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Thread: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

  1. #1
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    Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    My doctor seems to revel in telling me about the evils of Diazepam, its apparently an evil drug, highly misused, abused, and she hates giving me any because Im pretty sure she thinks I am either addicted already, or highly dependant on it. Im only prescribed 10mg split dose daily, and today havent taken any to prove to myself that Im not dependant. I have had moments where I have felt ive needed to take it, but they passed and I survived. I havent had the shakes, increased anxiety, nothing.

    So, I have a swallowing disorder, everytime I swallow I worry I will choke due to me choking last year. This leads me to drinking very little and not eating a lot, apart from toast, which feels safer than anything else.

    Psychiatrist prescribed Quetiapine, 50mg at night, which is an antispychotic. All it does for me is knock me out about an hour after taking it, makes me sleep minimum 10hrs at night, but can be 11 or 12. I am extremely fatigued during my waking moments, I have no desire to do anything, and probably couldnt even if I tried. I also sleep for 2-3 hours late afternoon most days, because I basically cannot stay awake. They are not helping with my swallowing anxiety either and are giving me quite disturbing dreams every night.

    There is also a very long list of nasty side effects, quite bad ones compared to other leaflets I have read and this really puts me off taking them because they seem to be quite a severe type of medication. They are a major tranquilizer, and as I said the side effects would concern most people because if you get them, they are bad.

    Now to the Diazepam. I know its addictive, and that you can get used to the dose, meaning you need more and more, but in the 10 months I have taken it I have gone from 6mg a day for 7ish months, to 10mg in the past few months, and admit this dose isnt really enough now, but for 10 months they all worked well.

    I experimented a few days ago. I took 20mg of Diazepam at 7pm and ordered myself an indian takeaway. It came just over an hour later, and I ate all of it, it took a while because I was cautious but I did it. I had chicken vindaloo, rice, bombay potato and poppadoms. I had to cut the chicken into small pieces as I struggle with meat, but apart from that I was able to calmly and slowly eat it, without feeling im about to die, which is usual when I eat. I also had no increased anxiety as I ate, which I normally do, and I had no panic either whilst eating. It wasnt the easiest thing to do, 20mg of Diazepam wasnt a miracle cure, but it sure made one hell of a difference. I actually ate a full and normal meal, no toast involved, and it felt great. I also didnt have the panic after eating which I usually get, I often have to breath into a paper bag, or my pillow to slow my breathing as eating usually causes me to hyperventilate.

    So, in my position, at my next Psych appt (whenever that may be, 2 cancelled in this past week) what would you say to the Psych about the affects Quetiapine have on me compared to the effects of Diazepam?

    To summarize, Quetiapine makes me feel at best the same, and at worse a hell of a lot worse. Diazepam makes me feel better, almost normal, and more able to eat, and more confident to eat different foods. As I said I live on toast with the odd poached egg and have done for a long time because I am too afraid to eat anything else just incase the choking happens again.

    I feel that if I was just given a high dose of Diazepam daily, and nothing else, maybe 20mg morning and 10mg late afternoon/early evening, this would make a world of difference, I would begin to slowly start eating more normally, without panic, and over time I would begin to get more confident as the days go by, so maybe after 2 months, I would be so used to eating normally that I would actually be better and the problem could be over. Or I can continue with the Quetiapine, and have no life, sleep all the time, and have as much of a problem in months to come as I do now.

    What would you do/say if you were in my position? Im guessing the psych will want to give a higher dose of Quetiapine, but Im not willing to go down that route, 50mg is more than enough, and I do not wish to take more and spend the rest of my life in bed.

  2. #2

    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    Different doctors, different prescriptions. I do not self abuse Diazepan. I usually see a doctor who gives me a prescription every month for 5mg/ 10mg's a day. That prescription usually lasts two or three months as I use them very sparingly as I know if you use them daily they cease to lose their effect and you can become dependent. I see them as a safety blanket; just knowing I have some eases my anxiety. That stated last week I couldn't see a my regular doctor and she basically told me she wanted me off diazepan full stop, refused to renew my prescription, but did allow a prescription of 2mgs reduced from 5mgs. I could have argued. No other doctor in the surgery had thought I was abusing diazepan but she had the bit between her teeth about it. I mentioned that in Scotland, where I worked for a while, it is impossible to get a Diazepan prescription and she said that was the right way forward. This new doctor clearly has no understanding/ appreciation with anxiety and is just dead against drugs like Diazepan and Tremazepan. She thinks all of us will ' abuse' them. She's wrong. I would advise switching doctors to someone who is more appreciative of anxiety disorders, can look at your medical record and see that you don't ' abuse' the use of diazepan, and use it as an emergency ' as and when you need it,' which isn't every day, or at least its not in my case. They may have the best intent in heart but some doctors aren't infallible and some of them don't understand anxiety etc. I would strongly advise going to see another GP and don't seem desperate in explaining your situation. Failing that go and see a psychiatrist on the NHS. They are so much better than your local GP in understanding anxiety.

