Benzodiazepines: Silent Killers


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Abstract

            Benzodiazepines are a controlled substance obtained from
a physician for stress, anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. If abused
benzodiazepines can kill or leave lasting effects in the abuser’s brain, as
well as, in the fetus of a pregnant user. In the following article, addiction,
dependency, effects, withdrawals, and conditioning will be discussed in length;
informing the reader of the dangers that come with taking and abusing
benzodiazepines. In addition, the author makes sure to stress to the reader
that there is help, and sobriety is possible.

Benzodiazepines:
Silent Killers

            When we hear the names Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson,
and Anna Nicole Smith, fame, fortune, and notoriety instantly come to mind;
but, they have another stigma to their names, ‘drug overdose’. In August of
1977, it was reported that Elvis died from cardiac arrest; however, later
reports divulged that he died due to constipation induced by narcotics.
“According to Dr. [Nickopoulos], the autopsy revealed that Presley’s colon was
5 to 6 inches in diameter (whereas the normal width is 2 to 3 inches) and
instead of being the standard 4 to 5 feet long, his colon was 8 to 9 feet in
length” (McKay, 2010). One of the main complaints from patients on benzodiazepines
is constipation that is hard to relieve; an embarrassing subject to discuss
with
the
doctor, that if not addressed will cause further illness and possibly death.

Similarly, on June 25 2011, Michael Jackson was rushed
from his luxurious home to UCLA Medical Center in LA from an apparent drug
overdose; he was pronounced dead a short time later from what authorities
called, “acute propofol intoxication” given to help Jackson sleep (Duke, 2010).
CNN first reported Jackson’s death because of cardiac arrest (CNN, 2010),
which, is a common misdiagnosis among overdose cases. Additionally, five months
after Anna Nicole Smith’s son died of a drug overdose, Anna followed; dying in
February of 2007 of an overdose of sleeping medication and eight other prescription
drugs- included in them was the drugs lorazapam and diazepam (Anna Nicole,
2007). Benzodiazepines are not to be mixed with other sedatives or depressants,
the outcome can obviously be deadly.

Benzodiazepines are considered a controlled substance and
can only be obtained legally through a prescription from the doctor. “Benzodiazepines
are a class of drugs primarily classified as anti-anxiety, sedatives, or
hypnotics” (Classification, 2011). There are many names for
benzodiazepines, some of these include:

  • Xanax,
    also known as Alprazolam
  • Librium,
    also called Chlordiazepoxide
  • Klonopin,
    also called Clonazepam
  • Valium,
    also called Diazepam
  • Rohypnol,
    also called Flunitrazepam (Date rare
    drug)
  • Ativan,
    also called Lorazapam
  • Restoril,
    also called Temazepam
    (Classification, 2011)

Although
different in some aspects, these medications are the same in one way, if
misused or abused they will kill. Rohypnol has made headlines for a different
misuse, it has been crowned the king of date rape drugs; leaving the victim
docile and powerless against an offender. For this reason, patrons are advised
not to leave drinks unattended at a bar or restaurant. Additionally, do not ask
a stranger for an ‘aspirin’ or any other drugs at a bar, party, or event; this
can leave you open to unknowingly being drugged, putting your safety and virtue
at risk.

Dependency
and Addiction:

            Addiction is a noun, defined by the American Heritage
Dictionary as, “to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or
obsessively” (Why Can’t I Stop, 2011). People can become addicted to most
anything; gambling, food, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol just to name a few. According
to studies, there are several factors that create an addiction, as well as,
different levels of abuse. “Dr. Arthur Horvath, Ph.D., at the Center for
Cognitive Therapy in California [suggests] there are four primary phases in a
negative addiction”:

  • Experimentation (urges arise out of
    curiosity)”
  • Expected Enjoyment (urges arise out of
    fond memories of past enjoyment)”
  • Doing it to Cope (urges arise primarily
    in response to stress)”
  • Doing it to Survive (urges are
    frequent)” (Why Can’t I Stop, 2011)

These patterns may vary according to how
long the addiction has been present in the person’s life. Additionally, there
are many other things that influence the severity of the addiction, and age of
onset. Studies have shown repeatedly that family history plays a significant
role in a person’s risk for addictive behavior, in addition too, peer-pressure,
stress, low self-worth, and environment. In other words, if a person’s father
or mother was an addict, friends encourage it and the addiction is easily
accessible, and a person feels as if their life is worthless, the risk of
addiction goes up significantly. In addition, getting help for addiction is
complicated since most addicts are in denial of the addiction (Why Can’t I
Stop, 2011).

