Valium® is a medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia and several other medical conditions. When used as directed by a doctor, it can be very effective. However, when used in increasing amounts or against a doctor’s orders, Valium® can cause dependence and addiction. Due to its widespread recreational use and household name, Valium® addiction affects many people worldwide.
Substance use disorder is a complicated and challenging disease. It affects millions of people and can be devastating emotionally, physically and economically. Fortunately, Valium® addiction is also highly treatable. Through inpatient or outpatient care, you can begin the process of healing. Learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment options if you or a loved one is dealing with Valium® addiction.
Overcoming a substance misuse disorder is hard, but you don’t have to struggle alone. Find supportive, evidence-based treatment at Gateway Foundation.
Diazepam, better known by the brand name Valium®, is a prescription medication used to treat several conditions. Valium® belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Other drugs in this class include alprazolam (Xanax®), lorazepam (Ativan®) and clorazepate (Tranxene®).
Primarily, Valium® is taken orally in pill form to treat conditions such as:
Due to its sedative properties, many people are prescribed Valium® to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. Others use Valium® illicitly due to its fast relaxing, calming properties.
It’s estimated that over 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders, which might explain why diazepam is available in around 500 brands worldwide and used in several different formulations. Additionally, benzodiazepines can treat convulsions and seizures and relax muscles. For these reasons, doctors often prescribe Valium® for mental health disorders such as:
Valium® works by stimulating the central nervous system and activating the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for electrical and chemical activity in the brain. People with conditions such as anxiety or panic disorder cannot produce enough GABA to relax their excitability. For this reason, Valium® is often used to treat these conditions by keeping panic and stress under control.
When taken orally, most people will feel the effects of Valium® within an hour. Others can feel the drug take effect in just 15 to 30 minutes. Since Valium® is fast-acting, many take this medication to alleviate their symptoms quickly. However, when taken at high doses or in combination with alcohol or other sedative drugs, it can produce a euphoric high, making Valium® addictive for many people.
Benzodiazepine addiction is characterized by a physical and psychological dependence that results in withdrawal when attempting to stop or reduce the substance. Addiction tends to occur in stages.
You might notice your loved one has begun taking higher doses of the medication than prescribed to help them sleep or relieve their anxiety. Eventually, they might request more refills on their prescription while taking it more frequently than usual. They may find themselves preoccupied with obtaining Valium® and show signs of psychological dependence.
They may unknowingly develop an unhealthy pattern of substance use and experience harmful and uncomfortable side effects when attempting to stop. They’ll do whatever they can to acquire more medication, no matter the costs. This only causes a downward spiral that can be challenging to escape.
While the initial signs and symptoms might be tricky to spot, the faster the person can receive help, the more severe complications they’ll avoid. You’ll want to watch for specific indicators of addiction in your loved one. Typically someone suffering from Valium® addiction will display physical, behavioral and mental changes and symptoms:
Since Valium® is a tranquilizing medication that affects the central nervous system, initial symptoms of addiction tend to reflect this suppression. Valium® abuse can affect vital bodily functions like brain and nerve activity, respiration, digestion and heartbeat.
Physical symptoms of Valium® addiction can include:
The effects of diazepam in those who heavily use this medication are quite similar to alcohol intoxication. Watch for signs of injury caused by accidents or falls. This could indicate problems with their motor coordination. Watch for more worsening symptoms, such as:
Valium® addiction can cause various health and safety hazards, such as overdose, seizure or respiratory depression. And when this medication is combined with other substances, the risk of overdose increases. That’s why it’s essential to get help right away if you or a loved begins to experience these symptoms while taking Valium®.
Most people struggling with substance use disorder will display specific behavioral changes. Watch your loved one for unusual behavior such as:
When taken as directed, Valium® can be very helpful in treating symptoms of mental illness. However, long-term use or misuse of this drug can do the exact opposite, disrupting the central nervous system and causing symptoms such as:
After the central nervous system has adjusted to diazepam to regulate its electrical activity, a tolerance can grow into a dependency that can wreak havoc on the brain. These harmful side effects are likely to worsen the longer the addiction continues, so it’s essential to seek professional help if you experience these psychological symptoms.
Valium® misuse destroys lives. Get the support you need to help yourself or your loved one break free of Valium® addiction.
Anyone taking Valium®, whether for recreational use or as prescribed by a doctor, is at risk of developing an addiction. With more than 30 million Americans using benzodiazepines today, it’s crucial to recognize the short- and long-term consequences of Valium® addiction.
