NBRC utilizes the Heather Ashton Protocol for benzodiazepine cessation in certain circumstances for patients that are appropriate for this method of detoxification. Typically those that have had long term benzodiazepine dependency at relatively stable dosing may benefit from this protocol. NBRC has the ability to individualize detoxification treatment plans specific to each patient’s needs. The benzodiazepine class of drugs are particularly difficult to stop taking. Our highly refined protocols, including the Heather Ashton Protocol, give us great flexibility in treatment options.

Who is Heather Ashton?

Heather Ashton ProtocolChrystal Heather Ashton DM, FRCP is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psycho-pharmacology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Professor Ashton is a graduate of the University of Oxford and obtained a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Physiology in 1951. She qualified in Medicine (BM, BCh, MA) in 1954 and gained a postgraduate Doctor of Medicine (DM) in 1956. She qualified as MRCP (Member of the Royal College of Physicians, London) in 1958 and was elected FRCP (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London) in 1975. She also became National Health Service Consultant in Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1975 and National Health Service Consultant in Psychiatry in 1994. She has worked at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as researcher (Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor) and clinician since 1965, first in the Department of Pharmacology and latterly in the Department of Psychiatry. Her research has centered, and continues, on the effects of psychotropic drugs including benzodiazepines on the brain and behavior in man. Her main clinical work was in running a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic for 12 years from 1982-1994. She has published approximately 250 papers in professional journals, books and chapters in books on psychotropic drugs of which over 50 concern benzodiazepines. She has given evidence to various Government committees on tobacco smoking, cannabis and benzodiazepines and has given invited lectures on benzodiazepines in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries.

What is the Heather Ashton Protocol?

The Heather Ashton Protocol allows for a slower decline from the particular benzodiazepine being taken. This protocol is what makes a safe detox more easily accomplished in the NBRC outpatient treatment program. Typically patients experience significant relief in just a few days from commencement of treatment. We aggressively treat any withdrawal symptoms every step of the way that may appear. Most importantly, many patients having completed the detox cycle with the Ashton Method have little or no symptoms at all and can walk free from this dependency.