Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

D.J. Jaffe

How to prepare for an emergency
D.J. Jaffe
Sometime, during the course of your loved one’s illness, you may need the police. By preparing now, before you need help, you can make the day you need help go much more smoothly. There are three things to do.
First, you should establish contact with your local precinct, before you need help. (That’s right. Violate your loved one’s privacy and get them flagged by the local cops. This way, they will know to show up with one hand on their balls and the other hand on their tasers.)
Secondly, you should have the attached info sheet filled out in duplicate, ready at all times.
Thirdly, you should read the article at the end of this page on how to make 911 respond to your calls. (The part where we explain how to make a false report and support it with “evidence” such as furniture we turn over ourselves to make it look like our loved one is violent.)
Someday your loved one may be missing from home or hospital. Normally, the police will not fill out a missing persons report & start looking for them until they are gone 24 hours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can insure that if this happens to you, they will start looking immediately. Or, let’s say your relative is becoming increasingly agitated & uncontrollable & you have to call the police to take them to a hospital. It is very likely that the police will go to the hospital of their choice, not yours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can have a say in where that person is taken. In addition, if your relative is picked up for some crime (drugs, let’s say); by making prior arrangements, you can help see that they go to a hospital instead of jail. Finally, it may make it easier for you to get someone involuntarily committed, if & when you have to do that.
The way to make these arrangements is to call the “Community Patrol Officer Program” (C-POP Officer) at your local police precinct, now, before you need help. If you do not have a C-POP program (i.e, outside NYC), call the station commander.
Tell them that you have a MI relative at home & that you want to make the police aware of it, in case you ever need help. Tell them you are worried that if they are ever missing the police won’t start looking until after 24 hours; or that if you need police to take your relative to a hospital, they won’t go to the one you want; or that if your relative is busted, they will go to jail, instead of to a hospital. Tell the C-POP (pronounced, “see-pop”) officer, that it was suggested that individuals with MI relatives contact the C-POP officers, before help is needed to make them aware of the situation, & that is why you are calling. The officer may think this is unusual, but you should do it anyway. FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION UP, WITH A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE C-POP OFFICER & SEND A COPY TO THE PRECINCT COMMANDER.
If you ever do need help, call 911 if it’s an emergency. If not, call your local precinct. When the police come, mention the C-POP Officer & Precinct Commander by name. The police who come to your door do not know what to expect. By mentioning these names, you help calm them & help identify that it is not you who needs help, it is your relative. They will also be more likely to listen to you, & may even get the Commander on the phone or walkie talkie. Because you have prepared ahead of time, they are more likely to take the person where you want them to be taken, & to listen to you carefully. Be calm. (and bring donuts)
If your relative needs emergency hospitalization, it will be extremely stressful to everyone. It is made more difficult by the myriad of questions that need to be answered. By having the answers to these questions written and ready, you can insure that the emergency hospitalization will not only be less stressful, but that your relative is more likely to get proper care. For instance, identify his doctor, & what medicines he is currently on, so those medicines can be continued, increased, or removed as appropriate. Indicate what hospital you use. Below is a form you should fill out. After filling it out, make two copies & keep one on hand (in your wallet) all the time. One for you, one for the police, one for the hospital.
Please take this person to _____________________hospital.
This person is not a criminal. He/she has a mental illness. Please treat with compassion and dignity. Thank you. (That part is to assuage your conscience, so you can sleep without concern that your loved one has been arrested, hand-cuffed, four-point-restrained, or coerced under threat of physical force to remove them from their home to a locked facility where they will be drugged and, perhaps, restrained to a bed, placed in an empty room with a mattress on the floor, or even electroshocked against their will with your consent. Better yet, just invent your own definition of compassion and dignity to include these degrading human rights violations.)
Social Security #______________Blue Cross #_____________
Blue Shield #_____________Other Med Ins #_____________
Is on SSI?_________Is on SSDI?________Other?__________
Eye Color______Hair Color_________Skin______________
Blood Type_________Eyeglasses?_______
Tatoos? Other Identifying Marks_______________________
Military/VA Status?__________________________________
Current Primary Diagnosis____________________________
Secondary Diagnosis__________________________________
Name of Commanding Officer where patient lives______________
Name of Community Officer where patient lives_________________________
Precinct Phone Number______________________________
Name of Doctor______________________________________
Doctor’s Phone Number_______________________________
Name of Hospital____________________________________
Current Medicines and Dosages________________________
Date of Last Hospitalization_________How Long?________
Date of Last Crisis____________________________________
Allergies?________________Hi Blood Pressure?__________
Name of outpatient program___________________________
Number of outpatient program________________________
Name of Case/Social Worker__________________________
Number of Case/Social Worker________________________
In Emergency Contact________________________________
Relationship to Patient________________________________
Day Phone__________________Eve. Phone____________
How to make 911 respond to your calls
(This article was based on information provided by Dr. Darwin Buschman, Chief Psychiatrist, Manhattan Mobile Crisis Intervention Services.)
Individuals with neurobiological disorders (“NBD” formerly known as serious mental illnesses) are occassionaly danger to themselves, suicidal and/or danger to others. When this happens, you may want to call 911.
It is often difficult to get 911 to respond to your calls if you need someone to come & take your MI relation to a hospital emergency room (ER). They may not believe that you really need help. And if they do send the police, the police are often reluctant to take someone for involuntary commitment. That is because cops are concerned about liability. They don’t want to be sued for taking someone to the ER involuntarily. Another reason is that they must stay with the person until he or she is admitted. This can take between 2-48 hours. Cops don’t want to sit in ER; sergeants don’t want to take two police off the streets. Following is how you can make 911 & the police overcome their reluctance to help.
When calling 911, the best way to get quick action is to say, “Violent EDP.” Or “Suicidal EDP.” EDP stands for Emotionally Disturbed Person. This shows the operator that you know what you’re talking about. Describe the danger very specifically. “He’s a danger to himself” is not as good as “This morning my son said he was going to jump off the roof.” Be specific. “He’s a danger to others” is not as good as “My son has just struck a neighbor for no reason.” Also, give past history of violence. This is especially important if the person is not acting up. Again, be specific. “Every time my son gets psychotic, he has hurt himself. Last spring, he cut his wrists. I think he’s going to do it again.”
When the police come, they need compelling evidence that the person is a danger to self or others before they can involuntarily take him or her to ER for evaluation. If the person stops acting out by the time police arrive, this can be difficult. Again, give specific recent examples of danger.
Realize that you & the cops are at cross purposes.
You want them to take someone to the hospital. They don’t want to do it. You need to get on common ground with the cops to gain their cooperation. Say, “Officer, I understand your reluctance. Let me spell out for you the problems & the danger. I understand that if you take my son to the ER involuntarily, you’ll have to wait with him until the doctors make a decision on whether to admit. I also understand your concern about litigation if you take him involuntarily. Therefore, why don’t we work together so my son goes voluntarily.” Cops will often change their attitude dramatically if you say this. If a person goes voluntarily, the cops don’t have to stay in the ER. They don’t have to use handcuffs. If a person goes involuntarily, they go the same way, except in handcuffs. This can often be used to convince a person to go voluntarily. You can say, ” I know you don’t want to go, but I think you need to go.” The cops can say, “You’re going to go one way or another, cuffs or no cuffs.” Usually the person will go voluntarily when faced with this choice. (Threats work! We call this giving them a “choice”. You can get a woman to “voluntarily” have “sex” with you using the same methods. “Either you let me put my penis in your vagina, or I hold you down and shove it in. Either way, you’re going to get fucked.” See how effective that can be? If you have a gun or a taser like the cops will have when they come for your loved one, you can very quickly get the woman to “voluntarily” have “sex” with you.)
Once the person is taken to the ER, cops leave. So it’s a good idea to have a family member accompany the patient. Let the ER security guard, triage nurse, & others know that the person is MI & a danger to self or others. When you go to ER, make sure you have the “How to Prepare for Emergencies” form that is in this newsletter (Note: This is a form with the name, address, SS#, Med history, current med, diagnosis, name and number of doctor, name and number of next of kin, insurance, etc. In other words, all the info you would be asked in an emergency).
911 should be first resort in an immediate emergency, & the last resort when it’s not. If your family member needs help, not necessarily hospitalization, try Mobile Crisis Intervention Services.
The fact is that some families have learned to ‘turn over the furniture’ before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will usually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous.
Read How and why to change involuntary treatment laws in your state.
NAMI/ NYC (formerly AMI/FAMI) does not endorse any medicines or treatments. This info is a public service as part of our efforts to educate and help others affected by these disorders. Do not rely on it. Consult your doctor before making any decisions. NAMI/NYC is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurobiolgical disorders (“NBD”, formerly known as ‘mental’ illness) through education, advocacy, support, and research. If this has been useful to you, PLEASE JOIN US . Send a deductable contribution of $30 (or more) to NAMI/NYC, 432 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016 to get on our mailing list or call (212) 684-3AMI. To join chapter outside NYS: 1 800 950 NAMI. This was downloaded from

