Doctor Ted: ‘Coming off benzodiazepines is similar to coming off other addictive substances’

Doctor Ted: ‘Coming off benzodiazepines is similar to coming off other addictive substances’
Doctor Ted: ‘Coming off benzodiazepines is similar to coming off other addictive substances’

Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people have been taking addictive sleeping pills and tranquilizers for far too long, that report Fidelity on May 1, 2024. This is evident from figures from the Pharmaceutical Key Figures Foundation (SFK), requested by the investigative journalism platform Investico and the newspaper. What exactly are the substances involved, how worrying is this and how do we get rid of these so-called benzodiazepines? We put these questions to doctor Ted van Essen.

125,000 people use sleeping medications for more than 1 year

More than 125,000 people use the pills for more than a year. And yet patients are allowed to use these medications for a maximum of 2 weeks. Repeat prescriptions are often prescribed for months to come. Reporting point made a broadcast on this subject in 2023 and conducted research into benzos. You can read this here.

These are benzodiazepines, also called benzos

Doctor Ted van Essen explains that it concerns benzodiazepines (benzos). It is prescribed by general practitioners and psychiatrists to people suffering from sleep disorders. This may be due to stress at work or after the sudden death of a loved one. People who have panic attacks can also be prescribed this medication.

The pills are for short-term use

But the pills are intended for short-term use. They work very well at first, they contain substances that make you calm and sleepy. And that is often necessary at the moment. After a short period, the effect decreases rapidly. Anyone who uses the pills must therefore take more and more for the same result. And that is addictive.

What can you do to get rid of benzodiazepines (benzos)?

According to Dr. Ted, anyone who has been taking benzodiazepines for a long time should gradually reduce their use under the guidance of their GP or psychologist. “It is completely comparable to withdrawal from other addictive substances, such as smoking and alcohol,” he explains to MAX Today. Stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, poor sleep and muscle pain.

What can you do if you have sleeping problems?

If you sleep poorly, this can have various causes. According to Dr. Ted, the best thing to do is find out why you’re having trouble sleeping. Is it because of your bed, do you perhaps have sleep apnea, a lot of stress or sadness? Alcohol can also play a role, as can stomach complaints. Find the cause and seek help from your GP or psychologist.

Advice: do not use DroomSap

Anyone who searches the internet for remedies against insomnia will definitely come across DroomSap. The drug helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. However, the drug has many side effects and contains a substance that is not allowed to be sold in the Netherlands at all. Read more about this in this article. Meldpunt even spent a broadcast on this drug.

What does work for sleep problems?

As Dr. Ted indicates, it is best to investigate where the sleep problems come from. Perhaps these tips can help you further. Or read this article, in which we explain what you can do if you wake up during the night and can’t go back to sleep.

(Source: Doctor Ted van Essen, Trouw, Meldpunt, Tijd voor MAX, archive. Photo: Shutterstock)

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Doctor Ted Coming benzodiazepines similar coming addictive substances


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