Diazepam reduction 1mg per day ?

Posted , 11 users are following.

I have very recently found out i have a problem with Diazepam .

I dont drink or smoke or take any other drugs or medication and iam quite fit and healthly , at the gym approx 3 time per week and eat very very healthly . But i do severe from the most severe insomnia.

8 days ago after attempting to stop taking diazepam abrubtly through health reason i ended up in A and E in a very bad state, immediately after assessment i was put back on 30mg - although i really wanted none , but did what i was advised . within an hour from release from hospital i was at my GP,s whom devised a tapering plan to come off them completely. ie 28mg for 7 days then 26mg 7 days   etc , my query is can this not be done safely slightly quicker ( i am hating this ) day one i had 26mg instead of 28mg , day two  25mg , and day three 24mg .. so far and i am feeling no  adverse effects, so to sum up my plan is to try to reduce 1mg per day for the first week instead of 2mg per week , i have read all there various reduction tables most are similar but a few same do say on larger doses this reduction maybe okay .

Does anyone have experience in this method, please advise ?    

2 likes, 24 replies

24 Replies

  • Posted

    ....just to add  ( me - fred21728  ) i have taken diazepam for a number of years now  but never usec it more than 4 or 5 days a week  and 30  or 35mg was the maximum i ever used but hat was rare maybe 2 or 3 times a month  
    • Posted

      ....hi everyone - and thanks for the posts 

      I am currently taking 18mg per day for the last three days and have no withdrawal symtoms at all , initially  from ( 30 from last  tues ) down from 28/26 mg per day only 8 days ago , in fact i feel more tired and lethargic than normal .

  • Posted


    yes its very easy to get addicted without even realize its happening. Thats what happened to me. I have been on a tapering programme for the past year, put on it initially by the drug addiction service locally, when I just when in there and asked for help, then they handed it over to my GP to manage. I was on 20 -sometimes 30mg a day, then put on 20mg by the Dr's and tapered by yes - about 2mg every month. That is typical.  Sometimes I did take less than that - quite often in fact. Not so sure that is a good idea now, as I am left over with quite a few surplus tablets from past prescriptions as I tapered faster, and now am on a very low amount - about 1mg a day - supposed to be - but I do sometimes take more, so it averages out at about 2mg a day.

    I had some extra stresses to cope with recently, so found it hard to stick strictly to the programme.  The last bit is quite often the most difficult. I have discussed this with GP and she suggested giving me propranolol - for high blood pressure, and has a general relaxing effect, next time I see her if I'm still struggling. Maybe you could be on a lower dose of diazepam and also take something like that, which is not addictive.


    • Posted

      Hi ursulauc 

      thanks for reply , i am so determined to rid these from myself , in the last few weeks and months the side effects have destroyed my relationship with my wife .

      I attempted Nil tablets for 5 days but was on the edge of a seizure , the hospital said i did the right thing going there .

      I will never go up on these ever again only down -  even if iam awake for days - like i was when fairly recently at hospital -   not a minute for 5 days but a seizure or worse was imminent .

      Iam so low at the moment , i often often think i would be best dead .

      Talking to others on here in or been in similar situation hopefully will help me

      thank you 

    • Posted

      You are doing the right thing - Well Done.

      I know that diazepam is a very insidious drug. Even when on very small doses, coming off them 'cold turkey' is really nasty. I have done it a few times myself, and been totally desperate with the withdrawal symptoms. The only way it can be done is being supervised by a doctor - and someone who is willing to be sympathetic as to how hard it is.

      If youre GP has you started on a tapering programme thats really good - some GP's dont want to know about this problem, even when its something which was generated by GP's prescribing the stuff in the first place!  

      Some support from a local drug addiction can be very helpful - depending on how you feel about it. Attending group support sessions can help you stick to the programme, - I did this for a while. Even though most of the people there are not addicted to diazepam but other drugs and alcohol - alot of the issues surrounding the addiction and the difficulty stopping using the substance are similar.

      Dont think you are ever alone in this.  I am getting withdrawal symptoms - including some adrenaline rush, agitation and tinnitus - right now! But I am allowed to take a small dose of diazepam later, and I'll do it just before I go to bed, for the best effect, so I can actually sleep. I cant do it now - even though I dont feel at all good - must wait till the appropriate time.

      Alot of patience is required with this.

      You are doing really well and dont need to be hard on yourself. You will get over this and so will I!