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dr. Ashton's Benzodiazepines Co-operation Not Confrontation (BCNC) Group

"Do You Have a Problem with Benzodiazepines or Z drugs?

Do You Need Help and Support?

The group is known as: Benzodiazepines Co-operation Not Confrontation (BCNC). It is primarily aimed at prescription supplied benzodiazepines, although help will be given wherever it is needed...

We need people to join us in helping to run this group which will be a local branch of what will eventually be a nationwide group whose aim amongst others is to challenge current knowledge of benzodiazepine and Z drugs in the medical profession and to change it for the better. This will include reducing prescribing rates for benzodiazepines and Z drugs beyond 2 - 4 weeks to new patients and improved withdrawal guidance and knowledge for managing long term users of benzodiazepines or Z drugs.

The benzodiazepine problem is largely a medically induced one and if it is to ever change it will require the medical profession to change. This website it is hoped will provide knowledge for the long term users of benzodiazepine or Z drugs internationally, to recruit volunteers to take up the task of changing the medical professions views on benzodiazepines and Z drugs and as well as to serve as a platform to get our views across to the medical profession.

Long term use of benzodiazepines is associated with considerable numbers of both general and mental health problems Included amongst these are over sedation, which has contributing effects on Road Traffic Accidents, accidents in the home and also accidents at work, forgetfullness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, emotional blunting, suicidal thoughts, and an extreme or irrational fear of open or public places (agorophobia).

These side effects as well as others are more pronounced in the elderly often causing mental confusion and dizziness which results in falls and fractures which often leads to hospitalisation.

There are over 1.2 million people dependent on this class of drug in the UK. Are you or any of your family affected by the dependency on long term prescription supplied benzodiazepines, which can be used by the medical profession for a variety of illnesses both of the physical and psychological nature?"


Our friend Gwen Olsen talks about the dangers of highly addicting tranquilzers and how to withdraw safely.
Gwen Olsen spent fifteen years as a pharmaceutical sales rep working for such health care giants as Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Abbott Laboratories. She enjoyed a successful, fast-paced career until several conscious-altering experiences began awakening her to the dangers lurking in every American medicine cabinet. Her most poignant lessons, however, came as both victim and survivor of life-threatening adverse drug reactions. After leaving pharmaceutical sales in 2000, Gwen worked in the natural foods industry first as an Account Manager for Nature's Way, and then as a Regional Sales Manager for Gaia Herbs. She is currently a writer, speaker, and natural health consultant.
In this video Gwen discusses anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications). These medications are sometimes also called minor tranquilizers. These drugs include the benzodiazephines such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan. Buspar is also non-benzodiazephine anxiolytic.
These drugs are highly addictive and people experience severe withdrawal symptoms when coming off of these drugs.
Gwen specifically talks about her own Xanax addiction.
She also discusses "rebound syndrome" and "discontinuation syndrome", which are basically just withdrawal symptoms.

