Opinions - Do the dangers of benzodiazepines outweigh the benefits?

Discussion in 'Benzodiazepines' started by out_there, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    I haven't been using benzodiazepines for about six months. I stopped using them because I felt that I was addicted to them and the dosage seemed to be rising gradually. I have always been prescribed my medications and have never required extra scripts because of abuse. I was always upfront with my psychiatrist about the amounts I was using and he considers me to be a responsible patient. I continue to see him and he would continue to prescribe nitrazepam, but I decided I was ready to quit.

    However, since I stopped taking benzos, I have felt the old anxieties, troubles with sleep and general negativity about life return. I know that since the 1970's, benzodiazepines have been largely replaced by anti-depressants, and the dangers of benzodiazepines have been widely advocated by medical professionals. Here in Australia it is extremely hard to get a script for benzodiazepines, and it is virtually impossible to be prescribed them for longer than a month or so.

    I am well aware of the fact that these drugs are highly addictive and that the potential of abuse is very high. Tolerance also develops very quickly, and for those desiring to get a high from benzos, this is a serious problem. But for those who take benzos as prescribed and under supervision, they can be very useful for the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, sleep and social anxiety disorder.

    For the three year period that I was taking benzos, I felt significantly better about my life. I was more positive about myself and I was able to make many new friends, met my current girlfriend, studied a postgraduate degree and work in various bands. I even started my own business. I know that since I stopped taking them I have still been productive, but not to the same extent and I definitely have a lot more anxiety.

    My questions are, do people feel that benzodiazepines have been demonized? Are they a viable option for people with social anxiety, anxiety and sleep issues on the long term if used responsibly? Or are these drugs too dangerous to be used effectively long term?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    1. 5/5,
      Very good idea, very good thread, stimulating discussion
      May 12, 2013
    2. 4/5,
      This has produced a very interesting discussion. Good job.
      Apr 16, 2013
    3. 4/5,
      Very good thread, excellent discussion.
      Feb 21, 2013
    4. 3/5,
      Great thread starter topic.
      Feb 15, 2013
    5. 4/5,
      Very good topic to discuss, excellent thread!
      Feb 4, 2013
    6. 4/5,
      Excellent thread starter; some good points are made here as well
      Jan 29, 2013
  2. biggpri

    biggpri Silver Member

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    For some people with legitimate cases of social or generalized anxiety, benzodiazepines are very effective. My ghost know from personal experience that when it take Xanax it become a lot more relaxed and sociable. However, they are addictive and recreational use can lead to a nasty addiction. If someone has anxiety, they should go see a psychiatrist for help with that. And only take it as prescribed.
     
  3. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    Abusing Xanax can definitely lead to a nasty addiction and should only be used as prescribed. Agreed. But isn't it really useful in the right circumstances. I feel that Xanax particularly has been demonized and almost labelled as a 'dangerous' drug.
     
  4. reef88

    reef88 Silver Member

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    There's no simple way to answer your question. It depends on a bunch of factors. Depends on how often you use them, how big or small the doses are, for how long you use them.

    If you use benzos in a moderate dose (not blacking out or getting super drowsy) once a week then the good definitely outweighs the bad. If you use benzos daily for over 6 months the bad could outweigh the good, or they both could be about the same. I never ever use them for longer than a 6 month period, because 6 months to me has already enough of the bad, having to taper and go through withdrawals. As long as you don't have to go through withdrawals it's worth it, otherwise you should think twice whether you are willing to pay the price of withdrawals in exchange for a few months of the benefits.
     
  5. blazeme

    blazeme Silver Member

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    Very good topic to discuss. Somewhere around 2 years ago or so, my parents took me to see a shrink. I was always nervous, very unhappy and anxious. I got into fights often. Maybe even some anger management issues. Me and my parents explained whole situation to him, then I talked to him about my life. Usual questions. Only one session. Very expensive. From this point of view, I fail to see why but he prescribed me 1.5 mg bromazepam. I was ~17ish years old then. He told me to take it when I feel nervous or anxious. I didn't take them very often.
    It didn't help much.
    Long story short - I started taking diazepam instead (still use bromazepam occasionally). Diazepam is prescribed to many family members of mine. It helps me. I use them from time to time, and I take dose I want, nothing very high dosage tho. They make me more social, I can talk to people, they help me with anger management as well (I've noticed this lately). I know they're addictive, and it's very easy to start popping them like candies. Not going to cross that line.
    In my opinion, benefits of benzos outweigh dangers for people who need them to cope with all kind of situations (panic attacks, social anxiety, general anxiety and etc). If one crosses the line and starts taking them in large dose or very often to ease comedown from other drugs, then they can be very dangerous and addictive and their benefits will greatly diminish (with increasing tolerance) and dangers (physical dependence) increase.
     
