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Diazepam (Valium) may just be me but I'm starting a thread

(26 Posts)
ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Sun 30-Jun-13 18:07:22

Having been on diazepam for only just over a month due to panic disorder I am feeling myself needing, wanting and relying in them. I am also hoarding them which i realise is prob not a healthy thing to do. Plus there are the side effects of feeling out if it and very forgetful, eg leaving keys in ignition, forgetting where I left things, forgetting conversations! And this is only on 6-8 mg a day!

I also rather like the drunk-ish feeling and could see myself getting hooked simply for that. I am also needing to take increasing doses for the same effects. I take them mostly at night or I can't sleep, and I also often wake up around 4am in a panic and take one then, and during the day if I feel in danger of a panic attack.

Anyway, time to try and stop taking them, I realise my dose and time of taking them is nothing compared to some people, but thought if I did a thread on it, I may motivate myself somewhat. Last night I didn't take one when I woke at 4am, bit of a general disaster actually because instead I just lay in bed panicking for several hours!

SnowyMouse Sun 30-Jun-13 18:46:08

Talk to your GP or psychiatrist, there are other things that they can give you for longterm, diazepam is only supposed to be taken for a few weeks.

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Sun 30-Jun-13 19:55:12

Thanks Snowy, I am seeing my GP weekly and they just keep dishing out the diazepam, and part of me is very happy to keep taking it, although every time I do point out it has been a while, and they seem to think it is the 'lesser of two evils' (that or panic attacks).

I have also been (re)put on fluoxetine and am waiting for that to kick in, which I think it is finally starting to. My dose has been upped to 40mg a day by my GP but for some reason (not sure of my own logic) I am still only taking 20mg a day for now.
I tried beta blockers but they made me feel cold and totally exhausted, didn't like it at all.

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Mon 01-Jul-13 13:44:51

Last night took only 2 mg and managed to fall asleep on that, took another 2mg at around 4am ish and it wasn't enough, still had my anxious couple of hours sad Idk what to do for the best, and just want over it all and diazepam free.

Going for a 4 night holiday at the end of the month, was really looking forward to it but am only dreading it now :-/

Unfortunatelyanxious Mon 01-Jul-13 19:51:25

I took diazepam every day for 3 months, 5mg tablets. I now take it as and when which is about 50% of the time. I actually hate the drunk feeling and daren't drive when I have had my meds. I have broken them in half as well.

Are they going to refer you for any treatment? I had health anxiety a few years ago, I'm still sensitive to it but was so bad I was having huge panic attacks. I had CBT and am sometimes still very anxious but no full on panic attacks.

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Mon 01-Jul-13 21:10:26

Yeah, I have been referred to the depression and anxiety service and have an initial appointment finally on Monday. I think I have health anxiety too.

I also daren't drive when I have taken any so lie around feeling all Prozac-Nation-ish but actually being just a useless person.

That is good to know CBT helped you, I have only had MBCT before which was okay I suppose but only to a point.

Unfortunatelyanxious Mon 01-Jul-13 21:22:44

Well I am about to embark on some sort of counselling when they make their mind up as to what's best.

I had a series of horrendous life occurrences over last few years. However as these have ground me down I have had mega misery arise from abusive childhood that I have not spoken about till recently.

Good luck with the CBT.

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Tue 02-Jul-13 06:53:59

Thanks, I can appreciate how you feel, I have had a series of things recently that have both ground me down and scared me, and not an abusive childhood but an abusive ex. In fact I just woke up crying about some stuff he did cos he got into my dreams.

So much for decreasing diazepam - I had 8mg last night, still woke up anxious and traumatised to add to it. sad

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Tue 02-Jul-13 11:35:02

no advice but have also started a thread about panic and just wanted to sympathise.

NanaNina Tue 02-Jul-13 13:18:34

Seems like you already know the dangers of too much diazepam Thisknife but just to say that this drug (valium) is a major tranquiliser and they create addiction (in the sense of needing/wanting more and more) I am amazed the GP is still doling them out to you. I was prescribed diazepam following a major episode of depression (only 2mg) and I take them rarely when I feel the need, but at that dose I don't really feel any benefit.

