An Introduction to Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
Updated: Mar 23
What are the common symptoms of benzo withdrawal? How many are there? What do they all have in common? And, will any of them be permanent?
In today’s episode, we take a brief tour through the persistent parade of possible symptoms which accompany benzo withdrawal syndrome. We also introduce a new documentary film in the works, discuss media coverage of BWS, and share a story of successful withdrawal.
Video ID: BFP008
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00:00 Introduction 09:03 Mailbag 13:16 Benzo News 17:33 Benzo Story 24:50 Feature: An Introduction to Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms 35:26 Closing
The following resource links are provided as a courtesy to our listeners. They do not constitute an endorsement by Easing Anxiety of the resource or any recommendations or advice provided therein.
“Flumazenil Risks Likely Outweigh Its Benefits” by Leon Gussow, MD in Emergency Medicine News
FEATURE — An Introduction to Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
“Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines” by Shirley Trickett, in Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 33(254)(September 1983)
I opened up today’s episode wondering where people were when they were listening to the podcast. Are they doing well, or poorly. And I reminded everyone that we’re here, those of us who have been through it, and you’re not alone.
I also talked a bit about our cold snap in the northern U.S. and shared some statistics on the podcast that I recently observed, including our global reach. While our largest number of listeners are currently in the US, Canada, and the UK, we also have listeners in Switzerland, France, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Portugal, and even Qatar. In addition, we had over 600 downloads in the first two weeks of the podcast, which was nice to see.
This is where we share questions and comments from our listeners.
I wondered what your thoughts are about different healing patterns? Also, what about PTSD? This question was submitted by Catherine. She was curious if waves and windows are the norm, or if some people have consistent symptoms. I reminded her that everyone is different and some don’t experience waves and windows, especially in the lates stages of protracted withdrawal. I also mentioned that PTSD might be common in withdrawal, but in my opinion, it’s more of a question of semantics. Since I am not a medical professional, I didn’t have a clear and concise answer for her.
Here are the news articles shared in today’s podcast:
Updates to Website: Benzo Free Resources I’ve been making some enhancements to the website lately. Several of the changes include making it more visually appealing on mobile devices. In addition, I just spent a couple of days creating a new resources section on the website. It now has its own menu category, it’s more graphically appealing (I hope), better categorized, and more user-friendly before. The categories are Suicide Prevention, Benzo Information Sites, Benzo Discussion Groups, and Film & Media. I am still adding new links and will continue to update it monthly. If you know of any site you would like to add to this list, please let me know on our feedback form. The podcast is driving more people to the website, and I want to make sure it is as functional and attractive as I can. Benzo Free Resources
“As Prescribed — A Film by Holly Hardman“ I wanted to bring attention to a new film about benzos that’s coming soon. I just shared this on our Facebook the other page, but I wanted to also mention it here. Holly Hardman is currently in post-production on her documentary film, “As Prescribed.” She is still fundraising for the film, so if you’d like to donate a few bucks her way, I’m sure she would appreciate it. You can find a donations link on her website. As Prescribed Website
Flumazinil and the Missing Coverage of Benzo Withdrawal in the Media I shared a story that I also posted on the Facebook Page about Flumazinil which caused me to think about the overall picture of media coverage of benzo withdrawal. The author, a physician, praised benzos for their amazing benefits. While I realize that his focus was more on short-term use in emergency and medical procedure settings, it still caused me concern. I took a look at the overall lack of coverage of dependence and withdrawal in many media stories and discussed the possible influence that we, as patients, might have on journalists and doctors alike.
Today’s story is a success story from Lynne in Inglewood, California.
Today’s featured topic: An Introduction to Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
In our feature today, I discussed the possible common symptoms some experience during benzo withdrawal. This was a very high-level view and we will dive deeper into the subject of symptoms on future episodes.
Anxiety – General (GAD), Hypochondria, Panic Attacks, Paranoid Thoughts, Phobias
Behavioral – Anger, Irritability, Aggression, Depression, Obsessions, Suicidal Thoughts
Cognitive – Cognitive Dysfunction, Memory Dysfunction, Intrusive Memories
Excitability – Akathisia, Jumpiness, Restlessness, Restless Legs
Perception – Depersonalization, Derealization, Hallucinations, Misperceptions, Perceptual Distortions
Sleeping – Insomnia, Nightmares
Social – Agoraphobia, Social Phobias
Abdominal/Gastrointestinal – Abdominal Pain, Appetite Change, Benzo Belly, Constipation, Diarrhea, Distention, Inflammation, Nausea, Groin Pain, Menstrual Difficulties, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Urinary Difficulties, Vomiting, Weight Change
Eyes, Ears, Nose & Mouth – Blurred Vision, Double Vision, Difficulty Swallowing, Dry Mouth, Metallic Taste, Oral Thrush, Sore Eyes, Dry Eyes, Sound & Light Sensitivity, Tinnitus, Unusual Smell
Head & Neck – Balance Issues, Dizziness, Light Headedness, Headache, Neck Pain, Slurred Speech, Throat Tightening
Heart & Lungs – Flushing, Sweating, Heart Palpitations, Over-breathing
Muscular – Aches and Pain, Electric Shocks, Fatigue, Sprains, Pulls, Tears, Stiffness, Tremors, Twitches, Jerks, Tics, Weakness, Convulsions, Paralysis, Seizures
Nerve Sensations – Altered Sensations, Hypersensitivity, Numbness, Paresthesia, Skin Rashes, Itching, Tingling
Immune & Endocrine – Increased Infections, Breast Swelling, Menstrual Difficulties
The Benzo Free Podcast provides information, support, and community to those who struggle with the long-term effects of anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium) and Z-drugs (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata).
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