PTSD & Benzos: New Information You Really Need to Know

How to treat PTSD

Passing judgment on a treatment of choice for someone struggling with a mood or anxiety disorder is cold. Yet, risks need to be shared. Treating PTSD with benzodiazepines seems to make a whole lot of sense. However, new research says otherwise. Let’s dig-in…

Benzodiazepines are ineffective for PTSD treatment and prevention, and risks associated with their use tend to outweigh potential short-term benefits.

Okay, so who can’t understand why someone enduring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would want to use a benzodiazepine (benzo)? I mean, think about flashbacks, nightmares, social anxiety, panic, and more. Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, etc. may make life, at the very least, tolerable.

As you read, please understand my job isn’t to pass judgment on how you find relief. But I think it’s my responsibility to share risks as I become aware of them. If you’re enduring PTSD, I came upon some information you really need to know. And, of course, you can decide what you want to do with it.

Benzodiazepines for PTSD?

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in this month’s Journal of Psychiatric Practice, benzos may not be effective in the treatment of PTSD. In fact, they could be downright harmful. By the way, this was the first comprehensive review and meta-analysis dealing with the issue.

From Wright State University’s Dr. Jeffrey Guina and colleagues…

Benzodiazepines are ineffective for PTSD treatment and prevention, and risks associated with their use tend to outweigh potential short-term benefits.


But there’s more. The team also found evidence suggesting the use of benzos in patients who experienced recent trauma may, in fact, ramp-up the onset of PTSD.

In their review, the team pulled from clinical trials or observational studies pertaining to the use of benzos in PTSD patients. Also included were patients with recent trauma who’d been evaluated for possible PTSD.

So Why All the Hubbub?

Fact is, benzos are frequently used in the treatment of PTSD – and it’s controversial. See, clinicians on one side of the fence say benzos can reduce the anxiety, irritability, and insomnia associated with PTSD. However, clinicians on the other side of the fence suggest using benzos may prolong and worsen an already very unpleasant situation.

Given the latest round of inadequate treatment of veterans with PTSD, Dr. Guina believes this kind of ongoing analysis is merited.

Benzodiazepines for PTSD? The Review & Results

Okay, so Guina and team dived-in to 18 studies, which included 5,200+ participants who’d survived one or more traumas. Included were physical injuries, combat-related trauma, life-threatening medical conditions, disasters, and sexual trauma.

Based upon the evidence from these particular studies, benzos were associated with no improvement in, or worsening of, overall severity, psychotherapy outcomes, aggression, depression, and substance use.

Now, 12 studies met criteria for a meta-analysis. And the results suggested benzos were associated with no improvement in PTSD-related outcomes. Furthermore, the results suggested using benzos in patients with recent trauma increased PTSD risk.

From Guina and team…

Those studies providing sufficient data suggest that the risk of developing PTSD is two to five times higher in groups receiving benzodiazepines than in control groups.

Why Don’t PTSD & Benzos Play Well Together?

If benzos seem to provide relief for some anxiety disorders, why aren’t they a natural for PTSD? And why are they potentially harmful?

According to Guina and the gang, perhaps it’s because the anxiety associated with PTSD develops differently than in other anxiety disorders.

Catch this interesting tidbit…

Benzodiazepines might be effective if they selectively inhibited the stress and anxiety centers of the brain that are often hyperactive in PTSD. Instead, they indiscriminately target the entire brain – including areas that are already hypoactive in PTSD, such as the cognitive and memory centers.

It seems that because benzos have ongoing impact upon memory, they may hinder patients from learning how to cope with PTSD symptoms. You have to keep in mind that evidence-based trauma-focused psychotherapies require patients to experience and, ultimately, master anxiety.

Well, benzos can impair that experience by numbing emotions, decreasing learning efficiency, and inhibiting memory processing of material learned in therapy.

Let’s Conclude

Guina and team acknowledge there are only four randomized trials, to date, that conclude benzos worsen PTSD. So, obviously, they believe more work needs to be done.

However, in the meantime, based upon the precious little evidence of efficacy – and stronger evidence of potential risks – Dr. Guina and the gang submit that benzos are “relatively contraindicated” in trauma patients.

In fact, they go on to recommend a variety of evidence-based treatments, including psychotherapy, antidepressants, and adrenergic inhibitors. They believe all of these should be exhausted before turning to benzodiazepines.

So there you have it. Powerful information, I think – brought to you without judgment, in the spirit of dialing you in to new and relevant information.

And that about does it, except for how you feel about it. How ’bout sharing in a comment?

Thanks to Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins and for the scoop.

More Chipur mood and anxiety disorder titles? At your fingertips.

  • npeden July 22, 2015, 6:50 pm

    Well, this is certainly interesting. My only complaint is adrenergics are just more drugs so I, who has ptsd and mthfr as well as most of my neurotransmitters mutated, will be stuck with another drug.
    Like all drugs, which because of the mthfr, I am often made very ill and am often harmed so this will be quite a stretch for me. AND it may still not help me sleep. What then?

    My psych wants me on topomax and while it is because he says it will help me stop drinking, I already have, I think he is thinking it will work as a mood stabilizer. But it won’t. Its inefficacy is mentioned in this article on all the drugs I cannot take.

    I know this is off topic but in my experience, good sleep is essential for my ptsd and while I know it is not recommended, I take it at night due to a psych’s ego. It is not recommended for sleep but now I am addicted and withdrawal will only be tougher given my sleeplessness.

