I'm not a Diazepam addict - I'm ill!

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi, I'm a newcomer to Patient UK and have been very interested to read, as a Diazepam user, the experiences of those who take, or have taken Diazepam.

Alongside a number of other drugs, including Lithium, I was prescibed a daily 20mg dose of Diazepam 8 years ago to combat the effects of a depressive illness - an illness from which I am still suffering.

By my own volition, I have since then slowly reduced this dose, and am currently taking 10mg a day.

Having recently moved, I had to register with the nearby GP surgery, where I was told on my first appointment - to request a referral to the local health centre - that I would have to stop taking Diazepam.

Given that I have an ongoing mental health problem, the symptoms of which involve constant feelings of anxiety, the instruction left me feeling somewhat more stressed than usual - especially as the GP implied that I was nothing more than addicted to the drug.

Anyway, to cut a long story short - I have refused to reduce the dose until I have taken the advice of an appropriately qualified doctor at the nearby health centre, an appointment for which I am still waiting.

I'm aware that, as a long term Diazepam user, that there may be some level of addiction, or that the drug may not be as effective as it once was, but as someone with a diagnosed depressive illness I believe it only sensible to be referred to a psychiatric centre where any drugs I take would be correctly reviewed, and any reductions properly monitored.

I think sometimes, without any disrespect, that some General Practitioners should be encouraged to enrole on a few specialist health courses, as it would help their 'bedside manner' no end.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Annie,

    Just yesterday (after a 5 month wait!) I saw a Psychiatrist at the local health centre.

    He was not only ok about my use of Diazepam, but was familiar with the surgery I'm registered with and said - 'they're buggers there for withholding drugs'. He has now written a letter to tell my GP to leave my medication as it is until further notice - for which I'm very grateful.

    But the surgery caused me such stress (they have even refused to prescribe HRT because I've had breast cancer - though the surgeon who performed the lumpectomy ok'd it because the cancer was not oestrogen based) that I've written them a letter of complaint, emphasising the fact that, as a new patient, I would have preferred to have had any decisions about drug reduction made by the Psychiatrist (not an unfair request I thought) rather than be badgered (as I was) to come off Diazepam because of some surgery policy.

    I'm a great believer in a WHOLEistic approach to health care (I just wish some doctors might be too) and, as I said in my letter of complaint - I'm not just a patient, but a human being too!

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  • Posted

    Whilst I think Diazepam is a wonderful, useful drug - it is greatly misunderstood also.

    If you are taking 10mg a day, and have been taking 10mg a day for more than a month or so - it is ineffective and there is no point in taking it whatsoever.

    Medically, 10mg a day can't do anything for you if your body is used to it - unless you have the 'placebo effect'.

    I'm not suprised your doctors wont prescribe it - it is a waste of time and money - you should have been shifted to a long term anti-anxiety drug like Buspirone or Quetiapine, which don't lose effectiveness.

    It's exactly the same as Morphine/Vicodin/Tramadol, Coccaine, Heroin, Ketamine etc.. the more you take it, you keep having to 'up the dose' to feel it.

    If you don't take it, the side effects you suffer are withdrawal symptoms as opposed to the original symptoms you were prescribed it for.

    Even though you don't sound mentally addicted to it, your body will suddenly crave it if it is not there (physiological addiction).

    Hope this has been of help,


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  • Posted

    [quote:63431e08b7=\"Chris A \"]

    I'm not suprised your doctors wont prescribe it - it is a waste of time and money - you should have been shifted to a long term anti-anxiety drug like Buspirone or Quetiapine, which don't lose effectiveness.


    Just wanted to clarify this point - Buspirone is only licensed for short-term use in anxiety (even though the dependence/abuse potential is low) - short term in this context generally means 2-4 weeks.

    And Quetiapine is not licensed to treat anxiety, but to treat either a) schizophrenia b) manic episodes in bipolar disorder c) major depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. Any prescribing of Quetiapine for anxiety would be what's known as an \"off-license use\" i.e. the prescriber takes responsibility for the treatment rather than the drug company.

    Reference sources : British National Formulary No. 58 (Sept 2009) and Seroquel Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

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  • Posted

    Chris a wrote\"Its exactly like morphine, heroin, ketamine\" :shock: Is it that Bad???? :shock: :shock:

    Hmmm- had another panic on the way home-im sure I just cant breathe-and dont want to take diazepam to go back out now. Also creaked my neck-again! Neck sore and about to start antibiotics. Im a open drug store me!

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  • Posted

    As far as Diazepam is concerned and most benzodiazepines i believe it is wrong for any GP to try and force a patient that is addicted to withdraw, yes it's True after a period of time you take them to keep yourself out of withdrawal, after 31 years on, and been trying now to get off for 5 years with help and also trying various withdrawal programs i find i just can't do it, Yes some people can.

    The problem once confronted with a GP that will say OK we want you off them panic sets in, and sometime the patient will take more, i do not believe they should now be prescribed to patients that have never took them a BIG NO,the old if only i knew then what i know now.

    I find i can live my life happily on 8 mg a day, they do not stop me working

    or have anything else for that matter, but when i try to reduce and believe me i have tried got down to 1 mg 3 times a day then could go no further my job also was at stake, as i found i had to go sick.

    At one time i was on 50mg a day,i talked to a doctor once and he told me

    that although highly addictive, and he would not prescribe to a new patient that had never had them before,you can do your body more harm if you take the max, amount of paracetamol a day as the Toxic effect can in long term be devastating to the liver,

    YES if you can withdraw do so, if you have not tried do so, but i truly believe no one should be pushed into a corner,i never asked to become addicted,like most was told for many years NO they are not addictive.

