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Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 10:59
1

Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Anyone been on this stuff for whatever reason? Legally, though - as in prescribed fae your doctor. Like Valium, or Lorazepam or anything like that? What were your experiences?

I'm suffering like f'uck on them, got unwittingly addicted and had/have horrendous withdrawal symptoms. Nae yer simple "not had a fag in a few hours" craving but full on, totally incapacitated trembling, dry wretching, nae knowing where I was/am type of withdrawal. To put it into perspective, I found stopping smoking very easy (almost 4 months off the stuff now" but this stuff is the most mental thing I've ever experienced. Honestly never felt anything like it.

Anyone taken this s'hite before, and managed to come off it ok? I'm tapering off but it's a daily nightmare and I'm taking a heap o meds just to combat the side-effects which I've been told can last up to and over a year.

Scary s'hit!



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 11:06
2

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

I’d consider taking heroin so as to wean yourself off them.

EDIT to add: But be careful, its rather moreish.



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 11:14
3

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

MistyBlue wrote on 11:05 on 18 Apr:
The longer you use tranquilizers and sleeping pills the more anxious you become. In the beginning the help you relax and fall asleep. But after a few months they have the opposite effect.

One of the most disturbing symptoms of long-term benzodiazepine use is depersonalization. It means not feeling quite real. It's impossible to describe unless you've experienced it, but tranquilizer patients often say things like "I don't feel quite real," or "my arms don't feel connected to my body," or "when I'm in a group of people I somehow feel outside of myself." All bizarre descriptions that mean the person is experiencing depersonalization.

Depersonalization is usually worse during post-acute withdrawal. I have known patients who thought they were going crazy because they had depersonalization, when in fact they were experiencing typical tranquilizer withdrawal. The depersonalization will go away eventually, but it can take many months. Of course, you should always see a doctor if you have any unusual symptoms – preferably one who is familiar with addictions.

I've had it, and you're right - it's totally impossible to describe accurately. I've had people speaking to me and it's like they are speaking to someone else. I've also been in situations where I don't feel like I'm there.

It's terrifying, no understatement. I'm down to only 5.5mg Diazepam daily which is pretty impressive but it's a struggle. Also on cipralex and a high dose of Valproate for the side effects, all combining to make me a VERY unpredictable person from minute to minute. I've been on benzo's daily for around 4 months or so, starting with Lorazepam 2mg daily then over to Diazepam 10mg daily for the taper which I think already puts me on the long term user category. Wish this was explained to me at the start mind you.

Got a decent doctor though but I've been to A&R countless times these past few months because of the withdrawal.

If any of you have a bit of anxiety PLEASE be careful about going on benzodiazepines, because Doctors prescribe it pretty freely. I'd never had any problems before on them, but I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy. Nae that anyone would listen mind you, but I needed to get this stuff off my mind and here seemed a good place to write. Sorry if it's not appropriate.



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 11:38
4

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Sounds horrific, LM.

Doctors are too quick to prescribe benzodiazepines these days. Used sparingly, diazepam is a wonderful drug with lots of applications but I've read about how nasty addiction to it can be. A mate of mine got badly into them. He came off by boozing and going back on the ching. It worked but swapping one addiction for another isn't exactly the best solution.

Just out of interest - how much were you taking on a daily basis?

50mg? 100mg?



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 11:45
5

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

I dinnae suppose telling you that you are an @rse is going to help is it?

Don't believe the b@stards when they start handing out whatever pills are in fashion at any given time.


Good luck min, a hard battle ahead I reckon, but it will be worth it.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 12:23
6

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Eoinel_Jessi wrote on 11:38 on 18 Apr:
Sounds horrific, LM.

Doctors are too quick to prescribe benzodiazepines these days. Used sparingly, diazepam is a wonderful drug with lots of applications but I've read about how nasty addiction to it can be. A mate of mine got badly into them. He came off by boozing and going back on the ching. It worked but swapping one addiction for another isn't exactly the best solution.

Just out of interest - how much were you taking on a daily basis?

50mg? 100mg?

2-3mg daily of Lorazepam. Roughly 20-30mg daily of Diazepam.

They'd be miracle drugs if they didn't have these side effects. I remember specifically asking how I'd know if I got addicted and he just said "Your body will tell you."

Great. I was prescribed a bottle of 50 when I still had 15 or so kicking around the house before a heart operation. I dinna think I'm an "arse" for taking them, situation was rough and I needed help with that. It's not like I felt like I was abusing them, nor was I.

But cheers for the kind words! Appreciated, genuinely.



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 12:49
7

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

You should maybe have a look into whether you just have an overactive thyroid (see link).

Treatment for that kind of thing is presumably a bit less mental.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 12:54
8

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

PitchMick2013 wrote on 12:49 on 18 Apr:
You should maybe have a look into whether you just have an overactive thyroid (see link).

Treatment for that kind of thing is presumably a bit less mental.

Definitely benzo withdrawal - unfortunately. Had it confirmed by a few doctors now.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 13:03
9

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

It's ridiculous that doctors can't prescribe weed for this type of issue. It'll knock your anxiety and sleep issues into touch, and you won't get withdrawals apart from a few vivid dreams when you stop.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 13:05
10

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Leon_Mike wrote on 12:54 on 18 Apr:
PitchMick2013 wrote on 12:49 on 18 Apr:
You should maybe have a look into whether you just have an overactive thyroid (see link).

Treatment for that kind of thing is presumably a bit less mental.

Definitely benzo withdrawal - unfortunately. Had it confirmed by a few doctors now.

Ah, I was actually speaking about the reason you needed to go onto the benzo in the first place. Anxiety and sleep deprivation are two of the things mentioned.

Just a thought.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 13:08
11

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

PitchMick2013 wrote on 13:05 on 18 Apr:
Leon_Mike wrote on 12:54 on 18 Apr:
PitchMick2013 wrote on 12:49 on 18 Apr:
You should maybe have a look into whether you just have an overactive thyroid (see link).

Treatment for that kind of thing is presumably a bit less mental.

Definitely benzo withdrawal - unfortunately. Had it confirmed by a few doctors now.

Ah, I was actually speaking about the reason you needed to go onto the benzo in the first place. Anxiety and sleep deprivation are two of the things mentioned.

Just a thought.

Ahh cheers min, it is a thought and I'll speak to the doctor about it.

Yesterday I couldn't concentrate on anything and when I got home I couldn't get out of bed again, today I'm bouncing off the walls (it sounds great but in actuality it's a f'ucking nightmare!!) abnd feel like I could run a marathon. Totally restless too.

Can't WAIT to be off them for good! Main thing is to try and stay positive.

Has anyone else on here been prescribed benzodiazepines by their doctor before?



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 17:26
12

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

I have to say it is a bit alarming at the apparent inconsistencies with doctors.

I was at the doc last summer and was prescribed 20 x 2mg tablets of diazepam and told in no uncertain terms to stop within a month. They did the job at the time but I'm glad I stopped

I am surprised that your doc has prescribed a much bigger dose for 4 months without telling you of the dangers.

You will get there eventually and remember, the fitba seasons just aboot finished so that will help yer anxiety levels



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 17:38
13

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Run a marathon then. Go on dare yi. Right now.

Seriously so min, good luck getting aff them sounds a ****e state of affairs.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 19:34
14

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

PENSIVE wrote on 17:26 on 18 Apr:
I have to say it is a bit alarming at the apparent inconsistencies with doctors.

I was at the doc last summer and was prescribed 20 x 2mg tablets of diazepam and told in no uncertain terms to stop within a month. They did the job at the time but I'm glad I stopped

I am surprised that your doc has prescribed a much bigger dose for 4 months without telling you of the dangers.

You will get there eventually and remember, the fitba seasons just aboot finished so that will help yer anxiety levels

You're a different patient. You treat case by case, not a blanket dose and duration for all patients. You are right though, it's indicated for tx of 2-4 weeks in severe anxiety due to the risk of dependancy, and 2mg is the standard dose. It has several other indications on top of that. You may continue taking the drug after the 2-4 weeks if you have withdrawal symptoms, the dose is reduced roughly 1/8th every fortnight according to the info I have here.

The important thing, LM, is that you should get over it. Just a matter of time and sticking to your treatment regime.

The problem as I see it with prescribing is that doctors are under pressure from patients to prescribe a drug. If you go to a doctor with any problem, anxiety being an example, people tend to feel bumped off if they are given a chat and a leaflet and referred to a counsellor. This is then reflected in people's opinions and the doctor gets a bad reputation. It therefore makes life easier to offer those things and also inform the patient of the risks of diazepam in order for them to make an informed choice and prescribe it. After all, that's what the patient tends to be after if they've come to a doctor.

Another example would be if someone turns up with a cold, they are told to go home and let it run its course, they will feel like the doctor is not taking them seriously. It's easier to prescribe paracetamol than lose the patient's confidence.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 20:38
15

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

EdRedMed wrote on 19:34 on 18 Apr:
PENSIVE wrote on 17:26 on 18 Apr:
I have to say it is a bit alarming at the apparent inconsistencies with doctors.

