When it comes to benzo withdrawal, all roads lead to anxiety. Anxiety is not only the most persistent and pervasive symptom of withdrawal, but it’s also the catalyst which makes all the others worse. In today’s episode, we learn about this mysterious emotional juggernaut called anxiety. What is it? What causes it? Why is it worse in withdrawal? And most of all, what can be done to help ease it? We also have two benzo stories, several news items, and a welcome message to the caregiver.
Video ID: BFP009
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00:00 Quote 00:40 Introduction 07:05 Mailbag 13:04 Benzo News 18:03 Benzo Stories: Intro 19:43 Kathy’s Story 24:02 Jeff’s Story 31:30 Feature: Anxiety in Withdrawal 47:08 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.
QUOTE: Soren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard, Søren. The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980.
FEATURE — Anxiety: The Beast of Benzo Withdrawal
Barlow, David. Anxiety and Its Disorders. 2nd ed. New York: The Guilford Press, 2002.
Helliwell, J., R. Layard and J. Sachs. World Happiness Report 2017. New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2017. http://worldhappiness.report/#happiness2017.
In today’s intro, we opened with the quote from Kierkegaard, which I’ve reprinted below:
And no Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety, and no spy knows to attack more artfully, choosing the instant when you are weakest, nor knows how to lay traps where you will be caught and ensnared, as anxiety knows how, and no sharp-witted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine you as anxiety does, which never lets you escape, neither at work nor at play, neither by day nor by night. — Soren Kierkegaard, “The Concept of Dread,” 1844
I followed that up with my pleasant surprise at the increase in likes of the Benzo Free Facebook page and how rapidly it has been increasing. And then I jumped into a welcome message for the caregiver. I wanted to let all of the listeners know that this podcast was as much for them as it was for the patient, and to share a genuine thank you for all they do.
We also have some interviews coming and I’ll start the first one this weekend. And I closed by mentioning that this episode will probably run a little long, which it did.
This is where we share questions and comments which were discussed:
Did you use any nutritional supplements during your taper and withdrawal? This question was submitted by Jill. I don’t have a clear answer for this one since I cannot recommend medication nor supplements nor give such advice. My experience during withdrawal includes B12 supplements prescribed by my doctor since my levels were low, kefir milk which helped my stomach for a while, and I was able to discontinue my stomach medication, again per doctor’s instruction.
A normal healthy diet which includes generous amounts of fruit and vegetables and a source of protein and fats (from meat or vegetables), and not too much pure sugar or “junk foods,” provides all the nutrients a person needs. There is no general need for dietary supplements or extra vitamins or minerals or for “detoxifying” measures. All these can be harmful in excess. — Prof. Ashton, The Ashton Manual
COMMENT from Kathryn, in Camrose, Alberta, Canada Kathryn shared her concerns about a comment I made in a previous episode where I stated that I was “grateful to Dr. Ashton for my sobriety.” Kathryn voiced her concern that the term “sobriety” made it sound like I was referring to addiction. I was not trying to imply anything with that comment and stated that I understood the issue around certain terminology and benzo dependence. I also stated that even if someone is dependent and addicted to benzos, whether they got them on the street or from a prescription, that they are just as welcome here as anyone else.
Here are the news articles shared in today’s podcast:
The Deadly Worst-Cast Scenario for America’s Xanax Obsession This article highlighted the difficulties in Scotland when the government tried to crack-down on benzodiazepines. It includes an interview with Dr. Christy Huff of the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition (BIC). “The Deadly Worst-Case Scenario for America’s Xanax Obsession” by Maria Szalavitz on published on Vice.com
“Yes, Benzos Are Bad For You” by Dr. Allen Frances I wanted to bring this article from 2016 back to the attention of the listeners because it is one of the best articles, written by a top-notch U.S. psychiatrist, which lays out the danger and damage caused by benzos. “Yes, Benzos Are Bad For You” by Dr. Allen Frances published on HuffingtonPost.com
Which Misused Prescription Meds Send Americans to the ER? A recent report by US News and World Report states that benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan) are “most commonly implicated in health crisis that lead to an ER visit, followed by prescription opioids.” Of the 360,000 ER visits researchers identified which involved misuse of pharmaceuticals, “benzodiazepines were the primary prescription drug in 47 percent of cases.” “Which Misused Prescription Meds Sent Americans to the ER?” by Dennis Thompson published on U.S. News and World Report
I shared two stories today. One from Kathy in Windsor, Colorado and one from Jeff, in Winfield, Illinois. Jeff’s story was the first one submitted to us in audio format, so it was a pleasure to hear him share it in his own voice.
Today’s featured topic: Anxiety: The Beast of Benzo Withdrawal
Today’s topic is all about anxiety and we spent a lot of time on it. It is the first in our series on symptoms, and I thought anxiety was a great place to start. In the episode, I discussed an intro to anxiety and shared possible causes. Then I moved onto anxiety in benzo withdrawal, and closed out with a section on how to ease the burden of anxiety.
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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