Valium Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment
Just recently consumerreports.org noted that at least half of the United States’ population does take or has been prescribed medication. Among regular prescription medications is diazepam or valium. Valium, under the brand name of diazepam, was introduced in 1963 and quickly became the most prescribed medicine in the United States by 1982. Due to its popularity, the drug has a high likelihood of being abused or misused, leading to being addiction.
Drug abuse is an extreme craving to obtain, and take, increasing amounts of drugs. This behavior might lead to drug addiction, which is a physical or psychological dependence on a drug to function.
What is Valium?
Valium is a prescription medicine used to treat the signs and symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and anxiety. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. This class of drug works on the central nervous system (CNS) to help provide a calming effect.
Introduced in the 1960s as a treatment and tranquilizer for anxiety, diazepam spread like wildfire to become the most prescribed drug in the United States. It is also used to deal with other health conditions including:
- Muscle spasms
- Treating sleep disorders
- Restless leg syndrome
Valium is mainly prescribed to treat short-term anxiety condition. It is not effective in treating long-term depression and anxiety disorder.
What Does Valium Do?
Diazepam affects the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that reduces or inhibits the activities of the nerve cells in the brain, helping to slow and even stop abnormal brain activities. This leads to a calming effect, and occasional feelings of euphoria. Valium helps to reduce anxiety, relax the muscle, cause sleepiness, and stop seizures.
The drug hits peak bloodstream concentration in about one to one and half hours after being consumed orally. By now valium will have taken full effect.
Some users crush and inject or sniff the powder from diazepam tablets to try to receive more instant effects, but this is risky and can lead to increase negative effects, overdose, or nasal infections.
The half-life of diazepam is slightly long – it can take about 20 hours for half of the dosage to get out of the body. However, simply because it isn’t completely eliminated after this time doesn’t mean it is still effective. Instead, valium remains activate for about 2-4 hours.
Valium Side Effects
When used properly, the drug doesn’t produce major harmful side effects as it would when misused.
Some of its short-term side effects include:
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth
- Changes in heart rhythm or rate
- Decreased respiratory rate
- Blurred vision
- Trouble urinating
- Delayed reflexes
- Appetite changes
- Decreased memory consolidation
Heavy use of diazepam over a long period of time can result in powerful side effects on the body and brain. These side effects can be permanent and life-threatening. They include:
- Memory loss
- Slowed pulse
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart attack
Is Valium Addictive?
Valium is a highly addictive drug with longer-lasting effect than other benzodiazepine drugs. An addiction to this drug can progress faster if the substance is misused or overdosed. Taking diazepam for more than 4 months, even under doctor supervisor, can increase the chance of becoming addicted.
Over time, it is difficult for a valium user’s brain to work normally without using the drug. Yet, some users addicted to this drug do not even realize they are abusing it. One of the major signs of a valium addiction is taking larger doses to experience its effects.
Other signs of valium addiction include:
- Isolation from friends and family
- Strong cravings for the diazepam
- Ignoring obligations
- Loss of interest in activities
- Continued used despite its negative side effects
Once people develop tolerance to diazepam’s effects, they might also experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t use it. Valium withdrawal might be uncomfortable and dangerous, which makes it difficult for users to quit the drug on their own. The symptoms and signs of withdrawal are quite intense, and many people need valium to feel normal or function normally.
Like the majority of benzodiazepine medicines, diazepam withdrawal can manifest in different ways including:
- Abdominal pains
- Blurred vision
- Body vibrations
Valium Addiction Potential
Valium is not useful in treating long-term depression or anxiety disorder. As with all other benzodiazepine medicines such as Xanax and Ativan, this drug does have the potential for misuse and addiction.
A patient who is prescribed valium has problems with anxiety. The diazepam high an individual gets from the prescribed dosage will give the patient a feeling of relaxation from stress. The users feel a sense of calmness they cannot create by themselves and might even feel euphoria.
The more the users alter valium or deviate from the prescribed dosage, the more the high. Users have argued that diazepam makes them feel as though they don’t have any problem in their life. For example, if your house was on fire during this high, you wouldn’t even notice or react. The drug affects your brains chemistry to make you not react over things.
Valium Overdose Signs
People frequently don’t regard diazepam as dangerous, especially when prescribed by medics. When a person takes the prescribed dosage, it is helpful and safe. However, it is when patients take more than recommended that it becomes harmful and even fatal.
When a person doesn’t take valium seriously, there is a likelihood of overdose. Here are the major signs of diazepam overdose:
- Toes or lips might turn blue
- Difficult seeing
- Difficult breathing
- Feeling weak and drowsy
- Uncoordinated and awkward movement
Mixing Valium and Other Substances or Alcohol
The warning label on this drug clearly states that diazepam shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. Sadly, many individuals do because it increases the high of alcohol. In most cases, overdoses associated with this drug occur when mixing with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and opiates with diazepam has an effect on the CNS all at once. Each one of these substances strengthens one another.
If you take too much alcohol while you have taken valium you might die. In fact, statistics shows that valium was a key factor in over 400,000 emergency room patients’ admission. For people who had overdosed on diazepam, 27% involved mixing it with alcohol. A report via the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly also showed that over 25% of patients who died from valium and other benzodiazepine overdose were also taking alcohol while taking these drugs.
Valium Addiction – Get Help Today
The withdrawal signs valium addiction can be harsh and a person should not be left to experience these signs alone. Seeking treatment at a rehab center that has the right detox clinic is recommended. There, the patients will be monitored as they go through the process in case they experience complications. In case you need any help, call our 24/7 helpline or fill one of our forms online and we will get to back you.