SSRIs and Benzodiazepines. Which is Addictive?

I really did not want to write this article because I thought it was a boring topic but then I found out how many people receive SSRIs instead of Benzodiazepines (benzo from now on) because of two primary (and totally wrong) key reasons:

  1. SSRIs suppose to also treat anxiety
  2. Benzos are addictive whereas SSRIs are not

Well…. let me put my 2 cents into this argument because I feel like writing when I am angry. And boy am I angry! So let’s get two factors straight immediately. Anxiety is a break down of adrenaline release system caused by a perceived danger by the dopamine pathways  of the brain. Anxiety is a fear of death. SSRIs on the other hand are created for depression. Depression is the wanting to commit suicide–thus the opposite of anxiety. It works the serotonergic pathways and not dopaminergic and so the two drugs have nothing in common. With this out-of-the-way, I can focus on addiction.

What is addiction? A new study, by Nielsen, a doctoral student working on his dissertation, ran an analysis at the Nordic Cochrane Centre. A meta analysis looking at data, which showed that the symptoms of coming off of the two types of drugs were nearly identical. But what is called “addiction” for benzos, is called “SSRI discontinuation syndrome.” A wonderful name; isn’t it? I know I am cheeky but it is intended. After all, what is a syndrome? A syndrome can even be fatal as in “serotonin syndrome” and so calling the withdrawal from SSRIs a “syndrome” makes it actually worse than addiction. But let’s continue to how addiction is defined by Dr. Lars Vedel Kessing, a clinical professor I am glad and proud to never ever have taken a class from!

His definition of addiction to benzos is as follows:

  1. First, you lose control and the desire to take the drug becomes compulsive. In some sense you could say the drug takes control of you, say Kessing.
  2. Next is the onset of tolerance.The dosage must be increased all the time to get the desired effect and you keep taking more and more of the drug.
  3. Directly related to this is the third symptom; a strong urge to privately obtain more of the drug so it can be taken without the physicians knowledge.
  4. Lastly, there will be a detrimental effect to the individual who will no longer be able to function socially of physically.

The interesting thing is that none of this is true. It may be true for an alcohol addict or an illegal street drug addict but certainly is not true for an ill person taking benzo for health!

I know first hand that it is all wrong since at age 19 I came down with severe anxiety–which later turned into part of the reason for my migraines, which you can read about in my book. I am now over 40 years later, still taking the same benzo and not only did I not increase my dose, I actually decreased it. I am a lot more personable now than I have ever been in my life. I have never ever had any strong urge to get more of my drugs; in fact my goal has been to get less and less over time. And lastly, there are no detrimental effects to me that stop me from functioning in the society. If anything it made me better at being able to function in the society.

Now could I just stop my benzo? Probably not. So is it addictive? Sure it is. Any drug that alters brain chemistry is addictive. So let’s visit SSRIs. I have written much before about SSRIs so if you want to find out how they commit their crime, visit some of my write-ups in this blog. Here is one that even has a drawing in it to help you understand how it works. I now know many people who take SSRIs. Luckily I am not one of them and never ever intend to be one.

I find that I am not able to find a single person for whom SSRIs actually work. But I do find that once they start it, they cannot come off of it. It may take years for them to come off of it and then they may have flashbacks for years! So here they were put on a drug that did not work–and I tell you in a moment why they did not work–and now the doctors have created a nightmare of people continuing to take a drug that doesn’t work simply because they cannot come off of it! So is SSRI addictive? You bet it is! Major it is! And it doesn’t work.

As I said I explain why it doesn’t work. Originally when SSRIs were first created, the application was for one purpose: Clinical depression. Not sure what happened to this term since it can no longer be found. I find people who receive SSRI for seasonal and situational (someone dies) depression which then is impossible to get off of and they are stuck for life or suffer withdrawals. It was not meant for their condition. Here is a short list of what SSRIs are now prescribed for (these are from Wikipedia):

Also prescribed for PTSD, chronic pain, and depersonalization disorder plus ADD, ADHD, and similar. The list of damages it causes I will ignore since it is too long but I do want to talk about 2 major problems. One is that it is supposed to be prescribed for clinical depression and that is not even listed. Secondly, those who take this medication often commit suicide. There is a bit of a confusion in there… it is counter intuitive to give a drug to a depressed who is suicidal that will end up helping them to commit suicide. So why are they promoted? What is the point? Do they even work? They don’t actually. Why not? A couple of possible reasons and one certain reason.

Possible reason popped up recently in the New York Times about the possibility of a pathogenic origin since many of the symptom of the depressed appear similar to some illnesses caused by pathogens and the depressed apparently have the marker of inflammation in the body! Thus there may be something physiological that is not in the brain! So why treat the brain?

Another trail of thought in the same paper is that it may have an evolutionary benefit in solving some big problems that requires withdrawal from normal behavior to complete. They call this rumination. They may sound far-fetched to you but way better than SSRI! Robin Williams’ death was a classic example of depression going out the window and there are other reasons. The for sure reasons are many but one of them is that a very few people diagnosed with depression actually get any benefit from SSRIs because their brains do not need extra serotonin. SSRIs force neurons to make serotonin 24/7 regardless if the person needs it or not. Too much serotonin can cause other troubles: serotonin syndrome (can be fatal), IBS and digestive troubles among other things.