    Anyway, anyone who does not have ptsd I must tell you I envy you. It must be wonderful to have god childhood memories.

    • Chipur July 22, 2015, 7:11 pm

      Thank you, Nancy. I am one of those who doesn’t suffer from PTSD – and I’m grateful. I have some very fond childhood memories. Some not so fond ones, as well. Still, I managed to escape long-term icky fallout. You have my empathy!!!


      • BCat July 26, 2015, 10:12 pm

        Bill, have you heard about using xenon gas for PTSD? Lot’s of recent articles on it as a very promising agent that works on NMDA receptors and, when used during an activated trauma, essentially blunts the memory very effectively.

        It’s supposed to be used with a therapist, of course, but I have found a source for it and I am very, very good at activating my own trauma, but getting better at moving out of it. If I decide to use it, after much studying, I will have my husband assisting me so as I don’t forget to turn it off and just float away. You know, that doesn’t sound so bad.

      • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:35 pm

        You know, I learn so damned much on Chipur – and I’m the producer! I was not aware of xenon gas as a PTSD intervention. However, you can bet as soon as I read your comment, I did a quick info scan. Chipur readers, do your due diligence. And here’s a nice little thumbnail on the dynamics

        Appreciate the schooling, BCat…

      • npeden July 28, 2015, 12:14 pm

        Just sent the xenon gas studies to my psych and geneticist….fingers crossed. Wouldn’t that be a gas! Ha ha!

      • BCat July 28, 2015, 3:51 pm

        However, makes me wonder if it wipes out the good memories as well. But we’re so survivor-wired for the bad ones they’re probably much more active and available.

      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:27 pm

        From the study: “…inhaled administration of a subsedative concentration of Xe gas substantially and persistently inhibits a long-term fear memory, but only after memory reactivation and when administered within the putative reconsolidation window.” So my take is a specific memory is being targeted – no need to worry about losing other memories? Here’s a link to the study text in PLOS ONE


      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:28 pm

        You’re killin’ me, Nancy…

  • Chipur July 22, 2015, 7:20 pm

    Much I admire about you, Nancy. Here are just two things: You are always so willing to share your personal experiences with us. And you always provide relevant and meaningful information pertaining to what you – and many of us – endure. It’s always appreciated and respected.

    Thank You!

    • npeden July 22, 2015, 8:52 pm

      Thanks. And here is some relevant info about YOU, Billiam, from a VA article of psch drugs: There is emerging evidence that when given a choice, most patients will select psychotherapy treatment for their PTSD symptoms rather than medications.

      • Chipur July 23, 2015, 10:15 am

        Well, how ’bout that! Thanks, Nancy…

  • npeden July 23, 2015, 10:54 pm

    Hope I am not the only one who feels this is important. I just reread it and the part about it getting worse after a recent trauma. My whole life has fallen apart. I got monoxide poisoning a couple of months ago and then my landlords threaten to evict me. And my ex is not paying all his alimony.

    It must have been Sunday but I was so desperate to get off sleep meds, I had bought the book Bill recommends on CBT for insomnia. But it has to be done with a therapist present if you have, as I do, PTSD. Still my desperation which drives me now a lot, I tried not taking any meds and I woke at least every hour. Next day I felt like I was on LSD and yet I wanted to get out. Thought I would go to the movies. Got there too late. I think I was not reading the time correctly.

    Anyway, I parked behind a big truck and when I pulled out I could tell I scraped his bumper. So I got out and looked and saw nothing. I thought I looked at my car but can’t remember. Today I found a long black scrape and dent down the side of my car. I don’t know how this happened but I was definitely out of it.

    I need to go somewhere safe and get better, get off klono. Even my psych doesn’t know how to diagnose me. I am very disheartened. Things are getting worse and worse.

    I am committing to going to the park tomorrow and lay on the grass listening to meditation tapes. Life is so f*ing hard…at least for me. I push myself much too hard.

    • BCat July 26, 2015, 10:18 pm

      Nancy, I get very LSD-like PTSD and panic attacks too. Very scary. Edgar Allan Poe/Stephen King stuff. I also had an amazingly abysmal childhood and should be robbing convenience stores instead of hanging with a bunch of wounded compassionate warriors (as well as worriers). When those booga-booga’s hit, it is so obviously something chemical for me.

      Have you looked into your copper? My epigenetic doc says my symptoms are poster-child hypercupremia and I’m waiting to get my labwork back to validate his dx. Getting something that will actually work is another thing, but I do take my zinc and try to stay away from chocolate ( now THAT’S cruel and unusual).

      • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:40 pm

        Thanks, BCat. Readers – be sure to check-out BCat’s related guest post here on Chipur from not so long ago

      • npeden July 28, 2015, 12:35 pm

        BCat, just wrote to my geneticist and my psych about copper. I just called my acupuncturist who is also my herbalist and dear friend. He calls Kratom “problematic”. I see him for massage on the grass under the trees this afternoon. (tree bathing and earthing!)

        I am on for the gas if my psych would help but I doubt he will. He is very conservative. I would need to find someone special for that. The new phd therapist I am seeing would not be the one either.

        BCat, I am trying a new psych drug. Maybe Bill can say something about it. I think it is mostly a mood stabilizer. My doc wanted it for that and for the fact that after the monoxide I started drinking. I am at a very low dose 25 mg. Most people with really problems are on 200 mg. I can’t imagine how they manage. Two put me out for the day but one makes me cheerful. Don’t like taking psych meds but this seems to help.