Some years ago there was an enormous amount of publicity about GPs who were doling out these major tranqs and when patients were complaining that they still felt anxious/panicky, the GPs simply doubled the dose. People lived in a "zombie" like state for many years sometimes. Yes they might have stopped the anxiety but they took away all other emotions too. Once this scandal broke people were saying things like "GPs have stolen 10 years of my life" and there were psychologists brought in by the NHS to help people get off these drugs.

I was surprised when a psychiatrist prescribed them for me to be honest, and even more surprised that your GP is doling them out to you. Sounds like he/she is very unenlightened about the dangers of this drug.
Glad the fluoxetine is starting to kick in as these ADs are meant to cope with depression and anxiety. Please try to wean yourself off the diazepam, and talk to your GP about this - tell him/her that you've heard these drugs are addictive because believe me they are.

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Tue 02-Jul-13 13:44:04

Thank you nina, your post, and last night reminds me why I do need to get off these. I was also surprised how readily they handed them out.

Also this morning I had some time in the local shop where I literally didn't know what I was doing when I paid and I ended up looking like a total idiot, also as is classic in one of these situations, one of the other parents from school was behind me on the queue!

I was seeing a GP who is now on maternity leave, and the one I saw last week seemed quite 'drug happy' like he wanted to just prescribe a load of stuff to me! Going to make an appointment this week with the other female GP at the practice as she seems more like I could talk to her better.

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Tue 02-Jul-13 14:21:54

"one of the other parents from school was behind me on the queue!"

of course...... they always manage to pop up.

I think there are still people round town who avoid me because of what I was like post-natally. Though conversely there are others who still show warmth because they know I have some insight.....

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Tue 02-Jul-13 17:56:17

I know right! The town I live in is really small and gossipy and I get paranoid people are talking about me, but considering this town - they probably are!

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Wed 03-Jul-13 07:43:26

Last night wasn't so bad!!!

I have been far too excited about the ability to easily break a pill neatly in half, that little line is just perfect!

So anyway, with my new found easily broken in half pill I was able to take 5mg before I went to bed, leaving me with a 1mg half should I wake up mildly panicky, or could go for 3mg if more panicky. However (hurray, tiny achievement but...) I just slept all night so 5mg is all I had! Hoping to be able to get through the day without any in which case that will definitely be progress and I do feel okay this morning, mildly anxious but I'm going to go for a run after I drop the DCs at school (both healthy enough to go in!).

Perhaps the way forward is to try and deal with it is a sleeping pill issue and gradually reduce the dose at night. Early morning waking with panic is an issue but the thing is, if I am awake I can try other things (eg lifetoo's ice cube tip, also going to try the elastic band thing, plus hoping to get some help from my depression and anxiety apt I finally have on Monday).

But generally - feeling more positive today!!!

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Wed 03-Jul-13 14:06:35

"However (hurray, tiny achievement but...) I just slept all night"

not tiny at all, it's a great achievement - well done you.

It was the post natal mental health nurse who suggested the elastic band. It should be fairly uncomfortable (in your stressed state you'll feel this less than if you were relaxed). She suggest that as the "unwanted negative thought" comes into your head you snap the elastic band and say "no". Ping it so it definitely hurts. A bit like a tens machine distracting your brain from early labour pains I think........

Knife, do you find you can do the whole yoga/mindfulness/breathing exercise thing? Or do you just start to play mental games with yourself? I can only deal at the "animal brain" level (Bach remedies, exercising, ice cubes, elastic bands) but I've been told I ought to take yoga whilst I'm feeling good and relaxed on the basis that then when the stressy periods came I'd have the tools/skills there for me.....

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Wed 03-Jul-13 20:48:56

Thanks smile And today has mostly been okay, had a bit of a moment when work called me, as in when the phone rang (she texted first so I knew and had time to start to panic), but the conversation part was okay, at least I think it was, it was about occupational health and left me a bit confused (but that is not hard to do atm!). I also had a few moments of rising panic but they subsided of their own accord in that wave like way and I didn't need to do anything.

