Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine, a class of psychoactive drugs used as sedatives. Benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed medications in the United States. Valium affects the way brain cells communicate with each other, slowing communication to produce a relaxing effect on the mind and body. It can also produce a sense of euphoria.
Though Valium is typically prescribed to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures, some people abuse it for these pleasant effects. Valium abuse occurs when someone takes it in higher doses or for longer than prescribed, or when they take it without a prescription.
Signs And Symptoms Of Valium Addiction
Addiction is a mental disease that causes a person to seek out and use diazepam even if it has adverse effects on their life and health.
The more someone takes Valium, the more their brain begins to rely on it and crave it. An addicted person may try to stop or reduce the dosage of Valium, but changes in their brain structure make this very difficult.
Signs of Valium addiction include:
- having several empty Valium bottles laying around
- continuing to use Valium without a prescription
- getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, also known as “doctor shopping”
- inability to control diazepam use
- trouble at work, at school and in personal relationships
- physical and mental health problems
- “needing” Valium to deal with everyday stresses
Even before someone becomes addicted to Valium, they may show symptoms of abuse, such as drowsiness, muscle weakness, and loss of bodily control. If a person seems sedated most of the time and disconnected from reality, these can be signs that they need help with their Valium use.
Other indications of a problem include Valium withdrawal and overdose.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Over time, the body may grow accustomed to having a certain amount of Valium and be unable to function normally without it. This is called physical dependence and will result in withdrawal symptoms if a person abruptly stops taking Valium.
Common Valium withdrawal symptoms are:
- muscle pain and stiffness
- tension or anxiety
These withdrawal symptoms can last for days or weeks. The duration and severity of the symptoms depend largely on the dosages and amount of time someone has been taking diazepam.
Physical dependence is more likely to occur with high doses and prolonged use. It often occurs along with a mental addiction.
Valium Overdose Symptoms
A person can overdose on Valium by taking a single large dose or by taking it too often in high amounts. Benzodiazepines are stored in body fat if not used immediately, so excessive diazepam use causes toxicity levels to rise in the body.
Valium overdose symptoms may be:
- slowed reflexes
- low blood pressure
- slow or shallow breathing
Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system, slowing vital functions like breathing and heart rate. Combining Valium with other central nervous system depressants—such as alcohol, opioids and other benzodiazepines—can intensify these effects and may be deadly.
Medically Supervised Detox
Since addiction and dependence often occur together, treatment for Valium addiction usually starts with a medically supervised detox program. Undergoing detox first allows a person to focus on addiction treatment without distressing and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms getting in the way.
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These programs involve medicine and around-the-clock care to keep the individual safe and stable during the withdrawal process.
This may mean gradually reducing Valium dosage, rather than stopping abruptly. Sudden cessation, or going “cold turkey,” can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as rebound anxiety that lead many people to relapse. Tapering dosages can make withdrawal more bearable and increases the chance of successful discontinuation.
Treatment For Valium (Diazepam) Addiction
After detox, a person can begin treatment for Valium (diazepam) addiction in our inpatient rehab program. At The Bluffs, we provide a safe and comfortable environment where individuals can work together toward recovery.
Each person receives a personalized treatment plan that addresses specific underlying issues in their life that contribute to addiction. We use a combination of evidence-based methods, such as cognitive and dialectical behavior therapy, to help people identify and control thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are at the root of substance abuse.
We also provide dual diagnosis treatment for individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder along with other mental disorders.
Our holistic approach ensures whole-person healing by implementing therapies that nurture the mind, body, and spirit. People struggling with Valium addiction learn positive coping techniques and healthy alternatives to substance use, which prepares them to resist relapse and experience lifelong recovery.