        How do you do it, go on and of gabapentin? What do you do to sleep? I THINK I can’t sleep without drugs….

      • BCat July 28, 2015, 4:14 pm

        Isn’t it topomax you’re currently taking? Tried it a long while back and it made me very edgy. Hope it continues to help you and keep me posted. Was also on lamictal with no help. Dr Mensah says that with copper toxicity, not much is going to help unless that issue gets addressed, and it’s frequently dx’d as bipolar because the symptoms are so similar. It’s amazing all the damage it does, including the thyroid, which I’m hypo. Also, copper is highly electro-conductive and I don’t know about you, but my bad times feel very much like electric/static energy. But don’t expect many conventional docs to give it much credit. As for finding a xenon doc – good luck! That’s why I’m considering being a guinea pig just out of desperation, which is when I can get into trouble.

        Now that you mention gabapentin, I think I’m going to gobble a few down and hope it helps with this current bad time, as it sometimes does if I take around 900mg every 4-6 hours, which is a therapeutic dose but seems high anyway. This makes me wonder if I really do have ‘no problem’ with going on and off gaba after all. I’m not sure if I even want to know if it’s real addictive.

        As for sleep, haven’t found anything herbal-wise or melatonin or such that makes a dent, I just have to wait it out until a natural cycle takes over. I had a miserable time for a few days after going off the seroquel, and if I take temazepam for a few days to reset a long sleepless cycle, I have trouble for 2 days. As long as I get into bed by 10 and read something nice, my cycle eventually resets, as long as I’m not churning out some conversations in my mind. If I get into bed later than 11, vaya kicks in (so says the ayurvedics) and the nervous energy cycle starts up. When I go through long spells of not sleeping, it’s like a bright light is turned on inside my head.

      • npeden July 28, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Yes, it is a very low dose of topomax and I did notice some anxiety last night and yes I too get electrical. Wrote to nutritionist for a brand of zinc without copper and whether I should test.

        For binaural beats, I look for the short ones for sleep. This one you probably won’t like cause it is just a hiss but it is just an hour. Like I said, I cannot go to sleep with it on. I too have started turning off the tube earlier, ten pm, taking my meds which are: 2 mg. klono, 1200 mg. gabapentin, 25 mg. topo, 1 seditol plus (an herb blend from my nutritionist with melatonin) and a big dab of hash oil behind my teeth, CO2 derived only. If I don’t have each of them I fear I won’t sleep. I know that is probably a myth but I am addicted to two of these and I like the lab dab hash oil which I am medically prescribed.

        As I have experimented, I now know I need two hours to fall asleep. This may be my genetic disease, mthfr, which is very slow to detox anything so I imagine it applies to using anything. I can’t take more than 25 mg. of the topo.

        I so agree about staying up too late. Got to be very vigilant about our sleep habits. I know Bill wants me sitting up in a chair if I am going to watch tv but I don’t have the furniture arrangement for it and love my bed.

        Please do call sometime. If you want to talk to my nutritionist for free for half an hour, her web site is She literally saved my life, not once but twice. Since you are seeing an epigeneticist, a geneticist might fit well. Just a thought.

      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:34 pm

        I’m enjoying the communication between you and BCat – and learning much. I know i always say this, but I’m so pleased to have these comments available for those who stop-by…


      • BCat July 29, 2015, 6:20 pm

        AS long as it’s a gooood hissss…

  • npeden July 23, 2015, 11:00 pm

    Guess no one here takes benzos or has ptsd…good I feel lonely.

    • Chipur July 24, 2015, 9:34 am

      Hiya, Nancy…

      You know, I’m glad to provide a forum in which you can let it all out – and process. Unfortunately, not everyone who reads articles, and the comments, replies in kind. That’s just the way it is. However, please know you’re welcome here anytime, Nancy – and share all you’d like. I understand loneliness.


      • BCat July 28, 2015, 3:49 pm

        Sometimes I wonder if there are any more people in the universe than the few folks I truly appreciate who contribute to this forum. C’mon people, I know you’re out there!

      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:37 pm

        You know, I wish I could offer ya’ll more traffic – and comments. Much more I could do, if I had the time. Just for the record, I work full-time during the day and work with Chipur as much as I can in the evening and on weekends. Breaks my heart, actually. But one day – I promise…

      • BCat July 29, 2015, 6:19 pm

        No!!! You have a full-time job too? And you offer us your support and comments??! I am truly agog.

      • Chipur July 29, 2015, 8:14 pm

        Aw, shucks, BCat. But, yes, it’s true. I’m committed to Chipur, its readers, and my clients. And one day it’ll be my only work. Thanks for the props…

    • BCat July 26, 2015, 9:56 pm

      Are you kidding? I am the PTSD Queen! My PTSD has PTSD from all the activating that’s been going on lately. As for benzos, jeez, they help, but every time I take one when nothing else helps, I get this voice “Well, you know that you can get rebound anxiety when it wears off and pretty soon you’ll be too tolerant, and…” And I get anxious from taking an anti-anxiety pill. But shit, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

      I finally coerced my recent Doc to give me some Temazapam because it’s the only thing that helps me sleep when nothing else works. I haven’t been able to get benzos for some time because I tried to off myself with them a few years back. A mix of sixty lorazapams and diazepams I had lying around that did not work for my panic attacks and I had the best night’s sleep in ages and woke up all perky, ready for breakfast, with this silent woman sitting next to my bed in the ICU. However, 60 benzos a day are obviously not a good option for anyone. I now do Kratom when I’m having a bad day and it’s been a true blessing. It’s a plant that’s a mu-opioid agonist that is not an opioid and acts differently from true opioids.