Thus for those of whom SSRIs don’t work, they actually cause harm and addiction! It is clear that we know nothing about depression and it is also clear that SSRIs are handed out like candy for an illness we know nothing about. I just about had it with doctors wanting to replace my benzo that works just fine with SSRIs. I placed a permanent ban on my medical record on any form of serotonin and SSRI. I am the happiest person alive with an anxiety problem that is not “being anxious” or nervous. I have never ever had a depressed minute in my life. Have I been upset on some days? Sure. Depressed? Never.

I suggest the medical community review their practices in SSRIs and depression in general because the state of matter today is: they are wrong!

Comments are welcomed as always!

Angela

About Be Healthy

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a migraineur, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles: "Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access "Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access "Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access “A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, subscription is required to read it. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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52 Responses to SSRIs and Benzodiazepines. Which is Addictive?

  1. Jake Fornby says:

    The reason SSRI’s are said to not be addictive is because they don’t have any pleasurable side-effects, unlike benzos which affect the same neurotransmitter as alcohol. And, like alcohol withdrawal, benzo withdrawal can lead to life-threatening seizures and delirium tremens. SSRI withdrawal simply doesn’t.

    There is actual evidence that in the long term, drugs that affect serotonergic pathways DO improve anxiety. I don’t know why somebody with a PHD would be so rigid in their thinking. And if you think there’s a problem with doctors handing out SSRIs like candy, why wouldn’t there be a problem with doctors handing benzos out like candy?

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    • Be Healthy says:

      Jake, your comment is fascinating. Addiction is defined as “seeking more” and not what pleasure center it affects. Example: sugar is taken up by the D2 dopamine receptors in the brain, the very pleasure (reward center) you are talking about. We also know that sugar is highly addictive yet out is perfectly ok to become obese from it. It is not considered to be of danger… Interesting, isn’t it?

      SSRIs do not affect the D2 in any way so therefore you are making the assumption that they cannot be addictive. Have you ever tried to quit an SSRI on the spot? Luckily I have never taken any but I deal with thousands of people who are trying to quit.

      SSRIs have what is ever so gently labeled as “discontinuation syndrome” and if they are stopped cold turkey, can cause major health issues and even death.

      You mention that there is “evidence” that in fact SSRI drugs reduce anxiety. Show me a study on that, conducted on humans, that was done correctly. I have not yet found one. What I do find is people on SSRI drugs are also prescribed benzos (usually Ativan, which is the worst possible kind, to which they promptly get addicted because of its short half-life and very fast crash).

      So indeed, it appears that SSRIs reduce anxiety, especially when a benzo is also prescribed with that. It is also very clear that SSRIs are extremely hard to quit as a result of the discontinuation syndrome, which results from what they do in the brain with plugging up the reuptake so the cell has no idea how much it made and of what.

      Doctors do not like to prescribe benzodiazepines because if they prescribe the wrong one, like Ativan, or a better one, like diazepam, but they prescribe either the wrong way, like take twice a day if diazepam, then the patient will indeed become addicted and seeking for increased dose.

      If either of these drugs was good enough to handle both anxiety and the multitude of illnesses that SSRIs are prescribed for, then why do we need both drugs?

      How come that SSRIs don’t actually work? How come that SSRIs are prescribed from broken nails depression to migraines to neuralgia to bipolar disorder to migraines to fibromyalgia to hunger control? And they do not work for any those?

      Is it possible that they simply don’t work for any at all? I have yet to find one person who did not do better without SSRI than with. SSRIs are useless killers (killed my mother too) and solve no problems; they create problems and major ones, whereas benzos create minor inconveniences, also of withdrawal same as SSRIs.

      I see patients who take several types of SSRI, SNRI, and other types all at once because nothing is working and doctors keep on adding… Not good.

      If you are one of those doctors, this is your time to learn from patients: they don’t work!

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      • Jake says:

        SSRIs are better than placebo for severe depression (mild to moderate is questionable) and they are better than placebo for some specific anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and GAD. I agree with you though that we don’t know much about depression, and I would guess we don’t know a lot about anxiety either.

        For some people- fortunately not you, even at prescribed doses benzos can cause physical dependence and, if the doctor doesn’t understand the risks, patients end up taking higher doses to achieve the same effect. In fact, long-term users often end up feeling not only physically healthier but even have less anxiety after giving them up. That could be because benzos can cause depression over time (they’re not opposites at all- a depressed person is often swarming with stress hormones), or because it affects short term memory making psychotherapy less effective, or simply because the brain adapts by producing less GABA in order to re-achieve homeostasis.

        SSRI discontinuation/withdrawal may be extremely unpleasant, but the only drugs that can actually (directly) kill you from withdrawal are the 3 b’s- booze, benzos and barbiturates. I personally do have a vendetta against benzos because they turned my stepmother into a zombie- 20 years after withdrawing and she still hasn’t fully recovered.

