Diazepam is a commonly recognized drug, also called Valium. When used to treat anxiety, it can be helpful. Over time, however, people who use it too long or not as prescribed may find it causes withdrawal and health issues. Due to the high potential for abuse and addiction, it is no longer the choice of medication to treat anxiety, even though it is used in other settings. Find out why people become addicted to Valium and how to offer support to a loved one who needs help quitting.
Abuse and Addiction
Benzos like Valium are considered to have the potential for abuse and development of physical dependence. They have considered Schedule IV controlled substances, indicating these are purchased legally with a prescription. Valium has been a professionally used drug for a long time. Benzos have a bad name for being responsible for polydrug abuse and addiction. They are often mixed with alcohol, narcotic pain meds, and other drugs to enhance the euphoric effects of other drugs. Mixing benzos with alcohol can cause serious health crises. This opens up the potential for adverse reactions to drugs, including potential for overdose. Fatalities from benzos in the United States have risen sharply between 2011 and 2014. Benzo abuse is a growing health issue. Valium and other benzos may produce physical dependence in those who take them for a long period of time.
Physical dependence is a condition where people grow tolerant of the drug and need more of it to feel the same effects. With higher doses, the person inches closer to the risk of overdose, even though the body does not recognize this is happening. It is commonly associated with drug-taking for several weeks or months before this occurs. It is not easy to just quit using these drugs. A person can develop a dependence on the drug at any point, but not all drugs produce withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from Valium follows pretty much the same progression in each person. Withdrawal has been described as classical symptoms of benzo withdrawal. There are two stages:
- Acute: about 1-4 days after last use, the person will experience symptoms that include psychological and physical issues like anxiety and depression
- Headaches, nausea, cramps, cardiovascular symptoms, and other physical issues
- Neurological symptoms like confusion and seizures for people in serious withdrawal
- Cravings and mood swings, depression, and rebound anxiety may kick up
- After a period of 3-4 days, symptoms may abate a little but last for 10-14 days in most cases. During this time, the person will experience increased cravings for Valium, depression, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
Following the withdrawal, people will stabilize but may experience issues with anxiety and depression. The person may feel out of sync and out of time. This is just the body’s way of stabilizing and bringing some peace to an otherwise difficult time for the entire brain and body to comprehend.
Tapering can be helpful for people with Valium addiction. This means the person will experience a slow tapering off of the medication to help their body adjust better. Other medications may be used to help, including melatonin for anxiety and sleep issues. Anticonvulsant meds can be used for seizures and muscle relaxant baclofen to reduce cravings. The most important thing is a person is able to get help from a certified treatment facility that understands withdrawal. They should not feel like there is no hope on the other side for them in recovery. There is support in the right places for people who go looking for the treatment of their challenges with addiction.
A Step in the Right Direction helps you face your fears around treatment and provides you with the best service with professionals who understand addiction. We tailor programs for you so you get the most out of treatment to move forward in a healthy way in recovery. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702