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Where were the Valium withdrawals in the 1970’s?


[Ri...]

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Valium. “Mothers little helper.”  HUGE in the 1970’s so where were all of the withdrawals?  I also just read that just over 20% of prescriptions include a Benzo today.  So, where are all the withdrawing people then and now?

 

Just curious ….

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[57...]
I'm wondering where all the benzo withdrawals are now too.  I just did a quick Google search and as of 2019 there are 30.5 million adults on benzo drugs.  Given how difficult it is to withdraw from these drugs I'm wondering if most people will use benzos for the rest of their life??  It takes a lot of willpower to come off this drug.
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@[ro...]

 

@kate08 - Very interesting book!

 

I still wonder and would think an army of people would be withdrawing and helping get this topic to the surface today.  We can’t be so alone can we?  Humm…

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@liberatas - Then maybe we are psyching ourselves out?  We did take this medicine at first for anxiety after all and it likely just returns to us. I know this is different because of the tinnitus and hyperacusis.  Do you possibly have any study on most people coming off just fine? (Not some website .com that’s likely sponsored by big pharma!)
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Benzodiazepine Deprescribing Guidance Document (2022)

https://corxconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/Benzo-Deperscribing.pdf

 

Estimates of Patients Experiencing Withdrawal - Benzodiazepine Information Coalition

https://www.benzoinfo.com/estimates-of-patients-experiencing-withdrawal/

 

For a previous Chewing the Fat discussion on this topic:

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=250456.msg3185657#msg3185657

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I saw that movie about Barbara Gordon. She was played by Jill Clayburgh. A harrowing book and a harrowing movie aside from being tragic.

 

So who does experience significant withdrawl sx?  I’d say that’s very individual and depends on not only the person, but their own perception of what they are going through.

 

Even these cited articles/thread show that anywhere from 30%-40%-50% of people withdrawing experience different degrees of sx.

 

I do not believe that people on BB are outliers in any way.

 

People here report sx and problems in varying degrees. Some have it “easy,” and some have trying sx, while others truly “suffer.”

 

Let’s not make light of something that truly is serious and important. If you feel well, thank goodness. If you don’t, you don’t. And I understand that. I understand a lot.

 

I do not think anyone is necessarily “psyching themselves out.” They feel what they feel.

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@liberatas - Then maybe we are psyching ourselves out?  We did take this medicine at first for anxiety after all and it likely just returns to us. I know this is different because of the tinnitus and hyperacusis.  Do you possibly have any study on most people coming off just fine? (Not some website .com that’s likely sponsored by big pharma!)

 

I can speak to the fact that many people do have an easy time of it by simply reading post after post of members who have taken and stopped the drug previously with no problem until this time.  They can't understand what happened, why they suddenly get hit with horrific symptoms.  Perhaps all of those who have little to no difficulty quitting these drugs are just one reinstatement away from joining us.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Valium. “Mothers little helper.”  HUGE in the 1970’s so where were all of the withdrawals?  I also just read that just over 20% of prescriptions include a Benzo today.  So, where are all the withdrawing people then and now?

 

Just curious ….

 

Hi Ricky,

I've done a ton of research on PubMed over the years, and I've posted on this topic before. If you're interested in looking it up, you can go to PubMed (just Google that) and put "benzodiazepine" in the search box, and go back to the years you're interested in. You may find that you can't access the abstracts -- only the titles -- at this point. That's what I found last time I looked. But there's all kinds of interesting literature there. I remember finding titles like "Withdrawal Psychosis", and topics like withdrawal seizures and neonatal withdrawal, i.e. babies born to mothers who were on benzodiazepines during their pregnancies. People definitely had withdrawal symptoms back then.

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  • 1 month later...

I just saw this thread.  Here is my experience.  I was prescribed Ativan in 2005 for anxiety although I did not seek out treatment for anxiety.  A very arrogant doctor who was trying to treat me for some symptoms finally just said that I needed to see a psychiatrist which I did.  Anyway you know the rest of the story.  After I was taking Ativan for about 8 years I finally started to wonder about  the length of time I had been taking it even though the psych said not to worry about it.

 

After learning about the Ashton Manual.  I decided to try and taper using it.  I visited BB for the first time and after reading some posts, I wondered what the fuss was all about.  I tapered from 2 mg/day down to .75 within a few weeks by breaking the tiny pill into quarters.  No apparent withdrawal symptom and I felt better than I had in a long time.  I started running, we were travelling, life was good.

 

Primary Care Doc who was now prescribing was happy with this reduction so I just held it.

