Diazepam advice wanted!

So today I took the plunge and actually went to an emerancy doctor to get some medication for my horrific anxiety, panic attacks and depression I have been experiencing for over 8 years (I'm 24).

These past few months it has really peaked and the past four days have been the hardest of my life. I am literally at the end and can not cope.

I went in and explained all this. And was prescribed 2mg of diazepam to take three times a day to get me through this weekend before I can go to my GP which isn't open till after the bank holiday weekend on Tuesday. I was also prescribed citalopram to take along side it as it takes two weeks to start working.

As soon as I got home I took two pills of diazepam as adviced and it seemed to be working. It definitely took the edge off and I managed a small meal (I haven't been able to eat anything for four days bar liquid food like smoothies). It very quickly wore off though and after two hours I felt really bad again. I have taken the third as he recommend just before bed and after 30mins it's helped but I still feel quite panicky. I just was hoping it would knock me out and allow me to be calm and relaxed and able to properly sleep for the first time in months.

The doctor did say if by tomorrow I still felt bad to go back but I'm scared to up the dose.

What I want to know is does anyone have any experience with diazepam? What doses worked for them? How long did it last?

I have also heard some horror stories about come downs and addiction which have Terrified me as I am very hyper viliglant when taking medication and this was a big step for me to actually try it.

Any help or advice will be very much appreciated.

I just want to be able to lead a normal life, if I feel like this at 24 I don't how I can cope with this constant feeling of fear, feeling like I need to vomit and depression all my life.

8 Replies

  • I was prescribed Diazepam when my husband passed away.It was a short term measure because they are addictive. For the first few days, I had to take three 5mg tablets a day.They removed my fear and meant I could also eat a meal which I had not been able to do. Then it was two tablets a day and then one. I knew about the addiction problem so I stopped taking them but always had them in the house in case I really needed them. When I knew they were there, I was ok. It wasn't the grief or loneliness that was the problem. It was the fear of a panic attack. Eventually, I didn't need them any more. Mine was a high dose compared to yours but they quickly brought me to a state of calmness which was like magic. I'll never forget the calm feeling and the relief it gave me.

    Doctors are now unwilling to prescribe higher dozes than 2mg. I've tried the lesser doze but it had no effect on me at all.They are meant as a short term measure only. Maybe you need to take an antidepressant but they all have side effects. Best wishes. Myra.

  • Hi, I know this may sound crazy but have you ever had an intensive vitamins and minerals blood screen done? I used to up to about the age of 36 suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and depression and was put on beta blockers, sleeping pills and various anti depressants. I began to get anaemia off and on but wasn't until around my 30s I discovered I was low in folate and b12 as well as iron. These can all cause these things. I used to take multi vits but sometimes these are not absorbed properly by some people and they need to take each supplement separate. If you also have a racing heart with it and sweat a lot it may be an idea to also get your thyroid function checked as there is a condition called hashimotos that can cause all these symptoms and it is when your antibodies are high. You go up and down in mood but you would need to request an antibodies test or get it done privately online. I've since found out that I had that since a teenager. It causes depression, anxiety, vitamin defiencies, sleep problems and lots more. Since taking the correct supplements and getting private blood screens done once in a while also taking thyroid meds my anxiety has gone. Obviously not everyone with anxiety has this but it's worth eliminating any physical causes that there possibly could be.

  • Hi there,

    I work as a psychological therapist, I'm not an expert on the medication side of things but but can share some of what I have picked up.

    The main problem with Diazepam is that we habituate to it I.e. the longer we take it for the less of an effect it has on us, we have to keep taking a higher does to get the same effect. This is why it is only a short term option. The other problem with Diazepam is becoming psychologically assisted to them I.e. you may feel relent on them to cope with hard situations. It is always good to focus on building up our own resources at the same time.

    If you struggle with panic some people find a beta blocker like propranolol helpful.

    The citalopram can take upto 4-6 weeks to reach its full effectiveness in our bodies but we can start to benefit from it sooner. Like your GP said some people get mild side effects for the first few weeks.

    Have you ever tried a psychological therapy? If so how did you get on with this?

  • When you're having frequent panic attacks, you're in no fit mental state to make these judgements. All you want is relief--and quickly. Diazepam got me through a terrible time. They worked within 20 minutes and the calmness they gave me was palpable. They are not a long term solution but a stopgap to alleviate the immediate feelings of terror. I was already on a beta blocker for high BP. It did not stop my panics. As long as you are aware that Diazepam is a short term measure, it is a valuable resource.

  • Dear Leira, sorry to hear about your bad panic attacks and anxiety.Although I have experienced depression I know less about anxiety and panic which sound as serious as depression. I think you have done well to go to a doctor , and to be using diazepam which sounds as if in the right dosage would help you.