  3. #3
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    Hi
    I cant speak about Quetiapine but have experience on some benzo medications namely ativan in the 80s , Valium , Librium and now diazepam . Its a difficult one this because i agree with both you and your GP.In my case they are excellent for very occasional use ( my GP will only prescribe 28 x 2mg every 6 weeks , she knows i WAS addicted to them years ago when the GP at that time happily gave me 56 x 10mg every 3 or 4 weeks ) I couldnt go to work without my blue Valium tablets , i was on a crazy vicious cycle of alcohol for anxiety then valium for the next day crippling hangover ANXIETY X 100 i didnt know in those days that it was anxiety even , they called it NERVES .
    They are so addictive and creep up very quickly and the problem with me is that if i overdo them ( i can save some up over the months when i,m well, sneaky me still gets them on repeat ) i get rebound anxiety for days as my body withdraws . Read David Lindens story ( the linden method) where he talks about diazepam , he wanted to sue the doctors who prescribed it .

    yes diazepam is fine for occasional use ( in my personal situation )but can be evil indeed if abused which in no way am i suggesting in your case .

    i tried various ssri medications but like you i was falling asleep at the wrong times and felt weird all day .

    good luck
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  4. #4
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    The problem is, the psychiatrist and doctor reckon quetiapine is this great miracle drug that will sort everything out, and it isnt. It has not made any difference apart from making me sleep an awful lot, it does nothing for my swallowing anxiety. I have just finished my cup of tea (only just got up) and it was cold by the time I finished it, and having taken the Quet last night it should now be at its strongest in my system, and helping me, which it plainly isnt.

    Im going to go another day without Diazepam and see how I get on, the panic only comes when I try to swallow, mainly food, so will try to eat, but I know what will happen already because ive been there for the past 10 months feeling the same way as soon as I eat.

    What I do know is, Diazepam helps, it takes the anxiety away in a stronger dose, and makes me feel normal and more like me. The Quetiapine makes me feel nothing, makes me want to do nothing, doesnt take the anxiety away, and is turning me into a bit of a brain dead zombie with no personality. I cant see how they deem this drug to be helpful?!

  5. #5
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    I have a swallowing disorder, everytime I swallow I worry I will choke due to me choking last year.
    what would you say to the Psych about the affects Quetiapine have on me compared to the effects of Diazepam?
    What would you do/say if you were in my position?

    The short quick and probably unhelpful answer is I'd want neither purely because neither will cure you of your phobia.

    For instance, if someone has a fear of spiders, I can't see how any med would help them to not be afraid of them.

    I used to take diazepam for about 3 years but I must admit I'm not familiar with Quetiapine. Diazepam is very addictive and I know of people who will never be able to come off them because they've been taking the drug for so long. It took me 6 months to get off them myself. When I first started taking them, they did help to sedate me without making me drowsy but the benefits would quickly wear off and so the dose would be increased until I was taking a high dose which had no effect on my anxiety whatsoever. In fact, I'd say that they ended up causing me panic attacks although I'm not sure how or why other than to say that if you look at the side-effects listed for it seems literally all these ad's, they all seem to say "may cause anxiety/panic" which seems bizarre to me when they'r supposed to be prescribed to ease what they're prescribed for.

    I'm afraid to say that when it comes to ad's I think someone with anxiety could easily become addicted to any type even if the ad's are not addictive in themselves and the reason is what causes anxiety - "Fear". Once people start taking ad's, whether or not they are actually heping, they "could" make people "afraid" to stop taking them because just the thought of coping without what they feel is a security blanket makes them anxious so to actually stop them would increase their anxiety. Also, when they do stop taking them, they will often say their anxiety has come back when in fact it never went away. All that went way were the meds that have now triggered more anxiety from fearing coping without them. I'm not saying it always happens but it's one of the risks of becoming addicted to non-addictive meds.

    Having said that, some meds to help to ease anxiety symptoms because of their nature. Ad's (anti-depressants) were designed to combat a low mood hence "anti-" and in doing so they can help someone to feel happier which then helps them to overcome their fear because they feel stronger and better about themselves.

    However, the old sedatives such as diazepam worked in a different way because they had alot more sedative qualities. Ideally diazepam should be taken as "one offs" in which case they're very effective to calm someone after a trauma. The trouble though with anxiety and phobias is that in a sense the trauma is ongoing in which case people feel they need something every day and that's when these old ad's become addictive because the actual anxiety withdrawal symptoms become so intense as I found when I tried to stop them. You can only come off them very gradually or your anxiety will shoot through the roof.

    So, after saying all that, what anxiety sufferers really need is therapy but because of the lack of resources and lack of therapists, doctors feel under pressure to offer something more immediate to try and help their patients so they have to resort to ad's as there are no other alternatives because of long waiting lists which also can force pressure on sufferers to feel they have to pay expensive private therapists that they can't afford.

    Therefore, the answer to your question would be to say to your psych you urgently need a therapist to help you overcome your fear because that's the only natural and safe way that you can be properly and permanently cured just as someone who is afraid of spiders could also be helped to overcome their fear.