      There’s some concern with tolerance and addiction, but so far, after about a month, I have no problems with days off and I am so relieved to know that there’s something out there I can depend on (usually but not always, always) that takes the edge off and makes me feel like there are little sprites and devas in my sofa and Ninja blender. It gives me hope.

      • npeden July 27, 2015, 12:11 pm

        Oh, BCat, so glad someone relates to this struggle. After the monoxide poisoning and my landlord’s threats to evict, there were nights I took six. But that was only occasionally but things just got worse. I am glad I was letting Bill know about this. Last week, like a fool, I tried to go cold turkey on my sleep meds, 1200 mg. of gabapentin and now 2 mg. klono and dash of hash oil and wrecked my car when I tried to go cold turkey. Now I am on also on 1 20 mg. toprimate and that seems to be stabilizing my mood with a little antidepressant effect.

        I don’t mind getting off the klono. It is the gabapentin that really scares me but eventually, when I feel more stable, hopefully, I will, maybe then I will try but my nutritionist wants me off and I want me off. Toprimate is not addictive, thank God.

        As for anxiety, generally, I am pretty good except when challenged by bullies or late in the afternoon. I think what clicked my GAD OFF was a ketogenic diet. I highly recommend it for anxiety relief. (I also take 5 g. of inositol around 4 pm, in my mg. cocktail.) A very goo form of mg. is ReMag by a nutty Dr. Carolyn Dean.

        My nutritionist had me get a paleo base health book, not many recipes, that my psych, who treats a lot of ADD, was impressed with it. It is called Perfect Health Diet and has very good ketogenic diet. I think you and your hubby would love the diet and I bet it might slam your anxiety down.

        Now I am going to try a magnesium/inositol drink around 3 or 4 to reduce glutamate/anxiety. My nutritionist also now has me listening to binaural beats and they are amazing; I can’t live without them now. I listen for an hour at least twice a day. I don’t know if it is rewiring my brain as she wants but the sounds sliding back and found in my head are sure better than the negative self talk I am used to. Here is the wikipedia def and you can find binaural beats all over You Tube. I listen for at least an hour before I go to sleep. I don’t like to sleep with it going but it does help to clear out the terror I feel over “extinguishing myself” that some therapists say PTSD causes.

        She also wants me tree bathing and earthing so just last week I did a stupidly obvious thing. I walked across the street to our city hall park, laid out a sheet and took off my shoes, placed my bare feet on the grass and looked up into a gorgeous beech tree.Would have listened to binaural beats but no wifi connection. The electronics sort of take away from the experience but the binaural tapes really help me.

        Sorry we are both PTSD Queens. Not fair at all. Thanks for chiming in, BCat. Always good to know someone else understands. That Kratom sounds very nasty. I bought some phenibut to have on hand but I don’t even want that now.

      • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:53 pm

        I’m telling you, Nancy – BCat and you! Chipur is a better place for the both of you. So much very personal sharing, and so many potential interventions to consider. Just a huge learning experience here for anyone who happens by. That’s so important!

        I appreciate you…

      • BCat July 27, 2015, 9:30 pm

        I’m also on gabapentin but haven’t found it hard to quit for a while here and there, but eventually go back on when I’m having a rough time. Don’t need to use it regularly. But I can understand your longing to get off as many meds as possible. I’m no longer on anything except the nutritionals (and Kratom).

        The keto diet sounds interesting, I’m not up on it and will definitely check it out. Me and the hubby are currently working on clearing out, going gluten free, and all. Sometimes it’s hard to put my mind around shopping, cooking, I’m sure you can relate.

        No, Kratom is not nasty at all, It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever found, hands down. It puts me in a very loving place, feel safe and mellow. There’s a very sweet energy about it. There’s been some bad press about it, but it turns out the OD’s were actually doing ‘spice’ and MDMA as well. Everytime something helpful comes along that isn’t regulated or a pharma med, they try to wipe it out. Really, Nancy, it’s worth looking into and a good source is mmmspeciosa .com. Good people. I can offer a lot of info on what and how of it. I know you’re on a lot of hopeful things, as I am and it’s now hard to find space on my medicine table. In fact, I just got done clearing off my TV table next to the couch that was getting disgusting. BTW, I hated phenabut. Didn’t help a bit and made the next day shit.

        I’ve tried binaural beats and found a few that I liked and some that made me feel like crawling out of my skin. I’ll try them again. I’ve also been helped by ‘grounding’ and was communicating with Dr. Laura Koniver for a while. Really nice lady.

        I’ve found that the thing that gets me in the most trouble is the fear that it’s never going to get better and here I am getting older and maybe it will even get worse and I don’t think I can take it. I don’t want to take it and I feel very ripped off from living a full life. The dread of living the rest of my life like that is ghastly and I really despair. Going down that path in my mind is a real bad idea because ‘it may be true!!’. But I’m really trying to tune in to the Loving Presence and asking the Holy Spirit, whose presences I have been sorely lacking. And when I start going down that path of despair, I sometimes have to literally force myself to start thinking of how maybe things are shaking up before they get better, and really, the ONLY option worth taking is the path of hope. Do or die, literally.