Addiction is characterized by:
Valium® addiction can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health, and it can be fatal. This risk increases when a person combines Valium® with other substances or depressants like alcohol.
Since the initial effects of Valium® can provide pleasant sedation, many people will continue to misuse the drug and take higher doses of the medication to achieve these initial effects. These desirable effects sought after by those misusing Valium® include:
When taken longer than directed by a physician, the desirable effects will diminish as the body develops a physical tolerance to the drug. Side effects commonly reported are fatigue, muscle weakness and ataxia or loss of balance.
The sedative effects of Valium® can last longer in older adults and cause injuries or accidental falls when taken by older adults or combined with alcohol. Valium® also affects the central nervous system with symptoms that will continually worsen the longer the individual takes it. These side effects can include:
In addition to these symptoms, Valium® addiction can extend to a person’s mental health and cause distressing symptoms like:
Other short-term symptoms include:
When used as directed, Valium® can help treat various conditions. However, long-term misuse can cause many harmful side effects.
The long-term use of diazepam can lead to a lower quality of life by significantly impacting one’s mental and physical health. Valium® addiction is linked to symptoms of tolerance, dependence and withdrawal:
Withdrawal symptoms of long-term Valium® use can include:
Experiencing these symptoms is often enough for a person to continue misusing Valium®. Eventually, a physical dependence can turn into an addiction or the compulsive desire to get and use more of the substance, no matter the consequences.
Long-term Valium® misuse can harm the victims’ livelihood and affect their:
Anyone who develops a tolerance to Valium® has a risk of overdose. It can occur by accidentally taking more than the prescribed amount or attempting to quit the medication and restarting at the exact dosage as before. Since tolerance drops after stopping the drug, consuming too much can be lethal. It’s essential to know the signs and symptoms so you can call for immediate medical help if you believe someone is experiencing an overdose.
Since Valium® is fast-acting, early signs of an overdose might appear similar to the side effects of regular use. Signs and symptoms of an overdose include:
Anyone who takes diazepam at a higher dosage than prescribed or with other substances has an increased risk of overdose. The risk significantly increases when using diazepam with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, with the combined harmful effect on respiration and heart rate. A person may experience shallow breathing or irregular heartbeat, especially when taking Valium® with opioids or alcohol.
An overdose can lead to a coma or death if left untreated. When you call for an emergency, try to have the following information at the ready:
If you’re struggling with Valium® addiction, you might not even recognize that you need help. You might believe you can control your drug use on your own without realizing the emotional toll it takes on your loved ones.
If you’ve reached a point where your addiction has taken over your life, you’ll need professional treatment and support. Physicians can safely guide you through recovery and help you escape the cycle of addiction.
If you believe your loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, closely examine their behaviors and any life changes to determine whether they need treatment. Look for signs and symptoms such as:
Valium® addiction can negatively impact the most significant parts of a person’s life and cause long-term mental and physical health problems.
If you’re unsure whether you have a problem, physicians can examine and diagnose you with Valium® addiction. If the physical and mental dependence from Valium® addiction begins to take over your life, you might find it increasingly difficult to quit. The withdrawal symptoms can be too much to overcome on your own, so you should seek medical services.
While it’s never too late to seek treatment, getting help as soon as possible increases your chances of overcoming this complex disease.
Valium® can cause seizures when attempting withdrawal, so it’s beneficial for most people to attend formal addiction treatment programs for their Valium® addiction.
A Valium® treatment facility provides a team of qualified medical professionals who can help you safely rid your body of substances. You’ll also receive comprehensive therapy to identify the root causes of your addiction and learn the necessary life skills to maintain sobriety.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Valium® addiction, learn how medicines, hospital-based care and outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment programs can help.
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) combines medical help with addiction services. You might utilize these programs if you need help with severe health issues, such as co-occurring mental health disorders or multiple addictions.
Partial hospitalization programs can help you taper off Valium® or other substances while working through mental health issues with professionals.
Dependence can cause a person to experience harmful and uncomfortable side effects when attempting to quit the drug. That’s why you should never attempt to quit Valium® “cold turkey” after struggling with long-term misuse. Doing so can cause seizures or heart failure. Severe mental effects like delirium or hallucinations can also occur during Valium® withdrawal.
