The eminent psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has been suffering from a severe addiction to benzodiazepine tranquilizers and the life-threatening cancer that his wife is currently battling, almost died recently in an induced coma, according to his daughter Mikhaila, who stated that the last year for her father has been an “absolute hell.”
Mikhaila Peterson also revealed her father, whose book “Twelve Rules For Life” became a gigantic bestseller, is being treated at a clinic in Russia; she claimed that he had repeatedly been misdiagnosed at hospitals in the United States and Canada.
In a script for a video released by The National Post, Mikhaila Peterson wrote:
The last year has been absolute hell for the Petersons. Dad was put on a low dose of a benzodiazepine a few years ago for anxiety following an extremely severe autoimmune reaction to food. He took the medication as prescribed. We weren’t aware that he was developing a physical dependence on the drug until last April when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the dose of the medication increased. It became apparent that he was experiencing a paradoxical reaction to the medication, meaning the benzos did the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. These reactions are rare but are not unheard of.
The worst symptom for dad was akathisia. Akathisia is an absolutely god-awful condition where the person feels an incredible, irresistible restlessness, and an inability to sit still. It was so severe he was suicidal. For the last six months he’s been in horrible, unbearable discomfort from this drug, made worse when trying to remove it because of the physical dependence. We took him to several hospitals in North America where he experienced multiple cases of misdiagnosis, and the addition of more medications to cover the response he was experiencing from the benzodiazepines. He nearly died several times.
The National Post reported that in Moscow last month, Peterson was diagnosed with pneumonia; doctors induced a coma for eight days. Mikhaila Peterson said her father’s withdrawal was “horrific,” adding that her father has suffered neurological damage and cannot type or walk without help, but is “on the mend.” She said, “He’s smiling again for the first time in months.”
Mikhaila Peterson added, “This was not a case of psychological addiction. Benzodiazepine physical dependence due to the brain changes that can occur in a matter of weeks can destroy lives. It can be made even worse by paradoxical reactions that are difficult to diagnose. The medication almost killed my dad. He’s a psychologist and even he wasn’t aware of how bad these medications are for some people. Physical dependence can occur in a matter of a few weeks of daily use to biologically susceptible individuals. Dad will recover fully but it will take time and he still has a ways to go.”
Peterson was reported to have taken the medication clonazepam, which is a benzodiazepine that binds to GABA receptors in the brain, making the neurons less active and excitable. Psychologist Jonathan N. Stea wrote in Psychology Today:
If benzodiazepines are used repeatedly and temporarily to avoid or cope with uncomfortable emotions, thoughts, and memories, their use could lead to the development or worsening of psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety. They are not first-line treatments for anxiety disorders, and clinical guidelines recommend that their use be restricted to the short term, due to the high potential for both dependency and addiction, as well as other side effects, including severe withdrawal symptoms, sedation, cognitive impairment, and the potential for death.