W-bad.org: Benzodiazepine Tolerance & Interdose Withdrawal

Author: World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

Tolerance is a phenomenon that develops with many chronically used medications. Tolerance to a drug is the failure of the drug to continue to work effectively or work at all after repeated use. With benzodiazepines, the receptors in the brain become adapted to the original dose and more of the drug is needed in order to receive the original effect. This develops with long-term use, which is anything past the 2 to 4 week recommended guidelines. Tolerance is the reason why many medical prescribers often increase a patient's prescribed dose over time. Eventually the body then becomes tolerant to the new higher dose, causing a cycle of increasing the dose, becoming tolerant, and increasing the dose again. Tolerance develops at different degrees and rates for each person.

There is no evidence that benzodiazepines retain their effectiveness for any condition after a few months. Long-term treatment [with BZDs] can exacerbate anxiety and "mood disorders". Many patients find that symptoms gradually increased over the years. Panic attacks, agoraphobia, depression, and chronic fatigue may appear for the first time in a person's life. Some individuals who are prescribed a benzodiazepine for a physical condition, and never had anxiety prior, develop anxiety during tolerance for the first time. The development of tolerance is one of the reasons people become dependent on benzodiazepines and may also be the precursor for the withdrawal syndrome. When the original dose of the drug starts to have less effect, individuals can start to experience [withdrawal] symptoms while still taking their benzodiazepine.

This is known as tolerance withdrawal. Tolerance withdrawal symptoms can be both psychiatric and physical. Doctors often misdiagnose these symptoms as other medical or psychiatric "disorders".

Withdrawal symptoms can also emerge in between scheduled doses. This is referred to as 'interdose withdrawal'. And is particularly common in many people who take benzodiazepines with a short half-life or with sporadic use.

W-bad.org: Benzodiazepine Tolerance & Interdose Withdrawal

Most of those who are treated with benzodiazepines are unaware of tolerance... Tolerance withdrawal and interdose withdrawal, due to a lack of informed consent from their prescriber. It is imperative that absolutely any medical professional prescribing benodiazepines is educated on these phenomena and provides their patients with informed consent.

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