Basic Facts about Benzodiazepines
Click Benzo Basics for a download printable file
This is a collection of what this author believes are the basic facts about benzodiazepines. It is presented as a quick reference to enable people to familiarise themselves with some of the basic issues concerning benzodiazepines and also as something that can be printed out to educate other people. You are encourage to follow the links presented to make up your own mind as to whether this is a fair summary of the issues.
See Benzodiazepine Drug Index for a fuller list.
See Rational Use of Benzodiazepine for more details
4. Benzodiazepines should only be prescribed for a 2-3 week period.
See Benzo Rules
5. When Benzodiazepines are used for more than 2Ė3 weeks tolerance and dependency may occur; these are the dangers of long term benzodiazepine use.
a) the body has grown used to the action of a drug.
b) a person may start to suffer withdrawal symptoms while taking the drug as prescribed.
c) a personís original symptoms may become worse than before they started taking the drug.
d) tolerance may develop to the other modes of action of the drug other than the one for which a person is taking the drug. So, as tolerance builds, a person taking a benzodiazepine for anxiety may start to suffer muscle spasms since benzodiazepines also have muscle relaxant properties.
e) a doctor might prescribe more of a drug, thinking that building tolerance is a worsening of the original condition, resulting in a person being caught in escalating use of the drug.
f) dependency may be starting.
g) it may be time to consider tapering off the drug
See Ashton Manual
See Ashton Manual
14. Others have tapered off benzodiazepines using other methods, including Water Titration.
See Water Titration
15. Getting off benzodiazepines isnít always easy and people need support while they are doing it.
a) Support of a doctor keeping an eye on physical problems that may arise
b) Support of a pastor, counsellor, or other person to help with spiritual or psycho-social issues.
c) A doctor that is a supporting coach in the process
d) The support of families members and friends who are educated about the demands of withdrawal
16. Once withdrawal has been achieved it may take 6 Ė 18 months for full healing to occur and both support and patience are needed during this time as well.
See Recovery Tips
17. People get better after benzodiazepine use and withdrawal.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.
Last updated 30 August 2012