Harnessing the Power of Words in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Recovery

Benzodiazepine withdrawal/BIND can be challenging, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes hopeless. During this time, it’s essential to recognize the power of your words and thoughts in shaping your recovery process. Research has demonstrated that how we speak and think about our experiences can profoundly impact our physical and emotional well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the power of words during benzodiazepine withdrawal/BIND (Benzodiazepine-Induced Neurological Dysfunction) and provide tips on using affirmations and reframing to foster healing and resilience.

The Power of Words 

Our words hold immense power, as they can either promote healing or perpetuate suffering. When we speak positively about our experiences and ourselves, it can create a supportive environment for recovery. Conversely, negative self-talk and thoughts can undermine our progress and exacerbate symptoms.

A study by IKEA demonstrated the power of words and their impact on living organisms. In 2018, IKEA UAE conducted an experiment using two identical plants, placing them in a school and exposing them to recorded messages for 30 days. One plant received positive messages, while the other received negative messages. At the end of the experiment, the plant exposed to positive messages thrived and appeared healthier, while the plant exposed to negative messages showed signs of wilting and poor health. This experiment aimed to raise awareness about the effects of bullying and the power of words.

Although the IKEA experiment is not a rigorous scientific study, it offers an exciting perspective on how our words and thoughts might influence our surroundings. Other research has also explored the power of words and positive thinking on health and well-being. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Broaden-and-Build Theory: This theory, proposed by psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, suggests that positive emotions can broaden our thinking and help us build lasting psychological resources. According to this theory, positive thinking and words can improve mental health, better coping strategies, and increase resilience.
  2. The Pygmalion Effect: This phenomenon, also known as the Rosenthal Effect, demonstrates that our expectations can influence the performance and behavior of others. In a famous study, researchers Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson found that students performed better when their teachers had high expectations for them. This suggests that positive words and encouragement can impact not only our well-being but also the well-being and performance of others.
  3. Gratitude and Health: Research has shown that expressing gratitude can benefit our mental and physical health. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who regularly practiced gratitude experienced greater life satisfaction and reduced symptoms of depression. These findings suggest that the words we use to express appreciation and thankfulness can contribute to a happier and healthier life.

While more research is needed to understand the power of words and positive thinking fully, these studies provide compelling evidence that our thoughts and language can significantly impact our health and well-being. By cultivating positive thoughts and using uplifting language, we can potentially improve our overall quality of life and support our recovery from challenges like benzodiazepine withdrawal.

State Drives Story

Now that we know the power of words, what do we do about “state drives story” and its impact on our thoughts,  i.e., our words? First, let’s take a look at our nervous system. It has two polar-opposite states: the connect and protect state.

In the connect state, we feel safe, engage in social interactions, experience empathy and curiosity, and access our higher cognitive functions. The connect state is a pro-social outward focus. It is a parasympathetic ventral vagal response. In this state, our thoughts and feelings will be positive.

In the protect state, we are inwardly focused on ourselves, on self-preservation. The protect state is a sympathetic fight or flight or a dorsal vagal freeze response to a real or perceived threat. We don’t think rationally in the protect state as our threat detection circuitry, the limbic system, primarily drives us. In the protect state, our thoughts and feelings will be negative.

During benzodiazepine withdrawal, we are more likely to be in the protect state due to the downregulation of the GABA receptors. Our thoughts and feelings will be mostly negative, influencing our words. However,  understanding that “state drives story” gives us the power to pause when thinking negatively, observe, and choose a more positive story. We do not have to believe the negative story our nervous system generates.

Using Affirmations and Reframing for Recovery

Affirmations and reframing are powerful techniques that can help us shift our thoughts and language during benzodiazepine withdrawal. Both methods involve changing how we perceive and talk about our experiences, promoting a more positive and supportive mindset.


Affirmations are positive statements we repeat to ourselves to rewire our thought patterns and improve our beliefs. They can be especially helpful during benzo withdrawal/BIND as they can counteract negative self-talk and reinforce a more optimistic outlook. Here are some examples of affirmations for benzodiazepine withdrawal/BIND recovery:

  • “I am strong and resilient.”
  • “Every day, I am making progress in my healing journey.”
  • “I am capable of overcoming challenges and moving forward.”

To create your affirmations, focus on statements that resonate with you and reflect your goals and values. Repeat these affirmations daily, either aloud or in your mind, and visualize the positive changes they represent. One of my favorite affirmations is “I am safe. I am healing. I will recover.” With this powerful affirmation, we end every group coaching session in my Heal With Dr. Jenn support group.


Reframing involves changing how we view and interpret our experiences, often by finding a more positive or empowering perspective. For example, instead of thinking, “I will never recover,” we can reframe the thought as, “I am going through a challenging time, but I am strong, and I will overcome this.” Reframing can help us shift from a negative mindset to one that promotes healing and growth.

Here are some tips for practicing reframing during benzodiazepine withdrawal:

  • Acknowledge your feelings: Recognize and observe your emotions, but also remember that they don’t define you or your situation. Allow yourself to feel the feelings without judgment, and then work on reframing your thoughts.
  • Look for the silver lining: Try to find the positive aspects or lessons that can be learned from your experience. This can help you view your experience as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
  • Focus on what you can control: It’s natural to feel powerless during benzo withdrawal, but focusing on the aspects of your life that you can control can help you regain a sense of agency and purpose.
  • Seek support: Talk to friends, family, a benzo coach, or a benzo-wise therapist about your thoughts and feelings. They can offer alternative perspectives and help you reframe your experiences more positively.

The Science Behind the Power of Words

Research has consistently shown that our thoughts and words can significantly impact our health and well-being. One study by Dr. Masaru Emoto demonstrated that positive words and intentions could positively affect the molecular structure of water. While this study may not directly apply to human physiology, it highlights the potential power of our thoughts and words. I was fascinated by this study when I was in grad school, earning my doctorate in psychology.

Research has repeatedly found that people who engaged in positive self-talk experienced less stress and had better overall mental health. It supports the idea that cultivating positive thoughts and language can benefit our well-being, particularly during challenging times like benzodiazepine withdrawal/BIND. Other studies point to the power of our words during stressful times. I found these two worth mentioning:

  1. Moskowitz, J. T., Hult, J. R., Bussolari, C., & Acree, M. (2009). What works in coping with HIV? A meta-analysis with implications for dealing with serious illness. Psychological Bulletin, 135(1), 121-141. This meta-analysis focuses on the effectiveness of various coping strategies in managing stress related to HIV. The authors found that positive reframing, acceptance, and humor were among the most effective coping strategy, suggesting the importance of positive thinking in dealing with stress and severe illness.
  2. Zautra, A. J., Johnson, L. M., & Davis, M. C. (2005). Positive affect as a source of resilience for women in chronic pain. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(2), 212-220. This study investigates the role of positive affect in promoting resilience among women with chronic pain. The findings reveal positive emotions can help individuals cope with pain more effectively and improve overall well-being.

These studies point to positive self-talk, reframing, and maintaining a positive mindset during challenging times can benefit our well-being.


The power of words and thoughts during benzodiazepine withdrawal and BIND cannot be underestimated. By understanding how “state drives story” and that during benzo withdrawal/BIND, your thoughts may often be negative, observing them (instead of believing them) and then implementing techniques like affirmations and reframing, you can shift your mindset and promote healing and resilience. As you navigate this challenging journey, remember to harness the power of your words, foster a supportive environment for recovery, and cultivate a sense of hope and empowerment.

Join the conversation.

Please leave a comment and share with us how you choose your words to be more positive and, therefore, more healing. How do you avoid simmering in the negativity found on so many benzo forums?