After eight grueling months of tapering, I desperately wanted to believe the doctor who said that I could cold turkey with phenobarbital and detox at home. The .625 dose of clonazepam I was on at the time was “insignificant” in his opinion. Never mind that I entered his office with the help of a cane, could barely sit up to talk to him and that my dose was equal to 12.5 milligrams of Valium, plus I was kindled. Not one doctor who I saw in my desire to get off my benzo understood benzo withdrawal, but they all promised me that they could help me. They didn’t. They made my suffering worse.

Many clients I’ve worked with have experienced the same with their doctors who promise to stop the suffering of benzo withdrawal—some even claiming that their treatment will reset the GABA receptors—a quick cure. People have been put on drugs that can hinder recovery, subjected to electroconvulsive shock treatment, infused with amino acids, Meyers cocktails, flumazenil, as well as undergone stem cell therapy, hyperbolic chambers, magnetic and light treatments, and more, none of which really helped their symptoms and sometimes made things worse.

Most doctors mean well, and they truly do want to help, but unless they can prove that their treatment for benzo withdrawal is based on solid evidence that it works for everyone, I’d be hesitant to move forward with it. (I’d also want to see research that proves conclusively that a treatment resets receptors.)  What does work to cure benzo withdrawal? Time. Rest. A clean diet. Avoiding stress. Practicing acceptance and gratitude and having a spiritual practice also helps with coping while haling. The body was designed to heal itself, and it will, in time, especially if we get out of its way and allow it to work its magic.

Please be wary of anyone in the medical community who promises that they can cure benzo withdrawal or reduce the symptoms. Do your research. Ask on benzobuddies.org for other people’s experience with the drug or treatment that is being offered. Google side effects. Google to see if there are withdrawal forums or support forums for the drug or treatment. Google long-term effects or outcomes. I know that people in withdrawal are desperate for the suffering to end. I certainly was. But that desperation can lead us to trust in a drug or treatment that may not be helpful and maybe even harmful. I’ve always felt that my recovery would have been shorter and less traumatic had I not trusted the doctors who led me to become kindled and cold turkeyed.

Remember that the best cure for withdrawal is time. Your brain and central nervous system are designed to heal. They will. In time.

 

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