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Benzodiazipines cause permanent brain damage
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Benzodiazipines cause permanent brain damage

A psychiatrist got me intentionally addicted to ativan in 1991. I only took it for 6 months because it caused severe short term memory loss and I was extremely uncoordinated when I was on it and I could barely drive. When I got off of it I had severe chronic daily tension headaches and muscle tension and my short term memory was still severely impaired but not as bad. I have never recovered to this day. If I take ativan again my headaches go away but so does the little short term memory that I have. These drugs obviously cause permanent brain damage if you look at my symptoms and the thousands of posts on the internet and talk to many people who's doctors have intentionally got them addicted. My question is why do doctors prescribe drugs to people when they know or should know that they cause permanent brain damage? Are doctors that brainwashed from the drug companies and their phony studies that they just keep selling their drugs without looking at the real evidence?
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Avatar_m_tn
There is no evidence at the present time to suggest that long-term administration of Benzodiazepines in therapeutic dosages results in permanent brain damage. You state that following discontinuance of Ativan, you had developed tension headaches, muscle tension and cognitive impairment involving short-term memory. The latter three are all symptoms of anxiety itself, which suggests rebound of the underlying "disorder" following discontinuance of Ativan. The million dollar question is...what symptoms were you experiencing PRIOR to starting the Ativan?

Reemergence of the original "disorder" being treated (or a modest deterioration in it) is typical following Benzodiazepine abstinence. After all, benzos do not "cure" the underlying "disorder". They can only mask it. Thus when they are discontinued, the original issue is likely to reemerge.

Ativan possesses potent amnesic properties. Other Benzodiazepines have less of an effect on cognition, albeit they all impair cognition to some degree. Perhaps inquire about trying one of the others until you find the one that provides the greatest benefit with the least amount of cognitive side effects.

Regarding your last line, there is little financial incentive in the prescribing of Benzodiazepines. All of these drugs are off patent and have been for decades. There is NO incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to promote this class of drugs, as there is no money in it for them. All are available in generic form. Physicians prescribe this class of drugs because their efficacy can hardly be questioned. In short, they work, and with few trade-offs.
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Avatar_m_tn
Actually, there is evidence of long-term damage to the functioning of the brain with all meds that affect the brain's normal functioning.  Whether it's permanent or not depends on the person -- the vast majority will not suffer the most severe consequences.  I have suffered permanent damage after tapering off Paxil.  There is a condition, for example, called protracted withdrawal syndrome that can follow the discontinuance of any substance that affects normal brain function, including all addictive drugs and particularly involving benzos.  The foremost authority on this is an English psychiatrist who estimates, after a long career treating those undergoing benzo withdrawal, that 10 to 15% of all those on benzos will suffer a protracted withdrawal.  That's why it's getting very difficult to get benzos now in England.  However, this obviously isn't the common reaction, so I think banning them isn't a good thing, that isn't my point.  As to the poster, nobody can tell you if the benzo did this to you or if it's permanent, so you have to trust your instincts.  There's very little money in researching the downsides of meds -- no profit there.  We find out when they're on the market, and even then we only find out what is revealed.  With the internet, we can get a log more info from patients now, but not any more from pharmaceutical companies or doctors, so it's all anecdotal and easily dismissed as not being backed up by solid research.  As to how to treat this, I haven't a clue, since you're not a common case, but keep looking, maybe you'll find an expert who has some solution for you.  
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480448_tn?1403547723
OP...why would your doc intentionally set out to make you become physically dependent?  That doesn't make any sense.  First, as the other posters above said...there isn't any monetary motive for them.

To play devil's advocate...the bottom line is WE are responsible for ourselves....people must thoroughly educate themselves before starting ANY meds...weighing the risks and benefits. Rx's come with educational monographs for that reason.  I know that docs are not always great at explaining meds, side effects and risks...so again, that is why we must take matters in our own hands and be responsible for ourselves.