        I have recently recognized that the anxiety and panic is very much blocked life force that is banging and clawing to get out and flow, but I have soooooo many blocks and sometimes do not know what to do with myself, nothing is enjoyable and I don’t feel like doing anything anyway. Blocked creativity, blocked expression is very wearying. But it really helps when the anxiety hits to remind myself ‘This is my life force and it does not want to hurt me, it wants to help me’. Kratom is helping me to feel normal and want to do things again.

      • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:48 pm

        Yeah, I’m thinkin’ 60 benzos in a day is not the way to go. Unless you want to go all the way. Hell, BCat, glad you at least got a good night’s sleep out of it. More glad you’re still around. More on kratom (mitragyna speciosa), Chipur readers?


      • BCat July 27, 2015, 9:52 pm

        That’s a somewhat balanced review of Kratom but leans waaay too heavily on the opioid withdrawal angle, a sub for methadone being one the best reasons for using it – nah!, the purported dangers, the reasons why it should be illegal, and doesn’t go nearly enough into the many reasons that many people are calling it a miracle plant, as it has been for me. There are threads all over the place about it’s virtues, as well as threads for people trying to quit. But they are very much are abusers, and reading through those threads, are using many substances in vast quantities. Anyone spending $15k a year on anything is abusing, and that’s a very tricky scare tactic they’re using in the report. You must treat anything you put into the body with respect.

        I sense the angle of the report is to appear balanced, but in the end, I’m left with the feeling – ‘Uh, sounds like trouble, no thanks’. Too bad. I cannot speak highly enough about Kratom and thank the Good Creator for sending it my way. It is the ONLY thing that has helped me this much with depression and anxiety. But again, it must be used intellgently, which fortunately, is not hard to do. I take days off at a time, and besides missing the uplifting feeling, do not feel any cravings or urges whatsoever.

        I hope readers who are curious about it can find other more favorable reports. It can lead to tolerance, but in the month I’ve been using it, I haven’t found that to be true as long as I cycle it and don’t use the same strain all the time. I just mix 3/4 teaspoons (10 grams) in kefir and don’t use it as a tea which tastes terrible. Both my husband and I give much thanks for finding this medicinal plant, as it gives us certeredness and a calm focus, and invites a feeling of a safe loving presence. Makes us want to do things and depressed people don’t want to very much and don’t enjoy what they do. So in this household, two thumbs up for Kratom.

      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:41 pm

        No agenda here, BCat. Wanted to put some descriptive info out there to whet some appetites. Will skim a little better next time to avoid prejudicial articles. Yes, I hope interested folk will do their due diligence…

      • BCat July 29, 2015, 5:51 pm

        No, you did right. It was a good overview but didn’t mention the positives other than morphine and meth reduction. It’s hard to find accurate reviews on anything, or ones that are understandable.

      • npeden July 28, 2015, 8:12 pm

        just one last thought for the day, dear, bcat. when one gets your chromoses analyzed one of the next tets is for heavy metals. i don’t remember being high in copper but i can check. we purposely chose a zinc with a bit…3 mg. have you ever been tested for heavy metals? i just had all my amalgams out to get rid of mercury, hoping it would reduce glutamate i have in most of my neurotransmitters but nada yet. magnesium is still the ony thing i can find that reduces glutamate. do you know anything?

      • BCat July 29, 2015, 5:50 pm

        I just got my lab test report in an email and it’s PYROLURIA!!! Also, low D3 molybdenum and high TSH. Copper looks OK blood-wise but low zinc from the Pyro can impact cellular uptake of copper. Lots of other things too, but jeeze, Pyroluria! No wonder I can’t stand sun and mornings and get better at night. Everything points to I can’t make serotonin and with SSRIs, there’s nothing to recycle. Haven’t gotten any work from Dr. Mensah’s analysis and I’m getting bitchy about it. Some heavy metals from hair analysis was off, Magnesium and aluminum was real high but mercury was low. Pyroluria was real high! Duh! I feel great relief that something was found.

      • npeden July 29, 2015, 6:17 pm

        I have it too bcat…5 zincs a day…nada…

      • BCat July 29, 2015, 6:58 pm

        Oh shit!!!!!! It’s NOT pyroluria. I read the range wrong and my levels are normal. Argghhh!!! What’s wrong with me??? I guess I’ll have to go with the low D3 and high histamine (low methylation) and wait for the good Docs analysis. But this is disappointing. This has been going on for over 40 years and I want something wrong with me that can be fixed!!!

      • Chipur July 29, 2015, 8:17 pm

        “This has been going on for over 40 years and I want something wrong with me that can be fixed!!!”

        That’s a powerfully emotional statement, BCat. And you sure deserve the discovery and cure…


      • BCat August 2, 2015, 2:58 pm

        Just saw this from you. According to my hair analysis, very high aluminum, which increases glutamate (hell, what doesn’t?). My molybdenum is practically non-existent and this plays into a sulfur problem as well as yet one more indicator for high copper thing, so I am now adding molybdenum to my teetering tower of supplements. I don’t have high copper according to my reports but many dings in copper pathways and degredation. I don’t take ANY supplements with copper or iron. I’m very low mercury, which surprises me since it was quite high a few years back. Sometimes I wonder about the accuracy of hair analysis. Any thoughts?

        Lowering glutamate, whoo boy. NMDA, sheesh. If I only knew what worked. Tried so many things. I’m on a number of forums that talk about it, some stuff works for some and not others and can get so complex, but it seems none of us on this path are in Kansas anymore as far as the old monoamine theory.

