Author Topic: Glossary of Commonly Used Terms  (Read 3151 times)


Glossary of Commonly Used Terms
« on: September 06, 2017, 06:54:16 pm »

Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

This glossary is provided to help clarify some of the terms, abbreviations, acronyms and jargon used in the BenzoBuddies Forum.  It is not intended to provide a complete medical or technical description.  Links are provided for some terms to provide additional information or to direct individuals to an active BB forum group on the topic (when one is available).  If you believe a term should be added to this glossary or have a suggestion for a better description or link, please send a PM to [...].

  • Key to terminology 'flags':  ash - Ashton Manual definition; ab - abbreviation or acronym; sl - slang or jargon used in the forum; tech - a scientific or technical definition; ws - a common withdrawal symptom; med - a drug, medication or supplement; cs - a coping strategy. •

Last Update:  14September2017

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  • Acute / Acute Withdrawal
    • A period of time following a significant decrease in dosage in which symptoms are often the most intense. The acute phase for benzo withdrawal is generally considered to last about a month, but will vary from individual to individual (tech).
  • Adrenal Fatigue
    • According to Wikipedia, adrenal fatigue is the belief that one’s adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily the glucocorticoid cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections. (sl).
  • Agitated
    • An energetic restless feeling in which it can seem very difficult to relax or calm down. A person in withdrawal may feel completely exhausted and still feel agitated (ws, tech).
  • Agoraphobia
    • Characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away. These situations can include open spaces, public transit, shopping malls, or simply being outside the home. In severe cases people may become unable to leave their homes. (ws, tech).
  • Air Hunger
    • A feeling that one is not getting sufficient air/oxygen while breathing. Individuals experiencing air hunger will occasionally gasp for breath. Also known as dyspnea, it may cause a person to breath more rapidly than is actually needed which may cause hyperventilation. Air hunger is usually an anxiety-based symptom in individuals withdrawing from benzos (ws, tech).
  • Akathisia
    • A common withdrawal symptom characterized by a feeling of inner restlessness and a compelling need to be in constant motion. Akathisia can feel like being on 100 cups of coffee (ws, tech).
  • Anger Issues
    • Many individual undergoing withdrawal feel unrelanting anger or rage. This may occur in individuals who previously did not experience significant anger in their lives (ws).
  • Anhedonia
    • The inability to feel pleasure/joy. Many individuals withdrawing from benzos will experience of period of time when laughter and joy seem to be entirely lacking. Anhedonia often accompanies depression (which is also common during withdrawal) (ws, tech).
  • Antagonist
    • A chemical that blocks or dampens a biological response by binding to a receptor and inhibiting rather than provoking the response like an agonist. They are sometimes called blockers (tech).
    • Informational Link:
  • Anxiety
    • A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety tends to be a significant benzo withdrawal symptom for many individuals including individuals who have never experience significant anxiety previously (ws).

  • Benzo Brain
    • Another common withdrawal symptom consisting of confusion and/or memory issues (ws, sl).
  • Benzo-Belly
    • A catch-all term used to express one of several symptoms related to one's gastrointestinal system. Symptoms include bloating, pain, gas, indigestion, nausea, acid reflux, weight loss, weight gain (ws, sl).
  • Benzo Flu
    • Benzodiazepene withdrawal often yields a collection of symptoms which feel almost flu-like.  Chills, muscle pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, and a foggy brain are all common symptoms of both benzo withdrawal and influenza. Understandably, this collection of symptoms is often referred to as ‘Benzo Flu’ (ws, sl).
  • Boaty
    • Dizzy, unsteady - like you're on a boat on an unsteady sea (ws, sl)
  • Brain Zaps
    • < need definition > (ws, sl)
  • Broken Sleep
    • Sleep that has been interrupted several times by periods of wakefulness is called broken sleep. Sleep issues are very common during withdrawal - especially for people who took benzos for insomnia (ws).
  • Burning
    • Many individuals experience a burning-like pain that is usually associated with their skin. The pain can seem searing hot although no visible damage to skin tissue is evident. It's sometimes limited to (or more noticeable in) the extremeties (hands, feet) (ws).