As a result, medical professionals will safely wean you from the drug and help you avoid debilitating symptoms. You’ll receive medicines that reduce withdrawal symptoms and simultaneously treat you for other mental conditions as needed.
If you choose inpatient care, you’ll live at a residential treatment facility and follow a comprehensive recovery plan for your Valium® addiction. Inpatient programs allow people struggling with substance use disorder to live and interact with like-minded individuals in group therapy sessions. You’ll also get help from professionals who can provide medicine and therapy sessions to help you overcome triggers.
At a residential treatment facility, you’ll have the opportunity to focus solely on your recovery while learning from peers and counselors. The structured inpatient treatment environment will help you avoid situations that cause substance use. At the same time, the nutritious meals and wellness activities offered in recovery promote an overall healthier lifestyle.
Inpatient programs vary in length, though they typically provide a step-down approach where you gain more autonomy the longer you’re in treatment.
Therapy and social support play a crucial role in addiction recovery. Trained counselors and licensed therapists can help you pinpoint the potential causes of your addiction and create a plan to overcome them. Several forms of therapy and support for Valium® addiction involve:
If you’ve already undergone inpatient care, outpatient programs are generally recommended to help you meet your ongoing treatment needs. Outpatient services provide flexibility for those who cannot live at a treatment facility by allowing clients to go to work, school or take care of family members while receiving Valium® addiction treatment.
Outpatient programs tend to be more affordable, though less intensive than inpatient care since clients will typically attend treatment and therapy sessions on an as-needed basis throughout the week. Clients can meet with therapists, attend group counseling or receive MAT while in outpatient care.
Recovering from substance use disorder can seem like an overwhelming task, but with the support of professionals, you’ll face an easier, smoother journey ahead. It’s important to recognize that several people are rooting for you in your path to sobriety. A treatment provider will take a compassionate approach to helping you get sober and stay sober.
Various benefits of Valium® addiction treatment include:
Most people who struggle with substance use disorder live unpredictable lives filled with ups and downs. The structure of treatment centers can help you get your life back on track. Addiction treatment centers foster a comfortable drug-free environment where you’ll be held accountable to stay sober and meet important life goals.
In treatment facilities, counselors encourage healthy routines and coping mechanisms to help you avoid relapses. You’ll address underlying mental health concerns and gain the necessary resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle post-treatment.
Once you’ve safely detoxed, you can think more clearly and start addressing the root causes of your addiction. Professionals will help you discover the situations, events or people who may have played a role in your substance use and help you overcome these triggers in therapy.
Perhaps your addiction stems from trauma or other mental health conditions. Maybe you used drugs to avoid troubling situations or cope with stressful life changes. Whatever the cause, you’ll learn how certain situations might play a role in your addiction so you can properly address them and lead a happier life free of substance misuse.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support system. When you enter rehabilitation, you’ll be welcomed by counselors, peers and physicians eager to hear from you. The friendships made at addiction centers will help you through your recovery and motivate you down a healthy path after treatment.
Peers and health professionals can support you as you achieve goals and learn healthy habits. You can also offer your own support, learn from their stories and work to maintain sobriety together. A Valium® treatment facility can provide the sense of acceptance and belonging that you need to reach a successful recovery.
At a treatment facility, you can learn healthy habits to get you through tough times and avoid relapses. Fun and healthy activities offered by a treatment provider might include:
These activities will foster team-building as you replace substance use habits with healthy ones. You’ll strengthen relationships with peers and improve your physical and mental health.
Some of the most common questions and answers about Valium® addiction treatment are as follows:
Many people will need to receive treatment several times to overcome their addiction. A strong support system of peers, friends and family can make a big difference in a successful recovery.
It’s also important to receive treatment for co-occurring disorders alongside addiction treatment for it to work.
The professionals at Gateway Foundation can safely administer medicines like Vivitrol® or Suboxone® to relieve the withdrawal symptoms of Valium®. These medicines can help safely taper substances from the body so clients can move through the recovery process more comfortably.
Withdrawal symptoms will typically be more severe the more prolonged and more frequent the doses of Valium® you were taking. For this reason, a medical detox might take weeks to several months. Abruptly quitting poses several health risks, so following a professional detox is always recommended.
Seeking drug recovery is a courageous move, but you don’t need to go at it alone. Through our customized inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, you’ll gain the confidence and encouragement you need to recover from addiction. We foster an environment of compassion and discretion to help you improve your well-being and continue down a healthy path following treatment. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact us today.
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