        Recently, I’m looking at ammonia as a nerve irritant and glutamate agonist. My BND4 and CBT (maybe not spelling right) show very impaired ammonia clearance. So now I’ve also added Yucca, which binds ammonia, to my mix .

        A good forum that discusses so many things (many biochem and methylation contributors here) is A great thread for ammonia et all is

        I always learn much from here, even though it’s supposed to be for ME and CFS, it covers so much more with tons of glutamate topics. As for me, I’ve recently gone back to 200mg Seroquel until I find something that addresses things much farther upstream than just symptoms. Shit, hate seroquel but don’t want to become dependent on Kratom or botch it’s good effects.

      • Chipur August 2, 2015, 3:30 pm

        Well, decided I’d open-up this can of worms. Hey, one has to look at both sides of the coin, right?


      • BCat August 3, 2015, 7:43 pm

        Yeah, my suspicions exactly. However, the one thing that has been consistent with all my hair analyses over the past 40 years, and vitamin blood spects, is very low molybdenum, practically non-existent, and that can lead to numerous anxiety issues and clunking up the copper machinery. We are such a neophyte race when it comes to diagnosing or fixing anything except broken bones. gallbladders and tumors, maybe.

      • Chipur August 3, 2015, 9:29 pm

        (…and that’s a big “maybe.”)

    • BCat July 26, 2015, 10:04 pm

      My husband calls me a Pit Bull and I take it as a supreme compliment. Arrrrffff!!

      • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:50 pm


  • npeden July 25, 2015, 3:40 pm

    Now that this information has come to light I am deeply grateful. How do you do it, Bill?

    • Chipur July 25, 2015, 6:55 pm

      Ah, I just sniff it all out. Just call me bloodhound. Rrrrrrruff!

  • BCat July 26, 2015, 10:40 pm

    I have had absolutely no help with alpha or beta blockers, sad to say. What about NMDA blockers, how about looking at G2 transporters in the hippocampus? What’s the delay in getting out some of these promising meds? I am soooo tired of the ‘me too’s’ and same ol same ol meds for the dinosaur monoamine theory. There’s much in the pipeline but nothing coming out of my faucet just yet. So I trawl the dark web and I get the ball rolling in my direction and take things most people don’t know about here in the States, and some of it even works a little bit. Some a lot. My husband’s peripheral neuropathy from shingles has just about disappeared since using etafoxine, a mild anxiolytic with neuroregenerative properties. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprising. I hate this country in so many ways.

    Maybe PTSD is not helped with benzos, but when you’re in the middle of a panic attack, which can definitely activate PTSD, there is nothing like a good benzo. During my nearly 2 years of ongoing panic attacks and hardly any sleep, after a while benzos stopped working and I was left with nothing. Still recovering, but that was just horrible. Bill, I mentioned xenon gas below. Check it out, Sounds interesting.

    • Chipur July 27, 2015, 7:57 pm

      Point very well taken, BCat. That’s why I opened the piece with the not passing judgment on chosen interventions thing. Yes, the xenon gas bit is fascinating – I checked it out. Even provided a link for others. Oh, your xenon comment is way up near the top of the comments section.


      • BCat July 27, 2015, 10:08 pm

        Well, don’t take my word for it because many others are helped by blockers. Hey, if it takes 60 benzos to give me a good night’s sleep, you can imagine there’s not many meds that do what they’re purported to do for others, but not for me.

    • npeden July 28, 2015, 12:41 pm

      Hey, BCat, do you need me to call during an attack? I can do that till about 6 pm. Later, sorry.

      I think benzos don’t work due to tolerance. Did I really read 60??? Geez, what doc can rx that? Not mine.

      Your ability to displace the bad thoughts staring at the door knob is powerful; is there more training you can do with this power?

      Sorry the binaural beats don’t please. I have found them irritating at first then a nice noticing of movement from side to side of my brain and NO bad thoughts and if I do get them I make myself get up and do a crossword puzzle till I hate the words and want to sleep. I do not sleep with the beats on but I do use ear plugs.

      Let me know if you want me on your phone tree of support.

      • BCat July 28, 2015, 3:37 pm

        Nancy, thank you so much and I just might send an email with phone info because today I am having a bad day. Last night I had too much alcohol before bed, something that makes me feel great in the moment but does not do me any good at all in the long run. Had to take 30mg temazepam to fall asleep. Woke up with that ‘Oh shit’ feeling and knew a bad one was coming on. There’s hardly anything that helps a real bad one, alas, except to white knuckle it (I’m about to take off for a walk which helps the most at these times).

        Took some Kratom and, like other real bad times, it didn’t do much to make me feel better except feel a bit disoriented, but maybe a little better. BTW, Kratom should NOT be used with booze, something I stupidly forgot to mention previously. I might try a temaz if things don’t improve, but I’m scared to because when my chemistry is messed like this, benzos can make me feel weird.

        The reason I had all those benzos lying around is because my shrink was attempting to try other benzos at higher doses since none of them were working for extreme panic attacks. Lorazepam, klono, valium, and with each new script, I stopped using the previous duds and had all these unused bottles in my bedside table drawer. So I had quite a collection from failed benzo duds that I gulped down in a moment of ‘fuck this!’.

        Yes, there is a bunch of stuff related to the doorknob therapy, but mainly it’s a stepping stone to another stepping stone of becoming aware of the great services little things do for us that we hardly ever recognize and coming to appreciate them by realizing how things would be if we didn’t have them – like how life must have been before vacuum cleaners and indoor heating and screen windows and doors. If I can wrap my mind around it and attend to this practice (having trouble with sitting still long enough to do it now), then I start sensing awareness coming back from them. It’s like sensing a sentient kind energy flowing from these little inanimate things that just want to do their best to serve all nature. I call them ‘devas’ or the little sprites resident in all things and they seem to emanate good-will.

