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Protracted withdrawal syndrome
It's often discussed if the symptoms which may appear during withdrawal should be judged as withdrawal symptoms or as a sign of a returning origin desease. Many symptoms are not specific for benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Symptoms of special interest are those that are uncommon in anxiety syndromes and not present before the consumption of benzodiazepines. In my opinion, these symptoms include hypersenitivity to sensory stimuli, paresthesias, extreme dysphoria, as well as visual hallucinations, distorted body perception, psychotic reactions, formication, muscle fasciculation and twitches.
Five years of decreasing withdrawal problems
It's also often discussed how long the withdrawal syndrome will last. I know that the syndrome can last for years in a decreasing scheme.
Following quotation is collected from:
L. Saxon I P. Hjelmdahl I A.J. Hiltunen I S. Borg
Effects of flumazenil in the treatment of benzodizepine withdrawal - a double blind study.
Psychopharamcology (1997) 131:153-160
The patients should have been benzodiazepin free for at least 3 weeks, but still complain about characteristic withdrawal symptoms. One of the patients had been benzodiazepine free much longer than the rest (> 5 years) but was included in the study because he related his present symptoms to his previous use of benzodiazepines. Further when this patient was evaluated separately, and compared to the patient group as a whole and to the controls, nothing indicated that he should be excluded from the present study."
Another following quotation is collected from:
Protracted Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines: The Post-Withdrawal Syndrome
Psychiatric Annals 25:3 March 1995 : 174-179
For some cronic benzodiazepine users, withdrawal can be a long drawn-out process. A sizable minority, perhaps 10% to 15%, develope a "post-withdrawal syndrome, which may linger for months or even years."