Valium withdrawal?

Hi gang,

This is a bit out there but I suddenly had this thought last night. Am I experiencing benzo withdrawal?

For the last number of weeks I’ve been trying to work out why I’ve been feeling so crappy. I think there are factors contributing such as the new bedroom furniture but it doesn’t explain the strange new pains I have everywhere – such as in my legs and arms etc. Yes, I get lots of weird migraine pains but lately I’ve definitely been dealing with a whole new animal.

As it turns out, I haven’t been taking any valium at all for well over a week – maybe 2. I usually knock back a few here and there every week, especially in the night when I can’t sleep. So the light bulb went off last night and as an experiment I took 5 mg. Today the aches and pains are gone and I feel much more normal than I have in a while. Nice to feel much better but not good that I may be physically addicted in that without it I get all the aches and pains etc and bad head. Checking out the withdrawal symptoms and what I’ve been feeling ticks the boxes.

I’m also ultra med sensitive and so it would not be unreasonable to me to think I could have developed some sort of dependence.

What do you guys think? It’s hard to separate what’s what with this crap but I think this idea is a real possibility.

S

Hi Scott,
Before I was diagnosed with this mav junk, my GP in desperation said ‘here, take these’. It was Valium, and I took it for just a couple of weeks, not realizing what it was. It was a pharmacist who pointed out to me that I was taking Valium, and I was taking up to 3 tablets a day at times (they did take the edge off all the rocking:). Anyhow, I stopped cold turkey, and I felt like crap for maybe a couple of weeks after. On top of the MAV stuff, I just felt so awful. I don’t remember aches and pains, more an intensification of how bad I already felt, and I’m not particularly med sensitive. But I do believe that valium is some pretty powerful stuff. So if I could feel like that after taking the meds for just a couple of weeks, I imagine that if you’ve been taking them for much longer you’d definitely feel some intense withdrawal, especially considering how med sensitive you are.
I hope you start to feel much better soon.
Regards,
Helen

Hi Scott -

I don’t know about Valium specifically - it makes me hyperactive so I can’t take it. But, if I take Klonopin regularly (3-4 times a week) and then stop for 4+ days I start feeling like I have the flu, I’m irritable, have a constant headache, my vision is blurry (beyond the usual). I now mark on the calendar whenever I take any kind of med so I can keep track.

My best ~ Molly

PS. Forgot to add - nightmares are very common if I stop taking it regularly.

Technically in the psych/medical world you would have most likely developed a tolerance not dependence or addiction which are 3 distinctly different animals. And discontinuation from any med can cause symptoms but does not indicate that you are addicted (which involves cravings, psychological attention to the substance, etc). Not to worry… but you may want to titrate incredibly slowly when coming off any med that is taken frequently.
Gail

Scott,

What dose are you taking?

Valium has a long half life, but if you were going to get withdrawals it would be within four or five days, not a week or two. That leads me to think it is just psychological dependence, i.e. you prefer taking it, not that your body will react if you don’t get it.

If you are already a couple weeks out, I doubt that you were addicted. You just have MAV, and valium works on MAV, so you naturally prefer to take it because it makes life easier.

I take about 2mg valium every other night before I go to bed, never in the daytime. Call it 8 mg a week. It is a low dose, but it really helps me sleep better and I feel better when I wake up. My worst vertigo (actually the only vertigo that Celexa has mostly cured) is at night. I would like to go off it completely but I really like how it makes me sleep soundly. I am thinking of trying something else to help me sleep, but the antihistamines don’t do it for me. It’s a trade off.

Keep us posted on what you plan to do.

Thanks all for your input. Today was another shocker with off-the-charts aches and pains and blurred vision so I went down and saw my GP an hour ago. She listened to the whole deal and thinks I have a viral infection hanging around that has jacked up the migraine. She doesn’t think it’s a Valium thing and to be honest it is slightly hard to believe since I’ve been using the stuff for years and never had any fall out like this.

Honestly this crap makes you grab the best looking floating log as you find yourself drowning in a sea of MAV trying to work out what has cranked up the misery meter.

Doug – I use it sporadically in 2.5 mg hits. Some night I have 5 mg but that’s uncommon … and then I have a few days off if sleep is better.

The viral thing is possible so I’ll wait things out a while more. The GP took blood samples to check everything out anyway. In the meantime, I’ve got a box of gabapentin waiting but I’m waiting for a clear week without any heavy work commitments before I shove that down my throat. :shock:

— Begin quote from "scott"

Hi gang, This is a bit out there but I suddenly had this thought last night. Am I experiencing benzo withdrawal?

