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Thread: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Just thought I would add my experience of diazepam for anyone who is on it, going to start using it, or is thinking about coming off it.

    Background
    I started taking Diazepam in January this year after anxiety came back into my life in a serious way. I was frightened to take the first tablet! I'm scared of drugs and alcohol so I was scared of how it would make me feel.
    I had held off taking a tablet for a few weeks but one particular panic attack was so unbearable that I wanted something to take the pain away.
    Damn did it work well!! I felt very calm and normal for quite a few hours after that tablet! Wow!
    Throughout January I continued to take a small tablet on a one off basis. I was coming back on SSRI's and they really hit me very hard so the diazepams were a much needed short relief.
    February came and I was told it was safe to take a few times a day. I was fine with that! I started taking between 4-6mg a day. Still what seems like a very low dose to most people, but they sure did work.
    Fast forward to April and I had been on a constant 4mg a day since. This was at least 2mg morning and 2mg evening. I had noticed however that I wasn't really feeling them anymore. I felt nothing. I was aware that the body can build up tolerance very quickly so I figured this had happened. I carried on taking them until the start of May when I decided that it was time to come off Diazepam.
    I'm still not comfortable in anyway from my anxiety. Infact, I'm worse now than I've ever been in my entire life. I've been bed bound for 3 months. Curtains closed and scared to even talk to my dad. I figure that my tolerance of diazepam isn't helping this or my mood. I either up my diazepam so they continue to take away this horror, or I get off them and tackle this head on.
    So weekly I've been trying to cut a small amount. I tried a few times and failed miserably but after some proper research and advice, I'm now cutting 0.5mg every week and a half.
    Professional advice tells me to cut this dose every 2 - 4 weeks, but this would mean being on diazepam for much longer than I want to be, so I'm doing it a bit shorter due to the fact I have only been on a fairly low dose for a fairly short period of time.

    This is not to say I'm not suffering badly.

    Present Day
    Two days ago I made my most recent dosage cut. I'm now on 2mg a day. That's 1mg morning and 1mg evening. My last cut from 1mg morning to 1.5mg evening was HORRIBLE. It didn't hit me until about 3 or 4 days after the cut to give me problems. I'm expecting to feel that pain again either tomorrow or Saturday. Diazepam has a very long half life which is why this happens. It's almost why it's the best diazepam to withdraw from.

    I've read horror stories about withdrawing this drug. Most stories though are from people who have been on the drug for 10years plus and have been on 30mg a day. I've heard very little from people who have been on a similar dose to me for a similar period of time.
    It's very hard to distinguish what symptoms are Diazepam withdrawal related or just my predisposed anxiety, but I believe it's adding alot of unwanted anxiety and depression to the mix.

    My symptoms that seem to occur 4 days after each cut have been:
    -VERY SEVERE Depersonalisation/derealisation. It no longer seems that anything around me is real life. It doesn't feel like reality. Without a doubt the most frightening and annoying symptom.
    - Insomnia. It's taking me hours to try and get to sleep at night.
    - Anhedonia. I have been suffering a severe lack of interest in life since March and it has worsened recently. I'm currently bed bound and have been for 3 months.
    - Muscle twitches.
    - Sweating
    - Vivid dreams (?), I've been experiencing these very strongly since before I took my first diazepam back in very early January, since I've been back on SSRI's but I think these also might be to blame.
    - Increased anxiety. Very jumpy, very scared of everything, nothing gives me comfort and relief.
    - Agoraphobia (due to a mix of all the above symptoms).


    So I have 4 more cuts to make. I need to plan each one carefully as the increased side effects don't tend to kick in until 3 or 4 days after the cuts so if I have CBT, I need to make sure it's not 3 or 4 days after the cut! I've already cancelled one appointment because of this!

    I also have another massive worry on my plate and need to plan my cuts around this! I have a month left on my house in Cardiff (which I had to move away from since this breakdown. Currently living with my dad in Cornwall). I still have 90% of my belongings up in Cardiff which if not collected by July, the new tenants of the house will have them! I need to hire and van with my dad and go up to pack it all up and bring it back down here.
    I've been housebound for 3 months, VERY agoraphobic, extremely anxious and sleepless. I now also no longer have the crutch of popping a diazepam to help me through such a mission so I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to do this.

    I deleted my blog a while back but I will be doing updates from time to time in here, mainly consisting of my experience of withdrawing off diazepam.

    It's very scary and not a nice thing to do!

