Last Updated on March 8, 2021 by
This is cutting edge stuff. I can honestly say that I owe my life to this healing, holistic place and its most dedicated staff.
I am a recent successful graduate from the ATMC. With the support of this detoxification and rehabilitation program, I was able to get off high daily doses of Valium (120mg), Codeine, and Tramadol … in just 21 days!
I hope my story can bring hope and inspiration to others who are struggling with chemical dependency. Very frankly, I didn’t come to the ATMC willingly. The destructive and mood altering influences of my medications and the chaos they produced in my life humbled me greatly. I was in desperate need of aid to get off these drugs and regain my emotional equilibrium. I urge others with similar struggles to be more proactive than I was. If I had come to the ATMC even a few months earlier, repairing the damage I had done in my life would have been immeasurably easier.
I went to medical school. I have a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition. I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. I’ve been in therapy for almost two decades. I’m fairly bright and I’m pretty darn insightful. Unfortunately, none of that prevented me from being dragged through the psychiatric mud. After a misdiagnosis, many prescription drugs, and a life turned unmanageable, I had no choice but to go to an inpatient program.
I came to the ATMC two years after having tapered off drugs like Depakote, Tegretol, Seroquel, and Adderall. Those medications were relatively easy to discontinue, perhaps because they were ill suited for me. Benzodiazepines, however, were a different story. I had been taking up to four different Benzos at time, for eight years. When I came to the center, I was taking 120 mg Valium and 8 to 10 mg of Ativan per day. Getting off Benzos is tough. I am clinically educated, but I had no idea how profoundly difficult Benzo withdraw can be. Reading about it simply doesn’t do the experience justice. I had no idea I was so physically dependent. I had no idea that, in taking one Benzo and/or another for so long, I had actually drastically altered my neurochemistry.
At the ATMC, I tapered as quickly as I could safety tolerate. I had many of the unpleasant side effects of acute Benzo withdrawal: general malaise, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, hypersensitive senses, anxiety, dark thoughts, lack of motivation, de-personalization and de-realization. Yet, in working the program Lyle Murphy (the founder of the ATMC) has devised, I was able to get off all drugs, get my head back together, and return to my life with new strength and stability. I would not necessarily recommend such a steep taper. Tapering more slowly would have definitely reduced my withdrawal side effects. However, I was grateful the staff trusted and allowed me to taper at my own speed. I’m a just-rip-the-band-aid-off-and-get-it-over-with kind of person.
From what I understand, getting people off benzos is very challenging for detox/rehab centers. Having recently gone through a difficult Benzo withdraw, I understand why the success rate is lower for that category of drug than for many other drugs. Getting off Benzos is tough. It takes a long time and the side effects are among the most difficult to live with.
At least, that was my experience. Going through benzo withdrawal was one of the most challenging, physically uncomfortable experiences I have ever been through in my life. I’ve had terrible morning sickness the better part of four pregnancies. I’ve played high-level competitive sports and been badly injured a number of times as a result. I have the discipline and toughness to endure almost any physical challenge, but I could not have gotten off Benzos without significant support.
The ATMC worked for me. And, it’s working for many others like me. I was a resident at the same time at least six other people there were also successfully coming off Benzos. Three of those people had been taking Klonopin for many years. Would you believe there were moments when we all actually laughed? The ATMC made my experience tolerable. On hindsight, there were times that were downright wonderful. How many people report that about their rehab experience?
I cannot stress enough how ideal the ATMC is for those wanting/needing to come off medication. This facility employs many modalities to aid people in their recovery process. Among them are: a safe and aesthetic living environment, supplementation (including amino acid therapy), a highly nutritious organic diet, sauna treatment, group and individual therapy, peer support, exercise, yoga, massage, and an after care program.
Another essential modality the ATMC uses is detoxification through oral chelation. Residents are tested to evaluate the levels of environmental toxins that have built up in their bodies. Toxicity is pandemic. Everyone comes in with some or many toxins at dangerously high levels. Reducing this toxin load is an important part of the recovery process, given that vital metabolic pathways are slowed or stalled by toxins.
The combination of all these modalities is an orthomolecular approach to recovery. The clinicians at the center aim to repair the brain and body at a molecular level. This process targets what has gotten off track at its most essential level. No other center approaches detoxification and rehabilitation so comprehensively.
What the ATMC is doing to support people in getting off medication is so intuitively correct, it is a wonder there are not dozens of facilities doing the same thing in this country. This is cutting edge stuff. I can honestly say that I owe my life to this healing, holistic place and its most dedicated staff.
A very grateful graduate, Catherine O.