Cause of Death: BWS and Psychopharmacology

Cause of Death: BWS (Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome) and Psychopharmacology

When a death occurs, depending on the status of the human life at the time of death, either the attending physician or a coroner are required to list the Cause of Death. There are very specific rules for determining the cause of death. The causes are listed in order of occurrence. Nowhere on this list do you see the term “BWS and Psychopharmacology”.
Over the course of the last two weeks, two valued and loved humans have died of this cause. There may be more I am unaware of, but both of these beautiful women were active in support groups for those suffering from an iatrogenic illness caused by psychiatric pharmacology.  Rather than the true cause of death I have suggested, we likely will learn that their death certificate lists Suicide or Neuropsychiatric Disorder or maybe on a far reach, Substance Disorder.
Those three causes of death put the blame on the injured and sick human. If the doctors were honest about what really occurred, the most correct of those listed would be Poisoning. These women were poisoned by following their doctor’s orders and taking medications as prescribed for symptoms that were unable to be confirmed by any labs or imaging. These women believed and trusted their doctors that the medications would not hurt them.
The most recent loss just last Friday was a woman I met, not once but twice, while both of us were inpatient in psychiatric crisis centers. When we were reunited the second time a friendship was forged. We both were in the throes of brutal withdrawals from psychotropic medications including benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. We also had become aware prior to our hospitalizations that it was the medications themselves and the withdrawal from them that was making us so sick.
This beautiful young woman was the mother of a 5-year-old daughter. She was the beloved daughter of caring parents. She was quiet spoken, sweet as southern tea, and had a heart that held enough love for all the world. And, she was tormented by the ravages of withdrawal off medications like Zoloft and Klonopin.
Whatever the method of death, the cause was the symptoms associated with BWS and Psychiatric Pharmacology. Prior to the medications, she had been a vibrant hopeful full-of-life twenty-three-year-old and the world was open to possibilities. Shortly after beginning the medications and taking them as prescribed by her doctors she started suffering from multiple horrifying symptoms. She knew it was the medications, but no one would listen.
She was hospitalized against her will, having the most terrifying physical and mental torture imaginable, and drugged more and more and more throughout her hospitalization. She had been brought from another psychiatric unit where she had been for a couple weeks to the hospital I was in. She was like a zombie yet still beautiful, in a haunting ethereal way. She cried a lot. We both cried a lot. Over the course of a week, we shared a few conversations while coloring. She drew and colored. Her art was just like her, warm and bright and beautiful. In spite of both our horrible conditions, we saw a light in one another.
Not even two weeks later, having had yet another significant run in with suicidal ideation, I was admitted to another psychiatric crisis center. Less than a week after my arrival, here comes Marrisa. Still crying, still broken, still shaking, still breathing and still beautiful. Inside and out.
We talked a lot more in this environment as it was only women and a very small setting. We both had been struggling with chronic suicidal ideation. We both knew it was because of the medications. We both agreed we really wanted to be well and live and love our families and our lives. Yet suicidal ideation is a hallmark symptom common for those who suffer from the withdrawals from benzodiazepines and other psychotropic medications.
We shared so many stories and fears and even things we were really ashamed of because of how the medications had changed us to behave in ways that weren’t in alignment with our core values and beliefs. We talked about how the medical community treats us as if it’s our fault for being sick, yet all we had done was take medications that the doctors told us to, in spite of black box warnings for suicidality for her Zoloft and for my Effexor XR. We took the benzodiazepines for months, or in my case off and on for 3 decades, as our doctors prescribed, in spite of the warnings against use for longer than 2 weeks.
The end of this month will be two years since that first meeting. My heart is absolutely shredded to bits by the news of her passing. The reasons are all over the spectrum. My heart aches for her family who may never fully understand what really happened. My heart aches for my friends who are all reeling from this devastating news. My heart aches because it could have been any one of us. It could have easily been me. I too have been in a horrifying wave of symptoms the last month. My heart aches because it feels like no one outside our groups is listening.
This is NOT due to a psychiatric illness. This is due to an iatragenic illness. The suicidal ideation and depression and bone pain and brain pain and ruminating and intrusive thoughts and akathisia and unrelenting insomnia are all symptoms because of how those medications altered our GABA-receptors and neurotransmitters. But no one that is prescribing them is acknowledging this. They want to blame it on us, the patients.
Please, whatever the listed cause of death is for my friend and the other recent loss in our support groups, please share the truth. That this was caused by medications that we did not get the full disclosure on of how they could destroy our lives and maybe even kill us.
Please reach out to those who are trusted administrators and moderators in the groups during this time of grief.  Find a partner in pain and commit to one another through the bad times to call in and give encouragement. We cannot do this alone and those out in the world aren’t ready to face the truth that we didn’t cause this ourselves and we aren’t a psychiatric label. If it is a bad day and you are in a bad wave, do NOT be ashamed to share that pain with another! It is by sharing the pain that we learn the strength we have for one another and for ourselves.
There is no one to blame for this except for the medical community. That is the truth. RIP my friend. RIP to all our friends who have lost this battle. You will not be forgotten! You fought hard and we all watched. Memories of you will always make us smile.