    Steven x
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  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Good luck Steve, i used to be on 10mg of diazepam a day but have now weaned myself down to 4mg a day, I've done this very slowly starting in September with very little withdrawal, the trick with diazepam is to do it very very slowly and at a pace you feel comfortable with, how are you getting on the escitalopram now? Has it kicked in for you yet? I've noticed you've not been posting on here much so hoping that was a good sign :-) x x
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  3. #3
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Hi Steven . I left a reply on your other thread yesterday. I have been on diazepam for past 7 years and take one when really bad.
    Amounts to about 2 tablets 5mgs weekly. Doctor has no problem with this but cbt therapist says I don`t really need them and to try to get through the panic attacks without them.
    I have never taken them daily ,so get the benefit when I do.
    Therapist used the word " crutch" too. I don`t really like that expression, as it could be applied to all drugs people need to take for physical illnesses. Heart, chest, pain etc. and the meds are not referred to as "crutch".
    I just feel ,as long as it benefits a person it`s ok.
    I do hope you start feeling better soon and the best of luck coming off them.
    F x

  4. #4
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Hi steveo,

    So sorry to hear thing's havnt got any easier for you, and you you are still going through a bad time. Things really don't seem to have gotten any better for you,you seemed more focused,energized and beginning to go down stairs again.

    As for the trip back to Cardiff,I really don't know what to advise. As you say you havnt got the crutch of the diazepam and havnt been out for a while. It's a real hard one.

    take care xx

  5. #5
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Hi Nicola.
    Have you been asked to come off diazepam too.
    F x

  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    834

    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    I am no better than I was. I no longer go downstairs or outside. I literally just stay in bed all day. I know I should try and fight this but it seems fruitless when each diazepam cut puts me through such hell. I just try and do what I feel comfortable doing and if that's sleeping all day then so be it but if it's going downstairs and making myself some food and running a bath then I'll do that.

    I really don't know how effective my Cipralex is doing to be honest. I feel it's being masked by the diazepam. I have read about the increased anxiety and depression that diazepam can cause. The sooner I'm off it daily the better.

    Would love to hear other peoples diazepam experiences.
    __________________
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  7. #7
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Hi Steveo
    I will begin with saying I have been taking Valium for the past 30 years. BUT...only 2-4 mg per panic attack/outing(agoraphobia)

    I have just been to my doc this morning for my repeat prescribed of 28 x 2mg Valium. This usually lasts me 4 to 5 months.
    Every time i go to the docs they give me a lecture about how they have been advised to cut down or stop prescribing valium.
    so I have just recently researched the drug.

    I thought I was being VERY careful, only taking a small dose (2-4mg) every week or fortnight when my aggrophobia was very bad. And I needed to go somewhere.

    But it seems if I take 1x2mg Valium in a one off dose, the drug can stay in my system for nearly 30 days. (I have tested this with a benzo home test kit) and its true.
    So the relaxation effect of the Valium = 4 hours
    The drug in my body = 30 days!!!

    My point is.... Even If I only take a very small dose and only every fortnight
    MY BODY NEVER IS WITHOUT VALIUM IN MY SYSTEM!!!

    So a tolerance to the drug COULD build up.
    Tolerance is diff from addiction.

    However. I recently forced myself to go 37 days without any Valium. Did the home benzo urine test and It was negative. And I did not have any withdrawal symptoms.
    I was anxious eg when travelling etc, and at first my mind tried to tell me it WAS withdrawals, but when I got home I was totally fine, and had to admit it was 'just' anxiety!!

    So I asked my doc today if he would prescribe me a benzo that had a short half life
    (the time it takes to excrete HALF the amount of the drug from your body.)
    one dose of Valium takes up to 100hours half life!!!
    Because I only need a benzo to help me get out and about. Not all day sedation.
    He said the other benzos had a very sedative effect and wouldn't be suitable for doing activities etc. and that Valium was the most suitable for my needs.
    He also said I would not be addicted by the way I use it.

    stevo, I have also researched withdrawing from the drug and the most successful way of doing it is really slowly and if you are experiencing withdrawals on day 4. Then Mabey you are cutting down too much too quickly. In have read stories when it is done VERY slowly, you CAN do it without any Withdrawal symptoms.
    With regard to you collecting your belongings. I would def just ask your father to go on his own to collect your stuff. If your agoraphobia is very bad, this will be practically impossible for you.
    I also don't believe the Valium is masking your antidepressants. Once your in withdrawal from Valium, you don't actually get ANY sedative effect cos your not taking enough to get any affect. That's why your getting the withdrawal symptoms.

