Notoriously, Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be the most difficult of any drug withdrawal.
Benzo withdrawal inherently has the risk of seizure associated with rapid withdrawal. This is due to the up-regulated (more sensitive) Glutamate receptors over stimulating the neurology once the benzodiazepine is removed.
Glutamate is a stimulating neurotransmitter, and during the course of a person’s drug use, its receptors have up-regulated in order to provide a satisfactory level of stimulation to the brain. The benzo was depressing the system, and the natural plastic response of the brain was to try to re-increase stimulation by up-regulating Glutamate.
The benzo was working to enhance the effectiveness of GABA at the inhibitory GABA receptors. GABA is a main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Prolonged use of a Benzodiazepine will cause the GABA receptors to down-regulate and become less receptive to the drug. This is the nature of benzodiazepine addiction and all drug addiction. It is down-regulation of the receptor for the drug that precipitates increased use. It takes more to get the same effect.
When the Xanax (Alprazolam), the Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam) or the Valium (Diazepam) is suddenly removed, the GABA receptors already down-regulated to the drug, will be undersupplied by the body’s natural GABA and the receptors to that natural GABA will be less sensitive to any inhibitory influence from the drug, or natural sources. Simply using a GABA supplement usually will not calm the person, as they already have “numbed” GABA receptors.
In rapid withdrawal, the up-regulated Glutamate will now continue to over-stimulate with no regulation from the inhibitory side and the person could well experience a seizure, hence the reasoning for a slow a deliberate taper. Readers and followers of the Ashton’s manual are familiar with this approach.
But what about the symptoms that arise even with a Benzodiazepine withdrawal slow taper. What about the underlying anxiety, what to do about that? What to do about the cases where Orthomolecular Medicine does not seem to be able to quell the anxiety. How about those persons who have had every hormone test, addressed their Adrenal and Cortisol function, thyroid, done Glutathione IV and taken every vitamin in the Naturopath’s arsenal and is still having panic attacks. What it going on with them?
At Alternative to Meds Center, we have been practicing Alternative Mental Health on the most damaged individuals in a Residential Treatment Center setting. By far, the most common underlying factor in chronic anxiety thus far has been toxicity, particularity heavy metal toxicity. The most reliable type of test we have used in the Genova Urine Toxicity test, and we perform this after administering 250mg oral DMPS, EDTA, 1200mg NAC, 400micrograms Selenium, Ormes Zeolite, 10-20 Grams Vitamin C, 20 drops of Cilantro Tincture, and freeze-dried garlic. We have used oral methods and opposed to IV so as to document effectiveness for a person seeking to do this without availability of IV Chelation. The urine is collected for three hours. The person exercises for 20 minutes, drinks at least 64 ounces of water and sits is a 140 degree sauna for up to two hours. Of course this may need to be modified for persons with severe anxiety in respect to the time dedication and the use of chelators such as the DMPS, EDTA, NAC and Cilantro. They may have to work the time up from 15 minutes sauna and add the chelators in gradually once they show progress.
The neurotoxins, particularly heavy metals and Mercury, act as excito-toxins stimulating the nervous system. Pesticides are one of these sorts of toxins. Pesticides kill the pests by over-stimulating the insect’s neurology. The mechanism of a pesticide is to keep open the acetylcholine channels in the synapse of the insect. These forced open channels, unable to block the acceptance of acetylcholine, result in over-firing of the neurology, and then progresses to catatonia, and then death. See this website for a video demonstration: http://www.physioviva.com/movies/neurotoxic_insecticides/index
These toxins also disturb the naturally occurring processes within the neurology and the body in general. Mercury debilitates the ability of Serotonin to convert into Melatonin, resulting in sleepless states. Mercury toxicity also debilitates the ability of Norepinephrine to convert to Epinephrine, and a build-up of Norepinephrine results. Elevated Norepinephrine is anxiety, as Norepinephrine is a chemical marker for anxious states. Mercury also is most problematic in that it interferes with the body’s ability to cleanse itself from toxins. One of the important ways in which the body conjugates a toxin and converts it into a non-toxin is thru Methylation. This is where a methyl group (CH3) gets added to the toxin, making it water soluble, and able to get out of the body. Mercury impairs the Adenosation of Methionine to form Sam-E. Sam-E is a methyl donor for cleansing processes.
To really help a person return to the tranquility they desire, cellular body detoxification need occur. The neurochemical balance will then follow. We have been using a neurotoxin removal process that combines oral chelators with neurotransmitter repair and sauna to remove toxins and to return wellness. It has also been effective for persons experiencing psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices and delusional thinking. We have been documenting the clearing rates and amounts as person’s progresses through the program. Our process is comprehensive and last 20-40 days depending on the situation. Toxicity can be a lifelong concern, as heavy metal toxins can take many months even years to fully clear. By doing the 20-40 day program, a person then learns how to direct cleansing measures ongoing in their life so as to maximize their mental and physical health.