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I believe this photo on her page was soon after we met. I found it on her public page.

 

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My medicine and daily dosing

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Everyone has a medicine cabinet right?  That thing that is hidden behind the bathroom mirror.  If you don’t have one, then you have a drawer, or a bag, or a suitcase, or some kind of catchall for your home treatments of your medical conditions and minor ailments.  I decided to collect all that I used to show you! The bulk of my medicine is all natural, organic and much is based on using cannabis.  I do have a few things left from the pharmacy.  But not nearly the array I formerly had.

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My treatments and medications are scattered here and there.  I have a few items in the little cubby above the sink in the camper.  I store some things in a basket next to my bed for night time use.  I also have a tin that sits at the table with various strains of cannabis flower and capsules! These are the what make up the basis of my daily medication routine.

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If you are a person that has ever been prescribed routine medication of any type, you usually have daily doses that have been prescribed.   Cannabis is prescribed in general.  I have worked hard over the course of the last 4 years with a lot of trial to create my own dosing regiment that works.  My daily dosing is typically four times a day of my capsules with CBD tincture one or two times and then smoking as needed for breaththrough pain or anxiety.  I have two types of FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil) and three different dosages that I make with the oils.

Then, there are day(s) and sometimes weeks where pain levels and symptoms are elevated and I have to increase my dosages.  This last month with so many weather changes I have been dosing much higher than usual.  It took me quite some time to be willing to take this much medicine.  I admit I was concerned about it.  Then when I reflected on how much narcotics and anti-anxiety medication I would take on really bad days, I didn’t feel so worried.  I was treating my conditions.  I was doing it to check in, not check out!  If the day was so bad that I needed to be dosed to where I wasn’t fit to be in public, then I stayed home.  I was in THAT MUCH PAIN and would not have been fit for public on the handful of Big Pharma I would take either!

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I also will eat more medibles when pain is higher.  I have been baking gluten free organic brownies on a weekly basis lately!  They are pretty tasty if I do say so and there is an additional comfort in having a treat!

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I love my Essential Oils.  The Lavender is really good for sleep, but I do have to be careful with it as I seem to be more sensitive to it after many seasons work in the fields!  Fun times!  The frankincense is great for my inflammation, reducing stress and anxiety and it is also good for the skin.  The Harmony is a new one and I just love it!!  It is very uplifting and makes me think of summer and picnics with great salads and it’s really fresh!  The Melaleuca oil great for little cuts and scrapes and skin irritations!DSC_3498

Once in a blue moon I have a side effect from cannabis (yes, it does happen).  Common side effects that are well known are dry mouth and dry eyes.   Some strains can also leave you with a bit of a headache afterwards or with some elevated anxiety.  Also, occasionally I get really stuffed up sinuses.  So, then I resort to a few old standbys that work.  I have used the Benadryl only twice in 6 months and Ibuprofen only 2 times in four months.  I use the nasal spray frequently.  The Anti-diarrhea med is one I have continued to keep on hand after suffering with years of intestinal troubles that make me fearful not to have it.  That’s all I will say about that.  Then there are the vitamins.  I am awful about remembering to take them.  Terrible!!! This bottle is probably a year old.  LOL.  Oh well!  It’s the thought that counts right?DSC_3482

I am really grateful that I have this ability and knowledge of how to manage my various conditions and symptoms primarily with cannabis and good diet and healthy living!  Wow!  They never suggested that in all the years I was seeking help from the mainstream medical community.  Things like a good diet and getting fresh air and having good friendships weren’t suggested or they were just barely glossed over before that prescription pad came out!  Well…phoeey!!!  I say FREE THE WEED!  🙂  I had hoped to have this posted yesterday for the 420 celebrations going on, but I was a day late!