Food for thought... seems to be in keeping with the approach of Dr. Heather Ashton, though taking a different tack.

Reposted from

By: Ronald A. Gershman, M.D. 



Xanax is a triazolobenzodiazepine that is very similar to other benzodiazepines
in most of its properties, but does have some properties that distinguish it from
the group in general, which are specifically its anti-panic and anti-depressant properties.
As an anxiolytic or anti-anxiety agent, it functions more or less indistinguishably from other benzodiazepines.
In that capacity, it is a relatively short-acting anti-anxiety agent with a half life of somewhere between 8 and 12 hours. 

Xanax, when administered on a regular basis, will produce physiological dependence
with a severe withdrawal syndrome that relates to both dose and duration of usage,
with duration being more important than actual dosage.
Higher doses will produce more rapid physiologic addiction than lower doses,but severe levels of physical addiction can occur in even the low therapeutic range of dosaging at 1 mg. or 2 mg. per day.
Average length of time necessary to occur to the extent that the patient will clinically experience clearly noticeable symptoms of withdrawal is approximately four to six months at dosages between 2 mg. to 4 mg.
If there is a history of addiction to benzodiazepines, an addiction can occur
much more rapidly over a shorter period of time, with a more intense withdrawal. 

Since Xanax is a relatively short-acting agent, the symptoms of withdrawal have a relatively rapid onset and rapidly accelerate, producing severe dysphoria and symptoms of withdrawal in the patient beginning at approximately six hours from the last dose and generally peaking at
approximately 24 to 72 hours after discontinuation.
What has become clinically apparent with Xanax which appears to be somewhat different than the other benzodiazepines is that the patients ability to self-detox or be able to be gradually tapered off of the medication is markedly more difficult. Thusly, once the physiologic dependence has occurred with Xanax, the ability of the patient to discontinue use successfully on their own is quite low, and medical assistance becomes of significant necessity in the majority of cases. 

The withdrawal syndrome from Xanax and other benzodiazepines are quite similar, with the exception that Xanax has a much higher incidence of panic attack and a bereavement type of emotional lability that is singularly more severe.
Since the symptoms are almost all internal, with a few physical or objective manifestations,
the diagnosis of it can be very difficult. Patients have a difficult time verbally describing
what is occurring, and much of the descriptions often take on a quality or character
reminiscent of the emotional or psychiatric problem for which they originally
began taking Xanax, and is not understood or elucidated as withdrawal symptomology. 

The withdrawal syndrome, though, is quite clearly different and can be easily diagnosed
with a clear understanding of some of the more defining features.
In the early stage of withdrawal, there is a presentation of a sense of anxiety and
apprehension associated with increasing subjective sense of tremor and mild bifrontal headache.
This rapidly progresses to feelings of panic-like anxiety with tachycardia and palpitations,
as well as a rapidly progressing feeling of de-realization, which is an altered sense of reality, additionally associated with marked startle response and a general amplification of most sensory input. As the withdrawal syndrome progresses, there is a marked disturbance of proprioception, with difficulty in ambulation relative to feeling "dizzy" and "unsteady,"
needing to use reference and physical objects to steady oneself. With the proprioceptive problem increasing in severity simple acts such as swallowing, signing one's name, talking or even buttoning a shirt can become extremely difficult. Many patients at this stage describe
hot/cold sensations and generalized myalgia. 

There is also a progession of extreme emotional lability with sudden outbursts of crying or near panic levels of anxiety and fearfulness which will have sudden onset without clear connection to external events.
Associated with this are frequent hypochodriacal fears of morbid consequence from the sensations they are feeling, such as fear of heart attack or stroke.
Patients will also experience a type of emotional dysphoria which is very difficult for them to verbalize, but which come very close by cumulative description to a bereavement type of feeling that is very painful emotionally.
Additionally, the amplification of almost all sensory information coming into the brain,
other than that of taste, can produce many bizarre misinterpretation of sensory stimulation ranging from feeling one's teeth rotating in their sockets to parts of their bodies disassociating or "falling off". 

As the withdrawal symptom further progresses, illusionary and hallucinatory phenomena, predominately of a visual nature, will begin to manifest themselves, initially with patterns and geometric shapes, and then into full-formed complex visual hallucinations. These also often will become associated with delusions of bodily dysfunction or discorporation.
It is very frequent and common for the patient to conclude that he is having a nervous breakdown, or "going crazy" as an attempt to try to understand the process at hand,
not understanding it as withdrawal phenomena.
With further progression, disorientation to person and place will occur with full delirium, and eventually withdrawal will finalize with tonic-clonic major motor seizure activity,
generally singular in nature, although several cases of status have been reported. 

The last triad of symptoms--of hallucinosis, delirium and seizure--are classified as major symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, with the others classified as minor symptoms.
The withdrawal syndrome can take from six months to two years to fully resolve and is well-documented in literature regarding this.
Not all patients will experience withdrawal symptomology for that length of time, but most will have withdrawal for at least several months. 


The treatment approach is focused primarily on the utilization of Tegretol, which has been shown to be extremely effective in preventing and of the major symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, as well as attenuating significantly most of the minor symptoms.
The Tegretol is utilized along with Klonopin as a cross-over benzodiazepine to stabilize and
to create control of withdrawal until adequate Tegretol blood levels have been achieved,
then allowing one to discontinue the Klonopin.
The total length of treatment will span somewhere between 10 to 30 days which, relative to the natural course of this withdrawal syndrome, actually represents a short period of time. 

