In 2015, almost 900,000 prescriptions were written for just two benzodiazepine drugs, with users becoming heavily dependent on them — often with painful results, says Helen O’Callaghan.
Medication wasn’t her thing — she hadn’t taken an antibiotic since 1987. But when Tipperary-based mother of two Catherine* experienced a “bad menopause” and didn’t sleep for months, her doctor asked in August 2007 if she’d try a bit of Valium.
Women's ALDO Bootie Beige Emely Ankle “I took no more than 5mg at night for two or three months. It worked — I was getting sleep.”
She planned to get off it by Christmas but her mother-in-law died and Catherine stayed on the Valium.
In early 2008, she was diagnosed with under-active thyroid: “I’d had no thyroid problem up to now.”
She got strange vibrations in her feet and tingling in her toes.
As time went on, Catherine got other symptoms: “Terrible sensations in my head and all through my body, like a revved-up sensation, like adrenalin was flowing and had nowhere to go”.
By early 2012, she’d been to every alternative therapist she could think of.
“I still thought the Valium was great stuff.”
She recalls her husband, a farmer who has been her rock, saying she was getting nowhere. And then she read a newspaper article about “the drug that steals women’s lives” — benzodiazepines, of which Valium is one.
Source: Helen O'Callaghan, The Irish Examiner, 21/07/17