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        • Be Healthy says:

          Jake,

          I deal with many people–including severe depression, PTSD, etc.,(I am not a psychologist but they find my work helping them)–and I have yet to see one who embraced the use of SSRIs and did not quit. They all end up feeling way better after quitting than while taking these drugs. It is lucky that my specialty is neuroscience and I have put all my focus into re-establishing electrolyte homeostasis of the cells. It appears that once cells (in the brain and body) return to electrolyte homeostasis and they can function with the proper energy, using all resources including having healthy mitochondria, the problems of the depressed are gone.

          Healthcare will never see this, of course. It cannot see it because healthcare needs sick people and not healthy ones.

          In terms of anxiety and GAD (General Anxiety Disorder for those reading this without knowing the acronym): you are actually talking to someone who has been afflicted with anxiety all her life and has been on diazepam (switching off with clonazepam time to time to prevent adaptation) for over 43 years!

          Not only did benzos not get me into depression but actually I am probably the happiest and most full of positive energy person alive. Not only have I not ever increased the dose but, in fact, have reduced to sub therapeutic level over the years. I never for a moment had the urge to increase my dose over the 43 years and am still doing just fine with the tiny dose I am taking and still reducing as much as possible. I am not in any hurry and so while addiction is there, it is quite easy to overcome if done right–of course doctors do not actually know what it takes to quit benzos or SSRIs and sent many of my clients up the roof with brain zaps and other wonderful feelings until I came into their lives and had them titrate off the proper way, sometimes taking years!

          Given that I have taken diazepam for over 43 years (and you agree that 43 years is a long time if I were to suffer any effects from long-term use of a drug), it is interesting to note that I am not suffering any of the cognitive decline said to occur from long-term use of benzodiazepines. They clearly don’t become less effective over the years–assuming one is taking them properly! What gets lost in your message is what most doctors also miss: it is not the drug but how it is used that matters and drugs do not cure (with very rare exceptions) but rather they provide an environment in the body so that the body can heal!

          This is where SSRIs differ greatly from benzos. They change the brain permanently!

          SSRIs can cause permanent damage in the brain structure. The brain is extremely adaptive and tends to reassign or trash things that are not used. In the case of SSRIs, the reuptake sensors of the cells become useless after years of blocking by the inhibitor. Since if a sensor is always blocked, it is not functional. The neuron might as well trash it or recycle it for something else–and it often does. SSRI’s reuptake inhibitor is a “plug” that the cell normally would not have. Whereas the opening of the reuptake sensor is a carefully shaped and folded protein structure specifically polarized and shaped to accept serotonin only, instead it gets a giant cork that resembles nothing like the serotonin molecule. As a result the protein fold and structure of the reuptake opening gets damaged by the inhibiting plug.

          SSRIs may not be addictive in the same sense as “addiction” as a result of lack of D2 receptor use by them, but they definitely do not work any safer or better. Whereas benzodiazepines may be more addictive, they cause way less damage and whatever damage they may cause (none of which I have experienced) are temporary since they do not modify the brain’s structure like SSRIs do.

          Even in the case of what used to be called “clinical depression” that today is no longer used as a diagnostic level, SSRIs (or any serotonin enhancing medicines for that matter) only work for about 30% of the cases. I don’t know about you but if a surgeon only performs her surgery flawlessly 30% of the time, she is fired.

          I am very sorry about your stepmother becoming a zombie on benzos. She was obviously prescribed the wrong type, the wrong dose, and has been taking it the wrong way. And again, I would like to remind you that I have been on benzos since my teenage years so you can clearly compare me with your stepmother: I am not a zombie by any stretch of the imagination. The problem is not with benzos but the doctor who prescribed the wrong type, wrong dose, and to take it the wrong way. Of the many people I deal with, I have found many whose benzo prescription called for “take twice a day” or “take 3 times a day” for either Klonopin or Valium. If that is how they are prescribed, major negative outcome is guaranteed because of the half-life length of both drugs. Both have extremely long half-life (over 20 hours) indicating that the dose should be maximum one a day or even once every second day! That way the drug does not build up. Both of these benzos increase and decrease slowly so there is neither a “high” nor a “crash” like there is with Xanax or Ativan (the two most commonly prescribed). If doctors knew what they were doing, your stepmother would be a totally happy and healthy person on benzos.

          Angela

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          • Jake says:

            I don’t really disagree with anything you said there, although it’s worth noting that the down-regulation of the GABA receptors causes by benzos can take years to heal after withdrawing. I think the data about brain damage is concerning but I accept they work for you and that’s fine. I did also hear from somewhere else that depression is caused by a serotonin imbalance only 30-40% of the time, but I think with depression being such a complex illness- arguably more so than anxiety- we just have to accept that 30-40% is the best we can achieve, given that the state isn’t interested in funding any kind of therapy which admittedly isn’t always very effective either.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Be Healthy says:

              Totally agree Jake. There is some research that shows that depression is caused by an energy crisis, same as migraine, only deeper in the brain. I have noticed that my migraine patients become depression free from my treatment but that can also be a side effect of simply being pain free. 🙂

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  2. Jas says:

    just by reading the first paragraph I can tell that you are wrong and have no idea what depression even is lol….

