PROF. C. HEATHER ASHTON’S WORK

Prof Ashton

In Recognition of the Work of Professor C. Heather Ashton, DM, FRCP

These testimonials were sent to us by people from all over the world, with a significant number from the United Kingdom. They all acknowledge Professor Ashton’s Manual, Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdrawal and/or her other work as being instrumental in their recovery.  Within a few weeks we received a flood of ‘Thank you’ messages. To get a true estimate of the people helped by Professor Ashton’s work, it must be kept in mind that these have been written mainly by those currently in withdrawal. Professor Ashton has been working tirelessly for decades and so we can reasonably conclude that tens of thousands have benefitted from her work. Thank you, Professor Ashton.

(Names and identifying details have been removed for anonymity, with the exception of authors and charity administrators.)

“Dear Dr. Ashton,

You are truly a Godsend.  I was on Lorazepam steadily for over 25 years and have been free since August, 2011. I am 69 years old and feel like I’m living a new, wonderful life. 

Thank you.”

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“I cannot write much, but wanted to say thank you for the Ashton Manual for reassuring me I wasn’t going crazy, that all this is “normal” and for cross over advice to go from clonazepam to Valium. Thank you for all you have done to bring awareness about this horrible horrible experience.”

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“Dr. Ashton,

It is with deep gratitude that I would like to acknowledge the importance of your research and expertise. Were it not for the Ashton Manual, I would have thought I was having a nervous breakdown. When I developed tolerance withdrawal after six years of xanax use, I made numerous trips to the doctor. He thought it was from sleep apnea and then we thought it was hypothryoidism. Never did my doctor even begin to suspect it was from the benzodiazepine I was taking.

Once I found the manual and realized what was happening, I did not go back to my doctor even though many symptoms got worse. Having that knowledge and reassurance, when it seems that no one else in the medical community is aware of the issue, is so valuable and makes enduring the process easier. I only wish there was more research and widespread understanding. The problem seems so in need of additional research and support for those suffering from the uncertainty and alienation brought by withdrawal.

 I hope that your work will be considered the first, seminal research that eventually paved the way for the healthcare community to see, appreciate and support the needs of those who are undergoing the anguish and uncertainty of benzodiazepine withdrawal. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we definitely have something irrefutable to point to when in the face of skeptical doctors. The value of the Ashton Manual simply can’t be overstated.

Thanks for all you’ve done.”

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“I discovered the Ashton Manual after suffering from tolerance withdrawal for two years and not knowing what on earth was wrong with me. It has literally saved my life.

I have been on sleeping tablets for over forty years following a total hysterectomy in my twenties. All this time I suffered panic and anxiety until it became unbearable in 2010 on the death of my mother followed by various other traumatic life events. I was diagnosed as having GAD but as a strong, coping and confident person I never accepted this. I researched the Internet and read the manual. I’m now over four months off the drugs and making progress. I can’t thank Dr Ashton enough for giving me back my life. I don’t know where I would be now without her research and knowledge of this awful syndrome.

Sincerely”

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 “Dear Prof Ashton,

Ten years ago I c/t Xanax and Lamictal, because my psychiatrist didn’t listen properly what I was telling him about, and how long I was taking Xanax and Lamictal  and gave me a prescription for Effexor and some or other sleeping pill and told me to take that instead of Xanax and Lamictal.

I don’t have to tell you what happened then. I thought I was dying and the only person in the world with this debilitating symptoms. After I was hospitalised, (where they tried to add more psychiatric meds, which of course made the situation worse), and several visits to doctors, homeopaths, naturopaths, etc (no one was able to recognise the symptoms of benzo w/d) I thought I should except my fate and wait to die. Then my daughter came across your manual on the internet……and it gave me back my life!! She also found Ray Nimmo’s forum and a whole new world opened for me. A world filled with hope, which I didn’t have for such a long time!

I still have a few symptoms that I am struggling with (being in protracted w/d), but at least I understand now what is going on with me and with the help of others, that you have also helped, I can fight this benzo hell.  I don’t know if you can ever realise what you have done for me and other poor benzo sufferers. The time and research you have done to help us is priceless!!

Thank you is such a small word to show my appreciation, but I know of no other word to tell you how much I appreciate you.

Sincerely”

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“I am very much indebted to Professor Ashton for the help that she gave me when I was very lost and in need of a safe way to taper off a substantial dose of a benzodiazepine.  Using the excellent and detailed information in the Ashton manual, I informed myself about benzos, and also handed a copy of the manual to my doctor, who initially had little idea of the adverse effects of benzos, and of how to get off them safely.  My doctor then supported me in tapering as per the Ashton Manual.  I completed the eighteen month taper four years ago, and remain very grateful to Professor Ashton for her help.  

Thank You for all you have done to help us.  This is such a nitemare to go through.  Knowing what it is helps so much.  Thank You again, Dr Ashton.”

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“Dr. Heather Ashton has paved the way for so much of the work that has been done within the benzodiazepine withdrawal community.  She is truly a pioneer and it honestly brings tears to my eyes when I think of all that she has done for so many people who would have otherwise been lost or suffering without validation.  Her work has been revolutionary. 

It takes a courageous soul to explore, research and then document in this territory. As an administrator of a large benzodiazepine withdrawal forum, I see her equivalency tables being used, sample crossover schedules referenced by people every day.  Her documentation of withdrawal symptoms puts so many terrified suffering minds more at ease just to know that what they are experiencing is in fact common withdrawal.  The liquid titration work which I help people with is based on the most conservative end of the Ashton taper rate (5% every 2 weeks.) I do not feel that words can adequately express the depth of admiration, and gratitude that I feel for this incredible woman.  Heather Ashton YOU ARE A HERO AND A HEALER!  THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE!”

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“Your manual saved my life by giving me answers when none of my physicians knew what was happening to me.  I am grateful for your dedication and hard work on behalf of all of us going through benzodiazepine withdrawal.  My doctor now has a copy of your manual and is using it with other patients.  Thank you for going up against institutions and government to fight the good fight.  You are a true hero.”

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“I want to express my thanks to Heather Ashton for getting so involved in helping people coming off benzodiazepines and writing her manual.”

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“Prof. Ashton has helped me in so many ways, and with such unfailing kindness, that I find it hard to put into words the extent of my appreciation and gratitude.  Her manual first helped me discover why I was having such a horrendous experience whilst on benzos. It also provided a roadmap for me to escape from its clutches.

Her scholarly articles provided scientific, clinical evidence that allowed my doctor to become well informed, and subsequently supportive of me and my predicament. Furthermore, these articles helped in my extensive and painful dealings with my employers, the Department of Social Protection and various other bureaucracies, normally unsympathetic to the travails of someone made iatrogenically ill.

 She also took the time and energy to personally write on my behalf when my life was probably going to administratively unravel. To say this was above and beyond the call of duty is an understatement. In short, Prof Ashton saved my life.

Even though I am still not recovered from the withdrawal syndrome, I hope to be so one day, when I intend to repay her by living as full a life of which I am capable.

Blessings on her.”

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“Dear Professor Ashton,

 Through Geraldine Burns, you saved my life. Thank you so very much for all you have done to educate people about benzos. If I hadn’t known what I was going through was caused by the Xanax withdrawal, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have committed suicide. God Bless You.”

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“My wife and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Professor Heather Ashton for all the work that she has done in the area of Benzodiazepine withdrawal, tolerance & dependency. My wife was prescribed a benzodiazepine for a relatively simple matter. What followed has been nothing short than horrific. We spent 18 months suffering from countless health problems & symptoms, misdiagnosis, medication upon medication, hospital admissions & complete loss of hope that life would ever return to normal.

 I knew that for 24 years of marriage my wife had been well. Now in such a short period of time, she had deteriorated so significantly that I truly thought I would lose her. I knew something was causing this problem, but without medical knowledge how could I find the answer. I put my trust in God and decided to try. I stumbled on the Ashton Manual 3 months ago and the heavens opened. Soon, I had a clear understanding of how & why my wife had suffered for so long. I understood how Doctors, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Gynaecologists & Specialists of various medical fields could get it wrong. I could finally see a way out of the maze.

 My wife is currently tapering off Valium. It is going to be a long process, but a process that will ultimately see her back to full health & happiness. I thank the day that I came across the work of Professor Heather Ashton. Without it, she might still be caught in that endless maze.
Thank You.”

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“Professor Ashton,

 I went years on benzos, in tolerance withdrawal, as my world slowly crumbled around me each year I was on them. I was told over and over that I had an anxiety disorder, even after my initial adverse reaction so many years ago in 2003 when I was first introduced to benzos by my doctor. To be fair, I did use some illegal substances prior to benzos which did cause, what I now know to be, substance induced anxiety/panic. I was honest with my doctor about the illegal substances I had used.

 Looking back, I should have never been on benzos (an addictive medication) in the first place after I told my doctor about my past. I trusted my doctor and was easily seduced by benzos during my time of desperation. They worked immediately and at first I was astounded by how well they worked. Then when I tried to come off of them a few weeks later, all hell broke lose.

 To make a long story short, this lead to several cold turkey w/d’s, reinstatement, hospital visits, several lost jobs, lost friendships/relationships, increasing symptoms and the overall deterioration of my mental, emotional and physical health. I spent years trying to explain to doctors what was happening to me, but any time I tried to be honest and mention my substance abuse prior to using benzos I was immediately looked at like a low life criminal who deserved a life of misery and shame. I spent years searching for answers through my doctors and finally just started to give up. I started to use pain medications to counteract the tolerance withdrawal symptoms of long term benzo use. This only made me worse and made me use more pain pills. I didn’t care anymore. I was made out to be crazy through my doctors, but not crazy enough to put into a mental facility. I was tired of explaining, tired of telling family members, tired of living.

 As I got so low that I was sure I was one step away from overdosing on the combination of percocets and klonopin, I found the Ashton Manual in 2009. It was like a heaven opened its doors and was shining down on me. Even through the apathy and misery that was my life, I was able to feel a euphoric joy that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I finally had validation after so many years of being dismissed or invalidated. I made arrangements to taper, which in hindsight wasn’t very practical since I had been in tolerance withdrawal for so many years and was already so far gone, but I did cross over from klonopin to valium, which didn’t go so well.

I ended going to detox at my families fervent request. I knew I had no choice, but at least going into withdrawal this time, knowing that all of my symptoms were w/d related, gave me a new found determination and hope. Little did I know what was about to unfold over the next 3 years…to this present day that I am writing this. I am still dealing with benzo related health issues to this day, but had it not been for the Ashton manual I would not be here writing this. Having the Ashton manual gave me a new found hope for my life and enabled me to deal with a lot of the fear associated with benzo withdrawal. It helped me face it with confidence that I would eventually be well again some day. That one discovery of the Ashton manual has been the turning point in my life. Everything changed for me on that day. Even though I am still dealing with symptoms at a little over 3 years out, I am slowly getting my health back.

 I just wanted to say thank you, Professor Ashton, from the bottom to the top of my, warn out and beaten to hell, heart. Thank you so very, very much for all of your hard work and dedication to this problem. You have changed the lives for so many people and will continue to change the lives of people to come. Thank you.”

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“Dear Doctor:

Reason I’m sending this mail is to let you know that you help me survive thru my withrwals  12 months of pain of a 3 month drug cocktail of benzos given by a not very savy doctor¡  reading your manual practically saved my life you are a hero¡¡¡ among people going thru withrawals. Keep up the good work¡¡

 Best regards”

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“Dr. Ashton,

 It is with deep gratitude that I would like to acknowledge the importance of your research and expertise. Were it not for the Ashton Manual, I would have thought I was having a nervous breakdown. When I developed tolerance withdrawal after six years of xanax use, I made numerous trips to the doctor. He thought it was from sleep apnea and then we thought it was hypothryoidism. Never did my doctor even begin to suspect it was from the benzodiazepine I was taking. Once I found the manual and realized what was happening, I did not go back to my doctor even though many symptoms got worse.

Having that knowledge and reassurance, when it seems that no one else in the medical community is aware of the issue, is so valuable and makes enduring the process easier. I only wish there was more research and widespread understanding. The problem seems so in need of additional research and support for those suffering from the uncertainty and alienation brought by withdrawal.

 I hope that your work will be considered the first, seminal research that eventually paved the way for the healthcare community to see, appreciate and support the needs of those who are undergoing the anguish and uncertainty of benzodiazepine withdrawal. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we definitely have something irrefutable to point to when in the face of skeptical doctors. The value of the Ashton Manual simply can’t be overstated.”

 ——————–

“Professor Heather Ashton has paved the way for so much of the work that has been done within the benzodiazepine withdrawal community.  She is truly a pioneer and it honestly brings tears to my eyes when I think of all that she has done for so many people who would have otherwise been lost or suffering without validation.  Her work has been revolutionary.  It takes a courageous soul to explore, research and then document in this territory. As an administrator of a large benzodiazepine withdrawal forum, I see her equivalency tables being used, sample crossover schedules referenced by people every day.  Her documentation of withdrawal symptoms puts so many terrified suffering minds more at ease just to know that what they are experiencing is in fact common withdrawal.  The liquid titration work which I help people with is based on the most conservative end of the Ashton taper rate (5% every 2 weeks.)

I do not feel that words can adequately express the depth of admiration, and gratitude that I feel for this incredible woman.  Heather Ashton YOU ARE A HERO AND A HEALER!  THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE!”

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“I cannot write much, but wanted to say thank you for the Ashton Manual for reassuring me I wasn’t going crazy, that all this is “normal” and for cross over advice to go from clonazepam to Valium. Thank you for all you have done to bring awareness about this horrible, horrible experience.”

——————–

“Dear Prof Ashton, ten years ago I c/t Xanax and Lamicton, because my psychiatrist didn’t listen properly what I was telling him about, and how long I was taking Xanax and Lamicton  and gave me a prescription for Effexor and some or other sleeping pill and told me to take that instead of Xanax and Lamicton. I don’t have to tell you what happened then. I thought I was dying and the only person in the world with this debilitating symptoms. After I was hospitalised, (where they tried to add more psychiatric meds, which of course made the situation worse), and several visits to doctors, homeopaths, naturopaths, etc (no one was able to recognise the symptoms of benzo w/d) I thought I should except my fate and wait to die. Then my daughter came across your manual on the internet……and it gave me back my life!! She also found Ray Nimmo’s forum and a whole new world opened for me. A world filled with hope, which I didn’t have for such a long time!

 I still have a few symptoms that I am struggling with (being in protracted w/d), but at least I understand now what is going on with me and with the help of others, that you have also helped, I can fight this benzohell.  I don’t know if you can ever realise what you have done for me and other poor benzo sufferers. The time and research you have done to help us is priceless!!

 Thank you is such a small word to show my appreciation, but I know of no other word to tell you how much I appreciate you.

 Sincerely”

 ——————–

“If not for stumbling upon the Ashton manual, I would never have been able to have successfully gotten off benzodiazepine, and would still be suffering in some level of tolerance withdrawal today. I tried to discontinue klonopin after a year of very low .25 daily dosage over a period of a month, to find that I suddenly felt sicker than I can ever have imagined.

 I did not connect it to the medication, though i went to the doctor, and told her I had discontinued it three weeks prior. I was advised to reinstate the medication, and subsequently took two more tries before I realized what I was dealing with was more than just my own original anxiety. I used the Ashton manual as my guide through what for me has been by far the most difficult experience of my 55 years. I am now 18 months free of klonopin, and still having issues, but far less than at first.

 I just would like to personally express my sincere gratitude for the work she has so tirelessly done in an area that no one else seems to have been interested or invested in exploring. Thank you. It has been a lifeline. There is so little documented research and help out there. My doctor just advised me to take benzos the rest of my life, that withdrawal was not the issue- I was.

 Please extend my best wishes and appreciation to Prof Ashton for helping so many of us.”

 
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“Dear Professor Ashton.

 Two years ago I was against my will put back on benzo, this time clonazepam, after successfully withdrawal from zolpidem and diazepam using klopoxid at the alcohol clinic (Minnesota model, AA). I am not an alcoholic at all, but it was my only opportunity to get help by letting myself in there.

 Almost 3 months off, the psychiatrist, whom I told I did not want to take benzos again put me on clonazepam.I had paid a lot of money and had a horrible stay at the clinic for 9 weeks, tapered in 5 weeks, where nobody understood the pain or my condition, so neither did I. I was physically and mental broken. Benzo added to this I was close to death.

A friend of mine found your Manual, The Bible, on the internet, and from there we made a plan.

For free I could get help from your work. It saved my life. I am still tapering(!),slooooow. I’m one of the real unlucky ones with almost all the w/d symptoms.

I gave my present doctor a copy of your Manual. She now uses it to help other patients to withdraw successfully!

Thanks to you and to the Internet benzo communities, that have made me survive every day in hell. I end with deep gratitude to you. Thank you.

 Love”

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 “The manual got me to understand a lot about why I could not relax and gave me great advice GREAT WORK Prof. Ashton.”

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“There is no doubt in my mind that I am alive today because of Dr. Ashton’s work in writing “The Ashton Manual”. I was extremely ill in tolerance withdrawal for many years and was unaware that the benzodiazepines were the root cause of my distress. Despite the fact that my condition continued to deteriorate, my Physician at the time failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of tolerance as well. This left me feeling hopeless, damaged and suicidal until I discovered “The Ashton Manual”, the “bible” for iatrogenic benzodiazepine victims. Sadly, I was subjected to a cold-turkey withdrawal prior to discovering Dr. Ashton’s work and had the doctors at the rehab educated themselves properly with this manual, I wouldn’t be as sick and suffering as severely as I am today.

Upon reading “The Ashton Manual”, all of my doubts were erased that my behaviors and bizarre symptoms were a result of something wrong with my intrinsic health. I had an answer for the years of suffering I had endured at the hands of the doctors. I also had new found determination to get my life back from the destruction that had wreaked havoc on my brain and nervous system. From tolerance symptoms, the mechanisms of action of the benzos, to withdrawal protocol and symptoms, it is the most comprehensive guide for understanding benzodiazepine dependence, tolerance and withdrawal.

 Had I not come across her body of work and found answers and validation for my suffering, I truly do not think I would be alive today to write this.

 Dr. Ashton, thank you for all of your hard work and your commitment to the benzo cause. You have validated us when the majority of medical professionals misdiagnosed us and failed to acknowledge that our suffering was a direct result of benzodiazepine use. I will be forever grateful for you. You have saved many lives and will continue to do so as the information in your manual reaches more desperate souls. My only hope is that someone will be brave enough to pick up where you left off and to continue the research that is so desperately needed, in order to put an end to this 50 year problem once and for all.

Your online manual, to which you provide free access, helped me understand what Ativan was doing to my brain and body and validated that the strange feelings and even mental impairments were likely caused by withdrawal which could go on for months, regardless of what my physician asserted.  Doctors in the US for the most part do not seem to grasp the serious and often long-lasting effects of benzodiazepines and it was only through the information you provided that I could take control of my own withdrawal from the drug after 20 years of use.”

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“Dear Professor Ashton,

 I don’t know that it will ever be possible to express the gratitude and admiration that I have for you, I cry tears of joy and appreciation as I write this note.  I believe that you saved my life.  You had the courage to fight the going beliefs and to forge ahead, creating knowledge of high quality.

 Your manual, as well as your papers on protracted withdrawal are invaluable, and although they have been written years ago are still the most authoritative and thorough reference manuals on the topic. It is easy to see that your reputation is well deserved when one observes the integrity, intelligence, and care with which you conducted your research, and continue to advocate and educate on the risks of benzodiazepines.

 You remain the uncontested voice and force on benzodiazepine withdrawal and protracted withdrawal and your works have spilled over to discontinuation of antidepressants and other dependence forming psychoactive drugs.  Your influence is far reaching and respected. 

 From the totality of my essence, I wish to thank you, thank you and thank you again for giving credibility, validity, and support to the thousands of sufferers that constitute our ranks.  In my darkest moment, when my life was hanging by a thread, the fabric of this thread was woven from your messages of hope. You have been the one sane voice that has given me the strength to maintain my reason and to carry on, just to get through one more day, just today.”

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“My story is similar to that of many people; it is one of deceit, lies, and falsified documents, breach of confidentiality, coercion, and denial. 

 In August 2010, after several months of disrupted sleep (my cat), I started taking Zopiclone to help me regain a regular pattern of sleep.  Three weeks later, I started having severe anxiety and a panic attack from what seems to have been inter-dose withdrawal. After several psychiatric misdiagnosis, two hospitalizations and many drugs, my symptoms continued to intensify.  Four months later, I could barely swallow, could only drink liquid foods, I could barely speak anymore, I lost all physical sensations in my body, had no hunger, thirst, did not felt the need to pee, I no longer felt pain, I could not feel my limbs, I didn’t have any sensation in my stomach, gut, or bladder, was never sleepy, and stopped menstruating, my short term memory and other cognitive functions were severely damaged, my sight was leaving me and I was no longer able to care for myself. I spent the majority of my days in a state of semi-catatonia in horror, panic, and extreme anxiety, crying, while all the while experiencing brain zaps, nausea, and headaches.

 I suspected that the medication might be the cause of my symptoms and this is when I found the Ashton Manual online. I was refused a cross over to valium and, to save my life, did an overpaid withdrawal without the help of my prescribing doctors. Although the literature claims that this acute withdrawal stage lasts a few weeks to a few months, I was in an acute withdrawal state for approximately 14 months. 

I am now 26 months off of everything and I am slowly recovering my bodily senses, my cognitive functions remain severely compromised but are improving; fatigue, pain, and extreme insomnia are just now starting to show signs of letting up. I believe that my convalescence will last a few more years, and I now trying to make sense of this traumatic experience, as I try to piece my life back together. 

Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do, I will be eternally grateful.” 

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“I was on anti-depressants for 15 years, mainly seroxat, I was tapered off but not at the gradual level Dr Ashton recommends because I didn’t have any knowledge of withdrawal so just trusted my psychiatrist to do the right thing, unfortunately although I was tapered off seroxat I was put on prozac and then tapered of prozac to go on venlafaxine, when I finally decided to come off everything as I still felt bad after all the swapping and changing I was taken off in the space of 4 weeks because I had only been on the drug for 4 months, disregarding the fact that my body had been pumped with different named ssris for 15 years so really I was pretty much cold turkeyed in the end!! 

 So anyway when I realised I was feeling bad I started reading on the internet and the ashton manual was the first thing I saw, I didn’t reinstate and start again, and 12 months after my last dose I am still suffering badly, but what I have to thank Dr Ashton for that this has been recognised and that she believes in withdrawal and recovery.

 I am also greatly thankful for the Recovery Road, as I would not still be going if I hadn’t had the daily encouragement on the facebook page and most of all the recovery book that I take everywhere with me, if I didnt have these supports which I know go back to Dr Ashton, I would not be continuing down this road. Thank you and I hope one day there is a way to completely stop withdrawal or not prescribe the horrible to drugs to start with. Life will be amazing when this over!! And thank you Bliss!  Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange”

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“Dear Professor Ashton,

 Thank you for your work in a field in which there is so little interest and study by scientists and medical researchers.  Your research and work in the area of benzodiazapine withdrawal stands out as a beacon of understanding, concern, and action with regard to the horrible results of using this “medication.”  Many people would still be stuck in a dark hole of dependence if not for your manual.

 Thanks so much for your efforts, and best wishes in the future.”

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“Dr Ashton’s work not only saved my life, it has saved countless others.

 I am in that small percent of people who go into a long withdrawal. I will be at 8 months very soon. Without Dr Ashton’s written words, based on her own experiences with clients, I know absolutely that I would have just assumed I’d gone crazy and would have ended up being further drugged, labelled and possibly hospitalized.

By studying the whole benzodiazepine problem, Dr Ashton has done an incredible service to men and women all over this troubled world.

I cannot thank her enough. She saved my life.”

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“Dr Ashton,

 You don’t know me, you never will but because of you and your help with benzodiazepines I am healthier than I have been in 17 years.  If it weren’t for you and your work, getting it out there with your Ashton Manual then most likely I would have been put back on a benzo or definitely treated with numerous other medications trying to treat my w/d symptoms.  Instead I was able to take your information to my doctors and show them that what I was experiencing was in fact real and was caused from coming off benzos. I got the courage to continue me freedom journey and am now 19 months free after a c/t off.  I didn’t find you until after the c/t which had been recommended to me by my pharmacist and former doctor.

 May God bless you and all the work you have done. Your message is getting out into the world and some day doctors will look at prescribing benzos differently.  I have two children that are pre med in college and both of them because of seeing what I have gone through vow to never prescribe a benzo to their patients.  They are the future and their eyes have been opened to the fact that when they write on a prescription pad they have the ability to drastically affect their patient’s life. They have to be responsible for their choices, know the pros and cons of medications.

 So thank you Dr Ashton for you have saved my life. I will become healthy again and will be able to be part of my family again. I have a positive future because of you.”

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“Thank you so very very much for all the tireless work Dr. Ashton you have put in contributing knowledge about the dangers of psychiatric poisons especially the benzodiazepines. It was because of your time consuming research that I (like many others here) were able to discover and find out what was happening medically and health-wise.

 There are no words to thank you. I would have to be a very erudite person to be able to voice what you have done for me. It was because of your devotion and work towards this cause that every day I keep ascending the mountain of healing and recovery.

 May God Bless you for all you have done.”

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“I found Dr Heather Ashton’s site while I was on day passes from the hospital. I used this time to do research and this lead me to figure out what was happening to me and validate that I was not “crazy” I used her formula and created my own cross over & withdrawal schedule ( while still in the hospital ) based on her sample schedules. I crossed over to 20mg of valium from 2mg of lorazepam and I am eternally grateful for her research and tireless efforts as her website and information, along with others online are the only type of support and information I have received. Thank you Dr Ashton. I will be forever in debt for all of your time and dedication to this cause.

“Print out the Ashton Manual and take it to your doctor.” This is always the first piece of advice given to a frightened newcomer on the benzodiazepine web forums.

 I have been taking benzodiazepines for about 20 years prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. First I was prescribed clonazepam/klonopin and when that drug stopped working lorazepam/Ativan was added to the mix. Now I was taking two benzos.

 As the years wore on many strange symptoms began to appear. Insomnia, increased anxiety, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness in my legs, blurring of vision, and a desire to isolate. It became impossible to continue working as a teacher.  I could hardly think or relate to people. My personality began to change and I started to have suicidal ideation. I would wake up (when I could sleep) with my heart pounding, gasping for breath. Adrenaline surged through my body, leaving me in a state of constant hyper-vigilance. At one point I became so suicidal that I checked myself into a hospital.

 What was wrong with me? I started going to doctors and searching the internet. Did I have chronic fatigue syndrome, heart problems, generalized anxiety disorder?

 After an exhaustive search my partner and I discovered the Ashton manual. It described exactly the symptoms I was having. I realized that my physical and mental problems were being caused by the benzodiazepines, which had now ceased to work and were destroying my nervous system. I was now in what Dr. Ashton describes as tolerance withdrawal where the body needs more and more of the drug even to function. I knew that I had to get off these drugs. But how?

 Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be frightening as well as physically painful. There are over 100 symptoms that have been associated with withdrawing from these drugs.

 Since most psychopharmacologists know how to get you on drugs but not how to get you safely off, the Ashton Manual helped me educate myself before I went to the doctor to discuss tapering. Reading the Ashton Manual reassured me that the symptoms I was experiencing were normal for benzo tolerance and withdrawal. In writing this manual Dr. Ashton has provided us with the tools we need to deal with these insidious drugs.

 I feel strongly that Dr. Heather Ashton has playing a huge part in saving my life.”

 ——————–

“I was on a slippery slope when I found Professor Ashton’s pages on Benzo withdrawal. She probably literally saved my life. I referenced her work many times over the course of my recovery. Professor Ashton, you are the best! And I thank you.

Your book is a blessing to us all that have suffered and continue to suffer from benzodiazepine use. I thank you for your time and effort to begin awareness of the danger of these drugs. Your manual is helping myself and millions with the knowledge of what has happened to us and information on how to stop this horrid medication.

 This is something we went into unaware of what would happen and how we would suffer, and I wish there were more studies, and I pray there will be one day. For now, you are who we all look towards for guidance and God Bless you for what you have done for all of us that suffer from benzos.”

 ——————–

“I am writing to thank Dr. Ashton for her research and work in the field of benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal. Dr. Ashton is ans always will be one of my most revered heroes. It is because of her that I was able to convince my healthcare provider to start me on a Valium taper after over 18 years of prescribed clonazepam. Dr. Ashton’s book was used as the guideline for my withdrawal process for both my physician and myself.

