All data must be read in conjunction with the survey limitations.
In order to investigate the symptoms that occur during withdrawal and recovery, the symptoms were divided into nine groups. These were :-
CARDIOVASCULAR: Fluctuations in blood pressure, Mild hypertension, Shivering, feelings of extreme cold or heat and Heart palpitations.
DERMATOLOGICAL: Allergic reactions, Chemical sensitivities, Dry, itchy skin, Dry throat, sore tongue, and thrush, Formications (sensation of crawling on skin), Glassy eyes, Hair loss, Leukonychea (whitening of nails), Nosebleeds, Oedema, Paraesthesiae (numbness, tingling), Perspiring, night sweats, Rashes and blotches.
GASTROINTESTINAL: Bladder incontinence, Constipation (sometimes alternating with diarrhoea), Diarrhoea, Dyspepsia (indigestion), Gastritis, Heartburn, Nausea, Oesophagitis and Stomach cramps.
MUSCULOSKELETAL: Aching joints, Blepharospasm (eye twitches) Formication (sensations of bugs crawling on skin, Gait disturbance, Jaw, tooth, neck and shoulder pain, Muscle wasting, Muscle spasms, Rapid weight loss, Severe headaches, Severe muscle rigidity and Tremor or feeling of inner vibration
NEUROLOGICAL: Blurred vision, seeing spots, flashes, vivid vision, Bruxism (teeth grinding), Dysphagia (difficulty eating or swallowing), Dizziness, Electric shock feelings, Fatigue, leaden heaviness, Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and other stimuli, Neurological problems (e.g. topical anesthesia), Severe muscle rigidity, Speech difficulties, Thirst, Tinnitus (ear buzzing, popping, ringing, hissing), Tiny pupils, Tremor and Vertigo
GENITOURINARY: Impotence, Libido disturbances, Menstrual irregularities, urinary problems (continence or incontinence) and Encopresia (faecal incontinence)
PARADOXICAL: Agitation, Aggressive behaviour, Anxiety, Breathlessness, Excitability, Fear, Hostility, Hyperactivity, Irrational rage, Insomnia, Nervousness, Nightmares, vivid dreams, Phobias and Restlessness
PSYCHIATRIC: Apathy, Anxiety, Delirium, Depersonalization, Depression, Derealization, Distortions or hallucinations, Dysphoria (inability to feel pleasure or happiness), Fear, Hyperventilation, Hyperreflexia (‘jumpiness’), Hypnologic hallucinations (sleepwalking), Lack of concentration, Nightmares, Obsessions, Paranoia, Phobias (hydrophobia, agoraphobia, monophobia, acrophobia, anthropophobia and others), Rapid mood changes, Suicidal thoughts and Short-term memory impairment
RESPIRATORY: Breathlessness, Choking, Dry, tickly cough, Dyspnea (breathing difficulty), Hyperventilation (over breathing), Inability to draw satisfying breath, Night apnea and Sinusitis
Survey respondents were asked to rate symptoms as not existing, mild, moderate or severe at nine different points during the benzo journey. The evaluation points were
- Before starting benzos
- At the time of deciding to withdraw
- The worst point in withdrawal
- The end of taper
- The worst point in recovery
- 12 months off and not well
- 24 months off and not well
- 36 months off and not well
- At the time of deciding to stay on benzos
In order to make a comparison of symptoms at various stages, averages were calculated from the responses. An average of 10 indicates that no symptoms were being experiences. An average of 11 indicates that mild symptoms were being experiences, 12 the symptoms were moderate and 13 the symptoms were severe.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.
Last updated 22 July 2015