    Although I am quite ignorant of anxiety and panic attacks I do feel there is a lot of evidence this is easier to treat than depression in that there are so many techniques to combat this e.g. relaxation exercises including breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation, yoga ,confrontation of the cause, and of course medication. The other thing that makes it easier to treat is that it appears from the many posts on anxiety that while the sufferer can't help the anxiety they do know that it is illogical. In your case for instance although you are reluctant to take medication logically you know that the medical profession will not be prescribing drugs that are likely to harm you, and that many thousands take the necessary drugs with almost always good outcomes. I agree that one is never 100% sure a particular drug will not harm you or will have a good outcome you must know deep down that the odds are strongly in your favour that it will.

    Hopefully the diazepam and citalopram will both help and have no adverse side effects which should help to overcome your aversion to drugs. This is much more likely to be the case if you can keep relaxed about taking them and the fact that the diazepam seems to have been effective initially. I hope you see the illogicality of thinking the diazepam helped but I don't want to up the dose. Most or all of the drugs you might be prescribed do not have long term effects and once you stop taking them are eradicated quickly from your body.

    If you continue to feel ,not unreasonably, that you would prefer treatment without drugs it does not take long to read and learn about the other techniques for combatting panic , and then to adopt one that seems right for you.

    I hope I am not making it sound too easy ,after all I know little of panic attacks and anxiety but I do know through reading that most people having these have cured or reduced them by adopting non drug techniques.


  • hi hun i suffered like you i went onto diazapan it really helped me i was on a high doze 5x 5 mlg a day then slowly i cut them down to one 5mlg a day and now im on half of a 2mlg when i feel like it maybe twice a week it took me a long while to get down to that amount i have read many horror stories of people struggling to come of diazapan but i can honestly say i never had any problems with it hope you begin to feel better soon xx

  • hiya. I want to reassure you that you have nothing to fear from diazapem. As someone else said it is only addictive in the sense that it becomes less effective the longer you are on it. Benzos are only really only meant to be temporary measure to tide you over while the antidepressants which double as an antianxiety kick in. It will not take 2 weeks for the antidepressants to work...more like two months especially if you need to increase your medication so its not uncommon to take the benzos for that length of time. My panic and anxiety was so bad that 15mg of diazapem was as effective as trying to put a large fire with a glass of water...perhaps that's what you feel at the moment! I was eventually referred to a crisis mental health team and put on 3mg of lorazapem....this is 10 times the strength of diazapem. I was on those for a lot longer than recommended but a year on while I am still taking sertraline, I haven't taken any benzos for over a year...no panic attacks either. If you need a stronger dose of diazapem please take it...6mg is a tiny amount and can be increased. Panic and anxiety is a living hell and I waited a long time before taking meds because of my concerns about them...unfortunately those fears are actually part of your condition..you are in such a high state of anxiety that it makes everything seem terrifying. Whoever is in charge of your meds will reduce them very very gradually and minimise any side effects. Coming of lorazapem was difficult and I did have rebound anxiety at times but by then the sertraline was doing its job and I knew what was happening and was in a much better place to deal with it. Coming off diazapem should have little or no side effects as long as you don't stop it suddenly. I'm sorry youre going through this...ive suffered both anxiety/panic and severe episodes of depression...I choose depression every time and I don't say that lightly! Extreme panic is hell on earth and if I hadn't taken meds, I would have killed myself because its unbearable....the good news is there is hope and you can get better....I thought Id literally lost my mind I was that out of control...I hadn't...take the meds...up the dose if its not enough and seek proper help if your gp is not supportive..ask to be referred to a mental health specialist or a crisis team. Take care.

  • Hi there, lots of people with lots to say about diazepam! To be honest I haven't read through all of the replies but just glanced at them. Thought I would write my own bit before I read what anyone else had written.

    The thing with diazepam they are a slow release drug. You were saying that after taking 3 the effects were waring off. I'm expecting that by now you will be feeling the benefits as actually the best benefit is about 24 hours after you take them as they will have built up into your blood by then and yes eventually you should manage some sleep.

    The 2mg 3 times a day is quite a lot if you've not taken it before; I don't mean it's too much or you should panic about taking that amount but more that it should do the job for you if you're system isn't accustomed to taking it. I take two 5 mg per day when I'm in a crisis but ONLY when I'm in a crisis and that is just for two days. This may be once a year or once every two years I take it.

    No diazepam is not a drug you can take regularly as it is extremely addictive but you will be ok to take it for 3 days without any risk of addiction, by which time your anti depressant may start to kick in also.

    Let us know how you go on. I personally find diazepam to be a complete life safer. I have taken them when completely on the edge of not coping at all and they have saved me literally so I hope they can work for you.

    Gemma XXX

    PS I have just read the other replies and I can see some others are saying the same as me. The relief from symptoms is really noticeable and for that reason I call it a lifesaver. With anti depressants I never know whether they are working but I keep on taking them. With diazepam it is really obvious that it works as it gives you a "miracle" feeling of calm when it's had time to get in your system as others have said. Just don't start to rely on it as regular thing folks as that isn't a good idea at all.

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