I came close to death several times due to the effects of long-term prescription benzodiazepine, not to mention the devastating effects to my physical and mental health. I believe to this day I am alive because of discontinuing the use of benzodiazepines and my mental and physical health continue to steadily improve.

Many people in my life have remarked about my overall improvement in so many positive ways. I lost many years, my health, family members, friends, my career and my dignity as a human being because of the damage done by long term benzodiazepine prescibing.

 I will forever be grateful to Dr. Ashton and her groundbreaking research efforts. Dr. Ashton’s contribution and dedication were the beginning of my miraculous recovery. Thank you for your work and thank you for my life, Dr. Ashton.”

 ——————–

“I had been on clonazepam 20 plus years for petit mal epilepsy & also have MS a Panel of Dr’s/Physician/Psychiatrist said it was of no use as I had no seizures for many years, I was told as I was on such a small does 2mgs a day I could go off it with NO withdrawal this was May 3rd 2012 by May 7th I thought I was going insane  hallucinations/vomiting etc I was bedridden & terrified I saw my Dr of 30 years in August as I could take not much more I was having one panic attack after the other a prisoner at home unless someone offered to come to the Dr or shops with me & all she said was; don’t worry you’ll get over it’.

 I have a separate nutritional  Dr who has had been looking after & diagnosed Hashimotos on a routine visit she noticed I was what she called ‘Crazy Lady’ I was all over the place jittery lost for words she asked me what had happened I told her I was taken off 2mg clonazepam daily & feel like I’m not alive & not dead somewhere in the middle depersonalized is the word I am told she referred your method of withdrawal & explained so much to me I broke in tears thanking you both that I am NOT insane “Ashton Method” everything she told me made sense.

 Nearly 12 months on I am still on a taper now of 10.5mgs Valium spread over morning-afternoon & evening but at least I have hope to be benzo free soon & NEVER EVER will I trust or take a drug without being given all information as I feel still angry I was made an unwilling drug addict.

Thank you from the bottom of my Heart. I found Benzobuddies forum & they have been so supportive & I read today we can send you an email to thank you for your tireless work .

Thank You Professor Ashton”

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“I WOULD BE IN A STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL FOR LIFE IF IT WAS’NT FOR PROF. AHSTON. AT LEAST MY INSANITY HAS A NAME. THANK YOU BEYOND WORDS”

 ——————–

“I don’t have time for a long message, but I didn’t want this opportunity to pass without comment. 

 It was the Ashton Manual that helped me first identify that I was in trouble with Klonopin and that I had a long road ahead of me.  Through this whole awful experience, I have been impressed with how far ahead of the United States the UK is when it comes to understanding the huge public health problem presented by benzodiazepines.  Much credit goes to the efforts of Heather Ashton!

 Thank you, Dr. Ashton.” 

 ——————–

“I am writing to include myself as one of the many who have been helped by the work and research of Professor Heather Ashton.  We should all be so grateful for what she has done for benzodiazepine victims.

 Unfortunately, I did not have her information before I came off Xanax, so I was more or less cold turkey-ed.  However, once I did find her information, I read through, and cannot tell you how many times I referred to the Ashton Manual as a source of comfort and validation regarding the horrific symptoms I was enduring.  It gave me a thorough understanding of benzodiazepine withdrawal and recovery, and the hope that my body can and will heal.  I also have many, many contacts/friends who have used her information to understand the withdrawal process and many who have successfully withdrawn from benzos thanks to her help.

 For her efforts, I wholeheartedly believe she deserves some serious recognition.  The countless people she has helped, and, yes, even SAVED, will never be forgotten.  I can only hope in the future there is more awareness about this serious epidemic.”

 ——————–

“Last March I was healing from a spinal fusion surgical procedure done at two vertebrae levels. During the months of healing where I  couldn’t do any bending lifting or twisting my body i had plenty of time to just sit and think . I decided that I would begin to really make some additional changes in my life. I wanted to try and improve the quality of my life on many levels. I had been cutting back my prescription usage of klonopin. At this point when i was recovering and healing during those 3 months klonopin use was now .25mg a day from  0.5mg 3x/day.

 I was in a tractional time in my life. My husband and i have married for many years, raised three children all the while i worked in a hospital as a nurse. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what i was about to discover. i couldn’t stop taking the klonopin. Even though i believed I was at a place where it was reasonable to just discontinue taking them, ( in my opinion) since i was only .25mg. i needed up  becoming really sick and with so many symptoms within 3 or 4 days from stopping.

 I just didn’t understand, no one ever had told me that it would be incredibly difficult to stop taking it, My therapist never knew either.  I turned to the internet and began looking up benzo withdrawal to see if i could learn anything at all about the process. I  was scared, confused and feeling so disillusioned with my situation, i began to realize that something was very very worn  i discovered Dr. Heather Ashton’s protocol.

 I am so thankful to Dr. Ashton for having saved my life. I know eventually i will be OK. the healing process has been slow. it took me 5 months to come off of the equivalence of 0.25mg of klonopin.  the healing process continues with the most significant difficult days behind me.Thank you from the bottom of my heart., Dr Heather Ashton, i am not sure i would known differently if it wasn’t for you  and wonder what  I would have ended up doing.”

 ——————–

“Hi Heather

 Of all the benzo books I’ve bought and read, the Ashton manual has been most helpful.

 It is the one I’ve lent to friends and family, and after reading it they finally get that this is real.

 I like that the pages are big and the words are big. This book explains everything excellently in an easy to understand way.

 Thank you so much!”

 ——————–

“Unfortunately, I had completed my taper by the time I found the ‘Ashton Manual.’ However, the information on Professor Ashton’s website has been a lifeline for me in understanding what is happening to me physiologically. I spent several months post-taper when I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was only after reading the information on Dr. Ashton’s website that I was able to understand that my symptoms were being caused by GABA neuroreceptor impairment from the benzodiazepines.

 I have copied Dr. Ashton’s information on Protracted Withdrawal and the FAQ pages on the use of medications during withdrawal and given them to my doctors. Only one of my doctors has actually read them, but having cited references that are published in medical journals gives more credence than the information available on other websites. I have also copied information from Dr. Ashton’s website and given it to my friends and family so they can be informed about what has happened to me and why I am continuing to experience such an array of bizarre symptoms. I will continue to look to Dr. Ashton’s website as primary source of information as I continue to heal.”

——————–

 “Dear Prof. Ashton

 I can never express my gratitude towards your marvelous work, and time and efforts and researches about Benzodiazepines , and how they affect and disables people’s life.  I have gain a lot of knowledge from your work helped enormously during my hellish journey.  I never knew what was wrong with me, doctors were useless they  were bouncing me from a medication to the other only to make me worse and worse ..and all i had was from Benzodiazepines use, these drugs really make people sick for years, even though i am from the 15% unfortunates ones and still am in disabling protracted withdrawal ( 5 years and 4 months off ) and still suffering on a daily basis, at least maybe i have a chance to have back my life that these medication stole from me at least you gave me this chance .  May God Bless you for the work you have done and the lives of people you have saved.

Sincerely yours”

 ——————–

“This past August (2012) I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease.  I mention this because while both withdrawal and Graves’ disease have distinct physiological manifestations and cause significant levels of distress, only the Graves’ was acknowledged and addressed by medical professionals.   On occasion, I have encountered medical professionals who will acknowledge the possible severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal, but they are few and far between. And even those who provide acknowledgment possess few skills with which to help support my withdrawal off of benzodiazepines.

 More often than not, I have been dismissed, invalidated and told that my withdrawal symptoms, including extreme fear, anxiety, gastrointestinal disturbances to name just a very few, were a reoccurrence of my original condition.  Ironically, my original condition was insomnia so that statement is inherently erroneous.  When in a state of withdrawal when the distress is significant, it’s exceedingly confusing and painful to be told firmly by multiple medical professionals that my experience is not withdrawal, that in fact I’m neither a doctor nor an expert and that I’m wrong.  Equally disturbing is the number of adjunct psychiatric drugs that were “strongly” suggested.

 I had been prescribed Ativan for insomnia some 10 years ago.  Initially I was given .5 mg to be taken nightly.  Ultimately I was on 4 mg of Ativan, taken once nightly.  In addition to the challenges that benzodiazepines present, I had unwittingly been suffering inter-dose withdrawal for years.

 For many reasons, I decided I no longer wanted to be tied to this drug. Against her wishes of my remaining on Ativan, but at the direction of my psychiatrist,  I made my initial unsuccessful attempt to c/t off of 4 mg Ativan (I was instructed to cut 1 mg Ativan every 4-7 days).

 This horrific experience and my level of distress brought me to the web and ultimately the Ashton manual.   Had it not been for this manual, I would have been entirely at the mercy of what would be a plethora of medical professionals who would have happily plied me with multiple psychiatric medications while refusing to acknowledge the true source of the problems I was facing, benzodiazepine withdrawal and I genuinely believe I would never have been able to successfully withdraw from this drug.

 This manual armed me with the knowledge that allowed me take on this battle of dependence on benzodiazepines, but also those I encountered in the medical profession.  And despite the fact that I was invalidated and shamed, at every turn, I am now, thanks to Professor Ashton, at the tail end of a successful crossover to and withdrawal from 40 mg of Valium.

 This has been the most difficult and longest journey of my life.  But as a result of the information, reassurance and, if nothing else, the validation of my experience that this manual, as well as the subsequent updates and sources I was directed to as a result, while still challenging, I have found it possible to withdraw off of benzodiazepines.  Without all of the work that Prof. Heather Ashton did and the subsequent manual, this would not have been possible.

 Eternally grateful.”

 ——————–

“I just wanted to share in the testimonials to thank you, Prof. Ashton for all your research and hard work for sufferers of benzodiazepine withdrawal.

