the truths of benozos. So for others out there like us. YES, you can get withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms/syndrome (as some call it either or) from after only 4 months of use. YES, you can get this symptoms after stopping at .25mg after a 2 week taper. YES, you can feel head pressure, extreme pain, even muted emotions. Through my first 8 days of not taking Clonazepam, I could not cry. When I would want to cry, I would feel a fizz, zit, pop go off in my brain and then I would feel immense pain in my head. So badly that I would have to make myself stop feeling the emotion of wanting to cry in order to stop my head from hurting. I didn’t regain the ability to cry again until I started taking . 25mg again after a week due to not being able to bear the bottom of my skull, neck, and shoulder spasms. I’m used to doing laborsist work so I’m no weanie to pain. These symptoms are very real people. I will definitely look up Dr. Ashton’s work. I wish I could travel to her clinic so that I can get off this safely and with I person I trust to know how to do it safely. Would anyone want to be a pin pal with me? This is a lonely road for so many don’t understand, and through learning and understanding, at least we can get through it together. Dr. Jennifer, thank you! I will be following your articles. At least I can get some answers as to what is really going on. <3 Thank you greatly! Try to hold on strong Everyone!!!

  181. It was the only drug that relaxed my muscles. I had a very bad bike accident. Fractured my esophagus and dislocated a vocal cord. Nothing else relaxes the muscles. Servere pain in neck, traps, down arms. NEVER had this pain to this high degree. Terrible I can not sleep a full night. Getting older by the day.i have hyrocoydn 5mg. Cannot take at night, i can not sleep

  182. I am 5 days off of my finial taper (that took place over 3months with the help of a rehab center) from 1mg klonopin after 3 years of use. this article really gave me the validation that I needed. sometimes I just feel ao alone in all of this. i’m still having medical complications like my liver enzimes are spiked muscles spasms that wake me up in the night (I only sleep with the help of remeron) and some other minor health issues. I am also suffering from a ton of fear based anxiety (although I have learbed a ton of cbt and coping skills that I know without I would be a complete wreak) I also suffer from a ton of derealozation and depression…feeling like I have a huge hole in my heart like even though I have God, a boyfriend and family who love me nothing seems to make me happy. some days I want to throw all of it away and just go right back on the pills because it seems so much easier. I wish more drs would become educated on these horrid benzos. I now try to warn anyone I can of all of the bad things these pills can do to you, and tell them how awful the withdrawal process is. thank you for this article.

  183. I’m happy to find the site! My doctors been giving me 2 mg of Xanax for times a day for the past 26 years. I’ve lowered the dose and now down to two to 2 1/2 daily. I want to get off these pills I have messed up my body and my brain something awful. I’m looking for advice on lowering the dose and getting off at myself. Any advice would be appreciated.

  184. Hi fellow sufferers, l have a bit of information l would like to share in that it might be helpful. It has now been fifteen months since l cold turkey .25 mg Xanax. After many months of sleeping lightly only every other night, l finally began sleeping well ” every” night. Then, after almost seven months of fairly reliable sleep, suddenly one night l could not sleep at all again. I began the old routine of sleeping only every other night, but this time l slept fairly ” well” every other night. The good news is — that after about two weeks of this, l am now sleeping every night once more.
    As l understand it, this was a wave ( relapse) and not uncommon. So, with this understanding ( that the receptors take a long time to heal), l am comfortable with the necessary situation and feel that the relapse was another wake up call to prod the receptors to continue to know things are not quite right yet, and to continue to heal.
    But l am enjoying each day more ( with feelings of gratitude) that the body heals. I read that the only body part that does not heal because of its nature, are teeth. I don’t mean from Benzo drugs, just that teeth don’ t heal from anything! Fortunately there are caps nd iimplant for ” them.”

  185. Dear Sal
    I have three suggestions.
    1. The cut that you took is far too big for tapering from a benzo. One-quarter cuts are common when tapering from an opiate, but that isn’t the standard for tapering from a benzo. if you visit my benzo withdrawal help website, you’ll find a link to the Ashton Manual on the resource page. The Ashton Manual is the gold standard for benzo tapering.

    2. Your doctor may not be educated about the dangers of benzos or the withdrawal process/recovery that some of us must go through. When someone reduces the drug and they have withdrawal symptoms such as nightmares or breathlessness, it is not the return of an “anxiety disorder.” The symptoms are withdrawal related. The drug causes changes in the brain, (damage) and those changes are the cause of our withdrawal symptoms, not any underlying “condition.”

    3. Make a commitment to get off of the drug. Most research indicates that people on a benzo are unhealthier than people not taking a benzo. The death rate is much higher for people on a benzo. (You can Google this research.) Dementia is a problem for long-term users as well. No one “needs” to be on a benzo for a long time. The manufacturer even indicated that usage should be no more than 2-4 weeks. But doctors keep patients on them for years, and even decades, causing in some cases, horrific brain damage.

    Please feel free to message me if you need some help. I wish you the best on getting free and reclaiming your brain and your health.

  186. I have been on klonopin (1 mg) every night for eight years. I have yet to experience any negative effects of tolerance, which by now should have arrived. However, I have tried taking .75 mg and have suffered unimaginable nightmares and shortness of breath upon waking. My doctor says that proves I’m not ready to quit… staving this off is what the klonopin is for. I’m a little worried. I know I never had nightmares like this before I started taking the drug, and things are going pretty good for me right now (which my doctor says is partly due to the klonopin) so I’d like to pull out. Also I’m getting a bit old to look forward to a prolonged fight with a drug. Everything I find on line and show my doctor is blown off as “anecdotal” or written by people who have it in for the drug companies. I live in fear that a) my doctor will retire or die, b) laws will be passed making the drug harder to acquire thus forcing a cold-turkey withdrawal or c) whatever is going on inside my brain, whether I feel it or not, will ultimately prove irreversible. Suggestions?

