Sorry you had to have that nasty experience. My husband ran out of his Prilosec not long ago, and he had a heck of a time with it. He finally started using my Protonix until he received his meds in the mail. He didn't think his reflux was all that bad, and had been considering going off meds. That experience demonstrated that he was getting reflux after all.
I do think it's a difficult situation to figure out. It might look like a conspiracy among pharmaceuticals, who hit upon a drug that creates its own dependance...they can keep people hooked on them, since it's so difficult to get through the withdrawl/rebound stage.
That said, I noticed a huge difference between my PH test prep (off PPIs for 7 days) post-Nissen and pre-Nissen. Pre-Nissen it was a HORRIBLE experience, with a lot of pain and terrible discomfort. Post-Nissen, I had no problem being off the meds.
So...we obviously are prescribed the drug because we're having problems with the acid migrating into the esophagus. This happens on its own, but the PPIs suppress the acid so we don't notice it. If LES was working correctly, the increased acid would be contained in the stomach not create the problem, as the stomach is better able to handle the acid.
That's why the whole "we don't need PPIs--we're just made dependent upon them" thing doesn't ring true to me. We were put on them for a reason. Yes, they're hard to get off, but if we had a fully functioning LES then they wouldn't be (as shown by my post-Nissen PH test experience).
And that's my 2 cents worth on the subject...
Hope you're feeling better today!