The first thing that family and friends need to know is
that, an addict cannot be helped until they accept their addiction as a problem
not a solution. There are several ways to detect that a person is an addict;
the person stops doing things that normally brings them pleasure, their only
interest is in the substance or activity, aggressive behavior, lying, and
disassociation from social activities. Additionally, addicts will make choices
and display behaviors normally out of character for them. “The crucial factor
is that addiction has profound effects on people in the immediate social
network or family” (Holtzman, 2000). Family and friends suffer greatly for the
addictions of the one’s they love, often feeling helpless in their efforts.

Conditioning
and Learning:

Social Learning Theory:

There are three great paradigms of learning and
conditioning; these are classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and what
will be discussed first, social learning; for the purpose of this discussion,
only social learning and operant conditioning will be referred. “[The] Social
learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social concept…it
considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as
observational learning, imitation, and modeling” (Social Learning, 2011). In
other words, we learn from observing others behavior; however, this does not
always mean a change will occur. The social learning theory also exerts that
“cognition plays a role in learning”, learning through “observation”, and that,
“learning can occur without a change in behavior” (Social Learning, 2011).
Maybe this is why we tend to be ‘people watchers’; we learn while laughing.

The more modern theory of social learning suggests that,
“reinforcement and punishment have direct and indirect effects on learning”,
also that, “reinforcement and punishment influence the extent to which an
individual exhibits a behavior that has been learned”, and finally, “the
expectation of reinforcement influences cognitive processes that promote
learning” (Social Learning, 2011). In a sense we learn from observing others
successes and failures. Does this mean if someone does something wrong and pays
horrible consequences, that we will not make the same mistake because we have learned
from their behavior; no, the reason being that, there is always another person
who will reinforce that bad behavior, still leaving us to make our own choice.
We choose from whom we want to learn from, or model.

On that note, most addicts’ report getting high for the
first time with someone else, a friend, family member, or mate. One former
addict states, “the first joint I smoked or pill that I took came from my
mother…forty some years later, I am still an addict, fighting for sobriety”
(Anonymous, personal correspondence, 2011). Whether a person does drugs with
someone they know, or someone they just met, this behavior is socially learned;
for instance, now day’s teenagers are having pill parties, cleaning out their
parent’s medicine cabinet, putting the pills in a bowl and everyone takes a
handful. Despite the fact that research proves (not to mention the overdoses),
that drugs, especially benzodiazepines, are dangerous and addictive more
Americans are dying from abusing these medications.

Many Americans have been arrested and imprisoned due to
benzodiazepines, and as discussed in the first couple of paragraphs, many
people have also died. Moreover, still people use, abuse, and sell drugs; this
proves not that the social learning theory is wrong, but, just the opposite, we
learn from others behavior- good or bad. Although, we learn from others
behavior, we have the ability to decide what behaviors we will mimic and the
ones we will not.  Many factors determine
how competent a person is to make decisions; some people do not have the
capacity to make good choices.

Operant
Conditioning:

            Reinforcement roughly means, forced strengthening; “A
reinforce is anything that strengthens the desired response” (Operant
Conditioning, 2011). Skinner suggests that there are three kinds of responses
or operant that follows actions, these being:

  • Neutral Operant: responses from the
    environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior
    being repeated”.
  • “[Reinforcement]: Responses
    from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being
    repeated. [Reinforcement] can be either positive or negative”.
  • “Punishers: Response
    from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated.
    Punishment weakens behavior” (B.F Skinner, 2011).