    One extra little note is about work-related stress. Only when I became ill due to overload did I the find out that most of the other members of staff were already taking ad's but none had told anyone else because of the stigma and their fear of appearing that they couldn't cope and therefore either not progress or even lose their jobs. Ad's under those circumstances can make a person feel happier doing a job they can't cope with due to too much pressure on them. However, what they really need in an ideal world, is less pressure and less of a workload and then they wouldn't become ill or need ad's and therefore less meds would then be prescribed and there would then be more money to employ the therapists that are badly needed that would also be much more effective.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    Hi Billanother wonderful post very interesting
    Love Petra x

  7. #7
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    That is a great post Bill.

    Therapy is apparently on its way, but when I do not know.

    I havent taken diazepam again today, and I feel fine, ive eaten a little bit, wasnt easy but I did it, will do the same tomorrow and keep going, Im sure I will use the Diazepam again probably pretty soon depending on how I feel, but for the meantime I wont.

    It seems to be my stress levels, if Im say 1% more stressed than normal, then Im screwed and cant eat at all, or drink. Yet if Im calm its a lot easier. The slightest bit of stress makes me feel like im choking, even tho at the time I may have nothing in my mouth, thats the biggest issue I need to sort out I think.

    If I ever get to see my psychiatrist I will ask if they can hurry things along with the CBT, in the hope that they will see that this will probably do more for me than meds, hopefully.

  8. #8
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    It seems to be my stress levels, if Im say 1% more stressed than normal, then Im screwed and cant eat at all, or drink. Yet if Im calm its a lot easier. The slightest bit of stress makes me feel like im choking, even tho at the time I may have nothing in my mouth, thats the biggest issue I need to sort out I think.

    Dazza,
    I'm only guessing because I'm no nurse etc but if I'm right, I think I might be able to explain this. When we get stressed we tense up which means all our muscles tense up too which will include the throat and neck muscles. Also, when we get anxious we get a dry mouth and hold our stomach in. All these things will make us feel we can't swallow and cause us to fear we could choke if we force it. I think when we hold our stomach muscles so tight, it's probably also why we lose our appetite.

    I think I remember seeing something on TV that showed a person who had a similar problem. It was something like the thought of eating caused them to become anxious which then meant they felt sick every time they tried to eat. This person was shown relxation techniques which taught them how to keep relaxed and once they had broken through that initial barrier, the fear eased and eating became easy because they had proved to themselves it was safe.

    Therefore, if the above is the case, then your cure would be in learning how to keep as relaxed as possible when you feel stressed so that you too can break that barrier. Often it is that first barrier and everything starts fitting into place because the fear is broken.

    I'm sure the therapist will show you those techniques. They normally involve deep breathing and also learning to focus on specific muscles to show how to keep them relaxed. Often we tense muscles up without even realising it. For instance, the next time you feel stressed, see if you're holding your stomach muscles in without realising it. If you feel you are, let them out by letting them go loose and let your body flop, and see if it makes any difference. You can learn these techniques for yourself. For instance, look up meditation methods because I'm sure it's the same sort of principle.

    In the meantime, try not to take diazepam every day and just use them as one offs on the particular days you feel you need them because you will find them more effective that way as your body won't get accustomed (hooked) to them.

    Good luck with everything and if you think I can help, you're always welcome to ask me.



    Petra...you're as sweet as ever!
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  9. #9
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    Bill, my speech therapist has said almost the same thing as you, and you are right, I do tense up, then panic, especially if there is anything in my mouth. I just need to learn to relax, she said she will help me with this, but she cant until the Quetiapine has calmed down and relaxed into my system. So she will start relaxation with me next time I see her in 6 weeks, also I guess the CBT will help with it when that starts.

    No Diazepam today, 3rd day in a row, its just me proving to myself im not dependant or addicted, and I will try to only use it when I have to. I am off to visit some friends in mid Wales Wednesday, not seen them for almost 2 years, they are asking me what I want to eat when there, so explained whats happening, and will see what I can do when there, Im taking my Diazepam with me just incase as I cant see me eating in someone elses house, but Im going to try, and might take a half of a tablet before I go just to help. I had a big fall out with them 2 years ago, and not seen them since, so that will stress me out a little, but we have chatted via email for the past month so it should be ok

  10. #10
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    Re: Diazepam Vs Quetiapine

    I'm on Quetiapine 100mgs slow release a day and I find it really helpful for my anxiety.

    I wouldn't scare yourself with all the awful side effects on that leaflet either hun, I've never had any one of them in all the time I've been on it, and I think that most of those side effects would effect people on much higher doses.

    Quetiapine, when it's used for depression/anxiety is only ever in relatively small doses. People who suffer from bi-poler are on the really high doses, but you will only be on a tiny dose compared to them, as I understand it, Quetiapine only becomes an anti psychotic at the higher doses, under those doses, it's used as a safe medication to work hand in hand with antidepressants

    When my psychiatrist first put me on them, I was on 50mgs normal release at night and it really did help me sleep, but it can make you feel a bit "out of it" at first, though that gets better with time. I'm now on the slow release ones that are just slowly released into your system during a 24 hour period of time and I've never found these ones to be too "heavy" for me, in fact, I don't actually notice that I'm on them

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