I would advise you to seek an opinion from another doctor to see how to proceed from here.  The best of luck to you, hope you get some relief soon!
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Avatar_m_tn
The bottom line is I never had chronic headaches, severe muscle tension, short term memory loss, severe anxiety, impaired concentration before I got addicted to ativan. So why would have these symptoms right after quitting ativan? Obviously it was the ativan and not the boogie monster.
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585414_tn?1288944902
I would say the best thing to do is work with a doctor who can see where these specific symptoms are coming from and then treat them regardless of cause. The exact statistics as regards short term, long term and adverse side effects (those that are statistically rare) is on the full prescription labels and medication websites. Psychiatrists are concerned about the specific side effects of benzodiazepenes and by FDA regulation (I know because I take Klonopin) must write up a triplicate prescription (for any benzo) which is kept track of. No psychiatrist would prescribe these medications if they did not feel it was specifically needed and they would certainly not intentionally try to cause addiction. There can be short term withdrawal symptoms for any benzos and that's why they should be discontinued only under the strict supervision of a doctor. As for the potential of any specific side effects you are concerned about and how often they would occur its best to discuss this with a doctor who can treat them and follow up because they would still have to diagnose where these symptoms are coming from and more importantly how to treat them.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have consulted with many doctors and most of them are brainwashed by the drug companies and the prescription labels. The drug information coming from the drug companies is more propaganda then science. They pay a doctor $500,000 to get a drug approved for them and if they do they get another job. Hmmm, how biased is the study going to be? A lot. A few doctors agree with me that these drugs cause permanent damage. I just told you that my doctor got me intentionally addicted so how can you disagree with me? Are you capable of reading my mind? Do you people work for the drug companies because you certainly act like it? I know where the symptoms are coming from.
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Avatar_m_tn
You say that the doctor got you "intentionally addicted". Did you not sign an informed consent sheet outlining the risks involved? By law, that is a requirement.

Again, this class of drugs have been off-patent for decades. Money is not a motive with this group. The typical pharmacy retail for a month's supply of Ativan is $15 (without insurance). Even the SSRI's (save for Lexapro) are off-patent and relatively inexpensive. The money these days is in the atypical antipsychotics and new anticonvulsants like Lyrica. As for the doctor's being "brainwashed", the following was taken directly from the prescribing information for Ativan. It has been in there since 1978. Therefore, the risks involved with Ativan are no great mystery. But you should have been informed of the below in advance.

"Physical And Psychological Dependence:

The use of benzodiazepines, including lorazepam, may lead to physical and
psychological dependence. The risk of dependence increases with higher doses
and longer term use and is further increased in patients with a history of
alcoholism or drug abuse or in patients with significant personality disorders. The
dependence potential is reduced when lorazepam is used at the appropriate
dose for short-term treatment. Addiction-prone individuals (such as drug addicts
or alcoholics) should be under careful surveillance when receiving lorazepam or
other psychotropic agents.

In general, benzodiazepines should be prescribed for short periods only (e.g. 2- 4
weeks). Extension of the treatment period should not take place without
reevaluation of the need for continued therapy. Continuous long-term use of
product is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms (e.g. rebound insomnia) can
appear following cessation of recommended doses after as little as one week of
therapy. Abrupt discontinuation of product should be avoided and a gradual
dosage-tapering schedule followed after extended therapy.

Abrupt termination of treatment may be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms reported following discontinuation of benzodiazepines include
headache, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, restlessness, confusion,
irritability, sweating, rebound phenomena, dysphoria, dizziness, derealization,
depersonalization, hyperacusis, numbness/tingling of extremities, hypersensitivity
to light, noise, and physical contact/perceptual changes, involuntary movements,
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hallucinations/delirium,
convulsions/seizures, tremor, abdominal cramps, myalgia, agitation, palpitations,
tachycardia, panic attacks, vertigo, hyperreflexia, short-term memory loss, and
hyperthermia. Convulsions/seizures may be more common in patients with preexisting
seizure disorders or who are taking other drugs that lower the convulsive
threshold such as antidepressants."

