Benzodiazepines May Be Strong Serotonin Antagonists. Are They Really That Dangerous?

GutFeeling

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Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
288
My doc keep pushing SSRIs and avoiding benzos, even though he knows I would never take a SSRI... Probably gonna get an appointment with another psychiatrist as I suspect he gets profit by selling certains brands.
Does anyone have some experience with benzos, especially Clonazepam to share? Clonazepam makes me feel so good ,the anti anxiety/depression effect is really strong.

Also I found some interesting studies:
Benzodiazepines: Anxiety-Reducing Activity by Reduction of Serotonin Turnover in the Brain - PubMed
The anxiety-reducing effects of minor tranquilizers in the rat conflict test were mimicked by serotonin antagonists and by p-chlorophenylalanine, an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis; the depressant effects of the minor tranquilizers were mimicked by norepinephrine antagonists. Intraventricular injections of serotonin led to a suppression of behavior, and also antagonized the anxiety-reducing action of benzodiazeprines.
Tranquilizers may exert their anxiety-reducing effects by a reduction of serotonin activity in a behaviorally suppressive punishment system, and they may exert their depressant effects by a reduction of norepinephrine activity in a behaviorally facilitatory reward system.

Effects of Benzodiazepines on Central Serotonergic Mechanisms - PubMed

If the rat conflict test were a valid animal model of anxiety neurosis, evidence which implicates serotonin systems in the anxiety-reducing actions of benzodiazepine tranquilizers could be summarized as follows: (1) The punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines in the conflict test are mimicked by serotonin antagonists (methysergide, cinanserin, bromolysergic acid), serotonin synthesis inhibition (PCPA), and serotonin nerve terminal damage (5,6-dihydroxytryptamine). (2) Punishment effects may be intensified by the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytryptophan (in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor), serotonin agonists (alpha-methyltryptamine), or intraventricular injections of serotonin itself. Intraventricularly administered serotonin also antagonizes the punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines. (3) Stimulation of the serotonergic cell bodies in the dorsal raphe nucleus by local application of crystalline carbachol causes intense suppression of behavior. The suppressive effects of raphe stimulation are antagonized by systemic administration of benzodiazepines. (4) In biochemical experiments, the decrease in norepinephrine turnover induced by oxazepam rapidly undergoes tolerance, whereas the decrease induced in serotonin turnover is maintained over repeated doses. These results parallel findings in the conflict test which indicate that the depressant action of oxazepam rapidly undergoes tolerance, whereas the anxiety-reducing action is maintained over repeated doses. Although central serotonin neurons are thus implicated in the therapeutic actions of benzodiazepine tranquilizers, it is quite possible that the drugs actually act indirectly to reduce serotonin activity. The concept that benzodiazepines may exert a primary action on GABA-containing neurons, which in turn regulate serotonergic transmission, was supported by preliminary psychopharmacological evidence. The GABA-antagonist picrotoxin, at doses that do not disrupt unpunished behavior, fully antagonizes the punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines in the conflict test.

 

lampofred

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I don't think they're dangerous in the sense that they harm your metabolism like SSRIs, they're dangerous in the sense that they are extremely hard to quit after starting (with seizures, agoraphobia, etc. during withdrawal), according to what I've heard.

They have a lot of similarities with niacinamide & progesterone in terms of how they affect the brain.
 

tankasnowgod

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My doc keep pushing SSRIs and avoiding benzos, even though he knows I would never take a SSRI... Probably gonna get an appointment with another psychiatrist as I suspect he gets profit by selling certains brands.
Does anyone have some experience with benzos, especially Clonazepam to share? Clonazepam makes me feel so good ,the anti anxiety/depression effect is really strong.

I think there are some who have experience with Benzos on the forum that don't recommend them. Personally, I won't touch them. Too many horror stories about how they are absolute hell to get off of, if you get addicted (which can apparently happen in a matter of weeks). You can find people talking about the hell of detoxing from various benzos if you search youtube.
 

