In hindsight, I should have never accepted a Xanax prescription from my doctor. What followed was catastrophic — rapidly developing tolerance and physical dependence on the drug and a prolonged illness. Three-and-a-half years later, I am still slowly tapering off Valium (having transitioned to a longer-acting benzodiazepine to aid in tapering) and experiencing debilitating symptoms daily. I was unprepared for what happened ...

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“Alice Woods” is dying of metastatic breast cancer, but she cares little for awareness efforts like pink ribbons and catchy hashtags like #stage4needsmore. You see, Alice has akathisia due to an adverse effect from discontinuing Klonopin — a condition that has caused her far more suffering than her terminal cancer. It has also prevented her from receiving adequate cancer treatment and is, therefore, ending her ...

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Since the advent of the internet and rise of social media, patients can connect and compare their experiences with prescribed drug withdrawal. A problem that was once considered rare is a worldwide epidemic that is finally getting noticed.  A recent New York Times article discussed the problems many have discontinuing antidepressants, and more than 8,800 readers responded about their difficulty stopping ...

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As physicians, we are experts at prescribing medications. However, we often fail miserably when it comes to recognizing adverse reactions and tapering medications. It’s something that is simply lacking in our medical training. I have become a victim of this with benzodiazepines, as I detailed in a prior blog post. Benzodiazepines, in particular, are very difficult drugs to taper. I would like to share with you ...

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It’s 3 a.m., and I wake with a jolt. My heart is pounding out of my chest. I stumble out of bed to take a beta blocker hoping it’s enough to quiet my heart so I can doze off again. I sleep fitfully the next three hours, experiencing weird dreams and terrifying nightmares. At 6 a.m., I take my Valium. Nauseated, I lie in bed for 30 minutes, so I keep ...

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