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  3. Mike says:

    Angela,

    You are truly spot on. Too many doctors or whatever they want to call themselves, feel that an SSRI is the answer. Maybe it is for some. but my impression having taken Klonopin for nearly 20 years, is that I know very well how my system and how my life functions, as is, with the Klonopin. Really, it’s basically all placebo at this point in life w/expection of withdrawals of course! Don’t want to withdrawal from this:))!!! But the doctors insist, that we, as Benzo users, cannot access an “emotional” part of ourselves:))))))))))))))))))). I can say, with one million percent certainty, that when i look back on my life at X age, and look at it now, I am no different as the same human I was in past, but obviously vastly wiser and much more than I ever was back then. And yes, I can go crazy wild anytime I feel too…I can access that “emotional” place these so called doctors say no person on the Benzos can:)))). I do understand where they are coming from, but what they do not seem to understand is that after so many years of use, these benzos literally become “only” something that we have lived with, no different if we lived with nothing at all. If we obviously abused them somehow and they continued to provide some amazing HIGH, that’s a totally different scenario. But this is not how it is after very prolonged use. We understand precisely what we are, who we are, and we only lose any “emotional” feeling, if we allow ourselves to become depressed…like anyone on or off a medication, etc. Anyhoo, this is a very valiant write-up, and I appreciate your doing so. It’s sad the people that cannot ever understand why we take this stuff, why it is like this, but we are not different, if even vastly more compassionate than those without it or on some med that is not ok like the SSRI (aka Zombie shit):))

    Cheers!

    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome response Mike! I want to add to this because I think it is important as most doctors miss the point. Benzos come with “discontinuation syndrome” the same way as SSRIs and other goodies that they do not consider addictive. I understand why. Doctors who prescribe the Benzo wrong do end up with clients seeking more and more but that is neither the fault of the benzo nor the patient! It is the fault of the doctor. I have a couple of examples for you:

      Example 1: Ativan, a short acting benzo that has a short half-life (the time in which half of the drug gets emptied from the body). In the upswing of the medicine the patient experiences an euphoric high after which the half-life period starts real fast and the patient experiences a severe crash! As a result, most often Ativan is prescribed to be taken 3 times a day. Thus a person who takes it 3 times a day will experience 3 crashes and 3 highs. Taking a long half-life benzo prescribed to be taken only once a day would never cause a crash or a high (like Valium or Klonopin for example). Their activation is long so there is no high; their half-life is so long that a person never crashes because just as half-life would commence a new pill is taken and hence the benzo level remains stable. This way benzos do not become addictive at all only earn the title “discontinuation syndrome” as SSRIs.

      Example 2: Valium or Klonopin, as noted, are long half-life Benzos. Thus prescribing them for once a day use is ideal. I have met with patients whose doctor prescribed 10 mg Valium (twice minimum therapeutic dose) to be taken 3 times a day! Now what happens in this case is stacking. Say it is Valium with 26-50 hours of half-life and about 2-3 hours to reach peak high. A person takes a 10 mg pill at 8 am that activates in full by about 10-11 am. At noon she needs to take her second pill (as per doctor’s instruction). So at 12 pm she will have not yet started the first dose into half-life at all so she is still say at 9 mg level to be generous instead of 10 mg but takes the next 10 mg so at noon she is doped at 19 mg benzo. Then dinner comes and bed time so she is still pretty much at 19 mg mg since half-life started for the first pill but not for the second so say 17 mg is what she has and now she is taking 10 mg as her 3rd pill. Now she is at 27 mg in her brain! And this keeps on growing since she is adding an extra 10 mg before the pills even start their half life processing since their “high” takes longer to achieve.

      Now we are talking about addiction. A brain that receives such high dose of a benzo will not only be seeking it all the time but the effect may actually switch from anti anxiety to mania and anxiety! It can end up having the opposite effect.

      Is this really the fault of the Benzo? Or the patient? No, it is the fault of incompetent physicians who do not take a minute to look up half-life or pharmacology of the drugs they prescribe. They caused a problem and now are rejecting a really good medicine because they are not familiar with its application.

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  4. Man says:

    I’ve been taking SSRI’s for about 20 years now. I don’t suffer depression but anxiety. Over the past 20 years I have tried to cut down and am now at 5mg. Every time I lowered my dosage or ran out I tried to commit suicide. Withdrawal effects are worse than any other drug and I’ve taken every illegal “addictive” drug out there. I still cannot get off of SSRI’s after 20 years! After three hours of missing a dose I have dozens of painful and mind-altering side effects, the worst two being suicide and electric shock syndrome. How is that not addiction, I ask my doctors …who insist the FDA is right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are totally right Man! Given you mentioned zapping I think I know which SSRI you are taking. The zapping implies that you are trying to reduce the medicine too fast. You are thinking that the only thing you have to counter is the medicine but that is unfortunately not the case. Medicines like this retrain the brain to not know what to do when the medicine is taken away. In case of SSRIs, the medicine inhibits the stopping of serotonin making. Think of the SSRI medicine as a plug that plugs up the overflow hole in a sink (this is the function of the reuptake inhibitor). When you have that sensor (reuptake or hole in the sink) plugged for 20 years, taking the plug out does not mean that the brain will suddenly know when serotonin is overflowing (too much)–it is not as simple as the sink! You brain cells (neurons) have to relearn that they have a reuptake sensor! They do not actually know they have that after 20 years of not using it! So when you stop the medication, in effect you pull the plug. The brain has no idea what to do so it sometimes completely stops making serotonin and another minute it overproduces making it. Your neurons have no idea what it means to produce normal amount of serotonin anymore since for 20 years normal means always.