I am a bit neither here nor there on mindfulness/yoga and breathing. I have had for a very long time shortness of breath when I am anxious and a focus on breathing has never been helpful, but the mindfulness 'body scan' was kind of helpful, as in it helps to make you aware of how your body is feeling and responding, but I did MBCT originally for depressed and eating disorder. At the moment I am very worried about feelings in my body and focus on them and maybe make them into something more than they are in my head, so for that reason I haven't been doing it! All I have been doing from MBCT is noticing the feeling and trying to kind of feel 'around the edges' of it, if that makes any sense at all whatsoever, and try and figure out what is going on without focusing on sensations (which I get caught up in being caused by cancer etc).

Think I am going to try for 5 mg last thing again with diazepam, and if it goes okay then 4mg tomorrow... we shall see smile

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Thu 04-Jul-13 13:58:21

how did you sleep?

I'm poorly now, (summer cold with hot tight forehead) which is a relief in a way (was it the incipient illness that triggered the panicky period?) but not in another way (is this affecting my immune system so much it makes me ill?)

had a "moment" too today when got a very aggressive email from someone I'm in dispute with (he won't pay his bills - aggressive ex-copper - always the worst) but didn't get to the wave stage (I have to shrug/move my legs at that stage).

I think if I went for any further help I'd need to warn them that a focus on breathing/body awareness just doesn't work for me. For me, it's all about shifting the focus away from me (including away from a weird sense of needing to jump in and rescue, which is how the attacks started, and seems to stem from something in childhood).

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Thu 04-Jul-13 20:12:19

Not as good last night, I did my early waking panicky thing but avoided taking more diazepam. Going to stick with 5mg again for tonight although of course due to the nature of drug that will have to go down soon or will become 'not enough'. Going to talk to my GP tomorrow about a reasonable time scale to decrease and stop and such like.

Sorry you are poorly Life, but maybe you are right and that was what triggered the panic.

Been so much more panicky today than yesterday, walked to the shop feeling panicky and when I got to the till realised I had forgotten my purse (f'ing diazepam brain). Didn't cope too well with that but managed without diazepam, thanks Life for your tips I managed to get by with a combination of elastic band snapping, ice, and then rescue remedy on my wrists (don't know why I didn't think of that before!), so thank you, these things stopped me taking diazepam then which is exactly what I needed (to not take it and find other ways). I was a tad concerned though as I used the Neal's Yard own version of rescue remedy (emergency essence) and it REALLY smelt of strong alcohol, and it was just before school pick up!

Oh and that parent who was behind me in the shop the other day when I had a weird moment, well I saw her again today and managed to probably confirm to her I am mad. She asked me a question and my delayed response was dreadful, and then generally along the lines of someone who doesn't know what they are talking about! I felt like it was a drunk person's kind of response which made me angry about diazepam and taking it at all.

Occupational Health contacted me today and sent me a copy of the referral letter which contained the die-of-embarrassment line 'Knife's line manager and I are concerned about her current mental state, based on recent contact with Knife' blush etc, etc, and how work may not help me recover. In the mood I was yesterday I would have thought what rubbish, but then today after not managing to go to the shop and associated stuff, I am more thinking perhaps they have a point. And I am really worried about sick pay, and my other 'role' and it is all really complicated (and I can't go into detail without risking outing myself).

My eating disorder has also been getting to me today, I had a moment where I realised that the ED voice has definitely eclipsed the logical voice and that I am having what I will in the future (please let there be a normal future) remember as 'another relapse' :-/

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Fri 05-Jul-13 06:32:12

Fucking rubbish been awake for hours, the ex got into my dreams, and I woke up, fell back to sleep briefly but dreamed of suicidal fires, feeling totally panicky again. Great sad

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Fri 05-Jul-13 13:12:43

Bugger.

It will get better, we just can't know how long it will take. Well done for getting through yesterday without the drug. I don't know much about Valium but I have got addicted to my hay fever remedies in the past (pressure in head being linked to panic for me) and have a sense of how the medicine becomes part of the story as it were. That's why I'm looking for other methods that don't require a certain state of mind.

