What drove me to start a blog about transforming my health began with chronic Benzo Withdrawal.. If you have experienced withdrawal from benzodiazipines, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. The symptoms are severe, and there doesn’t seem to be any hope in sight. Fortunately, after YEARS of trial and error I’ve found relief.. In today’s post I will talk about (in my opinion) the 5 Best GABA Supplements for Benzo Withdrawal.
Even the topic of benzo withdrawal will be a controversial topic when you talk to your Physician about your symptoms. It’s as if they have a closed off / blank stare and your concerns don’t hold any substance. At least, that’s how I’ve felt with my doctors for the past 20+ years of experiencing the benzo withdrawal nightmare. They likely will tell you that you need to wean yourself off the benzos and the whole process may take a few weeks and then you will be fine.. Oh, if it were only that easy for everybody.
For many, it is true.. Many patients can wean themselves off of benzodiazipines without too many problems. The most common symptoms are insomnia, and increased anxiety.. This if for the lucky “majority” of patients. Considering that benzos are handed out like candy to millions of patients across the country, still leaves a huge population that have extreme difficulties going through the benzo withdrawal process.
GABA Withdrawal and Benzos – Two of the Same
What is GABA and why did the benzo’s prescribed to me send my GABA out of whack? Well, this was my very first question that I had to answer. Here you can read about my benzo nightmare and what I would USE to do to help relieve my anxiety.
I gave a few helpful tips on relieving benzo withdrawal, but nothing really stood out.. Maybe I didn’t have a great solution.. Suffering for years wasn’t what led my readers to my post so I gave some tips on what gave me a small amount of relief. And yes, the relief was small and the struggle raged on. The tips were the regular, exercise, eat healthy and take some lemon balm / melatonin to help you get some sleep because insomnia is a huge issue for so many.
In my journey to find the answer to benzo withdrawal relief was when I read up about adaptogens.. In fact, I had taken one of them before (Panax Ginseng) but thought that it was a supplement and figured that it would make my condition worse.. Holy Basil was the first adaptogen that I tried and it provided a pleasant relief.. Nothing, too strong but it took the edge off without causing me to up my dosage of lorazepam (the benzo that I’ve taken for 20+ years).
I have tried many adaptogens, and below I will rank my 5 favorite (from #1 Yesssss… to #5 Ya, seems to help some)… If you are going through benzodiazipine withdrawals, you know how scary it is to try a new supplement. I hear ya there… I’ve taken all sorts of supplements, only to make my condition worse..
I’ve even sent myself into a panic attack by taking B-Complex, which is a supplement that many benzo withdrawal sufferers recommend.. Sorry, B-Complex revved up my Central Nervous System and it’s not for me. In fact, I recommend that you get most of your vitamins and minerals from food sources. Magnesium would be the exception in case your not eating enough magnesium rich food sources.. That one does seem to help.. I take Magnesium Glycinate before bed along with two of adaptogens that I will preview below.
5 Best GABA Supporting Adaptogens to Alleviate Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
#1 Holy Basil Extract
This isn’t the most potent of adaptogens, but it has been the most versatile for me.. You can take it in the morning, mid afternoon, and right before bed.. While, not the strongest of adaptogens, it takes the edge off an anxiety your feeling. In fact, if you are still taking your benzodiazipines, it works very synergistically with benzos. This allows you to cut your benzo dosage level, and you can take comfort that your going to be ok. It’s become one of my trusted friends in the war against benzodiazipine withdrawal symptoms.
Another reason why I love Holy Basil is that it isn’t just another “GABA Supplement” that works on the same GABA receptors.. Your not just replacing a benzo with a “natural benzo.” If your able to replace a prescribed benzo with a natural benzo, I would gander that your will be better off and your withdrawal symptoms will be much less severe. However, the natural Benzo replacements just aren’t strong enough to totally let go of your benzo without antagonizing your anxiety..