I was at the doc last summer and was prescribed 20 x 2mg tablets of diazepam and told in no uncertain terms to stop within a month. They did the job at the time but I'm glad I stopped

I am surprised that your doc has prescribed a much bigger dose for 4 months without telling you of the dangers.

You will get there eventually and remember, the fitba seasons just aboot finished so that will help yer anxiety levels

You're a different patient. You treat case by case, not a blanket dose and duration for all patients. You are right though, it's indicated for tx of 2-4 weeks in severe anxiety due to the risk of dependancy, and 2mg is the standard dose. It has several other indications on top of that. You may continue taking the drug after the 2-4 weeks if you have withdrawal symptoms, the dose is reduced roughly 1/8th every fortnight according to the info I have here.

The important thing, LM, is that you should get over it. Just a matter of time and sticking to your treatment regime.

The problem as I see it with prescribing is that doctors are under pressure from patients to prescribe a drug. If you go to a doctor with any problem, anxiety being an example, people tend to feel bumped off if they are given a chat and a leaflet and referred to a counsellor. This is then reflected in people's opinions and the doctor gets a bad reputation. It therefore makes life easier to offer those things and also inform the patient of the risks of diazepam in order for them to make an informed choice and prescribe it. After all, that's what the patient tends to be after if they've come to a doctor.

Another example would be if someone turns up with a cold, they are told to go home and let it run its course, they will feel like the doctor is not taking them seriously. It's easier to prescribe paracetamol than lose the patient's confidence.

Diazepam for six weeks max, dosage depends on circumstances. Reduction should be one eightth of the daily dose per fortnight as a maximum. Stop if you feel uncomfortable and resume when comfortable.

Can't post more from iPad. Will post more soon.

Keep with it, min, it's a b*gger but nae impossible.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 21:05
16

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

mainlystanding wrote on 20:38 on 18 Apr:
EdRedMed wrote on 19:34 on 18 Apr:
PENSIVE wrote on 17:26 on 18 Apr:
I have to say it is a bit alarming at the apparent inconsistencies with doctors.

I was at the doc last summer and was prescribed 20 x 2mg tablets of diazepam and told in no uncertain terms to stop within a month. They did the job at the time but I'm glad I stopped

I am surprised that your doc has prescribed a much bigger dose for 4 months without telling you of the dangers.

You will get there eventually and remember, the fitba seasons just aboot finished so that will help yer anxiety levels

You're a different patient. You treat case by case, not a blanket dose and duration for all patients. You are right though, it's indicated for tx of 2-4 weeks in severe anxiety due to the risk of dependancy, and 2mg is the standard dose. It has several other indications on top of that. You may continue taking the drug after the 2-4 weeks if you have withdrawal symptoms, the dose is reduced roughly 1/8th every fortnight according to the info I have here.

The important thing, LM, is that you should get over it. Just a matter of time and sticking to your treatment regime.

The problem as I see it with prescribing is that doctors are under pressure from patients to prescribe a drug. If you go to a doctor with any problem, anxiety being an example, people tend to feel bumped off if they are given a chat and a leaflet and referred to a counsellor. This is then reflected in people's opinions and the doctor gets a bad reputation. It therefore makes life easier to offer those things and also inform the patient of the risks of diazepam in order for them to make an informed choice and prescribe it. After all, that's what the patient tends to be after if they've come to a doctor.

Another example would be if someone turns up with a cold, they are told to go home and let it run its course, they will feel like the doctor is not taking them seriously. It's easier to prescribe paracetamol than lose the patient's confidence.

Diazepam for six weeks max, dosage depends on circumstances. Reduction should be one eightth of the daily dose per fortnight as a maximum. Stop if you feel uncomfortable and resume when comfortable.

Can't post more from iPad. Will post more soon.

Keep with it, min, it's a b*gger but nae impossible.

Effect: Diazepam is used to relieve anxiety and occasionally as a hypnotic (the related drug temazepam is more commonly used). Because of the problems with dependence the CSM advises that: (a) benzodiazepines are indicated for the short-term relief (two to four weeks only) of anxiety that is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to unacceptable distress, occurring alone or in association with insomnia or short-term psychosomatic, organic or psychotic illness. (B ) The use of benzodiazepines to treat short-term ‘mild’ anxiety is inappropriate and unsuitable. (c) Benzodiazepines should be used to treat insomnia only when it is severe, disabling, or subjecting the individual to extreme distress. Diazepam is used primarily for anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, muscle relaxation and as an anti-epileptic. OTHER DRUGS USED FOR ANXIETY. Lorazepam is a shorter-acting benzodiazepine. Buspirone is thought to act at specific serotonin (5HT1A) receptors and is sometimes used to alleviate withdrawal from benzodiazepines. Beta-blockers (e.g. propranolol) do not affect psychological symptoms, such as worry, tension, and fear, but they do reduce autonomic symptoms, such as palpitations and tremor; they do not reduce non-autonomic symptoms, such as muscle tension.