 

Fast forward to 2019.  I decide to finish withdrawal.  I started to just break down my pills like I did before.  Then the storm hit!!!  Some pain I had started having prior intensified drastically so updosed to 1.25/day.  I had horrible anxiety and tinnitus etc.  I came back to BB to get some sound tapering advice  and reread the Ashton Manual.  Now I am cutting 3% and holding and it is extremely difficult.

 

So what was the difference from my first taper and then the second?  I don't know.  I do know the pain I had started having was making me have anxiety and of course COVID started at about the same time.  Even though  I didn't feel freaked out by COVID I think subconsciously it had more effect on me than I realized.  I was also 6 years older and post menopausal.....who knows why the second taper is horrible and the first time it was a breeze.....

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

These are very interesting questions.  I can only refer to my own experience, but my off-and-on use dates back to the 80s, possibly even the 70s, with absolutely no clue about withdrawal or side effects.  I think I did experience them, but blamed myself, just thinking I was crazy.  So too I would guess others back then might have presumed about themselves, and so it seems unlikely there are any useful records.

 

clearbluesky

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Strange -- I was just commenting on this on another thread.  Just about when Valium sales were dipping -- Hoffman LaRoche sold their patent by the 1980s after they made millions.  Then faster acting Xanax was created.

There is a theory that the public -- especially women -- were catching on to the downside of valium from Barbara Gordon's book, "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can" and subsequent movie with Jill Clayburgh. 

 

Warning: this trailer to the movie might upset some.  However, it is dated.  Like most movies about drug use, cinema is limited in  capturing the experience.  The movie didn't cut it with film critics but it got the message out about valium

https://www.vudu.com/content/movies/play/49877/TRAILER?returnUrl=%252Fcontent%252Fmovies%252Fdetails%252FI-m-Dancing-As-Fast-As-I-Can%252F49877

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Thanks for the link.  I'm glad that movie raised awareness of the dangers of benzos!  Even if most of us don't go around screaming, and it's really not "addiction" so much as physical dependence.

 

I should add to my post above that back in the 80's I would have mistaken withdrawal as just proof of my own craziness....I also would have taken it  as proof why I should keep taking the benzo!

 

And sadly, I still see the same reasoning all the time in any NYTimes comment sections about antidepressants.  I even hear it from friends.  They passionately defend their antidepressant use, saying if they go off it, usually these days an SSRI or SNRI, they are a mess, which they take as proof of their innate mental issues and need for the drug.  They do not know it could be withdrawal.

 

These drugs are consumer products even more perfect than cigarette addiction, if quitting itself seems to prove the need to continue.

 

clearbluesky

 

 

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By 1979 Congress KNEW there was something wrong with librium and valium.  https://www.nytimes.com/1979/09/11/archives/senate-panel-is-told-of-dangers-of-valium-abuse-a-nightmare-of.html

 

"Asked by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the subcommittee chairman, whether Valium alone was a problem in American society, Dr. Pursch replied that he had seen people become addicted to the tranquilizer in only six weeks."

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Disheartening.  So it is not a matter of not knowing how dangerous these drugs are.  They've known for over 40 years.  Still patients are sucked down the rabbit hole, lives destroyed, and this proposed "anxiety screening" program would increase these numbers.  The Canadians get it:

 

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/canadian-doctors-psychiatrists-don-t-recommend-routine-adult-anxiety-screening-1.6080167

 

The Canadian response brings up such obvious pitfalls, makes you wonder about Big Pharma influences on the American side.  Aren't there watchdog groups to address this?

 

clearbluesky

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Check this out:

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30921478/

 

Excerpt:

 

"Authors' conclusions: Low-quality evidence shows a possible superiority of benzodiazepine over placebo in the short-term treatment of panic disorders. The validity of the included studies is questionable due to possible unmasking of allocated treatments, high dropout rates, and probable publication bias. Moreover, the included studies were only short-term studies and did not examine the long-term efficacy nor the risks of dependency and withdrawal symptoms. Due to these limitations, our results regarding the efficacy of benzodiazepines versus placebo provide only limited guidance for clinical practice. Furthermore, the clinician's choice is not between benzodiazepines and placebo, but between benzodiazepines and other agents, notably SSRIs, both in terms of efficacy and adverse effects. The choice of treatment should therefore be guided by the patient's preference and should balance benefits and harms from treatment in a long-term perspective."

 

(my take)..... "Possible" "low quality" evidence.  So there is only marginal proof of benzo effectiveness with panic disorder, even without comparative analysis of risks and negative outcomes.  That's pretty bad, imo.

