Help With Benzo Withdrawal

zeropercent21

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Oct 4, 2012
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I'm not entirely sure if anyone on this forum can help me, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

So basically, 7 years ago I was prescribed benzodiazepines for an anxiety disorder. I cold turkeyed off of them 20 months ago and its been pure hell ever since. I have a myriad of symptoms I don't want to get into, but basically what happens is the GABA receptors become down-regulated and they don't respond to GABA anymore. Also, the nervous system becomes extreme raw and hypersensitive. For example, I used to have an extremely HIGH tolerance to caffeine, now a half a cup of coffee would probably send me to the E.R.

The medical establishment has not recognized benzo withdrawal as an issue; they give you no warning about it before they prescribe it. The general consensus is that only time will heal you; the time for most is 6 to 36 months to heal, and 99.9% of people eventually recover 100%.

Is there any peat inspired way to strengthen the nervous system and heal the GABA receptors?
 
J

j.

Guest
This is a very specific case. Normally, many people have better outlook if they take pregnenolone, but since your circumstances are not normal, maybe it'll make it worse.

What probably won't hurt, and might help over time, is the typical peat diet: dairy, fruits, meats, eggs, gelatin, low PUFA. Or thyroid supplementation, if you're hypothyroid.
 

zeropercent21

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Oct 4, 2012
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Thanks for the response.

My temp. is consistently 98.4 and my pulse is usually between 95 and 105. I eat TONS of carbs throughout the day, mainly fruits, but I do include a good amount of starch as well. I eat a good amount of meat and I'm slowly increasing my milk consumption. I've seen some improvement, but I'm still very symptomatic.
 
J

j.

Guest
Regarding protein, RP advises getting 80 grams or more from milk, cheese, eggs, potatoes, and preferably gelatinous cuts (e.g. oxtail, I think shanks too, and others).
 

andvanwyk

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I withdrew off benzos and antidepressants 3 years ago. I find a good gelatinous cup or two or more of bone broth or oxtail soup with salt every day works extremely well and can also stop panic attacks if taken with fruit. Magnesium supplements have also helped me and the other thing is daily full body sunlight exposure. Good luck.
 

burtlancast

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Old benzodiazepines side effects were quite severe, causing permanent trembling and mental confusion. :?

If you don't have these symptoms, consider yourself lucky. I reckon it's going to take a few years for your body to re adjust.
 

zeropercent21

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andvanwyk said:
I withdrew off benzos and antidepressants 3 years ago. I find a good gelatinous cup or two or more of bone broth or oxtail soup with salt every day works extremely well and can also stop panic attacks if taken with fruit. Magnesium supplements have also helped me and the other thing is daily full body sunlight exposure. Good luck.

Are you 100% recovered from benzo withdrawal? If so, at what month were you healed?

I'll look into your advice about the bone broth. I tried supplementing with magnesuim last year and my cns just wasn't ready for it. But I'll give it a shot again.
 

andvanwyk

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I never really think about the benzos anymore and I thought of them less each month that went past. The first months were really really difficult. I also didn't have access to the information I have now so I was still consuming things that were fuelling anxiety and hadn't discovered useful lifestyle practices. The biggest thing I've found with anxiety and panic besides diet and sunlight etc. is doing things you love, doing as much as you can to try change the thinking patterns so that you aren't controlled by anxiety. The benzo i was on was called rivotril. Working with Josh Rubin helped a lot, I felt like a new person. I have had panic attacks and spells of anxiety without the benzos but learnt to cope and thrive in a more natural way. Lack of sleep, sunlight and lots of stress got me in a rut last year. Was studying and running a business while being sleep deprived during a rainy winter and my system went into panic mode for a while. Ray Peat recommended 2 quarts of milk per day with small doses of t3. I wasn't drinking milk back then but things got better as i downgraded my life, reduced stress, slept a lot and did a lot of suntanning. Hope that helps.
 

andvanwyk

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Finding passion and hobbies in life is very important when the nutrition is dialled in. For me salsa dancing helped rewire my brain to a more fun and joyous place. You can learn to channel the adrenaline.
 

Rayser

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Apr 3, 2013
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207
I think cysteine would help since it has a lot of similar effects compared to GABBA.
If you try to get as much gelatine as you can for a while, the therapeutic effects should be noticable very soon.
Bone broth soup every day with salt as much as you can stand.

