My doctor prescribed 5mg Valium to take twice a day for anxiety. I want to stop taking them but I'm worried about withdrawal?
How long were you on that dose? It will depend on it, remember benzos are very addictive.
Your doctor prescribed you that for a reason! Just take it while you need it it will help. Just keep doing the prescription and you should be fine. We all need help sometimes!
For a quick direct answer, yes, you will go through some sort of withdrawal, but it all depends on multiple variables, it could be no withdrawal, it could be doing it properly with minimal withdrawal, *So please read on:
If your doctor or psychiatrist prescribes you 10 mg.'s of
Valium (Diazepam), it looks like you said in (2.) 5 mg. doses, that's bid. (Twice daily) That's quite a low dose for a starting out point, usually they prescribe 5 mg. tid. (Three daily, 15mg.'s)
*Unless there's some reason that you do not want to be on it, like it's not been therapeutically effective, or if you're concerned about dependency and addiction.
I would reconsider that...
*Valium (diazepam) along with Librium, are the 2 best Benzodiazepines to be on for anxiety. Many doctors & psychiatrists, foolishly prescribe addictive Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin & Xanax (clonazepam/alprazolam) for Anxiety, and despite those are very addictive Benzodiazepines, they also become untherapeutically effective after a certain period of time, because you build a tolerance to them. Even though this is stated in The DSM-V. & The PDR, Klonopin (clonazepam) should only be prescribed for about 3 to 4 months. Xanax (alprazolam) should only be prescribed for about 4 weeks, or PRN- as needed, over a long period of time. Same for Ativan, another favorite benzodiazepine doctors like to prescribe, it's pretty much like Klonopin, and if you're taking these medications Chronically for Anxiety, meaning: You're taking them every month, and plan to over a long period of time, as part of a Treatment Plan for Anxiety- you will eventually build up a tolerance to these medications, and then they will start to titrate you up, and up, in doses until you're at the highest Federal Maximum Daily Dose, and then at that- it even becomes untherapeutically ineffective at a certain time. However, Valium and Librium, they're not as common as the other ones, but they compound in your system. In pharmacokinetics, in "Layman's Terms" - it basically means: They don't start working right away, it takes about 3 to 7 days for them to start working at a therapeutic level. Then as you continuously take them, they're half life is 200 hours, and they compound and build up in your system, which means: You don't really build up, or you cannot build up a tolerance to them, ERGO: They DO NOT become therapeutically ineffective at a certain time. Also as stated before, they do not come with the same harsh Addiction & dependency issues that you get with Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. They actually use Valium in the "Ashton Manual," a book designed to taper a person off of all other more potent benzodiazepines. Same with Librium, it's mainly used in hospital, institutional-like settings, for detoxification of Alcoholism or benzodiazepine dependency or Addiction. *However they are also both FDA approved to treat Anxiety as well.
I'm a Research Doctor, (Pharm.D/Ph.D/M.S.) in Pharmacology Research, I have personally done many Clinical Trials, Specializing in the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Narcotic-Based Medicine. All benzodiazepines are addictive to some extent, and once you start taking them- based on a variety of issues, you then become dependent on them. The Addiction point crosses over when you start to abuse the medication.
*You Just Have To Ask Yourself The Question: ["Does your Anxiety condition diminish the quality of your life- to the point where taking a benzodiazepine (Valium) would make it better for you to function in society?"]
If you've tried all other NSRI's & SSRI's, as well as other Psychiatric Medicine- that is Not Narcotic-based- If the answer is yes, you've tried all other Psychiatric Medicines- none of them have worked, and your Anxiety Disorder is affecting the quality of your life still- *Then the safest & most effective benzodiazepine you could be on IS: Valium (Diazepam) or Librium.
As for the initial question: Will you get withdrawal if you come off of Valium? --That depends on how long you have been on it, and how well you taper off of it. But in general, yes, of course you will go through some kind of withdrawal, as is with most Narcotic-based substances & medicines, once you start taking them, after 7 to 8 days that go by of you taking them, at the prescribed dose, you most likely will go through withdrawal, *but that withdrawal ALL depends individually on your own personal body, because everyone's different in how they react to substances, and as stated before: It also depends on how long you are/were on the substance, how many days, and the dose is or was? *Most importantly: DO NOT abruptly stop taking the medication, with that particular narcotic, a benzodiazepine, depending on other medical conditions, and how long you have been on it, if you abruptly stop taking it- you risk Seizures, usually Petit Mal Seizures & Tremors, as well as the start of a HORRIBLE withdrawal.
