Interdose Withdrawal. Clear with Alcohol, Not So Clear with Benzos for Sleep

In Peter Breggin’s Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal, he mentions “interdose” withdrawal symptoms as a problem with benzodiazepam use.   I knew someone once who may have had this problem.  They were taking a relatively high dose of a benzodiazepam for sleep.  Because they were taking it just once a day, the medication was eliminated/ metabolized from the body prior to the next dose.  I.e. the level of the drug in the body went down to the extent that the body began having withdrawal symptoms between doses.   This person was experiencing high blood pressure.  I cannot be certain that the interdose withdrawal was the cause of this hypertension, but at least it is a real possibility in someone who has not had high blood pressure in the past.  In a similar (not identical) way to the interdose withdrawal of alcohol use, i.e. the daily tremors, anxiety, increased HR and BP, the sedative hypnotic benzodiazepam could also be the cause of this new physiological problem.  Increased BP is known to occur with typical benzodiazepam withdrawal after cessation of the drug.  Benzodiazepams (Benzos) are drugs like klonopin, xanax, ativan, etc.  Part of the problem is that people do not recognize these Physician prescribed drugs as addictive and dangerous like they do with cocaine, heroine or alcohol.  Physiological problems from interdose withdrawal from alcohol are commonly recognized by essentially everyone.  “He’s got the shakes”.  However interdose withdrawal from those taking nightly doses of benzos is practically completely unrecognized.  Yet both are powerful sedatives that have known withdrawal problems upon cessation.  Be careful when using a nightcap whether a benzo or a few shots of alcohol.  You could have more problems than anticipated.  In both cases you can expect real interdose (between doses) withdrawal symptoms from these powerful sedatives.


Peter Breggin Lays his Axe to the Root of the Tree

Poisonous Potions

From Medication Madness

The New Ultimate Resource

The last ten to twenty years have seen a drastic change in viewpoint regarding the ultimate resource of moral and psychological guidance: Regardless of their religion or philosophy, many educated and informed people have come to believe that psychiatry and psychiatric drugs provide the best last resort for themselves when in psychological distress. Indeed, such drugs are increasingly the first resort. It appears that we have replaced reliance on God, other people, and ourselves with reliance on medical doctors and psychiatric drugs. The ultimate source of guidance and inspiration is no longer life itself with its infinite resources but biopsychiatry with its narrow view of human nature.
This view of ourselves is a most astonishing one. It suggests that most if not all of our psychological, emotional, and spiritual problems are “psychiatric disorders” best treated by specialists who prescribe psychoactive drugs. Our emotional…

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The Idolatry of Psychiatric Drug Use pt. 2

Notice how God kept Paul dependent and looking to Him to meet His needs in 2 Cor. 1:8-10: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,”

I want to point out a few things about what Paul says here. 1. Notice that Paul ascribes a reason for his suffering, and that he looks at that suffering as being controlled by God to produce a good result. Paul says that they were burdened excessively so that their trust would move from themselves to God. The words “so that we would not trust in ourselves” indicate the purpose or reason for Paul’s suffering. 2. Notice also that the suffering was intense and involved severe, negative emotions. Paul said that his difficulty was “beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” The fact that God promises us His joy does not mean that we will never suffer intensely painful emotions. Another writer of Scripture—Asaph—in Psalm 77:4 demonstrated this when he wrote that “I am so troubled that I cannot speak”. Nevertheless, God is always moving us in the direction of joy and contentment. The end result of Paul’s divinely controlled trial was that He trusted in God, and He steadfastly set his hope on God. Notice again his confident words of hope in God his Deliverer at the end of the verse.
God clearly became more real to Paul through his sufferings. He learned to go directly to God to “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Paul’s appreciation for God in his life as his Rescuer and Savior increased in a very practical and real way. Paul’s personal love for God undoubtedly also increased as he came to lean more on God in His daily life. As Paul’s trust and hope became more cemented in God, God lifted Paul’s emotions of despair. Notice how encouraging, and even thrilling, it is to see that Paul describes God as the One who “raises the dead”? If God can do the impossible and raise the dead, then He is the all-powerful, miracle working God who can meet your deepest needs in your darkest hours. God is glorified as God as we come to rely on Him and rejoice in His amazing power and provision. However, as we have seen, we only get to the point where we have this attitude through intense trials and painful suffering. If that is what is necessary in order to more steadily trust in God and hope in His wondrous, life-giving power, then we should entrust ourselves to our loving Father and be willing to endure the trials. We can say, “I’m yours Father, I’m willing to go through the trials, because I want more of You”.
Over and over again the psalmists talk about finding refuge and strength in God in their personal lives. Psalm 18:1-2: “I love Thee, O LORD, my strength.” The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge”; Psalm 28:6-8: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.”
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. (See also Psalm 29:11; 37:39; 118:14) It is an invigorating and uplifting experience to find inner strength for living the way these Psalm writers have in their personal lives. The Apostle Paul also reported experiencing this strengthening when he endured trials another time, and said, “but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” Jesus talked about this experience of finding personal relief and rest in Him when He said, Mat. 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The “heavy laden” can find relief from their burdens in learning about and following Jesus Christ. Isn’t it obvious that as we find relief in Christ from our burdens that we will learn to turn to Him in our hours of need? As He shows Himself faithful to His promise of lifting the load of the heavy laden, and supplying His light and easy load, He is glorified and our trust and dependence on Him increases. His role as the great Provider, and the one and only Sovereign and everlasting God is more firmly established in our minds and hearts. He already is the divine Ruler over all things whether we acknowledge it or not. However, we are able to bring more glory to Him as the great Provider and Sustainer of all things as we look to Him alone to meet our Spiritual needs. Sometimes He does this through His word, and even through other people as the Scriptures clearly teach. It is an unbelievable stretch to believe that he also does it through something never mentioned in the Scriptures like psychiatric medication.

