Updated: Mar 23
I have great news!!! Well, great news from my point of view. I hope others will feel the same way once they’ve read it, but that is still to be determined. Anyway, the great, or good news depending on your point-of-view, is that my book, Benzo Free: The World of Anti-Anxiety Drugs and the Reality of Withdrawal, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions. Yeah!
Okay, perhaps a bit anti-climatic. But still pretty damn cool.
After four years of research, the book is finally out there. Whew! Huge sigh of relief from my end. The book is 340 pages and has over 350 citations and 160 or so bibliographical references. It’s a labor of love and exhaustion, and I’m so glad to have it done.
Check out this link for more info on the book or just search “Benzo Free” on Amazon to find it. Here’s a short excerpt from the preface where I briefly explain my
experience with benzo withdrawal.
*** Excerpt from Benzo Free ***
It’s been a long five years. I’ve endured debilitating muscle spasms, torn muscles, restless legs, brain zaps, tinnitus, severe heart palpitations, burning skin, flushing, face spiders, memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, throat swelling, chronic insomnia, acute gastritis, abdominal distension, pelvic floor dysfunction, vertigo, uncharacteristic aggression and irritability, panic attacks, personality changes, and the most severe anxiety and depression in my life. I’ve scheduled over a hundred medical appointments with a parade of doctors, specialists, therapists, and counselors. I’ve been unable to work and put a burdensome strain on my family. I’ve faced a wall of disbelief and scorn from friends and doctors alike. I’ve had days when getting out of bed was a near impossible feat. And I’ve begged God, and anyone else who would listen, that it would all just end. Even if this description sounds foreign and implausible to you, it’s familiar to thousands of people around the world. People attempting to withdraw from a class of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines (benzos) and their cousins, nonbenzodiazepines (z-drugs) and thienodiazepines. You may know them better as Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, Librium, and Sonata among others. Or perhaps by their street names like xannies, z bars, k-pin, qual, candy, zanbars, totem poles, K, sleepers, r2, BZDs, bennies, stupefy, tranx, zombie pills, roofies, goofballs, and downers. Perhaps you picked up this book because you have personal experience with these drugs. Or maybe you have no experience with benzos, and my opening sounded like some hysterical hypochondriac’s rant. Although benzo dependence may not be discussed commonly in most social circles, it exists, and it destroys lives.
Now, don’t get too depressed. I promise that Benzo Free is not all doom and gloom. I try and balance the stark realities of benzo withdrawal with the hopeful optimism which Prof. Ashton has shared many times. That is that anyone can withdraw if you properly plan and learn how to manage your symptoms and mindset. Here’s just a little more from the preface which I hope will help you feel a bit more hopeful.
Yes, some people do have harrowing experiences and struggle with symptoms for years. But they’re in the minority. More than half of long-term users don’t experience any severe withdrawal symptoms. Thousands of us have been through this and not only survived but thrived once it was over. We know many of the ups and downs, the dos and don’ts, and we’re here to support those who follow. There are so many resources available to help, and this book is only one of them. I don’t believe anybody should be forced to withdraw from benzos if they don’t want to. It’s a personal decision between the patient and his or her doctor. I am glad I tapered off benzodiazepines, and I would do it again. It’s great to be benzo-free.
Today is August 20th, 2018. I chose today to release my book on purpose. Today, I am officially four years benzo-free. Now that’s worth celebrating. I still have symptoms and I still struggle, but I’m much better than I was and getting better every day. I hope my book provides a bit of information, comfort, and solace to those who follow and helps educate anyone curious about these drugs and the problems they leave in their wake. Remember, if you are dependent on benzos you are not alone. There are thousands of us who have been through it before you — and many of us are here to help.
Keep calm and taper slowly,
Foster, D E Benzo Free: The World of Anti-Anxiety Drugs and the Reality of Withdrawal. Erie, Colorado: Denim Mountain Press, 2018. – https://easinganxiety.com/book.