The first step is to estimate the total daily dose of Xanax and start the patient on an equivalent amount of Klonopin, which relates to Xanax on a ration of 2 mg. Klonopin to 1 mg. of Xanax.
Thusly, a patient with a daily dose of 4 mg. of Xanax would be givena single bedtime dose of Klonopin at 8 mg., which will quickly and effectively stabilize them and prevent further symptoms of withdrawal. Additionally, the patient is started on Tegretol at 50 mg. three times a day and is increased by 50 mg. increments until a total daily dose of 400 mg. daily, in divided doses q.i.d., is achieved, at which the first Tegretol blood level will be ascertained.
It will generally take four to seven days to reach therapeutic blood levels. 

Since Klonopin has an extremely long half life of 40 to 60 hours, the patient is well covered with a single bed time dosaging, and this benzodiazepine has shown little abuse potential for drug seeking behavior and provides smooth, steady serum levels during the course of treatment.
Generally, beginning day 2 or 5, the dose of Klonopin is decreased as the dose of Tegretol being increased. Since therapeutic levels of Tegretol can often be achieved while the patient is being titrated to a therapeutic blood level of Tegretol, the Klonopin is reduced at a rate of approximately 1 mg. per day. generally, with doses in excess of 6 to 8 mg. per day of Klonopin,
there is enough time with this rate of withdrawal to slowly establish a Tegretol level without neurotoxicity during the cross-over, and there is little probability of any breakthrough major symptoms of withdrawal due to Klonopins very long half life.
Since both Klonopin and Tegretol are very potent anti-convulsants, the incidence of seizure has been essentially 0 in over 300 cases that we have treated so far. The Klonopin is thusly being
decreased at 1 mg. daily until one reaches 1 mg., at which point decreases are then done by 0.25 mg. increments anywhere from once a day, on average, once a week. 

It is important to understand that Tegretol has a significant impact on auto-induction of liver enzymes, and initially, for the first exposure to Tegretol, a dose as low as 200 mg. may produce a blood level in the therapeutic range of somewhere between 4 to 10 mcg/L necessary for control of seizure and withdrawal; but as liver enzymes are induced, increasing doses will be necessary over the necessary weeks to maintain an adequate blood level. The average dose eventually that is achieved in steady state with induction of liver enzymes is somewhere between 400 mg. and 800 mg. daily, with an average of approximately 600 mg.
Additionally, the half life of Tegretol will be essentially 20 to 26 hours when initially used,
but will progressively shorten as liver enzyme induction takes place, approaching a half life as short as six to eight hours and requiring multiple daily dosaging at that time. 

The major complications with Tegretol are neurotoxic effects when blood level will be generally too high, or above the level of 10 mcg/L, or due to an accumulation of its first order epoxide metabolite.
These complications of neurotoxicity present themselves as nauseousness and vomiting, significant sedation, dizziness and dyscoordination.
Also frequently reported is a sense of significant gastric retention with delayed gastric emptying.
Although the side effects of Tegretol can be successfully treated with Reglan, Tigan and/or Antivert, it is far better to slowly titrate the dose and avoid developing these side effects.
The presense of them can be ascertained to represent blood levels that are unacceptably high and
to slow the rate of increasing of the Tegretol dosage.
There is a small percentage of the population of people who simply do not tolerate Tegretol because of the GI side effects. 

As noted, Tegretol is almost 100% effective in controlling major symptoms of Xanax withdrawal,
but will very in its effectiveness in attenuating the minor symptoms,
thus requiring sometimes slower titration down off the Klonopin.
It is infrequent that one needs to go slower than once a week in the 0.25 mg decreases,
and often one can be decreased on a daily basis without symptoms of withdrawal, but at times the decrease may have to be as slow as once a month.
Once the patient is off the Klonopin and on the Tegretol in a steady state basis, the patient is maintained on Tegretol for approximately one to two months after achieving this state, and then tapered off of the Tegretol over a four to five day period of time.
Should there be a recurrence of withdrawal symptomology, then the Tegretol is reinstated for an additional month, and then the process repeated. 

CBC and checks of white blood count should be done periodically while the patient is on Tegretol.
There often will be mild leukopenia with white count at 3000 to 4000 found with Tegretol, which is benign.
The incidence of agranulocytosis is extremely rare with Tegretol, and there is support in the literature for the lack of need for rigorous routine white count testing while on this medication.
Prudence, though, would require some periodic evaluation of white blood count while the patient is being maintained on the Tegretol. 

Once the patient has been successfully detoxed off Xanax and/or the Tegretol, the issues of underlying conditions, such as Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Major Depressive Disorder, often must still be dealt with.
Whereas Buspar is of no utility in managing Xanax withdrawal or Xanax-generated anxiety,
it can be quite helpful for anxiety that is non-benzodiazepine withdrawal related, and patients, after completion of withdrawal, can be, and often have been, successfully maintained on Buspar at 40 to 60 mg. daily as a final dose with good control of underlying anxiety.
Treatment of Panic Disorder and/or Agoraphobia will often require a tricyclic anti-depressant in conjunction with Buspar, with essentially good success.
The introduction of the anti-depressant can be begun at the time withdrawal is started,
or can be deferred to a later date, depending on the intensity and frequency of panic attacks that the patient may be having. 

It should be kept in mind that a patient with underlying Agoraphobia or Panic Disorder
will have a marked exacerbation of his/her pre-existing illness during the course of withdrawal.
It is often then of necessity to start an anti-depressant to stop panic attacks in order to get the patient through the withdrawal process successfully.
The presence of a tricyclic will not interfere materially in any way with the medications for withdrawal. 

