Benzodiazepines (benzos): how we can help
You can cut down and stop using benzos on your own, but it may be easier if you get support from a drug and alcohol service like With You.
Benzos include diazepam (Valium), temazepam and alprazolam (Xanax).
We’ll work with you to understand the reasons for your benzo use and make a plan to cut down safely.
We can help if you’re buying benzos illegally or we can help you make a plan with your prescriber if they have been prescribed.
Avoid stopping benzos suddenly
Stopping suddenly can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures (fits).
What you need to know before you cut down
If you want to start cutting down your benzo use, there are a few things to be aware of:
- It may take a while to reduce or stop – we’ll work with you to stabilise your benzo use before you start to reduce. Reducing or stopping can take several weeks, depending on how many benzos you're taking and how long you've been taking them.
- You may need to use your own supply to reduce – we can’t usually prescribe benzos but we can support you to reduce safely using your own supply.
- Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms – we'll work with you to make sure any withdrawals are as manageable as possible. We may be able to prescribe medicines to relieve some symptoms, such as nausea or difficulty sleeping.
- Clear some space in your calendar – coming off benzos can be challenging. You may want to take some time off work or at least not expect too much of yourself for a few weeks.
- Mental health problems like depression and anxiety may get worse for a while – in some areas we can refer you directly to mental health services for support with this, or you can contact your GP.
How we’ll work with you
When you join one of our services, you’ll be paired with a named person who will be your main point of contact.
They will work with you to put together a plan to get you where you want to be, whether that’s cutting down benzos or stopping completely.
Your plan will be based on what you want to do at a pace that suits you.
If you need any medical help, they can help you to access this as well.
If you want to try reducing on your own
It’s easier and safer to reduce benzos with support from your GP or a drug and alcohol service, but if you want to try reducing on your own:
- don’t stop suddenly
- start with a small reduction and see how that goes
- once you feel stable at a lower dose, you can try another reduction
- be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms, such as feelings of anxiety or difficulty sleeping
- get medical advice if you get any severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures