What is Valium?

Valium, also known as diazepam,  is the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, a form of prescription sedatives commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia.  Benzodiazepines produce calming and sedative effects, by increasing inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Other commonly known benzodiazepines similar to diazepam (Valium) are alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin).

Valium is also known as sedative and tranquilizer, that assists a person with an anxiety disorder to reduce activities in some areas of the brain, resulting in relaxation and soothing state of mind. This reaction occurs when chemicals in the Valium directly target the central nervous system.  These qualities make this prescription drug very effective in treatments for anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, inducing amnesia for uncomfortable procedures, and given as sedative before administering anesthetics.  Due to the powerful effects of this benzodiazepine, medical professionals only prescribe it for a short period, or only to be used on the as-needed bases.  However, while Valium may produce these favorable effects, they often become a subject of misuse or even abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 30 percent of overdoses are due to benzodiazepines abuse (benzos), and for the past two decades, there is an increase of 67% in benzodiazepine prescriptions. Statistics show that combining benzodiazepines and opioids may result in harmful side effects. Both drugs are sedatives and may suppress breathing, and cause overdoes.

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How is Valium abused?

While this drug is taken as prescribed by a medical professional, it can produce designed effects, and help the patients with their disorders. However, this benzodiazepine is commonly abused due to its toxic sedative sensations, and its easy accessibility.  In today’s fast-paced lifestyle Valium is abused in the ways of either intentional or accidental overdose. Many users mix Valium with other opioids or alcohol, which can result in a fatal reaction.

Another dangerous misuse of this benzodiazepine is used as a “date rape” drug that debilitates a person’s ability to resist sexual advances and assault. In recent decades the number of recorded assaults using the drug had increased drastically. Offenders usually mix the drug in the alcoholic drink and other beverages, that comes as powder or liquid substance, which is hard to detect due to no color or taste.

What are the effects of Valium abuse?

If Valium is used properly it works as prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia. Under a physician’s supervision, the drug is safe, and may not cause serious side effects. However, if the drug is abused and taken in higher dosages, it may produce harmful effects:

  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • impaired vision
  • speech impairments
  • loss of coordination
  • rapid breathing
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • anorexia
  • headaches
  • coma

If this benzodiazepine is misused or taken in higher dosages, it may result in the development of tolerance and dependence.

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What is Valium addiction?

Addiction to Valium, just like any other drug occurs when a person has compulsive drug-seeking and drug-using behavior, despite life-threatening and damaging effects.  Addiction is also a mental disorder, that affects receptors in the brain function, making it impossible for a person to stop using drugs.  The chemicals properties present in Valium alter area in the brain responsible for pleasure and pain, called the reward system.  Once this area is altered, a person using drugs may require a higher dosage of drugs to reach desirable effects.

Signs of Valium addiction:

  • inability to stop using drugs
  • compulsive search for more drugs
  • using drugs despite damaging effects on their physical and mental health
  • stealing and hiding drug use from family and friends;
  • doctor shopping, going from doctor to doctor to get multiple prescriptions
  • neglecting important responsibilities: work, school, job
  • personal hygiene neglect
  • engaging in reckless and illegal activities
  • isolation due to drug use

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Valium addiction?

If a person stops using Valium abruptly, after a long and repeated use and abuse of this drug, a set of withdrawal symptoms may set in. The severity of the symptoms varies from the length of drug abuse, frequency, and dosage amounts, as well as interactions with other substances.  Acute withdrawal symptoms from Valium addiction may include:

  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • tremors
  • muscle pain
  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • destructive behavior
  • paranoia
  • panic attacks
  • restlessness
  • psychosis

What is the treatment for Valium addiction?

Treatment for valium addiction is commonly rendered by recovery specialists who evaluate and diagnose the patient to design a treatment plan tailored to patients personal needs. Acute benzodiazepine toxicity treatment based on the number and dosage of drugs taken. Each person is unique, so there is no one type fits all approach. Exams and tests determine the course of action based on medical and mental health evaluations.  A combination of medications and behavioral therapy had been the most effective approach in recovery treatments.

  • Medical detoxification for valium (diazepam). A process that is performed in a medical setting under the supervision of medical professionals, and is intended to assist with withdrawal symptoms, cravings and cleanse the body of toxins and chemicals. Medications may be prescribed to ease the physical effects of withdrawals, and other medications used to help block opioid receptors in the brain to curb cravings.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is centered around understanding addiction, identifying the sources of drug use, obtaining skills to cope with life’s stress without using drugs,  learning to manage cravings and prevent triggers.  Also, the patient must undergo individual and group counseling to reinforce received knowledge, and build relationships by peer discussions and sharing. Family support is a critical element of successful recovery.