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Fixsen & Ridge 2017, Stories of Hell and Healing: Internet Users' Construction of Benzodiazepine Distress and Withdrawal.

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Caspur
Qual Health Res. 2017 Nov;27(13):2030-2041. doi: 10.1177/1049732317728053. Epub 2017 Sep 9.

Stories of Hell and Healing: Internet Users' Construction of Benzodiazepine Distress and Withdrawal.

 

Abstract

Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs used mainly as sedatives, hypnotics, antiepileptics, and muscle relaxants. Consumption is recommended for 2 to 4 weeks only, due to fast onset of dependency and potentially distressing withdrawal symptoms. Few peer-review studies have drawn on the user experiences and language to appreciate firsthand experiences of benzodiazepine withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome. We looked extensively at patient stories of benzodiazepine withdrawal and recovery on Internet support sites and YouTube. Our analysis indicated that users employ rich metaphors to portray the psychologically disturbing and protracted nature of their suffering. We identified seven major themes: hell and isolation, anxiety and depression, alienation, physical distress, anger and remorse, waves and windows, and healing and renewal. By posting success stories, ex-users make known that "healing" can be a long, unpredictable process, but distress does lessen, and recovery can happen.

KEYWORDS:

Internet; benzodiazepines; dependency; distress; electronic support groups; metaphor; patient narratives; patient stories; qualitative; recovery

PMID: 28891380
DOI:10.1177/1049732317728053

2011 - started Venlafaxine (again) at 75mg Raised to 150 mg at some point - unsure of dates. Reduced back down to 75 mg. Doctor advised this would be a lifetime, maintenance dose

2017 - Side effects now intolerable. started taper from June 15th - 5% dose reduction steps (two 12 hourly doses).

2017 - October 20th - took last does of Venlafaxine - 4 mg. Debilitating symptoms followed.

2017/18 - diazepam - 8mg/day for 1 month - 7 week taper Feb 2018

2017/18 - duloxetine - max 90mg - now stopped

2018 - Feb 25mg quetiapine, increased to 50mg.

2018 - March/April - increased venlafaxine slowly (10mg steps) to 75 mg/day. Recovery from withdrawal followed.

2018 - July 13 - stopped quetiapine after 2 month taper. Late July - had to reinstate quetiapine due to intolerable withdrawal. Now tapering from 25mg

2019 - June - stopped quetiapine after 10 month taper. Mild insomnia only symptom.

2020 - sept  - venlafaxine 17.1 mg.

 

Taper history details

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