The Idolatry of Psychiatric Drug Use pt. 1

The Idolatry of Pyschiatric Drug Use.

If mood and self-control are areas specifically addressed in the Bible as areas where God will provide solutions through His Word, Spirit and church, then to look to the Psychiatric community to meet these needs through their drugs is idolatry. Lets begin by refreshing our memories about the topic of idolatry in general. In the Bible mankind is commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind. (Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5)” God deserves and rightfully demands complete and exclusive adoration and devotion. The first of the Ten Commandments is to “have no other Gods before Me”. This is clearly repeated in the New Testament in many places like 1 John 5:21 where John says, “little children, guard yourself from idols”. The Bible is full of instruction not to worship anything in the place of Almighty God (Isaiah 40; Romans 1).
Hopefully you are already aware of the fact that you do not have to bow down before a statue or image of some creature or god in order to commit idolatry. We commit idolatry when we set our affections on, or are in awe of anything more than the living God. This can be obvious in situations like our fanatical devotion to a sports team, or infatuation with a member of the opposite sex, however it may also be more subtle. It may involve things like our expections for our children, or our desire to please superiors or co-workers which grows to an unhealthy and idolatrous level. Whenever we are more concerned about what others think, than we are about the opinion of God, even that is a form of idolatry. This should remind us of the fact that we all struggle with idolatry on a daily basis. John Calvin stated it this way, “The human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols.” Institutes Book I.XI.8-9 A forge is the old furnace where metal would be heated and shaped into various objects. Calvin is saying that our hearts are like that furnace where idols are produced. Idols are created and born there and ‘pumped out’ with regularity. Idolatry does not only come in the form of things that we desire in the place of God, or things that we fear more than God, but also in the form of things to which we look to meet our needs.
This form of idolatry recognizes that whatever it is to which we look to meet our needs is that which we worship. Let me explain. Part of God’s role as God in our lives is fulfilled when He meets our needs. There are many things which we need which can only be provided by God. Things like forgiveness, power over sin, peace of mind and etc. It may be somewhat difficult to recognize God’s providing for our needs as having a direct connection to our worship of Him. I think we more readily think of words like sovereign, almighty, lordship, and ruler when we think about God as being the One true God who deserves exclusive worship. While these concepts are fully Biblical and should be emphasized more, there is also another way in which God establishes His place as the one true God in our lives. He does this through meeting our needs. God is glorified, and honored as God when we look to Him to supply what we need. That is why He says things like, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” The One who does the rescuing gets the honor and glory.
God is the source of all blessing, power and goodness in our lives. When we look to Him to provide these things for us, He is glorified as our Provider. God’s role as the supplier of what we need causes us to look directly to Him like a small child looks dependently to his parents. Or as the Bible says, as a servant-girl looks to the lady of the home to meet all of her needs. “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us. (Psalm 123:2)” He is thus magnified in our hearts and minds as the One on whom we depend, and as the One to whom we turn both for direction and for provision.
If we were to look to someone else for forgiveness that would clearly be idolatry. If we were to look to someone else to provide us with the power to love others, we would quickly recognize that as idolatry. For some reason, many of us do not recognize that looking to other sources for other fruits of the Spirit, such as peace, joy and self-control, is also idolatry.
God delights to meet our needs, and is glorified in the process. This is what John Piper is talking about when he says that, “God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him”. God, in His role as the all-sufficient Provider, is glorified through our satisfaction and delight in the marvelous way in which He gives us what we need. The more we find our needs met in Him, the greater He is glorified. We unknowingly resist this truth when we overemphasize a man-centered idea of sanctification which centers on what we do for God rather than what He does for us.
In Isaiah 45:22, God instructed Israel and all of mankind to look to Him alone for salvation. He says, “Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). Notice that “salvation” is tied to His exclusivity as God. There is no one else who can save us. He is telling us that it would be futile to look elsewhere because He is the only One who can provide salvation. Our primary need is for salvation from our sins through the death and resurrection of Christ. However, we also need salvation in our daily lives. God demonstrates His ability to save us, and receives glory, when He rescues us from difficult circumstances. This includes rescuing us from negative emotions and behavior. In fact, it especially refers to our inner lives, as God has not promised us with immunity from persecution and suffering in this life. God is glorified through providing us with this practical salvation as well as with His eternal salvation. This practical salvation includes things like strength for overcoming sin, the power to love and forgive others, and the courage to speak the truth. God keeps us constantly looking to Him to meet our needs so He will be continually glorified as God in our lives. He also deserves to be worshiped for supplying us with joy and self-control because He is in fact the only One who can give us these aspects of victory in our daily lives. Thankfully, Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”  John 15:11