This is from Ray Peat' article on gelatin, stress, longevity:

The other well-studied inhibitory neurotransmitter is GABA, so it's significant that GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is a close analog of glycine (alpha amino acetic acid). A synthetic molecule structurally similar to those natural inhibitory “transmitters,” beta amino propanoic acid, has some of the protective effects of glycine and GABA. The other molecules in the series, at least up to epsilon amino caproic acid, have some of the same antiinvasive, antiinflammatory, anti-angiogenic, properties. Alanine and proline, with cell-protecting actions, have the same basic composition, carbon (CH2 or CH) atoms separating acid and amino groups. Even the amino acids in which the lipophilic carbon atoms extend out in a branched side-chain, valine, leucine, and isoleucine, have some of the antiseizure (inhibitory) action (Skeie, et al., 1992, 1994) of GABA and glycine. Tests done with one, or a few, of the relatively lipophilic (aliphatic) amino acids prevent seizures, while the “balanced” mixtures of amino acids permit seizures; unfortunately, results of this sort haven't led researchers to question the idea of “balance” that developed within the setting of agricultural research.

The similarity between the structures and actions of glycine and GABA suggest that their “receptors” are similar, if not identical. For years, it has been known that progesterone and pregnenolone act on the GABA receptor, to reinforce the protective, inhibitory effects of GABA. Estrogen has the opposite effect, inhibiting GABA's action. Since GABA opposes estrogen and inhibits the growth of breast cancer, it wouldn't be surprising if glycine, alanine, etc., did the same.
 

DaveFoster

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"There is an increasing interest in anticonvulsants for the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal, and among the newer substances gabapentin seems particularly promising due to its gabaergic and its glutamate-antagonistic activity. We present the case of a rapid benzodiazepine-withdrawal controlled successfully with gabapentin."

Reference: Internet Scientific Publications
 

Aleeri

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Jan 14, 2018
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So I have experience with 1 year on high dosage Xanax and then withdrawal, it's tough man, once you can do that you can do anything, nothing compares.

Ray Peat stuff is all great but benzo withdrawal is a completely different animal altogether, a cup of bone broth won't get you there...

It took me about a year to get back to normal, worst was the first couple of months. I suggest you pick something you want to learn about and you start spending a lot of relax time reading and studying it, watching documentaries etc. it's a good way to pass the time when things are shitty like that and makes it not a complete waste either. I could not leave the house much the first 1-3 months.

If I would do it again this is what I would do:

Supplements:
Lemon Balm (need a strong alcohol liquid extract, you can dose this very high if needed)
Reishi (need a strong alcohol liquid extract, Dragon Herbs ones are good, it's worth the cost trust me)
(Ashwagandha might also be a good one to look into)
Transdermal Magnesium Spray
Lithium Orotate (this stuff is the bee's knees lol)
Melatonin occasionally if sleep is bad
, I know this is contradictory to what people would argue here but in the case of benzo withdrawal you have bigger problems and your levels of catecholamines are already super high, so I would see it as a good sleep aid and to lower dopamine for sleep. It also enhances GABA activity: Effects of chronic melatonin administration on GABA and diazepam binding in rat brain. - PubMed - NCBI

Glycine can work but for me, it has always been stimulating so a no go, be careful.

Stronger stuff when ***t is really bad, ie panic attacks and social anxiety:
Propanolol (beta blocker)
Cyproheptadine (sleep)
Kratom, this is a natural opiate that is safe and not very addictive, it might bring back some happiness in your life during this time.


I would be careful with everything that can be stimulating, such as white sugar, stick with fruit. It's not that it is bad but your heart rate and adrenaline will already be high at base levels, don't boost the system further. Also, make sure you're getting enough fat and protein to not have your blood sugar go up and down all the time.

Avoid exercise, only walking.

No caffeine or any other stimulants, chocolate, tea etc.

Absolutely ZERO ALCOHOL or you will never recover those GABA receptors. No GABA drugs such as Phenibut or Lyrica either.

Meditation is critical to teach you how to handle your anxiety without relying on external remedies. Recovery is much faster with this, aim for 30min x2 a day at least.


To give you some motivation, I have close to ZERO anxiety in my life now, complete reversal is possible even if you had anxiety problems in the past, just stick to it, go through the motions and you will get there!
 

sugarbabe

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Sep 13, 2012
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Great advice ^^ I just wanted to add that when I was going through caffeine withdrawal (yes it was that bad in my case), cypro was a lifesaver (but having trouble getting off that now!), And also the book DARE. Many many people have been able to recover from panic with that book. I used it successfully on a plane too.
 

ilikecats

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Jan 26, 2016
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@zeropercent21 But yeah I was on benzos for quite a while. 1-4mg of klonopin a day for 5-6 years and I'd take xanax recreationally too. I think my personal record was like 30mg of xanax at once and 90mg of xanax over 3 days (so basically 3 months worth over the course of three days lol) . I think the only thing to do is to implement Peat ideas with an emphasis on gaba agonism. I think its better to view it more systemically then saying "my gaba receptors are messed up" when there is really no proof of that and even if there was it wouldn't change anything. If i could recommend one thing it would be SALT SALT and lots of salt (1 to 2 tablespoons). What are your vitamin d levels like? What is your protein intake like? addressing these two things will probably do way more for your anxiety in the short and long term then just focusing on substances that are gaba agonists (or substances that “heal” GABA receptors, I’m not even sure what that would entail or know of any substances that do that. Do you want to “upregulate” your GABA receptors? Then I guess downing tons of caffeine would work) and its due to their profound systemic effects on the organism. Hope that helps a bit.
 
