Benzodiazepine/Sleeping Pill Addiction, Tapering and Recovery

Searching for the Miracle Cure

Searching for the Miracle Cure

Most people find withdrawal from benzodiazepines or other psychiatric drugs difficult. It doesn't happen with the same intensity for everybody but words like “living hell,” the “worst experience in my life,” and “unbearable” come to mind.

For some it is like an electrical storm in the body or brain, for others it is just slowly being worn down by symptoms like fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety, agoraphobia or depression. People usually have one or two symptoms that are “worse;” others have dozens of symptoms that can seem intolerable.

Looking to Reduce Symptoms?

Like many of us I spent time trying to find ways to reduce my symptoms to a tolerable degree. And why not? Nobody likes to suffer and people think if they just found the right technique or supplement or vitamin or other prescription drug they would be alright. As one benzo victim recently said to me, “Why should I suffer if I don't have to?”

The supplement industry is a favourite resource for many benzo and other prescription drug victims. Information, chats and sites abound with recommendations for a variety of supplement and vitamin combinations including GABA, the B vitamins, vitamin cocktails, magnesium, pills for so-called adrenal fatigue, etc.

Be Wary of Claims

Why should you be wary of certain claims that promise you relief for the symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal symptoms?

  1. There is no clinical trial-based evidence that any supplement or combination of vitamins and minerals or herbal remedies can reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.
  2. The GABA in supplements does not cross the blood/brain barrier and has no effect.
  3. Supplements and similar products can cost a LOT of money. One benzo victim recently told me that he had spent over $100,000.00 on supplements in the past two years. He had responded to almost every claim for a cure that he found on the internet and had also undergone nutritional assessments which resulted in him buying multiple products. None of these had helped and he had become discouraged and hopeless. But more important this search took away energy and focus on his real job which was to systematically taper off benzos! While he was “searching for the cure” he hardly tapered at all.
  4. Syndromes like “adrenal fatigue” are not accepted medical phenomena although they are very popular in some quarters and especially on the Internet. The concept sounds good but why would you have to search far and wide for an explanation for all your rotten symptoms including insomnia, fatigue, over-reactiveness, anxiety, etc. Those ARE the symptoms of withdrawal and recovery from a drugs that either hyper-stimulate or hyper-depress.
  5. Searching for a magical cure is what led you to taking benzos or other drugs in the first place. Isn't it time to get out of the habit of searching for the “magical cure” when it led you down the garden path the last time?
  6. Some supplement and herbal remedies and combinations may be dangerous. Remember these industries are not regulated and so the evidence base is questionable. Please be skeptical when you see the words “clinically proven” on the package of an unregulated medical or nutritional product. It is buyer beware!

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Updated: December 4, 2013

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