    1. 4/5,
      Great points from personal experience
      Jan 28, 2013
  6. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    It's funny that people including medical professionals have such varying opinions on this. I've talked to my pharmacist and he said that if these medications improve your life and are used as prescribed he can see nothing wrong. On the other hand I've had discussions with registrars and psyche nurses who say that benzos are the worst drugs to be on. My psychiatrist thinks they are relatively harmless if used responsibly.
    Anyway, just a few extra thoughts I had...
     
  7. missparkles

    missparkles If you like crazy you've come to the right place. Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    ^^^used responsibly as prescribed. And there lies the problem. With benzo's tolerance rises and the prescribed dose is overtaken. Then you run out before your next script and experience some wd symptoms. After this you promise yourself that you'll take them as prescribed but that doesn't give you the feeling you need to feel happy, so its then almost impossible to stick to your promise. You end up having to lie to your prescriber to get extra pills, and then the guilt sets in. This is just one scenario that may happen. There's also the chance that if you do use extra pills and experience wd symptoms when you run out may have seizures. That's why benzo's can be a dangerous drug to be on. If you enjoy the feeling that benzo's give and want to increase that high you will end up abusing them.

    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
  8. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    I was just thinking that there may be a lack of education surrounding benzos. I know that when I have been prescribed various benzos, I have never really been told that they may produce a feeling of euphoria, but that feeling will reduce after a period of time.
    Obviously we take that first pill and feel great! The anxiety lifts, sleep is easy and life is positive all of a sudden. We feel euphoric! But that feeling diminishes and this is exactly where I see that the lack of education is causing problems. If people were told that the euphoric feeling is a temporary one, but the drugs 'continue to work in the same way without the physical euphoria', then perhaps a lot more people would NOT increase the dosage because they were concerned that the initial wasn't working anymore.

    Isn't this the crux? We think 'oh, um, maybe the doctor was wrong. He probably doesn't realize that I'm different and my body needs more to feel anxiety free'. So we increase the dose....When in actual fact the drug IS still working, we just don't FEEL it.

    Of course there will be people who abuse benzos. There will be people who abuse everything and anything. But is that a reason to demonize a useful drug that can help many people live more fulfilled and happy lives? Couldn't doctors and health professionals learn to educate people about tolerance and abuse in an open and transparent manner rather than just deciding not to prescribe at all?
     
    1. 3/5,
      Completely agreed. No doctor that has perscribed me benzos EVER educated me on the possible risks and benefits.
      Feb 2, 2013
    2. 4/5,
      Viable stand
      Jan 29, 2013
  9. oppi

    oppi Silver Member

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    i do feel they've been demonized. i abuse a lot of substances, but my benzos, which i take for panic disorder, 1) never get my "high" no matter how much i take, and 2) i don't abuse (although i've experimented). I don't have much trouble stopping them, either. i've stopped zolpidem cold turkey after using it for a year and had few ill effects aside from a few sleepless nights. i've been forced off my 4mg per day clonazepam by an inpatient psych program for five days and had NO withdrawal (aside of course from a resumption of my anxiety and panic). benzos give me no euphoria and few problems. i'm coming off them again now hoping my sleep meds will finally work. no ants crawling under my skin, no DTs, no seizures, no hallucinations. nada. IMO it's people who abuse them for effect who have problems coming off them. there's clinical research to support this idea. no offense to folks who use them for effect, i would if i could!
     
    1. 3/5,
      It's nice that you didn't get much of a withdrawal, but benzos actually cause PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE for many people, and this is what makes them dangerous. As stated earlier it is possible to have seizures coming off of them
      Feb 2, 2013
  10. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    My psychiatrist definitely agrees with you. And I'm glad you haven't felt withdrawals. I did feel withdrawals from 20mg of nitrazepam per day and also a month of withdrawals from 6mg alprazolam per day. But I do think also that it's easier to stop if you are NOT abusing them.
     
  11. missparkles

    missparkles If you like crazy you've come to the right place. Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    Out there...no, I'm not demonising benzo's at all, I'm just stating a very painful truth, one that you yourself have described extremely accurately. Tolerance to benzo's will usually occur and that's where the danger lies. The thing is, its now been realised that benzo's are only effective as a short term solution. Most doctors won't prescribe more than a 14 day course of benzo's due to their addictiveness. Benzo's provide a quick fix, which in my opinion, is all they're really useful for.