  • Posted

    Hi Fred,

    I too have insomnia, since I was a teenager so I completely understand. In my early 20's I self medicated with alcohol which built up over time to a nightly bottle of wine, more at weekends. To cut a very long (30 years) story short I became a functioning drunk eventually ceasing to function. I did stop drinking but replaced it with a nightly sleeping pill, zopiclone 7.5mg. This went on for 15 years until zopiclone were reclassified as a class c drug and GP'S ceased to prescribe freely, they were found to be highly addictive. During the 15 years my use increased to 4 or 5 per day, I resorted to buying online. As soon as I stopped (many times) the rebound insomnia was horrific, so I always started again. So currently Im tapering slowly as recommended by many on this forum. I'm in my 4th week of 3.75mg nightly and then I will take 1.87mg per night for 4 weeks followed by 1.87mg on alternative nights for 4 weeks. For me, it's learning a new skill, how to sleep, 45 years of medication in one for me or another is very hard but I must do this. Most nights I wake 2 or 3 times.occasionally I get a full nights sleep which is fabulous and shows me it can be achieved. I understand your wish to speed things along but my experience of stopping quickly led me right back to the pills. I couldn't stay stopped. I hope and believe that a slow steady taper will lead me to freedom. That's my experience. It has taken me years to get to this point, please God you are smarter than me. Good luck?

    • Posted

      Hi sheila65947

      Thank you for your imput .

      Right now i hate myself and my life - re what this has done to me , and i still carnt believe it , i only wanted to sleep , similar to you i have have to 20 to 30 yrs plus of inmsonia which got worse and worse .

      Its horrific and horrible , iam sure you know .

      Good luck to  you  and  thanks

    • Posted

      Fred, I hate to say it but ursula is doing a more appropriate taper and you should be doing the same.  What you need to understand is that your nervous system adapted to the presence of D by making oppositional compensations.  When the drug is reduced too quickly or cold turkey, these compensations cause rebound symptoms which appear to be like the condition you took the drug for to begin with. So, rebound insomnia when it was taken to help you sleep.

      By tapering on a schedule you propose, you run the risk of suffering from withdrawal symptoms which can incude anxiety and even suicidal ideation, to name just a couple - there are many more.  

      A very slow taper must be done to allow the nervous system to make the adjustments back in reverse without setting off rebound symptoms.  The idea is to make the cuts small enough as to not feel those symptoms to any degree.  It sounds like those who have replied here have cut at a level that has caused symptoms, anxiety, and then they take a little bit more.  The problem with that is, it confuses the nervous system - should I be adapted to less, or more?  Dosing must be consistent, and every effort to handle resulting anxiety in non-drug ways.  If the symptoms are that severe that one is desperate to take something to help it, then the taper is being done too fast and/or cuts are too big.

      Your taper plan is too aggressive.  You have sensitized your nervous system with your cold turkey and so it will likely be necessary to undertake a very slow taper. One must never do the next cut when experiencing symptoms; that is a sign that the nervous system is already reeling, and adding another cut on top of that is asking for disaster.

      I'm sorry you are finding yourself in this position.  No one ever seems to be warned that this could be the outcome of using something to help you sleep.

      I know you feel very helpless right now, and the main thing is for to  be safe, not harm yourself. You will get through this and be able to go on living your life, it's just going to take some time and effort.  So please, if you are feeling at risk, please seek family, friends, a support hotline, even the local emergency, because this feeling will pass - this is temporary.

      Please don't be so hard on yourself.  You need to be gentle with yourself. You are not to blame for this happening; you didn't know the risks and did not sign on for this.  Try to take deep breaths and calm yourself; the negative ruminating will only keep you in stress, and that will keep the suffering going. 

      I'm going to send you a link for something I think can help.


    • Posted

      Dear Fred,

      please stop beating yourself up. It's not you, it's the effects of D

      Fabulous advice from Betty and Ursula.

      I do completely understand about the self hatred and feeling 'what's the point?' But you are no longer alone, you are not the first and certainly will not be the last. Keep posting, we are here for you and we are people who have walked the walk.

      my husband goes to bed every night and within 10 min is fast asleep, I am so envious. You see that's my insomnia problem, it used to takes ages to go to sleep. Sometimes 4/5/6 am . Though I'm happy to tell you that since adapting this slow taper things are much improved. Occasionally, perhaps once per week this still occurs but I accept it and can live with it. Please, consider our shared experience - we are all suggesting a slow gradual taper has a much better chance of success but of course that's your decision. With very best wishes,S

      ps make sure you have someone to talk to through the low moods. Do you have depression? Some antidepressants have a sedating effect which may help. Keep posting!

