‘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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‘Psychiatric Drugs: More Dangerous Than You Ever Imagined (A New Video)’ by Peter Breggin MD

Peter Breggin is a very special man and has been detailing the dangers of biological psychiatry and psychiatric drugs for many years. Here is a video he posted on Mad In America.

‘We are facing a tragedy of enormous proportions!  Psychiatric drugs of every kind are exposing people to long-term risks of a declining quality of life, apathy, chronic disability, and even shrinkage of the brain.

When they try to withdraw from the drugs, they are likely to find themselves afflicted with new symptoms of drug-induced harm that the medications were suppressing.   Then they may find it physically and emotionally painful, and even dangerously unsafe, to withdraw from these psychoactive medications.

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‘Why Don’t They Know? A Letter to My Doctor’ by Lisa D.

lisadWestern societies today are drugging large numbers of people into illness. And I don’t mean street drugs you get from dealers.

I mean the prescription drugs you get from your doctor, the ones promoted and pushed by drug companies. The ones you think are going to help you overcome your problems. Instead, many people find they cause them problems, problems they take years overcoming.

If you want to know more about this, then you must visit Mad In America. I’ve been using some of the stories and articles on this website on Recovery Stories. And they make fascinating – and concerning – reading.

Here’s a letter that Lisa D. wrote to her doctor about her prescription-drug induced problems (please note that I have shortened the length of some of the paragraphs, without altering the content).

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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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‘It Gets Better!’ by Bertel Rüdinger

brudinger‘A little more than 10 years ago, when I was 29 and 2 weeks away from turning 30, I was a patient in the psychiatric system here in Copenhagen. I am a pharmacist and I specialized in neurochemistry and psychotropics throughout my studies.

While I was working in the labs at The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy I was intent on getting a job as a medicinal chemist at Lundbeck – the Danish pharmaceutical company behind Celexa and Lexapro and in their own words the only company specializing solely in developing drugs for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

At the university we were taught that psychiatric disorders were diseases just like diabetes and hypotension. We were told all the ‘truths’ that the psychiatrists now admit were myths about the so-called chemical imbalances in the brain and the clear genetic component of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

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‘Prescribing Influences in Mental Health’ by Heather Ashton

Talk given at the Adverse Psychiatric Side Effects Conference, April, 2008.

‘C Heather ASHTON DM FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Newcastle University, worked in the drug and poisons information unit at Newcastle Royal Infirmary for 15 years. An expert on the effects of prescription drugs on the mind.

Professor Ashton’s manual for benzodiazepine withdrawal is available worldwide at no financial benefit for the author but of great emotional and personal benefit to many thousands of people who have accessed this detailed manual. The manual is available on benzo.org.uk and many other web sites.

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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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Recovery Road website from Baylissa (Bliss) Frederick

UnknownPlease check out Baylissa (Bliss) Fredericks’ wonderful website Recovery Road. This is an excellent resource.

The website has  self-help information, coping tools and other resources for people affected by withdrawal and dependency on sleeping pills, other benzodiazepine tranquillisers, Z-drugs and antidepressants. There is also information for family members, families, counsellors, doctors and others who provide care.

The aim of the website is to help people feel reassured, encouraged and empowered. There are lots of videos to watch as well as content to read.

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‘Recovering from Psychiatry – Tips and Some Hope For Those in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal’ by Laura Delano

This video offers tips, suggestions, and hope for those in psychiatric drug withdrawal from ex-“Bipolar” patient and psychiatric liberation writer and activist, Laura Delano. An excellent video.

‘Complexity’ by Jonathan Keyes

PdxJonThis powerful blog is one of the best I have read in some time. Jonathan recognises the challenges we face in trying to improve the mental health system. Essential reading!

‘The movement to radically reform the modern mental health system is rooted in a desire to offer people going through emotional distress a wider variety of options for care.  As a society we have largely shifted to a model of care that is limited to a select few options that primarily advocates the use of strong psychotropic drugs and simplistic diagnostic labels for complex and widely varying narratives. 

