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Valium Abuse Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

What Is Valium Used For?

Valium is a benzodiazepine prescribed by medical doctors and psychiatrists to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Historically, Valium has been a popular pharmaceutical agent—it has been widely used for its muscle relaxant, anti-convulsant, and sedative properties.

The substance is also known by its generic name, diazepam. Valium is a depressant drug that strengthens the effects of a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA works to slow down brain activity, so increasing GABA neurotransmission will result in less activity and reduced anxiety.

How Addictive Is Valium?

Valium is a potential drug of abuse that can result in problems like physiological dependence, tolerance, and addiction when it is used for an extended period, at high doses, or for reasons other than prescribed. Having a legitimate prescription does not eliminate Valium’s potential for abuse.

The general feeling of relaxation that Valium induces is what has made it one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the sedative or tranquilizer category.

Another factor is the availability of the substance. In 2011, Valium was the fourth most prescribed benzodiazepine in the US, with 15 million prescriptions written, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Signs and Symptoms of Valium Addiction

Gaining awareness that you have a problem with Valium is not going to happen immediately, but having a grasp of the progression from misuse to addiction will aid in your understanding. Being prescribed the substance can make the abuse process more covert, as well as confusing to both the user and those around them.

While the questions above are intended for someone abusing the medication, the following are signs that you might notice in someone else. They include:

  • A change in appearance/hygiene.
  • Slow movements and speech.
  • Shaking.
  • A change of eating habits.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Frequent somnolence, or excessive sleepiness.

If someone you love is exhibiting the above symptoms of Valium addiction or abuse, call for free at to receive information and help find appropriate addiction treatment options.

Effects of Valium Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns of some of the negative effects of Valium use. They include:

  • Clumsiness and inability to perform the physical activities you enjoy.
  • Mood swings and bouts of depression.
  • Problems with memory and concentration.
  • Tendencies toward aggression and violence.
  • Slowed respiration and reduced blood pressure.
  • Lethargy and/or sleepiness.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Physical and psychological dependence on the drug, with severe withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use.

Taking excess amounts of this substance increases the risk of an accidental Valium overdose. This could end in a coma or even death, especially if the Valium is paired with other drugs like alcohol, which also produces depressant effects on the body.


Valium Abuse Treatment

Realizing you have a problem abusing Valium can be a scary, confusing, and intimidating experience. Depending on the intensity and frequency of your usage, the experience could also be dangerous, because benzodiazepine withdrawal can trigger unwanted symptoms, including:

  • Gastrointestinal upset.
  • Discomfort and aches.
  • Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Panic attacks.

In more extreme situations, withdrawal can lead to seizures or death.

With its inherent risks, Valium withdrawal should be overseen by specialists to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient. Treatment usually begins with the detoxification process, wherein medical staff will prescribe a tapering schedule to wean the patient off of Valium in a way that minimizes withdrawal symptoms. This can be accomplished in several inpatient and outpatient settings.

Following the detoxification process, many elect to attend either inpatient residential rehab or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient treatment options like rehabilitation centers will require residence at the facility for a period ranging from 30 days to one year. While there, the patient will focus on recovery from substance abuse while undergoing various therapeutic interventions to improve their mental and physical health. A large part of rehab will focus on determining the reasons behind the patient’s addiction and helping them learn methods of coping without Valium use after treatment.

In an outpatient setting, the patient continues living at home for the duration of treatment. Outpatient treatment may include mental health visits and drug and alcohol counseling that can range from one hour weekly to day-long or half-day programs. Individual and group treatments may be recommended to maximize the benefits of rehab.

Recovery from a drug of abuse like Valium is a long-term commitment that requires continual support and assistance. Healthy community support, contact with loved ones, and participation in 12-step programs can provide additional assistance to someone recovering from Valium abuse.

Teen Valium Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse report for 2014 shows that 4.7% of high school seniors had used some tranquilizer for recreational purposes during that year, and 7.4% of them had abused these substances in their lifetimes.

The Department of Health and Family Services says teenagers who have used sedatives for nonmedical reasons get them from friends or family members who have valid prescriptions; most are given to them at no cost, which makes the drugs more available to try and cheaper to obtain. Learn more about teen drug misuse.

Find Valium Addiction Treatment Programs

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Valium, help is available and recovery is possible. Professional treatment can start anyone battling a substance use problem on the path to a happier and healthier life. Rehab facilities are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. Many state government websites will provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. To learn more about treatment options with AAC, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our caring admissions navigators free at .

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