      If you took an SSRI for only a short time, the brain is adaptive enough to reconfigure itself fast and figure out what to do. If you have taken it for a long time, it needs a very long time for it to figure out what to do becaue it has to recreate the pathways, the process, and often the structure of the cells for the process to work again. The reduction thus may take years! I have a reduction calendar for highly addictive medicines like this that can be used for medicines that are not time release. It requires absolute patience and total focus for perhaps years.

      The FDA really is not at fault in this: the pharmaceutical companies are. The FDA only knows what it is told. More and more studies are coming to the surface how big pharma researchers (and even academic researchers) do not publish negative findings and adverse reactions in order to enhance the medicine they wish to push. The FDA only knows what it has access to know! There are lots of sham publishing out there! At least finally the term “discontinuation syndrome” is finally used. We all know that it is the same as addiction. The only difference they say is the seeking of more when your brain is so adapted that it needs more to get the same result. In that respect the two may differ but not all medicines that are addictive have seeking associated with them assuming they are prescribed correctly! Incorrect prescriptions will always create seeking no matter what medicine! We can even go as far as saying that rebound medicine effects (when you are so used to taking an over the counter pain killer that without it you get a pain) are also a form of seeking…

      I hope one day the healthcare management will be renamed to reflect its true name: Disease Management for Profit!

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  5. adam says:

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    my history of anxiety goes back to childhood. And even further back through my father to even my grandmother. I have always had it.
    it ramped up in my late teenage years and has slowly gotten worse with every passing year.i am now 38 years old. Being younger i had the strength to put up with it better.got married.had children and even a successful career. But from age of say 33 to now it has all fallen apart . Ive lost everything to this disease.i lost the ability to work/lost beautiful house/cars . My wife has stuck by me because she see’s what i struggle with and how much i try And we are still very much inlove.
    My main symptoms are heart palpitations/ gastro upset/constant urination/sweating/insomnia/dizziness/vertigo/irritability/exhaustion/headaches/ and a slow protracted withdrawal from family, friends and society in general
    Ive been to countless doctors/psychologists/psychiatrists. Tried all ssri/anti psychotic/mood stabilizers/snri. Some worked a little but not for long and the ssri’s especially made me very depressed and sometimes suicidal(the only time i have felt the hopelessness of depression ironically enough).
    One psychiatrist prescibed me clonozapam.
    within half an hour i felt normal for the first time in years but was told not to tske more than twice a week or deathly addiction would surely follow.
    so my question is. What is worse situation..
    the damage done to your body by lifelong anxiety or a benzo addiction Without anxiety.?
    25 long years of this and ive had enough.is the addiction really that bad. Ive never touched alcohol or street type drugs.
    please give me some info…..

    Like

    • Adam, your comment is well taken and if I were you I would go back to the doctor and dish out your life to him and tell him that SSRIs and all other brain altering drugs are just as addictive as benzos and would he prefer to have a lifelong pain to avoid a possible addiction (yet again!) which is actually a lot less of an addiction than to sugar by the way, then to be addicted to life with a benzo that will allow you to have normal life. The problem with most doctors is that they think only in terms of medicine and not in terms of quality of life. Artificial sugars kills rats in labs yet it is OK for us to kill ourselves and cause diabetes 2 from them because then they have some work to do..
      So here is what I suggest. Join my group on FB, which is a migraine group and though you may not have migraines, what we do in the group will open your eyes and will change how you live. My FB group is “Migraine Sufferers who Want to be Cured” you will find we use a protocol based on my book Fighting the Migraine Epidemic ($3 e-book on amazon) that is entirely free, no medicines, no supplements, no herbs, nothing. It takes care of migraines, helps anxiety and depression , also chronic fatigue from what I understand. All of these have the same chemical imbalance in the brain component of cortical depression (lack of voltage) that can be reset by a few extra steps in your life and problem solved. With this said and done, it would be nice if you could bet Klonopin (this is the brand name) for every day (you only need a very small dose of 0.5 mg) once a day since the half life is about 20 hours. See if you can convince your doctor to do that and if he/she won’t do it, switch to a doctor who understands. Few do!!!

      Good luck and keep in touch!

      Angela

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  6. Angela Grant says:

    I should mention that there were a few incorrect and misleading statements but that would start another debate that we can save for next time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is nothing wrong with starting another debate Angela but there were no incorrect statements… most of the information is taken from Pharmacology books and scientific articles. Not one sentence was incorrect. The problem is that I had doctors telling me that SSRIs do not enhance serotonin; that hypnotics, such as Ambien, were not benzos–they are atypical benzodiazepine receptor ligands, which means they reshape the receptor and make the receptors think they are getting benzos, only few doctors actually remember their pharmacology class! My posts here are aimed at reminding them to pull their books and re-learn!

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  7. Angela Grant says:

    One of my major gripes in medicine and here we agreed: patients are overmedicated. One reason is dosage and the other is practice. Most physicians do not stop medications that are found ineffective and instead prescribed new drugs while continuing the ineffective old drug.

