Family and friends mean well. They want our suffering to end, so they encourage us to get help. They may feel that we aren’t doing all we can to hasten our recovery if we shy away from doctors, medications, treatments, therapy, or detox centers. But is seeking medical help good advice? Yes and no.

The problem with seeking help is that most doctors are uneducated about benzos and benzo withdrawal. They may dismiss a benzo sufferer’s symptoms as attention seeking, psychosomatic, a re-emergence of a psychological disorder, or a new condition. Most medical professionals, including psychiatrists, naturopaths, functional medicine doctors, alternative practitioners, and therapists, do not know about benzo withdrawal or how to help someone cope. They prescribe medications or treatments that may hinder healing or cause a flare in withdrawal symptoms. Many medications prescribed for withdrawal symptoms have an eventual withdrawal syndrome. The only known cure for benzo withdrawal is time. And lots of it. I fiercely advocate for the four cornerstones of well-being—eat right, move enough, stress less, and love well—stack the cards in your favor for your health and happiness, but they aren’t a quick cure for withdrawal.

So many of us in the benzo community know the dos and don’ts about withdrawal, but our loved ones don’t trust that knowledge; they defer to what a doctor says, even though that doctor is probably not benzo-wise. When we won’t follow a doctor’s suggestions, we appear to be sabotaging our recovery, But of course, we aren’t. We are doing what we know to be the best practices in the benzo withdrawal community.

What about detox centers? Their websites promise a welcoming place to safely get off a benzo. And, to some extent, their promises are true. They can help people get off their benzo safely, without life-threatening cardiovascular or neurological events. But that’s usually where it ends. The patient must go home and recover from the chemical brain injury caused by the benzo, and that recovery can be horrific because the symptoms were made worse by the quick taper or abrupt cessation of the benzo. Slow and steady is the best way to come off a benzo. Tapers can last months, even years, and once off, healing can take months or years.

Is it ever helpful to see a doctor about withdrawal symptoms or go inpatient to get benzo free? Yes. See a doctor if a withdrawal symptom worries you. It’s better to rule out any other causes to put your mind at ease. As for going inpatient at a detox center or hospital, the late Dr. Heather Ashton, author of the Ashton Manual, wrote that if someone is too sick on a benzo, they may need to come off as quickly as safely possible. There are some rare cases when this has been true.

If the medical community is mostly uneducated about the dangers of taking or getting off a benzo, should you trust what you read about benzos on the internet? Not always. Much of what is on the internet regarding benzo withdrawal is accurate; however, there is some misinformation. It is best to rely on reputable sources of information, such as the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition (, instead of advice from people in support groups.

If a medical professional offers you a pill or procedure for your benzo withdrawal symptoms, please do your due diligence before you agree to it. Learn the associated risks and benefits before you make a decision.

What do you say to someone telling you that you should get help? You can communicate to them that you appreciate their well-intentioned advice. You know that they care for you and want the best for you. You don’t have to take the conversation any further. If they continue to insist that you seek help, explain the lack of knowledge in the medical community and that you are doing all you can for your recovery. You can share the Ashton Manual with them and benzo-wise websites that offer accurate information regarding benzo withdrawal. You can book a coaching session with me, and I’d be happy to discuss benzo withdrawal with you, your friends, family, doctor, or therapist. Even with all the evidence, some people may never understand benzo withdrawal, which is not your problem. Focus on your healing, and let go of what others think.

Benzo withdrawal is a complicated syndrome that affects every aspect of being a human: body, mind, and spirit. There is no known cure for it other than time. Your body is an incredible healing machine—it knows what to do. We just need to get out of its way.