advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Overcoming Withdrawal Symptoms?

When my friend found out that the diazepam her husband was taking is addictive, she took him off immediately, cold turkey. Now he is suffering with the horrible side effects of withdrawal. Are there any natural remedies to ease these effects?

A
Answer (Published 5/28/2009)

Diazepam (one brand name is Valium) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant prescribed to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to help control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal (indeed, some drug experts call it "alcohol in a pill"). It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (others are Xanax, Klonepin, Ativan, and Halcion).

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Balance - Too much of anything can be harmful - including vitamins. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes into account your age, gender and health history to determine the optimal dosage. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Vitamin & Supplement Recommendation today.

As with many drugs that have depressant effects on the CNS, it is a big mistake to stop taking this type of medication cold turkey. The withdrawal can be dangerous, and you are likely to experience worsening of conditions the drug was originally prescribed to relieve. The way to break dependence is to wean off the drug gradually, according to your physician's instructions.

Because diazepam can be habit-forming, no one should take more than the dosage prescribed, take it more frequently, or continue to take it for any longer than your physician has directed. In any case, never take it for more than four months. Long term or excessive use can lead to "tolerance" - meaning that the dosage will become less effective and you'll need more to get the same effects you did initially.

All benzodiazepines slow the bio-electrical activity of the brain. When you stop taking these drugs suddenly, brain activity can rebound so much as to cause seizures. Other withdrawal symptoms can include abdominal and muscle cramps, sweating, tremors, and vomiting, and tapering off these drugs should be done under medical supervision.

It may be of some benefit to use the herb valerian (Valeriana officinalis) to reduce anxiety and as an aid to sleep. Valerian is available as a tincture, extract and in tablet form. Look for products standardized to one percent valerenic acid. Take two capsules every 4-6 hours as needed. Acupuncture might help as well.

To help with relaxation and stress reduction during withdrawal, I also suggest practicing a breathing technique called the Relaxing Breath.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here