        I think it’s something best done as a regular practice rather than when in the midst of a howling attack. Kratom really helps me get in this gratitude attitude, feeling loving kindness surrounding me instead of the gloom and doom I have no trouble sensing usually. It’s led to a recognition that these little sprites flow from the Loving Presence or the Great Good Light, or Life Force, and makes it easier to link in to that feeling – something I used to have much more than for a long time now. I started understanding that my terror and anxiety were very much about the Life Force in me being very blocked and jammed up and ramming up against my hopelessness and fears and wanting out!! As long as I can keep tuning into this feeling of safety and loving presence, it builds and life is great.

        But for whatever reason, sometimes chemistry wins out and there’s not much I can do except to try let the rhythm of walking settle me. I slowly ramped down and stopped taking Seroquel about a month ago and I hate to think that I may need it, or something like it after all. At least until I can get on to the Walsh protocol, which is taking a bloody long time. Yes, I want to be on your call list. I think you have my emails, so if you can also send me one with your #, I might give a call later on. Thanks.

      • npeden July 28, 2015, 4:19 pm

        BCat, do email. I think I have yours but I don’t want to announce it here nor send it to the wrong person.

        You are having a TON of rebound anxiety. I wish you would get you genes tested and use my genetic nutritionist for 6 months. I think she would be very helpful for you.

        Bill can give you my cell and landline. Bill, you have my permission. I just don’t talk after 6:30 but do please call. I am in Californi; pdt. I sit on my porch from about 4-6:30 doing binaural beats and reading the paper. That’s a good time if you can hold on. Days are good too.

        Would love a link to the door knob practices. Do you know Neruda’s beautiful poems on simple things? There are two books. Take good care and tonight NO alcohol, please. CALL ME instead.

      • Chipur July 28, 2015, 7:44 pm

        Permission noted, Nancy…

      • BCat July 29, 2015, 5:58 pm

        Nancy, I have done 23andme and it was an eye-opener. You helped me find reports and stuff. Can’t afford anything much right now – vet bills and car repairs all over, but Dr. Mensah’s practice offers a nutritionist that I’ll use if she’s good, in order to keep things simple.

        I love Neruda but forgot his name, so thanks! Also love Rumi and Rainer Marie Rilke. I will call soon. Right now, talking is difficult. I’m mostly swinging on a hammock on the porch. meditating and reading, but we will connect. I’m in northern CA also.

        The doorknob practice is my own. Once, in a tailspin going down, I sent out a cry to God, Angels and Saints to please give me a limb, a step, something to stop the downward spiral and give me a handhold to get out of the pit. When I opened my eyes, my gaze landed on the shiny brass doorknob and it started from there. I can do it best when I’m not racing. Thanks so much for your support and binaural link. Love, B.

      • npeden July 29, 2015, 6:28 pm

        join mthfr community on google plus. we help people interpret and offer advice and support. i found my geneticist there.

  • npeden July 28, 2015, 8:49 pm

    Drug free! Apps all over Google for anxiety but phone won’t paste. Guess I will try some…

  • npeden July 29, 2015, 4:32 pm

    Had the best night’s sleep in awhile. I ended the day quite depressed; topomax seems to unreliably do that to me when it wears off. Anyway, I took some ReMag Magnesium and some Magnesuim Malate from my nutritionist, at dinner and watched tv till ten and then turned it off. I decided that listening to binaural sounds was not such a bad way to spend the next few hours. BUT this time after going through a ton of the electronic ones and feeling all the electricity BCat had mentioned, I tried to find binaural with music. I found some great Tibetan Buddhist bells and music; it opened my heart right up and before I knew it I was asleep and I don’t think it took two hours. Hope this experiment is repeatable.

    Oh, and I am noticing since I have been doing binaural beats twice a day that my PTSD images are less arising…fingers crossed. I don’t think it is the topomax as it happens at night; I listen to the music in my head and it is hard to bring the bloody images up, How wonderful!

    • BCat July 29, 2015, 6:05 pm

      I also found one with the bells a while back, can’t find it right now. Just the act of transferring to my bluetooth phone sometimes gets in the way of doing it in bed, but I have to break through that block. Have so many. So GLAD you had that experience, it’s really inspiring.. Opening the heart is a great key, actually I think it’s the best. Even in the midst of PTSD, if we can try to see the whole picture compassionately, it isn’t as scary.

  • npeden August 1, 2015, 11:36 am

    here is a very touching story of a woman who trusted a detox clinic to get her off psych meds esp. benzos.

    • Chipur August 1, 2015, 6:20 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. Thing is, though – link goes to Topamax facts. Don’t see the story. Zing another link our way, if you’d like…


      • npeden August 1, 2015, 8:05 pm

        i deleted it and put in another post. i trust you willl play mother, bill, and clean up after me. hope the repost got in there…..i knew that happened but then i could not find the story again, got distracted and forgot to come and delete my research on topamax, which i am now off of and feeling almost normal. one of the top side effects is sudden bindness. not great for someone who is already being treated for an eye mutation. psychs are way too irresponsible. this guy tests me for mthfr, knows i can’t take rxs and stil puts me on them. this is upsetting me. logging off to enjoy the last of the day on my porch. peace, all.