Adverse Actions: Typical benzodiazepine side effects are drowsiness and lightheadedness the next day; confusion and ataxia (especially in the elderly); amnesia; dependence; paradoxical increase in aggression; muscle weakness; occasionally: headache, vertigo, hypotension, salivation changes, gastro-intestinal disturbances, visual disturbances, dysarthria, tremor, changes in libido, incontinence, urinary retention; blood disorders and jaundice reported; skin reactions; on intravenous injection, pain, thrombophlebitis, and rarely apnoea;

Dose: For anxiety 2mg tds by mouth. Can also be given IM, IV and by rectum.

Interactions: Interacts with other CNS depressants including alcohol. See BNF.

Comments: Most anxiolytics (‘sedatives’) will induce sleep when given at night and most hypnotics will sedate when given during the day. Prescribing of these drugs is widespread but dependence (both physical and psychological) and tolerance occurs. This may lead to difficulty in withdrawing the drug after the patient has been taking it regularly for more than a few weeks. Hypnotics and anxiolytics should therefore be reserved for short courses to alleviate acute conditions after causal factors have been established. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used anxiolytics and hypnotics; they act at benzodiazepine receptors which are associated with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. Older drugs such as meprobamate and barbiturates are not recommended—they have more side-effects and interactions than benzodiazepines and are much more dangerous in overdosage. A paradoxical increase in hostility and aggression may be reported by patients taking benzodiazepines. The effects range from talkativeness and excitement, to aggressive and antisocial acts. Adjustment of the dose (up or down) usually attenuates the impulses. Increased anxiety and perceptual disorders are other paradoxical effects. Increased hostility and aggression after barbiturates and alcohol usually indicates intoxication. Hypnotics and anxiolytics may impair judgement and increase reaction time, and so affect ability to drive or operate machinery; they increase the effects of alcohol. Moreover the hangover effects of a night dose may impair driving on the following day. Withdrawal of a benzodiazepine should be gradual because abrupt withdrawal may produce confusion, toxic psychosis...



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 21:07
17

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

...convulsions, or a condition resembling delirium tremens. Abrupt withdrawal of a barbiturate is even more likely to have serious effects. The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome may develop at any time up to 3 weeks after stopping a long-acting benzodiazepine, but may occur within a few hours in the case of a short-acting one. It is characterised by insomnia, anxiety, loss of appetite and of body-weight, tremor, perspiration, tinnitus, and perceptual disturbances. These symptoms may be similar to the original complaint and encourage further prescribing; some symptoms may continue for weeks or months after stopping benzodiazepines. A benzodiazepine can be withdrawn in steps of about one-eighth (range one-tenth to one-quarter) of the daily dose every fortnight. OTHER BENZODIAZEPINES. Lorazepam is shorter acting and used for anxiety or agitation. Temazepam is used as a hypnotic (10mg nocte). Nitrazepam is also a hypnotic but has a longer duration of action with greater likelihood of carryover effects. Chlordiazepoxide (proprietary name Librium)is a benzodiazepine used for treating anxiety and may also be used for treating alcoholism or other drug abuse.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 21:08
18

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Went out with a lass who went through diazepam withdrawl,she had all these syptoms LM has described horrible to see.

I was a lot younger and even more stupid than i am now and wasnt much help im afraid...:blue:

I mind i used to take a couple odd times when i was extremely hungover,as someone said its a wonder drug taken as a one off,chill you out and all anxiety washed away almost immediately.

Anyway the lass mentioned ended up just fine,im sure you will too Leon,all the best min.



Edited Tuesday 21st Jul 2015 11:33
Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 21:12
19

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Cheers for the help and kind words lads, appreciated!

I've my weekly appointment tomorrow, looking forward to having a chat. He laid it out pretty firmly - said it would be the most difficult thing I'd face, and that heroin addicts have it easier apparently...!!

Will keep at it and hopefully be off it for good in the coming months. It's the side effects that are the killer.



Posted Thursday 18th Apr 2013 21:40
20

re: Benzodiazepine Addiction/Withdrawal - Any experience?

Don't have any experience of this LM , but like others said all the best with it.



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