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    thenewatlantis.com | 29 min
    11 reads10 comments
    10
    thenewatlantis.com
    11 reads
    10
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    • erica6 months ago

      I have struggled with anxiety my whole life and would never even consider taking pills for it, especially after reading this!

      When benzodiazepines have severe withdrawal symptoms, what was once a relief from anxiety becomes its source, and so the person becomes enslaved to the substance that was meant to offer freedom.

    • Plum7 months ago

      Thanks for this article and for the comments which are also 10s! As a nurse practitioner in psychiatry there is the untold prescriber’s side of this story-the demands of patients for quick relief and the soul crushing we providers are experiencing from the health care system so dominated by pharmaceutical companies who are more and more involved in creating the algorithms for care.

      • Jessica7 months ago

        Thank you for sharing that. I can only imagine the pressure of patients wanting an immediate panacea (which is of course another topic on its own) and how the industry has reacted to that demand. It’s a fully fueled cycle.

    • jbuchana
      Scout
      7 months ago

      Easily a 10.

      While benzos are only part of the story told here, that part of the article really drew my attention, as I sometimes have very bad anxiety. Not as much anymore, which I'll get to below. Because of this, a well-meaning Dr. started me on benzos in 2001. As they became less effective, larger doses and different benzos were tried. In 2009 I'd had enough of it. I hated that I was miserable if I missed a dose,I hated that the pills just weren't working anymore, I hated that I was already on the maximum dose of Xanax, and there wasn't much else to try. So I said that I wanted off benzos. Much easier said than done. We titrated the dose down until I was off of benzos after 6 weeks, 6 miserable weeks. Then I wasn't taking them anymore. The next 6 weeks were even worse, it was almost to the point of praying for death. But I made it, and was off them. It was maybe 9 months more after that before I could sleep normally again.

      Something I noticed after being off benzos for a while: I had been living in a mental fog, my cognitive abilities had been dampened for years. My ambition came back, and I started up my hobbies again. My sister said, "The sparkle is back in your eyes!"

      My anxiety isn't so bad now, it'll never be gone, I'm sure, but it is far more bearable. I changed my lifestyle, I gave up the hustle-bustle of corporate life, I now work as a cashier at a tool store. Also, I started CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as mentioned in the article. It has really helped.

      This article is indeed a must-read, looking at modern life through this lens can be the start of a life with a less urgent desire to be everything all the time, and moving into an emotionally stable state.

    • jeff
      Reading streakScribe
      7 months ago

      This is an absolute must-read; a brilliant look at the impact of modernity (especially the American variety) on mental health and the implications it has for society as a whole. How can we address any of the immense challenges we face when such a large portion of the population has such difficulty coping with day-to-day life?

      I don't view the mental health crisis as an indictment of the American ethos, but rather as an indication that ultimate freedom is not an end in and of itself. Ardent individualism isn't incompatible with a sense of community and collective belonging, but it does mean that you might have to search such things out for yourself. Likewise, the freedom to obsessively pursue a goal doesn't mean that everyone has to structure their life in such a way in order to feel fulfilled.

      I honestly think that just reading and sharing articles like this one can make a big difference. I feel like any kind of positive change has to start with awareness. People need to be educated not only about the drugs they're taking but also the risks and responsibilities that accompany maximum personal autonomy.

      • Alexa
        Scout
        7 months ago

        Glad you shared this article Jeff, it was so good.

        This reminds me of this doc from a few years back called CrazyWise. The premise was mental health issues used to be a gift, the person was seen as going through spiritual growth and given an elder to help them through it and hopefully bring novel insights back to the community (rather than drugging or institutionalizing them).

        I think your point on ardent individualism vs community is really savvy. Sometimes what we need is merely to have a community around us to lift us up and support us in the hard times, but I don't see that ethos prioritized or pushed quite as hard as the "success at the expense of sleep" narrative.

        Drugs can be great as a therapeutic intervention in some cases, but it's sketchy to always make them the first reach solution when so many other ones are out there.

        Thanks for sharing this article!

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          7 months ago

          Sometimes what we need is merely to have a community around us to lift us up and support us in the hard times, but I don't see that ethos prioritized or pushed quite as hard as the "success at the expense of sleep" narrative.

          Preach!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        7 months ago

        Whoa. Holy crap. You weren’t kidding. It’s an 11. Anyone who cares about this topic (and who doesn’t?!) should also check out this piece from a few months ago.

        I honestly think that just reading and sharing articles like this one can make a big difference. I feel like any kind of positive change has to start with awareness.

        Couldn’t agree more! (And I’m stoked that this is probably going to be AOTD tomorrow.)

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      7 months ago

      Read this.

    • Alexa
      Scout
      7 months ago

      Yea, this is a great read, glad you shared it Jeff!

      It's interesting how Japan and other fast-paced cultures have similar benzo problems. I think a difference for Americans is we also expect an "easy button" to get us out of our bad feelings.

      Our medical system is trained to throw drugs at the problem, rather addressing the root of the problem.

      I'm a huge fan of cognitive behavioral therapy, which they touch on at the end. I wish more people would explore the root of their anxieties before trying pharmaceutical interventions. Your mind is the most powerful drug you can leverage if you're willing to use it.