  187. I am on benzos, was off for a good 7 weeks went through pure hell, the body ach, the thought of suicide, I went to Er 3 times, I really thought I had something else wrong, all my test came back normal, I even had such seaver chest pains, yet tests came back fine. I couldn’t take the body withdrawal, so I took more of my pain medication, I now am dropped from the pain clinic for for over eating those, I tried to explain why I had done this, yet hearing that I was weening off of benzos just made Dr angry. I now am weening from pain meds and benzos,.I don’t know if I will survive, I am 61 and don’t know where to turn.

  188. I was on clonazepam 2 mg for 20 years because of insomnia. I decided to taper in December 2015 and substituted it with diazepam. My last intake of clonazepam was in Feb 2016 . I am still on diazepam 5 mg. I started getting easily tired in Dec and the joint pains and dizziness happened after my last intake of clonazepam. I could not exercise . I would get dizzy just walking around the mall. I also had panic attacks which prevented me from driving.
    It has been 2 1/2 months . I do not get dizzy anymore but I still have joint and muscle pains. I have resumed exercising but I am not as strong and I always have to take a psin killer an hour before I work out .
    By the way, I am a doctor and I started taking clonazepam without medical supervision. Did not know then that withrawal will be tough.
    I have a license to prescribe benzodiapines but I have stopped prescribing and I now tell my patients how to taper.
    I know that it can take years for the symptoms to go away. The joint pains really bother me. But I am never going back to it again. In a few days, I will decrease my diazepam too.

  189. I have been on KLONOPIN 1MG 3 times a day for over 11 years and yes you can say I’m addicted to them because I am so terrified of not having them. Before my doctor put me on them we tried all kinds of methods to relieve my anxiety and panic attacks. So she started me on the Klonopin. They did change my life 110% But now I’m addicted to them. I went without them once for a week because I left them at my mother’s house while visiting.
    That’s like coming off of them cold turkey. It was the worst experience I went through. I went to the ER thinking they could help me and instead I was treated like a junkie. The treated me like I was looking to get high. Even though I was withdrawing right in front of them. I even had seizures. I just want to get off of them But I will have to take something in it’s place. I’m scared and don’t know what to do from here.

    1. Hi Laura. I suggest you speak with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

  190. I was taking I think 2mg klonopin for really just mild anxiety, but began feeling oddly more anxious after about 2 months of this. Researched the drug and immediately began a slow taper, which took several months to complete… and was beyond the worst experience you could imagine. You have to experience it (and you’ll wish you hadn’t). Any doctor who lived through this would never prescribe this to any creature. Never been depressed before but this sunk me, serious anxiety over irrelevent stuff, insomnia, nothing was fun anymore (dysphoria). Finally tapered over eight months, then it took about 6 more months to feel back to near normal. After a year completely off klonopin, I feel totally back.. honestly never thought I’d say that. The worst one and half years of my life, completely lost span of time soaked in misery… feel sorry for those who are just beginning the journey out. There is hope but you have to be strong

  191. Thanks so much for publishing this article & stating actual facts about benzodiazephones. We all need to be better informed about the subject (especially the doctors who choose to prescribe it): it is such a potent & dangerous drug.

  192. I was on 2 milligrams of Klonopin at night only and 300 milligrams of Gabapentin at night only I was on it for 2 years I went to a rehab I got off and never touched either substance again I thought everything was going to be ok and it was it has just been a total nightmare since my withdrawal I experienced all the symptoms of benzo withdrawal normally causes it was a complete nightmare I felt she is suicidal ever since the only reason why I’m still alive is because of my son I feel completely and totally brain-damaged debilitated and totally screwed I lost my house I can’t work my son has to be with my mom a lot benzodiazepine is no joke it’s completely and totally dangerous it should be outlawed is responsible for total debilitation for death for addiction and Untold pain for not just the victim but their families their families their kids mothers and their children children lose their parents something needs to be done now it’s not just opiates people are dying all the time and being hurt all the time because of the denial of doctors and the greed of pharmaceutical companies

  193. For me, it has been 15 months since l stopped taking a low dose prescription of Xanax. I have finally been enjoying sleeping every night, yet am still not exactly 100 percent. Yet l think even more time will get my brain functioning better. I would like to study more on brain foods ( what kinds of foods help the brain?)
    It still is incredible to me that many drs. are unaware that the benzo drugs hurt their patients. Surely they “must” know.

  194. I have been on Ativan for about 19 years and am contemplating withdrawal. These horrific stories make me wonder, why not just continue taking them?

