Author Topic: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question  (Read 476 times)

[Buddie]

To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« on: January 29, 2023, 05:14:09 pm »
Hello dear benzobuddies,

I have reinstated 5mg Valium one month and a half ago. For the past two weeks I've made a small reduction of 2,5% of my dose, now I don't know if I should continue cutting or hold for another week. The idea was to do a symptom-based taper, listen to my body and adjust accordingly. Problem is, I don't know what my body is trying to say?!  :-\

I do keep a daily log of my sxs, but even so, it's hard to tell. They are not completely consistent day in and day out, sometimes sleep is worse, other times the tinitus, or the bowels, etc.

To start with, I wasn't feeling completely fine on the 5mg, I already had quite a few symptoms:
- head pressure with head fog
- dizziness
- confusion
- problems focusing my eyes
- nausea
- headaches
- internal organ pain
- feeling very cold
- pressure on the chest feeling like I can't breath
- infrequent tremors, shaking, jerking;
- hypersensitive to light, loud noises and strong smells

Nevertheless, I did not want to up my Valium dose, because I was hating how it was making me feel:
depressed, lethargic, no motivation to do anything, very drowsy, dizzy, balance and coordination problems,  very forgetful. Also the sleep on Valium is very superficial, I wake up multiple times per night, even tough I sleep a lot (around 10h), but don't feel rested. So, I decided to start tapering anyway.

The first week after the cut I did feel worse, but I also had to stop my progesterone, and I don't know if this has had an influence on the symptoms or not. I don't know how long I have to wait for the effects of a diazepam dose change to fully manifest and stabilize.

My symptoms at the moment (after two weeks on 4,88 mg) are:
- anxiety
- low energy
- demotivated
- intestinal cramps
- occasional diarheea
- depressed
- dizziness
- headaches
- feeling cold
- problems focusing the eyes
- nausea
- bitter taste in mouth
- frequent tremors, shaking, jerking;
- hypersensitive to light, loud noises and strong smells;
- not being able to watch movies or listening to music;
- not able to go outside
- tinnitus

Daily global rating of withdrawal symptoms: 6
Daily global rating of functionality: 6 can do some things around the house; have to rest a lot also

Now, the question is: should I hold another week in hopes that my wd sxs improve, or should I cut again 2,5% of the dose?

I am afraid of holding too long because I'm a short time user and develop tolerance fast (first time around was two months). I might already be in tolerance, because I actually started feeling worse towards the end of my first month holding 5mg.   :(

Any form of suggestion, advice, idea is greatly appreciated!
 :hug:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2023, 06:53:44 am »
Hi [...]

How did you feel after reinstating the 5mg Valium? Did you feel you were ready to make that 2.5mg reduction when you did? Also, what date did you make that 2.5mg reduction. Has it been at least 2 weeks since you reduced?

Later tonight Iíll give you an idea of what stability means to me. Itís not symptom free, but hopefully I can explain how to read the cuesÖ knowing when youíre ready to reduce again.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2023, 09:38:57 am »
Hi [...], I didn't make a 2,5 mg reduction, it was a 2,5%, from 5mg diazepam to 4,88 mg. Yes it's been two weeks. See my above post for the other questions.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2023, 12:23:31 am »
Hi [...], I didn't make a 2,5 mg reduction, it was a 2,5%, from 5mg diazepam to 4,88 mg. Yes it's been two weeks. See my above post for the other questions.

Yes, sorry, I did mean 2.5%, the old benzo brain seems to have escalated lately  :)

I see you had quite a few symptoms on the 5mg before the reduction, but for me, itís not so much about the symptoms as it is about the severity of the symptoms. If I look closely, most of my symptoms still remain, whereas others flair up randomly. My symptoms arenít consistent day in and day out either, but I know my symptoms and I trust how bad they will get and how long they will last. Stress plays a part as well. If I do things to stress myself out, or I allow certain external factors to stress me out, there is a definite uptick in symptoms, most notably head pressure, which as it increases, I notice it extends throughout my body as aches and pains. But the head pressure grows the more I focus on whatever is stressing me out, and in addition, my face becomes so sore that I canít smile or laugh because it feels like all the bone in my face is fractured everywhere.

These are my taper symptoms, which are present all the time, but do increase about 2-4 days after each reduction and settle back to a baseline level after about 10-12 days, sometimes sooner, depending on how well Iím taking care of my mental, emotional and physical bodies.

-Head pressure
-Memory loss
-Aching face
-Body aches and pains
-Confusion
-Moderate insomnia
-Low to moderate anxiety
-Cognitive impairment
-Occasional bouts of Nightmares
-Muscle tension
-Joint pain
-Constant low to moderate Tinnitus
-Gastrointestinal issues (tiredness immediately after eating)
-Low to moderate numbness and pins and needles
-Fatigue
-Weakness
-Low to moderate Inner vibrations/shaking
-Dizziness
-Blurriness
-Lack of motivation or interest after reductions
-low to moderate internal organ pain
-Burning eyes
-Burning skin from head to toe

There are probably several more symptoms, but itís the absence of certain symptoms and the level of the symptoms that are present that tells me Iím stabile and can comfortably make reductions.