Holy Basil works in a different way. Research has shown that not only does Holy Basil help relieve anxiety symptoms from benzo withdrawal, it also has many other benefits to offer. Holy Basil is antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory. It has protective properties for the nervous system, liver, and the heart. Furthermore, Holy Basil has anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties on top of that. If that wasn’t enough, I have not noticed any sort of side effect.. No benzo withdrawal hell when I have ran out of a bottle.
Ashwagandha – I absolutely love Ashwaghanda because I can take it with half of the dosage of lorazepam that I used to take to help me sleep at night. My nighttime cocktail is one Holy Basil, one, Ashwagandha, and 1 mg of lorazepam… Considering I used to take 2 mg of lorazepam at bedtime, and have taken this nightmarish drug for well over 20 years cutting my dosage by 50% is huge!
The only side effects that I’ve found is how it affects cortisol… Ashwagandha has cortisol (stress hormone) lowering properties (which is great for me), but for those who have low cortisol levels this may be an issue that you may want to do more research about.
Another bonus, is that it has libido boosting benefits for men! It has been shown to help with fertility and improve the quality of your semen.. So, there ya go… Win / Win situation with an added bonus for the guys..
Panax Ginseng – I was very skeptical about taking Panax Ginseng, because I remember taking it when I was much younger, before I ever got prescribed benzos.. I was always sensitive to caffeine, and coffee gives me the jitters. While Panax Ginseng didn’t give me the jitters, it also gave me a huge boost in energy. So, as anyone going through benzo withdrawal will tell you, stay away from anything stimulating! However, I took a chance and was amazed at how it gave me energy, but lowered anxiety at the same time. That’s what is so amazing about adaptogens and especially benzo withdrawal sufferers who has “F-Ed” up GABA receptors. It zeroes in on the stress and adapts to the situation at hand.. It’s has if it has a mind of it’s own, and in nature’s grand wisdom, it does!
Here is an article that talks about how Ginseng helps to calm anxiety with those coming off of acute alcohol withdrawal.. If you suffer from benzo withdrawals, alcohol works on the same GABA receptors as benzos.. So, if you have ever had terrible anxiety the day after drinking alcohol then this is one of the reasons why.
Rhodiola – Ok, this one is one that I made a mistake on… It CAN be stimulating in larger doses.. However, at lower dosages it works great for anxiety and I can tell the difference. This adaptogen should be a “morning” supplement because it does give you energy and can keep you awake at night. Benzo sufferer’s know that this is the last thing you want.
I bought my Rhodiola on Amazon and read the reviews.. Mostly great reviews. However, I chose the strongest dosage that there was.. It was 4800mg (as you can see in the photo).. I tried a much lower dosage and have went through an entire bottle and ordering again. I only take Rhodiola when I need a boost… I can’t drink coffee, and this does the trick, but without the negative side effects. It’s an adaptogen that is also great at lowering your cortisol levels.
Astragalus – Last, but not least is Astragalus. If I was low on cash, I could stick with my favorite four. They are simply the best adaptogens for GABA withdrawal and they just work.. To be honest, I’d probably panic if I was totally out of Holy Basil and Ashwaganda at this point in my life. Holy Basil goes wherever I go along with my dreaded benzos while I continue the long withdrawal process. Ashwagandha is very instrumental in helping me fall asleep at night so I feel rested (yet not groggy) in the morning.
Astragalus hasn’t been studied as much as I would like.. It has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects in rats, but more human studies need to be performed. However, many studies have been proven that Astragalus can help to boost your immune system.
While it may be anecdotal evidence, I can feel it work. I have tested each of the five (plus countless more) adaptogens above and I have suffered with benzo withdrawal for a long time.. I have walked in your shoes and know what it’s like to feel your heart pound, have shortness of breath, afraid of lowering your benzodiazine dosage level. Xanax, Lorazepam, Clonazepam, I’ve been on them all.. The only difference is the half-lives and the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
If you have any questions about benzo withdrawal, send me a message. A great forum that I recommend is called Benzo Buddies. I still post on there occasionally. My username is “Lorazaduped”. Hope to see you there as we allow our bodies to heal!!
Let’s Ditch the Benzos for Good!
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