Goobz

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I'd absolutely avoid them. They're incredibly bad for your brain, and are drugs of addiction. Pretty striking to me that only a few months on the drugs causes such a massive increase in dementia risk (below).

"A recent study found that taking benzodiazapines for three to six months increased the Alzheimer's risk by 32%. Taking the drug for more than six months increased the risk by 84%."
The Anxiety And Sleeping Drugs Linked to Dementia And Death - PsyBlog

"Benzos the most common substance in overdose deaths in 2016, ahead of oxycontin and fentanyl"
'I went from one benzo to two benzos to three': Australia's hidden drug problem

Unfortunately I don't know anything as potent as benzos for anxiety. But there are plenty of other alternatives which also function via GABA to help anxiety (not as powerfully, sadly) and aren't horrible for your brain. Ashwagandha springs to mind. Taurine, magnesium, DHEA, pregnenolone are some Peaty ones.
 
Last edited:

JudiBlueHen

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I have to say from personal experience that for me they are far less dangerous than SSRIs. I took clonazepam at a very low dose for 20 years as I couldn't sleep without it. It is definitely hard to quit, but so are ALL psychotripic drugs after you have been on them for a long time. I never had a bad reaction to benzos. But I have transitioned to diazepam as I can take it at a far lower (effective) dose and still get some calming effects.
 

GutFeeling

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Thank you all guys!
I've used clonazepam for more than a month and didn't noticed any withdrawal... Apparently mirtazapine can help mitigate the withdrawal , so I guess cyproheptadine can do the same but not sure..B complex and zinc are helping my anxiety.

I will continue with the benzo, some studies claim that reducing the dosage gradually is effective at tapering without much trouble.

This seems interesting: Do all benzodiazepines have the potential for addiction and/or...
Logan Michael Netzer said:
just wouldnt be me if I didn’t challenge posts made against benzodiazepines (BZDs). First, let’s start with some common ground, BZDs ARE prone to causing dependence in those who use them for long periods of time. BUT! Guess what, all SSRIs/SNRIs, TCIs, irreversible MAOIs, pregabalin and many others cause the same frustrations (Nielsen et al., 2011; Pande et al., 2003).

What’s more is that, before the gigantic pharmaceutical push for antidepressants, and the accompanying slick change in the definition of addiction and dependence in the DSM-3 to demonize BZDs (Nielsen et al., 2011; Starcevic, 2011), there was and still is an abundance of research showing just the opposite. for example, one study showed that in patients taking diazepam in dosages up to 60mg/day for numerous years had minimal to no withdrawal (Bowden et al, 1980). of note, is that, situations Where BZDs are associated with addiction they are seldom to never the sole drug of use (think ethanol, opioids, and as a comedown agent for stimulants).


Note: Please only use theses drugs as last resort.

Also, I bet the risk of dementia is exaggerated. The studies are at high risk of bias and even contradictory. My psychiatrist don't think that benzos and amitriptyline does increase the risk of dementia ( he is working for a kinda long time, so his word may be accurate).
Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
 

sugarbabe

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Learning nervous system regulation is far superior to any drug or supplement. The power is in your body. Don't give that power away. Anxiety has it's roots in the amygdala the reptilian brain of fight flight or freeze.
 

aguineapig

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Beta blockers, buspirone, and a low dose high potency 5-ht2a antagonist, along with self structured CBT was almost 100 percent effective for me.
 

Vinny

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Thank you all guys!
I've used clonazepam for more than a month and didn't noticed any withdrawal... Apparently mirtazapine can help mitigate the withdrawal , so I guess cyproheptadine can do the same but not sure..B complex and zinc are helping my anxiety.

I will continue with the benzo, some studies claim that reducing the dosage gradually is effective at tapering without much trouble.

This seems interesting: Do all benzodiazepines have the potential for addiction and/or...
Logan Michael Netzer said:
just wouldnt be me if I didn’t challenge posts made against benzodiazepines (BZDs). First, let’s start with some common ground, BZDs ARE prone to causing dependence in those who use them for long periods of time. BUT! Guess what, all SSRIs/SNRIs, TCIs, irreversible MAOIs, pregabalin and many others cause the same frustrations (Nielsen et al., 2011; Pande et al., 2003).

What’s more is that, before the gigantic pharmaceutical push for antidepressants, and the accompanying slick change in the definition of addiction and dependence in the DSM-3 to demonize BZDs (Nielsen et al., 2011; Starcevic, 2011), there was and still is an abundance of research showing just the opposite. for example, one study showed that in patients taking diazepam in dosages up to 60mg/day for numerous years had minimal to no withdrawal (Bowden et al, 1980). of note, is that, situations Where BZDs are associated with addiction they are seldom to never the sole drug of use (think ethanol, opioids, and as a comedown agent for stimulants).


Note: Please only use theses drugs as last resort.

Also, I bet the risk of dementia is exaggerated. The studies are at high risk of bias and even contradictory. My psychiatrist don't think that benzos and amitriptyline does increase the risk of dementia ( he is working for a kinda long time, so his word may be accurate).
Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
I used to avoid pharma drugs at all costs, but not anymore.
Some of them, taken at reasonable amounts and at the right time, considering also they could be very cheap and without prescription, do wonders.
 
Joined
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Does anyone have some experience with benzos, especially Clonazepam to share? Clonazepam makes me feel so good ,the anti anxiety/depression effect is really strong.

Have used Alprazolam as needed for over 10 years with no addiction issues. It is nothing short of a lifesaver. My dose has not needed to be increased. Small doses of less than 1 mg will eliminate even the worst panic attacks within 45 minutes. The anti-depressant effects are a nice bonus. No SSRI ever worked for me.

In my opinion, the key is using it as needed, truly needed.

My grandmother took small doses of Ativan at night for roughly 40 years. She called them her "sleeping pills". She was sharp as a whip with no signs of dementia until she died at 88 years of age from esophageal cancer. She was on a second gen PPI.
 

rei

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Aug 6, 2017
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1,151
The only problem with benzos is that they are too good. You are able to steer your body so far off-balance that you might die trying to find your way back.

When used responsibly they are some of the most efficient medicines out there, when used irresponsibly they are one of the few that can kill you.

Irresponsible usage is to take them daily, according to a prescription. They can only be used responsibly by taking them OCCASIONALLY, not even once every day for long periods of time.

I have no problem to believe they block serotonin, as it is a primary stress transmitter, and benzos are some of the best stress eliminators.
 
Last edited:

metabolizm

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Nov 30, 2019
Messages
496
So - how can we safely simulate the effects of benzos, without the heavy sedation?

(I'm with @2ManyHistamines - they were and are still a life-saver for me, and I've never had any addiction issues because I only use them in "emergencies")
 

aguineapig

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May 16, 2019
Messages
154
Nicotine can indirectly upregulate endogenous GABA via a complex mechanism. I think endogenous GABA is very different from various other ligands that can bind to GABA receptors like alcohol and benzos. Endogenous GABA is also self limiting.

I started a thread on this, I believe it's in the tobacco section but a search of threads by me will yield it.
 

Davsey85

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Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
271
I take Klonopin every other day.

Was on it daily for 6 months.Tough to get off

though it does seem to help with anxiety

more than any SSRI's same with lorazapam

For some it difficult to get off without lasting withdrawl

For others it's not difficult with a slow taper

Depends on the person.

I find SSRIs to fry the brain

I also found klonopin at times to help with my

CFS.It lowers nitric oxide and can help with

Emf sensitivity

If you have the kind of anxiety from feeling

overstimultated then benzos can help with

this although it's not a cure





My doc keep pushing SSRIs and avoiding benzos, even though he knows I would never take a SSRI... Probably gonna get an appointment with another psychiatrist as I suspect he gets profit by selling certains brands.
Does anyone have some experience with benzos, especially Clonazepam to share? Clonazepam makes me feel so good ,the anti anxiety/depression effect is really strong.

