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Valium Addiction and Treatment Recovery Options

Are You Suffering from a Valium Addiction? Treatment Options for Recovery

Valium is a prescription drug that is widely prescribed The problem is, it can also be highly addictive, especially for those who have a mood disorder.

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A Valium addiction can be very serious, and if you’ve been using this drug for a period of time, it’s possible that you’ve realized you’ve formed an addiction to it. Now you’re looking for a way to stop using it. There will come a time where getting Valium won’t be as easy as it once was. Your life may begin to spin out of control and that’s when you realize, you’re hooked. Quitting Valium is a challenge and there are risks when you go through withdrawal, which we’ll be discussing. It’s important to get help in a safe, supportive environment.

valium addiction information

Maybe you’ve noticed a loved one has been abusing Valium and you want to get them the help they need. It’s important to understand what addiction to Valium looks like so you can help someone. Recovery is possible, you just need to know where to get the necessary support. You don’t need to do it alone, Valium rehab is available, which greatly increases your chances of a successful recovery.

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What You Should Know About Valium

Valium is a depressant that relaxes the central nervous system by altering brain chemistry. It belongs to the benzodiazepine family with effects that last for longer than other drugs in the same class. It’s a drug that is heavily abused and you can quickly become addicted to it. You shouldn’t take Valium for more than six weeks as anything more long term can lead to dependence. 

Valium replaces chemicals that your brain produces. If there is fast electrical energy in the brain, it slows it down. The result is a calmer, euphoric state of mind, which is why dependence in someone with anxiety can happen quickly. When you abuse Valium for long enough, it becomes a challenge to function without it. It is commonly prescribed for those with anxiety disorders or after a traumatic event. It takes between 30-60 minutes for the sedative effects to start working.

This video lays out all the important things to know about diazepam. It gives you a brief description on how Valium is used medically and recreationally. You learn about the chemical structure of the drug and how it influences your brain the way it does. 

Valium Addiction Information

History of Valium: Abuse and Addiction

Valium (whose generic name is diazepam) is a prescribed drug that was first developed in the 1960s. During those days, it seemed as though everyone had a very flippant attitude about using prescription drugs, and according to popular stereotypes, Valium was often given to housewives to alleviate their stress and anxiety. Of course, it was also used in a variety of other settings and purposes as well. It has a calming effect on you when you take it, which makes it an attractive choice to anyone who suffers from anxiety.

Valium is commonly referred to on the street by the names, benzos, downers and Vs, and it’s actually very easy to get without a prescription. Those who choose this method will use it by crushing the tablets and snorting them to get high.

Valium abuse is a behavior that can lead to Valium addiction. If you’ve been taking it for any period of time, then you’ve probably noticed that you have needed to increase your dosage. It’s also possible that you’ve taken it more frequently than it was prescribed. This would be due to the effects you’re experiencing not being the same as they were in the beginning. This is known as developing a tolerance for Valium which is the potential beginning of addiction down to the road. These are just some of the ways that abuse occurs, and when these behaviors are repeated too often, Valium addiction can result.

What is Valium Used For?

Doctors will prescribe this benzo to relieve anxiety in some patients. It is also used for seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal management. How it works is it alleviates any hyperactive functioning in the brain. This relieves any stress or anxiety that you feel. The lack of stress and anxiety can lead someone to become attached to the feeling right away. It comes in a pill that is taken orally. As it is long-lasting, you would only take up to 4 per day as per your doctor’s instructions. For Valium to be effective, it needs to be taken regularly (usually for 4-6 weeks). It’s when someone takes more than prescribed or for longer that you run the risk of addiction. 

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How Valium Affects You

Valium is administered primarily for people who have problems managing their stress. The likelihood of these kinds of patient abusing the drug is high. Most people who abuse Valium don’t do it for the high but to feel normal. It helps you sleep and makes you feel much more relaxed. It helps to make you calm and may even give you a euphoric feeling. If there is a problem in your life, you don’t react to it. Valium addiction also takes people by surprise because they view it as legal and not dangerous. Most people think of dangerous addictive drugs as being illicit. Yet, there are people who have abused Valium and experienced an overdose

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Valium Overdose

If you think someone is experiencing a Valium overdose, it’s important to get medical help immediately. Valium is a depressant so if too much has been taken, it slows the heart rate down considerably. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Lips are slightly blue.
  • They may complain about having double vision. 
  • They are extremely drowsy.
  • They are having a hard time breathing.
  • They seem weak. 
  • They’re uncoordinated.

