Author Topic: Letter-to-editor  (Read 1491 times)

[Buddie]

Letter-to-editor
« on: December 21, 2018, 08:21:26 am »

I am writing to let you know that I am now fully recovered from the painful withdrawal I went through when I came off a combination of Mogadon and Ativan in July this year. It is truly wonderful to be free of the aching and shaking I had to endure for about five months. This experience can only be attributed to the five weeks I took Ativan (1mg for two and a half weeks and .5mg for a further two and a half weeks).

Ativan is, indeed, an extremely potent drug. I cannot say I regret taking it. I believe that as soon as I took it, my mood suddenly became much brighter. I went from being a virtual recluse who could not hold a conversation to going out meeting people and participating in classes at the U3A.

Prior to that I did almost nothing. I went to bed on numerous occasions throughout the day. I retired for the night most days at 6.30pm. Now I am active in the community and am really fit. Even though Ativan did make me shake and ache, I feel if my psychiatrist had not pushed to the boundaries and prescribed it for me, I may still be in the dismal situation I was in just six months ago.

Today I had a letter-to-the editor published in The Melbourne Age. It was in response to a two page expose on the drug Lyrica. It is used for treatment of anxiety and depression and is also reputed to be helpful to those suffering with nerve pain. In 2012 Lyrica prescriptions in Australia numbered in the thousands. Prescriptions have reached the million mark in the last year. The articles reveal that the drug can be addictive. Deaths and suicides have been attributed to Lyrica as well. My letter focussed on my feelings about another family of drugs, Benzodiazepines, which have had big impacts on me over the last decade both positive and negative. Here it is:

The Age is correct to outline the problems associated with the over-prescription of Lyrica. However, this is not the only drug about which concerns should be raised. Benzodiazepines are prescribed mainly for sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression. Guidelines state that these drugs should be used for no longer than two to four weeks. Yet all over the world people are taking them for extended periods of time. They are highly addictive. In order to maintain their effect, higher and higher doses are prescribed. When eventually a decision is made to cease taking them, in many cases an extended period of withdrawal ensues - as I can attest. Recently, during a bout of depression I was prescribed Mogadon for sleep and took Ativan for only five weeks for depression. Ativan is a short-acting drug which elevates the mood. When I was taking it and for three and half months afterwards, I ached throughout my body and shook so much that I could not pour a drink. I have read stories of experiences far worse than mine on a website called benzobuddies where people go to receive support about what to do in the face of the truly awful side-effects which can come with this family of drugs. I am not suggesting benzodiazepines should not play a role in the treatment of mentally ill patients. However, they need to be prescribed with a great deal more discretion.

[...]
 

PS I wish all who read this a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. I wish you all an improvement such as mine. It can be done; you can get better. Recoveries do happen. Believe me!!
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 11:55:37 am »
Congratulations [...]!  I'm so glad to hear that you made it through!  And good for you for writing a letter to the editor of "The "Melbourne Age" and getting it published.  I'm a little confused about your situation.  You mention that benzodiazepines affected your life for a decade.  Were you on the mogadon for a lot longer, or had you used it before?

Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 11:59:05 am »
Oh, I'm sorry!  I didn't read your signature before I replied.  My apologies.

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 12:34:48 pm »
Yes, WELL DONE.., -and good job on the letter... Every bit helps...
:)

Incidently, I am just about done with lyrica too.. I have been pushing it a bit hard, and it sure does bite a bit as well, particularly combined with the benzos effects...

Well, I wish you all the best as you continue forward.. May your life be all you dream..

:)

Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 11:12:14 pm »
[...], you did a good job of doing homework on this stuff. Benzos and other psych drugs are truly dangerous. Lyrica is sort of in the middle but personally, I would not take it if you gave me a million dollars. My poor tired brain does not need added drugs!!! At 68, almost 69, I now take five drugs and all are for hypertension. I wouldn't take another psych drug unless I was diagnosed with a truly terminal disease.
Good for you, beating this stuff! Good job, well done.
[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2018, 12:47:04 am »
Dear [...] ([...]?)
A Melbourne resident, I read your Age Letter to the Editor.
And forwarded it to three other folk who, like me, are in the process of benzo withdrawal.
We all cheered...good on you for raising the issue in such a respected, widely read and influential forum. More power to your pen.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 09:51:01 am »
Thank you very much to those who took the time to reply to my last post.

I wish each and every person who reads any of my posts all the best.

As for me, it is now eight months since I came off benzodiazepines. I do have an issue with occasional aching and my sleep is fractured but there is no way I would contemplate using benzodiazepines. I would have to be in a very different state to what I am in now to even contemplate taking them.

In the middle of last year I was taking two anti-depressants (Lexapro on the recommended maximum dose and Mirtazapine at twice the recommended dose), Epilim, two benzodiazepines (Mogadon 10mg and Ativan 1mg), Propanolol to counteract the shaking from the Ativan and Gastrostop to reduce the side effects of Lexapro. This amounts to at least eleven tablets a day. I think there were other drugs as well. The psychiatrist in private practice who helps me today readily admits that psychiatry is an art not a science. He certainly threw a lot of drugs at my illness and eventually after a few months of treating me after I was discharged by the public hospital's care something worked.

Nowadays I am on only one drug, Mirtazapine. I kept on asking the GP and the psychiatrist if I needed so many tablets and to the psychiatrist's credit he was prepared to remove these drugs.

Compared to June last year my life has totally turned around. I am now heavily involved in classes at the U3A both attending classes run by other volunteers and leading them myself. I also help a recently arrived Chinese migrant to improve her English once a week at the local library. I have also gained around 8 to 9 kilograms which, in my case, is a good thing. And I am fit going to the gym twice a week and walking 40 minutes every day.

My experience not once but three times is that successful benzodiazepine withdrawal is possible but that it takes time.

The important thing from my perspective is to stay well. Unfortunately, I have been seriously depressed three times in about eleven years. So I am relying on the psychiatrist to keep me well. He has said that the level of Mirtazapine I am taking should keep depression away. But he recognises that there are no guarantees.

My one piece of advice is not to dismiss psychiatry. Psychiatric drugs do have their place. I took myself all of them after ECT worked in 2013 and I became well after a suicide attempt in the previous December. This was a serious mistake. I remained well for three years but then out of nowhere I plummeted into a deep depression which I did not get out of for nearly two years.

My big challenge thanks to my treatment in the public system between mid 2016 to January last year is that I have to endure serious memory loss. I was given ECT 56 times. I was alerted to the possibility of memory loss. But I could never have anticipated what actually happened. The last decade up to June last year has mostly been deleted from my mind and the earlier parts of my life are sketchy. My childhood and early adult years seem to be the memories I have retained. I have made an official complaint to the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner here in this Australian state - Victoria. But I don't anticipate that much will be gained from it. I am just hoping that awareness of the potential for memory loss as serious as mine can have an impact on the psychiatrist who treated me, when she comes to prescribing this highly invasive treatment for some other unfortunate soul.

Best wishes,

[...].




Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Letter-to-editor
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2019, 12:09:23 am »
Thank You for sharing your story [...], your a true inspiration.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.