If a person thinks logically, it is
easy to see how this process works; by using positive reinforcement, we
strengthen the desired behavior. If, for example, a child comes home from
school raving about a straight A’s on a report card, the parent would give
praise and a reward to the child, if the parent wants that behavior to
continue. Additionally, if the parent does not give positive reinforcement, the
child will most likely start failing school, hoping that will get them
attention. Then what happens is the parent will have to punish the child for
wrongful behavior. Relearning adults however, is a bit more complicated.

Take drug addicts for example, if a person that abuses
drugs tells their friends and family they have quit using, and the friends and
family are excited about the news and offer their help, it is likely that the
addict will succeed in sobriety. However, if the same scenario occurs and the
friends and family take an attitude of, “we have heard that before” not
offering help, then it is likely the addict will not be successful in sobriety.
What happens then is, the addict is arrested; or eventually overdosing, or, the
addict will continue with that behavior until positive reinforcement comes
along in some form.

If the addict ends up in jail, the system will use the
same theory in correcting the behavior of the addicted offender. Prisons and jails
have good rehabilitation programs for addicts of all kinds; the belief is that
if counseling and positive reinforcement, combined with punishment, and absent
of negative reinforcements applied properly reduces the addicts’ chance at
relapse. Despite the efforts of family, friends, jail, and prison officials,
some addicts never change; there are just as many negative reinforcements as
positive, both incarcerated and loved ones. These negative reinforcements are
present from cradle to grave, and only the strong and determined will stay on
the path of sobriety.

Short
Term and Long Term Effects of Benzodiazepines:

            Some of the effects of benzodiazepines are obvious,
drowsiness, constipation, nausea, with alcohol increasing their effect;
addiction, although, long lasting, can occur with short-term use. We will
concentrate on the long-term effects of benzodiazepines, and withdrawal
symptoms for this discussion. Primarily, addiction and dependency are the most
common long-term effects of benzodiazepines; abusers’ lose jobs, friends,
money, self-respect, and sometimes their freedom and children. All of these
things can be replaced are regained in most situations, however, some effects
of benzodiazepines cannot be undone.

The one important effect of benzodiazepines, these
medications, especially if taken in high doses, can build up in the fatty
tissues in the body; making long-term use more dangerous than assumed. “The
symptoms of over-sedation may not appear for a few days…some include”:

  • “Impaired thinking, memory, and
    judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness, lack of
    coordination
    (CESAR, 2011)

Still, these symptoms
can be corrected, whereas, brain damage cannot. In the late 1970s, David Knott
(a doctor at the University of Tennessee) stated, “I am very convinced that
Valium, Librium, and other drugs of that class cause damage to the brain…I have
seen damage to the cerebral cortex that I believe is due to the use of these
drugs…”(Lane, 2010). Permanent brain damage is a stiff penalty for relaxation
or entertainment.

If pregnant, benzodiazepines do not just affect the
mother; babies born to addicts are usually addicted as well. “Benzodiazepines
generally carry FDA ratings of “X-contraindicated in pregnancy” or “D-positive
evidence of risk…there have been case reports of anatomical birth defects (BJC,
2011). This classification in effect means that taking benzodiazepines while
pregnant will cause birth defects. The mother runs a risk through the entire
pregnancy; “the first and second trimesters are commonly sensitive for
teratogenic effects…the last trimester is particularly sensitive for brain effects-
apoptotic degeneration of neurons- with life-long impact” (BJC, 2011). What is
shocking is that even given the proven effect, mothers’ still will take drugs
during pregnancy.

As non-addicts, we can make judgments about why people,
pregnant or not, take benzodiazepines; but there are always underlying issue
when someone turns to drugs for comfort. Things such as, low self-esteem,
stress, insomnia, pressure from work, troubles in a relationship, as well as an
array of other discomforts; one particular reason is withdrawals. Withdrawals
are excruciating at best. “Professor Lader declared, in a 1999 interview on BBC
Radio 4, “It is more difficult to withdrawal people from benzodiazepines than
it is from heroin” (Lane, 2010). Lader’s statement is enough to scare anyone
from taking that first step toward sobriety, moreover, the first 5 days into
detox will burn it into the psyche.

