Diazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative drug. It is usually prescribed for treating anxiety, muscle spasms, epilepsy, restlessness and alcohol withdrawal.
This drug is a sedative and a muscle relaxant and is viewed as very useful in treating the above conditions, although it is only usually prescribed as a short term solution as it is highly addictive. Diazepam is not a pain killer but its muscle relaxing properties can bring relief to patients suffering with muscle spasm or tetanus (other wise known as lock jaw). The drug is only recommended short term as tolerance builds up quickly and addiction is highly likely.
Those addicted to Diazepam suffer from lethargy, panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia and sleep problems.
Those dependent on alcohol are particularly vulnerable if prescribed this drug. While it is does alleviate the effects of withdrawing from alcohol it can create the misapprehension that the drug is a solution to the alcoholism. Thus one addiction may replace another or even occur alongside the other.
Diazepam is also an extremely difficult drug to give up. The detox usually has to be a very gradual reduction programme, especially if the person has been taking Diazepam for a long time.
As a recovering addict myself and someone who has also lived with a parent suffering with alcohol and Diazepam addiction, I have witnessed how becoming addicted to this drug has prolonged the agony for not only the addict but also for their family around them. Although prescribed as a short term solution, the dangers in my opinion out way the benefits. Tolerance to the drug and addiction is soon established and may lead a patient back to their drug of choice.
Coming off Diazepam
Trying to come off prescribed drugs of this nature is dangerous if attempted alone and on self will. The patient should seek advice from their GP. There are treatment centres such as the Haynes clinic that provide a safe detox and an opportunity to learn about the disease of addiction. Also being introduced to self help groups to sustain recovery and find freedom from addiction is in my experience the way forward and has proved to be a solution in the long term.