  • Chronic
    • Continuing, lasting. In the context of the BB Forum, chronic usually refers to symptoms that have persisted for more than 18 months with little or no relief (tech).
  • Cog Fog
    • Confusion and/or memory impairment that may accompany benzodiazepene use and/or withdrawal. 'Cog Fog' is generally reversable over time (ws, sl).
  • Cold Sensitivity
    • Cold objects such as an ice cube or a glass or cold water often feel especially (painfully) cold to the touch during withdrawal/recovery (ws).
  • Cortisol
    • A steroid hormone usually produced in response to stress (tech).
  • Cut/hold
    • A popular approach for tapering in which small periodic decreases (cuts) are made to your dose followed by a period of no change (holding) in your dose. Hold times are usually on the order of two weeks or more (ash).

  • Dependence
    • Dependence occurs wheh an individual’s body adapts to a medicaton, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting drug-specific physical or mental symptoms if use of the medication is ceased (withdrawal). Physical  dependence can happen with the chronic use of many drugs including many prescription drugs, even if taken as instructed (tech, ws).
  • Depersonalization/Derealization
    • The feeling that you're observing yourself from outside your body or you have a sense that things around you aren't real, or both. Feelings of depersonalization and derealization can be very disturbing and may feel like you're living in a dream. (ws, tech).
  • Depression
    • A state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. Depression can be one of the more challenging withdrawal symptoms, especially for individuals who took benzos to help control on-going depression (ws, tech).
  • Detox
    • A medical procedure in which one or more medications are rapidly removed from a patient's dosing. Detox usually occurs at a Detox center under some level of medical supervision. Alternative medications may be introduced during detox to try to counteract the withdrawal symptoms caused by the rapid reduction of benzodiazepines (tech).
  • Distraction
    • A method used by many individual to think less about withdrawal symptoms (including ruminating over intrusive thoughts) by deliberately thinking about something else to keep their mind occupied. Distraction may be coupled with an activity (such as walking, gaming, cooking, working) (cs).
  • DMLT (or DLMT?)
    • Daily Micro Liquid Taper (or Daily Liquid Micro-taper). A popular approach for reducing one's doses. Medications are dissolved into an appropriate liquid, and very small reductions are made on a regular (often daily) basis (sl, tech).
    • BB Forum Link to the Daily Micro-Tapering Support Group:;topicseen
  • dp/dr
    • Abbreviation for Depersonalization/Derealization (ab, ws).

  • Emotional Blunting
    • Many individuals experience a phase in which they have very little emotion. No happiness, no joy - even at times when one would normally be expected to experience these emotions. On the positive side, emotional blunting may also lessen feelings of anger or depression (ws, tech).
  • ER visits
    • Fairly self-explanatory. ER visits are a trips to the Emergency Room of a local hospital. Most of the time, these visits are due to an anxiety-related issue, and there is little that the ER can do other than to give you the drugs that you're trying to wean off of.

  • Fatigue
    • Many individuals find that they experience significant tiredness/lethargy at some point in their withdrawal/recovery. Even individuals in excellent physical condition who exercise regularly may feel as though they have no energy for a time (ws, tech).
  • First Order Taper
    • A common approach to tapering in which a designated percentage of one's dose is eliminated periodically. For example, a five percent (first order) reduction beginning at 1.0mg would consist of doses of 1.0mg, 0.950mg, 0.903mg, 0.857mg, 0.815mg, 0.775mg, etcetera (tech).
    • Informational Link to Elimination Kinetics:
  • Floaty / Floating / Floaty Boat
    • Dizzy, unsteady - like you're on a boat on an unsteady sea (ws, sl)

  • GABAA / GABAA Receptor
    • Receptors are protein molecules that receive chemical signals from outside a cell, usually by means of a neurotransmitter. GABAA receptors are found throughout neuronal tissue where they interact with the neurotransmitter, GABA yielding a inhibitory (calming or pain reduction) response. GABAA receptors are also widely distributed in non-neuronal tissue such as the GI tract (tech).
    • Informational Link:
  • GABAergic
    • Pertaining to or affecting the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) (tech).