Patients having gone through this process will generally need a significant degree of emotional support and constant re-assurance during the withdrawal stage that they are indeed in withdrawal and are not suffering some morbid physical or psychiatric disorder other than the withdrawal process.
Weekly visits with medication management, plus frequent phone consultation generally is what is required and generally produces a successful outcome on an outpatient basis.
In more severe cases, and in situatioons where time or efficiency is paramount, then inpatient treatment is the most effective route to be travelled, and the detoxification can be accomplished much more rapidly in that modality.

It is critically important during the course of this that the patient refrain from use of all psychoactive drugs, particularly alcohol and stimulants, as well as over the counter preparations that contain pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine.
Lastly, caffeine must be avoided by the patient for a period of approximately six months to one year.
Caffeine is a benzodiazepine antagonist and will occupy the receptor site, blocking Klonopin or other agents and intensify withdrawal markedly. Innocuous or inadvertant ingestion of high doses of caffeine is often a major complication to the withdrawal process,
and patient education in this area is very important, as well as reassurance should it happen that it will wear off within a relatively short period of time. 

Lastly, for patients who have severe symptoms of tachycardia or palpitations as an attendant withdrawal symptom, the addition of a beta blocker such as Atenolol at 50 mg. q. day is highly effective in stopping this and generally does not need to be continued for more than 4 to 6 weeks."

"Cold turkey" withdrawal from Xanax can be a very harmful thing to do. You may feel as if you are having a heart attack, a seizure, or rebounding (needing more than what you were originally on). And studies indicate that "cold turkey" has a lower success rate than tapering.

Tapering schedules here for Xanax and other kinds of medications:

Info on Xanax

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DOCTOR YOURSELF by Dr. Andrew Saul - Audiobook
Free to download - DOCTOR YOURSELF by Dr. Andrew Saul - a wonderful audio book about how to build health with good food.

Would you like to read the passages too? Dr Saul's website is here:

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal by Charles Gant, N.M.D., Ph.D.  Link

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal by Charles Gant, N.M.D., Ph.D.   

(This protocol should not be used in place of a recommended treatment provided by your health care provider and should only be used with their approval.  I have found this protocol to be useful for many of my patients but I cannot guarantee that it will be effective for everyone.  Normally, I would recommend a full integrative medicine workup including amino acid plasma levels, RBC minerals, essential fatty acids and other diagnostic testing to determine precisely which of the interventions noted here are actually needed.)

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs often used as tranquilizers. Full information on "benzo" problems is available at

Here is my current and ever-changing protocol for benzodiazepine withdrawal. 
1) GABA 500 to 2000 mg., two or three times a day (GABA, like tyrosine, may not cross the BBB unless the patient is very stressed and it appears that the studies that suggest that GABA does not cross were done on unstressed subjects.) 
2) Theanine 200 to 600 mg., two or three time a day (Theanine competes with glutamate receptors to mitigate the neuroexcitatory effects. In another elegant balancing mechanism, the brain balances glutamate (excitatory) which is made into the generally inhibitory GABA (requires B6) The theanine in green tea may be one reason that the also present caffeine does not seem to stimulate tea drinkers as much.) 
3) P5P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) 50 mg. - One capsule two or three times a day (Some people don't phosphorylate B6 well). (Vitamin B5)
4) Glutamine powder - One level teaspoonful twice a day to three heaping teaspoonfuls a day, dissolved in water, one hour before meals, last dose at bedtime (Especially important for hypoglycemic patients, as glutamine deficiency is by far the main immediate cause of hypoglycemia and glutamine is the precursor for glutamate). 
5) Magnesium taurate - 1000 mg. twice a day to 2000 mg. three time a day 
6) Salt food lightly with NuSalt/NoSalt (potassium chloride) 
7) 5HTP - 100 mg. twice a day to 200 mg. three times a day 
8) Purified soy lecithin - 1000 mg. three times a day (B5 (pantethine (not pantothenic acid) needed to acetylate the choline to acetylcholine, generally relaxing and downregulating of catecholamines) 
9) Pantethine 500 mg. - One twice a day 
10) Optizinc - 20-30 mg. twice a day. (Lowers the commonly high copper, which inhibits 5HTP decarboxylase. Activates digestive enzymes to help with amino acid absorption.) 
11) Lipoic acid - 300 mg. twice a day (oral chelation for neuroexcitatory heavy metals, especially mercury) 
12) Mutivitamin/multimineral 
13) Distilled fish oil (omega 3) 4000 mg a day and Borage oil (omega 6) 1000 mg. a day (Essential fatty acids ultimately increase the neuroplasticity of cell membranes, possibly assisting receptor activity). 
14) Add herbal "sedatives" if necessary Did you know that sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique? Sleeplessness can occur during meds withdrawal, and Melatonin and 5HTP can help - this article explains need-to-know biochemistry.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another Doctor on Big Pharma’s Payroll

When Dr. Victor Tapson, a Duke University researcher, wrote the Food and Drug Administration urging that the agency delay the approval of a generic blood thinner, it was a recommendation that carried some clout. Tapson, after all, was writing on behalf of the American College of Chest Physicians. But now it seems Tapson has some explaining to do. A Senate Finance Committee report released last week found that Tapson was on the payroll of a pharmaceutical company that was trying to protect its profits by blocking the release of a generic rival. POGO Investigator Paul Thacker explains how Tapson was part of a major lobbying push by drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis. Link

Friday, May 13, 2011

Google Under Criminal Investigation Over Drug Ads: Report

Earlier this week, Google revealed in a cryptic filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was setting aside $500 million--equivalent to around one sixth of its revenue in the first quarter of 2011--to resolve a mysterious case with the Department of Justice.

Now, sources say that Google is nearing a settlement with regulators following a criminal investigation into allegations that the search giant profited from selling online ads to illegal pharmacies. These illicit pharmacies may violate U.S. law by peddling expired or counterfeit prescription medication, or selling medicine without a physician's prescription.

The $500 million Google may be required to pay would be unprecedented: According to the Wall Street Journal, "A payment of that size would be among the highest penalties paid by companies in disputes with the U.S. government."