— End quote

**Scott, I joined this forum because I had terrible headaches and dizziness. At the worst times I had confusion and short term memory loss and all sorts of neurological dysfunctions. I thought I had MAV but, after various tests and experiments with meds, I’m now almost certain that my symptoms come from benzos. I started to have my suspicions not long ago and posted about them in a thread here. ** http://mvertigo.cloudapp.net/t/is-my-regular-benzo-causing-the-migraine-dizziness/4028

It seems what can happen is this. A minority of people (some suggest about 20%) have serious problems coming off benzos. The withdrawal process take many months because the benzos force GABA receptors in the nervous system (including in parts of the brain which processes balance ) to down regulate and in order to recover these receptors have to grow back and this is a much slower process than for almost any other drug including hard street drugs such as heroin. If your nervous system gets screwed up by benzos then it can no longer handle even minor stresses without the aid of more benzos.

Taking occasional benzos over a long period of time can make this process of receptor down-regulation worse. Short acting benzos also make this process worse. Valium is a long acting benzo and not as bad as other benzos but *intermittent *use of a benzo is a negative factor. By the way, in the case of Valium its stated half life (20-100 hours and 36-200 hours for its metabolites) is very misleading because the duration of action of Valum is far shorter and probably more like 8 to 10 hours.

All this is described in some detail here in this standard reference work for people who have benzo addiction: http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm .

Of course, any of this trouble with benzos may be superimposed on top of MAV.

I don’t want to be alarmist so let’s remember that the majority of people will not have trouble withdrawing. However they may still be adversely affected by the benzos they started taking in order to improve their anxiety and balance.

-Wexan

PS: If you want a bigger picture of benzo damage then there’s a free book available here. It’s not typical of the majority of people but it gives you an idea of what one person’s experience was. http://www.thebenzobook.com/benzo/benzo_about_the_book.html

Wow… Read this book in it’s entirety and it’s pretty scary stuff… A lot of us are on benzos and it seems that even a small dose can cause big problems… I will definitely be discussing this with my neurologist… I was aware that there were risks involved, but I don’t know if the benefits outweigh them in light of the potential withdrawal issues we will all face at some point… It’s a quandary as I find that the dose of Ativan that I take definitely helps the dizzies and along with the present dose of Topamax, I’ve had some relief of my symptoms… But I certainly don’t want to face the horror story described in this book… Ugh!! It’s never easy with this disease!!

— Begin quote from "dee"

Wow… Read this book in it’s entirety and it’s pretty scary stuff… A lot of us are on benzos and it seems that even a small dose can cause big problems… I will definitely be discussing this with my neurologist… I was aware that there were risks involved, but I don’t know if the benefits outweigh them in light of the potential withdrawal issues we will all face at some point… It’s a quandary as I find that the dose of Ativan that I take definitely helps the dizzies and along with the present dose of Topamax, I’ve had some relief of my symptoms… But I certainly don’t want to face the horror story described in this book… Ugh!! It’s never easy with this disease!!

— End quote

I saw several neurologists and none of them had a clue what was going on. One was a dementia specialist and after extensive tests and scans he was certain I had Alzheimer’s. He didn’t even worry about balance because I was neurologically so symptomatic that balance was considered the least of my problems. I don’t suppose your neurologist will necessarily be a lot better.

Following some balance tests, I saw a doctor specialising in balance last week but it seems that the effects of benzos on balance are not all that well known.

These problems with withdrawal only happen to a minority. Those who suffer badly (like me) write about it whereas those who get very minor symptoms don’t say a thing.

-Wexan

Hi Scott,
When i had spinal disk hernia, the doctor prescribed me valium as it is a very efficient muscle relaxant. I only took it for 7 days and the doctor and pharmacist told me i wouldn’t get any withdrawal effect as it was just 7 days and that i didn’t have to stop it gradually.

A friend of mine who is a doctor told me to take half a pill for 2 days and then 1/4 for two days just to make sure because i am sensitive to medication. Well i did that and… i felt HORRIBLE anyway. Nightmares, confusion, anxiety, felt disconnected from the world, etc… i phoned her after a nightmare (in which i dreamt 5 times in a row i was waking up but i was still in the nightmare!) and i was in panic and she asked : "did you stop the valium? you sound like a valium withdrawal. " :wink:

So yes, i am assuming what you feel could be that if you are sensitive to medication. As for the pain, since my withdrawal effects were all the opposite of valium properties and that valium is a powerful muscle relaxant, i would say it is possible that you get muscle pain when you stop. Did you ask a pharmacist? They could probably tell you if withdrawal effects could last that long.

take care :slight_smile: