“Many, many people living long, productive and happy lives while being dependent upon and using benzos as prescribed”

Re: Watch "This is Life" With Lisa Ling
« Reply #96 on: September 29, 2019, 02:21:11 am »

[Buddie]

Quote from: [Buddie] on September 29, 2019, 01:53:48 am
Quote from: [Buddie] on September 29, 2019, 12:47:21 am
Quote from: [Buddie] on September 29, 2019, 12:40:35 am
Quote from: [Buddie] on September 29, 2019, 12:36:04 am
I’m curious: Does this piece with Lisa Ling address at all, people who live long, productive & happy lives while using long-term benzodiazepines as prescribed?

No it does not. That’s a different show.

Thanks for the quick response. Do you mean Lisa Ling will be doing a different show that reflects the lives of real people who are benzo dependent and continue living long, productive & happy lives? Or do you mean there is no show that you are aware of which reflects this reality that does exist? Thanks in advance.

I’m sure those people exist. Our aim is to let people know the risks, as they will not receive it in the doctors office and are being rapidly tapered. Many people doing well on benzodiazepines became harmed by trying or being forced to stop. And many don’t. This episode is a warning about the drug, not an ode to the drug. I’m unsure if such an ode exists.

You’ve answered my questions and for that I’m appreciative. I will resist the urge to question in detail any motive(s) in you choosing to use the word “ode” to describe the reality of many, many people living long, productive and happy lives while being dependent upon and using benzos as prescribed. I will continue to extend my best wishes.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 02:27:07 am by [Buddie] »

Benzo Buddies member goes back on benzos after brutal Ashton taper fails and is doing great!

a lifetime of decisions, and a long weird path back towards reinstatement
« on: July 17, 2019, 06:37:35 pm »

[Buddie]

Hello,

I had initially kept this post to a handful of staff members, but was encouraged to feel free to make a more public post.

Put simply, I am back on benzodiazepines after an extended period off, and while I have deep reservations about this, after eight months it does not yet seem to have been a mistake.

Abbreviated backstory: I was on benzos for a number of years in late adolescence / early adulthood for anxiety based reasons. I had mild tinnitus at that time (possibly attributable to many things, including a distant history of childhood ear infections). Tapering was brutal and took me 14 months, and I wrapped that up sometime in 2005. I don’t recall tinnitus ever being a problem, except briefly during parts of the taper.

In 2010, an acoustic trauma did some significant damage to my auditory system, the tinnitus turned into a wailing monster, and I used benzos again for about a year before tapering again. I spent 2011-2015 basically miserable, highly functional but chronically consumed with the violent, often painful, extremely high pitched noise in my skull. I tried all kinds of things; if there is a supplement, drug, medical practice, massage practice, alternative medicine practice that someone on Google says helped their tinnitus, I probably tried it. I also tried doing “nothing”; I learned to meditate. I learned to sleep with earplugs in spite of the noise. I spent a lot of money; I spent $10,000 to be a lab rat in one clinical trial alone (lots of travel involved).

I remain hopeful about the tinnitus treatments that are in the pipeline, but a little voice continued to say “I need to do something now”, as my life sort of passed before my eyes. I achieved significant professional success. I was able to relocate out the city to a pristine, quiet area in 2016. This did all make me feel better in some ways, but still the noise.

In late 2015, unrelated medical circumstances forced me to consider short-term PRN use of Valium, and, of course, I discovered that it still “worked” as far as taking my mind off the tinnitus. From early 2016 until November of last year, I used Valium PRN; when the tinnitus would become absolutely intolerable, I would take enough to knock it way back (usually 10-20mg over 24-36hrs), and then try to not do that again for 3-4 weeks. I became a parent over this time period, and I realized that the times I was the most medicated were also the times I felt the most joy and connection with my child. By July of 2018, I was agonizing over the idea of reinstatement, but I wasn’t sure.

I made a list of every possible tinnitus remedy that seemed reasonably attested which had not yet been attempted. It was a pretty short list which included some out there ideas like “cervical chiropracty” and “microdose psilocyban”. None the less, I crossed these items off my list as I tried them. Finally, in late November of last year, well supported by a medical team (including a prescribing doctor who is deeply aware of the hazards of benzos and necessity of a slow withdrawal), I elected to resume daily benzo use. After 2 weeks at 25% of the dose I’d previously been on long term, things felt very bad; more or less, I felt like I was in withdrawal, and I almost aborted the experiment then and there. One of my medical team persuaded me to at least attempt my full prior dose for some period of time; I also elected to supplement it with gabapentin based on some research into the combination for tinnitus specifically (and the general observation that gabapentin is much less scary than benzos, so if it can be used to supplement a benzo dose and reduce benzo consumption, that’s probably a win).

