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Story of a long time Benzo-user from Holland


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Hello everyone,


I (36 year old) have been taken benzo's (diazepam and alprazolam) for over 8 years now, I started with diazepam (3x2mg) in 2004, for my tension headaches, stress- /slight anxiety problems. And it worked well for me, the first months... I thought it was the solution for all my problems!


Over the years, the effect became less and less, and allready after 2 years I got serious anxiety problems, diagnose; General Anxiety Disorder...

So I started with anti-depressants; Venlafaxine, Duloxetine, Imipramine and about 5 other AD's.


In 2010 it really went wrong for me, I did not even dare to get out of my own house, my doctor prescribed me Olanzapine, but a week later I got in a psychiatric hospital, I was a mental wreck, I was depressed, had extreme anxiety problems, even personality disorders, and still chronic tension-headaches.


In this hospital I was given 4 types of medication, Alprazolam (4x0,5mg), Duloxetine, Mirtazapine and Quetiapine  :o

But when I came out of the hospital after 7 weeks, I did not feel any better than when I came in...


Sadly, after that I started using alcohol as medication, a bad idea but I was desperate. I stopped using Duloxetine and Quetiapine, and alcohol worked quite well in the beginning...


In october 2011 I was an official alcohol-addict, went to see an "addiction doctor", she adviced me to stop drinking (of course) and to get of the benzo's a.s.a.p. So I went to a withdrawal clinic, I got a quite short (as I now know) withdrawal schedule for diazepam (5 weeks).


But during the last weeks of my benzo-withdrawal, I could not handle all the mental and fysical problems, it was hell for me, I got suicidal thoughts.

I decided to get back on my "usual" dosis of diazepam (20mg), and started using Clomipramine, an old anti-depressant (TCA).


That was also horrible during the first weeks (more panic attacks, shaking etc), but after 6-7 weeks it started working, I'm no longer depressed and have no serious panic attacks at the moment  :).


During the period in this clinic (4 months) I got in touch with several other benzo-users, and read the Ashton Manual, and realized that all my mental problems were probably increased by using benzo's for so long... That was really a shock for me!!


The next step for me is to get of diazepam, using a very slow withdrawal-schedule. I'm scared of the long time withdrawal symtoms, but at the moment I feel strong enough to get of benzo's this year, and I will never use them again.




Edit: personal information removed

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Hello Franky :hug:

Welcome to benzobuddies sorry you have had such a rough time, so glad you found us

Have a look around others will be along shortly to welcome you, you will get a lot of support here

If you have any questions let us know


Take care


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Hello Franky,


Welcome to Benzo Buddies, we are so happy you found us. I'm so sorry that life has been tough for you but I am glad you are feeling more stable now. So many of us here developed worse and terrible symptoms after starting benzos, I did for sure.


Its good you have made yourself familiar with the Ashton method, slow and steady wins the race with benzo withdrawal.  The human body is pretty amazing and will heal from all the effects of these medications.  The one great healer is time.


Please feel free to ask questions and when you get a chance you might put in a signature line.




Make yourself at home, you will find some wonderfully kind and caring people here.





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Hello, thanks to both of you for you quick reply! It feels good to know I'm not the only one with benzo-problems, and as you might have noticed, English is not my primary language, so excuse me for any grammatical faults...


I'm still thinking of the best way to reduce my diazepam use, can I manage this at home, or in a specialized clinic?

That can be quite expensive here in Holland, up to 200 Euro's per day...


And can the withdrawal sypmtoms really persist during 1 year?? I'm very interrested in practical experiences from long time benzo users, their withdrawal schedules, and the duration of their withdrawal symptoms after their benzo-stop!


best regards, Franky

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Hi Franky :hug:

You can do this at home we will support you, is your doctor helping you?


Have you read Prof Ashtons Manual  http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

Feel free to look around the forum


Keep Posting

Magrita :)


Hi Magrita,


Yes, I read the Ashton Manual, that gave me a plausible explanation for my problems, I wish I had read this document many years ago...

But I can't change the past, only the future, I'm unable to work now, I lost my job 2 years ago.


My "family doctor" is the one who started prescribing benzo's in the first place, so it's difficult for me to ask him to withdraw from these pill's.

I'd rather sue him for prescribing benzo's, but I don't think that will make a difference, and he will probably retire this year...


But I will ask him to change my 5mg diazepam-pill's to 2mg, so I can withdraw my benzo-use in small steps.

My benzo-detox in the clinic was quite fast, reducing the dosis every week; 20 > 15 >10 > 5 > 2,5 > 0 mg. (diazepam)


During the fourth week, I could not take it anymore, it was a mental and physical torture  :(



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Hi Franky,

Welcome, glad you've found this site to help in your taper.  I'm sure all your questions and concerns will be addressed as you go about it.  And yes, you'll be able to do this at home.  In fact, you'll be much more comfortable and successful at home, I'm sure.  Your English is wonderful, by the way!

Challis :smitten:

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Hi Challis, thanks for your response, I'm glad my English is readable, although I have to use the "Spell Check" sometimes, very handy  ;)


I have one other question, don't know where to post it yet, this forum is quite large;


The Ashton Manual gives a list of equivalent dosages for benzo's. I used alprazolam for years and was put on diazepam for my withdrawal.

Here in Holland all medical documents I have read, and doctors I spoke use a simple factor 10 for convertion...

So I switched from 2mg alprazolam to 20mg diazepam. In the Ashton Manual I read a factor 20. ???


And in my opinion I felt already worse after switching to this dosage of diazepam; which "conversion factor" is correct, or is it an individual factor?

If the Ashton Manual is correct, which I believe, l have already reduced my benzo-use by 50%  :)


I wonder how other "BenzoBuddies" have experienced their convertion, like me from alprazolam to diazepam.


regards, Franky

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Hi Franky1975,

Welcome to Benzobuddies.

Franky according to the Ashton manual 2mgs Alprazolam is equivalent to 40 mgs Diazepam so it makes sense that you are not feeling right.

I am not familiar with Alprazolam, just checked the conversion for you. Hopefully someone who is more familiar with your drug will step in soon.

For any questions relating to your taper it would be an idea to post in the "Tapering" section of the forum.It does take a while to get used to the forum layout.

Debbie  :)

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Hi Franky and Debbie,


Alprazolam is generic for Xanax, so that's the equivalency to use...I never crossed over so can't be of much help in a crossover question. 


Help, anyone?


Challis :smitten:

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