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LIST OF SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH
BENZODIAZEPINES & WITHDRAWAL
from Kilen, Sweden
Note: Some of these are side-effects and tolerance symptoms
Changes in perception:
Derealisation - a sense of unreality
Depersonalisation - insecurity about one's identity, one cannot recognise oneself in the mirror and so on
Tinnitus - ringing ears, buzzing, whistling
Déjà vu experiences - appear occasionally due to dreams, and sometimes as strong, sudden experiences in the middle of the day
Discomfort in the face and around the mouth - a sense of loss of control over face muscles, sometimes appearing as unwanted faces. The cramps spread occasionally to the whole body
Formications - A sense that insects are crawling on the body, scalp etc
Visual Disturbances - blurred vision, vivid 3D vision
Tense head, neck, shoulders. A marked, sometimes hard backache may be experienced while one is taking pills and during abstinence
Co-ordination problems - slurred speech, stammering, the mixing up of words when speaking
Paraesthesiae - "A thousand needles"
Shivering / Heating experiences
Fatigue - a feel of exhaustion
Tension Headache The feeling of that one has a piece of string around the head, a constant pressure on the top of the head
A sense of instability - the ground seems to move beneath one's feet, one walks in the air, a common and very disturbing experience which may last for a long period of time
Illusions and hallucinations
Paranoia - "people are looking at me, talking about me". This is also a common symptom of long-term use
Changes in emotions:
Phobias - This is also a common symptom of long-term use.
Fear, anxiety, indignation, panic. This is also a common symptom of long-term use.
Resignation - "what is the point of quitting?
Melancholy - an abnormal state of depression, guilt, feelings of hopelessness.
Suicidal behaviour - everything ranging from suicidal thoughts to actual attempts should be taken seriously
Fear of, or a feeling of, becoming mentally ill
Lack of confidence
Irritability, bursts of fury
Rapid mood swings
Lack of control over impulses
Lack of sense of humour
Morbid, destructive thoughts
Bodily and vegetative symptoms:
Sleeping problems - Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns
Loss of appetite
A taste of metal in the mouth
Stomach cramps Periods of diarrhoea and periods of constipation
Blood pressure changes, upwards and downwards
A feeling of swollenness, sometimes very swollen hands, feet and face
Difficulty swallowing, dysphagia
Tremor - shaking body parts, may go on for months
Cracks in lips and in the corner of the mouth
Libido - usually reduced, but sometimes intensified
Changes in menstrual pattern
Incontinence - alternatively difficulty voiding bladder
Increased secretion in the vagina
Changes in the will and cognitive ability:
Deterioration of the memory, the short-term memory is most affected
Paralexia - the mixing up of words in texts.
Problem with speed and precision in work
Loss of ability to take initiatives
Problems making make plans or decisions
Learning difficulties - it is not unusual that things learnt during the period when one took benzodiazepines will be lost and have to be relearned
Drug related behaviour:
A subjective need for drugs - "the body cries out for pills"
A secret, continued drug use, if necessary with help of lies and fraud
Stock of pills
Frauds, theft, falsified prescriptions to get pills
Seeking replacement drugs - alcohol, pain killers, codeine etc
Loss of contact with others
Loss of financial judgement
The power acting the strongest for one to continue using pills, regardless of what consequences it has, is FEAR. It is not dangerous to be afraid, but it can be paralysing, especially when one doesn’t have the courage to even admit to oneself what one is afraid of.