Many addicts reported relapsing several times before
finally getting sober. As stated, withdrawals are devastating, and the symptoms
can start with just a slight change of the dosage. It starts with skin
crawling, shaking, the trots, sweating, with added symptoms by the minute. There
are however, some things that can be done to ease the intensity of the
symptoms. Two particular ways to ease the symptoms of withdrawal would be
tapper off the medication slowly, or take a Benadryl every 4 to 6 hours to ease
the discomfort; although, speaking with the doctor is the best advice. Make
sure to drink plenty of water, sweating during the detoxification period can
cause dehydration; furthermore, it will help clear out the system.

Whatever the method used to get through withdrawals, make
sure there is other support available to give “positive reinforcement”; it can
be easy to relapse when alone. Many programs exist to prevent a person from
relapsing. If a person was not able to find a mental health facility, ask the
doctor for a referral to a specialist. The very first risk to eliminate is the
‘party friends’ and the “negative reinforcements”; many times addicts’ quit
taking drugs, but, still hang out with the same crowd they partied with.  When a person does not rid themselves of the
negative reinforcements that enabled the addiction in the first place, the
person’s sobriety is destined to fail.

In conclusion, benzodiazepines are an addictive substance
that can cause death if abused. Additionally, benzodiazepines can leave
life-long effects in the user’s brain, as well as, in the fetus of a pregnant
user. These medications should only be taken under strict observation from a
physician in extreme cases only. If a person does become dependent or addicted
to benzodiazepines, there are programs and positive reinforcers’ to assist in
recovery and relapse. An addict must rid themselves of all negative reinforcers
to succeed at sobriety and change. Finally, it does not matter if a person’s
conditioning is wrongfully learned, with the correct support, a will for
change, and positive reinforcement addiction can be overcome.

References

Anna Nicole. (2007,
March 26). Anna Nicole Smith’s death due to accidental overdose. Fox

News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0%2C2933%2C611160%2C00.htm

B.F. Skinner. (2011,
May 7). Skinner- Operant conditioning and reinforcement. Simply

Psychology. http:// www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html

BJC. (2011, May 9). Benzodiazepines.
BJC behavioral health. BJC Health Care.

http://www.bjcbehavioralhealth.org/behavioralhealth+print.aspx?=1891&template=/behav

CESAR. (2011, May 6).
Benzodiazepines: Profile. Center for substance abuse research.

http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/benzos.asp>

Classification. (2011,
January 19). Benzodiazepines drug information: Classification. Redwood

Toxicology Laboratory.

http://www.redwoodtoxicology.com/resourses/drug_info/benzodiazepines.html>

CNN. (2010, June 25). Michael
Jackson dead at 50 after cardiac arrest. CNN Entertainment.

http://articles.cnn.com/entertainment/michael.jacks

Duke, Alan. (2010,
February 9). Corner releases new details about Jackson’s death. CNN

Justice. http://articles.cnn/2010-02-09/justice/michael.jackson.auto

Holtzman, Elizabeth. (2000,
August 19). Addictive behaviors, compulsions, and habits: A

Spectrum of need intensity. http://www.umass.edu/fsap/articles/addictive.html

Lane, Christopher.
(2010 November 18). Brain damage from benzodiazepines: The

Troubling facts, risks, and history of
minor tranquilizers. Psychology Today.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/print/50664?page=2

McKay, Hollie. (2010,
May 5). Exclusive: Elvis Presley’s doctor claims he died of an

Embarrassing case of constipation. Fox
News.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/05/05/exclusive-el

Operant Conditioning.
(2011, May 8). Operant conditioning (B.F. Skinner). Psychology.com.

http://tip.psychology.org/skinner.html

Social Learning. (2011,
May 7). Social learning theory. University of Texas.

http://teachnet.edb.utexas.edu/~lynda_abbott/Social.html

Why Can’t I Stop?
(2011, May 10). Why can’t I stop? Dealing with addictive behavior.

http://mtnviewhospital.com/PDF%@)Files/Addictive%20Behavior.pdf

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24 thoughts on “Benzodiazepines: Silent Killers

  1. Lynne says:

    Hi, I was on a low dose of valium for 5 years. I did a slow two year taper . I have been valium free for 15 months . I was feeling pretty good and the after being off of them 13 months the withdrawals started back to extreme and it wasn’t because I was stressed or dealing with an issue I had before I got on valium , because I got in valium by mistake and I never had anxiety before I took the pill . So it makes me wonder if I have brain damage . Does anyone know why

    • Greetings!
      With these sorts of drugs, it’s possible to have off-and-on withdrawals up to 10 years after being completely free of the medicine. And, sometimes we don’t realize we’re stressed. I would speak with your doctor on this issue. There are tests that can be done to find if you have ‘brain damage’.