  195. It is so nice to see these articles being written. I went through a horrible Ativan addiction in 2013 and there were very few good articles out there. My experience was so bad that I had my suicide planned and I know I would have gone through with it. I knew that I could not go on living in the hell that had become my daily life and if I hadn’t gotten help, I know I would not be alive today. I became addicted very quickly, in just a few weeks. At first, when I tried to stop the drug, I didn’t realize what was happening with the swirling anxiety and horrifying panic attacks. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and racing. I went to the doctor and was put on Klonopin for a slow taper. That was a mistake! I could not tolerate the side effects of the Klonopin and went back to the Ativan. Within a week I was in some type of horrible withdrawal that I can’t even describe. It was surreal. I would have a good day here and there, but then I would have days where all I could do was sit on the porch and stare into the trees outside. I felt like I was in some type of horrible fog where I couldn’t see or think straight. It lasted for weeks, even though I was still taking a small dose of Ativan. I went to the ER about 3 times and they just told me to stop taking the Ativan. What a joke! I felt like I would die if I stopped it. The doctors told me that the amount of Ativan that I was taking was not enough to cover the Klonopin but I refused to take more and started searching for a way to get off the Ativan. When I tried to reduce my dose I would have symptoms, mostly horrifying anxiety and insomnia with that pounding heart and palpitations. I also completely lost my appetite and lost 30 pounds in two months. I had to force myself to eat and drink as I had no urge to do either. I ended up seeing addiction specialists. I was given a choice of switching to Valium for a slow taper or going to a rehab facility. I was so afraid of the Valium because of what the Klonopin did, I chose the rehab. It was a horrible experience. They put me on a really high dose of phenobarbital and stopped the Ativan cold turkey. Then they tapered the pheno and used Neurontin to ease the symptoms. It was a 14 day program and I had to go to classes on addiction and introduce myself as an addict. It was very hard for me to relate to the therapy because I had never been addicted to anything before and I never craved the Ativan. The classes were all about drug seeking behaviors, but all I wanted to do was be off drugs. Once I was home I started to taper the Neurontin and quickly realized that I was also going to have to endure a withdrawal from that drug. It was pretty difficult, but nothing like the Ativan. It took me 3 months to get off the Neurontin. I was a high school teacher when all this happened. (I am retired now.) It started in early May and I made it through the school year. I suffered all summer and was off work until Thanksgiving. I went through 7 months of hell and missed 3 months of work. If I hadn’t had the summer off, I would have missed those months too. I simply could not function while I was in withdrawal. One of the most debilitating symptoms was social isolation. It was painful for me to be around other people and I barely left the house during all of this. As other people have described, I also could not tolerate others talking or stimulation from the TV. I went to one movie and had to leave within about 3 minutes because I felt like the sound was going to blow my head off. Another horrible aspect of all this was everything I read on the interned. I became obsessed with finding help, but I felt like I just went down dead end roads and the stories were horrifying. I was really afraid that doing the cold turkey thing would mess me up for life, which many people described in testimonials on the internet, but I couldn’t stand the withdrawal symptoms from tapering. When I went to the rehab I felt like it was my last hope before I took my own life. Although the rehab experience was horrible, they did keep me comfortable while coming off the Ativan. Then, once I got off the Neruontin, I was fine. I was only on the Ativan for 3 months and my dose never went above 1mg per day. I think because I kept my dose relatively low and got help quickly, I was able to recover faster. The lesson learned here is that I will never touch a benzodiazepine again for any reason. I have had medical procedures done and I always make sure benzos will not be used. I got addicted so fast, I would never trust these drugs again. I agree, they should be taken off the market. I really do think they do more harm than good when you measure the amount of suffering that comes with an addiction. Thanks again for shedding light on this problem. Now we need to educate doctors because they are completely in the dark about the realities of benzo addiction.

  196. It is amazing to me how some people apperantly suffer few withdrawal problems from Xanax. However, for those of us that do —- it is not in our minds. It is not a figment of the imagination. It leaves many people ( including myself) with a brain that ” will not” sleep. That alone, is torture, not to mention the other terrible problems with the central nervous system. Better not to mess with mother nature, and the Benzo drugs ( in physically changing and damaging the body’s receptors) certainly do!!
    In my experience, l slowly began sleeping almost every night and am currently finally getting enough sleep. Yet l hope to heal more where my brain is the way it was. I still feel something is a little slow in my thinking and formulating my thoughts, but that seems to be steadily improving too. Things get amazingly better in “TIME”. I appreciate everything ( esp. Sleeping) even more after that experience!! Life is good again.

  197. I agree with everything stated above. I would like to add that an insidious aspect of benzo withdrawal (an aspect, by the way, which is exacerbated by psychotherapy) is that benzo withdrawal is marked by a belief on the sufferers part that he or she “has always been this way” or that this “is who he or she really is.” Also, underlying disorders are often seen as the problem when it is withdrawal.

  198. I started taking Xanax because I have terrible panic attacks. Being epileptic, my doc doesn’t want that. I have taken them for 15 yrs. There are times I don’t take them for days. Do not have any withdrawal.
    I’m sorry for those who do. For those with disorders such as epilepsy, severe panic disorder, they are very important.
    Respectfully. ..

  199. Does anyone know of a good doctor in the Atlanta area that is knowledgable about benzo withdrawal? I have been off clonopin for 8 months now, and would like to talk with someone who knows what they are talking about. Thanks

  200. I think that there is much to be said for naturopathy and holistic medicines. In fact the only serious health problems l have endured in my life were caused by medical drugs! Benzo drugs, to me, are akin to poisen.
    While prescribed to help a condition ( mine was too early waking), the result of quitting Xanax, was a year ” lost” in misery to very little sleep at all! It was the worst time of my life………..
    Fortunately, a year and a half later, l am finally sleeping every night. Hang in there fellow sufferers!!

  201. Is there any legal recourse for those that have had their entire lives pulled out from under them by these harmful drugs? I need someone to pay for a rehab for benzodiazepine withdrawal. Where do we find help? I’m terribly afraid of my psychiatrist.

    1. Hi Kathleen. Why don’t you call the helpline on our site? Our treatment consultants can help you find an appropriate program for you.

  202. I’m 54 was given lorazepam over a year ago by the hospital for my vocal cord dysfunction I never thought twice as it was given in hospital then after a year I decided to read up on it & realised I was trapped unable to come off it I was getting chest pain abdominal pain bloating had clots on lungs twice but no reason as to why my diastolic BP has gone sky high it was all good before Benzos now i get so many
    Symptoms i feel like I’m going mad been seen by cardiologist , gastroenterologist, hemotologist all did
    Scans bloods etc say can’t find anything wrong but I know it’s these evil Benzos I feel like they’re killing me I’ve got down to one and a half mg that’s from 4 but it sounds very small but what I learned was 1mg is equivalent to 10mg of diazepam it’s a wicked evil drug & my doctor should have stopped it but kept prescribing it. Now I have no life.