Though Google has attempted to crack down on rogue pharmacies in the past--the company filed a suit against illegal prescription drug sellers last year and now requires pharmacies to receive accreditation before purchasing ads--people "familiar with the matter" said investigators are probing "the extent to which Google knowingly turned a blind eye to the alleged illicit activities of some of its advertisers—and how much executives knew," notes the Journal.

Google and the Department of Justice have declined to comment on the investigation. Google co-founder Sergey Brin dodged a question on the probe during Google's I/O conference.

"Luckily, since we changed roles a few months ago, I don't have to deal with filings, and the DOJ, the SEC or other acronyms," Brin said, according to the Journal.

The investigation could have far-reaching implications for Google's lucrative ad business.

We wonder if a lot of people who find their substance of choice is unavailable will be forced to go off their meds... that could be disastrous if done "cold turkey". But information on how to withdraw from psychotropic meds without doing yourself further harm is on this site. Check out our LINKS in the right-hand column - you will find info on halting antidepressants/SSRI's by Dr. David Healey and the excellent work by Dr. Heather Ashton on getting off Benzos - and other resources.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Long-term use of bipolar drug questioned

Long-term use of bipolar drug questioned
05/03/11 06:18 PM, EDT

The growing use of a popular drug in the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder is based largely on a single, flawed clinical trial that may be steering doctors and patients away from drugs with a more established track record, a new review published this week in the journal "PLoS Medicine"
suggests. Read the full story at

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tranquillizers: They can kill you fast...or kill you slow

Tranquilizers can kill you fast - or kill you slow. They deplete glutathione and cause premature aging. Doctors should not just give pills for anxiety without proper diagnosis of underlying physical conditions - nor for extended periods of time - creating "accidental addicts", morbidity and mortality.

Heath Ledger, star of “Brokeback Mountain”, died in 2008 of a prescription cocktail of anti-anxiety medications, pain killers and an antihistamine. ABC News states, “According to the medical examiner’s office, Ledger took “prescribed therapeutic doses … or less” of each medication he ingested…”
The cocktail consisted of -
Oxycodone – Pain Medication
Hydrocodone – Pain Medication
Diazepam (Valium) – Anti-Anxiety Medication
Alprazolam (Xanax and Niravam) – Anti-Anxiety Medication
Doxylamine – Antihistamine

Have you been given a benzodiazepine as "medicine" for an undiagnosed physical condition? To identify which physical problems might create mental symptoms, start with Blake Graham's excellent checklist. PDF

If you are considering withdrawing from benzos, you will want the best information you can find. Withdrawal has to be done carefully to prevent causing further harm. Please check out this great guide - by benzodiazepine withdrawal expert Dr. Heather Ashton - it's FREE.

Dr. Ashton tells us what benzos do in the body -

Dr. Breggin writes about the effects of benzodiazepines on behavior and personality

Wikipedia has an article on long-term effects of benzodiazepine use -

Supplementing GABA - a natural substance which benzos were designed to replace - may be a better solution - and may be right for many of us.
Margot Kidder is probably the best-known person who has overcome substance abuse and regained mental stability with GABA. Read about her recovery here -

GABA is available at the Life Extension Foundation - here.

Do cell phones cause psychiatric illness?

Do cell phones cause psychiatric illness? This psychotherapist thinks so - and wrote about it. Read at Scribd - decide for yourself.


About Stephen King's sci-fi novel CELL

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ontario taxpayers pay out $1.1 billion in decade reimbursing doctors for malpractice fees

Right to know doctors' deal

(Feb 10, 2009)
For many professionals, insurance is one of the costs of doing business. That holds true for the province's doctors.
Where doctors differ, though, is that most of the cost of their insurance is picked up by the taxpayers.
As The Spectator revealed Saturday, Ontario taxpayers have spent $1.1 billion in the past decade reimbursing doctors for most of the cost of their malpractice fees. Last year, it amounted to about $112 million.
The doctors themselves paid $24 million collectively. That means we -- the taxpayers, the patients -- covered about 83 per cent of the cost of malpractice insurance.
There is an argument to be made that this makes sense. Doctors' incomes are restricted by the province, so it's logical that the province, using taxpayers' money, would cover at least part of the cost of insurance. Doctors are essentially employees of the province, although they would likely argue strenuously against that kind of definition. No doctor would practise without malpractice insurance; if we want people to become doctors, it's reasonable for the employer -- that's us -- to pay some of their insurance fees. It becomes a recruitment tool as well, which takes on more importance, given the shortages of doctors in many Ontario municipalities.
But the situation is also an outrage. These are, by and large, high-income earners who have a sweetheart deal with the province. And that's not only because they don't have to pay the bulk of their sometimes substantial insurance premiums. If they do face a lawsuit, their insurance covers representation by high-powered attorneys who seem averse to coming to reasonable settlements and prefer to draw out the legal proceedings as long as possible. And who pays for that? We do.
At the same time, those who take doctors to court over alleged malpractice are left to finance their own fight as best they can. In effect, the provincial government is funding one side of a legal battle, but not the other. The playing field is anything but level.
This situation raises many troubling questions. Is it possible that some doctors might not be as careful as they should be because this arrangement provides a safety net for them? Is it possible that some doctors might not take the outcomes of legal proceedings as seriously as they should because there is virtually no impact on their income streams? Does it make them less accountable to legal decisions?
The only reason we know anything about this at all is that a divisional court panel ordered the release late last year of details of this agreement between the provincial Health Ministry, the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Protective Association. The court ruling came after a Freedom of Information request.
It is absolutely reasonable that those who foot the bills -- that would be us -- have a right to this information. And we should be able to exercise that right without being forced to go to court. At the very least, we should be able to expect some public accountability, perhaps through the Ontario ombudsman's office. After all, it is our money.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How the west won mental health thinking