 I have not used the method myself (i am tapering far slower and daily) but i know this method has helped the vast majority gain independence from these drugs.

 I have referred to the Ashton Manual countless times, just to read of this terrible condition from a trusted and knowledgeable source is of great comfort, to have that validation means so much to so many, myself included.

 Many, many thanks Prof. Ashton, I appreciate all you have done for myself and benzo withdrawal sufferers everywhere.

 Best wishes.”

 ——————–

“Prof. Ashton,

 My wife was suffering horribly while on Klonopin, the drug was causing horrible paradoxical reactions.  The doctor told her she can just quit her .5 dosage and have no problems.  She tried that with so success.  A search on the internet found us the Ashton Manual and we realized what was causing the problem.  We think your work has been a lifesaver thank you so much for providing us a path to remove this drug from our lives.”

——————–

“Hello Prof. Ashton,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your work through the years to educate doctors, researchers, and others about the nature and dangers of benzodiazepines. Without your

 research and the Websites I found on the Internet, I would have been lost after I went through doctor-induced addiction to Klonopin and three too-rapid withdrawals.

 God bless you and take care.”

 ——————–

“Hello,

 I would like to write how thankful I am for Ashton Manual. That is how I found what is going on with me. It gave me right informations about benzodiazepines and my symptoms. I was on benzos for 5 years and now am 18 months off.

 I am sorry if this is short, English is not my native language.

 Regards”

 ——————–

“On Rivotril for 26yrs. Doctors cold turkeyed me 4yrs this coming july14th. Still not very well. had lots of comfort from your manual thank you so very much. It told me I was not alone and I was not going mad. Thank you so much for your dedication to finding out what benzos do to people and how to alleviate the distress from coming off them.

  “THANK YOU”  cheers.”

 ——————–

“Hi,

 Just wanted to say how this method is helping me. First, I was on xanax but it’s short acting so I did a slow methodical change over to valium, which I’m currently taking. Started at 15 mgs (in 3 doses throughout the day), now down to 10 mg per day (1st dose is 3.75 next is 3.75 and night time is just 2.5mg) and I’ve got a wonderful compounding pharmacy which is making me specialized dosages so I don’t have to cut tablets or dissolve in water.

 Very grateful they can do this for me and also that my MD is willing to prescribe the in-between doses and not pressing me to drop too much too quickly. I’m doing this very very slowly and so far I feel ok. I am chronically ill (adrenal and thyroid issues from prior antidepressant/benzo use) but am not experiencing any withdrawals from this reduction.

 Thank you.”

 ——————–

“Eight years ago I decided that I no longer wished to take the prescribed sleeping pill which I had felt necessary for a good night’s sleep.  Four years previous my new UK doctor had halved my dose as 2mg of Dormonoct was too much in her opinion.  Being ignorant of the whole benzo situation I accepted that decision and pushed on, caring for a dementing mother until her death in 2003.

During that time my mental health was questioned, but any anxiety and depression was considered to be expected due to my 24/7 duties as carer.

Following my mother’s death I felt I could handle a few sleepness nights and discussed with my doctor that I would like to come off Dormonoct.  His only advise was to take it slowly,  but neither he nor I had any idea what slowly meant.   As a result I took 6 weeks to wean myself off 1mg of what was the equivalent of 10 mg valium.

Those initial weeks were pretty bad,  but I am a tough lady and never even considered resuming those tablets,  it wasn’t an option no way was I going to be “out there” and in need of a sleeping pill.  In fact I had sold up and had intended to relocate to Spain.

For three months I arranged my affairs, found an apartment to rent in Spain where I hoped whatever was ailing me,  I would be able to overcome.   By this time I had horrendous tinnitus (on three levels) aching muscles and legs that felt like lead, so much so it was hard to walk up stairs. By this time I was experiencing irrational fear,  paranoia and depression. I knew nothing about benzodizepines.   But somehow I found an internet cafe and began to inform myself.  For months I read Professor Ashton’s page and sections of benzo.org.uk and eventually joined BI.  owever, I had also spent much money having tests in Spain as I found it hard to believe that I could still be affected by withdrawal some 9 months later.   In fact I was getting worse.

Everything fell into place and finally I had a notion of what might be wrong with me although I have never really had validation from anyone in the medical profession.  If it hadn’t have been for Heather Ashton’s work I honestly think that I would have considered myself as going crazy with all sorts of symptoms that were psychosomatic.   During my time on BI I became a moderator and not only did I always direct sufferers to the Ashton manual I began to realize just how global her work and methods had become.  The logic of transferring to valium and a slow withdrawal from that particular benzo was obvious and simple and yet I know there are doctors worldwide who still question it……that used to infuriate me, now I just feel despair at the damage done and is potentially being done through such ignorance. I am sorry this has been so long,  but I felt the need to demonstrate from where my appreciation was coming.

 Thank You.”

 ——————–

“If not for finding Professor Ashton’s work– or rather, the people who before me who found her work and made it available to me, I may have never known that benzodiazepines made my anxiety so much worse. I learned that so many of the scary withdrawal symptoms that made me think I had every disease known to man were actually normal to experience in withdrawal. I had to taper much more slowly than the Ashton Protocol, but without her information she provided after she realized what these drugs do in the brain and body, I would have probably just thought I’d gone crazy. Thank you Professor Ashton, I hope someday that someone can continue your hard work…”

 ——————–

“I run a support group with a sister in suffering. We are so blessed to have your tools and manual. I am sadly a cold turkey. But with your help We have saved many from the nightmare of fast tapering. Thank you so much.”

 ——————–

“I commend you for the outstanding work you have done by “helping so many people to  free themselves from addiction to benzodiazepines” and for the “Ashton Manual” that you  wrote to educate those of us needing help in how to taper off these horrendous drugs and  to get our lives back.

 Your work has benefitted so many people, home and abroad.

Thank You for paving the the road for so many of us to heal.

 And for the future!

 Respectfully Yours”

 ——————–

“Dearest Heather Ashton,

 I came off of Benzodiazepines long before I discovered your Ashton Manual.  I tapered myself way too fast in 3 months time and suffered Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome for a few years following.  When I finaly discovered your Manual, I was so incredibly grateful to finally make sense of all the symptoms I had for so long.  I am now also very grateful to be able to refer people to your Manual whom it will benefit.  I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work on behalf of all of us who have suffered so terribly from benzodiazepines.”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr. Ashton,

 I want to thank you for your work with benzodiazepine withdrawal issues and how to deal with them.  I was very sick for 5 years, not knowing what was wrong with me.  I saw countless specialists, underwent a dozen plus investigatory tests, and spent a month in a hospital so they could find out what was wrong with me.   Not a single doctor ever suggested that perhaps my symptoms might have something to do with benzo drugs.

 A chance encounter with a naturopathic doctor after five years of hell led me to the idea that this was benzo tolerance withdrawal.   It was after this that I discovered your work and allowed me to begin the lengthy process of tapering from this harmful drug.

 I am currently in the 16th month of this painful process of tapering, but without the knowledge  gained from your work, I would still be seeking medical help chasing symptoms. 

 Thank you for that you have done.  It is a huge contribution to society and hopefully the American medical community will one day learn about what they are potentially doing when they prescribe these drugs.”

 ——————–

“Without Professor Ashton’s knowledge of benzodiazepines and how to safely taper off these pills I would have had no hope at all of ever getting off.  I can’t thank her enough for her efforts.  Without a doubt she has saved countless lives from years of torment and misery caused by the addiction to these drugs.

 I will be forever grateful for the hope her words have given me.”

 ——————–

“I just wanted to write a few words to say how grateful I am to have found Heather’s information online a few years ago! It enabled me to learn about the drugs I was prescribed, what they were doing to me and also educate my GP about safely tapering. I really do feel that if I had not found this information my life would be an awful lot worse!!

 Thank you Heather! :)”

 ——————–

“There are truly no words to thank you for your work you have done in regards to your Manual and    with those individuals whose lives are negatively affected by the over zealous prescribing of benzodiazepines by ignorant physicians… I cannot begin to imagine the sheer number of lives, families, marriages, children, jobs, homes, etc., that your unbelievably important work has touched… What I can imagine and know for certain is the way in which you have helped me personally.”

 ——————–

“I was prescribed Klonopin in late 2008 for mild anxiety I was having from starting my own business.  I quickly developed severely adverse paradoxical reactions and tolerance effects.. This produced a series of events that is incomprehensible to anyone who has not been through it… I had extremely severe blood pressure issues and threw myself on and off of numerous medications attempting to fix the problem as I truly believed for two plus years I was going completely insane… Resulting in hospitalizations, and creating a kindling effect from the benzos that is surreal. 

 It took me nearly two years to discern that this was a result of severe benzo withdrawal from two mg of Klonopin.  I discovered this of course by reading through the list of symptoms in your Manuel… And realizing that I literally had every symptom… I am a skeptic by nature though and found it hard to believe that two tiny little pills could cause so much destruction and ruin my life…in fact however, this was definitely the case…

 In a nutshell I received VERY little support from so many other physicians that I went to see- especially from Psychiatrists- who repeatedly told me ignorantly that if I just “Treated my underlying condition” – which would if course change and vary depending on the diagnosis of the treating physician, all the other symptoms would simply go away… I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  I had to have my boyfriend do most of my research for me regarding the withdrawal as I have been too sick to read throughout much of this, but our research always led us back to you and the Ashton Manual…

 At this point I have now given the manual to several other physicians in the my area… One of which was an ER physician part time, who said that he read it cover to cover and uses it to help his patients in dealing with withdrawal in ER settings, as well as several other doctors that I have shown it to as part of my taper plan.  I have also recommended the Manual to others that need help tapering and handed it personally to others… I also come in armed with it to give to any physician I see.

