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Benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal
Posted by: Duncan McNair
Date: February 12, 2002 10:40 PM

I am assisting a national group (UK) of current and former benzodiazepine addicts with the problems caused by addiction, often decades long, and the long term physical and mental damage caused by these sythetic chemicals. They have been (perhaps unwittingly) betrayed by doctors and psychiatrists, poisoned rather than helped. The group I am helping is one of many working in this area. Many millions of people have lost up to 30 years of their lives to benzos. First comes the addiction and the person often doesn't realize what is happening to them. Business people can be ruined because, without knowing it, they have simply ceased to function as they did. Next comes the hell of withdrawal, which consumes all their attention while it lasts, and, once withdrawn, many are left physically and mentally incapacitated, as well as financially ruined, in many cases.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at February 14, 2008 3:35 AM by Dr. Kennedy.

RE: Benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: February 13, 2002 3:29 AM

Good questions. For our readers, benzodiazepines include Librium (Chlordiazepoxide), Valium (Diazepam), Xanax (Alprazolam), and Klonopin (Clonazepam). They are FDA Schedule III narcotics used for insomnia and anxiety. Like most other pharmaceuticals they are designed to suppress symptoms of illness, in this case almost alway the symptoms of toxicities with such items as caffeine, nicotine, a host of food additives, coloring, preservatives and "cides" (herbicides, pesticides, etc.)

These following comments can be generalized to any kind of toxicity. Cells are good citizens (unless they turn cancerous) and they act to protect the entire community when they are poisoned, namely they retain a degree of the toxin within their borders so as not to poison the community of cells. The very intake of the toxin pushes the cells in the direction of further retention. When the toxin is stopped, they begin to release their toxic load of metabolites of the toxin and this is what withdrawal is all about. It is a toxic state which can be suppressed by further ingestion of the original toxin. Therefore what is required to relieve the somatic addiction, that is the wish to go back to the original toxin, is a thorough and complete detoxification. The detoxing organs of the body are: GI tract, liver, kidneys, lungs and sinuses, and sweat glands. There are various ways of detoxing each of these organs and that is where you should have the assistance of an experienced professional person.

As to the mental damage, part of that may be due to actual brain damage and certainly a larger part is due to the loss of a sense of being a responsible self with responsibility and power to make wise choices. This experience damages self esteem. I believe it is not too useful to talk about that aspect to the addict but rather to relate to the person in a responsible and encouraging manner as an example. The critical steps are recognition of responsibility, atonement and forgiveness of self and others. If fully experienced this is a powerful transforming experience and without a notion of a natural morality embedded in the mind by God it is not possible and makes no sense. Part of the process is the recognition of damage caused to others and that must be set to rights. A full vocabulary for dealing with these issues must be mastered and used relentlessly so there is no escape for the mind which would continue to be separate from God's grace. The choice to be lost or loved must be completely illuminated so one can choose freely. Given all this, full recovery is more than likely.

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