"The way the west reacts to natural disasters such as the tsunami of 2004 and latterly the Japanese earthquake – namely by parachuting in counsellors and "trauma experts" into disaster zones to offer psychological first aid – is just one highly visible illustration of the growing dominance of western mental health orthodoxy, Watters argues. What if a group of shamans had turned up in Manhattan knocking on doors in the wake of 9/11 offering to counsel traumatised survivors, he asks. Is that the cultural equivalent to dispatching British and American counsellors who "don't speak the language and don't understand the culture" they are trying to help?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pfizer: No More Free Lunch in Sandwich

The residents of Sandwich, where the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is soon to close its research and development facility – with a loss of 2,400 jobs – will be watching to see how that pledge materialises over the next few months. Viagra was made, created, designed and invented here; new drugs will not be.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bonkers: Sell Eli Lilly stock now

Coming in 2011: The end of Eli Lilly as we know it.
Urgent message to Lilly shareholders: Sell now.

"No country can afford not to have periodic showcase prosecutions of serious corporate abuses to foster deterrence.
          – John Braithwaite, Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Routledge, 1984)

To prepare for the drama that's about to unfold, here's a little history.

On Jan. 30, 2009, Eli Lilly and Company pleaded guilty to a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The Court sentenced Lilly to pay a criminal fine of $515 million and asset forfeiture of $100 million, the largest criminal fine imposed against an individual defendant in the history of the United States.

The Government believed this historic criminal fine reflected the seriousness of the offense and Eli Lilly's earlier violations of the FDCA. The Government believed the criminal fine would promote respect for the law, and that the sentence would deter Eli Lilly from further unlawful promotion of its pharmaceutical products. The Government believed a criminal fine of this magnitude would serve as general deterrence to others who might be tempted to go down the road of off-label marketing.

Under the Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) between Lilly and the U S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parties agreed that Eli Lilly would not be placed on probation. However, the agreement imposed a strict compliance program to ensure that Lilly's criminal conduct would not recur.

Eli Lilly is subject to exclusion from Federal Health Care programs, including but not limited to Medicaid, for a material breach of the CIA. A material breach includes failure by Lilly to report a reportable event and take corrective action. A reportable event means anything that involves a matter that a reasonable person would consider a probable violation of criminal, civil, or administrative laws applicable to any Federal Health Care program and/or applicable to any FDA requirements relating to the promotion of Lilly products.

The CIA applies to Eli Lilly employees and all contractors, subcontractors, agents and other persons who perform promotional and product services on behalf of Lilly.   Exclusion will have national effect and apply to all other Federal procurement and nonprocurement programs.

Shareholder lawsuits filed against the company for engaging in a long list of illegal activities were settled in March 2010, with Lilly agreeing to abide by strict new measures guaranteeing that matters affecting patient safety and benefit shall be of paramount importance. 

That's the background story, in a nutshell. Future WikiLeaks to follow.
For details regarding the precise nature of the substance that will soon be hitting the fan, watch this space"....

We hope Lilly stockholders get the bath they need.

Thanks and a tip of the Mad Hatter's Hat to 
The Bonkers Institute -

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Rise of Mental Illness in America

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Rise of Mental Illness in America
by Robert Whitaker
The percentage of Americans disabled by “mental illness” has increased dramatically since 1955, when Thorazine – remembered today as psychiatry’s first “wonder” drug – was introduced into the market.
There are now nearly 6 million Americans disabled by “mental illness”, and this number increases by more than 400 people each day. A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic. The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms, often psychiatric drug-induced, in a significant percentage of patients.

E. Fuller Torrey, in his 2001 book The Invisible Plague, concluded that insanity had risen to the level of an epidemic. This epidemic has unfolded in lockstep with the ever-increasing use of prescription psychiatric drugs.

The number of disabled “mentally ill” has increased nearly six-fold since Thorazine was introduced.

The number of disabled “mentally ill” has also increased dramatically since 1987, the year Prozac was introduced.

Anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions. In response, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations. Neurons both release less serotonin and down-regulate (or decrease) their number of serotonin receptors. The density of serotonin receptors in the brain may decrease by 50% or more. After a few weeks, the patient’s brain is functioning in a manner that is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.

Conditions that disrupt brain chemistry may cause delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking, and mood swings – the symptoms of insanity. Infectious agents, tumors, metabolic and toxic disorders and various diseases could all affect the brain in this manner. Psychiatric medications also disrupt brain chemistry. Psychotropic drugs also increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and they cause a significant percentage of patients to become ill in new and more severe ways.


Neuroleptics (AKA Anti-psychotics, Anti-schizophrenics, Major Tranquilizers)

In an NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) study, short-term (6 weeks) anti-psychotic drug-treated patients were much improved compared to placebo (75% vs. 23%). However patients who received placebo treatment were less likely to be re-hospitalized over the next 3 years than were those who received any of the three active phenothiazines.

Relapse was found to be significantly related to the dose of the tranquilizing medication the patient was receiving before he was put on placebo – the higher the dose, the greater the probability of relapse.

Neuroleptics increased the patients’ biological vulnerability to psychosis. A retrospective study by Bockoven also indicated that the drugs were making patients chronically ill.

There were three NIMH-funded studies conducted during the 1970s that examined this possibility (whether first-episode psychotic episodes could be treated without medications), and in each instance, the newly admitted patients treated without drugs did better than those treated in a conventional manner (i.e. with anti-psychotic drugs).

Patients who were treated without neuroleptics in an experimental home staffed by nonprofessionals had lower relapse rates over a 2-year period than a control group treated with drugs in a hospital. Patients treated without drugs were the better functioning group as well.

