Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 678041

Shown: posts 1 to 24 of 24. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 9:38:36

Hey all

Sorry to clog up the forum with my posts today

I was just wondering about the concept that Gaba function of the brain can be permanently altered by Benzo's over the long term.

This is of course an imotive subject!

I know previous benzo "addicts" are keen on the idea that there brains have been permantenly altered.

Is there any truth to this?
Is there any evidence for it?

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight

Posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 10:50:04

In reply to Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 9:38:36

Boy I hope not as I've taken them for over 30 years with a pdocs prescription. Love Phillipa

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 11:02:14

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight, posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 10:50:04

Hey Philipa

I was worried about worry you, if that makes any sense!
By damage I meant permanent alterations to brain chemistry, as in a biological basis for deppendency.

Physically I know Benzo's are some of the safest meds out there, no matter what UK docs might think!

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight

Posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 11:52:58

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 11:02:14

Tom since I've been on them so many years they no longer relax me or allow me to function the way I did before. I have agoraphobia, afraid to be alone, and a feeling of hopelessness as when I took them the first time and they made me function well . I thought to myself "well I'll never be that way again the valium will fix it". Not so. Is this more in lines of what you were asking? Love Phillipa

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by linkadge on August 19, 2006, at 16:16:58

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight, posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 11:52:58

I would tend to think not. Anything that reduces neuronal excitability has the potential to offer neuroprotection. I know that one doctor uses klonazepam to help with fibromialgia under the assumption that it can bring the brain back to a healing state, and protect against excitotoxicity.

The brain will become dependant on the drug, but I'd think they're less likely to alter the way the brain works than say antidepressants.

Linkadge

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight

Posted by yxibow on August 19, 2006, at 17:02:31

In reply to Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 9:38:36

> Hey all
>
> Sorry to clog up the forum with my posts today
>
> I was just wondering about the concept that Gaba function of the brain can be permanently altered by Benzo's over the long term.
>
> This is of course an imotive subject!
>
> I know previous benzo "addicts" are keen on the idea that there brains have been permantenly altered.
>
> Is there any truth to this?
> Is there any evidence for it?


Yes and no -- in my opinion, as the first benzodiazepine hit the market in 1960 (Librium), Valium (1962), we have multi-years of experience in what is the safest class of psychiatric medication in terms of side effects, when taken as directed, and not diverted or used for non-medical purposes.

I still continue to take a benzodiazepine for a lengthy disorder.

Nonetheless, I would say there is one place, and this applies to all AED (anti-epileptic drugs), that can cause temporary to permanent harm, and that is cold-turkey dumping of a medication.

We do not have MRIs that are capable of seeing what is probably the smallest lesion or whatever in my brain but something snapped years ago when I dumped tranxene (and the stupid people at the university didnt give it all right back) and it has caused periodic scalp muscle movement and back tension for the past 9 years. Robaxin helps somewhat -- Soma would help more but I cant take it in concerto with a benzodiazepine.


So I would say, and anyone is free to believe the statements at benzo.org or all such places, but that benzodiazepines are safe as directed. The no part would come as rapid withdrawal, undirected. That's a grey area and nobody knows what is going to happen to your body anything from grand and petit mal seizures to just frightful anxiety for a period of time.


-- Tidings

Jay

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? linkadge

Posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 19:35:44

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by linkadge on August 19, 2006, at 16:16:58

Link that is good news as they are the only meds I trust. Love Phillipa

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? yxibow

Posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 19:39:42

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? Tom Twilight, posted by yxibow on August 19, 2006, at 17:02:31

Jay when I worked in detox they would detox people from alchohol and xanax with valium. Starting at a very high dose and decreasing the amount each day . And in around five days they would take their last dose of 5mg of valium and be discharged. What happened when the 5mg wore off? Love Phillipa

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by blueberry on August 19, 2006, at 19:42:58

In reply to Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by Tom Twilight on August 19, 2006, at 9:38:36

I have read that benzos are actually good for the brain in preventing excess excitation cell death. I think all meds cause longterm changes in brain structure and function. But then, vitamins and supplements do too.

Benzos have neuroprotective properties.