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ilikecats

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@Aleeri lol kratom. All that sweet sweet prolactin and a bunch of hard to digest plant fiber to boot. And OP might be lucky enough to develop an opioid addiction too. A “natural opiate” a la opium poppies? Great advice dude.
 
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Aleeri

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@Aleeri lol kratom. All that sweet sweet prolactin and a bunch of hard to digest plant fiber to boot. And OP might be lucky enough to develop an opioid addiction too. A “natural opiate” a la opium poppies? Great advice dude.

If you never used it then don't comment on it, this book is worth a read too: https://www.amazon.com/Kratom-Other...1526059362&sr=1-2&keywords=Mitragyna+Speciosa

Basically, if people were not so closed minded and quick to draw conclusions this herb could well save many lives and got many more people free from addiction to opiates. In fact, in parts of Asia it was made illegal because it was jeopardizing the opium trade and getting junkies free from their addiction.

You want to talk stimulants? Then I could say your coffee is going to have you snorting lines of coke in no time, same ***t right a "natural stimulant"? Because obviously, I will be smoking opium after drinking some kratom tea, nice fear mongering. FYI kratom is at the same level of a cup of coffee.

One google search will have you find a ton of people who used kratom as help to get off benzos and other drugs, it's a far better option than many other things.

You're recommending caffeine to a person with severe anxiety and then you think I crossed the line with Kratom? Funny.
 

ilikecats

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@Aleeri Lol you think I’ve never used kratom? I was like the Michael Jordan of burning kratom. I’d go through a kilo of the best kratom in the world in 2 weeks or less. It’s just like oxycodone with training wheels. With the right tolerance a good dose of a high quality red vein kratom feels just like like hydrocodone, morphine, oxy except slightly different (just as all those opiates feel slightly different). Granted there seem to safety features built in to kratom (hence the training wheels comment) like the fact that it’s almost impossible to die from an overdose and there seem to be anomalies in the building of tolerance (things don’t seem to escalate AS quickly). It certainly safer and cheaper than other opiates but it isn’t something to toy around with especially for someone in OPs situation. It’s a little comedic (and slightly insane) to say It gets people free from their addiction to opioids when they just moved on to a different (albeit more safe and less disruptive) opioid. If they go off kratom they WILL go through withdrawals that are basically classic opitate withdrawals. Kratom withdrawal can be a nightmare. And kratom still harms the organism and you’d know that if you understood the effect of opioid receptor agonists on ones physiology and specifically on the endocrine system. It’s going to sky rocket prolactin, it’s going to increase endotoxin, it’s going to increase histamine, it’s going to lower androgen production, it’s going to drastically lower bowel transit times etc..... all things that damage the organism. And for the record I never recommended caffeine, I used it as an example to point out the fallacy of focusing solely on the GABA receptors (ie “you think that the problem is that your GABA receptors are down regulated? Try something that upregulates GABA receptors like something that lowers GABA (caffeine) and see how that goes” I know that op said they can’t handle any caffeine so I was using it to show that that kind of thinking would lead to a dead end. I think op should think more systemically). But caffeine is completely different than kratom. It has pretty much the exact opposite effects on ones physiology.
 
Last edited:

Aleeri

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Jan 14, 2018
Messages
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@Aleeri Lol you think I’ve never used kratom? I was like the Michael Jordan of burning kratom. I’d go through a kilo of the best kratom in the world in 2 weeks or less. It’s just like oxycodone with training wheels. With the right tolerance a good dose of a high quality red vein kratom feels just like like hydrocodone, morphine, oxy except slightly different (just as all those opiates feel slightly different). Granted there seem to safety features built in to kratom (hence the training wheels comment) like the fact that it’s almost impossible to die from an overdose and there seem to be anomalies in the building of tolerance (things don’t seem to escalate AS quickly). It certainly safer and cheaper than other opiates but it isn’t something to toy around with especially for someone in OPs situation. It’s a little comedic (and slightly insane) to say It gets people free from their addiction to opioids when they just moved on to a different (albeit more safe and less disruptive) opioid. If they go off kratom they WILL go through withdrawals that are basically classic opitate withdrawals. Kratom withdrawal can be a nightmare. And kratom still harms the organism and you’d know that if you understood the effect of opioid receptor agonists on ones physiology and specifically on the endocrine system. It’s going to sky rocket prolactin, it’s going to increase endotoxin, it’s going to increase histamine, it’s going to lower androgen production, it’s going to drastically lower bowel transit times etc..... all things that damage the organism. And for the record I never recommended caffeine, I used it as an example to point out the fallacy of focusing solely on the GABA receptors (ie “you think that the problem is that your GABA receptors are down regulated? Try something that upregulates GABA receptors like something that lowers GABA (caffeine) and see how that goes” I know that op said they can’t handle any caffeine so I was using it to show that that kind of thinking would lead to a dead end. I think op should think more systemically). But caffeine is completely different than kratom. It has pretty much the exact opposite effects on ones physiology.

The devils in the dosage. From my own experience with benzo withdrawal, I do not see a problem with it, cold turkey is often not an option so trading a very evil substance (benzo) for a far lesser evil (kratom) while you are adjusting seams reasonable. Very few addiction clinics have people quit cold turkey, there is often something prescribed. Besides prolactin is going to be high anyway during such a stressful period as benzo withdrawal, I doubt it makes a big difference.

I had no problem with my androgens on Kratom and I did not feel it was addictive, neither did I have to consume crazy amounts of it. I guess we all different.

This is a good article Natural Ways to Increase GABA

Lemon Balm and Reishi are both non-addictive GABAergics:
Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism. - PubMed - NCBI
Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods

I should probably have mentioned Theanine too.
 
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I'm not entirely sure if anyone on this forum can help me, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

So basically, 7 years ago I was prescribed benzodiazepines for an anxiety disorder. I cold turkeyed off of them 20 months ago and its been pure hell ever since. I have a myriad of symptoms I don't want to get into, but basically what happens is the GABA receptors become down-regulated and they don't respond to GABA anymore. Also, the nervous system becomes extreme raw and hypersensitive. For example, I used to have an extremely HIGH tolerance to caffeine, now a half a cup of coffee would probably send me to the E.R.

The medical establishment has not recognized benzo withdrawal as an issue; they give you no warning about it before they prescribe it. The general consensus is that only time will heal you; the time for most is 6 to 36 months to heal, and 99.9% of people eventually recover 100%.

Is there any peat inspired way to strengthen the nervous system and heal the GABA receptors?

Yes, you need to take high dose niacinamide (2-6 grams):
“Niacinamide, one of the B vitamins, provides energy to the mitochondrial system. Under stress and strong excitation, cells waste niacinamide NADH, but niacinamide itself has a sedative antiexcitatory effect, and some of its actions resemble a hormone. Estrogen tends to interfere with the formation of niacin from tryptophan. Tryptophan, rather than forming the sedative niacin (pyridine carboxylic acid), can be directed toward formation of the excitatory quinolinic acid (pyridine dicarboxylic acid) by polyunsaturated fats. Excitation must be in balance with a cell’s energetic resources, and niacinamide can play multiple protective roles, decreasing excitation, increasing energy production, and stabilizing repair systems. The stat of excitation and type of energy metabolism are crucial factors in governing cell functions and survival.” - Ray Peat

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0c55/ebbffdc0832e531976a6f665c60831d58202.pdf
"Benzodiazepine-like Properties
Additional reasons for niacinamide’s ef-
fectiveness likely have to do with its
benzodiazepine-like effects. In a previous re-
view of the literature by Hoffer, both niacin
and niacinamide were shown to have some
sedative activity, and were able to potentiate
the action of sedatives, anticonvulsant
medications and certain tranquilizers.
24
In a
recent case report by this author, a review of
the literature was undertaken to determine
the biological mechanism for niacinamide’s
anxiolytic effects.
14
Ta b l e 2
(p.174) summa-
rizes this data.
25-30
It appears that niacinamide
has therapeutic effects comparable to the
benzodiazepines. Its therapeutic effects are
probably not related to it acting as a ligand
for the benzodiazepine receptor, although it
acts centrally and might have a weak bind-
ing affinity for the benzodiazepine receptor.
Both the benzodiazepines and niacinamide
exert similar anxiolytic effects through the
modulation of neurotransmitters commonly
unbalanced in anxiety.
Niacinamide might also be helpful when
weaning patients off their benzodiazepine
medications. Benzodiazepine withdrawal
symptoms include tinnitus, involuntary
movements, paresthesias, perceptual
changes and confusion."
 
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