I donít think you are stabile, given some of the symptoms you mention, symptoms I experienced myself when unstable, like the following -

-Hypersensitivity to light, loud noises, strong smells (I still notice Iím slightly sensitive, but more like a 2/10)
-Pressure on chest, feeling like you canít breathe
-Nausea
-I donít know the weather where you are, but if it is winter, enduring cold weather does feel like an extra symptom in itself??
-frequent tremors, shaking, jerking
-Not being able to listen to music or watch tv (this is a very big one, clearly showing how unstable you are)
-Not able to go outside (agoraphobia)

So you are clearly not stabile, but the question is Ďwhat to doí given that you feel you reach tolerance quickly and began feeling worse towards the end of a month on the 5mg Valium.

In what way did you start feeling worse? Weíre there certain symptoms that got worse and not others. Depression is initially quite common with Valium, and was for me, but it disappeared as I adjusted to it. At first, Valium does cause you to experience all of those symptoms you mentionedÖ depressed, lethargic, no motivation, drowsy, dizzy, balance and coordination problems, but they do resolve. You eventually adjust to the Valium, and things do smooth out.  Itís also normal to experience poor, erratic sleep and especially a lack of REM sleep on benzodiazepines, and I think you will find this with most members. But as I said, your body does get used to the Valium and itís a smoother ride from there.

When you say you canít listen to music or watch tv, are you experiencing fear through these mediums? I couldnít enjoy either of these because of the terrible fear I was experiencing, and both of these would exacerbate that fear.

Personally, I generally wait between 14-18 days before reducing again, but Iím stabile, and if you are not stabile, then you may not handle another reduction very well, even if it is only 2.5%. In my experience, any reduction I tried to make while I was unstable, resulted in suffering, and it was only after I stabilised that reductions (smaller reductions 5%) were well tolerated.

I canít help but wonder (and only you would know this) whether the initial affects of the Valium have anything to do with you feeling worse after several weeks. Your body may still be adjusting to the medication, which can take considerable time. It really does feel like a different drug once you adjust. Can you give me an idea of what symptoms you feel got worse over the first month of Valium before you reduced?




Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2023, 01:04:22 pm »
Hi [...], thank you for writing such a detailed and thoughtful post. It helps to understand my experience better by reading about yours! We do seem to have many symptoms in common. 

Unfortunately, I had a rough night and didn't get enough sleep. Lack of sleep always makes the other symptoms 10 times worse, and I don't feel capable of writing a response now. :sick:  I will write more tomorrow.

For now, I just want to to let you know that I deeply appreciate your reply and send some healing vibes your way. I hope they find you well.
 :angel: :hug:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2023, 03:04:36 pm »
Hello again [...], I had another rough night last night. I'm 4h low on sleep, yesterday there were 3h less than I need... I hope it does not become a pattern.  :-\ However, I will do my best to reply.

First, some clarification:  the reason I can't go outside and watch movies is not psychological, i.e. increased anxiety or phobia, rather neurological, as in my brain gets overly stimulated and I feel dizzy, nausea, like I'm about to throw up, my headache gets worse and I start shaking.  If I go lay down in a darkened room with noise cancelling headphones it usually gets better.

Also I don't want to go outside because yes, it's winter here, and the cold is another physical stressor  I do not want to contend with. As you said, stress of any kind makes my symptoms worse.

I do get some anxiety, true, but it's usually in the night when I wake up or in the morning after waking up. It's not related to anything really, just more like a feeling of dread, I don't know exactly how to explain it.

When I started feeling worse towards my first month on 5mg, it was not because of a worsening of the Valium side effects, they were the same from the beginning. While I don't like them, I don't worry about them.

What worries me was the fact that before I was able to go outside, to do my grocery shopping, even going to the mall without feeling like dying afterwards. Also I could not have friends over anymore, just talking and laughing bring those symptoms of shaking and nausea and not be able to breathe again. Also, I couldn't "feel" the diazepam kicking in after taking it anymore.

Problem is, I'm on my third sedative taper. First one was from pregabalin, CT by doctor. Second one was a 5 month benzo/z-drug rapid taper as per Aston Manual, after hitting tolerance with severe id/wd after 2 mo only.  That left me with a 5 year protracted period that ended when I had a concussion with seizures and doctors put me back on benzos.

The prognosis for somebody in my position to reinstate seems pretty poor, at least according to the consensus here. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=53305.0

I might never be able to stabilize in the way you are are explaining.  But I can say it is the first time I understood what "stabilizing" really means.  :)

For the moment I'm still on the 4,88mg dose.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2023, 07:53:18 am »
Update: it's a pattern.  :'( Sleep seems more and more elusive...
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2023, 09:17:35 am »
Hi [...]

Sorry I so abruptly dipped out there for some time, I really hope youíre doing ok (all things considered). I read a bit of your blog earlier and just wanted you to know that if you want to continue this conversation, please feel free, I am around.

Yes, cold weather is just another added symptom, so Iím not looking forward to winter here either.

If you have any questions or just want to talk through things, I am here.  :hug:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2023, 06:10:02 pm »
Hi [...], thanks for stopping by to reply to my thread.
For the moment, I've settled on a fixed schedule hyperbolic taper with 2,5% cuts every two weeks, as longer holds seem to make things worse. I'm going slowly and it's somewhat tolerable.

Will let you know if I need more advice, thanks for offering your help, you're too kind.
 :smitten:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the (Valium) question
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2023, 06:44:03 pm »
 :thumbsup:
Youíre very welcome  :smitten:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.