So tell me a little bit about VALIUM

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I'm not a person that often takes drugs.

    However, after being tossed around a rather nasty flight through
    a storm about a year ago, I have become rather apprehensive of
    flying. It's sort of sad, because flying used to never bother me up
    until the point I thought I was on a roller coaster ride (and I hate
    such rides).

    Co-workers suggested I take Valium. It sounded like a good idea.
    After all, it seems like I can take one and enjoy the flight as if I
    didn't have a care in the world.

    My doctor prescribed me a small handful of 5mg pills. I only needed
    enough for the flights I had booked through the rest of this year.

    Just sort of wondering what the Valium experience will be like:

    1. How many hours does it stay effective? In other words, is
    5mg good for a 6-hour flight?

    2. How long after taking it does it kick in?

    3. What is the the Valium experience like? Will it make me sleep
    or just put me in a tranquil state? Can I get up and move freely
    around the cabin of the plane if I need to?

    I realize to some this entire thread may sound silly, but seriously,
    I am not the kind of person who pops pills regularly enough to know
    what the experience is like. I am interested in hearing what you guys
    think of the drug.
     
  2. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    Ron, Valium (aka dizaepam) basically acts on the same parts of your brain as alcohol. Both work by activating the GABA receptors on neurons in the brain, which then suppress the stimulation of those neurons by other neurotransmitters. Basically it depresses your entire central nervous system. It's not quite the same as alcohol, so the effects are a bit different, but the overall effect is not that dissimilar to being drunk.

    As far as time goes, diazepam is one of the longer-acting benzodiazepenes, with a half life of over 20 hours (so it can take 5 or mroe days to clear it entirely from your system), but it's not working at full strength that entire time. That also makes the effects more subtle as it wears off, so whereas you can have horrible withdrawal from the short-acting benzos, diazepam is a much gentler drug on the system, and also has lower abuse potential. That also means it's not as potent and the effects aren't felt as strongly on the front. It should start taking effect fairly quickly, within an hour or so of taking it. I'd say pop the pill right before you board the plane.

    As for the dose size itself, 5 mg is a fairly small dose, but it's plenty for what you're doing. You don't want to use it to put you to sleep, but rather simply to calm your nerves down, so for that use 5 mg should be plenty. In addition, the lower dose again reduces abuse potential, which is the biggest problem with the benzos. Diazepam doesn't have this as badly because of the longer half life to begin with, but even still the smallest effective dose is the best. But if you find it's not working as well as you'd like, taking a second pill is actually bringing you up to what's the usual dose of the drug in the first place.
     
  3. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    10mg's is the usual dose then? I had a friend who's mother used to take 34 or 35 mg pills of Valium......wow.
     
  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Ron, just don't take too much that it has you loaning out your new iPhone to strangers at the airport. [​IMG]
     
  5. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Yes, I agree that the best time would be when you actually (!) start boarding. And 5mg should certainly be enough for your purpose.

    If your flight is relatively short and you want to hire a car on your destination, you should think again. You don't want to hire a car (don't know the car) at an unfamiliar destination (don't know the roads) when you took a valium less than 6-9 hours before. Also, and especially if you're plans involve driving, don't use any alcohol together with the valium.

    Have a great trip, Ron!


    Cees
     
  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    If you are aprehensive about this, I would ask your doctor about taking a test run in the comfort of your own home. I would much rather discover any adverse side effects at home rather than being trapped on a flight.
     
  7. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I've taken Valium, because I HATE flying, and found that it barely lasts the 2+ hour flight from Seattle to LA. But I'm a big boy too. It simply puts me into a relaxed state, where I can put on the iPod and try to forget I'm flying.
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thanks everyone for your responses.


    Jordan, how many mg were you taking?

    Would it be a safe bet to presume for a 6-hour flight I should
    take one, then 3 hours later take another?
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've been prescribed 5mg Valium to help me with my Meneire's Disease attacks-inner ear malfunction that can cause 3-6 hour bouts of severe vertigo. It pretty effectively prevents the panic that usually accompanies these episodes and allows me to actually fall asleep and ride them out. Luckily I haven't had such an attack in over 2 years thanks to a low sodium diet and mild diuretic that prevents the inner ear fluid buildup that leads to the attacks.

    On the two occasions when I did take it, the effects lasted at least 6 hours, but I was mentally dulled and felt exhausted for at least another 24, more due to the vertigo attack itself than the valium.