Mixing Valium with Other Substances

As Valium is a depressant, it’s dangerous to mix it with other substances that also slow your heart down. Too often, people will mix Valium with alcohol which seriously slows down the respiratory system. This is the same when opioids and benzos are combined. Most Valium overdoses will involve other drugs that affect the central nervous system in the same way. Any depressant can cause an overdose when you take them but doubling up can make each of the drugs stronger. 

Mixing Valium With Other Drugs

There are certain groups of drugs that impact your central nervous system negatively when they are mixed with Valium. These include:

  • Phenothiazines (Serentil, Duraclon, Anectine).
  • Antipsychotics (tranquilizers and neuroleptics for patient with psychosis, Moban, Loxitane, and Haldol).
  • Sedatives that work on the central nervous system. They relieve anxiety, help you to sleep and help to calm you (Nytol, Atarax, Benadryl).
  • Sleeping pills (Restoril, Ambien)
  • Narcotic analgesics (opiates and opioids for the relief of acute/chronic pain. Morphine, Heroin, Codeine, Methadone, Oxycodone).
  • Anesthetics used in surgical procedures or for managing pain (Amytal, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Ketamine).
  • Sedative antihistamines that relieve itchy skin (Clemastine, Chlorphenamine).
  • Anticonvulsants used for epileptic seizures Gabapentin, Clonazepam, Rivotril).
  • Barbiturates which work on calming the nerves and relaxing the muscles (Seconal, Nembutal)
  • MAO inhibitors used as an antidepressant. It works to elevate dopamine and serotonin in the brain (Parnate, Marplan).

Are You an Addict in Your 20’s and 30’s?

There are plenty of stresses you’ll go through as a young adult. You may just be starting your career and working hard. There is also some experimenting through this age as you navigate your way into the world. When most of your friends and people around you are partying, it might go unnoticed to you that abusing prescription drugs can turn into a problem. If you’re noticing that life is unwinding on you and you’ve been abusing Valium, it might be time to look at your behaviors and physical symptoms. 

  • You may experience a pounding heart.
  • You often have dry mouth.
  • There’s a growing sense of nervousness in you.
  • You tell yourself that your well being is intact when in fact you need Valium to feel normal.
  • You feel paranoid.
  • You have suicidal thoughts.
  • You go through a lot of effort to get a prescription for Valium filled. 
  • Your job or academic performance is declining.
  • You’ve experienced legal problems due to abusing Valium and still haven’t stopped.
  • You experience seizures.

Further symptoms as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders include:

  • Increasingly taking more Valium regardless of the prescription instructions.
  • The thought of abstaining from Valium causes you to feel anxious.
  • You’ve tried to stop and your efforts haven’t worked. 
  • A large part of your life involves using, getting, and recovering from your Valium use.
  • You’re not able to meet your responsibilities.
  • You experience cravings.
  • You keep on abusing Valium despite health problems and negative impacts on relationships.
  • Your Valium abuse has put you in risky situations many times.
  • You don’t enjoy hobbies or being social as much as you used to.
  • You develop a tolerance where you have to take more to feel it’s effects. 
  • You experience withdrawal when you stop using Valium.

If you are experiencing at least two of these symptoms laid out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you likely have a substance use disorder. How many of the symptoms you have will put you in a certain category of addiction. They can be anything from mild to moderate to severe. 

While it might not seem like a problem right now, heavy, long-term Valium abuse can hurt your health further down the road. The behaviors related to Valium abuse can ruin your life if you don’t get help. Maybe you have just two of the symptoms right now but it can morph into more. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, ask for help. You can get a free addiction assessment to know for sure.

Are you a Concerned Parent to a Child with Valium Addiction?

Many times, someone who has an addiction isn’t able to see the problem within themselves. This is why it’s important to take action if you notice your child has a problem with Valium. There are physical and behavioral signs you should look out for. An addiction of any kind is a progressive progress. You might notice that your child is taking more valium than they had when they first started taking it. This would be an indication of dependence developing. 

