The number one question people in benzo withdrawal ask me is, “Will I heal?” The answer is always YES! The second question is, When? (Unfortunately, there is no way to predict that. Everyone has their own unique healing timeline.) Another frequent question is, “Will my disbelief in healing keep me from healing?” The answer is no. Thankfully, we don’t have to believe in healing for it to take place. The brain is designed to maintain homeostasis, balance. When we take a benzodiazepine, the drug forces the brain to do what it is not intended to do, and the brain responds by making changes to compensate. As we taper off our benzo, or we are off, the brain knows that it is out of balance, and it goes to work to make things right again. This is a very elementary explanation, but you get the point. The brain is always trying to maintain homeostasis, with no belief necessary.
Another question people ask me is, “Will my stress level keep me from healing?” The answer is no. People who have experienced horrific benzo withdrawal symptoms on top of very stressful, even traumatic life events heal. Is it optimal for our healing to experience a lot of stress? Of course not. But benzo withdrawal is in and of itself stressful. We can’t avoid it. What we can do is to do our best to minimize our stress levels and to continually remind ourselves that we are safe. Safety invites our nervous system to move more towards a parasympathetic ventral vagal response called the connect that. The connect state is our default state, the state in which our bodies hum along at their best. This is why I teach polyvagal theory in my Mornings With Jenn support group and to my individual coaching clients. It helps to understand how the autonomic nervous system works and how to befriend it.
Another question I am asked is, “Will I heal if I don’t follow a plant-based diet? The answer is yes. Millions of people have healed, even with sub-optimal diets. However, we may be shortening our healing timeframe if we eat plant-based, and indeed we are ensuring optimal health for the rest of our lives if we maintain a whole-food, plant-based diet. Research proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the healthiest. Once I went plant-based, I experienced the profound power of plants on my gut-microbiome, immune system, and nervous system. I know it can be daunting to change a lifetime of eating habits during withdrawal, but even a slow move to reducing eggs, dairy, and flesh and replace them with whole plants is helpful. (I’ve created a Facebook group, Plant-Based With Jenn, to help anyone who wants to explore a plant-based lifestyle for optimal health and healing.)
In summary, you will heal even if you don’t believe that you will; although not optimal, high-stress levels will not block your healing, and eating an omnivore diet will not keep you from healing.
Recovery is the ultimate outcome for a benzodiazepine injury. It may take time, and the symptoms may be intense, but healing happens. We recover and our lives are better than ever!
Keep going, you’ve got this!
From my heart to yours,
Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash
So inspiring, as always! Thank you Jenn!
You are very welcome.
What happens to healing if you have to take an antibiotic that affects gaba receptors as most do? I am 4 years off and had started to notice healing but for the last 8 months have had to take antibiotics almost constantly due to an embedded UTI. I am back in acute hell and total despair. Am i kindling the receptors, will i ever heal? I am immunosupressed and have no choice but to take the AB.
Thank you so much as always. I was wondering if you can suggest any plant based websites or cookbooks who ypu have found east to use. And what do you eat in a day. I have seen the transformation within my own family. Someone not hooked on benzos but all the wrong food. Dr. Furhman saved his life. Thank you again. Food as medicine.
Great post Jenn ~ thank you for being a strong voice ~ Benzo withdrawal was such a frightening process ~ Amen to healing ~ keep preaching the truth 🙌🏼
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do. 🎶. Thank you, Dr. Jenn, for leading and clearing the way for all of us. 🙏🏻 I don’t want to imagine how much worse this journey would have been without access to your experience, knowledge, courage.
Looking forward to your book(s). 🌻
Thank you Dr. Jen! This is really great for us to see, especially in the midst of particularly dark moments. I am a strong believer in how we view our symptoms dictates how we experience them and how quickly we “bounce back.” I love your mantras and use them when I am experiencing an especially difficult wave of symptoms. Thank you again as always.
Does the same apply to antidepressants? I was on remeron and went off cold turkey. This month I’ll be 3.5 years off . Things are still messy and I’m struggling immensely. Thanks in advance.
( BTW do you do coaching for antidepressants?
I’m sorry to hear you are suffering. I do coach people who are going through antidepressant withdrawal. Feel free to book a coaching session if you think it will be helpful.
You are very welcome. ❤️
Thank you for your kind words. My book is taking wayyyyy too long—- so many irons in the fire. But I will get it done. ❤️
I created a pilot group— Plant Based With Jenn. It’s on Facebook.
I like these resources:
Anything to do with Forks Over Knives,
Nutritionfacts.org, Chef AJ, Well Your World, Dr Klaper, Dr Ornish, Dr McDougal (The Starch Solution) and many more!
I am sorry to hear. Antibiotics do indeed flare some people. Hopefully you can improve your immune system with a healing diet. The new line of thinking about gut health while on an antibiotic is to AVOID probiotics and instead, take a prebiotic. Probiotics can slow down gut healing after antibiotic exposure.
Thank you Jenn, i already eat a plant based diet etc but have developed a neurogenic bladder causing the infections which my neurologist attributes to dysautonomia from my bwd. Unfortunately i am also immunosuppressed. He has told me that all ABs inhibit GABA receptors effectively putting me back into acute for weeks at a time. It’s actually life threatening as my blood pressure spikes to 230/122 and bp meds have little effect. Am i kindling myself with the ABs i wonder. I wish all drs would consider how prescribing a benzo can be a death sentence for some. I cling on to the shred of hope that i will eventually heal even if not fully. Sending love and peace to all.
Thank you Dr. Jenn. This is so needed for so many of us. I love your strength based way of writing and empowering others. This absolutely helps in the healing process. Much love.
I was prescribed K.by my PCP last December. In Feb I was on .75 and it was no longer helping me sleep. Tried.jumping off at that time and was unable to because I was jumping thru my skin after 3 days.
Long story short i tapered and jumped of at .25 on Aug 10. Since that time i have burning skin sensation all over that varies in discomfort and burning tongue/mouth. Why is it ever doctor who i spoke to on these symptoms refuse to acknowledge it is from benzo withdrawal? They all blame it on psychosomatic anxiety?
I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering. I don’t know why doctors are ignorant about benzo withdrawal symptoms. By now, with all of the information available on the Internet, one would think that every doctor is aware of the dangers of a prescribed benzodiazepine. Burning skin is a very common benzo injury symptom. It does go away, in time. Keep healing!
Yes I agree Jenn, plant/fruit base will help heal the symptoms faster. I am feeling a difference in my symptoms. Also exercise will help speed up the healing of our nervous system. I believe we will all heal like you always say in your blogs but it all depends on the amount of damage caused by the drugs which i think mines is taking longer due to me having side effects to multiple drugs short period of time. I am so happy this is temporarily and i will have my quiet brain/mine again. Never will I take for granted life again. This was the biggest challenge in my life and I am sure most of you on here. Anyone Reading this that is suffering hold on. I had every symptom maybe over 50 different ones. I am healing thanks to our creator the most high for giving us a body that heals it self.