  2. Rick Roms says:

    I stopped reading your post at “addiction”

  3. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. Shane says:

    Hello colleagues, how is everything, and what you want to say about
    this post, in my view its really remarkable designed
    for me.

    • Thank you Shane 🙂
      This is a fight many fight my friend. I wrote this as an assignment for class…I chose it because of my experience with Benzos…I had no idea how many this drug class effected until posting it.
      I enjoy hearing all the survivor stories, and jump at the chance to help anyone afflicted with this addiction. This assignment turned out to be a great learning and sharing experience for me.
      Please visit again!

  5. Enriqueta says:

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    • Thank you so much!
      I appreciate the donation offer 🙂 Very nice of you!
      However, I do not take donations…this is my passion. If you would like to give it to Child Cancer Research in my name….that would help.
      Let me know if there is any subject you’d like to see me write about.
      Thanks again

  6. Valium says:

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  7. Thank you for the article. Great information but do you have any research info or other articles on deaths or other social resultant data? the # of deaths . Do you know who main manufacturers are? You should launch a wide campaign–for some reason these benzo issues and deaths are not getting press. Is it big pharma?

  8. JC says:

    I was prescribed Librium 21 years ago, for alcohol issues and anxiety (i was 19 years old at that time).
    I clearly recall asking my dloctor if they were Valium to which his response was negative and that the Librium was “mild”…
    I was not called back in for 12 months, my anxiety issues were helped and i had no desire to stop taking the medication, my life was better, yet i still had no idea of the impact this would have on my life later on.
    Sounds like an addict?
    Maybe so, yet this is not the case.
    In the 21 years i have been taking Librium i have never once taken them for recreational value, there is simply no “fun” in taking benzodiazepines (well, certainly not from Librium that much i can say after all these years).
    If my anxiety increased, it was merely withdrawal from the drug, my brain GABA levels relied on the drug, with abrupt discontinuance, my mind literally would go into hyper sensitive mode, in short my CNS would be completely unable to cope with any stimuli whatsoever…
    I am alcoholic and 7 months sober, yet i am now in my second month of tapering off the Librium, i never used it with alcohol, yet i never took this drug for a high of any kind, i am literally physically dependent on Librium.
    I tried the Ashton Method, way too fast and too harsh for me to cope with, i am micro tapering off very, very slowly, losing about 1mg every 30 days…
    Detox facilities seem like the obvious choice yet after doing much research, yes, the drug may be removed rapidly but the virtually inevitable protracted withdrawals force patients to re-instate, with good reason too, how would anyone like to have their nervous system rendered without function for months on end?
    I would rather pass and get off this poison safely, i am not “addicted”, i am physically dependent on this drug to merely function, i have been in tolerance for years and as an alcoholic, i am sure i would have taken more than the equivalent of 12mg Valium over a 21 year period… the only time i ever took a pill was on schedule, these drugs are still being pushed and even more disturbing is that the newer versions are short acting and far more potent, yet with smaller mg amounts on the packaging, leading patients to believe they are taking tiny amounts,the equivalency of Xanax 1mg to Valium is 20mg, i just do not understand why this is allowed to continue, it is a disgrace given the facts, even the drug companies have admitted that Benzo withdrawal can last for years, yet they make more potent versions with supposedly smaller doses, it is just unbelievable…
    I guess when i was 19 i trusted my doctor, yet back then i do not think he knew yet most doctors prescribe without question… it is only now that some warnings have been issued to doctors to not over prescribe this poison, because that is what it is, poison and many have no idea what they are getting themselves into, dependence on these drugs can form in less than two weeks and some unfortunates have a hard a time coming off as a long term “user” like myself… but drug addict is not the problem here… Benzo´s just don´t work that way, the only reason to increase dosage is to prevent tolerance withdrawal, believe me, there is no party in this group of drugs… more people need to know of the dangers and know the facts, i wish i had internet when i was 19, at least i could have researched the “mild” pills and i would have disposed of them right there and then… they are just poison.