Copyright 1978 Physician's Desk Reference, Medical Economics Company



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Avatar_m_tn
I was put on klonopin several years ago, but was never informed it was addictive, or that it affected the brain's ability to lean how to handle stress, or, for that matter, anything about it at all.  Same with antidepressants -- was never told they could be difficult to quit, and in fact the only reason it's on the list now is the FDA ordered it to be put on there.  It's obvious we should all do our homework, but I was young when I started on meds and had never had an adverse reaction to one.  I just assumed the psychiatrists were looking out for me.  They weren't, and they aren't.  So now I try and do my homework, as best as a layman can.  Now, I have no idea what the original poster went through because I wasn't there; neither were any of us other than the poster.  I have to assume he's exaggerating some here because he's angry, as anyone would be if they believed a medication had harmed them.  But although an inelegant way to phrase it, when we're put on benzos or opiates or any other addictive drug, no matter how beneficial it may be for us, our doctors are intentionally addicting us to them.  Personally, if I need something, whether it's addictive or not isn't my main consideration; non-addictive drugs can be very hard to quit and do greater damage, so the question to me is something else entirely.  But it would be nice if we simply treat posters with some respect and respond to what they're asking or saying, and not attacking them because they express themselves inelegantly and are angry.  We all have to admit we know very little about these meds, and that the scientific community knows very little about the long-term consequences of these meds.  It's also quite clear to anyone who's seen psychiatrists or other physicians much that they know very little about the meds they prescribe and what they do know is told them by the pharmaceutical companies or from research carried out largely by large pharmaceutical companies.  Again, this doesn't mean these meds aren't helpful, and I'm glad we live in an era where we have at least something to give us hope, but let's also have some humility here.  And now, with all humility, I bid you all a good day.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think its important for us to do a little research on meds before taking it as prescribe by doctors or psychiatry,if your lucky your doctor will supervise e you during ur medications periods but some they would just ask you to take and say you will be okay after taking this,i experienced this before when i saw a psychiatry and when he believe i have anxiety,he dosent wants to waste his precious time talking that where one can try to do cbt or counselling or even simple relazing methods such as yoga or excerise can help.He just sent me away with anti depressant and quoted i could be depressed etc which i dont really think i am so i dint stick with the meds and followed up with him cause i just believe i would be wasting my time and money.
I think its worth for anyone to have a look on this book call hope and help for your nerves which was written by the late dr claire weekes i think she explained very well all those anxiety symptoms and how to handle it etc..
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212161_tn?1391090750
i take ativan only when needed been on it for 28 years, have never had a problem with that pill. its been a lifesavor for me, i have bottles that expire because i dont abuse the med and when i do take it ,it works great.  i would beg for this pill if i didnt have it when i have a bad panic attack it does the trick. its for short term and panic not everyday use.
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Avatar_m_tn
btw I was never given a consent form. Also, profit is always a motive in business. Otherwise they would quit selling these drugs if they weren't making any money off of them.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you.
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480448_tn?1403547723
While I certainly sympathize with your situation, you're getting awfully defensive here. And, Pax, you made a good point about being respectful, but that train goes both ways...the OP has very quickly gotten his/her back up and has made some pretty rude comments.  I understand he is not getting the answers he may have wanted, but that is still no reason to make those kind of smart a$$ comments to people who were only RESPECTFULLY giving him our opinion...and that's what this forum is for.  

