These drugs are potent and highly addictive and withdrawal can be complicated, painful and traumatic. Successful and safe withdrawal from the prescribed dose can take six to eighteen months, and may be followed by a post-withdrawal syndrome. Many addicts are unable to withdraw without specialised help.
The Department of Health has for many years excluded this illness from treatment.
The National Treatment Agency (now Public Health England) which provides drug services for the Department of Health had no remit to provide tranquilliser withdrawal services until April 2013 and still treats involuntary tranquilliser addicts as substance misusers.
GPs often do not have the time, training or expertise to deal with this problem.
After taking benzodiazepines for longer than two weeks DO NOT STOP ABRUPTLY STOP – gradual tapering is required.
A list of Voluntary Support is given below:
- BenzoBuddies Community Forum – Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Support.
- Oldham Tranx, The Link Centre for Independent Living, 140 Union Street, Oldham OL1 1DZ, England, UK. Meets on Mondays from 11:00am – 1:00pm. Phone: 01457 876355 or email Barry Haslam.
- Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project, 88 Henleaze Road, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4JY. Telephone/Fax: 0117 962 2509 (Office) · 0117 962 8874 (Helpline) · Mon – Thurs 10am – 4pm (UK Time) · Email email@example.com.
- Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction (CITA), JDI Centre, 3-11 Mersey View, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 6QA, England UK. Tel: 0151 474 9626, Fax: 0151 284 8324. Helpline: 0151 932 0102 (Mondays to Fridays 10am-1pm). Advice and support for people addicted to tranquillisers and sleeping tablets. Information, advice and leaflets available on anxiety, tranquillisers and anti-depressants. Training offered for professionals.
- The Bridge Project / Bradford Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Service. Contact Jon Royle, Services for Drug Users, 35 Salem Street, Bradford BD1 4QH; email: Jon.Royle@bradford.nhs.uk. Open to any adult residing in Bradford who requires help and support to reduce or cease their use of benzodiazepines.
- Recovery Road – Self-help information for those affected by tranquilliser and antidepressant use and dependence.
- Prescribed Medication Support Service, Mold, North East Wales. Contact Julie Taylor.
- Belfast Health and Social Care Board: Tranquilliser Withdrawal Support. Contact David Mckeown.
- NECA (North East Council for Addiction), Bridge View House, 15 – 23 City Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 2AF · Tel: 0191 222 1262 · Fax: 0191 263 9908 · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Professor Heather Ashton is a member of the NECA Executive Committee.
- Reconnexion (formerly Tranx Australia). Australian site treating anxiety, panic, depression, benzodiazepine dependency.
- Tranx Services Incorporated, New Zealand, PO Box 68-701, Newton, Auckland, NZ. Telephone (09) 356-7305. Fax (09) 356-7315. Email: email@example.com.
- PATIENTS’ RIGHTS ADVOCACY, Waikato Incorporated, 65 Tawa Street, Hamilton, New Zealand. Telephone (International): + 64 – 7 – 8435 837 . Contact: Anna de Jonge. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.