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by valene on August 19, 2006, at 20:01:28

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? yxibow, posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 19:39:42

> Jay when I worked in detox they would detox people from alchohol and xanax with valium. Starting at a very high dose and decreasing the amount each day . And in around five days they would take their last dose of 5mg of valium and be discharged. What happened when the 5mg wore off? Love Phillipa

Phillipa, I'm not Jay, but detox facilities are famous for not withdrawing benzos properly. They do it much too rapidly. Heather Ashton may be conservative in her approach to withdrawal, but she has successfully helped many people off of benzos slowly. I take xanax and would never go to detox to withdraw.

I am sure that many of those people who were discharged after taking the last 5mg. of valium suffered greatly after returning home. If I tapered off valium, I would go down to the last .05 mg. and *then* jump off.

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? valene

Posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2006, at 20:49:36

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by valene on August 19, 2006, at 20:01:28

Valene that's why I asked it I thought the same thing. Probably why a lot of them went back to drinking. Love Phillipa

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? valene

Posted by yxibow on August 20, 2006, at 2:54:10

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by valene on August 19, 2006, at 20:01:28

> > Jay when I worked in detox they would detox people from alchohol and xanax with valium. Starting at a very high dose and decreasing the amount each day . And in around five days they would take their last dose of 5mg of valium and be discharged. What happened when the 5mg wore off? Love Phillipa
>
> Phillipa, I'm not Jay, but detox facilities are famous for not withdrawing benzos properly. They do it much too rapidly. Heather Ashton may be conservative in her approach to withdrawal, but she has successfully helped many people off of benzos slowly. I take xanax and would never go to detox to withdraw.
>
> I am sure that many of those people who were discharged after taking the last 5mg. of valium suffered greatly after returning home. If I tapered off valium, I would go down to the last .05 mg. and *then* jump off.
>


.05mg of Valium is, I hate to argue, a homeopathic level of benzodiazepine. It is the crumb of a 2mg tablet, which even 2mg (less than 1/8mg Klonopin) is barely detectable except by the most benzodiazepine naive.


If one has been taking 5-10mg of Valium for a period of time, over some weeks, the 5mg tablets can be broken into 2.5mg and eventually just dropped. I know benzodiazepine withrawal is an individual thing (I've been there before at times), but there is no possible active brain level of .05mg. I know you were just posturing, but I was making a point on that. You are entitled to believe what Ashton and benzo.org are saying, but the 50-40-30-20-10-5-4-3-2-1-0.5-0.25 type of withdrawal is in my opinion, and my opinion only, not rational, but not linear.

One orderly drops a specified mg, say 5, over one week, and then another 5, etc. Going down to the last crumb is not only not necessary but agonizing.

Anyhow this topic would probably continue on withdrawal topics which one is free to discuss.


Tidings


-- Jay


 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?

Posted by Tom Twilight on August 20, 2006, at 9:10:05

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? valene, posted by yxibow on August 20, 2006, at 2:54:10

This is an interesting debate

I vaguely heard that Benzo's can be neuro-protective and I have to say it makes sense.

I'm not a big fan of Heather Ashton because I think her Benzophobic attitude is part of the reason that Benzo's are demonised in the UK.

Incredibly some UK docs have made their reputation on being Anti Benzo, weired!

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study

Posted by sdb on August 20, 2006, at 16:24:53

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's?, posted by Tom Twilight on August 20, 2006, at 9:10:05

I am very sceptical about this:

Lack of cognitive recovery following withdrawal from long-term benzodiazepine use.

Department of Psychology, St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London.

Twenty-one patients with significant long-term therapeutic benzodiazepine (BZ) use, who remained abstinent at 6 months follow-up after successfully completing a standardized inpatient BZ withdrawal regime, and 21 normal controls matched for age and IQ but not for anxiety, were repeatedly tested on a simple battery of routine psychometric tests of cognitive function, pre- and post-withdrawal and at 6 months follow-up. The results demonstrated significant impairment in patients in verbal learning and memory, psychomotor, visuo-motor and visuo-conceptual abilities, compared with controls, at all three time points. Despite practice effects, no evidence of immediate recovery of cognitive function following BZ withdrawal was found. Modest recovery of certain deficits emerged at 6 months follow-up in the BZ group, but this remained significantly below the equivalent control performance. The implications of persisting cognitive deficits after withdrawal from long-term BZ use are discussed.

