‘Recovery and Renewal’ by Baylissa Frederick

recovery-book-coverRecovery and Renewal is essential reading for anyone trying to withdraw from benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. In fact, it of considerable value to anyone recovering from dependence and addiction.

‘This widely successful book is recommended for anyone in the throes of withdrawal, and for family, friends, professionals and other carers who will be able to better understand the experience and will be well equipped to give support. Doctors, counsellors, rehabilitation staff, recovery and mental health organisations will gain invaluable insight critical to providing best care.

‘Recovery and Renewal’ is regarded as a ‘lifeline’ and readers are inspired by the author’s courage and determination. It gives all the validation needed to eliminate the stress that doubts and uncertainty of what is taking place may bring, and does so with the reassuring feeling of one’s hand gently being held.’

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Open Paradigm Project – Matt Samet

Rock climber, author, and Mad in America Blogger Matt Samet discusses his experience becoming addicted to, and subsequently coming off of, benzodiazepines. Check out Matt’s book Death Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness.

“The Other Side’ by Matt Samet

msametI’ve really enjoyed reading Matt Samet’s blogs on the excellent Mad in America website. Here is his first one, which provides some important insights int withdrawing from psychoactive prescription drugs and recovering from addiction.

‘With little fanfare and even a glance at the calendar to confirm it, I realized as I sat down to write this that December 5 marked the seven-year anniversary of the last time I took a benzodiazepine tranquilizer.

I had been prescribed the pills for a “panic disorder” starting at age 21, and took them daily from 1998 to 2005 as a “prophylaxis” against anxiety, in ever-escalating doses as prescribed. My final dose was, I think, a quarter-milligram of lorazepam, administered on the fourth-floor Affective Disorders Unit of the Meyer Psychiatry Building, at the Johns Hopkins Institute in Baltimore. I have not taken any since.

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‘Benzodiazepine Guidance’ by djmac

Diazepam-3‘SMMGP has published guidance for using benzodiazepines and benzo-like drugs in primary care. It’s a comprehensive 60+ page document which covers most (but not all) of the bases and reinforces the need for caution when prescribing the drugs.

The guidance is so long in coming because consensus could not be reached. Benzo prescribing is an issue where people have strong views.

The guidance sets out a major problem: that current prescribing guidance is that these drugs should not be used for more than 2-4 weeks, but in practice this is widely flouted with over one million people on these in the long term.

As I say the document is comprehensive, so I’ve just picked out a few nuggets here.

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Marta’s Story: Recovering from benzodiazepine addiction

bzacuteHere is a benzo story from the excellent Recovery Road website.

‘My benzo story started over 26 years ago with a panic attack. I was a very active person, I had 2 beautiful children, a good hubby.  Life was good, my children had just started school, I was sad about it, I didn’t want to let them go, but I had to of course. I worked when I wanted to so that was good and I had a very busy social life.

I suddenly started getting panic attacks. They were frightening and I thought I was about to die. I went to my GP and was given 60 diazepam 2 mg pills. She said take one, twice a day.

I took one 2 mg pill a day, my panic attacks stopped and I got on with life. I was grateful that the med was stopping further panic attacks.  At no point did my doctor warn me of any dangers, I thought it was okay to keep taking them,  and in the early days it stopped my fear of another panic attack.

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‘Benzodiazepines treat anxiety, cause long-term problems’ by Markian Hawryluk

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsThis article appeared in The Bulletin in Central Oregon.

Meant for short-term relief, these medications are prescribed repeatedly.

Over three decades, Marjorie Carmen had helped her husband, Milton, through many of his health issues. From heart surgery to cancer to a hip replacement, they had survived each of them.

But in 2007, as her husband slowly descended into dementia, it scared her. It was not so much the fear of him dying or leaving her alone. It was the angst over what the Yale-educated, highly successful real estate developer with his New England upbringing and sensibilities would have to endure, unable to fend for himself – the sheer indignity of dementia.

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SURVEY – CEP needs your contribution for BMA review into prescribed drugs

UnknownI really like The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry website and they have just asked for submissions for a potentially important study. Please participate if the study is relevant to you.

‘The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (cepuk.org) has been invited to contribute evidence to a project at the BMA (British Medical Association) which will review the issues associated with dependence upon prescribed drugs, including benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, pain relievers and antidepressants.

If you or a family member has experienced negative effects with one or more of these drugs, or has had difficulties withdrawing or following withdrawal, then you are invited to submit your experiences to CEP. We will then collate these and include a summary and/or individual responses in our submission to the BMA.

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‘Unraveling the Mystery of Personal and Family Recovery: An Interview with Stephanie Brown, PhD’ by Bill White (Part 2)

UnknownStephanie Brown has written an excellent book on personal recovery, from which I have used some key sections in my blogs. She emphasises a number of paradoxes in recovery which are described here. There’s some powerful stuff below, which I had never really thought about until I read Stephanie’s work.

Bill White: Speaking of impact, you wrote a book called A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety and Radical Transformation that has deeply touched many people. Could you share some of what you infused into that book?

Stephanie Brown: At the time I wrote A Place Called Self, I was deepening my understanding of paradox. Hazelden asked me to explore some of these paradoxes from the perspective of recovering women, although much of what I eventually wrote also applies to men.

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“What is Recovery” according to Stephanie Brown (Part 4)

P1010092In my last blog focusing on Stephanie Brown’s book A Place Called Self, I described two myths about recovery.  In this blog, we look at the second myth: dependence is bad and recovery means you are no longer dependent.

“… many women think recovery is moving from dependence to self-sufficiency. But there is no such thing as total self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is a partial condition.” So what does Stephanie mean by this?

All of us are dependent in some way or other. We need other other people on whom we can depend. “No man (or woman) is an island.”

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The nature of alcohol dependence

P1011087Here’s an article on alcohol dependence you can find in our Articles section:

There has been a considerable scientific effort over the past three decades in to identifying and understanding the core features of alcohol and drug dependence. This work really began in 1976 when the British psychiatrist Griffith Edwards and his American colleague Milton M. Gross collaborated to produce a formulation of what had previously been understood as ‘alcoholism’ – the alcohol dependence syndrome.

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