    I am a recovering alcoholic and thus much more prone to addiction than most, and can verify that Valium is much like alcohol in it's effects except that there are no physical hangover symptoms like nausea or headaches. Back in the 70s and 80s it was widely prescribed to alkies like me who were suffering minor DTs, and led to a lot of dual-addiction among practicing alcoholics.

    If one 5 mg can get me thru a 6 hour attack of all-out vertigo I would tend to think that it should be enough to get through a long plane ride.

    I would add that I didn't feel competent to drive a car within 18 hours or so of taking one, ymmv.
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    No that wouldn't be safe, Ron.
    Like Chris said: half-life time is about 20 hours. You would be accumulating diazepam above the level according to your intended effect.


    Cees
     
  11. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I can ask my sis-in-law. She's a pharmacist.
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    You know, there's a reason the airlines push booze on their flights....

    Ron, have you considered other forms of therapy? One suggestion is to learn about the native bouyancy of the air by taking a flight in a small plane...the older and slower the better. You may find flights in a classic open-cockpit biplane around Jersey someplace. When you go swimming in a pool, you don't worry about falling down and striking the concrete bottom, do you? Same thing with the air. The problem with modern jets is they go so fast that their motion through the air reminds one more of a stone skipping across a lake rather than of a boat cruising across the lake.

    Where's our resident headshrinker, Andrew Markworthy, when we need him the most...
     
  13. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    I've never taken a Valium or flew on a plane.......but I think Jeff's idea is perfect.

    Try it at home first.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Dennis,

    Was most interested in your feedback. I am not sure how your
    suggestion helps nor the reference to not feeling fear when
    swimming in a pool.

    I have flown for years without fear. A year or more ago we
    flew through an awful, awful storm. The plane was shaking
    intensely, and even worse, suddenly dropping to the point that
    you felt your stomach in your throat. I was sweating bullets
    feeling as if the plane was just going to tear apart.

    I'm not a roller-coaster person. I don't like motion rides.
    This is not an amusement ride but a real situation. I just
    want to be inebriated to the point where I don't get anxious
    in these situations which seem to affect me more than they
    have before.
     
  15. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron -
    I completely agree with Jeff. Definitely do a trial run to see how your body reacts to Valium. Especially if the possibility is there that you will need to be on your toes - business meeting, driving, etc.
    About 20 years ago, I took them to help get my migraines under control. They put me to sleep. Now, I don't recall the dosage but I do remember how dopey I felt after I woke up.
     
  16. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Supporting Actor

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    Ron, I had a situation fairly similar to yours.

    For years I had flown without incident, until about 10 years ago, while on the runway waiting to take off for the UK, I was suddenly striken by a horrendous panic attack. My whole skin seemed to be screaming, and I had to use every ounce of self-control I had to keep in my seat.

    As soon as I was in the air, it passed. But the ripples from this are still being felt. The next time I was due to fly, weeks in advance I felt my body filling with apprehension. A last minute call to the doctors got me a pill to take that did the business.

    Since then, I have tried to rid myself of the problem with therapy and medication. While I still take a small pill to fly, I am free of the terrible period of dread that made flying hell for me for several years.

    One of the things that should comfort you is that you should feel the doctor is looking after you. Even now, I always go over the routine of how much to take and seek reassurance that it will work, although I know full well how it will go. It just calms me.

    Ron, some of the questions about when to take the pill etc, should have been addressed by your doctor. He should have made you comfortable with knowing how much to take and when, and left you feeling that you would be safe with this.

    Perhaps you would like to call his office and just go over the details with him. This might help ease your mind. The pills will work for you when its time to fly, but reassurance is a nice thing too!

    Good luck Ron - it'll all work out for you!
     
  17. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Never tried Valium but have used it's chemical cousin, Klonopin when I have a anxiety/panic attack. Talk about knocking you out. Similar to what Valium does but has a much longer half life. It puts me out easily for 6-10 hours.

    Actually I think Klonopin was first designed and used to sedate aggressive primates but I don't know how someone decided to market it towards people?

    Jeff
     
  18. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Ron, I had a similar experience, with a slightly different outcome. [​IMG]

    Three years ago, when we were on a transatlantic flight to the US (Miami), we sat in the center rows, and next to me was an empty seat. So I said to my wife: "This is where that extremely beautiful stewardess over there will come sitting during take-off and landing". She was indeed exceptionally "hot".