    JC

    • Hello JC,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am finding more and more that this is the case with doctors. I am now going through my third year on pain killers again. These doctors either do not realize the impact of these medicines, or simply do not care; I am starting to think the latter. I am in my third round of cancer, and they just keep writing more narcotics. I am at my wits end with them! I am now in the stages of tapering as well and the effects are horriable at best. I have told them many times that I AM an addict, yet they say there is no other option for me. When I wrote this article, I was unaware of the widespread problem with physical addiction (physical dependence is just sugur coating it -it is still addiction). These drug pushing doctors should be held accountable for their perscibing methods!
      I am sorry for the trouble that you have had with Benzos -and librium is a Benzo. Most people do not abuse the medicine -but are still physically addicted. These pills are poison at best; furthermore, they are killing people. I am in the process of writing another article about this subject; in fact, I will never shut up about it until something is done to change it!
      Our stories are all to familar; comment after comment on my blog posts prove this is a worldwide problem -and it has to stop. We must all band together and put an end to these practices!
      And, there is no such thing as a “mild” benzo; these doctors are liars and drug pushers that just want the ‘kick-backs’. As you can see, I am more than upset at finding the problem is worse than I thought! I guess I assumed that this problem only existed in the U.S. It is worldwide!
      They started giving me these drugs at 14, I am now 42, and am still fighting for sobriety! There is something wrong with that!
      Thank you agian for your comment, and please keep an eye out for the next article on this subject; trust me -you don’t want to miss it! I am going to start naming names and pointing fingers! This has to stop -period!!!!

      Stephanie A. Kinzel

  9. Stephanie Holliday says:

    Hello again Stephanie,

    I apologise if the tone of the blog I left was a little blunt but I was actually asked by a benzo victim in the UK to address your article as it was full of wild addiction theories and as you can appreciate caused them some distress and anger as you implied that prescribed benzo addiction was drug misuse which it is not.

    I would advise for reading material that you visit benzo.org .uk and read the Ashton manual. Professor Ashton is a leading world expert on benzodiazepines and is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology at Newcastle University and her work is referenced in most benzo documents and books and is the basis of the successful diazepam taper used worldwide as a withdrawal method. benzo.org.uk is the leading website for information including links to other sites and resources.

    The http://www.appgita.com website I left in my last blog is an official site containing all correspondence regarding fighting a political battle in the UK in order to elicit action from the Department of Health and the Medicines and HealthCare Products Regulatory Agency, our drug regulator. This has been a long tough battle in which I became deeply involved over a year ago and I believe it is unique in so far as no other country has got this far yet campaigning for help for victims of prescribed benzodiazepines and exposing the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies.

    As far as your “A” goes for this presentation, without wishing to sound blunt again, I can only say that the person marking it must have been remarkably ignorant on the subject. On a basic level, a neurotransmitter called Gamma Aminobutyric Acid governs response to stimuli. Benzos become embedded on GABA receptor sites and increase the effectiveness of GABA. On withdrawal, especially after prolonged use, these redundant receptors have lost their affinity for GABA and until they regain that, the brain cannot calm itself and remains in a state of hypersensitivity. It is a chemical reaction and is unique to benzos and this is what makes withdrawing from them so difficult. This is why I left my last reply regarding your long and erroneous addiction theories. Unfortunately, drug treatment centres in the UK have fallen into a similar trap. When you come off benzos after long term use, you get withdrawal symptoms, which can be prolonged and crippling. It is as simple as that.

    Hope you find benzo.org.uk informative; it is a massive site so you will have to spend some time exploring it. It gets a million hits a year.

