I have a friend, Chris, who is a pilot. I love his posts on Facebook that have the headline, “Sh!t I Hear At The Airport.” It’s often misinformation that is so ridiculous, that you can’t help but laugh. Chris inspired me to write this post since many of us hear misinformation at our doctor’s office. Please know that this post isn’t meant as doctor bashing. They don’t know what they don’t know. They’ve never been taught about the dangers of benzodiazepines or the withdrawal syndrome that can occur. However, it can be dangerous to take the advice of a doctor who isn’t benzo-wise, so, please educate yourself.

How many of these statements have you heard from well-meaning, but uneducated doctors?

  1. “Benzos are safe when taken as directed.”
  2. “You can only get addicted if you have an addictive personality.”
  3. “You can cut your pill into quarters and be off in a month.”
  4. “You’re on a low dose you won’t have any problems.”
  5. “Benzos can’t cause that!”
  6. “It’s the return of your underlying anxiety disorder!”
  7. “You need to take another psych med.”
  8. “You can stay on a benzo for life.”
  9. “High doses won’t hurt you.”
  10. “Taper off and then take every other day for a while then stop.”
  11. “Taking a benzo PRN will keep you from becoming addicted.
  12. “You can take a sleeping pill if you can’t sleep in withdrawal.”
  13. “I’ve never seen anyone have a problem getting off before.”
  14. “You can taper off with pheno (or another drug) and be fine.”
  15. “Go to detox. They will get you off safely.”
  16. “You can reinstate to double your dose and taper again without any problems.”
  17. “There is no such thing as benzo withdrawal.”
  18. “There is no such thing as kindling.”
  19. “You can take a quinolone antibiotic while on a benzo.”
  20. “Take lots of vitamins and supplements while in withdrawal.”
  21. “Sure, you can have a cocktail while you taper.”
  22. “Pain meds and benzos are safe to take at the same time.”
  23. “Are you going to trust me, or the Internet?”
  24. “.5 mg of Xanax (or Klonopin) is a “baby dose.”
  25. “Ambien or Lunesta is okay to take for sleep.”
  26. “You’ll need to be on medication your whole life.”
  27. “Kavinace (Phenobut) can help you.”
  28. “Gabapentin (Lyrica, Tegretol, Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Celexa, etc.) is good for benzo withdrawal.”
  29. “Your MRI (bloodwork, Ct scan, etc.) doesn’t show anything, it must be all in your head.”
  30. “It’s not withdrawal, it’s  Lyme disease (MS, Fibromyalgia, CFS, ALS, Arthritis).”
  31. “Just think happy thoughts!”

My favorite ridiculous statement a doctor said to me? “Dr. Ashton is a kook!”

Please use caution when you see a doctor about getting off of your benzo, or to help you with withdrawal symptoms. Many things that they suggest or prescribe can be harmful and even dangerous in withdrawal. Do your homework! Keep healing my benzo buddies. You’ll get there, I promise.