  203. I was on Clonazepam for ten years at 8 mg a day in the end. My psych doctor took me off in a month. My life has become unbearable and when I asked her to help me with protracted withdrawals, she stated she wasn’t aware of them. She continues to utilize me as a guine pig prescribing me trazadone, seroquel, clonidine, and now saffris. How can I start a civil suit against thus agency for destroying my life?

  204. Benzos have been prescribed to me since i was about 20 and i turn 30 in 5 days and hate my life. I barely got to my psychiatrist just now because simply riding in the car in the back seat laying down with my eyes shut and covered to go three miles is almost impossible. The shear panic i feel when I’m alone let alone in a car…i can’t work..have no friends…hate my life. Screw the doctors for making my life hell. Now i can’t get help to get better.

  205. Thank you so much for your article. I am currently deciding when to start my withdrawal from Klonopin. I am very, very scared as you can imagine. I take 2 mg per day for chronic facial neuralgia. I am under a doctor’s care. I have been taking this amount of Klonopin for 15 1/2 years. After reading so many articles and watching lots of people talk on YouTube I am so scared. My current doctor’s PA said that I should withdraw because Klonopin can cause Alzheimer’s. Not one doctor I have had (which is 3) in these 15 1/2 years ever told me how bad this medication was or that I should start the withdrawal process.

    I would really appreciate any thoughts and any help you could provide. I am a single mom with a 12 year old daughter. I know the withdrawal process will be very difficult for me.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

  206. This in response to Monalisa’s message:
    Many people on a benzo don’t suffer the withdrawal as we have seen in so many others. Years ago,we figured a 30% only had massive withdrawals although I feel this has become much higher. I can only say to Monalisa she is very fortunate to have escaped the hell I and millions of others have suffered at the account of these very addictive pills. I don’t know what recent studies she is referring to where they found no physical addiction but maybe mental. There is most definitely a physical addiction when the drug has made such brain changes that the victim is too scared to even lower the dose due to the overwhelming and disabling withdrawal symptoms which pop up within hours. Take 1 pill and the symptoms disappear within 20 minutes. Some do have a mental dependency but it’s save to say they are in the minority.

  207. Well, l am still finally sleeping almost every night. I have heard antibiotics can reverse the healing? Certain types? So l pray l don’ t have to take them. I have been completely hesitant about attending church where l could catch the flu, also, l don’t know how flu or pneumonia shots might affect recovery. I wonder if anyone has had adverse reactions ( recover wise) due to inniculations. So l am very carefully living each day not drinking coffee, eating chocolate or consuming any caffeine. So far maintaining!!! But l know Xanax affected more recepters than just the sleep..find myself foggy often and stumbling on words in conversation still.

  208. I have used Ativan off and on for almost 30 yrs. It saved my life, I suffer from serious panic and anxiety attacks. I have never had any off these ‘withdrawal ‘ symptoms. I took between 2 – 5 mg. per day for 3 yrs. when it was time to taper off, my therapist gradually reduced the dosage. Absolutely no withdrawal !! Some off the bigger more recent studies find no physical addiction. Maybe a mental want, but I have never seen or heard of anyone going through this.

  209. My Dr (?), Prescribed Klonopin for my alcohol w/d and to subside the cravings for alcohol, along with other medications.
    When I began to show too much dependence on the Klonopin, he abruptly stopped my prescription for this med, and when I told him I knew there’d be with withdrawals, he told me to go to ER!
    To me this shows total abandonment from my Dr and very irresponsible conduct! I’ve been doing research about Benzo withdrawal, and frankly it’s a miracle I’m not dead!
    I am suffering withdrawals still; insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, I feel like crap!
    I am in the process of finding a new Dr, to say the least, but I do not in any way, want to go back on Benzos!
    I am beginning my third week without them, and it’s been hell!

  210. I am finally sl3eping, but I still have an occasional night with no sleep and I worry about taking antibioticss, about drinking any alcohol, about a possibility of relapse into insomnia. I took xanax for only a month and at the smallest dose, yet suffered for six months (when I quit) with only being able to sleep a few hours every other night. I should have had a least some information or warning before being prescribed xanax. I “thought” the little white pillos were just mild tranquilzers of some sort. Why is there no warning? Do doctors purposely want to hurt their patients? I believe there is no excuse.

  211. my heart goes out to everyone suffering in the wake (or in the midst) of using benzos. a few years back, i stumbled into a couple of cycles of short-term usage, both of which concluded hellishly. suffering that degree of…sheer physical terror – it was like the door to an over was yanked open inside my body, inside my mind, and all i could do was wait until the waves of pulsing, searing electrical heat would die down. i remember being so grateful during those precious moments of calm, yet soon enough i’d entertain worries of when the next attack would come, mixed with the all-too-lovely guilt, self-loathing, defensiveness, twisted sadness.

    for all of you suffering, i wish you the swiftest, truest trip beyond the aftershocks. in the meantime, for anyone that might happen to be inclined to do so, maybe spend the worst moments seeing if you can recognize the one thing about all your experience that never, ever changes – whether there’s pain, pleasure, whether you’re young, old, awake, asleep, up, down, in or out – as everything that can come and go does, what is it that’s absolutely constant? recognizing it myself, i’ll just say it did more than merely pass the time, even though that would’ve been more than enough.

  212. I agree the danger of these drugs should be out there and each patient should know fully these dangers before taking them. I also think these drugs can be very helpful if used right. These drugs for the last 10 years have saved my life. I have Kaiser and the doctors there seem to be very ignorant of the drugs.