    Regards John

    • Thank you so much John. I agree with you on the fact the Professor of that class is ignorant on the subject of benzos; he was an Ethics Professor who has no experience with the drug. Since your last post, I have visited the http://www.appgita.com site; very informative in its own right; moreover, I have done more research on this subject. The reason I started being prescribed benzos was because of anxiety and PTSD -I was hooked from jump street. What I do not understand is why doctors prescribe these drugs so easily; when I quit taking them, I jsut quit -no lowering the dose. I locked myself in my appartment for three weeks and dried out -it was the worst three weeks I ever had! Even now, I have to stop them from giving them to me, simply by telling them I will NOT take them. I even told the drug store I was allergic to benzos, that way if the doctor slips something by me, they catch it at Wal-greens.

      As for the A: I think I got the A for pointing fingers and placing blame (ethics), as well as for presentation. I am not blaming the Professor that graded the paper, he was just as ignorant as I on the subject. I am getting wiser as I go -research is a writer’s best friend!

      Thank you for the link to benzos.org and benzos.org.uk, I will certainly visit these sites.

      Let me also apologize for my response to your last post. Although your tone was rough, I should expect such responses if I am informing my readers ignorantly. When a writer posts something for the whole world to read -they should expect that not every response will be a favorable one. All I can say is that I will keep an open mind and look at all points of view; hopefully as I move forward in my degree program my knowledge and writing will improve. Thank you for speaking your peace -it made me research the subject and understand it better.

      I wish you the best John!

      Stephanie

  10. Mr. Perrott,
    I took the liberty to go and read your blog and cause. After reading your posts -I will have to say, you are right -I did not want to be hooked on Benzos, and as you -I have never taken another. This cause of action that you speak of could be very usefull in the U.S.A. While in psychology class and in therapy -this concept was never taught to me -or even spoke of. It should be!
    I am open-minded -and thankfully so. As I read through the posts -it was amazing how it all started to fit. We only know what we are taught, until we learn otherwise -thank you for showing me another way of looking at this. For many years I have tried to put my past addiction into perspective -so that I would not ever be in that position again; that is hard to do when you are not taught the proper way of looking at the subject. I will be doing more research -and even a possible rewrite for this article.
    Again, I thank you for the quidence toward the truth of the matter! I will be keeping up with your cause -and may want to see if this concept can be pushed in the U.S.A.
    I would however, appriciate a tad bit more tolorence on your part to those of us who are ignorant to the truth -it might help you get your message across to those of us who were just simply taught wrong. Your cause is just sir -but the attitude is not.

  11. I thank you both for your comments and concerns. I first would let you know that I did not write this as my personal opinion about Benzos; this paper was written for psychology class in college -and it recieved an A. Furthermore, I was addicted to Benzos -and vowed to never take them again. It is a tough road to hoe my friends -I KNOW that! If there are sites that you can suggest for me to become more educated about the subject -I would be more than open-minded enough to go and re-educate myself on this subject -which may have been a better aproach than the comments that you left. To me that is not a great way to change a mind -only prove you extremist with an attitude, sirs’.
    As stated, I would love to read more about your cause to see the flaws you so judgementally commented on. I am in the learning process, and am open minded to all ideals -not just my own -you two ought to try that as well!

  12. Hal says:

    John,
    You hit the nail right on the head. I’ve been studying benzos for over 25 years now. This writer does not have the facts correct.

  13. Hal says:

    John,
    You hit the nail right on the head. I’ve been studying benzos for over 25 years now. This writer does not have the facts correct.

  14. John Perrott says:

    As an ex dependent of the prescribed benzodiazepine lorazepam and a national campaigner (www.appgita.com) I wish to say that this blog puts forward the same ridiculous addiction theories presented by the Department of Health in the UK. Benzos have crippling withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them and these drug seeking theories only further add to the already deep seated misunderstanding that prescribed tranquilliser addiction is drug misuse. In the year it took me to get off loazepam I was never once tempted to stray from my taper and I have never thought about taking benzos since. It is precisely the sort of ignorance demonstrated in this blog that makes it so hard for campaigners to get acknowledgement, understanding and appropriate help and perpetuates the myth that prescription tranquilliser addiction is drug misuse.
    John Perrott

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