    OK, so she wasn't sitting there. Except, during the flight, when the plane went over the central Atlantic reef (or whatever it is called), there's always some rough winds and heavy shakes, but that time it was extraordinary!

    Suddenly it felt like we fell out of the sky. Big screaming, coffee flew from the can that stewardess was holding while pouring cups in the other corridor, and the captain switched on the "fasten seatbelts" sign. Cabin crew were ordered to take a seat and guess who came sitting next to mine!
    I quickly whispered "I never knew I possessed these supernatural powers!" to my wife before engaging in a very pleasant conversation for at least a quarter of an hour.

    So, something good can come from those spells. And somehow my, uhm, Pavlovian glands make me remember this episode very positively. I always feel I'm looking forward to those remous, not fear it.


    Cees
     
  19. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    Anxiety is a Bitch! I know, I started suffering anxiety attacks after 9/11. Got horribly anxious while driving, trouble sleeping, etc. My doc prescribed lorazepam, and along with diet and exercise, I no longer suffer.

    On the day of your flight, I would strongly suggest that you have zero intake of caffeine; no caffeinated coffee or soda. This may affect your driving to the airport, but you'll manage. [​IMG]

    I think it is a good idea to try out the valium in the comfort of your own home first. This will give you a good idea of it's affects. Also, depending on your personal circumstances, you may want to take the valium on arriving in the terminal, if that is when you begin to become anxious. While valium will knock the edge of a full blown anxiety attack, it is better to prevent it from happening in the first place by heading it off.

    No one's mentioned it, and I'm sure your doctor forewarned you, but just be aware that drinking alcohol while taking valium will mess you up.

    Best of luck!
     
  20. andrew markworthy

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    I saw the Batsignal in the sky, but was tied up fighting a whole gang of supervillains. Oh okay, I was playing golf ...

    There are two routes to dealing with anxiety - psychotherapy (get the idea of Freud right out of your head - there are plenty of other methods) or drugs. Psychotherapy works for nearly everybody, but the time it will take to work varies hugely between individuals. Generally, the most cost-effective method is to take drugs. *BUT* there are several downsides:

    (1) as already mentioned, sedatives are stupidity in a capsule. Yes, they will relax you, but they also lower your cognitive abilities like you wouldn't believe. I don't know what the law is in the USA, but in the UK it's illegal to drive on sedatives. And forget making any important business decisions - you wouldn't make them whilst drunk, so why do you think you'll be better after taking sedatives? And don't pay any attention to thoughts of 'but I feel fine a couple of hours later' - chances are you're still below par (in the same way that 12 hours after a heavy drinking binge, chances are that you're still legally drunk); all that's worn off is your emotional response to the situation.

    (2) you can get addicted (yes, I realise this is unlikely, but it's possible).

    There are other drug therapies available, but they tend to be longer-term. If a person has anxiety attacks over other events, or flying is a very frequent and necessary part of their lives, there's a whole batch of anti-anxiety medications that can be taken. However, that is something to be done on an individual basis by a qualified medical practitioner.

    FWIW, I'm petrified of flying, and have had some nasty experiences. All I can say is that I adopt a stiff upper lip and plough ahead. I have a psychological routine that works for me, but it's a specific personal thing and I doubt it'd work for anyone else. However, I pass it on in case it does:

    (1) repeat the mantra that you could get on a different airplane every day and you'd only experience a serious incident once every 200 years; and even then, the overwhelming chances are that you'd walk away unscathed.

    (2) accept that if you think someone on your flight looks like a terrorist, so will the numerous security personnel monitoring the passengers; so relax.

    (3) repeat to yourself - just what makes you so special that you think that you will be in a plane crash?

    (4) once on board, watch the air stewards/stewardesses, especially during take off/landing/turbulence. The most they look is bored. Those glassy smiles are from the tedium of pushing drinks trolleys up and down aisles and being polite to complete trolls. They're not smiling to hide fear. And as far as they're concerned, the biggest danger from turbulence is spilt drinks.

    (5) don't have a window seat and if possible keep the curtain/blind down.

    (6) if all else fails, remember the old adage about Appointment in Samara. Basically, if you're going to meet with a nasty accident/death etc, then if you hadn't got it on a plane journey you'd have got it somewhere else at exactly the same moment.

    This works for me, but as I said, it may not work for you.
     

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