Also I found some interesting studies:
Benzodiazepines: Anxiety-Reducing Activity by Reduction of Serotonin Turnover in the Brain - PubMed
The anxiety-reducing effects of minor tranquilizers in the rat conflict test were mimicked by serotonin antagonists and by p-chlorophenylalanine, an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis; the depressant effects of the minor tranquilizers were mimicked by norepinephrine antagonists. Intraventricular injections of serotonin led to a suppression of behavior, and also antagonized the anxiety-reducing action of benzodiazeprines.
Tranquilizers may exert their anxiety-reducing effects by a reduction of serotonin activity in a behaviorally suppressive punishment system, and they may exert their depressant effects by a reduction of norepinephrine activity in a behaviorally facilitatory reward system.

Effects of Benzodiazepines on Central Serotonergic Mechanisms - PubMed

If the rat conflict test were a valid animal model of anxiety neurosis, evidence which implicates serotonin systems in the anxiety-reducing actions of benzodiazepine tranquilizers could be summarized as follows: (1) The punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines in the conflict test are mimicked by serotonin antagonists (methysergide, cinanserin, bromolysergic acid), serotonin synthesis inhibition (PCPA), and serotonin nerve terminal damage (5,6-dihydroxytryptamine). (2) Punishment effects may be intensified by the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytryptophan (in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor), serotonin agonists (alpha-methyltryptamine), or intraventricular injections of serotonin itself. Intraventricularly administered serotonin also antagonizes the punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines. (3) Stimulation of the serotonergic cell bodies in the dorsal raphe nucleus by local application of crystalline carbachol causes intense suppression of behavior. The suppressive effects of raphe stimulation are antagonized by systemic administration of benzodiazepines. (4) In biochemical experiments, the decrease in norepinephrine turnover induced by oxazepam rapidly undergoes tolerance, whereas the decrease induced in serotonin turnover is maintained over repeated doses. These results parallel findings in the conflict test which indicate that the depressant action of oxazepam rapidly undergoes tolerance, whereas the anxiety-reducing action is maintained over repeated doses. Although central serotonin neurons are thus implicated in the therapeutic actions of benzodiazepine tranquilizers, it is quite possible that the drugs actually act indirectly to reduce serotonin activity. The concept that benzodiazepines may exert a primary action on GABA-containing neurons, which in turn regulate serotonergic transmission, was supported by preliminary psychopharmacological evidence. The GABA-antagonist picrotoxin, at doses that do not disrupt unpunished behavior, fully antagonizes the punishment-lessening effects of benzodiazepines in the conflict test.

 

Jib

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Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
461
I always used benzos very, very sparingly, on an as-needed basic.

For me, that means specific social situations. If I'm having a panic attack but am in the comfort of my own home, I won't take one. I take it if I need to be around people and perform/function to some degree. Specific situations.

Like 0.5mg to 1mg of alprozalam every few weeks, or less. For especially bad cases. It works great when used like that.

They can make you feel depressed. Not good. They're intense drugs. I just live with the anxiety. And it's severe. I will not take anything like that on a regular basis. I also have beta-blockers but I hardly ever take those. Similar thing: specific situations. I don't trust any pharmaceutical taken daily, and for that matter, I've become very skeptical of 99% of supplements as well. Too many variables and it can just be too hard to know what you're doing to your mind and body for it to be worth it for me.
 

Rickyman

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Feb 24, 2017
Messages
121
In cases of extreme anxiety, aren't they better than SSRIs?

Yes, benzoz helped me in time of huge anxiety and panic disorder. They work fast depending on what type you get. I got alprazolam and klonopin when I told the Dr I was trying to taper off since my disorder was under much better control. But you do have to taper off slowly I'm taking months. I was off of them for years until great stressors showed up in my life.
Haidut has some good articles on benzo alternatives in case you're wondering. I don't get easily adjusted to substances like these so I'm assuming that's why I could taper off pretty quick. So if you are prone to being addicted to Downers maybe think twice.
 
Last edited:

Rickyman

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Feb 24, 2017
Messages
121
So - how can we safely simulate the effects of benzos, without the heavy sedation?

I wish a non sedative version of benzos. I hear Buspar is non sedating but don't know how fast acting out is or is effectiveness.
 
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