Clipped From Santa Cruz Sentinel
Dear Ann Landers: Having terrified thousands, if not millions, of regular Valium users, do you now have the decency to print another patient's side of the story? I refer to the lady who called herself a zombie because she had been taking 5 milligrams daily for 17 years. I came out of World War II a nervous wreck. I went broke paying bills to psychiatrists who tried to talk me out of acute anxiety and depression. No help there. So I started to drink. My wife was about to leave me when a doctor suggested a new and successful drug called Valium. My whole life changed. I quit drinking and was able to relax and handle the pressure of my job and family. The children are grown now and my life is good. None of this would have happened had it not been for Valium, which I still take under the watchful eye of my doctor. It is unfair for a person as influential as you to print just one side of the story. I am sure you would not recommend taking insulin away from a diabetic. Well, Valium is just as vital to me. No Name In Canada Dear Canada: I consulted with Dr. Daniel Freedman, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical School and a pioneer in the field of drug use for mental illness. Dr. Freedman said the woman who described herself as a zombie after 17 years of daily doses of 5 milligrams of Valium may not have given us a complete picture because (a) 5 milligrams would not produce overseda-tion; (b) she may have been drinking along with the drug; (c) she may have other psychiatric disorders along with acute anxiety. The key phrase in your letter was "under the watchful eye of my doctor." Valium is generally prescribed as a shortterm drug to relieve anxiety. This means weeks or months not years and years. If your doctor has kept you on it for this protracted period of time, you must be a most unusual case. Dr. Freedman hopes there were periodic reassessments. For those who are hooked and want to get off, write to Valium Anonymous, Box 404, Altoona, Iowa 50009. This group was founded in 1978 by Leland Ahem, and new chapters are springing up all over the country. They report phenomenal successes. Dear Ann: Tell the guy who felt sorry for "the ugliest girl in the class of Tr.'' rot to waste his time. When I was in high school I was ugly, too. In fact, I never had a date, but from age 17 on things changed. When I returned for my 20th class reunion, nobody recognized me. The "ugly duckling" had turned into quite a swan. The high school beauties bore little resemblance to their former selves. Most of them were overweight and frowsy. They didn't know how to dress, and time had done them no good. As for the former football and basketball heroes, they were mostly bald, fat and out of shape. So tell the jerk I have a message for him: "Eat your heart out, Fatso!" Angie Dickinson's Double In' New England Dear Angie's Double: Time ripens some fruit and rots others. There's a lot to be said for staying in shape. How nice that you did. COPYRIGHT 1981 FIELD ENTERPRISES, INC.