Valium is the brand name for the drug diazepam. A prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, Valium works by slowing down the central nervous system (CNS) which has a calming effect on the user. It is this relaxing effect that causes many individuals to become addicted to the drug.
Many people start using Valium with a valid prescription, but they lose control to the drug and its effects. Other people use it as a recreational substance from the beginning.
No matter how it begins, Valium addiction is a debilitating and life-altering condition that can determine the health and future of an individual.
Understanding the signs of Valium addiction is crucial if you are concerned about the drug use of yourself or a loved one.
What is Valium?
A commonly prescribed substance used to control seizures, relieve muscle pain, and reduce anxiety, Valium belongs to a category of drugs called benzodiazepines. It works by enhancing the effects of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS.
Valium has a number of medical uses including the following:
Valium is prescribed to relieve anxiety or stress associated with the challenges of daily life.
In some cases, Valium may be prescribed in severe cases of alcohol withdrawal. It can be used to relieve restlessness, shakes and tremors, delirium tremens, and hallucinations.
A useful supplement in the relief of skeletal muscle spasms, Valium is sometimes administered for inflammation of the muscles or joints, or in motor disabilities that decrease muscle control.
Valium can be used as an effective component in the treatment of convulsive disorders.
Side Effects of Valium
Even as a prescription medication, Valium can cause some distressing side effects. For this reason, medical supervision is always strongly advised for the use of this substance.
Common side effects of this tranquilizer include: drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and coordination problems.
There are a number of additional side effects on various areas of the body:
Confusion, depression, headache, slurred speech, shakes and tremors, vertigo
Nausea, constipation, stomach aches
Blurred vision, dizziness, double vision
Lowered blood pressure
Restlessness, irritability, hallucination, psychosis, insomnia, nightmares, increased anxiety
Incontinence, libido changes
Salivation changes, skin reactions
Valium Use in the United States
Valium is an addictive substance, whether it's used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Recent surveys showed that 1.9m Americans over the age of 12 used tranquilizers such as Valium for non-medical purposes at the time of asking.
Often Valium is used as self-medication for underlying mental health issues or undiagnosed mental disorders. The relaxing effect of the drug is sought out by individuals living with depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental health conditions. Typically, users don't take Valium to feel 'high' like with other substances; it's used in an effort to feel normal and engage with everyday life.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse highlights the complicated nature of diagnosing a Valium addiction. The research found that benzodiazepine use is high across the United States, but it is unclear exactly how many people misuse benzodiazepines or how many people meet criteria for an addiction. However, it found that benzodiazepine use was regularly linked with hospital admissions, psychiatric disorders, suicidal ideation, and substance use. This emphasizes the need for thorough physical and mental health checks before prescribing Valium, and in addition, continued monitoring during use.
The lack of clear information about the scale of benzodiazepine misuse could be associated with a cultural acceptance of Valium use, or dishonesty or denial from individuals with a problem.
Signs of Valium Addiction
Being aware of the physical and behavioral signs of dependence can help identify whether you, a family member, or a friend are at risk of developing a severe addiction.
Dependence is when the body or mind requires a substance in order to function normally. When dependence develops into an addiction, acquiring Valium becomes a complete preoccupation for the user.
Prolonged drug abuse of any kind can have severe impacts on the individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Valium, and other benzodiazepines, have powerful effects on the CNS, resulting in feelings of euphoria and sedation. Individuals are susceptible to becoming addicted to the feelings of relaxation associated with Valium use.
If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or your own Valium use, seek advice from an addiction treatment provider today. There are substance abuse treatment programs to suit all conditions. We are confident that your future can be substance-free.
Valium works by slowing down activity in the CNS. Like other CNS depressants, Valium suppresses the activity of the brain and nerves. Crucial bodily functions, such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, and the genitourinarysystem can also be reduced by abusing Valium.
A common sign of Valium use is drowsiness or being slow to wake from sleep. Others may appear to become more 'clumsy' than normal. This can result in secondary risks of falls and accidents.
Valium can have physical effects even in prescribed dosages. It is advised not to do anything which requires high levels of concentration or coordination when taking Valium, such as driving or working machinery.
Physical signs of Valium drug abuse:
- Slow or impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Sight problems
- Dry mouth
- Shakes and tremors
- Nausea or vomiting
- Painful or difficult urination
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle spasms
Although Valium is often an effective treatment for psychological disorders such as anxiety, it is common for users to experience increased symptoms when they begin using the substance. Individuals who use the substance without a prescription are also susceptible to experiencing psychological symptoms and changes.
Behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with Valium abuse include:
- Increased anxiety
- Irrational or disorganized thinking
- Memory problems
Somebody with a Valium addiction is likely to become preoccupied with acquiring and using the substance, despite any negative impacts it may be causing them. This can cause relationships to become strained or break down, and responsibilities such as work and school may be neglected.
Addiction can result in individuals losing interest or passion in things they once enjoyed, and additionally, their self-hygiene and personal care may decrease. This can be linked to their intoxicated state and also their reduced sense of self-worth. Some individuals who are addicted to Valium go to great lengths in order to obtain the substance; sometimes this means stealing other people's prescriptions or money to buy the drug. Data found that of those who misused Valium, most of the Valium was acquired from friends or family members, with only around 20% personally receiving a prescription from their doctor.
Symptoms of Valium Overdose
Those who regularly use Valium will build up a tolerance to the substance. This means that they will need to take higher doses in order to feel the same effects. In addition, they may only be able to halt withdrawal symptoms by taking Valium. These increased dosages put the user at risk of an overdose.
Effects of a Valium overdose include the following:
- Confusion, sometimes severe
- Double vision
- Blue tint to lips
- Slowed reactions and reflexes
- Increased blood pressure
- Respiratory problems
It is common for individuals who abuse Valium to combine this substance with other drugs. When taken with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol, sleeping pills, or other benzodiazepines, there is a high risk of overdose for the user.
As Valium is often prescribed by doctors, there is a misconception that it is safe. This can lead people to take more than intended, sometimes resulting in an overdose.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Valium withdrawal is a distressing and sometimes dangerous process for the individual. Attempting to quit cold turkey increases the associated risks of withdrawal. Dangers include seizures, coma, and at times, death.
Supervision from a clinical expert and choosing a medical detox is the safest way to stop using Valium. Tapering off the drug slowly is highly advised to allow the brain and other organs to adjust.
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on how long Valium has been abused, the dosages used, and the method of detox used. Chronic or long-term Valium abusers will experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Although withdrawal is serious, the symptoms tend to be milder than with other benzodiazepines.
Some common withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Stomach cramps
- Shakes and tremors
- Increased perspiration
- Muscle aches and pains
- Vomiting and nausea
- Severe anxiety
- Confusion and disorientation
- Sleep problems
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Memory problems
- Weakness and fatigue
- Reduced appetite
- Heightened senses
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle twitching
More serious withdrawal symptoms of Valium include:
- Respiratory depression
- Paranoia and psychosis
Valium withdrawal can start even with low doses of the drug. The higher the dosage taken, the more intense the detox process. Individuals who use very high levels of the drug can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Getting Help: Valium Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment is available for Valium abuse, and recovery is possible. There are various different treatment options that can be tailored to the needs of the individual. The first step is accepting you have a problem and reaching out for help. If you're ready to make this move, we are proud of your courage.
Valium withdrawal symptoms can be severe and cause severe physical and psychological distress, and in some cases, the risks can be life-threatening. It is strongly advised that individuals with a Valium addiction choose to detox with the support of medical professionals.
Medical detox ensures that you are safe during the process, and your treatment will be well managed by clinical experts.
There are a number of treatment programs that can be tailored to your specific needs and recovery goals.
Addiction Treatment in Southern California
Cornerstone is one of Southern California's top treatment centers. We are committed to helping our clients achieve long-term recovery, through a wide range of treatment modalities to meet the needs of everyone who walks through our doors.
We offer detoxification programs, residential care, extended care, day treatment, and evening outpatient programs. We understand the value of tailoring treatment to the individual, and that's how we help you get the best out of recovery.
We combine the highest quality clinical care with holistic mind-body healing. Our cutting-edge facilities offer advanced addiction treatment technologies and experiential activities while giving you a comfortable space for meditation and relaxation. We know that the treatment process is challenging, but we believe it shouldn't be uncomfortable. Our care doesn't stop at the end of treatment. We equip you with the skills and strength you need to go out into a life of health outside of our center.
Cornerstone is more than an addiction treatment center; we are a community. We provide a safe and secure environment from which your recovery journey can grow.
If you are struggling with Valium addiction, get in touch with us today. One of our compassionate staff members will answer your questions and talk you through the admissions and treatment process.