… are natural remedies safe for benzodiazepine withdrawal? Natural remedies do not desensitise GABA A receptor sites like benzodiazepine drugs

Are Natural Remedies safe for benzodiazepine withdrawal?

Natural GABA agonists remedies do not cause desensitisation of GABA synapses like benzodiazepine drugs

There is a misunderstanding going around the Internet that GABA boosting natural remedies desensitise GABA receptor sites in synapses in the same way as benzo drugs but they don’t work the same way as benzo drugs and cause this effect.
You can use natural remedies in 2 ways, firstly as a stepping stone to transition off benzo’s and then transition off the natural remedies; and secondly you can use natural remedies that up-regulate neuroplasticity to shorten the recovery time.
Related Reading
Benzo Withdrawal How to Speed up Recovery
Benzo Withdrawal Treatment with Natural Remedies
How to taper off benzos the right and Wrong Way
You will come across people saying that any substance with a GABAergic effect including natural remedies like theanine, valerian or passionflower attaches to the GABA receptor sites in the same way that benzo drugs attach and can cause desensitisation of GABA synapses, but I’ve been prescribing these remedies to my patients for years to help people transition off benzo drugs and no one, not one single person, experienced the symptoms of benzo discontinuation syndrome when they came off the natural remedies, at least not with the remedies I prescribe.
Some people come to this conclusion because it seems to make logical sense but they lack any real world experience, not all agonist* substances even bind to the receptor site, they can exert their effects through completely different mechanisms other than binding to the receptor site; furthermore even substances that do attach to the receptor site do not do so in the same way as benzos. Benzos have very specific effects in the way they so rapidly and aggressively cause desensitisation of the synapses, it’s a mistake to think that all GABA agonists will anything like do the same. Time after time when you apply logical assumptions to the human brain they turn out to be wrong in the real world, I specialise in treating brain and mental health problems with natural remedies and eventually learnt not to make up theories and assumptions about how the brain works .
*An agonist is a substance that increases the firing of the synapse
*An antagonist is a substance that decreases the firing of the synapse
I base my assertion on my real-world clinical observations over the last 30 years; I’ve prescribed these remedies to people coming off benzos and people with anxiety sometimes for years and when they come off the remedies they don’t experience the tell-tale signs of GABA synapses desensitisation. Moreover I’ve worked with people that stopped the benzos abruptly (not my recommendation) and were having terrible withdrawal symptoms I started then on natural remedies to alleviate the suffering, they then stayed on the remedies for a prolonged period of time and when they eventually transitioned off the remedies they did not experience any withdrawal symptoms.
I am so regularly asked about this point so let me reiterate it, I’ve been prescribing natural remedies to help people transition off drugs that are terribly habit-forming causing severe desensitisation like heroin, crystal meth, crack cocaine and prescription medication including benzo’s and pharmaceutical opiates, I am regularly consulted for these problems and in almost 3 decades of practice I have not seen a single person experience the tell-tale desensitisation drop in their neurotransmitter activity when they eventually come off the natural remedies.
Other people are making assumptions and predictions from the very little scientific research there is about natural remedies and GABA but these studies focus on very narrow effects and there isn’t anything like enough of them to understand these remedies.
The human brain is the most complex structure known in science and time after time when we make up logical models to explain or predict what’s going on in the brain they turn out to be wrong, so if you read someone say it makes logical sense that anything that acts as a GABA agonist will lead to desensitisation often doesn’t work the way we expected to, real-world experience trumps hypothetical assumptions every time.
One of the major differences between scientific studies and what I do is that scientific studies only administer one substance at a time but in my practice I never prescribe remedies on their own, I always prescribe remedies in synergistic combinations and the overall combined effect clearly allowed recovery to occur because no one ever experienced desensitisation withdrawal when they stop taking the remedies. That isn’t to say that people might find if they tried to stop them too soon they still needed to take the remedies but in the fullness of time typically 18 months or so they would find coming of the remedies was nothing like coming off benzos.
I’ve had patients stay on natural antianxiety remedies whether they’ve taken benzo’s or not for years without the remedies becoming progressively less effective, if they cause desensitisation that is what would happen. Actually that’s not the whole picture because I always recommend people to not take herbal medicines one day a week to avoid any possibility of habituation this is something I was taught of college and used in this way they do not lose their effectiveness.
So when you use natural remedies as a strategy to temporarily maintain GABA activity to manage benzo discontinuation syndrome you are not just kicking the withdrawal problem down the road to deal with later. Many natural remedies particularly herbal remedies have multiple complex effects they may act as a GABA agonist but also up-regulate neuroplasticity and promote regeneration of GABA synapses and neurocircuits at the same time, scientific studies invariably only focus on one effect giving and we must not think that we have a full understanding.