 How can I thank you enough?  As I have said there are truly no words, as you have literally saved my life… My blood pressure was extremely high and your suggestion of the use of beta blockers I am certain has prevented me from suffering a stroke or heart attack as I continue to proceed with my taper… Things are still very very rough for me, but I am certain they would be far worse if not for you and the amazing way that you have chosen to live your life in service of others.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your life has touched so many people and saved so many lives… More than you can possibly imagine.  I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors… May they be as fulfilling and beautiful as the amazing work you have accomplished in helping to assist those whose lives have been affected by benzodiazepines.”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr. Ashton,

 I want to thank you for your hard work in helping victims of benzodiazepine dependency. I am one of the many that was harmed by these drugs. I was given clonazepam for minor insomnia but after about a year I tried to stop taking it. I thought I was gravely ill and my doctors had no clue what was wrong with me either. Finding your manual online saved my life by making me aware that I was physically dependent on the drug. I would never have known otherwise. I don’t even have the words to express my feelings. How can I? Thank you really seems to fall short. Just know that I will be forever be grateful to you. I feel that you not only saved my life but you saved my sanity as well.”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr. Ashton,

 Your time, effort and devotion to Benzo withdrawal is deeply appreciated. I was kept on Klonopin for 19 years. I am 21 months out and still very much in recovery. I read everything I can to help me cope with the bizarre symptoms.

 Had it not been for your work I would most likely still be on Klonopin and sick in tolerance.

 I know one day I will be healed.

 Thank you. For all you do to help us.”

 ——————–

“Prof Ashton is my personal heroine, I know absolutely that if I hadn’t read her work, I would have assumed I’d gone crazy, and ended up more drugged, sick and probably hospitalised or possibly worse. I was very sick and suicidal when i read this wonderful ladies work. She saved my life. With the help of her manual I got myself well again.

 A million thanks, Heather.”

 ——————–

“Dr. Ashton,

 Your life’s work was my life’s salvation.  I wish I had read the manual during those last couple of years of my benzo use to know I was in tolerance withdrawals.  I could have saved a lot of money and anxiety in medical tests.  Now I am benzo free, feel validated in my experience and KNOW I have a future to look forward to!

 I would like to take a moment and thank Professor Heather Ashton et al., for all of the valuable work they have done regarding benzodiazepines. Her manual has been instrumental in helping me taper off my benzodiazepine. The “manual” is the most comprehensive source of information in helping people come off these medications, as well as a source of validation regarding the symptoms one can encounter while tapering. I am forever grateful that the manual has been available online without cost so that I was able to successfully taper. Thank you. Sincerely”

——————–

“Dear Professor Ashton,

 When I discovered your manual through the Benzo Buddies Community, I was in the darkest place of my life. I read it over and over again and each time felt your comfort…you gave me hope. You were instrumental in getting me through the nightmare of withdrawal…and I know that I am one of many.

 My heartfelt thanks to you for caring so much and for making it possible for so many to fully understand the dangers and truths of Benzodiazepines. You have made a difference in the lives of so many.

 With much admiration and appreciation.”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr. Ashton,

 I spent 9 years addicted or dependent upon or stuck in Klonopin. 

 After a long term, and horribly treated psychosis that was mistakenly attributed to Valium (I am convinced it was Zoloft). I began the endeavor of getting off all psychotropes.  Klonopin was terrible.  With horrible seizures, diarrhea, a and vomiting, I worked with my internist to get off it.  I had never heard of the Ashton manual.  I ended my 9 year use in two weeks.  My doctor cut my 1 mg dose in half then in quarters over a two week period. 

 Later, I learned about liquid tapering. That would have been a much smarter way for this to have happened. 

 Now, I let my care providers know about Dr. Ashton and her life saving and generous work. 

 Thank you”

 ——————–

“My psychiatrists and MD refused to do the Ashton taper with me……said they’d never heard of it and that I needed to up my dose of Clonazepam.

 God led me to a private clinic doctor in another city regarding  bio identical hormone treatment which I didn’t do but he happened to tell me that he helped patients come off of Benzodiazapines using the Heather Ashton method.   I was ecstatic!    It was an answer to prayer!   A miracle!   I have reduced from 20 mg of Valium down to 7mg so far.   I am looking forward to finishing the taper.

 My cognitive ability has improved immensely with the taper. I am 67 years old.  I would have gotten senile had I been left on the drug.  I was well on the way.

 Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Heather Ashton!   You are my hero!”

 ——————–

“Without Professor Ashton’s hard work I would probably be dead by now, simply.  Initially I was told to cut my Clobazam dose by a ridiculous amount and ended up so ill and suicidal.  It was after some basic research that I came upon what we now call “The Ashton Manual”.  That amazing discovery helped me to understand what was happening to me and consequently I was able to find my way through the mine field of withdrawal in a safer fashion.  Thank you for saving my life, Professor Ashton, I am for ever indebted.”

 ——————–

“To say that you saved my life may sound overly dramatic, but from my perspective it is quite appropriate. An accident that left me with  neuropathic injury and pain set me on a course with the health community that found me 8 years later addicted to Valium, zanaflex, and opiates. I knew I was in serious trouble and stumbled upon the Ashton Manual during a web search. I ordered it, used it, and am overjoyed to say that after a year-long taper I am now 15 months free of benzos. And all the other drugs, too. Without your help I would not be enjoying my life again, drug free.

A huge thank you!” 

 ——————–

“It is truly frightening to consider what would have happened to me and countless others if Professor C.H. Ashton had not done her ground-breaking work in the field of benzodiazepine dependency and withdrawal, and published what has simply become known as “The Ashton Manual”. While in inter-dose withdrawal from Xanax, I searched the internet for a clue as to what was happening to me, which I assumed was either a medical issue or some sort of psychological breakdown.

 Fortunately, I found Prof. Ashton’s manual and learned, not only what had happened to me and why I was so compromised, but how to rescue myself by following her prescription for weaning myself safely off the drug. After I was successful in doing so, I published a book about benzodiazepine withdrawal. I sent a copy to her—which arrived on her birthday. She very kindly wrote back to me and pointed out a few errors in my text. I was able to correct them in subsequent editions of the book, making sure that people had accurate information about benzodiazepine discontinuation.

 Even after writing “Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How To Withdraw”, Prof. Ashton continued to work tirelessly toward educating the public about the dangers of benzodiazepine dependency, publishing papers, giving talks, and corresponding with individuals to answer their questions and concerns. Because of her efforts, many people —myself included— have had their lives given back to them. She has been our champion, restoring us to ourselves and our families. There is no one to whom I owe a greater debt of gratitude.

 Thank you, Professor Ashton.”

 ——————–

“I would not have had any information about benzodiazepine withdrawal had I not had access to the Ashton protocol. My physician had no suggestions for tapering so I was forced to seek my own method. I found the Ashton protocol and Benzo Buddies and between the two was able to devise a plan. I am nearly finished with my taper. It has been difficult but the information available in the Ashton protocol helped me see I was experiencing normal symptoms. I needed this reassurance and it was not available elsewhere. Thank you Dr. Ashton. Your work in this field has been life-saving.

 With gratitude.”

 ——————–

“Hello Dr. Ashton,

 I am so in awe of you and all you have done and continue to do for those of us in the benzodiazepine community. We all are aware of you and your kindness. None of us would be as far along in our battle against Benzos if it wasn’t for you. You are amazing and there are not enough words to express my personal gratitude for you and your work.

 I have won my battle and am doing much better now. I have read and reread your Manual along with your work posted on benzo.org.uk. This was a lifeline for me. I did not know anything about this. I trusted and believed in what doctors were taught. I now know differently. I am doing all I can to spread the word to the medical community through my personal experiences.

 This all will one day be known and understood and no one will have to endure what many of us have in order for the drug companies to make profits. I am saddened by the enormous profits made by the executives in these companies.

 Thank you, thank you, thank you for being you and for being here for us.

 With much love.”

 ——————–

“I was not able to taper because of my long complicated benzo history and the number of times I had stopped way too fast with my doctors “guidance”. However after 7 years, that began with a very short course of Zopiclone, that lead to more than 29 prescribed psychoactive drugs in 18 months, and 7 different psychiatric “mis”diagnoses in 4 years, I am now healing.

If it wasn’t for Dr Ashton and her manual I would never have been able to figure out what was happening to me. I held onto the knowledge that her expertise provided in spite of the fact that every doctor (including 3 whom I used to work directly with in the local hospital) refused to believe what had happened to me. I told every doctor there is a direct link on the website of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons to the Ashton Manual and that it is suggested reading.

 It’s almost 14 months and even though I have a long way to go with regard to healing I am 500% better than I was.

 I am grateful for Dr Ashton. If it was not for her work, I can truly say that I would not be here today.”

 ——————–

“Dr Ashton saved my life, I had become addicted to zopliclone (z-drug) I had so many weird and painful symptoms over 50 of them.   I was in and out of casualty and my doctors surgery for months with no explanation for my symptoms.

 Then in absolute desperation I searched online and came across the Dr Ashton manual, everything in there explained why I were suffering from unexplained symptoms.  I printed off the manual and went straight to my doctor and asked him ‘if I could be tolerant on zopliclone’ and he replied most probably yes.  He then crossed me over to 20mg of valium and it took me 6 months of tapering to come off, reducing 2mg every 2 weeks.

 It was the most horrible time of my life but at the end I started to feel so much better.  I will never take anything like z-drugs or benzodiazapines again (unless it’s an emergency situation that I have to take them and never long-term).

 Thank you Dr Ashton, from the bottom of my heart.”

