To the Health Professional
If you are in the mental health field and would like to learn more about benzodiazepine dependency/addiction, as it relates to an iatrogenic illness, we have provided the following links for you. One is a research paper written by Dr. Heather Ashton called Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdraw aka The Ashton Manual. Dr Heather Ashton is a world renowned expert in benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Her Manual is commonly used in the UK and other parts of the world.
The Ashton Manual:
The Professional’s Copy may be purchased here:
Dr. Heather Ashton’s Curriculum Vitae:
To purchase a DVD of her lectures on Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome (you may make 5 copies for fellow colleagues:
The Benzo withdrawal syndrome, as an iatrogenic illness, is not the same as a person who is addicted psychologically to benzos and often using the drug to get ‘high.’ Dr. Ray Baker explains a bit about the difference between an ‘addict’ and someone who is taking their prescribed medication but suffers physical withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop or when tolerance is reached:
This issue is further explored in the article “Illegal v Legal Benzodiazepine addiction” by Colin Downes-Grainger, January 28, 2009
We do not ordinarily allow mental health professionals on the Support group. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that most people in this field have been erroneously taught that people suffering from withdrawal symptoms from their prescription drug are addicts and as such, should be treated in the same way as the heroin or alcohol addict. While we do have some people on the group who are addicts in sense that they used their benzos to get high, most on the group have never taken more than their doctor prescribed and yet became dependent on these drugs ‘simply’ because they were prescribed longer than is advised.
In all cases, unless the person cannot control his/her intake of this drug, (which is rare in the iatrogenic patient) the benzos MUST be tapered slowly, preferably using Valium as the drug of choice. (This is explained fully in Ch 2 of the Manual and on the DVD done by Dr. Ashton.) Once tapering is done, unlike pain killers and heroin and some other addictive drugs, the withdrawal can last for many months or even years. This is not ‘just’ psychological but is a result of brain neuron changes that take a very long time to correct themselves. There is more information about this in the Manual.
One of the largest websites on benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is located at http://www.benzo.org.uk and contains many medical papers written by professionals in their field. We invite you to explore that site.
Our own small site was developed as a quick reference for people on our support group. One of the best sources for the professional on that site is Dr. Reg Peart’s papers titled:
Extracts From Articles in Medical Publications on the Physical, Psychological,
And Social Decline of Long Term Benzodiazepine Users located here:
Toxicity, Cognitive Impairment, Long-Term Damage & The Post Withdrawal Syndrome located here:
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