Chemical interventions neither drugs nor natural remedies are the cure for anxiety
Although natural remedies may help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and benzo discontinuation syndrome they are not the cure for anxiety, successful treatment must include rewiring of the brain through brain training exercises.
Unfortunately what often happens when people stop taking natural remedies is they may return to the original baseline level of anxiety that they had before they ever took the benzo (not the noticeably stronger anxiety of benzo discontinuation syndrome), the same thing often happens to people that have not taken benzos in the first place. I was very disappointed and frustrated with this result and have invested a lot of work in recent years developing  better treatment approach for anxiety spectrum disorders than adjusting brain chemistry.
I discuss my new treatment methods at length elsewhere but briefly I’ve rarely if ever seen treating brain chemistry with pharmaceuticals or natural remedies alone lead to permanent or long-term cures, the only solution I found that delivers permanent or at least semipermanent reductions and cures of anxiety spectrum disorders lies in rewiring the brain through specific brain training and therapy techniques. That anxiety spectrum disorders are a caused by altered or faulty wiring (neuro circuitry) in the brain as opposed to a deficiency of the neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin is a relatively new understanding in psychiatric research is a relatively new development, however psychiatric medicine has yet to work out how to make use of and apply this understanding. We know that things like meditation to stimulate neuroplastic changes in the brain causing dendrites and synapses to form in new places and directions and dendrites and synapses in other areas to be broken down, for example meditation can grow connections in grey matter in the cortex improving ability of the brain to control anxiety states, it can also shrink the amygdala by thinning out synaptic connections and this diminishes anxiety symptoms.
Studies have produced results from meditation brain training equal to and in some cases better than standard drug treatments, furthermore follow-up studies show the effects are persistent and long-lasting. What I think is not understood is quite how far we can take brain training techniques, in my practice I combine remedies that promote neuroplasticity with the brain training techniques at the same time to promote more rapid rewiring of the brain; furthermore I teach a different style of mindfulness meditation to the gentle passive open monitoring mindfulness meditation utilised in most of the scientific studies. I think people often consider meditation to be a gentle and relaxing thing but I think of it as a ‘workout’ for the brain it’s a treatment to grow new neurocircuits, you don’t grow muscles by relaxing you have to go to the gym and the harder and heavier weights you push the quicker you grow muscle and you can assist growth of muscle with a stack of supplements. This is brain gym where we push the brain with intense even painful focus and take a stack of remedies that promote neuroplasticity.
I’m not saying we can’t still gain some useful short-term therapeutic effects by targeting your neurotransmitter balance but if you want to permanently reduce and hopefully even overcome an anxiety spectrum disorder you have to include many many hours of brain training exercises and anxiety desensitisation therapy techniques.
My new treatment program for anxiety spectrum disorders consists of:-
  • Natural antianxiety remedies to bring stability and temporary relief from the condition, and it is tapering pharmaceuticals if necessary
  • Start using universal helpers such as exercise and kindness therapy,
  • Use natural remedies diet etc. to improve the fundamental health of the brain to obstacles to neuroplasticity to pave the way for rewiring such as hidden neuroinflammation,
  • start brain training techniques to rewire the anxious brain,
  • Use natural remedies to up-regulate neuroplasticity combined with:
  • Use trauma remodelling techniques if necessary including NLP, TRE, EMDR,
  • Last but not least fear and anxiety desensitisation extinction therapy assisted by natural remedies vagus nerve stimulation.
I specialise in treating and coaching people with mental health problems how to obtain better mental health with natural remedies and self-help techniques. If you would like me to look into your individual case and develop a tailor-made programme of natural remedies, dietary advice and brain training exercises I’m available for private consultations at my London clinic and online for people that live too far away.
I also run regular meditation classes in London and online.
Click on the 
bookings tab to make an appointment.
I’m passionate about treating mental health and I’d be very happy to work with you.
A Final Word of Caution:
The brain is hardwired to be vigilant for and pay attention to anything threatening, a person without anxiety looking at the Internet will be more drawn to a link or information containing negative or threatening information and helpful information, for example if the link says The Best Way to Take Magnesium that is a lot less grabbing than Don’t Take Magnesium until You’ve Read This, the 2nd one makes you think could I be taking magnesium the wrong way? Is it harmful? It’s a powerful Internet clickbait technique.