PMID: 8208885

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study I

Posted by sdb on August 20, 2006, at 16:30:20

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study, posted by sdb on August 20, 2006, at 16:24:53

who are the controls, only twenty individiuals etc...

I know somebody who is ninety years old taking a short-acting benzo (oxazepam) above all she has the best memory you can imagine.

But I am not entirely sure about anterograde amnesia (learn something by heart, memorize things,..). It seems that it can vary. Perhaps somebody knows more.

 

Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study I sdb

Posted by Phillipa on August 20, 2006, at 19:26:01

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study I, posted by sdb on August 20, 2006, at 16:30:20

I have no studies to quote just myself. I'd been on benzos for l3 years when I attended RN school. I guess I had no cognitive defects as I graduated magna cum laude, scholarship for the second year I won, and on grauduation the medical staff award. Now maybe a lot has to do with the amt. I believe valium was the only one I had used at the time and was started on tid 5mg with 450meprobomate which I stopped on my own with no withdrawal. I continued on 5mg a day through school. So are we talking about high doses here? Love Phillipa

 

Re: i'm freaked out

Posted by rjlockhart on August 21, 2006, at 15:33:33

In reply to Re: Permanent damage from Benzo's? - study, posted by sdb on August 20, 2006, at 16:24:53

Im on 6mg of Xanax and i am thinking im having trouble with recalling inforamtion, leaving things, i dont know whats happening, i just woke up a while ago from 2mg of Xanax after i got off work, i took 1mg after that, and now i dont even know what i am doing.

What about stimulants? can they reduce the effect of the benzo?

Matt

 

Re: i'm freaked out rjlockhart

Posted by valene on August 21, 2006, at 17:05:31

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out, posted by rjlockhart on August 21, 2006, at 15:33:33

Once again, I refer to the Medscape article:

http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/15762814?queryText=benzodiazepines

Hope this helps, Val


> Im on 6mg of Xanax and i am thinking im having trouble with recalling inforamtion, leaving things, i dont know whats happening, i just woke up a while ago from 2mg of Xanax after i got off work, i took 1mg after that, and now i dont even know what i am doing.
>
> What about stimulants? can they reduce the effect of the benzo?
>
> Matt

 

Re: i'm freaked out }} rjlockhart

Posted by sdb on August 23, 2006, at 18:28:06

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out, posted by rjlockhart on August 21, 2006, at 15:33:33

6mg is a higher dosage. The evidence says that benzodiazepines can cause memory problems, for example memorizing things. In meta-analysis are positive effects of benzodiazepines described. But there are not many studies which describe positive memory effects of benzodiazepines. The positive effects of benzodiazepines concerning memory could be due to a better concentration. If you can't concentrate you will have memory problems. Acetylcholine or noradrenaline could enhance memory. Increased blood-flow in the brain arteries enhances memory too. Ginkgo Biloba is a
"natural" substance. There are other substances but none of them have proven real efficacy. A cold shower or bath in a lake can improve the memory. Reducing benzodiazepine dosage and staying on the lowest possible dosage is another option.

kind regards

 

Re: i'm freaked out rjlockhart

Posted by yxibow on August 23, 2006, at 23:55:01

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out, posted by rjlockhart on August 21, 2006, at 15:33:33

> Im on 6mg of Xanax and i am thinking im having trouble with recalling inforamtion, leaving things, i dont know whats happening, i just woke up a while ago from 2mg of Xanax after i got off work, i took 1mg after that, and now i dont even know what i am doing.
>
> What about stimulants? can they reduce the effect of the benzo?
>
> Matt

6mg of Xanax is 60mg of Valium and 3mg of Klonopin which is a medium high dose in normal usage, so its not surprising that you are having some short term cognitive recall. That is the territory and bane of all benzodiazepines and their prior barbiturates and related compounds that affect GABA. On one hand, you are muted from the world, the anxiety is quelled, and on the other hand, you are muted from the world and your memory functions are quelled also. Its a catch-22.