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I’ll stick with my trusty FECO cannacapsules (Full Extract Cannabis Oil), tinctures, rubs, and medibles.  Vaping and smoking are also excellent ways I have used to getting quick relief in a few minutes.

If you are seeking information about how to utilize cannabis to treat various conditions such as Chronic Pain, PTSD, Anxiety, Insomnia, Depression, treat minor skin ailments, reduce blood sugar levels, and be healthier and happier, contact me!  Peace out friends!

7 tips for managing symptoms while coming off mind altering pharmaceuticals

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This is a list of a few positive helps I’ve noticed that seem to be helping myself and others. Observing those in the groups that are coming off various medications, including Benzodiazepines, Opiates, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic has helped me learn. These observations are not scientific in nature and I have nothing to back them up except from what I’ve observed and experienced myself.
This list is not comprehensive in nature. Each individual observed may have been doing one or many of the listed actions in helping themselves manage their symptoms through detox and withdrawal.
These are the actions that folks are taking that seem to help them MANAGE their symptoms better. WE are unable to control them and time is a big factor. This list is things you can do NOW to help yourselves.

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1. Get outdoors!!! Even if it’s only to sit on your front porch and feel the sunbeams on your face or smell the fresh rain that just dropped or to shiver in the snow. Increase the duration over time. Maybe after successfully sitting on the porch for a week, you can walk to the mailbox the next week and then complete the activity by still sitting on the porch for 5 minutes. My personal experience with this was that, over time, I went further and further and felt so much better each time I got out to walk! Fresh air is crucial and this activity will also give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

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2. Exercise. As noted above, it starts small. Walking back and forth to the mailbox. Then walk to the end of the block and back. Then around the block. You get the idea. Mild exercise is excellent for boosting mood and for helping break the trail of lies our mind tells us that we are too sick. Yes, we are sick, but nearly every person is capable of doing something to stretch and strengthen their body! I personally have been trying Yoga and Qi-Gong and find them very helpful for me.

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3. Eat clean and stay away from sugars, gluten (I eliminated all grains), processed foods and many are sensitive to dairy. I personally eat a diet consisting of local and organicially grown meats and eggs and vegetables. When folks say they can’t afford to eat organic I remind them, I don’t do Starbucks, sodas, fast food, and I have no vices. Food is fuel for my body and it ranks high on the budget. Eat nutrient dense foods and you will feel better. Check out the book “It starts with Food”.

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4. Find a support group or a supportive group of folks you can talk with and be authentic with. This is probably the hardest, as our minds tell us we aren’t worth anything and we feel so brain damaged. Yet, those who are most functional have peeps! I go to a variety of support groups and have found a family that way. I highly recommend Refuge Recovery. It is a Buddhist based recovery program for ANYONE who is suffering. While many of us do not in any way fit the description of addict, we were dependent on our medication and not having it anymore creates huge anxiety within us. These supportive groups can be a place to learn coping mechanisms and learn tools at managing emotions.

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5. Don’t take supplements or OTC remedies. Each pharmaceutical that is touted to help one symptom has at least 2 if not more toxic potentials. I personally am not completely against all pharmaceuticals, but reaching for one every time something doesn’t feel good is not a healthy solution.

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6. Learn coping mechanisms. Regardless the reason you were started on one of the medications I listed above, it has left you with a state of anxiety and various other symptoms. Those who are practicing meditation, working with a therapist, reading books on emotional regulation or some sort of personal responsibility for managing their emotions seem to fair better over time. While it may not eliminate the symptoms, it will alleviate them.

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7. Find acceptance for the situation and have patience. The days and weeks will pass (for some months and years) but we can’t change that. Accepting it lessens the fight. There is much to be said for time. It does heal so much.

I truly hope for each that these tips are encouraging. They are things you can DO to make yourself feel better. They are things that YOU can do for YOU! We must be kind to ourselves through this process. We didn’t ask for it, but we still have to learn to maneuver it. We can’t control it either, but we can manage some of the symptoms. That is what this list is for, some management tools that I have seen helping those who are healing and moving forward.
Peace and Namaste