 

But just for the sake of argument, let's imagine there really was proven benzo effectiveness over placebo.  Even then, recommended use would be limited to 6 weeks, hardly long enough to make a difference.  Moreover, if effective, the patient would be highly motivated to continue use past the recommended 7-week treatment period, setting in motion a psychological dependency that encourages further use that would create physical dependency, ala "addiction."  So even if benzos were effective over placebo, which apparently hasn't been well-proven, ultimately it leads to either a no-gain or negative outcome.

 

Haven't claims of SSRI/SNRI effectiveness been disproven, too?

 

This study only looks at panic disorder, but would it not apply to other conditions benzos are prescribed for?  What can be effectively treated in just 6 weeks?

 

"Anxiety screening" would pick up the gamut from circumstantial anxiety to more entrenched conditions.  But even circumstantial anxiety, stress from loss of job or spouse, for instance, is not likely resolved in 6 weeks.  Much less ongoing social/political/economic circumstances.....and who isn't anxious about those?

 

At best 6 weeks of benzo use could help a patient until another form of treatment is in place.  But what would that be?  There aren't enough talk therapists as it is, and many insurance plans don't cover them.

 

Being on the front lines of such dilemmas, I would think primary physicians would oppose "anxiety screening."  Has the AMA taken a position on it?

 

clearbluesky

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are clearly powerful entities behind the reasons why these drugs have been able to fool the general public for decades from acknowledging/questioning the status quo.

 

And it does seem like human nature is to trust doctors, and not to question something when it seems to be working or at least harmless at the time. Or if a paradoxical reaction...well just more "proof" that one needs to be on the drug.

 

I know that I would not have been open to listening to sound reasoning on any potential harm with the sleep med Ambien. Oddly, I've always considered myself a cautious person in this area of drugs...and just assumed it was no more than a harmless sleeping pill. :-\

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I think its because benzo withdrawal symptoms mimic mental illness and since benzo's are considered a psychiatric they can just play it off as you are mentally ill. How many people do you think have been polydrugged into oblivion because they were told that the withdrawal symptoms were just mental illness. Heck, its probably still happening today. If I hadn't found this website I would think I am going crazy. (sometimes I do think I am crazy, lol)
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I think its because benzo withdrawal symptoms mimic mental illness and since benzo's are considered a psychiatric they can just play it off as you are mentally ill. How many people do you think have been polydrugged into oblivion because they were told that the withdrawal symptoms were just mental illness. Heck, its probably still happening today. If I hadn't found this website I would think I am going crazy. (sometimes I do think I am crazy, lol)

 

The thing is I was c/t'd off of both Ambien and Ativan at the same time, during the year I mentioned above. I didn't realize it was the drugs causing my nightmare symptoms (for almost an entire year).

 

It was one of my many Inpatient visits during that year that these doctors abruptly stopped Ativan....THEN during another Inpatient visit I was ripped off of Ambien. They must have realized the drugs were the problem....why else c/t me off of them?

 

Fortunately, I had enough Ambien at home that saved me from enduring who knows what.....possibly a seizure could have occurred!

 

Also, I was on Ambien for insomnia....NOT depression/anxiety etc. After I reacted to Ambien, which then landed me Inpatient voluntarily, I was immediately given Ativan! I was clueless to the dangers of these drugs. AND desperate when Ativan entered this nightmare scene.....

 

Ativan actually helped a little to calm things down. But it turned on me within a few weeks...I can't remember exactly the time frame....I just know soon after starting Ativan, it stopped working as well as it had initially.

 

The very fact you're here...says a lot...you're totally sane. I would say more on the subject of sanity, but it's best I don't as it enters the realm of the one's who think they're sane ;D

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I think its because benzo withdrawal symptoms mimic mental illness and since benzo's are considered a psychiatric they can just play it off as you are mentally ill. How many people do you think have been polydrugged into oblivion because they were told that the withdrawal symptoms were just mental illness. Heck, its probably still happening today. If I hadn't found this website I would think I am going crazy. (sometimes I do think I am crazy, lol)

I know its so horrible!! Benzo wd symptoms sound like you are insane, if I tell anything at all I just say well I have some of those muscle shocks when I try t fall asleep, I mean if I d say I hear weird sounds up to 50 times a night and wake up every hour sometimes or just dont sleep more than 2 or 3 hours for days and still dont feel sleepy, they just think i have lost it. Let alone when I still had dp/dr and like my arms didnt feel like mine LOL.