    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
    1. 4/5,
      Yes! Escalating doses and broken promises are synonymous with Benzo's, at least for some
      May 27, 2013
  12. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    I know you weren't demonising benzos missparkles :) I was more referring to the medical professionals in general. Although my psychiatrist doesn't seem to have such an issue prescribing benzos for a longer period of time. I'm not sure if that is usual for him though.
     
  13. missparkles

    missparkles If you like crazy you've come to the right place. Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    Generally in the UK doctors are loathe to prescribe benzo's unless its absolutely necessary, if they do they will usually only give between a week to 14 days supply. I think doctors have become scared to prescribe any addictive drugs, and that includes opiates. I wonder if their fear might not become a problem and people that need certain drugs, regardless of their addictiveness, just won't be prescribed them?

    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
  14. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    Yes I think that is what I was thinking. I am perhaps coming to the belief that benzodiazepines have a place for some people. They certainly over prescribed in the 70's, but is the current backlash going a bit overboard? Will we look back at the 90's and early 2000's in a couple of decades and say "hey, who's dum idea was it to hand anti-depressants out like candy?"
    I am almost certain that drug companies have a huge role in this. Benzos simply aren't very expensive, but anti-depressants are a huge profit item. That's as far as I will go on conspiracy theories ;)
     
  15. Emin

    Emin Silver Member

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    I believe certain people do indeed need it. I can't survive without less than 20mg of diazepam a day. At the same time, if you look at statistics, it's one of the most dangerous drugs. It's horrible to come off of and there are articles coming out saying that long term benzodiazepine use causes dementia. The best bet is to always go with your doctor's choice in my opinion.
     
    1. 3/5,
      Even prof.Ashton admits there's no conclusive evidence benzos are neurotoxic or cause dementia.
      May 12, 2013
  16. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    If you don't mind me asking, what causes you to need 20mg diazepam a day? Is it for anxiety? Just wondered as I'm really interested in what people use it for and how it helps medically.
     
  17. KeepOnTrying

    KeepOnTrying Titanium Member

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    I had a life altering event in my life last year. When I checked my VM a few day's later one was from my family Dr., the compulsory "Anything I can do to help" was immediately followed by, if you need it there's a script for Xanax waiting for you at .....

    I'd never been prescribed Xanax before and had only taken it occasionally (never to get high, but to sleep).
    This happened concurrently with my decision to pick back up a very nasty Meth habit. I have to say, without the Xanax I don't think I would have continued with the Meth.

    I am coming to terms with my meth addiction and working on a way of untangling myself. I only fear I may have opened another Pandora's box unknowingly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  18. out_there

    out_there Titanium Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you can overcome the meth addiction. Try not to increase the xanax any more because it will cause added problems down the line. If you need to or want to talk please message me.
    best wishes
     
    1. 4/5,
      Kind caring post.
      Jan 30, 2013
  19. Emin

    Emin Silver Member

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    I use my 20-30mg of diazepam to deal with loss. Earlier this year my grandmother died. Then my old friend shot himself in the head. Also, he did it along with his girlfriend who survived and is now blind. After that one of his best friends hung himself after hearing the news. A few weeks later, the younger brother of my friend who hung himself (the younger one was my age and a close friend), along with another one of my close childhood friends got into a high speed pursuit from the police because they were drinking a driving with no license. I guess they drank and drove a lot to cope with his dead brother. They flipped the car and hit a tree, both are permanently injured. Then my girlfriend left me because she couldn't deal with my emotional state. Luckily she came back and helped a month later. After this, about three months back, some of my friends were driving. The driver was rolling a blunt while trying to steer. They went off the road and into the interstate. Four people were dead including two of my friends, a child, and a mother. I can't deal with reality right now I suppose, I need diazepam to get through the day. However I still believe it's a bad drug, which is why I'm taking 20-30mg a day when I'm prescribed 60mg. Still trying to cut back

    Well I guess that's my story and experience. Felt good to type it all out.
     
    1. 3/5,
      Wow, very moving and tragic story. So sad this became a spiral of loss and friends unable to deal with loss. I'm sorry.
      Feb 15, 2013
    2. 4/5,
      Heartfelt and moving story
      Feb 1, 2013
  20. blazeme

    blazeme Silver Member

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    Emin, I'm so sorry to hear that all those horrible things happened to you. I can imagine that diazepam helps in situations like that, but may I also suggest grief counselor ? Or some kind of psycho therapy? In my opinion it would help you more overall then benzos.
    Sorry to say this, but you will have to deal with reality sometimes, and it really should be sooner then later, when you get addicted to benzos (good to see you're trying to lower dosage imho). Benzos can only be temporary solution to problems like that.

    Horrible things happen, many times to people who don't deserve it.