 ——————–

“I am a psychologist by profession and have had a real awakening to the power of psychiatric medication. I have tapered off 1.5mg Rivotril as of 6 months ago. My psychiatrist didn’t think I needed to switch over to Valium despite me mentioning the Ashton Manual. So I dry cut with a rapid taper over 3 months but was put onto zyprexa to manage the withdrawal intensity. I see now in retrospect that this decision was not a wise one but being in the throes of withdrawal does not allow for any kind of rational thinking to say the least.

 Be that as it may, the work and research data provided by professor Ashton has been invaluable and still is. I have not recovered as yet but her manual provides much hope that recovery is possible. I will forever be grateful. If only the psychiatric professional community exercised more caution as they prescribe treatments. My view is that patients should be warned in advance of the difficulty of withdrawing benzodiazepine medication. It is their right to know.

 Thank you Professor Ashton!”

 ——————–

“There are many people in life who go unrecognised and about 2 years ago I came across one. Her name was Pam Armstrong who worked in conjunction with Professor Ashtons protocol for withdrawal from benzo’s. In 1990 we had a group of 40 strong members you were following the protocol and with great results. Some people over 2 years even got back to work after being afraid to even go out of their door. If people like Professor Ashton hadnt stepped forward with her work we would probably still be the ‘silent ones’.But no more. We are slowly being heard. Thank you for all  your work. Because of it I realised I could regain my life back slowly and my son, now 26, put  the benzo message out to people in his age group, so they do not have to ‘suffer’. Thank you ..you are loved and very much appreciated by many…”

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“I would like to add my thanks to Dr. Ashton for all her work and contribution to those suffering from benzo use. Her manual explains the phenomenon very well. It gave me words and understanding to what has been happening to me. This alone has helped me greatly to cope with the withdrawal process.”

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“Hello Professor Ashton,

 I have been putting this off because I could not find the words to convey my gratitude… I honestly do not know where I would be today without your work over the years. Maybe on a slew of meds, in a psychiatric hospital, or worse, I really don’t know. I am currently eight months off benzos and still in recovery, but thanks to you, I have hope on my side. And that is all I need to get through this. You have saved many lives, thank you for the work you do and continue to do.

 With gratitude and love.”

 ——————–

“If not for the wonderful writings of the Ashton report I would not be getting better. My story begins with a horrible hysterectomy. I was placed in Xanax for two years. I got worse PTSD, I had withdrawals while on Xanax.

 I had to find information on a UK website about benzodiazepines. There is nothing on USA pages about help.

 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, panic attacks and the meds messed my gallbladder up. I finally found Recovery Road, after my Doctors made me quit cold turkey. I was still on 1mg a day. I went into sever protracted withdrawals. I was made to quit on September 17th at 3.:30pm. 2010 I am still having withdrawals. It has almost been three years.

 I still have severe sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, confusion and cognitive difficulty, memory, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness. I cannot drive due to vertigo.

What is so alarming is that every doctor I have been to in these two years tell me it’s not from benzos and that they have never heard of professor Ashton!

 But all blood test, EKG’s and other horrid test they give come back as saying I am healthy. So then they try and put me on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants. It is a vicious cycle. I stop going to doctors and just study the Aston report… And talk to withdrawal groups in the UK. Recovery Road has been my life saver!

 Please help us. We need this report to be given to every doctor that practices, we need to teach doctors in medical school how bad these drugs can be! Education is needed here in the states!!
I am lucky to have had the Internet and with determination found the info to help save my life, and start on my own road to recovery.”

——————–

 “I just wanted to give you a heart-felt thanks for all you have done to help understand and compassionately manage benzo withdrawal. You were my guiding light out of the darkness of the worst night mare of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you….”

 ——————–

“Dear Professor Ashton,

 I would like to say thank you. I was misdiagnosed for many years and I would never have known the cause of my illness had I not discovered the ‘Ashton Manual’ on line.

 When I first became ill I was diagnosed with anxiety, when unbeknown to me I was actually suffering from tolerance withdrawal caused by the drug which was prescribed by my GP after a family bereavement.

 My Doctors investigated for a long list of illnesses brain tumor, Addisons disease, and heart problems. The list goes on. Many investigations were carried out. I was even admitted to hospital several times for suspected heart attack.  I was finally misdiagnosed with vague illnesses e.g. Chronic fatigue, vaso-vagal syncope.

 I was convinced that it was not so I had always been very fit and I knew it was something else, but the doctors wold not believe me.   Eventually I  searched the Internet in a hope that I would find the real cause of my problems.

 Eventually I found the Ashton Manual. I cried with relief when there in your manual was every symptom that for almost three years I had been suffering from.

Without this my Doctors would have continued to misdiagnose me or to say it was all due to anxiety or all in my head.  I was, and still am, deeply saddened by how little the medical profession appear to know or admit about the effects of these drugs and withdrawal.

 Thank you Professor Ashton for being our voice and for addressing such  a major problem.

 Thank you for your courage without which so many of us all over the world would be misdiagnosed and misbelieved.

 I am currently struggling in withdrawal but I am off the drug and slowly recovering now.

 After many years I am in the process of getting my life back.

 I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had not discovered your manual.

 Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Yours most sincerely.”

 ——————–

“Professor Ashton, Thanks for your work. It truly helped me get through my getting off this drug. I was coming off clonazepam and did not know what in the world was happening to me. When in the middle of the night crying not knowing what was going on with me I found your book. You have touched so many people with your work.

 I wish you and your family the best.”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr Ashton,

 I was sick for many years and had no idea from what. I was told repeatedly it was in my head. I found Geraldine Burns’ site at that time and she sent me your manual. I am still struggling, however your manual was a lifesaver. I have sent it out to doctors and many people. I have had the pleasure of speaking with you on the phone and found you to be very pleasant. I have become friends with Geraldine and continue to educate people with your work. Thank you for devoting the time and energy to a cause that so many are completely unaware of. May God bless you and may all of us heal.

 Thank you.”

 ——————–

“Wow, when I read that you were going to have a time of honoring Professor Ashton I thought there really wouldn’t be enough words to hold what I think and feel about her courageous work for people who have been destroyed by Benzodiazepines.  It was horrifying enough to find out the truth about what had been done to my body by these drugs.  That I had been betrayed and harmed by the very people who were supposed to help and heal me.  But to have those same people deny the truth and then turn around and accuse me of lying, delusion and other sorts of negative things truly dealt the death blow.

 It was the work of Professor Heather Ashton that gave me light that I wasn’t crazy and making things up…that even if every doctor told me I was wrong, her words and work stood in front of me like a shield of truth, defying the lies, ignorance, and cruelty.  It only took one person to stand in the breach of this grave evil, and she answered the call…for that I will be eternally grateful.

 I have printed out and will continue to print out the Ashton Manual as I introduce it to every doctor and medical professional I come across.  It is peers like her that they listen to…it is professionals like her that patients relinquish their trust…giving them hope that honest, humble, free thinking, intelligent doctors still exist.”

 ——————–

“Thank you Professor Ashton.  Your work saved my sanity and my life.  It is a powerful tool that empowers me to spread the truth about Benzos, saving the lives of countless people and avoiding the devastation and suffering that no human can comprehend unless they have walked that deep, evil, alien, terrifying, soul sucking, and seemingly endless road.

 You have begun to block an open gateway to a living hell…and for that I ask that God abundantly bless you always.  There can never be enough “thank you’s” for what you have done.”

 ——————–

“I have been on Ativan since 1994, then was switched to Clonazepam in 2005 by a doctor who was a so called “specialist” in medication addiction….poor idea. I’m an “accidental addict” as the original doctor prescribed the Ativan without allowing me any knowledge and dangers of this drug.

 After many years of repeated attempts, I went on the internet and found your program…. I understood it clearly and searched for a local doctor to embrace the methodology of your tapering system.I had to go to another state to find a doctor that knows of your method, and I started the tapering on January 4, 2013.

 I tell everyone I know about your program, even though many doctors in America will not embrace your method….they know everything, so it’s pointless to express the simplicity of the method if they fall on deaf ears.

 I have no family, so this a journey I take alone…I do have God on my side, and He has been a great comfort and given me the endurance to finish the journey…not the race.

 I have some questions at this point that only a professional would be able to answer, yet resources here are slim to none.

 I’m familiar with benzobuddies.org and think it’s a great outlet of information resources and help…for me it is almost like an AA meeting.

 I fully understand everyone is going to have a different story to tell…no two will be very much alike as no two bodies and biology are going to be the same while tapering and then healing.

 I have educated myself to a point where I truly believe I know more than about 95% of the docs prescribing this poison…lots of research, trial and error and just plain old common sense has been very beneficial for me.

 I designed a spreadsheet that is a must for anyone doing a tapering program…it has been very useful in looking back, looking at my taper percentages from week to week with notes I include for every day, along with weekly comments.

 I would love to have the extra knowledge from anyone who has been there, done that…or a professional that can guide me the last few steps of tapering and preparing for the healing process.

 If it were in my power, I would designate you Saint Ashton in a heartbeat!

 Your method will save my life, create a new man with so many new and wonderful virtues…that part is very exciting, but it will happen when it is supposed to and not a day too soon, or too late….just when it happens is good enough for me.

 If there are resources you might suggest, I’m all ears!

 God bless your fantastic work and please do not hesitate to contact me as I do seek some further guidance at this stage.

 My doctor does about 95% opiate addicts, so they don’t truly understand the “benzo” addiction very well….I keep hearing to stick to the program, you’re doing great, but that is not enough.

 Thanks in advance for any information, resources or direction you can point me in.

 Soon to be a free man!”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr Ashton,

 I just want to thank you for all the work you have done….as it continues to save lives.

 I am not sure I would be alive today if I had not found your work on Benzo Buddies on the internet.