 

I drive by a huge psych hospital almost daily, ironically my mom used to work there as a psych and prescribe benzos and what not (she is horrified now that she didnt know). I watch the people walking down there (its a nice parky area) and they look sooooo drugged out and i didnt know, b4 benzos i was like look at all the crazy people and now i am like oh no poor souls what did they mess you all up with...  :-\ i mean i am sure a lot of them do have issues but now i am also sure they are probab polydrugged for years and in some kind of hell.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think that years ago many probably suffered in silence or were institutionalized since there probably wasn't much info at the library. I believe a lot have left this planet not knowing what was wrong with them and not having adequate medical support. I felt like this now in 2022 and at this point in time I'm so sad that info on benzo use and withdrawal is not everywhere if physicians are still prescribing these meds. I thought I was crazy, I've had symptoms for many years that I only now can attribute to my Clonazepam and Lorazepam use. I'm still trying to process this and I'm so very disillusioned, angry and sad.

 

The other thing is when I was left with no one but myself I went to the internet and finally found this site and others that have helped me so much. I now know that I am not crazy, always knew I wasn't an addict but was labeled as such, even with no indications of such behavior. The problem is it took me a long time to find this info. When looking up benzo withdrawal I found a list of addiction web sites that weren't helpful. I wish I could remember what I googled that brought me here. I now have found other helpful places but it wasn't without a lot of searching on my part. I almost gave up. I believe there are a lot of people suffering who sadly just haven't found an answer.

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I know when i was put on 30mg of valium about 10 years ago for the cross over from xanax it was waaayyy too much. I had never seen this site, knew nothing of benzos and just couldnt figure out why i was freaking out during the day after being prescribed .5 for sleep that quickly turned into 3MG a night for sleep by my Dr. after about 3 months. When i first started valium i was high as a kite. The Dr. took me down from 30 to 25, then another week later down to 20mg, then another week later down to 15MG, then another week later down to 10mg and thats when i felt like i was hit by a truck, it felt exactly like i had the flu...just horrible with panick attacks and anxiety to the roof. I called and she upped my dose to 15 and i was fine. Now, at time i knew NOTHING about benzos...yet that quick dosage taper hit me hard. I wasnt expecting it, had no expectations. So i know its real when it comes to this stuff and not in my mind. At the same time i know someone that was put on 1MG of xanax for 6 months...she took it every night. One day the Dr. said lets get you off that stuff, got her off in 2 weeks. Had her cut dose completely in half one week, then take .25 the whole next week then out. She didnt feel one thing during it. Our brains all deal with this stuff in a different way, each one of us. No two are the same. I know when i tried to tell my family this time about "interdose withdrawls" and that i needed to get off this and onto valium they rolled thier eyes and said NO, your wrong....its just your usual anxiety coming out. And im sure thats exactly what happened to most people in 70s coming off this garbage. They were prob told its just how they are now, better get use to it...then they just thought they had gotten worse. You cant understand how bad it is until you go through it. People just dont get it....i really hate the people that say "yeah, i remember one time i got real nervous cause of a test i had to take" makes me want to scream.
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I think that years ago many probably suffered in silence or were institutionalized since there probably wasn't much info at the library. I believe a lot have left this planet not knowing what was wrong with them and not having adequate medical support. I felt like this now in 2022 and at this point in time I'm so sad that info on benzo use and withdrawal is not everywhere if physicians are still prescribing these meds. I thought I was crazy, I've had symptoms for many years that I only now can attribute to my Clonazepam and Lorazepam use. I'm still trying to process this and I'm so very disillusioned, angry and sad.

 

The other thing is when I was left with no one but myself I went to the internet and finally found this site and others that have helped me so much. I now know that I am not crazy, always knew I wasn't an addict but was labeled as such, even with no indications of such behavior. The problem is it took me a long time to find this info. When looking up benzo withdrawal I found a list of addiction web sites that weren't helpful. I wish I could remember what I googled that brought me here. I now have found other helpful places but it wasn't without a lot of searching on my part. I almost gave up. I believe there are a lot of people suffering who sadly just haven't found an answer.

 

Same thing with me. I googled benzo withdrawal and all I got was a bunch of detox centers that said withdrawal only lasted for a month or so. I didnt find this site until I was about 3 months off and it was completely by accident. I also dont remember how I found this site but is was definitely not a straight google search. Its to bad benzo buddies and benzowithdrawalhelp or even benzoinfo were not on the first or second page of my original google search. Things probably would have turned out a lot different for me if I had gotten good information when I needed it.

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