  213. Ive been on and off Benzo’s for Ten Yrs. And I feel fine IF I have them,But I start to totally freak out when Im down to one or two Pills.I know the horrors that await if I run out.My Dr. wants to taper me off,even though Im not ready,So Ive had to resort to buying additional pills to keep up my tolerance.Ive gone thru the withdrawal before and had 4 mini Strokes~Im Scared of going thru the long arduos process of getting off these Devil PillS ~ IDK ~ Lost and Desperate ~ 🙁

  214. I am also extremely grateful for Dr. Jennifer Leigh and her powerful reply. She absolutely speaks the truth about the horrible, hidden nightmare of benzodiazepines. In fact, I am currently overcoming (minute by minute) a three year fight to be free of these anxiety pills. I face insomnia, extreme rebound anxiety, rapid heart beat, constant tremors, depression as well as many more that I seem to be forgetting. Oh that’s right, memory problems and loss of passion in a once loved profession. I want to now spread awareness so that the next young man or woman that faces occasional panic doesn’t end up in my boat. There’s other options and unfortunately most doctors don’t mention that. Thank you Dr. Jennifer Leigh for sharing your own personal stories as I enjoy reading them right now. Please never stop advocating! This world needs you!

  215. Thank heaven l only took m Xanax for one month— and then– at the lowest possible dose. It was prescribed to help me to fall back asleep after waking too early. I was given a three month prescription, but found that l was becoming nervous and had a tight feeling around my forehead. When l stopped taking it, l endured six monts of only sleeping every other night. Still not completely healed but much better now. I guess time ” does” heal and l warn everyone against this dreadful medication right out of the dark ages.

  216. “Doctors are maiming and killing people with the stroke of a pen, and very little is being done to stop them”

    Conversely, it may be that doctors are causing harm by NOT using their pen. I was forced to go cold turkey from 10+ years of prescribed valium (30 mg daily) as well as d/c of pain meds–morphine and hydrocodone Compounded with several other serious medical conditions, I am a complete wreck…I had to postpone a total hip replacement surgery because of this. I also have small fiber peripheral neuropathy and the very painful symptoms have returned with a vengence. Not much help where I live…thx for listening.

  217. Now Im deathly Afraid to stop,Im on 1 mg. of Klonopin 3x A Day,And have been for About 8 Yrs.NO WAY can I go thru a taper let alone Withdrawal,And my Doctor Is forcing A slow taper,But Now I am CERTAIN that I dont want to stop,I been thru addiction on and off my whole life,Now Ibe been sober From Alcohol for 11 yrs. And opiates for 9 yrs.,But Now Im on Benzo’s And Methdaone,180 mgs. A day,The Methadone is a nightmare to get off too,So here I am “sober”From bad drugs and Alcohol,only to replace them with an evil Band~Aid ~I feel DOOMED ~:(

  218. Thanks, this article nails it. I was on valium for 23 yrs. Im now at 25 months off, Im about 90% healed. I must have been in tolerance for about 10 years, looking back. The problem im having now is that its starting to sink in, all the years of being numb, i feel robbed. There needs to be a major shake up in the medical world about the dangers of benzo poison.

  219. I agree that benzos are very dangerous, and pretty addictive. A big problem is when people combine benzos & opioids or opiates(pain medication or heroin). Each type of drug(benzos & …, I was going to type narcotic, but I think I will steer clear of that word & all it’s misunderstood legal goobli-gopp; meaning horse shit. benzos & pain pills) has the potential for numerous side-effects. The problem, one of them, when folks choose to combine Xanax or Serax with a pain medication or heroin is that one of the “main” side-affects of these drugs is that they cause respiratory depression; your breathing slows down. Take a lot, and your breathing can stop. If you are passed-out as opposed to being asleep, you will not cough, choke, & suck air until you are breathing again, you will asphyxiate. Die from lack of oxygen. But that’s another subject.
    I believe I have typed too much already so in summation I will say that I do think benzos are a serious addiction problem. But just as human bodies have slight differences or large differences, and drugs can have different affects on different people, saying benzos are as hard to kick as heroin or alcohol is like comparing Johnny Unitas & Brett Favre as who was the better QB. They were both great. Addictive drugs(physically addictive) are all hard to quit. There are many people that cannot stop smoking even after losing body parts & such. It’s a hard pill to swallow all the around, and I have had my battles with far too many. I wonder how I am still here to be writing this?

  220. The truth about benzos (and hundreds of other prescription drugs) will never be told by mainstream media as long as the pharmaceutical corporations are paying them billions of dollars in advertising. That is a very sad truth.

  221. I would hope you will address the attacks on psychiatry and psychiatrists one sees at online benzo forums. I was on Xanax for years and joined a site and was shocked to see doctors being attacked. Some people even threatened them.

  222. I was prescribed both xanax and valium for pain. I took them intermittently for several months and developed odd sensory symptoms with increased pain. My physician wrote prescriptions for consistent and increased doses. When I expressed concern about dependence she discounted them. After a few weeks I developed extreme depression, depersonatlization and derealization. When I called my physician to discuss these worrisome changes I was told these meds do not cause this combination of symptoms. I did my own research, found an online support group and a new physician who would help me taper. It took 38 months to taper 1.5 mg of xanax and 5 mg of valium. I was ill the entire time. I am newly off the drugs and am in acute withdrawal. With these drugs my once active and fulfilling life ended. Some days I barely function. This has been an extremely difficult experience for my entire family. Theses drugs shattered my life but I am slowly reclaiming my world.

  223. Tell me how any prescribed drug that leaves you at 60 years old, after 4 years of wd and another year required at least, without family or friends and your own children, can be said to be of help. I’d rather die screaming of anxiety than now live in this living death.

