Benzodiazepine Addiction, Quitting, Withdrawal
This is information that has worked to help the author get off benzodiazepines. It has also helped other individuals achieve the same results, but might not be appropriate for everyone.
Do as much research as possible prior to deciding on a specific method. Benzodiazepine tolerance and addiction are very serious problems. That is why daily use is not recommended for periods lasting longer than 1-2 weeks.
The longer the period of daily intake and the larger the dose size, the harder it will be to quit. In general people who taken benzodiazepines daily for more than 2-4 weeks should think about slowly reducing the dose size, rather than stopping them all together in one shot.
When daily intake has been limited to 4 weeks or less, the dose size should be reduced no more than 5% to 10% per day, of the dose you were taking prior to tapering off. That works out to at least 10-20 days to stop completely.
If daily intake was something that lasted 12 months or less, the dose size should be reduced no more than 5% to 10% per week or longer, of the dose you were taking prior to tapering off. That works out to at least 10-20 weeks to stop completely.
If daily intake was something that was done over the course of years, the drug should be tapered off very slowly. The dose size should be reduced no more than 5% to 10% per month, of the dose you were taking prior to tapering off.
If you want or need to stop taking them after years of daily intake, gradually reduce the dose size over a course of months. Aim to be off them in a year or two, or longer, rather than trying to speed things along.
Depending on the degree of addiction, hospitalization may be required if a person wishes to stop taking them. This is because life threatening reactions are possible if intake is abruptly discontinued, or reduced drastically, after prolonged daily use.
Withdrawal can include feelings of anxiety, appetite loss, confusion, depersonalization, dizziness, emptiness, headache, irritability, insomnia, shakiness, other serious cns symptoms may be present. You will probably feel like you are losing control of your mind and you will never recover.
Do not give up, you will recover in time. Even though you may feel like you won't, you will. It may be best for cases of long term addiction to get medical assistance/advice, or find an in-patient program for at least part of the process.
Sometimes doctors will change the particular benzodiazepine you are taking to a different one, prior to initiating a withdrawal schedule. This can be done to make adjusting the dose size easier and does not usually cause problems.
Keep in mind that if you split pills, there is no guarantee that each half of the pill will contain the same amount of medication. The medication might not be evenly distributed so one half may contain a larger amount than the other.
Covers details related to benzodiazepine addiction, withdrawal, long term recovery. Gives a realistic overview of the precise details and what to expect if benzodiazepine addiction has affected your life.
Includes information about prescribed uses of specific benzodiazepines and their history. Discusses aspects of use, dependency, addiction, and then follows with the facts of withdrawal and detoxification.
Recovery and Renewal
Information about overcoming dependency and withdrawal from benzodiazepines or antidepressants. Includes practical withdrawal methods and coping with bizarre and unnerving withdrawal symptoms. Reminds you the way you feel is not a permanent mental condition.
It is based on personal experience, the author has herself been through the withdrawal process. Has information about going cold turkey versus tapering, and chapters specifically for caregivers and medical professionals.
Recovery and Renewal
Ashton Manual for quitting benzodiazepines.
Erowid benzodiazepine vault.
Rational benzodiazepine use by Heather Ashton.