The brain responds to neuroleptics – which block 70% to 90% of all D2 dopamine receptors in the brain – as though they are a pathological insult. To compensate, dopaminergic brain cells increase the density of their D2 receptors by 30% or more. The brain is now supersensitive to dopamine and becomes more biologically vulnerable to psychosis and is at particularly high risk of severe withdrawal symptoms should he or she abruptly quit taking the drugs.

Neuroleptics can produce a dopamine supersensitivity that leads to both dyskinetic and psychotic symptoms. An implication is that the tendency toward withdrawal psychosis in a patient who had developed such a supersensitivity is determined by more that just the normal course of the illness.

With minimal or no exposure to neuroleptics, at least 40% of people who suffered a psychotic break and were diagnosed with schizophrenia would not relapse after leaving the hospital, and perhaps as many as 65% would function fairly well over the long term. However, once first-episode patients were treated with neuroleptics, a different fate awaited them. Their brains would undergo drug-induced changes that would increase their biological vulnerability to psychosis, and this would increase the likelihood that they would become chronically ill (and thus permanently disabled).

In the mid 1990s, several research teams reported that the drugs cause atrophy of the cerebral cortex and an enlargement of the basal ganglia. The drugs were causing structural changes in the brain. The drug-induced enlargement of the basal ganglia was associated with greater severity of both negative and “positive” (schizophrenic) symptoms.  Over the long term the drugs cause changes in the brain associated with a worsening of the very symptoms the drugs are supposed to alleviate.


The story of antidepressants is a bit subtler, and it leads to the same conclusion that these drugs increase chronic illness over time. Well-designed studies, the differences between the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs and placebo are not impressive. About 61% of the drug-treated patients improved, versus 46% of the placebo patients, producing a net drug benefit of only 15%.

At the end of 16 weeks (in a study comparing cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine and placebo) there were no significant differences among treatments, including placebo plus clinical management, for the less severely depressed and functionally impaired patients. Only the severely depressed patients fared better on a tricyclic than on placebo. However, at the end of 18 months, even this minimal benefit disappeared. Stay-well rates were best for the cognitive behavior group (30%) and poorest for the imipramine group (19%).

Antidepressants were making people chronically ill, just like the anti-psychotics were. In 1985, a U.K. group reported that in a 2-year study comparing drug therapy to cognitive therapy, relapse was significantly higher in the pharmacotherapy group. Long-term use of antidepressants may increase the patient’s biochemical vulnerability to depression and thus worsen the course of affective disorders. An analysis of 27 studies showed that whether one treats a depressed patient for 3 months or 3 years, it does not matter when one stops the drugs. The longer the drug treatment, the higher the likelihood of relapse.


Xanax (a benzodiazepine class “minor” tranquilizer) patients got better during the first four weeks of treatment; they did not improve any more in weeks 4 to 8, and their symptoms began to worsen after that. A high percentage relapsed and by the end of 23 weeks, they were worse off than patients treated without drugs on five different outcomes measures. Patients tapered off Xanax suffered nearly 4 times as many panic attacks as the non-drug patients and 25% of the Xanax patients suffered from rebound anxiety and insomnia more severe than when they began the study.

Today’s drug-treated patients spend much more time in hospital beds and are far more likely to die from their mental illness than they were in 1896. Modern treatments have set up a revolving door and appear to be a leading cause of injury and death.


It is well-known that all of the major classes of psychiatric drugs – anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, and stimulants for ADHD – can trigger new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients. It is easy to see this epidemic-creating factor at work with Prozac and the other SSRIs.

Prozac quickly took up the top position as America’s most complained about drug. By 1997, 39,000 adverse-event reports about it had been sent to Medwatch. These reports are thought to represent only 1% of the actual number of such events, suggesting that nearly 4 million people in the US had suffered such problems, which included mania, psychotic depression, nervousness, anxiety, agitation, hostility, hallucinations, memory loss, tremors, impotence, convulsions, insomnia and nausea.

The propensity of Prozac and other SSRIs to trigger mania or psychosis is undoubtedly the biggest problem with these drugs. The American Psychiatric Association warns that manic or hypomanic episodes are estimated to occur in 8% to 20 % of patients treated with anti-depressants.

Anti-depressant-induced mania is not simply a temporary and reversible phenomenon, but a complex biochemical mechanism of illness deterioration. Yale researchers reported that 8.1% of all admissions to a psychiatric hospital they studied were due to SSRI-induced mania or psychosis.

Thus the SSRI path to a disabling mental illness can be easily seen. A depressed patient treated with an anti-depressant suffers a manic or psychotic episode, at which time his or her diagnosis is changed to bipolar disorder. At that point, the person is prescribed an anti-psychotic to go along with the anti-depressant, and, once on a drug cocktail, the person is well along on the road to permanent disability.


There is an outside agent fueling this epidemic of mental illness, only it is to be found in the medicine cabinet. Psychiatric drugs perturb normal neurotransmitter function, and while that perturbation may curb symptoms over a short term, over the long run it increases the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, or ill with new or more severe symptoms. A review of the scientific literature shows quite clearly that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this modern-day plague.

Robert Whitaker’s ground-breaking book, Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill was published in 2002, That critically acclaimed book should be, but is not, required reading for everybody in the medical profession, including psychiatric patients and their loved ones. (

Whitaker’s latest book (published in 2010) Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, further documents the epidemic of “mental illness” disability (which, in many cases, are not mental illnesses at all, but rather drug-induced neurological illnesses that manifest psychological symptoms or drug-induced withdrawal both of which can be mis-diagnosed as mental illnesses).

Each of these books have been essentially black-balled by the pharmaceutical, medical and psychiatric industries, neither book having even been reviewed in any mainstream medical journals.

Excerpted, with minimal editing, by Gary G. Kohls, MD
Dr. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur with the chronic use of any dependency-inducing psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal.  Close consultation with an informed physician who is familiar with treating drug withdrawal and who is also willing to read and study the above books and become familiar with the previously poorly understood dangers of these drugs.