    Some patients are on indecent amount of medications. Try simplifying and one immediately recognized that patients were hesitant to upset the apple cart I think in the more medications, the healthier and longer they will live.

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    • This is actually not correct Angela. When people join my migraine group, for example, on Facebook, the first thing we do is help them get off all of their drugs. Every single one–close to 500 now–is off all drugs and are 100% migraine free with the guidance of my book and the 3 blog posts I have made on the cause of migraines. You find the three articles here. The bottom article is the first one to read. The articles (particularly the anatomy and the hormonal part) link to many scientific research publishing–some need academic access.

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      • Angela Grant says:

        Angela there’s a difference between something not being true and you not have the experience.

        In medicine when patient are on 20+ medications, stopping even a minor one if not motivated and monitored is challenging, at least.

        With that said like you, I experienced success with motivated patients and managed to motivated a few. It can be done! See we agree. 🙂

        Just had to get that out there.

        Like

        • I do have the experience. Unlike MDs I actually spend time with “patients” via email, phone, FB group, or in person and I know what they are doing. I also get the list of all drugs they take and find that 90% of the people who take more than 2 drugs take drugs that interact and no MD ever checks on that! I know a hell of a lot more Angela than what you give credit for since in your practice of 25 years you only saw patients for 1 reason and I see them for all reasons. I think I know more at this point than any MD about any drug for any patient they have. Any patient on 20+ medication is the fault of the MD! So let’s start with that!

          I have reversed several people’s diabetes II, several hypertension, stopped their migraines without medications, removed people from all kinds of very dangerous drugs like gabapentin or pregabapentin, SSRIs, SNRIs… I think I know way more than most MDs know. I now am waiting for a Mayo Clinic MD, PhD, who will probably now test my idea without me and I will be really pissed if he does that. Because in no hospital EVER in the history of man kind do they ever check if the saline IV is enough to get rid of a migraine or not. Been there, done that, and also received this info from the Mayo doc by email.

          So with all that considered, I know way more than an MD, albeit I specialize only in neuroscience. So yes, I probably know less than a podiatrist but that is not important. Show me an MD who knew that the epidural steroid shots were not FDA approved. Show me an MD who knows about the problem with fluoroquinolones and will not prescribe stupid Cipro. Show me just one! Show me also one who knows that SSRI’s and SNRIs are addictive! Show me one who knows that atypical benzo receptor ligands become benzos for the body. Just show me one!

          If you find one, I will agree that the MD you found knew as much (not more) as I do.

          Like

  8. Angela Grant says:

    Hi Angela,
    I agree with the basic premise that both drugs or addictive if taken over a prolonged period of time. I agree the symptoms of withdrawal described by the physician for benzodiazepines are not accurate.

    However I believe you are concerned that many drugs are prescribed for conditions other than those approved or initially indicated. That is correct.

    Surprisingly in my over 25 years of practice in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine, I find drugs are more effective for their off label use then their initial FDA approved use.

    I do not think this constitutes malpractice irresponsible or bad medicine as long as patients are monitored properly.

    Like

    • Hi Angela. In terms of FDA it does constitute a malpractice. I have an example for you: epidural corticosteroids. It has been forced on many people as the preferred technique instead of surgery. Millions of people got it and some even more than allowed (I know someone who received 6 of them in a 2-month period of time!). Then a few people got hurt and now the FDA issued a statement that epidural corticosteroids were not approved by the FDA! So now what say you? The FDA is backtracking out of allowing an off-label use. The use of corticosteroids via epidural just received a black box label! Here is what the FDA says in case you don;t want to visit the link–just the introduction:

      Epidural Corticosteroid Injection: Drug Safety Communication – Risk of Rare But Serious Neurologic Problems

      Including methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone
      [Posted 04/23/2014]

      AUDIENCE: Pain Management, Anesthesiology

      ISSUE: FDA is warning that injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death. The injections are given to treat neck and back pain, and radiating pain in the arms and legs. The effectiveness and safety of epidural administration of corticosteroids have not been established, and FDA has not approved corticosteroids for this use. (emphasis added)

      FDA is requiring the addition of a Warning to the drug labels of injectable corticosteroids to describe these risks.”

      I hope this helps you understand that off-label drug use is unethical and will eventually be illegal.. just give it some time! It also prevents official experiments and instead experiments on people without written consent. Experimenting on people without their written consent is indeed illegal.

      Like

  9. Lindsey says:

    Ive been on the same benzo for years….only for panic attack use…I have never had to up my dose or had it not work for me.
    I have used three different SSRIs and an SNRI…I don’t have depression….I have OCD…and none of them fully work. But exactly as you’ve said in your article, once I’m off of them I feel worse than I did before, despite weaning appropriately.
    I want to be off them for good, just am not sure what my options are anymore

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear Lindsay about the SSRI and SNRI you were forced on to take in place of benzo. That is why I wrote this article, hoping it will catch the eyes of the medical community! As for getting off of SSRIs or SNRIs, you need to do it extremely slowly: take 1 day a week and reduce the pill by a little. Do that for one or more weeks, just take 1 day less. Then when you feel comfortable, take another day off the same little. Continue taking with the 2 days less for several weeks, perhaps months! And so forth. Getting off of these medications is extremely confusing to the body and it needs to retrain itself to work again. You need to get back on benzo as soon as you can. What benzo are you on? They are very different and behave very differently on the body.