 The medical profession continues to deny the harm that Benzodiazepines cause daily.

 Your work on Benzo’s saved my life.

 When I am healed, I intend to become voice for those affected by benzos.

 The madness has to stop somewhere…..and it will not happen until we all speak out against these horrible drugs.

 Thank you for the work you have so bravely done. I work in healthcare and I am suffering the iatrogenic effects of drug that was written for me in haste after I hurt my back. The doctors aren’t lying, they are all misinformed as I was too. I plan to work hard to at least get a black box warning on these drugs. They should be taken off the market, or at the very least carry a major warning prior to their use.

 Keep up the good work.”

 ——————–

“Thank you Dr. Ashton for your work and discovery regarding benzodiazepines and the detriment they have on health.  I have read that you have taken great risks in her career to acknowledge the dangerous effects of benzodiazepines and also know that your work has helped myself and so many others in withdrawing from these drugs.  It is a shame that there are only a few “Benzo-wise” professionals that acknowledge the work and the truth that has been revealed regarding these drugs.

While I was only on 1 mg Ativan for what many consider a short time (7 months, including taper), I have and still am experiencing the ill-effects of withdrawing from these drugs (been off for five months).   There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my body and brain have been negatively affected and that withdrawal (including tolerance withdrawal) is nothing less than “Intense Madness” and “Hell on Earth”.  My prayer is that I and others in this situation will fully recover from the effects of this drug, and life will once again be worth living. I am grateful for Dr. Ashton’s work as it provides hope that one day healing will occur.

 Thank you Dr. Ashton for the Ashton manual and for bringing to light the truth about benzodiazepines and withdrawal.”

 ——————–

“Hi Baylissa,

 I hope all is well. Thanks so much for putting together this tribute for Dr. Ashton thanking her for all of her invaluable work.

 Here is my contribution, if you have a home for it.

 All best,

 Matt

 It was 2005, October and I found myself living in extremity, trapped in my house by mounting terror as I struggled through sheer force of will to be shut of clonazepam. I had been on benzos continuously for seven years, and tapering directly off, even at a quarter milligram every two weeks, was proving incredibly difficult. In the end, I did get off the pills, but only after many ill-advised detours into the bleak halls of psychiatry, being placed on other meds that only made me sicker.

 Still, there was hope; I clung to this hope even as I entered my darkest hour. Wondering if the doctors I’d trusted my brain to were misinformed, I’d started Googling “benzodiazepines” one night and found myself at Ray Nimmo’s site, and shortly thereafter reading Dr. Ashton’s “Manual.” Finally, out of the cloud of confusion and darkness, an answer: With clarity, humility, and scientific rigor, Dr. Ashton had documented exactly what I was experiencing, and it was at that point that I knew I was not alone. That I was not, as my doctors had been telling me, an anomaly with “the worst anxiety of anyone they’d ever seen.” That I was in fact falling prey to benzodiazepine dependence complicated by an overly rapid taper.

 In the end, it was too late for me to taper via the method Dr. Ashton recommends, but going into the final mile armed with knowledge gained from reading her research, I took solace in the fact that I would someday heal—a reality that has since borne out as truth. I’ve also had the good fortune to correspond with Dr. Ashton via telephone and email, and she’s been an invaluable ally and expert voice of guidance in writing I’ve done on the subject of benzodiazepines, these drugs that quite nearly claimed my life.

 So many of us would not be here today without Dr. Ashton’s hard work on, expertise in, and dedication to this sadly overlooked subject. I am one of those people. To say “Thank you” almost feels insufficient, but I know no better words. From me, and from all of us: Dr. Ashton, thank you.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         —Matt Samet, Boulder, Colorado

 
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“We are writing to express our gratitude for the work that Dr Heather Ashton has done in the area of Benzodiazepine withdrawal.  The Ashton manual has proved to be a priceless resource in providing guidance for our clients over the years.  She has also provided valuable feedback on previous management reports which have helped to us to refine later editions that have been submitted to the Management Committee and Sponsors alike.  Her talks on the effects of Benzodiazepines on the brain have helped to inform both clients and stakeholders.  She is an inspiration to those of us who work in this area and we are thankful for all that she has done.

 Melanie

 Melanie Davis

 Manager of the Tranquilliser Service Mind in Camden.”

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“I am writing this in the hopes that Professor C. Heather Ashton will be recognized for the international work that she has done with benzodiazepines worldwide.

Years ago I asked Professor Ashton to write something for a book I was putting together about the harmful effects of benzodiazepines.  To my surprise and to the benefits of hundreds of thousands around the world, she wrote three chapters that were so complete within itself, we now ship her manual “Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdraw” also known as The Ashton Manual worldwide to sufferers, physicians, detox centers, concerned family members, etc.

 She has given of herself tirelessly for the 15 years I have had the pleasure of knowing her.  Any money that she has received, she donates to further the cause.  She truly is one of the most remarkable people I have had the pleasure of knowing internationally.  She genuinely cares about those who have been harmed by this class of drug.

 At the time when I first contacted Professor Ashton years ago, there was nothing available in the United States to validate the suffering that so many go through as a result of taking this class of drug known as benzodiazepines.  Her manual has not only helped thousands upon thousands regain their lives or even save their lives, but it is teaching the medical field internationally about this class of drug that is given out so commonly with so little understanding of the dangers that are involved in the taking and withdrawal process.

 If all those in the medial field could have even half of the compassion that she has, there would be so much less suffering because she listens and cares.  I cannot think of a person more deserving than Professor C. Heather Ashton to receive honour for the work that she has done and how her work will continue to save much suffering.

Sincerely,

 Geraldine Burns”

 ——————–

“I am a recovered survivor of long term benzodiazepine addiction. My addiciton started in the early seventies and continued for sixteen years until 1987, when I finally withdrew. Unfortunately, I did not have the support and advice of Professor Ashton’s manual when I was in withdrawal as it had not be published.

 In 2002, however, I recorded ‘Safe Benzo Recovery’ an advice and information cassette tape (that was later to be updated to CD format, and now, MP3) and Professor Ashton kindly reviewed the contents prior to recording, and also supplied a testimonial for the cover. I felt hugely honoured that she would do this for me.

 I have tremendous admiration and gratitude to her for supporting the benzodiazpeine withdrawal community. Her position as a professor of  psychopharmacology, lent gravitus to our campaign to raise awareness of the suffering and distress experienced by those attempting to come off their prescription medication. This, at a time when the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry and government were largely either denying or ignoring the huge scandal benzodiazeopine addiciton had created during the sixties, seventies and beyond. Unfortunately, little has changed.

 The Ashton Manual became the bible for countless thousands of individuals, as well as support workers in mental health charities, organisations and withdrawal groups. Her courage in standing alone as a psychopharmacologist, and ‘speaking truth to power’, deserves the highest honour that the UK can bestow.

 Thank you from Paula Kovacs”

 ——————–

“Dear Dr. Ashton:

 I wrote you years ago when I finally discovered that benzos were my problem.  I had believed in the medical profession for years that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and that all my health and mental issues were attributable thereto.  I was mired in depression and despair and thought about ending my life incessantly.  When I read your manual, it gave me renewed hope….you saved my life.

 I have now been off the drugs for 13 years and my health has suffered from the original drugging.  I am now working to repair my gut and am doing the GAPS diet and seeing many successes.  It is my opinion that these drugs really impact the gut and liver function.  I do believe that we were wonderfully created and can go on to heal.

 I also run a support group on facebook called Healing From Psych Drugs.  The whole experience with these drugs certainly has changed my life….many things for the better.  I have had the opportunity to meet some of the greatest people in the world.  I am able to do many things now: travel; spend time with my friends and family; play music again, etc. and I always try to give back in the benzo community.

 I know that if it weren’t for you that many people would not be with us now or would be so drugged that their lives would hold no meaning.  I can never thank you enough for all that you have done.

  1. Day”

 ——————–

“Heather Ashton is without doubt a lady who has devoted her life to helping prescribed benzodiazepine drug addicts all over the world. Her withdrawal Protocol has save countless lives and the sanity of many. Her humility in learning from the victims of these drugs and running her own Clinic, sets her apart from her peers. She offers her Protocol free of charge worldwide. She is unique. A one off and a very special lady. The world would have been much darker without Heather in it and less safe.

 I count on her as a good friend and have been privileged to be with her at Conferences and at dinner, with my wife Susan. She is a cheerful person and good company and she is a good listener.

 Heather should be publicly recognised for her tremendous hard work, dedication in helping iatrogenic addicts worldwide and listening to others, because she cares deeply.

  All our Love Heather and  May God Bless You.

 Barry and Sue Haslam.x”

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Thanks to everyone who took the time and made the effort to acknowledge Professor Ashton’s work. As for me, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t found the Ashton Manual. I do genuinely believe I would have been misdiagnosed with multiple medical “conditions” (because of tolerance withdrawal symptoms) and by now would have been poly-drugged and barely functional.

Instead, I am medication-free, lucid, happy, and apart from the pre-existing dystonia for which I was prescribed the medication, am healthy too. Withdrawing from the medication was definitely worth the experience and I feel that it has made me stronger, even more resilient, more compassionate and grateful.

The positive impact that Professor Ashton’s work has made must never be underestimated. This is not solely about tapering methods. It is about validation of our experiences and credibility too. The first thing my GP did when I took him a printed copy of her Manual was look for the credentials of the writer. When he saw that she was a psycho-pharmacologist, he unhesitatingly agreed to my tapering.

No one has taken the baton from Professor Ashton. She is a rare and precious jewel who, although now retired, continues to work hard and to support efforts towards policy changes and harm reduction.

Thank you, Professor Ashton, from all of us… with much gratitude, love and respect.

Baylissa

Vynne Baylissa Frederick