    • Posted


      Thank you betsy , one of main concerns/issues is  , i have taken D throughhout the week  no more than 4 or 5 days each week  taking an average of 20 mg  on these days ocassionaly 25 mg , only 2 or 3 times a month would i have taken more 30-35 a day - which would have been in one of those 4 or 5 days aweek  not an extra day .

      So i am confused as to why i should start on 28 per day x 7 = 196 per week , when my average weekly was  very very rarely higher than 100 - 125 per week , to me this is going up only to come back to where i was .

      thanks fred  

    • Posted

      Hi Fred,

      my pattern of use was very similar to yours - so not evry day, sometimes less than 20mg a day, sometimes a bit more.

      If you explain your calculations of how much you believe your'e average daily amount to the Dr they might modify your'e prescription. For some reason, being started on about 20mg a day if you have used diazepam quite alot for some years seems to be typical.

    • Posted

      Hi ursulauc

      Thank you , i will do that re the Dr , apparently ive an appointment now every 14 days .

      Iam 50 years old and ive broke down 3 times this week which i havent done before for  over quarter of a century  ... what have i done   

    • Posted

      Look, please try not to be so upset about this. I know its a real pain to realize your'e addicted to some tablet which you thought just helped you sleep - to put it mildly!

      In the 1960's and 70's addiction to barbiburates was quite common, another very powerful drug which was prescribed alot then. My aunt committed suicide due to being addicted to them, as also I found out much later did my husbands aunt!  

      This whole business of really addictive prescription drugs is a scandal, but I'm not sure even alot of the doctors who prescribed them at the time realized just how bad they were. With some of them - like barbiburates - to kill yourself with an overdose was quite easy - diazepam are not nearly so dangerous in this respect - you can take a huge amount, and just go to sleep for a while, and be OK.  I have done it myself when attempting to overdose - about 200mg at once, but I was OK the next day. I have suffered quite bit with depression over the years as well, and am now on SSRI anti-depressants, which I do find currently really helps. 

      Maybe it might be helpful for you to take an antidepressant while going through this process. You could talk to the doctor about that as well. It could help, but as my husband would say - going for a really long walk every day would probably help as much if not more!  He's all for doing things healthily. In fact we are just about to go for a walk and a bit of a hill climb now.  

      Really, you can get through this.

      Take Care.


    • Posted

      My understanding is that you need to not vary the dose throughout the week but take a daily consistent dose, since the variation causes interdose withdrawal.  However, that daily should be based on an average of your weely consumption such that you divide your weekly use by 7.  That is a starting point.  You may need to divide that dose throughout the day if you are still experiencing interdose wd.

      I would join the forum I recommended in PM to get more knowledgeable guidance than what I can offer, since benzos are their own ball of wax and I have not been a user, though I was begging for them when I was in protracted wd from Effexor a year ago!  I'm glad my doc didn't cave since I didn't know any thing about dependence and wd at that time!

    • Posted

      I do not agree with taking more drugs to deal with withdrawal and neither do the peer support groups.  Antidepressants are equally addictive, just not in an obvious way of producing craving.  They cause the same kind of neuro-transmitter down-regulating/up-regulation which means modifications of your nerves, and these changes are what exaggerate the difficulty of coming off of any of them.  It is not just about getting the drug out of your system but the fact that your system has been modified to operate with the drug as part of the equation, and the same is true for ADs.

      Benzos have had the light shown on them the way barbituates did, but ADs are beginning to have the light sown on them as well.

      Look for youtube videos for the terms anatomy of an epidemic and you will learn about the problems being discovered for all the psych meds.

      If symptoms of anxiety and insomnia are extreme and seemingly need medicating, then you are destabilized and are coming off too fast.  

    • Posted

      I have stopped taking fluoxetine suddenly after being on it for a few years, and it has never caused me any withdrawal symptoms. I know different people react differently.  The horror of withdrawal from a benzo is not comparable to some of the SSRI's at all. Its a whole different ballgame. I know that Seroxat - one of the SSRI's is considered quite addictive, but Fluoxetine much less so.  

      Fluoxetine has benefitted me not just with its ati-depressant properties but also because I have had quite bad OCD for some years, and it has helped reduce the effect of this - and living with bad OCD is no joke.  I was diagnosed with a severe hormone imbalance over 20 years ago due to a pituitary brain tumor, which did seriously impact my emotional state - the function of the endocrine system is directly linked to hormones which help control our emotions - or otherwise.

      There can often be a physiological justification for someone to be prescribed anti-depressants, but obviously each case must be dealt with by the resonsible doctor individually and appropriately.

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