*Please Note That Caution!
So if you want to come off of Valium, *and do it CORRECTLY, with minimal withdrawal symptoms, I would advise that IF your Anxiety condition, isn't worth taking it for, (and only you can answer that) ask the Doctor or Psychiatrist who's prescribing it for you, to do an ["Ashton Manual" Taper] off of your current dose. As stated before, they usually use Valium for that, but because you're already on Valium, they would probably; if they knew what they were doing, apply the same ideology, but with Librium.
I strongly advise you to rethink your situation, ask yourself that question, and: (Google:) look into The "Ashton Manual." Also, (Google:) look into The "DSM-V." (Diagnostical Statistical Manual for Mental Illness, Edition #5.) --And what is states about Valium (Diazepam) & how it's used for Anxiety Disorders. It's the "Psychiatrists Bible," and what they use to clinically diagnose you & treat you with. I would also (Google:) look into "The PDR." (Physicians Desk Reference.) --That's a book or "Bible" that regular Doctors & Physicians use to get information about medications, how long to keep a person on that medication, and for what appropriate Disorder to put them on that medication for.
I hope this helps you.
If you have additional questions feel free to reply.
I’ve been taking 5 mg of Valium twice a day for over 10 years.
It definitely heaps with my Anxiety.
Maybe best to discuss with your Doctor first but I doubt you would experience bad withdrawals.
"Since Valium has such addictive potential, even those who use the medication as prescribed are at risk for physical dependence. This is a normal occurrence, states the National Institute on Drug Abuse, that happens when a drug is used regularly. The body adapts to the presence of Valium, and individuals who may have used it exactly as prescribed find themselves experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they stop – even as soon as hours after their last dose.
As previously stated, individuals should not attempt to stop using Valium abruptly. Medical detox is always required in cases of benzodiazepine dependency. If the dependency is not severe, a physician may prescribe a tapered dosing schedule, so the individual may be safely weaned off the medication. Attempting a cold-turkey or at-home detox from benzodiazepines can lead to life-threatening issues."
"Continued use even at low dose for a few weeks can lead to physiological dependence (tolerance and withdrawal). When the drug is stopped, users can experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, tension, panic attacks, tremor, sweating, poor concentration, nausea, palpitations, headache, muscle aches and sometimes even seizures and psychotic reactions.
But withdrawal can be difficult since the initial symptoms for which the drug was prescribed might return, made worse by the symptoms from the withdrawal itself. For these reasons, withdrawal should be gradual and guided by clinicians, who can help patients cope with any symptoms."
"Clinicians need to discuss the potential side effects of sedative drugs with patients, emphasising the risk of dependence and cognitive decline. They also need to promote non-drug approaches for managing stress, insomnia and anxiety, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, and reinforce that sedative drugs do not work in the long term."
Yes, you can expect to experience some symptoms that I would classify as less than Pleasant if you abruptly cease taking 10mg of Valium a day. Of course, it does depend, somewhat, on how long you have taken your doses. If you have taken Valium for over two weeks on a daily basis I would expect to feel some kind of withdrawal symptoms. If you have taken the Valium for months then you have to be cautious and concerned regarding the possibility that you can experience symptoms as severe as full-blown seizures if you stop suddenly. I would not have thought this except that I have been through these processes myself and have experienced a seizure before when I was only taking about as much as you are taking. There are medications you can get which will alleviate the symptoms in large degree.
They are such drugs as clonidine or Librium or any opiate although opiates open a whole new can of worms for you that you probably are not looking to get started on! The bottom line with benzos is that there does tend to be some uncomfortable physical consequences when you curtail the amount that you ingest. If you are planning on allowing those symptoms to just take their course I would at least plan to clear my schedule of any obligations or business appointments of any kind. Increase your electrolyte intake, drink a lot of fluids, use a steam room but not too long and not too much heat and try to exercise. The best way to alleviate suffering is to try to sleep as much as possible. The amount of time it will take your body to recover depends on-- again --- how long you have been taking the medication. If it has saturated throughout your bone marrow it could be quite a long time before you feel like new again even though you are probably going to be over the worst symptoms within about six or seven days.
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