Recently I read that from 1998 to 2011 there has been a 400 percent rise in the prescription of antidepressants.  Likewise in Canada, at least 60 percent of female prison inmates are prescribed psychiatric drugs.   

Most people receive psychiatric medication from their general practitioner.  The stigma of going on an antidepressant has been lessened to such a degree that one out of nine people in the US now takes this class of drug.

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‘Psychiatric drugs are doing us more harm than good’ by Peter Gøtzsche

'More than 53m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone.'This excellent blog appeared in The Guardian recently. 

‘As with benzodiazepines in the 1980s, the UK is prescribing SSRI antidepressants at a staggering rate – and to no good effect

We appear to be in the midst of a psychiatric drug epidemic, just as we were when benzodiazepines (tranquilisers) were at their height in the late 1980s. The decline in their use after warnings about addiction led to a big increase in the use of the newer antidepressants, the SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors).

Figures released by the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, which was set up to challenge many of the assumptions commonly made about modern psychiatry, show that more than 53m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone. This is almost the equivalent of one for every man, woman and child and constitutes a 92% increase since 2003.

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‘Support for those in Withdrawal Who Struggle With Family & Friends Not Understanding’ by Baylissa Frederick

bfrederickOne of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of withdrawal is that feeling of being misunderstood, unsupported and isolated.

If someone has diabetes, dystonia or other chronic illness or experiences a life event such as a bereavement, people will more often empathise and offer support. They understand these issues – the required dietary restrictions, medication, etc., and they will be able to tell you the stages of grief. Support of every kind is forthcoming because there is enough awareness, shared through every medium, on these topics.

Even an addiction to cocaine, alcohol or heroin receives more attention and holds more credibility than protracted benzodiazepine and antidepressant withdrawal. It is saddening indeed that those in withdrawal are so terribly misunderstood.

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‘Invisible Pain’ by Jonathan Keys

PdxJonThe issues raised by Jonathan Keys in his recent Mad in America article need highlighting and addressing.

‘In my practice as a therapist I often work with people who have been seriously hurt by the practice of psychiatry, either directly or indirectly through family members.

Many of them started taking psychiatric drugs for moderate depression, or for some anxiety, or for panic attacks. But as time went on, their doses went up. More meds were added. By the time they realized the drugs were making things worse, they were already stuck on a large cocktail of psychiatric drugs.

The side effects worsened and became intransigent. Increasing depression, lethargy, loss of libido, confusion, mental fog, weight gain, lowered immunity and poorer sleep became the norm.

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Baylissa’s journey off clonazepam

Baylissa suffered from dystonia since childhood and was given a prescription for a benzodiazepine called clonazepam in order to minimise a facial tic on her wedding day. She soon became addicted and subsequently spent three years in withdrawal.

However, this terrible experience led to her work as a withdrawal support counsellor and – fully recovered – she now has no regrets.

‘My Story of Benzo Withdrawal and Activism’ by Barry Haslam

Barry-SueLatest from Mad in America is the story of a remarkable activist.

‘My story starts in 1976. I had a nervous breakdown whilst studying for my Accountancy Technician examination (which i passed with distinction). Plus I was holding down 2 jobs and bringing up a young family. My daughters where then aged 5 and 7.

I was then prescribed a series of benzodiazepine/anti depressant drugs for 5 years. This information was gleaned from my medical records (from 1976 until 1986) at a later date, as I have COMPLETE MEMORY LOSS, no memory at all, for that time.

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Unrecognised Facts About Psychiatry

I really like the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry website, in particular their Unrecognised Facts About Psychiatry. They say:

‘Most people assume that psychiatry is just like any other branch of medicine, with objective tests for diagnoses and drug treatments that cure real diseases.  In reality, however, psychiatric diagnoses and treatments differ enormously from diagnoses and treatments for say cancer or diabetes, since, for mental disorders, there are no known biological ‘diseases’ for psychiatric drugs to ‘treat’.

Here we highlight various Unrecognised Facts about modern psychiatry which every patient, practitioner and policymaker ought to be aware of.’

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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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