FAQs

What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are tranquilisers and sleeping pills - a family of drugs prescribed for insomnia or anxiety. See our fact sheet.

How do I know whether the pills I take are a problem?

The recommended time for benzodiazepines to be prescribed is for no longer than 2 - 4 weeks, and only after other no-drug approaches have failed. If you have been taking tranquilisers for longer than this, you might like to complete our Dependency Checklist. If you tick yes to more than 2 questions, why not give our support line a call on 1300 273 266 to talk through your concerns.

I am reducing my use of benzos which is good – but I feel terrible all the time! Is it really worth it?

It is! People who are reducing their benzos experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, even while they are still taking some medication. We can help you manage these symptoms and they will get better. People often tell us that when they finally are able to stop taking benzos completely, they feel like they have got their life back.

But my doctor told me that there is definitely no problem with benzos. Why would they say this?

Sometimes callers tell us this, however there is significant research showing that benzos cause dependency and that withdrawing can be extremely difficult for some people. All guidelines, even the drug companies’ own, limit prescription of benzos to 2 – 4 weeks. You could check our Facts, stats and experience summary and show it to your doctor. You can call the support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss an appointment with a counsellor who can help with strategies.

My medications are beginning to worry me. I am increasing my dose because they just don’t seem to work anymore. What should I do?

You may be experiencing tolerance. Benzodiazepines are not a long term treatment and they begin to lose their effectiveness after a while. Tolerance is not uncommon, and there are ways to help manage this. Call our support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss strategies.

I use other substances too. Can you help me?

We can usually help you with withdraw from benzos even if you are using other substances. Call our support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss strategies for reducing or withdrawing, and to help identify what you would like to focus on reducing first.

If you are looking for support to withdraw from other substances, we recommend calling Directline on 1800 888 236.

How do I talk to my family? They just don’t understand what I am experiencing.

It’s very common for our callers to experience this. Benzo dependency is a very widespread, but very hidden problem and the symptoms of withdrawal are not well understood. You could check out our fact sheets – they might help you explain to your family. You could encourage them to call our support line on 1300 273 266 to talk through typical symptoms and experiences. We can also provide consultations for family members. You might also like to think about our support group: it can help people to stay connected during their withdrawal.

My doctor told me that they won’t prescribe my benzos anymore. I am frightened about what is about to happen to me.

Unfortunately this happens from time to time, although most doctors are well aware that sudden withdrawal is not recommended for benzos. It’s really important to try to find another doctor who can prescribe for you while you withdraw, then if you enter our program, our counsellor works with you and your doctor to manage your gradual reduction. This tends to relieve any concerns the doctor might have. However, if you are forced to go “cold turkey”, try to make sure you have friends or family nearby who can help you through the first week or two. Call our support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss symptom management and ask about coming into the benzo counselling program.

I get very anxious and have panic attacks. It’s getting difficult just to do normal things.

There are several effective strategies for managing panic attacks. Try our fact sheets and call the support line on 1300 273 266.

I haven’t been able to stop taking benzos and I don’t have a doctor. I am buying them online or on the street. What can I do?

It’s important to try to find a prescribing GP to work with you on a gradual withdrawal. Medication bought informally (on the street or online) may not be as advertised, and you may face the additional risk of not being able to obtain your regular dose. If you are forced to go “cold turkey”, try to make sure you have friends or family nearby who can help you through the first week or two. And call the support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss strategies for reducing or withdrawing.

My benzo use is out of control – I can’t seem to keep it stable.

Try keeping a diary – many people find this helpful as they work to steady their usage. If you are using benzos to manage panic attacks, remember that most benzos take at least 15 to 20 minutes to take effect, so other strategies such as breathing techniques are much more effective. Call the support line on 1300 273 266 to discuss strategies for reducing or withdrawing.

I stopped taking benzos months ago, but I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. How is this possible?

Unfortunately some people experience what is known as protracted withdrawal syndrome and experience symptoms well after they cease taking benzos. Regardless of whether you are still taking benzos or not, there are strategies that will help you manage your symptoms. Call the support line on 1300 273 266.

What services does Reconnexion provide?

See our list of services or call 1300 271 266.