  • Health Anxiety
    • Refers to worry or anxiety about having a serious illness. This can be a debilitating condition resulting from an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical diagnosis. Health anxiety tends to increase during withdrawal even among individual with no prior history of health anxiety (ws, tech).
  • Head Pressure
    • A common symptom during withdrawal. Head pressure is a sensation that feels like your head is being squeezed in a vise or overly tight head band. It's likely a muscular issue involving tension/squeezing/pulling in some of the muscle groups in your head (ws, tech).
  • Heart Palps
    • Also known as 'palps'. A feeling that your heart is pounding too hard or too fast or irregularly. They are fairly common during benzo withdrawal. While generally not serious or harmful, they can be bothersome or scary for some individuals (ws, sl, tech).
  • Hold
    • A period of time during which a person makes no change in their dosage (sl, tech).
  • Hormones
    • Usually refers nonspecifically to one or more of the myriad of compounds that cycle on and off each month (or during menopause) in women and are responsible for affecting the functions of specifically receptive organs or tissues (sl).
  • Horror Story
    • Usually a graphic or detailed account of a severe or long-lasting withdrawal symptom or condition that may give the reader an unpleasant emotional experience (sl).
  • HRT
    • Acronym for Hormone Replacement Therapy (ab).

  • IBS
    • Acronym for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (ab).
  • Intrusive Thoughts
    • Unwelcome involuntary thoughts, images, or unpleasant ideas that may become an obsession. They are often upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. Distraction and Mindfulness are two approaches for controlling Intrusive thoughts (ws, tech).

  • Jerks
    • Also known as Myoclonic jerks or twitches. It refers to sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles. A hiccup is an example of this type of myoclonus. Another example of myoclonus are the jerks or "sleep starts" that some people experience while drifting off to sleep. These are very common during withdrawal (ws, sl, tech).
  • Jelly Legs
    • A feeling of weakness and unsteadiness in one's legs (ws, sl).
  • Joint Pain
    • As the name implies, this is pain that is especially noticeable in joints such as knees and hips, although any joint may be affected (ws).
  • Jump
    • The final reduction in dosage of a medication usually from a fairly small amount to zero (sl).

  • K
    • Abbreviation for klonopin (ab, sl).
  • Kindle / Kindling
    • Multiple reinstatements of a medication. Kindling due to substance withdrawal refers to the neurological condition which results from repeated withdrawal episodes from sedative–hypnotic drugs such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. Each withdrawal can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms than the previous withdrawal episode. Individuals who have had more withdrawal episodes are at an increased risk of more severe withdrawal symptoms. (tech).

  • Light sensitivity
    • All senses can be affected during withdrawal. Vision is often affected. Many individuals complain that lights (sunlight, car headlights, even computer monitors) seem much brighter than usual (ws, tech).
  • Linear Taper
    • An approach to tapering in which a designated weight (mass) of medication is eliminated periodically. For example, a linear taper from 1.0mg with 0.05mg reductions would consist of doses of 1.0mg, 0.95mg, 0.90mg, 0.85mg, 0.80mg, 0.75mg, etcetera. Linear tapers begin much like first order tapers, but become increasingly 'agressive' toward the end (tech).
    • Informational Link to Elimination Kinetics:
  • Long Hold
    • In a typical cut and hold taper, the duration of the hold is on the order of 2-4 weeks. Occasionally, symptom severity can increase to the point where a longer hold is necessary between cuts. Long holds typically last for months instead of weeks, and may last for over a year while an individual attempts to stabilize (sl, cs).
    • BB Forum Link to the Long Hold Support Group:

