Treatment for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

by Charles Gant, N.M.D., Ph.D.

The appearance of this article does not indicate an endorsement by Safe Harbor. We seek to provide information for both the lay and professional community and include articles with well-researched approaches and/or treatments that the writer feels have shown clinically to be of help.

(This protocol should not be used in place of a recommended treatment provided by your health care provider and should only be used with their approval. I have found this protocol to be useful for many of my patients but I cannot guarantee that it will be effective for everyone. Normally, I would recommend a full integrative medicine workup including amino acid plasma levels, RBC minerals, essential fatty acids and other diagnostic testing to determine precisely which of the interventions noted here are actually needed.)

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs often used as tranquilizers. Full information on “benzo” problems is available at

Here is my current and ever-changing protocol for benzodiazepine withdrawal.

1) GABA 500 to 2000 mg., two or three times a day (GABA, like tyrosine, may not cross the BBB unless the patient is very stressed and it appears that the studies that suggest that GABA does not cross were done on unstressed subjects.)

2) Theanine 200 to 600 mg., two or three time a day (Theanine competes with glutamate receptors to mitigate the neuroexcitatory effects. In another elegant balancing mechanism, the brain balances glutamate (excitatory) which is made into the generally inhibitory GABA (requires B6) The theanine in green tea may be one reason that the also present caffeine does not seem to stimulate tea drinkers as much.)

3) P5P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) 50 mg. – One capsule two or three times a day (Some people don’t phosphorylate B6 well).

4) Glutamine powder – One level teaspoonful twice a day to three heaping teaspoonfuls a day, dissolved in water, one hour before meals, last dose at bedtime (Especially important for hypoglycemic patients, as glutamine deficiency is by far the main immediate cause of hypoglycemia and glutamine is the precursor for glutamate).

5) Magnesium taurate – 1000 mg. twice a day to 2000 mg. three time a day

6) Salt food lightly with NuSalt/NoSalt (potassium chloride)

7) 5HTP – 100 mg. twice a day to 200 mg. three times a day

8) Purified soy lecithin – 1000 mg. three times a day (B5 (pantethine (not pantothenic acid) needed to acetylate the choline to acetylcholine, generally relaxing and downregulating of catecholamines)

9) Pantethine 500 mg. – One twice a day

10) Optizinc – 20-30 mg. twice a day. (Lowers the commonly high copper, which inhibits 5HTP decarboxylase. Activates digestive enzymes to help with amino acid absorption.)

11) Lipoic acid – 300 mg. twice a day (oral chelation for neuroexcitatory heavy metals, especially mercury)

12) Mutivitamin/multimineral

13) Distilled fish oil (omega 3) 4000 mg a day and Borage oil (omega 6) 1000 mg. a day (Essential fatty acids ultimately increase the neuroplasticity of cell membranes, possibly assisting receptor activity).

14) Add herbal “sedatives” if necessary