    Strange the government has directive to try and push people to withdrawal, when you have 2 legal Drugs you can buy 24/7 Alcohol and tobacco, and of course they are addictive but would never be banned as look at the revenue they bring in, Alcohol alone causes more probs than any other Drug, But look at the profit yes i have gone off topic But would alcohol ever hit the shelves today if it where say a new DRUG never.

    Yes f you can withdraw do so if not try, but i do not believe that people should be forced and made to feel guilty about a Drug that they have become involuntarily addicted to.


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  • Posted

    [color=blue:2a77263dc8][/color:2a77263dc8]Hi There. I agree that no DR should push you into a corner because of Beaurocratic Nonsense. Facts are, Diazepam is HIGHLY addictive and is one of the the few drugs you can actually die as a result of the w/drawals. You can`t die from Heroin w/drawals for example. So, that`s the good news...

    However, I`m on Diazies myself and find that cutting down is easier the sooner you do it, although it has such a long half-life that you may experience w/drawals 4-6 weeks even after lowering your dose. If you are a long term user it`s actually possible to give a positive urine up to 9 MONTHS after stopping taking it, so Bear that in mind. I find it goes in odd waves. What has worked for me, cutting down from 50mg per day is to be aware, lengthen time between dosing and just take the Bear minimum to stop the anxiety and potential fits. Listen to your body- Heart Rate, Blood Pressure etc. and don`t push yourself too hard. It`s never an easy ride :roll: .

    Also, a moderate amount of alcohol can help alleviate the w/drawals as they both affect similar NT`s or something, although don`t end up substituting one for the other, of course. I`m now down to 3-5mgs per day and feel that I can actually Think again!!

    If Possible, find someone who is willing to look after you for a rew days while you find out what your limits are in terms of how long and how little you can get by on. There is nothing to fear but fear itself and all that.

    If Anybody has problems with Daft Doctors in the future, please feel free to contact me as I have experience in Advocacy in relation to this and Best Clinical Practice. Unfortunately, `Tis True, many GP`s haven`t learnt a thing since they qualified and disbelieve their Patients(And test our Patience) on a Routine Basis. Best of Luck and Well done for Making a complaint. I`m not petty but sometimes they need `A Good Learning`, as they say in Norfolk.


    Ben_e_Bear (think very large numbersmail)

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  • Posted

    [color=blue:7af42f0b77][/color:7af42f0b77] :? Sorry, forgot to mention, but badger your psych for some Zopiclone as they will help you sleep when you cut down and aren`t nearly as addictive as Benzo`s, insomnia being the one thing that WILL drive you mad whilst trying to reduce. Again, Best of Luck, always get at least three different peoples` opinions and experiences, and try if possible to understand your Biochemistry if possible. Diazepam fogs the mind and Murders the memory I know, but it`s worth the effort. There is anecdotal evidence that GABA(Available at some Health Stores) can alleviate w/drawals to some extent too, and you Should DEFINITELY be prescribed B Vitamins as Benzo`s like Diazepam rinse your system of these after only one or two doses! B Vits are essential for maintaining correct Brain Functioning, hence mood.

    Be Well,

    BBX :wink:

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  • Posted

    I'm glad my original posting inspired so many comments.

    My present situation regarding Diazepam is that I'm still taking 10mgs a day (though some days I take less) and will continue to do so until I'm confident I'm in the hands of the right people to help me with adjustments to my current medications, and since the previous surgery (I've now changed my doctor) removed HRT from my prescription list, increasing my levels of anxiety as a consequence (truth is I feel like crap at the moment!) this has become the priority to me, and so far I've tried out Cymbalta and there's talk about putting me on Effexor.

    I didn't want this entry to be a anti-doctor diatribe (I feel too tired at the moment to waste valuable energy on being angry) The fact is I'm unwell and need their help and expertise.

    What bothers me is the way I (and my illness) have been treated. Not one doctor, as a for instance, bothered to offer me any medical reason for removing HRT from me, a drug which, for all its risks I now understand, was helping stabilise my mood.

    I do feel somewhat let down, not just by the previous surgery, but by the medical profession in the main. I'm fed up with being treated like a child, or an idiot, and I'm very fed up with being asked why I'm taking certain drugs as though I've self-medicated!

    It's obvious doctors, like most of us, have other agendas that somehow take precedence over the health and wellbeing of their patients, and I'm sure money (or rather the lack of it) is the ultimate deciding factor on which drugs are prescribed and which aren't, and who they're prescribed to.

    My recent experience has not just given me a reminder of the stigma attached to having a mental health problem, but also of the fact that if we don't take our own health problems seriously, no one else will - not even some doctors.

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  • Posted

    Hi all-after a garrowing event that I still cant get my head around I overdosed on diazepam ( as it was all I had in the house) I took a packet of 10 mgs tabs and half ) of left over s) packet of 2 mgs...cant really remeber popping them after the first 2.

    I have been given it as a emergency but unwiling to take it now and a new doctor has presribed me quetiapine 50mgs per night . Im scared to take this too because of the side effects and weight gain ( despite being told it shouldnt cause weight gain ) from what Ive read it does-like stones :shock: Still on cit 10mgs also, off work for another week and hoping this will eventually have levelled of by then. has anyone else done anything like this and as quetipine is a fairly new drug what are the long term dangers of taking it? Anyone know?

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  • Posted

    How are you doing now? Did u get started on quetiapine? I realise ur post was some time ago but I've only just read it. Have u been given a definite diagnosis of what your doc is treating you for? X
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