We are just trying to present to you the other side....trying to play devil's advocate.  To say that your doctor INTENTIONALLY got you addicted to a medication for the sake of making money is one whopper of a statement to make!  You simply HAVE to realize that we as consumers....of the docs, of the Pharm companies have our OWN responsibility to educate ourselves and make decisions about meds based on what WE learn about the med ourselves.  Otherwise, you are assuming that we are blindily entering into any kind of medical treatment...and that's crazy.  ANY literature associated with benzos state that they have a risk of dependency, among other things.  No one held a gun to your head and made you take those pills.....while I'm sure many docs could be way more helpful in laying out the info for us...we have to look out for US and cannot wait for the doctors to do it for us.  So, I'm sorry you are in this situation, but you are making some pretty outrageous claims, and many of them are quite unfair.  People HAVE to learn to take some of the responsibility in these "meds gone bad" situations....they are so very quick to want to point fingers and place blame.
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Avatar_m_tn
"You simply HAVE to realize that we as consumers....of the docs, of the Pharm companies have our OWN responsibility to educate ourselves and make decisions about meds based on what WE learn about the med ourselves.  Otherwise, you are assuming that we are blindily entering into any kind of medical treatment...and that's crazy."

^quote

I'm not so sure that it is crazy, especially considering the era that the original poster states (1991). How many folks had internet access in 1991? There were a few Usenet groups, but not much aside from that. I very vaguely recall running a 486 machine with Windows 3.11 over DOS 6.0 on a 28K modem. There wasn't much "online" back then, other than a few university networks. I don't know of too many folks who have a PDR sitting on the shelf. Furthermore, how many pharmacies included a monograph with a prescription in the early 90's? I personally don't know of any who did. The databases that generate those monographs simply did not exist at that time.

So, short of this poster's physician providing informed consent (and he in fact states that he was never informed), what other means could he have possibly had to educate himself? Again, consider the era (1991).
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480448_tn?1403547723
I will concur that the resources weren't as available at that point, but I do know that educational monographs have been around for a while (without researching it, I couldn't say when it became a regular practice to include them with all scripts).  I will gice you that the time was different and people didn't have nearly the access to info they do today.  

I can remember when first being Rx'ed Zoloft ('91-92) asking the MD about it and requesting info....he provided me with several printed items.  So, while the info wasn't nearly as complete and detailed, it was available in some respects.

The whole point IM trying to make is that I strongly feel it is absurd to not take any personal responsibility in these types of situations...to blame the doctors, or the Pharm companies, whoever.  In the very least, we should recognize that agreeing to try ANY med comes with risk...risk of all kinds of things...from fatal drug interactions, to a lesser intolerance of the med.  Even before patient education was considered important and "the doctor knows all" attitude ruled...people still were responsible for themselves.  This kind of thing is why malpractice suits are insanely out of control.

I certainly agree that many patients are mislead about drugs, and their adverse effects downplayed by some in the medical community....I also understand that at the time a medication is approved for distribution, we cannot possibly know everything there is to know about that drug and what they future may hold for people deciding to take it.  Again, this (for me) is where personal responsibility comes into play.  Of course there are some circumstances where very vital information is not disclosed, therefore a person wouldn't be able to make an informed decision.  In THIS discussion, I disagree that that is the case.  There is no evidence to prove that benzos cause "brain damage", and if down the line it is proven that that is the case in certain people, each case by case scenario would have to be reviewed and it would have to be determined if this was information that the Pharm cos were aware of and didn't disclose.  IN THAT situation, a person would have a partial argument.

Again, to repeat myself...in PRESENT day especially, there is simply no excuse for someone to be naive about a medication they are considering...and each decision should be weighed carefully after reviewing the information.  Not speaking about this OP, but I really don't like a lot of the "blame" game I see when it comes to people who have had bad experiences with meds.  I have all the compassion in the world for them, but still feel that the only person that can 100% look out for oneself is that person.  It would be great to have sooo much faith and trust in doctors and medical professionals...but the truth is, we still must look out for ourselves, as it is OUR body in the end.

