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,
Dr. Jenn

 

Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

 

 

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