      Like

      • Lindsey says:

        I’m on Ativan…my OB/GYN took over my meds bc the psych I was seeing was seriously a quack. She did not want me taking benzos but was pushing me to take trazodone and ambien on top of the SSRI…which was horrible
        He’s working with me to find a good psych…he’s not very comfortable giving scheduled benzos unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

        • OMG you have saved your life for not taking trazodone and ambien and SSRI! Trazodone is a serotonin that ALONE can cause serotonin syndrome (it did for someone I know who died from it!) and if you mix that with an SSRI that is double trouble and guaranteed serotonin syndrome! Ambien is a benzo. Most doctors think that a drug in the class of “atypical bezo ligament” is not a benzo but hey… if it acts like a benzo, sings like a Benzo, it is a benzo for the brain. The brain doesn’t care what it is; it only cares where it is connecting to and guess what.. it is connecting to a benzo receptor so for the body it is a benzo–and a hypnotic one at that.

          Ativan is the worst possible benzo to get. I know people who had to be restrained on that drug because it causes a very quick very much “high” and then a crash that within 15 hours completely clears the drug out of your body to the level of craving another one–it is like a Heroin high and low I am told and as I saw.. people were ready to jump out the window. So every day you experience a severe high and then a withdrawal. If you take it twice, you experience it twice. It is a horrible drug.

          What I am told is that most fresh medschool grads are told that benzos are addictive and SSRIs are not and so forget about benzos. They are also told that benzos reduce mental function. All of this is totally incorrect. SSRIs can totally make a person forget even her name from one pill whereas a properly given benzo has no affect on memory at all–I got my PhD while taking benzo for my anxiety I had since age 19. I have been taking it ever since that time and over 40 years later my brain has never been sharper and I never had to increase my dose. You should somehow print out this message and also this link has a table with half life (the time in hours it takes for the drug to reduce to half its strength) and clearance time (the number of hours it takes for the drug to completely empty from your system). You want a drug that gives you a stable level all the time. Anything with a half-life of 24 hours or so will achieve that since just as you get down to half level, you take your next pill. So she needs to give the dose accordingly to compensate for the overlap. Here is the link; this also gives the dose equivalences.

          An OB/GYN is not the best choice for prescribing this kind of drugs–she may not even have the right to do that so you don’t want to get her into trouble. You may want to be referred to an older generation generalist and not a psych doctor.

          Here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines

          Like

    • Cone says:

      Benzos are indeed not addictive but they cause cancer.
      See excellent study here Kripke DF, et al. Hypnotics’ association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000850 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000850 – See more at: http://www.thementalelf.net/publication-types/cohort-study/benzodiazepines-and-z-drugs-may-increase-the-risk-of-death-and-cancer-according-to-new-cohort-study/#sthash.rYwJU38q.dpuf

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Cone Flower! I will as soon as I am back in the country!

        Like

        • Roald Michel says:

          Soon valium will be out of the country too, hehe.

          And while we’re in deporting mood already, let’s get rid of most agriculture, livestock and farmed fish products as well 😛 Definitely would help some people to finally fit into their teenage cloths again 😀

          Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Cone. I am back and read the link but it is very confused. It says benzos cause cancer and then switches to the study on hypnotics, which are atypical benzo receptor ligands–meaning they are not benzos actually only occupy the receptors on the cell that are normally taken up by benzos, making the body believe that they are benzos but they are not. To see which drugs are actually benzos, look at the middle of this article where there is a table that compares all benzos and atypical receptor ligands as well, giving you the info of half life, metabolic life, and what they actually do. The drugs in the article referred to as hypnotics are very short acting and leave the body very fast so they may not be addictive (real benzos are addictive!) but they have terrible side effects. They now understand that women were overdosed on the same dose men received by 45% so in the US all doses are now modified between the genders. Here is the article; I hope it helps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines

        Like

  10. Stephen plant says:

    I find that benzos really suit me, they give me a great sense of wellbeing and more importantly, they greatly reduce the frequency of my headaches and migraines. And although I have never experienced any addiction problems with them, after a few weeks of use however I do develop ‘tolerance’ and they stop working for me. I don’t know how to get around this problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Stephen. If you adapt that fast, you are getting the wrong type of benzo and/or the wrong dose. Which benzo are you getting and what dose? And how many times a day do you take it? Some benzos (like Ativan) you need to take more than once and they cause a huge high and then a huge crash because they empty your body fast. That drug creates drug addicts. By contrast I have been changing between Klonopin and Valium for the past several years. I take a very small dose, only once a day. Klonopin has a half life of about 20 hours so it lasts the entire day and then some in the body. Valium has a half-life of up to 50 hours so it stays in your body longer. As a result, you do not experience the intense high or intense low and have no need to take it more than once a day at most. When I get adapted to Valium, instead of increasing the dose, I switch to Klonopin. Though they both are benzos, they use different receptors and so the adaptation can be overcome this way. I have no symptoms in switching from one to the other. But then I take a very small dose (5 mg Valium or 0.5 mg Klonopin) and only once a day. For me it works perfect and controls all my anxiety such that I can control how fast I snap out of a fight-or-flight if I get into one. But you need to get the right type else you will get adapted.