You may notice that they’re getting more prescriptions filled for Valium. If they’re taking the drug for more than six weeks, this could indicate they’re “doctor shopping” to get more. Usually the original doctor won’t prescribe past this point because they know of the addictive nature of Valium. 

There are other red flags to pay attention to and include:

As Valium is a central nervous system suppressant, the signs and symptoms are all related to the decreased activity in the brain and body. Your breathing, heart rate, digestion, and urinary system are all be affected by abusing Valium. Symptoms of Valium abuse and addiction include:

  • Ther speech is slurred.
  • They seem disoriented.
  • They might complain about seeing double. 
  • The onset of tremors or seizures. 
  • They may vomit or have flu-like symptoms. 
  • They experience problems with urination. 
  • They may have a loss or appetite.

If your loved one abuses Valium for too long, there are long term health consequences. They include:

  • A decrease in blood pressure.
  • Problems with breathing.
  • Dizziness.
  • Seizure activity.
  • Overdose is more likely.

As a parent, you’re going to be able to notice any changes in your child’s behavior more so than the physical symptoms. If you know your loved one has been taking Valium and they are starting to show some these behaviors, it’s a good indication that they need help. There are professional intervention services that are helpful for families going through addiction problems. Here are some of the behavioral and psychological symptoms to watch out for:

  • They may have more anxiety than before.
  • They may become restless and irritable.
  • They can fall into depression.
  • They may have a hard time sleeping.
  • They may become paranoid. 
  • They might see or hear things that aren’t there. 
  • They might talk about things that make no sense. 
  • They have a hard time remembering things. 

Reasons for Valium Addiction

Valium is addictive both psychologically and physically. While it’s addictive, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to become addicted to it. If you, or a loved one think there is a problem with addiction, it’s important to know what the causes are. Addiction research has found that there are a few factors that could cause you to become addicted to Valium. They include:

Genetic: Addiction runs in the family. If you have relatives that have had addiction problems, you’re more susceptible to it as well. This is especially true if it’s a parent or sibling with the problem. As a family unit, consider this if you’re also seeing other symptoms with someone you love. 

Brain Chemistry: Valium enhances your GABA receptors which is what will allow you to be so calm when you’re on the drug. It decreases your serotonin levels which can make you feel somewhat depressed. Some will abuse the drug because you don’t care how you feel. You replace feelings of happiness with relaxation and it goes unnoticed until you’re going through withdrawal. This keeps the body wanting more. 

Environmental: If you grew up in a home where someone had an addiction, you may also become a victim to it. You are seeing abuse of substances being used to manage life and you may fall in line with that too. You may not be taught any other way to manage stress in your life so abusing Valium will seem like normal practice. There is also the possibility that if you’ve experienced trauma or you feel depressed, you’ll self-medicate. 

Psychological: Addiction to any kind of benzodiazepine is often linked to someone who already has an addiction. They may abuse Valium to get a greater feeling of another drug’s effects. Valium is often prescribed to help someone with their anxiety but they aren’t given any tools to manage those feelings. This puts you at great risk of addiction because you need it to cope with your emotions. 

Valium Addiction Statistics

Most of the statistics involved in Valium abuse and addiction aren’t known. There have been many studies based on the benzodiazepines class however. This includes:

  • In 2010, there were approximately 2.6 million people abusing benzos monthly.
  • SAMHSA did a study in 2006 that involved emergency rooms around the US. They found that sedative-hypnotics like Valium were the most involved prescriptions when it came to visit to the ER.
  • Over 30% of opioid overdose also included benzodiazepines.
  • From 1996 to 2013, there was an increase of benzodiazepine prescriptions from 8.1 million to 13.5 million.
  • A study found that in over 20% of people who died from opioid overdose also had benzodiazepines in their system. 
  • A study found that the overdose death rate for patients taking both medications was 10 times more likely.

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The Dangers of Valium Abuse 

Not only is Valium addictive but it also comes with side effects that can affect your life negatively. As it’s a sedative, it’s not easy to navigate through your day when you’ve taken Valium. You are extremely drowsy and it changes your attitude to care less about things. The parts of your brain that help you to survive are depressed. A simple act like walking across the street isn’t so easy because you’re not on guard.

