Valium is a benzodiazepine, which is a common medication used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, as well as other medical conditions.
Valium Abuse And Addiction
As a benzodiazepine, Valium is potentially addictive, and for this reason, is prescribed with limits. A medical professional will prescribe the drug at the lowest dose, and potentially raise the dosage gradually over time, but will take caution to prevent dependence by carefully monitoring drug use. At the same time, dependence is also a risk. Valium is commonly taken recreationally, and abuse may develop even under the supervision of a medical professional.
What Is Valium (Diazepam)?
Valium, a benzodiazepine, is also known as Diazepam. The drug is used to treat multiple medical conditions, such as alcohol withdrawal, seizures, muscle spasms, and anxiety. Valium is also used to calm and sedate patients before surgery.
Valium works by acting on the brain, specifically the neurotransmitter GABA’s receptors. Benzodiazepines increase the effect of GABA, producing a calming effect in the brain.
Valium is available in tablets, in 2 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg, as well as in a liquid form.
Signs And Symptoms of Valium Abuse And Addiction
Because Valium can be habit-forming, medical professionals monitor a patient’s use closely. Withdrawal symptoms can even occur when the drug is used as prescribed, so a doctor will closely supervise a patient’s use of Valium.
Dependence can occur, with or without a doctor’s supervision. Dependence is when an individual cannot function physically without using. Drug abuse refers to use in increasing amounts, or use with other substances, which increases the risk for addiction.
When abusing Valium, an individual may display signs of addictive behavior. For example, one may use after experiencing a specific emotion, event, or other triggers. This is known as a coping mechanism, and it is one element of addictive behavior.
If an individual does not have a prescription for Valium and uses the drug in order to deal with emotions of stress or anxiety, this can be considered self-medication.
Valium, like other benzodiazepines, carries the risk for side effects.
The most common side effects of Valium are:
- muscle weakness
- a headache
If any of the above side effects are experienced in greater severity, seek medical attention immediately. When used without a prescription or increased dosage without a doctor’s permission, Valium abuse can cause greater and more dangerous side effects.
More severe side effects of Valium are:
- blurred or double vision
- muscle spasms
- sleep disturbance
The most common signs of Valium abuse are:
- using more Valium than prescribed
- using Valium with other drugs or alcohol to intensify effects
- being unable to stop using Valium
- high tolerance for the drug
- neglect of usual responsibilities
- mistreatment of friends and family
- withdrawal symptoms
The Dangers Of Valium Abuse
Valium should never be taken concurrently with other substances. It can be tempting to take Valium with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids, because the drugs affect similar parts of the brain, and therefore increase the effects overall. It is extremely dangerous to take Valium with another drug, as this also increases the chance for overdose.
When an individual mixes Valium and alcohol, this can produce dangerous side effects, such as:
- extreme drowsiness
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- loss of consciousness
- loss of coordination
Tolerance, or the ability of the body to withstand larger and larger amounts of Valium, is another reason for abuse. If an individual has been taking Valium for a long time and built up a tolerance, this can be an impetus for taking Valium with another drug, as taking both drugs concurrently will increase the side effects of each.
Valium overdose symptoms include:
- trouble walking
- extreme weakness
- slowed breathing
- loss of consciousness
Valium overdose can lead to death. If you believe that someone is experiencing an overdose of Valium, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are medical procedures and medications, which can reverse dangerous symptoms.
Valium Dependence And Withdrawal
Dependence refers to the body’s inability to function physically without using the drug. When physical dependence develops, it can be extremely difficult to quit using Valium without the assistance of a medical professional. An individual who has developed a physical dependence may also undergo withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit using on their own.
Symptoms of Valium dependence include:
- neglect of personal responsibilities outside of using Valium
- financial issues
- acquiring multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors
- mistreatment of friends and family
- continued abuse of Valium despite negative consequences
- increased intensity of side effects
- obsession with Valium
When stopping the use of Valium, an individual may begin to suffer from uncomfortable symptoms. This refers to withdrawal, or the period of time in which Valium leaves the body. At one point in time, Valium may have worked as prescribed, in calming the brain and relaxing various symptoms in the body, such as anxiety, or muscle spasms. However, it may become impossible for the individual to feel calm or relaxed without using.
Unfortunately, even when used exactly as prescribed, withdrawal symptoms can still occur. This is why a doctor might taper a patient off of the medication (and why it is crucial to take Valium under the supervision of a doctor).
Valium withdrawal symptoms may begin up to 24 hours after cessation of the drug.
Symptoms of Valium withdrawal include:
- panic attacks
- mood swings
- a headache
- stomach cramps
- increased blood pressure
- increased heart rate
Withdrawal is often dangerous and characterized by uncomfortable symptoms. As withdrawal can be painful, many addicts who attempt to quit alone have difficulty in doing so. Since quitting can be so uncomfortable, it’s likelier for an individual to go back to using, as it becomes easier to use than to quit.
Detoxification in a medical center is the most successful way to treat uncomfortable physical symptoms that can potentially be dangerous. The use of medication alongside the careful monitoring of physical symptoms will help to assure a successful withdrawal process, and subsequent detoxification. Completing detoxification and withdrawal in a comfortable environment is an important element of health and healing.
Detoxification is not the end of the recovery process. It may help the individual to deal with uncomfortable physical symptoms, but the rest of the healing process is yet to come. An inpatient drug treatment center is the best course of action toward a successful recovery from Valium addiction.
Treatment For Valium Addiction
The use of a medication-assisted treatment plan in conjunction with therapy is the best combination of elements in the treatment for Valium abuse.
The detoxification process often begins with tapering, or the gradual cessation of the drug, until it is stopped. Withdrawal of Valium can produce uncomfortable symptoms, and in order to prevent future use, these symptoms must be treated medically.
Behavioral therapy is another important element of addiction recovery. This medical practice involves helping an individual to develop positive coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms help the patient to cope with anxiety or stress in positive ways, instead of reaching for Valium. Drug use is so often an emotional response—by learning to cope, patients set themselves up for future success when tempted.
Not only is detoxification and inpatient treatment offered in addiction recovery settings; a treatment center will also typically offer exercise, group therapy, and 24-hour medical support.
Valium addiction can be successfully treated in an inpatient treatment center. Preventing against dangerous symptoms with medical care, in conjunction with behavioral therapy, helps to create coping mechanisms that will prepare an individual for success in a drug-free future.
Contact us to learn more about valium addiction and available treatment options.
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