  224. So, I am one of those accidental addicts. My ignorant psych, who is an addiction specialist and also a neurologist put me on 10 mg of klonopin for a decade. I didn’t know what was wrong with me for so many years that I was on disability for more than 10 years. And could not work. I could not think. I could no longer write. Watching Jeapardy was like watching something in Chinese. Just slept my life away. This is what she said to me, “Oh, you won’t become addicted to it as long as you take it as prescribed.” I was a mess and my mom had to fly to my home and take care of me. Hubby gave up on me and left. I finally had to move back home from another state and found a very benzo wise doc that is tapering me very slowly off, with a partial C/O to Valium. It’s been almost two years and I still have a ways to go. This original doctor ruined most of my prime life. Luckily, I have been symptom free. Doctors normally refuse to say anything bad about another one, as they are one big self congratulations club. But my new doctor said that my original provider should have her license revoked. He is anti-med in general. What a pleasant surprise compared to those pill pushers who only make pharmafia even more profitable, as they want life long customers. You ever notice why they never come up with a cure? Only remission that means a life time of meds. And much of that remission is not a remission at all. Drugs make people even worse for what they are being treated for. Look at all of the mass shootings. Most of them were on psych meds. But nobody ever mentions that. Only “gun control, gun control!”

  225. Dr. Leigh , thank you so much for trying to educate people about these horrible drugs that should be taken off the market. I am in the 6th year of a cold turkey from 20 years of klonopin use. I am still very sick, with burning skin, paresthesia, neuropathy, cog/fog/, tinnitus, chemical sensitivity. And the worse thing is I have an aortic aneurysm and am unable to take blood pressure drugs because my central nervous system is so messed up that they actually raise my blood pressure. So I actually may die from these drugs. And my current doctor knows nothing about what has happened to me or what they are doing to other people. Thank you so much for all your work.

  226. I ,35 yrs old, have been taking prescribed Oxosapam 30mg / twice daily for 2 years to cope with severe anxiety. Now i find i need to take minimum 4 a day to keep withdraw at bay. My doctorvwon’t put me to 4 a day, only 2. Therefore i run out around 14 days in out of a month supply, 60/30mg tablets. I go threw withdraw for 2 weeks every month, this is pure hell trust me. What on earth should I do?

  227. In my experience with benzodiazepines, I never became psychologically addicted. I never “craved” the drug. Instead, I became physiologically dependent. I went into full blown tolerance withdrawal where I would get disabling symptoms of dizziness, fear, insomnia, lethargy, dissociation, in between doses of the drug, which I took as prescribed. I became sick while I was on the drug because it was harming my nervous system.

    Once I rapidly tapered off the drug, following my doctors advice, things only got worse. The symptoms were so disabling that I had to drop out of nursing school, leave work, and move home with my father. I lived minute to minute for about two years and then things slowly began to improve. I am three years off the drug, and I am still healing. I expect another year or two until full healing takes place. Some symptoms I have experienced (which I never had prior to taking to this drug) include fear/terror, extreme dissociation, electrical sensations in my head, severe cognitive problems (loss of memory, inability to concentrate or understand people when they spoke to me, inability to follow directions, etc.), insomnia, bladder and muscle pain, inability to sit still, the list goes on and on.

    I never had an addictive personality, and I was never addicted to benzodiazepines. My body began to rely on them to function normally because of the changes they made to my nervous system. I became physiologically dependent.

    The symptoms of tolerance and recovery are dangerous (seizures) and so severe that high functioning people are deemed non functional, and in some cases, take their own lives because they cannot see through their symptoms, and the symptoms last so long, that they lose hope. Not to mention, there are so few doctors that have any understanding of this process and so patients are offered zero validation and guidance,

  228. Pat I hear your logic on number three. My concern is anything that changes the brain seems to have a high price to pay at some point. If we fight hard enough, we may see a ban sooner than we think. With the internet now connecting victims, our voices are loud and clear. More has been written in the last three years about benzos than the last 30 combined! We are gaining speed!

  229. I have recently wondered if drs. prescibe the first benzo, in order to begin a life of drug use for the patient as “more” drugs are often, then prescribed, for the insufferable withdrawal syptoms: ie: antidepressants and OTC drugs for sleep. I have put benzos and antidepressants on my list of allerigies! in an effort to prevent any further such prescriptions.

  230. i agree with everything, but I question truth #3. Of course, banning benzos would be the ideal solution, but that’s not going to happen. Look at the long, hard ,expensive fight the U.K. Has put up for years. It’s all about the money. I think putting money into researching for an adjunct for a drug to help people withdrawing from this poison is a stellar idea. And,of course, the effort to ban them could still go on. Like maybe that adjunct could be developed in 10 years and the ban could take 20 years, that’s an awfully lot of misery that could be eliminated or lessened between year 10 and year 20. The drug companies would be amazed at how much money they could make since they seem to be ignorant about all the pain and ruined lives these drugs cause. I say let’s do both.

  231. My aunt took Xanax for 40 years, quit cold turkey and had no withdrawal. Maybe this is rare. My point… long term benzo addiction, while quite real and horrid for some, may not be as bad for others. I believe it is being and has been exaggerated. SSRI (antidepressant) withdrawal and addiction is a huge problem, yet given little to no attention. It might be the biggest addiction issue we face as a nation in the coming years. Anti-psychotics aren’t any safer or understood.

    The biggest reason benzos are getting such a bad reputation now (I acknowledge they can be bad) is because it cuts into HUGE profit margins of SSRI manufacturers. Just google SSRI withdrawal and you’ll see the problem. Those same manufacturers also spend millions lobbying against marijuana legalization for the same reason.

    I have watched this pattern emerge and grow for 30 years. When Big Pharma made big profits from benzos they were touted as a God-send and safe. Now when the profit has shifted, so has the rhetoric. And as dangerous and addictive as SSRI’s are, they are now the newest Godsend according to the TV advertisements.

