Celine Dion took near-fatal dose of Valium

Celine Dion took a near-fatal dose of Valium as she struggled to control the symptoms of stiff-person syndrome.

The 56-year-old singer was diagnosed with the rare condition - which causes muscle stiffness and painful spasms - in 2022 but she had been struggling with the effects of the illness for 20 years after beginning to show signs back in the early 2000s - and she has now revealed she relied on sedative drug Valium to control her pain but she ended up taking high doses that were not safe.

She told PEOPLE the first time she felt a muscle spasm was when she was on tour in Germany and it led to her to use medicine in a bid to resolve it. She said: "I had breakfast, and I suddenly started to feel a spasm. My vocal exercise made it worse ...

"We started with two milligrams [of Valium] to see if it would help, and then 2.5, and then 3, and 15 and 50 [and later 90 milligrams to get through a performance].

"It could have been fatal. I did not question the level because I don't know medicine. I thought it was going to be okay.

"It worked for a few days, for a few weeks, and then it doesn't work anymore. I did not understand that I could have gone to bed and stopped breathing. And you learn - you learn through your mistakes."

She added of using the drug: "It's very important to know ... people who know me well enough, they know that I did not take medicine just to drug myself, just to be high or to be stoned.

"I have been as professional as can be through my whole life, a disciplined, hard-working person doing what I need to do for my voice to be in top shape."

After being diagnosed with the illness, Celine is now on a treatment plan that involves a combination of medicine, therapy and physical rehabilitation and she still hopes to be able to get back on stage to sing again.

Speaking in her feature-length documentary 'I Am: Celine Dion' , the singer explained she "can't answer" if she will ever be able to get back on stage.

She said: "I can’t answer that … because for four years I’ve been saying to myself that I’m not going back, that I’m ready, that I’m not ready.'

"As things stand, I can’t stand here and say to you: ‘Yes, in four months.’ "I don’t know ... my body will tell me. On the other hand, I don’t just want to wait."