More or less I had a one month “honeymoon” where life seemed too good to be true, and as expected, that faded as tolerance became obvious and peripheral side effects also vanished. However, what I am left with, so far, is a life which is much more manageable. It’s hard to put numbers on things, but the tinnitus is more distant, it’s generally less disturbing when it does get my attention, and I’ve been able to make significant progress in my family life, in my professional life, and in therapy, which had been blocked by the state of utter discomfort, misery and despair that my tinnitus had thrown me into. The general observation of my spouse is that I am easier to talk to, more likely to listen to them, less likely to snap, and more likely to be sympathetic and caring in general.

To make a few things clear:
This was my choice and I would not encourage anyone else to do the same thing. No one’s circumstances are identical. For all I know, my use of benzos during developmental years caused problems that couldn’t self-fix, and if not for that I might not be in this situation at all. Likewise, if I had taken better care of my ears, or had better genetics around hearing, tinnitus and anxiety, I might not be in this situation. But, that doesn’t matter: the way things are, is the way things are.

I do not know the long term results of this (and neither do you) – I waited more than six months before posting this because I wanted to be sure a beneficial effect that outweighed my reservations about benzo use, would persist for some period of time after obvious tolerance had set in. It’s entirely possible that this will “stop working” at some point, and I will be left with my generally terrifying tinnitus on top of having to do another taper. But, it’s also possible that won’t happen (one of my family members has taken Klonopin with no loss of efficiency for more than 15 years) – and it’s further possible that some of the tinnitus treatments which are currently in the experimental or early marketing phase will turn out to be extremely effective, at which point attempting another taper might seem very rational to me.

I agonized over this decision more than you can possibly imagine over a five year period; eight months in, it’s given me eight of the best months of the last 10 years of my life. I am happy to answer any reasonable questions, but I ask that you respect my right to autonomy and decision making over my own body.

Gratitude for psychiatry

Doctors defend benzodiazepines

This brief editorial is a statement to introduce a new working group on benzodiazepines, the International Task Force on Benzodiazepines, which comprises independent scientists, clinical researchers, and clinical psychopharmacologists. No references are included here as it would be beyond the scope and goal of this introduction, but a full review on benzodiazepines will be the topic of a number of papers and presentations in the near future.

Benzodiazepines have been with us since the dawn of modern psychopharmacology. Chlordiazepoxide, the first benzodiazepine, was discovered by Leo Sternbach in the late 1950s and was approved for use in the USA in 1960. Sternbach, a genial chemist, also discovered several other benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, diazepam, flurazepam, flunitrazepam, and nitrazepam.

Benzodiazepines quickly became popular and widely used due to their versatility, tolerability, and ease of use. As they have anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, and sedative properties, they have been used widely and remain the most widely prescribed psychotropic medications among all medical specialties. Psychiatrists have been using benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety disorders, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and as adjunct therapy for many other indications since their discovery. The anxiolytic properties of benzodiazepines are still unsurpassed by other psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics that are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety symptoms in other mental disorders. Their adverse effect profile is relatively benign, with sedation and possible cognitive impairment being noted most frequently.

In spite of the unquestionable benefits of benzodiazepines and their popularity among physicians of various disciplines, we have witnessed a fairly negative campaign against benzodiazepines, which are often described as being readily abused (although their abuse liability is low and, if abuse occurs, it is in the context of other substance abuse). Interestingly, this campaign has intensified since the advent of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the mid-1990s. The SSRIs, originally approved for the treatment of depressive disorders, were quickly approved for various anxiety disorders despite the lack of sufficient evidence (i.e., comparison to the existing efficacious anxiolytic drugs, benzodiazepines), and they are now promoted as the first-line treatment for these disorders. In addition, the scientific literature has gradually and surreptitiously been flooded with more and more articles on “negative” properties of benzodiazepines. While many of these publications have either not been based on good science or been frankly biased, they easily achieved a common goal that negative propaganda frequently reaches: they aroused suspicion of benzodiazepines and suggested difficulties in using them, while overlooking their benefits. An “illusion of truth” effect then occurred as frequently repeated negative information and half-truths gradually became the truth as benzodiazepines were given a “bad” name and their reputation was damaged, especially in some scientific circles. Even prescribing these drugs has become a cumbersome procedure around the world.

The International Task Force on Benzodiazepines, as a group of investigators and clinical psychopharmacologists with long-standing clinical and scientific expertise, has been concerned about this excessively negative trend. We feel that benzodiazepines have not been given proper attention during the last 2–3 decades, they have not been adequately compared to other psychotropic medications in various indications, and their risks and side effects have been overemphasized. Some of us feel that benzodiazepines have been the subject of an unspoken “commercial war.”

This Task Force will be working on presenting various psychiatric and medical audiences with information about benzodiazepines which is evidence based, balanced, unbiased, and clinically relevant and useful. We believe that our colleagues deserve such information as it will encourage our common goal of treating our patients effectively, properly, and safely. We hope to preserve benzodiazepines as a valuable part of our armamentarium.

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/489538