… how to taper off benzos the right way gradually without withdrawal effects using natural remedies, alprazolam, Xanax, lorazepam, Ativan, triazolam, Halcion

How to taper-off
Benzodiazepines

the Right and Wrong Way

© PeterSmithUK.com
Related Reading
Benzo Withdrawal How to Speed up Recovery
Benzo Withdrawal Treatment with Natural Remedies
Are Natural Remedies Safe Benzo Diazepam Withdrawal?

Although I’ve written this for benzodiazepines you can apply the exact same withdrawal technique to other prescription metastases such as oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone etc.

Discontinuing benzodiazepines too quickly can be dangerous, it can cause such a dramatic drop in the firing of your GABA synapses that you could have seizures amongst other things; you must taper off these drugs gradually.
Decreasing at a rate of 10% a day would avoid dangerous side effects however many people experience intolerable withdrawal side effects at a rate of 10% a day, in my practice I recommend a discontinuation rate of 10% a week sometimes pausing longer than a week according to how it’s going.
Now it’s imperative to understand how to do a compound percentage decrease, if you are good at maths you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about, so you can just skip through this but if you’re not good at maths take your time so that you understand what you’re doing.
The right way to do it is each week you take away 10% of the dose you were taking the previous week, not 10% of the original starting dose.

So the 1st week you are taking away 10% of your original starting dose, the 2nd week you take away 10% of what you were taking the 1st week, the 3rd week you take away 10% of what you were taking the 2nd week and so forth taking away 10% of what you are taking the previous week. This will produce a long and gradual tapering off the benzos, it means that each reduction in step gets progressively smaller and smaller as the weaning programme continues and avoids any sudden drops. When you reduce a 10% a week it will take you 20 weeks to get down to a 10th of your original starting dose, this gives your brain time to re-compensate and re-establish GABA sensitivity. Below I’ll explain how to speed up and shorten benzo withdrawal by up-regulating neuroplasticity and stimulating the brain to grow new GABAergic synapses and restore lost GABA activity in the brain.
 
This produces a smooth constant withdrawal, it ensures that each time you make a decrease you decrease by the same percentage, this means you will takeaway smaller numbers milligrams is the dosage you take goes down. The wrong way to do it is to make a simple percentage decrease whereby you take away the same 10% of the original dose each week without recalculating it; this means each week you take away the same weight or number of milligrams and what will happen is the size or percentage of the drops becomes progressively bigger causing unacceptable drops in activity in your GABA synapses.
 

The Wrong way to do it:

Let’s say you’re taking 2 mg of Xanax a day from one 2 mg Xanax tablet shown in the image to the right.
 
Each week you going to take away 10% of the original starting dose which is 0.2 mg so
the 1st week you take 1.8 mg
the 2nd week you take away another 0.2 mg giving 1.6 mg, and so forth this means that when you get to weeks 7 you’re only taking 0.8 mg and when you take away another 0.2 you’re making a drop of 25% and then the next week you are making a drop of 33% in the week after that drop of 50%. Some people will say that when you get down to such tiny doses it doesn’t make a difference but many of my patients find the opposite, they find making changes when the taking a very low dose is actually harder, I’ll say more about this later.
 
As you can see if you take away the same amount each week the size or percentage of the drop goes up and up, this is not the way to do it. Now let’s look at the right way to make a gradual, progressive and even withdrawal.

The Right way to do it is:

Let me give you an example:
Again let’s say you are taking 2 mg of a Xanax and you going to decrease by 10% a week but this time you going to decrease making a compound percentage decrease. 

The easy way to calculate the new 10% lower dose is simply to multiply the dose you are taking last week by 0.9 this gives you 90% which is the number you are going to weigh out and take.

the 1st week you going to take 90% of 2 mg the original dose = 1.8 mg,
the 2nd week you going to take 90% of 1.8 mg the previous week’s dosage = 1.62 mg,
the 3rd week you going to take 90% of 1.62 mg      = 1.458 mg,
the 4th week you going to take 90% of 1.458          = 1.31 mg,
the 5th week you going to take 90% of 1.31             = 1.18 mg,
the 6th week you going to take 90% of 1.18             = 1.06 mg

You see theres a big difference, in the 1st example you went 100 mg to 0 mg in just 4 weeks in the 2nd example useful taking 31.5 mg after 4 weeks and had many weeks to go so it’s slower and gives your brain more time to re-sensitising; furthermore in the 1st example the drops went 25% in week one, 33% in week 2 and 50% in week 4 but in the 2nd example you make the same 25% decrease each week. 

How to measure out these precise dosages

You may be wondering how you can give yourself these specific and precise numbers of milligrams. These days you can buy digital scales that go down to 0.001 g for as little as £15 or $20. All you have to do is weigh the whole tablet you’re taking, crush it in some folded paper with a stake hammer, use a calculator to work out what dosage you are taking that week and then weigh out that amount on the scales.
 
