A post by Peter Breggin:
Often when I think about how much I love my wife, Ginger, I wish I could sing to her. But I cannot sing. Instead, I imagine Whitney Houston singing to Ginger in her incredible soaring voice. Whitney became the voice expressing how much I love my wife. That is how much Whitney came to mean to so many of us who knew her only through her music. She became the music about love we carry in our hearts.
Whitney’s passing has raised the specter that she was taking the benzodiazepine Xanax (alprazolam) at the time she died.
If it turns out that Whitney was under the influence of Xanax (alprazolam), then there’s a good chance she would be alive today if that drug had never been put on the market.
Although Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, and in my experience the most dangerous, the same harmful effects can be caused by all benzodiazepines, including Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Serax, Halcion, Dalmane, and Halcion. When I address Xanax, I’m also talking about all of these drugs.
Reports that Xanax and other benzos are not usually lethal when taken alone are vastly misleading. Xanax is rarely taken alone. Why? Because as much or more than any other prescribed drug, Xanax causes medication spellbinding. It corrupts judgment, memory and self-control, so that individuals have no idea how badly they are being impaired. Eventually it erodes all mental faculties, often without the person fully grasping this loss of function. The impairment of judgment and self-control causes people to overdose on drugs or alcohol without intending to, leading to coma, cardiovascular collapse and death. The Xanax-induced memory impairment causes them to forget how many pills or how much alcohol they have already taken, again increasing the lethal risk.
Xanax has been called “alcohol in a pill” because its effects are so similar to alcohol. However, as will be documented, Xanax can be far more dangerous than alcohol. It should not be prescribed to patients with alcohol problems, because it becomes a powerful impetus for alcohol abuse.
At critical moments in their lives when individuals are suffering from serious emotional problems, their ability to deal with them is further compromised as a result of Xanax-induced medication spellbinding and cognitive deficits. In acute distress, they often have no idea what is happening to them. They have no idea how impaired they have become, they forget what they’ve already taken, or increase the dose, or increase or add other medications or alcohol.