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Interview with Dr. Jennifer Leigh regarding benzo withdrawal


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I found this very validating. Dr Leigh experienced benzo tolerance and withdrawal herself. There is some great advice for the families of those affected by withdrawal, so it may be worth showing the article to family members in order to increase understanding.


Getting through benzodiazepine withdrawal: INTERVIEW with Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Ph.D.

Addiction Blog


Published: May 20, 2015


ADDICTION BLOG: How do you advise families to work together and help a loved one that’s become benzodiazepine dependent and is going through withdrawal?


DR. JENNIFER LEIGH: That is a wonderful question and I am so pleased that you asked it.

First, it is important that family members educate themselves as to the extreme suffering benzo withdrawal can cause. The suffering is mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. It affects every aspect of a human being-s existence. It is important to be aware that suicide is a very real risk in withdrawal. It is also important to reassure your loved one that they will heal. Reassurance will be needed many, many times throughout a day, for a very long time.

Also, it is important to understand that most doctors are ignorant about benzo withdrawal, so it is best to avoid insisting that your loved one visit a doctor for help, or to tell them that “the doctor knows best.” Usually, the doctor doesn’t know best, and the treatments offered to people in benzo withdrawal are actually harmful. Listen to your loved one, have compassion and above all, tell them they will recover, because they will. Don-t think that their symptoms are “all in their head.” They are not. They are very real, and very horrible.


ADDICTION BLOG: Are there things friends, family and loved ones should avoid doing when a person is withdrawing from benzodiazepines?


DR. JENNIFER LEIGH: Yes, family members should avoid insisting that their loved one do anything that is beyond their capabilities in withdrawal. We are truly very sick in withdrawal so the suggestion that we go to the gym, or suck it up and go on vacation, etc., really is hurtful and harmful.


The rest of the interview is here:





I came off Seroxat in August 2005 after a 4 month taper. I was initially prescibed a benzo for several months and then Prozac for 5 years and after that, Seroxat for 3 years and 9 months.


"It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer."  Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

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