Valsa Madhava, MD
The Benzo Doctor Taper Tips:
1. Think about why you want to taper. Click here to know some harms of benzodiazepine use.
2. We think it is essential to enhance some aspects of daily living before and during the taper. This includes a pro-recovery-based diet with increased protein intake and decreased use of sugar and processed foods.
3. We recommend functional-medicine testing to identify core biochemical and microbiome imbalances among others.
4. We believe that it is important to stabilize the brain with select nutrients and supplements before starting the benzo taper.
5. Once ready, the tapering process can start with the benzodiazepine you are currently using. You may not need to cross over to diazepam (Valium) as recommended in the Ashton Manual. We find that switching to diazepam causes discomfort in many individuals. If necessary, a switch later in the tapering process.
6. We advocate for small benzo dose reductions, a 2.5-5% dose decrease every 2 weeks.
7. We feel that increased movement or exercise is an essential part of the withdrawal process.
8. We think family, friends, or counseling support is crucial during benzodiazepine dose reductions.
9. The benzodiazepine tapering process should be controlled by the individual and guided by the treating team.
10. Our benzodiazepine taper program is unique and incorporates all the above tips. It is based on our understanding of how benzodiazepines affect the brain and our experiences with the withdrawal course. Connect with us if we can help you in your journey towards an optimal life beyond benzo.