Benzodazapine Dependency and Withdrawal

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This link contains information about the effects that benzodiazepines have on the brain and body and how these actions are exerted. Detailed suggestions on how to withdraw after long-term use and individual tapering schedules for different benzodiazepines are provided. Withdrawal symptoms, acute and protracted, are described along with an explanation of why they may occur and how to cope with them. The overall message is that most long-term benzodiazepine users who wish to can withdraw successfully and become happier and healthier as a result. The articles within the link are written by Professor C Heather Ashton DM, FRCP (UK), known as an expert in the use and withdrawal of benzodiazapines. The information in this link is also known as the Asthon Manual, which has been highly regarded and followed by many US people dependent on benzodiazapines who want to stop the medication successfully. Unfortunately medical clinicians in the US are not trained in this aspect, therefore many patients in the US have to rely on their own education to get through withdrawal. This is something I would like to change.
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I was fortunate to come across this information years ago. To treat medication side effects years ago I had been prescribed for bedtime use lorazapam, diazapam, flurazepam,triazalam and probably a few others. Eventually I was mostly using clonazepam and breaking up the tabs for the minimum amount needed to achieve sleep. The MD's were in complete denial about safety issues. No one ever mentioned low T as a side effect.

The first time I quit it was cold turkey and hell for about two weeks. Still seeking relief from the primary med side effects which I was required to take daily I resumed clono for a while. Determined not to be a benzo junkie I employed the Ashton protocol or something similar from G.B. I recall my doc categorically denying the validity of studies from G.B. and insisting clono was safe for long term use.

The abuse potential of benzo's is highly variable among patients. For certain individuals they can offer last resort relief safely when used in a short term protocol. I'll have no issues with using them 1-5 nights a year when needed.

Recently I tried herbs and over-the-counter sleep aids. Jarrow Sleep Optimizer, Shiff Melatonin Ultra, 5HTP and Valerian standardized extract were tried. The only ones I take daily are 400 mg Valerian and 5HTP. Shiff gave me an awful hangover. The quality of sleep I can achieve on these is generally better than benzo's. days tend to be more relaxed as well. Even the oTc stuff should not be taken on a regular basis.

U.S. physicians are increasingly adopting the GB view that benzo's are generally to be avoided and are not appropriate for long term use. Anyone that is taking them regularly will likely find that tapering off and using otc (not antihistamine) will improve their overall quality of life significantly. I would also encourage acupuncture.
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