1. ACUTE 2. PROTRACTED 3. PARADOXICAL 4. TOLERANCE EFFECTS (including toxicity) 5. SIDE EFFECTS
- aggression- anxiety- agoraphobia- apathy- ataxia- breathlessness- chest discomfort and tightness- choking- constipation- convulsions (muscle usually)- dental pain- depersonalisation- depression- derealisation- diarrhoea- distortion of body image, misperceptions- dry, itchy skin- “electric shock” feelings throughout the body- dysphoria- excitability- fasciculations- flushing- formications- head sensations- heart palpitations- hyperacusis- hypersensitivity to stimuli- hyperosmia (sensitive sense of smell)- hyperpyrexia (overheating)- hyperventilation (overbreathing)- insomnia- intrusive thoughts- irrational rage- irritability- jumpiness- metallic taste - nausea- nightmares- obsessions- panic attacks- perceptual disturbances and distortions- photosensitivity- psychotic symptoms (usually transient and confined to rapid withdrawal)- restlessness- seizures (on abrupt discontinuation)- sensory disruption- scalp burning- sore tongue- sweating, night sweats- tinnitus- tremor- vomiting- weakness, “jelly legs”- weight gain- weight loss (this may be quite rapid)
Cold Turkey Symptoms: usually confined to ‘cold turkey’ or rapidwithdrawal from high doses of benzodiazepines:
· confusion- delirium - fits- hallucinations - psychotic symptoms - seizures
- abnormal muscle tone- anxiety- aching joints- ataxia- allergic reactions- back pain- blepharospasm (eye twitching)- breast pain- apathy- constipation (often alternating with diarrhoea)- cravings- dehydration- dental pain- depersonalisation- depression- derealisation- diarrhoea (often alternating with constipation)- dry, tickly cough- dysphagia- fluctuations in blood pressure- “electric shock” feelings throughout the body- fasciculations- formication (sensation of bugs crawling over skin)- gait disturbance (the ground seems to move underfoot)- gastritis- glassy eyes- hair loss- heartburn- heart palpitations- heavy flu-like symptoms- hyperacusis- hyperaesthesia (sensitivity to stimuli)- hyperosmia- insomnia- iris colour changes- kakosmia- joint pains- leukonychea (whitening of nails)- libidinal changes- malabsorption- menstrual irregularity- muscular cramps- muscular rigidity- muscular spasms- muscular (and bone) weakness- myoclonic convulsions (muscle/nerve spasms)- nausea- neurological problems (topical nerve anaesthesia)- nose bleeds- oedema (especially of ankles and face)- oesophagitis- paraesthesiae (numbing, burning and tingling; pins and needles)- poor concentration- poor short-term memory- perspiring, night sweats- severe headaches- sinusitis- skin insensitivity- sore, itchy eyes- spine (burning sensation)- stomach cramps- thirst- thrush-like symptoms- tremor- tinnitus (ear buzzing, popping, ringing, hissing)- tiny pupils- urinary problems (bladder either ‘all on’ or ‘all off’)- vertigo- visual disturbances (blurred, double, vivid)- vomiting- water retention
- acute hyperexcited state- agitation- aggressive behaviour- anxiety- breathlessness- excitability- fear- hallucinations- hostility- hyperactivity- increased muscle spasticity- irrational rage- insomnia- nervousness- nightmares, vivid dreams- phobias- rage- restlessness- restless legs, arms- sleep disturbances- tension- tremor- panic attacks
4. TOLERANCE EFFECTS (including toxicity):
- anxiety- apnea (night)- breathlessness- dyspnea (breathing problems)- fibrositis- fatigue- gait disturbance- impotence- leaden heaviness- lethargy- libido disturbances- loss of self-confidence- menstrual irregularity- neurological problems- panic attacks- phobias- severe muscle rigidity- short-term memory impairment- vasovagal attacks- vertigo
5. SIDE EFFECTS:
- abnormal behaviour or false beliefs- aches and pains (muscle tension)- aggressiveness- agitation- agoraphobia and claustrophobia- anger- anti-social behaviour- apathy- ataxia- blood disorders (resulting in severe tiredness and possible infections)- blurred vision- bradycardia (slow heartbeat/pulse)- breast enlargement- changes in appetite- changes in libido- changes in salivation- chemical sensitivities, allergies- cognitive impairment- confusion- daytime drowsiness- depression- diarrhoea and constipation- diplopia- dizziness- dry, itchy skin- dysarthria- dysphoria- emotional blunting- exhaustion- fatigue- feeling afraid- feeling unreal- feelings of anger and anxiety- flu-like symptoms- hair loss- hallucinations- headaches- hypotension- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)- inability to pass urine/holding of urine in the bladder- impairment of motor co-ordination- incontinence- insomnia- irritability- jaundice- jaw pains- lack of concentration- lack of confidence- lethargy- many people wonder why they have changed from being happy and outgoing, to being over-anxious and unconfident- memory loss or forgetfulness- mild hypertension- muscle weakness, spasticity, cramps, abnormal tone- nausea- nightmares- numbed emotions- oedema- panic attacks- personality changes- poor muscle control- problems with vision- psychomotor impairment- rashes- reduced alertness- reduced blood pressure- restlessness- shivering- skin problems, rashes- sleep problems- slurred speech- stomach and bowel problems- stomach upsets- suicidal behaviour- thyroid disturbances- tolerance- tremor- urinary retention- vertigo- violence- water retention- weight gain- xeroderma (dry skin)
These lists are pretty comprehensive and include symptoms reported by members of the Benzo Group. It is mercifully unlikely that any one person will experience all the symptoms recorded here. They are given purely for reference purposes.
Note: It is difficult to determine exactly which symptoms are acute and which are protracted. Everyone’s experience is clearly different.
Ray Nimmo and others from the Benzo Group · July 2000.