      Like

      • Stephen plant says:

        I take Valium (5mg) twice a day for two days, then I drop it to one a day. As you suggested, once I become tolerant, increasing the dose has no effect. So all I can do is stay off it for a few months and than start again. I am not sure if Klonopin is used in the UK, I will have to ask my Doctor.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Stephen, if you stay off of it without any problems, why do you need to take it at all? If you read the post about what anxiety is and what it does, those of us with severe anxiety syndrome of the type that needs medication cannot be without it for a single day. If you can be without it, I do not think you need it. I also think that coming and going off of it and changing dose up and down for no reason creates adaptation more than if you took a small dose for survival rather than for “feeling better” which is not the same. If I don’t take mine (other than addiction that I now don’t include in the conversation) I will be throwing up all day, my pulse will land me in hospital emergency, etc. These are the symptoms of severe anxiety disorder. If you don’t have this, you may not need to take any pills.

          Another thing of importance: Valium is a long life drug. Taking a single pill will reduce to half its strength in the body in more than a day (half life is between 20-100 hours!) or more than 4 days for some! Thus taking double dose for 2 days and then cutting to single dose for 1 days makes no difference. The first pill you took has a half life of up to 100 hours–meaning half the strength of the drug in your body in 100 hours (over 4 days). Total clearance is up to 200 hours (over 8 days). So the way you dose yourself confuses the body. Taking 2 pills for 2 days will totally eliminate from your body in 16 days! Plus one pill the next day eliminates in an additional 8 days. Not sure you knew all this.

          Some other benzos are short acting drugs and clear from your body faster but create a very high high and a very deep crash whereas long acting ones, like Valium, do not create any high or any low because they come on slow and exist slow. Making daily changes with Valium has no meaning. Changes with Valium become meaningful if applied in weeks not days. Does this make more sense?

          Klonopin is a somewhat shorter life cycle drug (Clonazepam is the generic name). It is not the same though as Valium; it is lacking a muscle relaxant effect. Please compare the table on this Wikipedia list of all benzos so you can see which is good for what and how long before they leave the system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines

          Hope this helps.

          Like

          • Stephen plant says:

            No ,I did not know any of this. After all, who else would bother to explain it to me? I do have mild anxiety and tend to over react to very minor problems and have a lot of muscle tension. The reason I take two tabs at the start, is to get control of the chronic daily headaches and stop the painkillers. Once that is done, I drop down to the lowest possible dose. I can get by without them but then I struggle with the daily tension headaches and feel ‘uptight’ all the time. I guess I need to find a regime that work best for the longest time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Based on what you are saying Stephen you have a stress problem rather than anxiety and that may be why it has no affect on you the way it should. Like for example for those who really need benzos, like I do, we do not “relax” from it. We just become “normal” from it. We are not nervous people and have no muscle tensions from stress in general.

              I know it is very confusing to differentiate between stress and anxiety, especially since so many doctors even misunderstand the two and cannot differentiate.

              Just the very fact that people with anxiety disorder tend to get an anxiety attack when in the most peaceful of environment should tell you that it is very different from what you experience! Those with anxiety welcome stress! We are perfect in stress management and can handle major stress extremely well. We cannot deal with lack of stress. Our bodies are set to handle stress better than no stress. Exactly the opposite of what is happening to you.

              There are stress reducing tools that are not medicinal that you may find more to your benefit. It may sound funny but meditation is famous for being able to help those who feel stressed up for whatever reason. Hypnosis (particularly if you learn self hypnosis) is an excellent for of stress reduction. Massage is wonderful as well and exercise is best. I hope this helps. I do not think medication is your solution.

              Like

              • Stephen plant says:

                You could be right, I do feel stressed much of the time. If it were not for the headaches and migraines, I would not even bother with the Valium, I would just get on with things. But as the Valium helps so much, I came to the conclusion that stress and or anxiety are a major trigger for my headaches. For once I am ahead of you here as I have recently tried Hypnosis and deep relaxation as an alternative to drugs. Trouble is I have found it almost impossible to relax with a blinding headache all the time. Everything I try to do is done through a haze of pain. Anyway, you have given me a lot to think about and a better understanding on how to use Valium. So thank you for all your help.

                Liked by 1 person

      • Cone says:

        Angela, have a look at this study: Kripke DF, et al. Hypnotics’ association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000850 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000850 – See more at: http://www.thementalelf.net/publication-types/cohort-study/benzodiazepines-and-z-drugs-may-increase-the-risk-of-death-and-cancer-according-to-new-cohort-study/#sthash.rYwJU38q.dpuf

        Like

  11. Not a bad idea!!! I create T-Shirts and sell them through a couple of online stores! lol.. I will create one like that! Thanks for the suggestion!

    Like

  12. Roald Michel says:

    How about manufacturing T-shirts printed with “No SSRIs in My Body Ever!” to be worn at each and every doctor’s or hospital visit, or while dancing in the streets?

    Liked by 2 people

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