  • Metallic, Metallic Taste
    • As the name implies, the sensation that ingested foods and drinks taste metallic. It's a common withdrawal symptom that usually resolves completely in time (ws, tech).
  • Micro-Taper
    • A popular approach to benzodiazepine and anti-depressant tapering in which very small decreases in dosage are performed regularly (often daily). Micro-tapering may be performed by weighing out pieces of pills or by disolving pills into an appropriate liquid (sl, tech).
    • BB Forum Link to Daily Micro-Tapering Support Group;topicseen
  • Monophobia
    • The fear of being alone and having to cope without a specific person, or perhaps any person, in close proximity (ws, tech).
  • Muscle Twitches
    • Annoying little convulsions of various muscle groups that are very common during benzo withdrawal. Twitches may cause a noticeable involuntary movement, but often the movement is only known to the person in withdrawal (ws, tech).
  • Muscle Tension
    • A common and potentially painful malady in which muscles seem very tight, stiff and painful. It seems very difficult to relax them. Tense muscles injure more easily (ws, tech).
  • Myoclonic Jerks
    • Refers to sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles. A hiccup is an example of this type of myoclonus. Another example of myoclonus are the jerks or "sleep starts" that some people experience while drifting off to sleep. These are very common during withdrawal (ws, tech).

  • Nerve Pain
    • Also known as peripheral neuropathy, nerve pain is damage to nerves that may feel like a tingling/crawling sensation, numbness, or like pins/needles (sort of like when a limb 'falls asleep'. Individuals experiencing chronic anxiety may have nerve pain-like sensations that are not actually related to nerve damage due to an increase in the 'firing' of nerves in highly anxious individuals.  Over-awareness of these sensations (perhaps due to health anxiety) exacerbates the condition (ws, tech).

  • OCD-like behavior
    • Benzo use and/or withdrawal can elicit symptoms which mimic those of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). This can occur in individual who do not have any prior history of OCD. Symptoms include intrusive thoughts, constant checking, an overwhelming attention to detail, fear of making errors or introducing contamination, hoarding, fear of anything new/different. Over time, these symptoms decrease (ws).
  • OTC
    • Acronym for Over The Counter (medications that can be obtained without a prescription) (ab).

  • Palps
    • Short for 'Heart Palpatations'. A feeling that your heart is pounding too hard or too fast or irregularly. They are fairly common during benzo withdrawal. While generally not serious or harmful, they can be bothersome or scary for some individuals (ws, sl, tech).
    • BB Forum Link to the The Heart Palps Support Group:
  • Panic Attack
    • A short, overwhelming surge of intense fear. During withdrawal, they can suddenly strike individuals with no prior history of these events. Panic attacks tend to affect individuals more often who cold turkey or taper too rapidly (ws, tech).
  • Paranoia
    • Characterized by thoughts of persecution, conspiracy and perceived threat against the person, often associated with false accusations and general mistrust of others (ws, tech).
  • PCP
    • An acronym for Primary Care Physician (ab).
  • pdoc
    • An abbreviation for a psychiatrist or psychologist (ab, sl).
  • PG / Propylene Glycol
    • A liquid solvent that can be used to help dissolve some medications. Used by some who are using the daily micro liquid taper (DMLT) method (tech).
  • Placebo Effect
    • A beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment. An example is the taking of a pill before bedtime to help with sleep onset. Even after tapering one's dose to zero, it may be useful (for a while) to take some kind of 'pill' to satisfy (placate) your mind's desire for routine (tech).
  • PRN
    • Take as needed. (Latin for pro re nata - literally 'for an occasion that has arisen') (ab).
  • PTSD-like behavior
    • Benzodiazepene use and/or withdrawal can elicit symptoms which mimic those of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). Symptoms include intrusive distressive thoughts, emotional numness, avoidance of people/places/activities, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, feeling jumpy, being quick to anger, a constant feeling of being on-guard. Over time these symptoms will decrease (ws).