  232. WOW…FINALLY something real and truths told.

    I am 6 months out of the most HORRIFIC experience of my lifetime. Benzo WD. I am still healing, 6 months later and praise God everyday I lived through it. EVERY single issue you listed and then some, I battled thru. I am still amazed I lived thru that hell! These drugs should be illegal and if not illegal, than a VERY noted warning and Dr’s taught to inform their patients before they are EVER allowed to send a benzo RX out their doors.
    I think Hell would be a place of calm, compared to what I went thru.
    It’s absolutely criminal that these drugs are being prescribed, without any info given to what the potential VERY serious risks are. My Dr NEVER said a word…just wrote out the script, telling me it would help with my anxiety and to get better sleep.

    INSANE, this almost took my life and I clawed my way out of total hell trying to survive it all and am still trying to get my life back. I feel I’m forever damaged, but I am hopeful T I M E will heal me, just more time…

  233. I was prescribed a high dose for five years. I put myself in detox and went off cold turkey. I hallucinated for six months. I was hospitalized twice (no relief,). I am 2.5 years out and just finally able to sleep. I lost my kids and became a raging alcoholic after a time. The agony is indescribable. The lack of understanding from my loved ones caused severe abuse and PTSD. Benzos have basically destroyed my life.

  234. My comment is on Truth # 3. I think it is sensible to want research into drugs that can augment the withdrawal process. I think it is unreasonable to think that benzos will ever be banned. Pie in the sky thinking, money wins out every time. Look at the history in the U.K., the years, lawsuits, money spent. I am all for banning benzos (I suffer daily tapering off of them) but it’s not going to happen, so having something to help people get through the withdrawal as Madill suggests would be a much needed blessing.

  235. I cold turkeyed off klonopin after decades of ativan and other benzos.. It’s been a month and a half now. I projected vomited everywhere for days. Joint pain unbelievable pain. I did Not drink for 5 days. I also did not sleep sat on my bed and did not move or speek..I did not know anything. I could of killed myself, had a seizure which I already had, I welcomed death. No such luck lol
    I am much better now and had no brain damage. Still have drenching sweats and my nerves feel shot. My psyce Dr.said withdrawal symptoms could go on for a year..so now I warn everyone..everywhere to stay away !!! SSRIs which I am on too and something to help with sleep. SSRIs, antidepressants.. Are highly addictive too ! They should all have black box warning… I do want to see laws changed and want info to know where that info is at. Lastly, remember decades ago your doctor knew he was addicting you but, we become repeat patients..guareented money for your Dr. And pharmacy, and big pharma…hhmmm wonder what the next drug is coming.. It’s a game they play..at the expense of our suffering…

  236. The horrible interdosal and withdrawal symptoms the Dr. Leigh discusses are true and it seems totally ignored. A drug like this used for sleep? It is hard to believe that could even happen, but I know it does and all the horrible results outlined here. It is low dose usage and causes huge problems.

  237. Great article! You nailed it. Benzo w/d is a horror story from hell and most of us who have gone thru it were given it by doctor’s we trusted. We never abused it, never craved it, and were told it was harmless. I was given Klonopin daily b/c I had cognition problems, dizziness, anxiety and nausea. Turns out I was insulin resistant. But benzos already damaged by entire body by the time I figured that out. These drugs are causing untold misery and suffering…destroying lives. Yes, if you need a benzo for one or two night (tops) due to a trauma then fine. But other than that, they should be off the market.

    The suffering I endured was horrific. At seven years off a cold turkey from K in 2008, I am still not able to work full time and am mostly housebound. The psych drugs poison and damage the entire body: cns, brain, muscles, gut, thyroid, adrenals, hormones etc. Who in their right mind thought that taking a neurotoxin on a daily basis would heal anything?

    Thanks for this awesome article. The ugly truth about benzos has to get out there! God bless you for speaking it.

  238. I Have been on klonopin Since 1995, I was told this drug was safe and non Addicting , Like Xanax and the others , I am Living in Hell right now , Wishing the lord would just take me out of this Misery .. I went to a Detox several times and was taken of the Drug ct. Doctors had no clue what they where doing , I am now 57 years old and trying to do a taper and Feel like I am going crazy. I Came off Suboxone 3 months ago, on top of all this Hell..

  239. Thank you for this article….
    I lived this nightmare myself from 1984 with the start of the first prescription and 8 years later with three withdrawals after tolerance had set in. In those years information was difficult to find and my doctors insisted that the problem was within me and certainly not the Rivotril. Due to a lack of proper information, I ended up in all the wrong places like Detox, Rehab for harsh addicts to illegal substances and Psych wards. With over 100 withdrawal symptoms all at once, it is a wonder I survived the ordeal. I often wanted to die due to the horrid pain these symptoms caused me, all day, everyday, for many years. Friends and family washed their hands off me, believing I was over dramatizing, asking for pity and attention, a pillpopper, a mental case. One even had the nerve to say ” We have always known there was something wrong with you”. They urged my husband to divorce me. I was lucky to find people in the UK and New Zealand who told me this was not me but the drug and accompanied me on my climb back to health which took more than 10 years to become someone resembling what I thought was ME. Today, my life is good and I am thankful I did not act on the urges to do the unthinkable…however, forgiveness and forgetting is slow…if ever. I lost my best years, I don’t remember raising my children or the people I met during my benzo years. For too many, these drugs destroy lives and health and it takes the rest of one’s life to recover.

  240. I’m so grateful to Dr. Leigh for writing this. She knows the truth about benzo drugs, having lived through the horror herself for years.

    I no longer trust doctors to tell me the truth when it comes to drugs. I will always look at them with a skeptical eye after what I’ve been through with benzo drugs. I was told that in one month, max, I would be done with withdrawal. That was over a year ago, and I’m nowhere near healed. My head is still “off.” I feel unsteady. I’m a shell of what I once was. Financially it’s been an absolute nightmare, as I haven’t been able to work because of continued dizziness.

