Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

I have been helping people get off benzodiazepines for 8 years, and have found that the slow and steady method works best.  I cannot emphasize this point enough that getting off benzodiazepines is a marathon project, not a sprint.

If people are on lorazepam (Ativan) or clonazepam (Klonopin), they can usually stay on that medication to reduce.  If they are on alprazolam (Xanax), because it is such a short acting medication, they are better to switch to diazepam before starting to reduce.

There are certain supplements that are helpful CBD (with no THC), whey powder, passion flower, Omega 3 fatty acids, and taurine.

There are other medications that are sometimes helpful, gabapentin and baclofen.  Most of my clients don’t ever want to touch another medication, and I can understand that, but for others the addition of one of these medications can help ease the suffering of reducing benzodiazepines.

Ways of Reducing Medication

There are three ways of reducing:

  • Cut & Hold – can be useful if not too sensitive to dose reductions – done 2%-5% each month.
  • Micro-dosing – rather than doing monthly reductions, you daily micro reduce. It is helpful if you are super sensitive.
  • Rapidly – never recommended for the seizure potential and harm to the brain. This method is often done at 30-day treatment centers.

Medications forms:

  • Liquid – olive oil
    • Compounded by a Denver pharmacy so more expensive
    • Easy to use for microdosing.
  • Liquid – alcohol base
    • Commercial preparation of Valium only, some can’t tolerate the alcohol base.
  • Capsules can be compounded so that you have a consistent monthly dose, and reduced every 3-4 weeks. It is more expensive, but takes a lot of guesswork out of the taper.
  • Tablets – diazepam comes in 2mg & 5mg tablets that are easy to cut.
  • Water reductions – some people crush the tablet and then dissolved it in water. While it is a cheap method, if the med isn’t water soluble, you get an uneven dose each time.

How My Program Works

Due to the Ryan Haight Act, I would need to meet you in person for the first time.  After that we can meet either through video conferencing.  I initially give you a script for 30 days, and we meet again in about 3 weeks to trouble shoot any problems.  After the initial appointment we generally meet at 3 monthly intervals.