What may be a little confusing is that the weight of the whole tablet is going to be a lot more than the weight of the active drug it contains, for example, a tablet containing 1 mg of a drug may weigh 500 mg or more, the additional weight is fillers and binding ingredients in the tablet. But as long as you crush the tablet into a uniform powder we know that if we take away 10% of the crushed powder we have taken away 10% of the active ingredient. So from now on your calculating 10% reductions of the weight of the whole tablet rather than thinking about the milligrams of active ingredient it contains; just to make sure you understand this, if the whole tablet weighs 1 g you’re going to multiply 1 g by 0.9 = 0.9 g (900 mg if you want but on the scale it will say 0.9 g), and then the next week you going to take 90% of 0.9 g = 0.81 g of a crushed tablet and so forth.
 
Just for the sake of clarity, the procedure is:-

  1. The 1st week you are going to measure the weight of the whole tablet or tablets you are taking. Make a note of the weight.

  2. Now put the tablet in some good quality paper, fold the paper a couple of times and crush the tablet into a fine powder with a stake hammer or something similar.

  3. Next use a calculator and multiply however many milligrams of the tablet you are taking last week by 0.9 and then weigh out that amount.

Apparently you can buy ready-made discontinuation prescriptions that decrease the dosage of the drug by 10% each week in Holland but they cost hundreds of pounds about $1000; not only is this a lot more money than a small electrical scale but it means you have to discontinue at a constant predetermined rate but when you prepare the dosage yourself you can control the rate at which you decrease such that if you find one of the decreases very uncomfortable and challenging you can simply go back to the dose you were on and stay on that for additional week or 2 or however long it takes before your system is ready to take the next step down, I’ll explain this in more detail below.

How to manage difficult weeks  

Sometimes when you transition to a low dose you may find your brain is not ready to make that transition and you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but you do if this happens is simply go back to the dose you were taking the previous week (absolutely not the dose you are taking in the beginning) and stay on that dose for another week and then try again. In other words you may find you need to linger on one level for more than give your brain more time to adapt and change to this dosage, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending to 3 or even 4 weeks on one level before progressing to the next step. Of course if you don’t mind suffering you could just keep soldiering on dropping by 10% each week regardless but if you want to go at a more natural pace dictated by the neuroplastic capabilities of your brain and minimise discontinuation syndrome affects take as long as you need.
 
Something that is important is only ever go backwards one step absolutely do not suddenly jump back up to the full dose that you were taking in the beginning, even though it may only have been a few weeks ago that you were used to that dosage your brain may not be able to handle it now and in the worst case scenario could be fatal; as far as I can gather what killed Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse is that they had both tapered off some sedative tranquilizing drugs and then when they went through a rough patch they took the full dose that they used to be able to take mistakenly thinking that they could still handle this dose. Make no mistake benzos potentially very dangerous drugs, they kill people from overdoses, they can kill people who suddenly withdraw from them and if you take them continuously they can rapidly desensitise your GABA synapses potentially making you addicted and having to undergo an arduous withdrawal.

When to stop Altogether

Some people say when you get down to a half milligram you can just stop altogether but many of my patients found that they were still getting something from lower doses and benefited by continuing micro dosing all the way down to 0.15 of a milligram, but there’s no hard and fixed rule about this, just keep going until you have not noticed any difference for 3 or 4 weeks then try stopping altogether, if it is too soon you can go back onto the last dose you are taking and continue tapering for another month or so.

How to speed up benzo withdrawal

The process by which the brain recovers from benzos and other drugs that cause dependency is called neuroplasticity, the brain can grow new dendrites and GABAergic synapses to replace the synapses that are under functioning as a result of benzo use; the brain can also increase the number of receptor sites inside desensitised GABA synapses to make them more sensitive this is referred to as synaptic-plasticity. Unfortunately there is still a lot of people online saying that there is nothing you can do to speed up benzo withdrawal and it will just take as long as it takes, but neuroscience and the work I’m doing in my practice are evolving very rapidly and this thinking is now outdated. We now know that we can up-regulate our neuroplastic abilities.
 
Since 2012 been using specific combinations of supplements, diets, brain training exercises and physical exercises to stimulate up-regulation of neuroplasticity and just as important decrease the forces that work against neuroplasticity, this includes things like neuro inflammation, neurotoxins and oxidation stress to name but a few. The online forums that say there’s nothing you can do to speed up natural neuroplastic processes are places where people that have poor recovery from benzos congregate, in my practice I have met many people that went through a short uncomfortable withdrawal and quite quickly returned to the baseline they were at before they took benzos in the 1st place, but these people don’t tend to visit the forums and write about their experiences.
 
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
Are Natural Remedies Safe Benzo Diazepam Withdrawal?

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.
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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
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