    There are those who excuse doctors’ ignorance about benzo drugs, saying that they didn’t receive enough information about them in medical school. If that’s the case, why are they even prescribing pills they have little knowledge about? It makes no sense at all. Interactions between benzos and other pills can delay the process of healing. Doctors, not being aware that a person is in benzo withdrawal, will often add more and more drugs on top of an already extremely sensitized nervous system, setting off a cascade of very unpredictable and extremely frightening symptoms.

    Doctors’ continued ignorance and cavalier attitude relating to benzo drugs has got to end. I’m absolutely floored that their ignorance has carried on for over 50 years now. How can this be? .

    And it’s not just the elderly who are having problems with benzo drugs. At all ages there are extreme withdrawals that can last many months and years.

    Thank you, Dr. Leigh, for telling it like it is.

  241. No sleep again last night! After eight weeks of sleeping only every other night , that is what I get after quitting my .25 mg dose of Xanax. I was prescribed this drug to take every day “as needed” for “sleep”! I was never given any warning and no information; never informed about what this drug does to the brain’s receptors. It seems archaic that in this day and age, this could happen. Although my prescription had a refill for three months, l only took it for a month, but the problems it has caused are great and it is not over yet.

  242. No sleep again last night! After eight weeks of sleeping only every other night , that is what I get after quitting my .25 mg dose of Xanax. I was prescribed this drug to take every day “as needed” for “sleep”! I was never given any warning and no information; never informed about what this drug does to the brain’s receptors. It seems archaic that in this day and age, this could happen. Although my prescription had a refill for three months, l only took it for a month, but the problems it has caused and it is not over yet.

  243. Coming off even 0.5 mg (1/4 the dose my doctor wanted me to take!) has been a nightmare! I am 3 months into the weaning off process and see another month to detox safely. Initially, i didn’t even think about side effects in coming off 0.5 mg. It wasn’t until I was complaining to a friend about how terrible I was feeling and she educated me on benzo withdrawal. I immediately went back on the full dose I had been taking and begun the slow taper. I would tell anyone who will listen that benzodiazepines are pure poison!

  244. Thanks Jennifer. I was rxd for insomnia caused by anither Rx med, (the polypharmacy blues). I never got any feel good effects although reliably being able to sleep again reinforced taking what I thought were relatively benign meds. I never increased my low dose or craved the benzos.

    At 3 years post withdrawal, i know that my cognitiion was adversely effected even though I thought I was fine. Not knowing better, I quit cold turkey & found myself bedridden with extreme hypotension & POTs plus the benzo flu.

    I was very fortunate not to have the anxiety, depersonalisation & depression that is common but even the simplest paperwork would overwhelm me. it was very depressing to deal with being completely incapacitated when I had always been very fit. The financial ramifications of being unable to work for 2 years mean that my retirement date has been pushed back 10 years.

    Once I started to get some windows of relief, the random nature of the healing path was crazy making, it was impossible to make plans because I could never predict when I would be well.

    My doctors refused to attribute the symptoms to benzos & I was dxd with CFS. One MD said you must be unusually sensitive to the drug.

    The lack of recognition by the medical profession lead to friends & family thinking it was all in my head & there were some hurtful exchanges even though I know they were informed by the prevailing ethos that benzos are only a problem for addicts.

    I have friends with cancer & i am so happy that they are getting the support they badly need but being a benzo victim is a lonely & stigmatised place to be. I have to account for my lost time in the employment market & being honest would undoubtedly be a direct path to the reject pile.

    Thank you for all you do to raise awareness.

  245. I was prescribed Xanax after a bad reaction to Wellbutrin. I got addicted on a small dosage in a very short time. (2 -3. Weeks). Never did the Psychiatritrist tell me it was addictive. I was switched over to Clonazepam, a longer acting Benzo. I hated being on the drug, I just did not feel like myself at all. I started on a long slow taper off of it. I experienced severe anxiety, horrible insomnia, cognitive impairement,extreme fear, took all the pleasure out of my life, threw me in a deep dark depressive hell, I wanted to,end my life, it was unbearable feeling this way, not being able to function, do what I used to do, I used to be be a talented artist, I could not even plan a grocery list, go,shopping, much less be inspired and plan out and design a painting.. I had no social life, lost a lot of friends, almost my marriage.( puts so much stress on a relstionship) I also experienced sore stiff neck, depersonalization, derealization, could not drive , work. After the first taper I had to reinstate due to extreme unbearable anxiety, it’s horrible when you do not have your GABA working in your brain, your CNS is just so raw, could not take loud noises, bright lights, go,to movies, crowded places,. None of the doctors, emergency room staff knew how to treat me,all they could offer is more drugs!. I did go on on a shorter taper and got off. I am now 29 months off today, finally being able to get my life back, feel like myself, do art again. The only ones that I trust are the people who have gone through this and recovered. That is what kept me going knowing and hearing from these people that you do heal. It really is Benzo Hell, a desent into so much unbearable suffering for a long time, so people do not make it, take their own lives. I almost did. No one should suffer this. The world needs to hear the stories. It time for responsible to,be held accountable!

  246. This is an honest assessment of what benzos are and what they do. I do not understand that after all this time doctors are not aware of what this drug really does to people. There is no excuse. Thank you for your needed work in informing the medical community about the truth and I hope things will change. The aftermath from benzos is much worse than any condition it was prescribed for.

  247. I’m so grateful for this reply to the article. I finally feel validated. I’ve been tapering for 2 years and 1 month from taking .25 mg of Xanax at night for sleep. I never took more than the prescribed dose. I did that for about 18 months before I built up a tolerance to the drug. I was switched over to Valium and I’m now at 3.5 mg a day. I have been on the Valium longer than I was on the Xanax! What’s up with that? will I ever be free of this drug and the horrific symptoms? Thanks Dr. Leigh for advocating for those of us who are trying to heal from this dangerous drug.

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