Common Questions About Benzos
We're here to raise awareness about an illness that affects tens of thousands of people every year. and this is not an illness that is caused by a bacteria or a virus, this is an illness that is caused by taking a medication that your doctor prescribed to you.
1.What is the benzo?
Xanax is a really common one, but the generic name for that would be called alprazolam. Valium is another one, it's also called diazepam. Klonopin is clonazepam and ativan is lorazepam.
Basically, any time you get a Pam, you're guaranteed to have a benzo. I also want to make you aware of sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta.
Many of us myself included developed a benzodiazepine induced injury or illness from taking a common sleeping pill.
2.Are these drugs addictive?
Is this about addiction? These drugs can create a syndrome that's called GABA-receptor down regulation. It creates a cluster of symptoms.
It's basically a fancy way of saying central nervous system and brain damage, which is really what it is. But it is an illness and it's not related in any way to addiction.
3.Any research about benzos?
I did do my research, I thought I understood the risks I was planning on taking my medication short term and then tapering off. The problem is the medical literature and the prescribing literature do not warn you about the long term effects or the potential syndrome that these drugs can create. They don't talk about this illness at all, which is why we're here trying to tell you about it ourselves from our own personal experiences.
4.Will this happen to me?
The research is not enough to know for sure how many people this happens to but conservative estimates say that this happens to at least 20% of people who are prescribed benzodiazepines.
There is a possibility that you or someone you know has been affected in this way by these drugs.
5.How do I know if I've been harmed by taking a benzo?
A lot of people don't realize how much damage has been done until they try to get off the drug. There are things that that do happen but people often associate those symptoms with the original condition for which they were prescribed them or something else.
Many people are misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis, thyroid problems or mental health problems when really it's the medication.
If you're externally on a benzo and you're experiencing back pain, pelvic pain or muscular skeletal issues, if you're getting chronic infections, you're experiencing different weird personality changes, it's just such an insidious drug because it affects 70% of receptors in your brain and body.
Really, the symptoms could be anything and everything. When you start to try to get off the drug and you develop about 50 other symptoms, you'll know.
6.What do I do if I or a loved one has been harmed by taking this medication?
The best thing that you can do is to educate yourself. You can go to LINK!!! and download Ashton manual, which is the bible on the benzos.
You can join online support groups. There are online forums, Facebook groups, which all really do a great job of educating and helping people who have been injured by these drugs.
The one thing I would say not to do if you think that you've been harmed, don't just suddenly stop taking the medication. That's the worst thing you can do is to cold turkey or rapidly off this drug if you have developed this syndrome.
Don't go into your doctor right away and say: "Hey, I think I need to stop taking this drug!". This is a controlled substance and doctors are getting in trouble for over prescribing these things. They're looking for any and every excuse to get patients off of them. They will rapidly taper you off and then you'll be even worse off than you were before.
So, get educated beforehand, develop a plan and then go into your doctor.
7.What do I do if my doctor won't help me?
I've experienced this myself. Find a better doctor - that's really all you can do. Go and find a better doctor and the online support groups will often provide names of doctors in different states who are more educated about this problem.
8.Is the syndrome or the illness really that bad?
I've been through a lot in my life and I'm not going to go into that in this video, but many people have compared their experience with this illness to losing a spouse or a loved one to being shot, not being able to walk to, being in war as a soldier, to having cancer and going through chemotherapy.
Unanimously everyone says that their experience with a benzodiazepine associated illness is as bad or worse than anything they have ever experienced in their life. The reason why it ends up being worse for most people is that of the lack of understanding and the lack of help from the medical profession or family members.
People are expected to function normally when they're mentally and physically disabled and experiencing what can only be described as a torturous. A torturous experience day and night, 24/7, sometimes for years.
9.Will I heal? Will I ever get better?
If you are currently experiencing this or you're concerned about the expense that you've had in trying to get off in the past, yes, you will heal from this.
Most people heal completely from this. It just takes a long time for your body to heal. Some people do have lasting effects, particularly older people with memory problems or certain symptoms. But it will not be that torture that you may have experienced for years and years on.
10.What if I'm happy with taking my benzo?
Are you trying to get me to stop taking my benzo? No, in fact, I am trying to support legislation that will help protect your rights so nobody can ever force you to stop taking your benzodiazepine. I also want to protect the rights of people who do want to get off their benzodiazepines. I want to require their doctors to help them taper in a safe and humane way.
I also want to change the laws so that doctors are required to inform you about this. If you do decide to take a benzo or Z-drug, you are aware of the potential consequences of doing this.
I think that we can all agree that if we work together on educating people more about this, we can save more people and we can do more to help the people who are currently disabled with this illness.