When the neurocircuits designed to be vigilant for potential threat, make us worry and anxious become hyperactive and out of control we become hypervigilant to threat, worried and anxious; this is anxiety disorder and feels horrible. When your brain is hypervigilant and you go on the Internet you may think that you are looking for a balanced educated view but the overdeveloped hypervigilant circuits in your brain are paying more attention to what could go wrong and be distorting yes literally distorting your perception of reality; your hypervigilance will latch onto anyone anywhere even hinting at a possible negative side effect and then your inability to stop thinking about it will cause worry anxiety and a distorted perception of risk.
This is not unique to anxiety depression and bipolar depression (I have bipolar disorder) distorts our perception of hope and optimism, our past and future happiness, mania distorts our perception of risk in the opposite way to anxiety, schizophrenia produces full-on hallucinations but also paranoid distortions of how paranoid we should be.
There is a particularly unfortunate phenomenon I have been observing for the last few years which is the combination of anxiety spectrum disorders and the Internet especially forums and chat rooms where people with anxiety share their worries with other people that are anxious and hypervigilant about threats, and it just takes one person to write a convincing argument that let’s say a herbal agonist could work like benzo and then other people with anxiety will repeaters and copiers and repeaters and copy it until it’s all over the Internet which makes it seem like it’s more important because everyone seems to be saying it, and then it appears to be a factual truth and the whole thing is created or driven by the anxious psychology.
I’m a huge advocate of self-help therapy, it’s what I practice, it saved my life, I’m a great fan but actually becoming increasingly cynical of what self-help therapy has become with the Internet, there are people who have no education whatsoever in biological sciences let alone medical sciences and furthermore have no clinical experience I mean the number of patients they treated is precisely one and that one is them self, and if they’re still writing about negative experiences in the forum the number of patients they have successfully treated is zero. The human brain is the most complex structure in the known universe, it’s the most unknown frontier in science, amateur brain chemistry treatment shouldn’t be a thing. I’ve met some people that have spent a couple of years teaching themselves about neurotransmitters and synapses on the Internet which is not a replacement for a foundation degree in neurophysiology and then they’ve mixed together combinations of remedies and drugs which they bought on the dark web (despite no formal training in natural therapies or pharmacology) and badly messed their brains up. I’ve seen people say don’t take B12 if you are on a benzo withdrawal I took it and it revs you up making the anxiety worse, but you shouldn’t take B12 on its own and for another person in another context B12 being one of the methylating vitamins could calm down inflammation and assist their individual healing process especially if they have the MTHFR gene mutation. People often report paradoxical effects so they might take a serotonin agonist but then feel more anxious and depressed so they’ll say don’t take this if you’re on a benzo withdrawal but a skilled therapist should have been able to identify that they had too much neuroinflammation to cope with a serotonin agonist, that the neurons are overworking inflamed and exhausted and if you ask them to do more work they’ll just go into a temporary collapse so in outpatient you would have to treat the inflammation and nourish and regenerate exhausted neurons before you used a serotonin agonist like 5 HTP of tryptophan. But all your anxious brain can see is B12 overstimulating danger avoid, serotonin 5 HTP danger avoid, but that’s the anxiety talking it’s not a balanced view
If you are suffering from prolonged with benzo withdrawal and want to read more about my treatment methods to both ease and speed up the process click here: Benzo Withdrawal Treatment with Natural Remedies

Related Reading
Benzo Withdrawal How to Speed up Recovery
Benzo Withdrawal Treatment with Natural Remedies
How to taper off benzos the right and Wrong Way
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Hi my name is Peter Smith I specialise in treating and coaching people how to live well with mental health problems, digestive health problems/IBS, sleep problems and type II diabetes using natural therapies.
I used these techniques to overcome and live well with my own bipolar disorder and IBS. I've been in practice as a natural medicine practitioner since 1988.

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If you’d like treatment for any of the issues discussed in this article I specialise in treating and coaching people how to obtain better mental health with natural remedies and self-help techniques. If you would like me to look into your individual case and develop a tailor-made programme of natural remedies, dietary advice and brain training exercises I’m available for private consultations and I’m available for private consultations at my London clinic and online for people that live too far away.
I also run regular meditation classes in London and online.
I’m passionate about treating mental health and I’d be very happy to work with you.
Click on the
bookings tab to make an appointment.
To Book an Appointment
At my London clinic please call the Hale clinic reception:
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As a general rule improvements are seen within 2-3 appointments so you can quickly know if the treatments are helping you and you are making a good investment.
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