What is Valium Addiction?
Valium, also known by its generic name diazepam, is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines in the United States. This drug can be safely used to treat muscle spasms, seizures, and anxiety disorders. However, like all benzodiazepines, Valium should only be used on a short-term basis.
Tolerance and dependence can develop in as little as two weeks, even when the drug is taken as directed by a doctor. Many patients who become addicted had no intention of abusing Valium and did not misuse it for recreational reasons but found their behavior gradually changing over time in response to this highly addictive drug. These patients are not likely to see themselves as addicts and may be deep in their addiction before they can recognize that they have developed a problem.
If you are addicted to Valium and are ready to receive professional help, it is important to find the best treatment program for your particular situation as soon as possible
Risks of Valium Addiction
Valium is one of the most prescribed medications by doctors, but it carries a high risk for addiction if taken improperly, or if taken by someone who is at a higher risk for addiction.
Persistent use of valium carries dangerous, long-term side effects, including:
- Overdose causing respiratory depression
- Coma and other potentially deadly symptoms
- Temporary psychosis
- Mood swings and depression
- Sleepiness and lethargy
- Problems with memory
- Lowered blood pressure
- Physical and psychological dependence
Side Effects of Valium Addiction
The following short-term side effects are generally present in people who are abusing Valium:
- Amnesia or memory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Dilated eyes
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Loss of interest in sex
These long-term side effects can also be present in individuals who abuse Valium:
- Loss of inhibitions
- Thoughts of suicide or self-injury
- Loss of bladder control
- Urine retention
Signs of Valium Addiction
Valium addiction is characterized by a range of physical and behavioral symptoms but is most of all reflected in the compulsion to keep using the drug, even in the face of physical, social, and psychological repercussions. Other signs of Valium addiction include:
- Using Valium in any way other than prescribed, such as crushing and snorting it; taking a higher dose, or using it more frequently than instructed
- Tolerance- needing more of the drug to experience the same effects
- Experiencing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pain and tension, restlessness, anxiety, tremor, and vomiting
- Needing to use Valium to feel “normal.”
- Lying about how much or how often you are using
- “Doctor shopping,” i.e., seeking out various doctors or clinics for additional prescriptions to keep up your supply and hide how much you are using
- Buying Valium illegally
- Feeling incapable of giving up Valium on your own
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Valium?
If someone you love is abusing Valium, especially if they have been abusing the drug for over a year, it is essential to get them into an addiction program, to prevent future harm, seizures, and overdose from occurring.
Choosing a comprehensive addiction treatment program that provides the full range of treatments and cares that you need for recovery is essential to your progress. The severity of Valium withdrawal symptoms during the weaning process makes medical supervision a necessity for early treatment, along with psychiatric supervision for the treatment of any emerging mental health problems. Individual and group therapy is recommended, as is family therapy, which can help patients heal and improve relationships with relatives, friends, spouses, or anyone else who is an essential part of their support system.
A doctor or addiction specialist can help you with strategies for approaching your loved one about their addiction, as well as intervention strategies if you believe they are in denial about their addiction.
Treatment Options Available for Valium Addiction
Inpatient treatment is advisable for anyone seeking to overcome an addiction to Valium. Not only is the structure and stability of a 24/7 treatment environment can be beneficial for avoiding relapse, detoxing from Valium can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as pain, life-threatening seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, and panic attacks, many of which will require immediate medical attention. Also, as it can be dangerous to stop taking a benzodiazepine abruptly, Valium should be slowly tapered under a doctor’s instruction and close medical supervision.
Inpatient care is also recommended for anyone coping with a co-occurring issue such as an anxiety disorder, which is very common among people suffering from Valium addiction. Many of these patients were prescribed Valium for this disorder in the first place, and naturally, their symptoms will resurface during addiction treatment. Even individuals who did not previously suffer an anxiety disorder are likely to experience anxiety during detox and withdrawal from Valium, while their body and brain struggle to readjust to functioning without the drug. Inpatient care provides the patient with a safe place that allows for the best possible management of withdrawal symptoms, while also maximizing the benefits of behavioral therapies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) plays a crucial role in most addiction treatment plans because it offers practical solutions for staying abstinent from drugs. Cognitive behavioral therapists work with patients to identify addiction triggers and to come up with methods for avoiding triggers that are avoidable and coping with those that are not. CBT can even help you retrain the way you think about life and substance use so that abstinence becomes more natural over time.