The Ashton Manual is written by Professor C Heather Ashton. Professor Ashton graduated from the University of Oxford and obtained a 1st class honours degree in Physiology in 1951. She qualified in Medicine in 1954 and gained a postgraduate Doctor of Medicine in 1956. She qualified as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1958 and was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1975. She also became National Health Service Consultant in Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1975 and National Health Service Consultant in Psychiatry in 1994. She worked at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne as researcher, lecturer, professor and clinician from 1965 until her retirement. For more than a decade she ran a withdrawal clinic and is regarded as a leading expert on benzodiazepine withdrawal.
The Manual is essential and recommended for all professionals and carers, anyone planning on tapering off benzodiazepines and antidepressants, or anyone in withdrawal. It contains information about the effects that benzodiazepines have on the brain and body and how these actions are exerted. Detailed suggestions on how to withdraw after long-term use and individual tapering schedules for different benzodiazepines are provided. (Please note that tapering must be flexible and reduction rate should be based on the patient’s withdrawal reactions and intensity of symptoms.) Withdrawal symptoms, acute and protracted, are described along with an explanation of why they may occur and how to cope with them.
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