I hadn't realised what a big ego I had till I got anxiety/panic attacks. My instinct is to tell people indignantly just how rubbish I feel (as if it were a broken finger or macho sports injury), rather than to be embarrassed. So I alienate some because they are thinking "well if it was me I would keep quiet about that" or "god how weird". And yet.... and yet...... people have come to me saying I'm the first person who's made them feel it's ok to have anxiety/panic and that you can still consider yourself a pretty cool person despite having this problem ...... So, Knife, if I still think I am pretty cool (and I also regularly forget my purse even when 100% ok) you must allow me to think you are cool too. If you told people (I know you don't want to) 25% at least would have some insight and 15% would respond with a supportive "yes it's shit isn't it?" And let's face it, that 15% would be amonst the most fun at parties...

I saw an ad for a yoga club in town yesterday. Might try it.......

I'm edgy but not panicky today despite ears being all blocked up.

Knife, is fluoxetine an anti-depressant? I wasn't sure whether you were taking it as prescribed if so - did I misread or are you underdosing?

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Fri 05-Jul-13 20:38:59

Thanks, I suppose I should be prepared for ups and downs!

Fluoxetine is an anti-depressant (aka prozac) which I was on at 40mg previously and it took me such a long time to come off it that I was underdosing when prescribed at that level again to start with this time, but have started taking at 40mg again now.

Was supposed to see GP today and wanted to discuss lots of things but just before we went (and going to be vague 'cos now lots of people irl know about the details of this part and I'm so paranoid about being recognised!), one of my DCs had an accident and took my appointment! Therefore all I managed to do in my appointment for me was get a prescription for more diazepam! She did say she is happy to prescribe it as I am saying I want to cut it out so she trusts me not to abuse it! Going to go for 4mg tonight and to hell with the consequences is my current thoughts, as I want to stop asap now.

Felt really weak this morning so endeavoured to eat a bit more today. have been on 400-700 calories a day, managed 1200 today and feel soooooooo stuffed and want to go running now! Injured DC is now in bed though so can't!

lifetooshorttospendpanicky Fri 05-Jul-13 22:39:40

good luck tonight then.

SlumberingDormouse Sat 06-Jul-13 00:41:05

This was a wonder drug for me. I still have 10 pills left but haven't touched them for a year. I suspect that addictions mainly occur when the drug is taken long-term against received medical wisdom. My doctor told me to take it occasionally only. Good luck!

oreocookiez Sat 06-Jul-13 01:05:22

Have you thought about coming off the fluoxetine and DZ and staring on Olanzipine or Quetiapine instead?

When you reach a theraputic level on antidepressants dont stop taking them! It is really common to do that but then the depression returns and you will relapse. The thing you need to remember is that everytime you have a relapse caused by decreasing your meds you will need a higher dose of your antidepressants to get back to your theraputic dosage.

If you cant sleep go to the chemist and buy some Phenergan/promethazine. 25mg of that will knock you out and you will sleep well, it is not habit forming and has very few side effects, it is actually antihistamine with a sedative side effect.

reduce the DZ to a PRN of 2mg a day, you dont need it..... if you are anxious and depressed suggest to GP either of the meds I have mentioned. Will decrease anxiety levels, shut your thoughts up and calm you down. It will decrease your urge to self harm x

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Sat 06-Jul-13 10:14:10

Thanks all, actually slept just fine was so tired from the night before plus daytime dc injury drama! Had 4 mg.

I am happy to stay on fluoxetine as have used it at various times for almost 15 years now due to ed and depression. I have never had panic attacks before though and so they initially offered citalopram instead but I decided against it as 1 - reading threads here suggested citalopram withdrawal is worse than fluoxetine. I am aware I need to take it for some time and eventually taper as I have done before, I have managed this with the fluoxetine before with a few issues but not as bad as those described on the citalopram withdrawals. And 2 - fluoxetine has been my literal life saver so many times, I know it works well for me. In fact it is starting to kick in to some extent now and I'm sure my general improvements can be very much attributed to it.

On phone so can't see names of posters but very much encouraged by the poster who said they have some but have not needed them. I think if I had another bad panic attack I would be glad to have them to hand but I am feeling more confident today that I can stop taking them daily.

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