Great to see you back on the site, btw!!!!  You've been missed!!!  :0)
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Avatar_m_tn
I partly agree with Nursegirl, and partly disagree.  And I think this is important, not making a tangent of this thread (hey, pretty good, making a tangent out of a thread).  No layperson can possibly understand any agreement we sign with a medical professional unless we have our lawyer present.  Nor can we expected to understand the very technical jargon in many of the studies published online, nor is it easy to learn who paid for those studies.  Nor is it easy to find the outlyers who disagree with conventional wisdom and often turn out to be right.  We really are left trusting our doctors, and they very often betray that trust through their own incompetence.  As a nurse, you probably understand this stuff a whole lot better than the average person.  Compare it to the financial meltdown -- lots of people blame borrowers for getting in over their head, and no doubt some blame lies there, but if you've ever seen the legal documents involved in those agreements you'd cry.  I have a law degree, and my wife and I bought a house from a lawyer, but neither of us understood what we were signing.  That's how the medical community and the financial community want it (and the legal community, I might add).  They invent languages to further muck up the waters so the layperson has a difficult time understanding.  I know now to ask, but my docs still mostly just shrug because they really don't know that much about what they prescribe.  They don't surf the net to learn.  And there is a great deal of profit and chicanery involved in any business.  

As to malpractice, that's not actually how malpractice got to where it is now.  Historical quirks got it there.  This may be off the track, but again, it explains how little businesses have our interests in mind.  Our law derived from English common law, and under that law you couldn't sue someone unless they had a direct relationship with you.  So if a retailer sold you a defective product, you couldn't sue the retailer, because they weren't responsible for the defect, and you couldn't sue the manufacturer because you had no direct relationship with the manufacturer.  In medicine, doctors and nurses refused to testify, so nobody ever won a lawsuit against them.  This was up to the 1960s, when there were no gov't programs to help, and people just went broke, lost their homes, and starved.  Finally, in the early 60's, judges go tired of the obvious lying -- altered admissions records, everyone telling the same story -- and just decided that if someone was obviously damaged in a way they shouldn't have been, the courts would just hold whoever had the insurance liable.  That's how malpractice go to where it is today -- lying doctors and nurses (in fairness to nurses, they were ordered to lie under penalty of losing their jobs if they didn't).  You can research this history if you like; I had to study it.  It was the California Supreme Court that finally said forget it, we're just going to find the insured party and make the injured party whole.  Since the medical profession still doesn't regulate itself properly, and since it is self-regulated under agreement with state gov'ts, there has grown a malpractice problem.  It has nothing to do with people blaming doctors, because it is widely accepted that doctor error is one of the greatest problems in our medical system.  Just for historical accuracy, and just to let everyone know, we really must do our own homework as best we can -- professionals aren't all equal in ability or in caring about what happens to patients, just as we now know oil companies didn't much care what happened if a tragic accident happened in a deep water oil rig.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Well put.
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Avatar_m_tn
Many things cause brain cells to die. Bottom line is benzos work great for short term relief of panic/anxiety disorder. Sure they are addictive but does the relief that it gives you override any fear of addiction in the long term? Without meds many of us would have offed ourselves by now.
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree with you about what ativan did to you.  I had been on it for several years prescribed by my doctor.  Now I have nothing but tension headaches all the time.  Any kind of tension or worry about something causes these to happen. They are there practically all the time.  I never had these before my last bout of ativan.  But when I try to tell my therapist this they look at me like I'm crazy and insist the drugs did not do this to my brain.  When I try to say "but they NEVER happened before I used the drug!!" they still insist it me that's causing the headaches and not the drug.  What's more I am unable to enjoy things I loved BEFORE using the drug like watching TV or going to a movie but when I try those I get a MASSIVE!!! headache like you wouldn't believe!!

What's the reason of living if there's nothing in your life worth living??

Why isn't ANYBODY trying to find a cure for the damage this drug does??
Ativan or Lorezapam should be labled POISON!!!  It destroys living cells in the brain......

What am I to do?  I know that taking more will only make things worse in the long run.  Is my only option suicide?
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