    So your anxiety is primarily your state if health at this moment in time
    And/or
    Side effects from your antidepressants
    And/or
    Withdrawal symptoms from Valium
    (In my opinion and I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!

    It is interesting reading your blog about this. Good luck, and keep posting about it xx

  8. #8
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    The long half life of Diazepam strikes again.

    Started to get progressively worse all day today until a massive panic at about 10pm hit. Been constantly anxious since. I'm feeling hot and sweaty and really badly depersonalised. Scared to go to sleep now as I fear what the night will bring. They haven't been great previously so now that the dosage cut has caught up with me, tonight isn't going to be great.

    I went through all this last time and it did ease up after a few days but for some reason that doesn't help me now.

    I guess for me it's worth remembering that the dosage cut doesn't hit me until almost exactly 48hours later. Now to see how severe this one is going to be and how long it lasts.

    I think my main problem with my anxiety is that I fear it will never end. I see the rest of my life as being in this situation. I look at past events such as thing's I've done and places I've been and I think how the hell did I do that?! I also have trouble watching things on TV as I think 'God I would hate to be there right now!!'.

    It's silly irrational thinking.

    I have no doubt in my mind that 80% of why I'm feeling this anxious and depersonalised right now is due to the diazepam withdrawal!

    Absolutely hell right now!!!
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  9. #9
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Yesterday was quite horrible and unpleasant for me. It didn't help with the night before last, having numerous panic attacks.

    My sleep is terribly broken with highly vivid dreams. This morning I woke up to me kicking very hard. In my dream, I was kicking someone very hard in the face as he was coming up the stairs to attack me. The kick in my dream turned out to be a real kick which woke me and startled me. Waking up mid dream is a very confusing and sometimes terrifying thing for me.

    Still lounging around in bed. My appetite is back slightly better but I'm so so tired from what I feel has not been a full sleep. As I was trying to sleep last night, I could hear a domestic next door which then the whole street got involved with and then police. It was rather disturbing.

    My DR/DP is still very bad. If I could eliminate 3 things, it would be the DP/DR (they merge into one), vivid dreams and mental sluggishness. Unfortunately it seems these three things are side effects of coming off diazepam. I won't be making my next dosage cut until Friday, which will hit me hard on the Monday/tuesday so I need to make sure I don't have CBT then. Or depending on how I'm feeling, I might hold the dose a bit longer so I can make the hellish trip from Cornwall to Cardiff with my dad to collect all my stuff. Still have no idea how I'm going to do that. Unfortunately I need to be there to do it as I need to hand over keys and sign papers etc.

    It seemed like only yesterday I was buying an SAD lamp (it was January) and now I've just bought a desk fan as it's so damn hot now! When I left Cardiff after my dad came to pick me up, it was still snowing and dark. Now we are approaching summer time and I'm still more bed bound and agoraphobic than ever before.

    I can't believe I have at least 4 more cuts to make, and they are only going to get harder. Cutting 0.5mg off 20mg is nothing and probably won't cause too many side effects, but cutting 0.5mg off 1mg is a 50% cut!! I don't know that I'm going to do at that stage. My psychiatrist also told me that the last cut (0.5mg to nothing) is the hardest so to possible do alternative days for a while. That's probably going to be the hardest cut and the worst symptoms. Oh joy.

    4 more cuts! I will be Diazepam free by the first few weeks of July!

    Then I have the fun of trying my third anti depressent medication of this year as none seem to be working.
    __________________
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  10. #10
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    Re: My Diazepam withdrawal Diary

    Just wondering?
    Could you not just take a one off dose of say 6 mg of Valium.
    Just to help to get your stuff from Cornwall?
    Then go back to your present withdrawal dose?

    You already have Valium in your body albeit reducing amounts
    I can't think that by taking a one off dose, you would be back to your original daily dose before you started reducing it.

    ---------- Post added at 15:05 ---------- Previous post was at 15:00 ----------

    Also
    I don't know if you followed Ricardo and his move back to the UK
    He did do it with the help of medication, but being aggro phobic, we all really understand how terrorising it is to have to go somewhere.
    Take comfort in that, whilst the journey must have been really bad for Ricardo
    I have also done a few things that I NEVER honestly thought I could achieve, with and without Valium and if you have to do your journey without Valium, then you probably can do it.

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