  • Rage
    • Many individual undergoing withdrawal feel unrelanting anger or rage. This may occur in individuals who previously did not experience significant anger in their lives (ws).
  • Reinstate
    • A resumption of the dosing a medication at the original, prescribed (or taken) level (tech).
  • Rescue Dose
    • Also known as a 'breakthrough dose'. A single significant increase in dosage intended to alleviate significant symptoms. A rescue dose can occur during a taper or after a taper is completed. Repeated rescue doses could constitute a reinstatement and/or possibly kindling, depending on the frequency (sl, tech).
  • Ruminating
    • The tendency to think about a particular event or comment or thought (usually in a negative way) over and over again. The tendency to ruminate seems to increase significantly during benzo withdrawal for a substantial number of individuals (ws, tech).

  • Sexual Desire (libido) Effects
    • Yes, withdrawal often affects sexual function and desire too. Effects vary from extreme libido/arousal to a complete lack of sexual desire (ws).
  • Sound Sensitivity
    • Also known as hyperacusis. During withdrawal, many individuals find that previously normal noises seem especially loud or distorted. Sounds that are unexpected may cause a person to jump (ws, tech).
  • Stable
    • Characterized by symptoms that do not change significantly in the type or severity for a period of time (often a week or two). Being 'stable' does not necessarily imply that an individual feels good (sl).
  • Supplements
    • A wide assortment of OTC products which some individuals take to add additional nutrients to their dietary intake. They are widely available on-line and from health food stores. Includes vitamins, minerals, various oils, protein powders, plant extracts... Most have little or no formal demonstration of efficacy (tech).
  • Sweats
    • This usually refers to night sweats, not to sweating in general, but both are common during withdrawal. Night sweats are characterized by excessive sweating during sleep (ws, sl, tech).
  • sxs
    • Abbreviation for symptoms (ab).

  • Taper
    • A gradual reduction in the amount of a medication that an individual is taking (tech).
  • Tare
    • To 'zero' a scale. Taring sets the readout of a typical milligram scale to 0.000. So one can place a piece of paper on the scale, tare it so that the weight reads 0.000, then add medication until the desired amount is obtained (tech).
  • Tinnitus
    • The hearing of sound when no external sound is present. It may sound like a ringing, clicking, hiss or roaring. Tinnitus is common during withdrawal. It usually fades over time, but may not fully resolve. Benzos are sometimes prescribed to make an individual less aware of tinnitus, so withdrawing from benzos may result an individual become more aware of a tinnitus issue that they were previously unaware of (ws, tech).
  • Tolerance
    • An individual’s diminished response to a medication, which occurs when the medication is used repeatedly and the body adapts to the continued presence of it (tech).
  • Tolerance Withdrawal
    • When an individual develops tolerance and dependence to a particular medication, it’s possible for withdrawal symptoms to occur between doses of that medication.  Since the medication is no longer providing an effective therapeutic effect, it’s also possible for the individual’s original physical/emotional/mental condition to return (ws, tech).
  • Toxic Nap
    • A brief sleep which ends abruptly with a sensation of panic or significant confusion (ws, sl).

  • Up-dose
    • An increase in the amount of medication taken per dose (tech).

  • V
    • Abbreviation for valium (ab, sl).
  • Vertigo
    • A condition where a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Often associated with dizziness, and may be associated with nausea, sweating and difficulties walking (ws, tech).

  • W/d
    • Abbreviation for withdrawal (ab).
  • Wave
    • An temporary increase in the severity of the symptoms (physical and/or mental) that an individual is experiencing (ws, ash, sl).
  • Weakness
    • Lack of strength/vitality. Many indivudals experience a phase during their withdrawal/recovery in which they feel as though they have much less strength/stamina than usual. The timing and duration varies from person to person, but usually resolves in time (ws, tech).
  • Window
    • A temporary decrease in the severity of the symptoms that an individual is experiencing (ws, ash, sl).



  • Z-Drugs
    • A category of medications that are structurally distinct from benzodiazepenes, but have very similar modes of action. Examples include zolpidem (Stilnoct, Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo, Stilnox); zopiclone (Imovane, Zimovane, Imrest), and eszopiclone (Lunesta) (tech).

Edit: Changed subject title
« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 01:36:06 pm by [Buddie] »
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