Should I use diazepam for anxiety?
Diazepam, or Valium, is a tranquilizer drug in pill form which comes in very small dosages (e.g 2mg) to larger dosages (e.g 25mg). It is important to consider all dimensions when contemplating the use of medication to treat your anxiety. One of the biggest mistakes that professionals and doctors make is prescribing many anxious individuals with a drug in an arbitrary and “final resort” fashion. There are many different ways to take medication and this is only if you have considered all angles, deciding it’s the option for you. Do not take medication if you feel as though it’s the “only option” – it should be a choice made in confidence not an isolationist decision.
Firstly, I would like to shine some light on the positive experiences I have had with diazepam as the drug does not receive the credit it is due. Many Internet users recall their experiences as being addictive, unhelpful, increasing anxiety or even useless. However, my experience is very different. I first used diazepam for a two hour flight to Spain (so four hours in total there and back) and found that, while my experience taking off was slightly startling, it worked like a charm and I felt relatively tranquilized while on board. This was only 2 mg, the lowest dosage available. In fact, the cabin crew were extremely helpful and the entire experience was wonderful.
Secondly, I have used diazepam for my exam timetable in my final set of exams for my A-levels. I found it helped stopping nervous feelings and also tranquilized the anxiety for the duration of the next 48 hours, with the side effects gradually slipping thereon out over the next week. There were times where I felt as though my anxiety was non-existent given that the drug had kept me in such a blissful state for more than three days after taking a pill – for example, upon waking up some mornings, having taken the drug about 24hrs+ beforehand, I forgot I had anxiety at all and would even shower as I did prior to the beginning of anxiety which was an additional plus. While at first it provides a subtle “high” for about 20 minutes, it was helpful in relaxing me for the exam and I did not find it to altar or slow my thinking as is a stated side-effect on the packet. So, the drug has been useful when it comes to exam use. I initially started to use the drug on a regular weekly basis (e.g three times a week) during the stressful revision sessions but, due to its effect, found that I required it less as time continued. I eventually stopped taking it and only took it for specific exam days rather than a sporadic use over the course of the leading weeks. Using it in this way was highly beneficial and gave a nice transition into post-school holidays where I did not feel anxious at all for almost 2-3 weeks – including social events with large crowds of people and nightclubs. I did not experience any addictive symptoms and have not touched the packet of left-over pills in weeks.
So, to give some clarity – using diazepam like this is not the traditional way to use it. Many people take in diazepam on a daily-basis which can lead to addiction or reduce the effectiveness of the drug itself. I was advised by my GP to NOT take it on a daily basis for this reason. Because diazepam is effective in isolation, it means you do not need to take it on a daily basis because the release of friendly chemicals (which provide a short-term “high”) are substantial for up to 48 hours thereafter. This means that confusing your body by sporadic use will actually hit your anxiety hardest when it is most strongest, leaving it very weak for a very long period of time. Using medication this way, I have found, is the most effective method you can use and is worth trying – however, if you are already taking in medicinal substances, consult your GP as rapid change to an alternative or different dosage can lead to harmful effects of the body.
Another way of using diazepam for medicinal purposes is to take it as a relief drug. While this is not highly supported, it is one method of taking it effectively. For example, using your willpower and personal ability to confront anxiety or panic will help you immensely, but if things do get ‘too much’, taking a 2mg of diazepam will keep you on track for the next few days – on top of your willpower, this will allow you to keep on top of your anxiety for weeks in a row. As mentioned before, using the drug this way will mean that you strike your anxiety as its weakest and re-balance your thinking to a healthy state. Using this process will allow you to deal with it month-by-month with the assistance of medication. While I have personally not used it in this way, I keep my left-over drugs in case of emergency or similar.
To conclude then, there are drawbacks and positives to using diazepam but personally I wanted to write about my experience to debunk some of the negative accounts of it on the Internet. It has been personally very helpful for me and since having used it when I need it, I have placed more trust in my own ability to confront my panic rather than rely on the drug itself. With any medical advice, please consult your GP and invest time in exploring the right dosage for you.