      • Chipur August 2, 2015, 10:58 am

        I’ll just assume the link is somewhere. Off mother-duty today…

      • npeden August 2, 2015, 11:54 am

        see reply above. enjoy time off.

      • npeden August 2, 2015, 11:53 am

        ok…i know you need some time off. tried to delete it again but as you are off duty, it won’t go away.

  • npeden August 2, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Ok, I found the link to the story of Monica, who was damaged by going into rehab and being detoxed to quickly. She went psychotic.

    • Chipur August 2, 2015, 1:56 pm

      Got it, Nancy – thank you. This quotation sticks with me, as I believe it’s an all too common statement – “I never lost sight of my goal even as they painted me the drug-seeking addict.” Pretty sad…


      • npeden August 2, 2015, 6:56 pm

        You have such a big heart, Bill. This all terrifies me. Don’t these idiots KNOW people are sick, very sick in some cases.

      • Chipur August 2, 2015, 7:55 pm

        Oh, some may know, but in most cases it’s all about the dough. Get ’em in, get ’em out. ‘Course, treatment protocols and length of stay are mandated by the insurers…

      • npeden August 2, 2015, 10:11 pm

        Well, that is very ugly news. So lacking in compassion and real care.

    • BCat August 4, 2015, 5:56 pm

      How tragic. I was able to come off high-dose benzos that weren’t working, by myself, luckily I wasn’t on them that long. However, I had another iatrogenic nightmare when I went as an inpatient to Cedar Hills Hospital in Portland, OR (STAY AWAY FROM THAT PLACE!!!). I was put on 9mg of risperdal (the one that gives boys moobs, and women 40 lbs of boobs — no guys, it is not a good thing), 3 times the high-end dosage. For four months after I got out, I could only shuffle, could not dress myself, could not talk, write, use my hands, communicate in any way, could not remember the dumbest things, like how to lift the covers away from the bed before stumbling in. My symptoms were the same as a stroke.

      My poor patient husband eventually started losing patience when, after 3 months, I still could not get the hang of using a friggin’ bookmark, Reading was the only thing I nominally could do and it was frustrating to constantly lose my place in the book, whimpering as I tried to riffle through the pages with tangled fingers, not recognizing where I’d left off and having to start from the beginning again. Many times, which was fine, since I had no memory of anything I had already read anyway. And I was STILL having panic attacks, but now in a non-functional body. It took a full year before I had functionality again.

      We still talk about how we should have sued, but that kind of hassle is not for the traumatized. This medical system is a travesty and they’re still pumping us with dangerous meds that don’t work anyway. I went to a shrink a while back, and when I mentioned glutamate, excitotoxins, NMDA, microglial quinoloic acid and wondered if they were any farther along in bringing some real help to people, he rather patted me on the head and said, “Well, now, the inflammation theory isn’t really proven, is it? So we go with what works for others.” What others??? Hey, buddy, not just inflammation. He obviously didn’t have a clue. I have had a small handful of very good psychiatrists whom I felt really cared, unlike our present ‘Doc in a box’ Skype sessions, and no they’re not better than nothing. The rest were pathetic dunces.

      I have an appointment for a psychiatric assessment tomorrow because I was getting desperate recently and am hoping they’ll have some good new drug news but know they won’t. I’m glad I read this because I know the only thing they will have to offer will be more atypical antipsychotics, and it is NOT my dopamine that needs messing with. Sigh…. I have no hope whatsoever that there is anything they can offer me. The do no counseling, no minimal bloodwork, only push dinosaur drugs. But I’ll go anyway and be sure to ask my usual stumper questions and watch their eyes do that deer in the headlight look. I almost enjoy it.

      • npeden August 4, 2015, 6:48 pm

        Wow, that all sounds horrid. Amazing how they just don’t get it. After testing me and finding out I cannot take these things, they make me really, really sick, my psych who I was so excited to hear uses nutrition and tested me for the MTHFR, still has tried to put me on drugs 3 times. Because I have so many mutations (I think you said you had all your chromosomes done, BCat?) in my neurotransmitters. Bill has been better at diagnosing me but then he doesn’t have to wade through years of other psych’s guesstimates. Geez.

        As for dopamine, I am soon to start a new probiotic by Klaire Labs I think, called biospora and it is supposed to create more dopamine. Finger’s crossed.

        BCat, I sure wish you could talk to Meredith my nutritionist, even just for that free first half hour. She got my anxiety way down.

        Now I have read that the gabapentin I am taking to sleep is 1. probably taking up gaba receptors and 2. it is harder to get off of than benzos.

        As I face working with Bill tomorrow to reduce my benzos again, I am very nervous. Do docs not understand the pain we feel and how taking something that helps is so enticing??? Good luck with the psych workup. I would not do it now without knowing my mutations. If you as unlucky as me, you will have mutations that will look like many diagnoses. Will hold a good thought for you.

      • Chipur August 4, 2015, 9:21 pm

        Oh, that Bill! You’d better be good and ready, Ms. P. I’ll no doubt be on my game (as usual)…

      • Chipur August 4, 2015, 9:19 pm

        That so sucks, BCat. It really does. Please make sure to ask those “stumper questions.” The looks must be priceless. You may as well get some enjoyment from the experience. But, still – it sucks…


      • BCat August 5, 2015, 10:20 pm

        I’m ready to move to Cuba where they at least take care of their people for free.

  • Chipur October 22, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the visit and contribution, xenonic. And I appreciate the link. Readers, it’s legit…