The only way really is to reduce the benzodiazepine to a level where you can cover the anxiety enough but not affect your memory functions.

Its not a permanent phenomenon, and some of it people get used to and can overcome some but not all of the memory issues over time with a steady state dose of medication (Xanax does not come to mind as a medication I would take long term but that is up to you and your doctor -- its too immediately gratifying and its half life is terribly short, unlike Valium.)


So I wouldn't freak out about memory issues if you can get the level of medication straightened out. It's not intrinsically affecting your brain permanently nor changing your IQ forever or even temporarily. It is changing your immediate and short term memory. While it is generally a book recommended for older individuals, you might take a look at The Memory Bible by Gary Small, M.D. (UCLA) for tricks to work with your memory.


The one thing I would worry more especially with Xanax, is one's ability to drive or operate heavy machinery properly. Leave ample stopping distance, if people are leaving 2 car lengths, leave 3, because although you think you can stop, those crucial milliseconds are affected by benzodiazepines and some vehicles can take up to ten car lengths to stop 60 to 0. 2 car lengths or so is a norm usually in drivers' guides, so leave a little more and be safe.

Best wishes

-- Jay

 

Re: i'm freaked out, add'tl comment on stimulants rjlockhart

Posted by yxibow on August 24, 2006, at 0:04:16

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out, posted by rjlockhart on August 21, 2006, at 15:33:33


> What about stimulants? can they reduce the effect of the benzo?
>
> Matt

Some may mask the effect of the benzodiazepine but for a patient using them for anxiety its like a zero sum gain at some point -- "aagh, I feel anxiety", "okay, I'll take my Xanax", "now I'm tired", "okay I'll take some amphetamine derivative", "agh, I'm crawling the walls", "okay, I'll take more Xanax" -- pretty soon one is drowned in equal or greater quantities of Xanax plus Concerta, Provigil, caffeine, etc.

Just a non-doctor opinion but I can see the scenario happening.

-- Jay


 

Re: i'm freaked out yxibow

Posted by valene on August 24, 2006, at 10:52:48

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out rjlockhart, posted by yxibow on August 23, 2006, at 23:55:01


>
> 6mg of Xanax is 60mg of Valium and 3mg of Klonopin

Where did you get this information? 6mg of xanax is equivalent to 6mg. of klonopin and yes 60 mg. of valium most equivalency charts will show you this. Sorry, Klon. is strong also as we all know has a longer half-life then xanax.
Val

 

Re: i'm freaked out

Posted by yxibow on August 24, 2006, at 11:22:31

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out yxibow, posted by valene on August 24, 2006, at 10:52:48

>
> >
> > 6mg of Xanax is 60mg of Valium and 3mg of Klonopin
>
> Where did you get this information? 6mg of xanax is equivalent to 6mg. of klonopin and yes 60 mg. of valium most equivalency charts will show you this. Sorry, Klon. is strong also as we all know has a longer half-life then xanax.
> Val


Dr. Bob's FIRST chart at http://www.dr-bob.org/tips/bzd.html and my own personal experience along with my doctor that this is pretty much correct, except for the "immediacy" (peak to plasma) feelings which are much stronger than sometimes noted there such as for alprazolam and lorazepam. Of course as they say, your miles may vary...


1mg of alprazolam (2x .5) is 10mg (2x5)of diazepam. 10mg of diazepam is 1/2 mg of clonazepam, therefore 60mg of diazepam is 3mg of clonazepam (60 x .5) (20 fold). (And yes I know this is true since I tapered from 8 mg of clonazepam to 160 mg of diazepam before a recent reduction in diazepam.)


Is this true in all cases... ? No. But its a better guideline than the other charts.


-- tidings

Jay

 

Re: i'm freaked out yxibow

Posted by Phillipa on August 24, 2006, at 19:35:55

In reply to Re: i'm freaked out, posted by yxibow on August 24, 2006, at 11:22:31

Yes it is true as I was horrified to learn that lmg of klonopin is equal to 20mg of valium. And I took 2mg No wonder I felt horrible. Still weaning down no that I'm back on valium. Love Phillipa


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