Driving while on Valium isn’t safe. In fact, it states on the bottle that you shouldn’t drive or handle heavy equipment. It causes extreme drowsiness that can cause accidents in all sorts of situations. Yet, when someone is abusing Valium, they don’t think about the consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that Valium causes clumsiness, making it hard to enjoy activities you once did. It also causes problems with your memory or concentration. If you have a job, go to school or have small children, the effects of Valium even when taken as directed can make it hard to meet your obligations. 

The Short Term Effects of Valium Abuse

In many ways, taking Valium produces effects that are similar to drinking alcohol. While it’s not uncommon for people to take Valium and drink alcohol at the same time, many people produce these effects by continually increasing their dosages of Valium alone.

Valium abuse always occurs before Valium addiction sets in. There are some indicators that Valium abuse is occurring if you’re concerned about yourself or someone you love, and these include:

  • A decrease in your inhibitions
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Upset stomach with nausea
  • Getting a fever
  • Becoming easily irritable or irritated
  • Weakness in your muscles
  • Feeling confused
  • A skin rash

You don’t have to be using Valium for a long period of time in order to experience any of these effects.

Valium Addiction Symptoms: The Long Term Effects

If you’ve been taking Valium for a long period of time and frequently, you have most likely formed an addiction to it. While you might still experience many of the short term effects of this drug, the long term effects can begin manifesting as well. 

As far as Valium addiction behaviors go, you can identify a Valium addiction if you become agitated easily because it’s been too long since your last dose. In addition, sometimes Valium addiction behaviors develop in patterns that are similar to the way Alzheimer’s or dementia patients respond.

Valium will slowly affect your body and cause health problems. Here are some of the problems that may arise from long-term Valium abuse:

  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Memory loss.
  • Coma.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Weakness.
  • Seizures.
  • Problems with coordination.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Hand and feet tremors. 
  • Chronic muscle pain.
  • Problems urinating.
  • Constipation.
  • Vertigo
  • Pain in the stomach.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Vision problems. 

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the telltale symptoms of a Valium addiction is needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Physical psychological symptoms will onset about 24 hours after your last dosage. It can last for months. There are varying factors that will determine how long and intense your withdrawal is. They include:

  • How long you abused the drug.
  • How often.
  • How much.
  • Your state of mind.
  • Your physical state.
  • Abuse of other substances.

Usually the withdrawal phase isn’t prolonged. Around 10% of people who abused Valium will experience withdrawal from time to time years after they’ve stopped the drug. They will be much less subtle than the beginning phases of abstaining however. There are acute symptoms that last for 4 days in the beginning of the process. When tapering from Valium, the process will be longer to stop using the drug but the symptoms are going to be much less intense. You may not even experience any at all.

Valium has a half-life for up to 2 days so you may not experience any discomfort until day 3 and 4. During the acute withdrawal phase, if you are prone to depression or anxiety, it may rebound during this time. That, along with other symptoms, can make you vulnerable to relapse. This is why it’s so important to have professional help through this time. 

  • Flu-like symptoms which include headaches, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Tremors (primarily in the hands).
  • A rise in blood pressure and heart rate due to the anxiety rebound or just a general reaction to withdrawal.
  • Confusion.
  • The risk of developing seizures, which is the most serious symptom with any benzodiazepine. It can be fatal if this occurs.
  • Cravings.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.

Once a user has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to for addicted people to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal.

How to Help Someone with Valium Addiction

If you have a loved one who is suffering from Valium addiction, it’s important they get the help they need. It’s dangerous to stop using Valium “cold turkey” if they have been abusing it for a long time. You’ll want to get them to agree to getting professional detox but this can take some tact on your part. Firstly, you’ll want to set boundaries and make them responsible for their life and making good choices. This might seem like tough love but it’s necessary to get them back on their feet again. 

Many times, an addict doesn’t see they have a problem. When you try to intervene, they may become defensive because they’re not ready or willing to stop. Perhaps they haven’t experience the repercussions of their addiction or they don’t care that their life is falling apart. It’s important to do something or you fall into the role of being codependent

You’re afraid to lose your child so you say nothing. If you don’t have the words or you don’t seem to be getting across to them, calling in a professional intervention specialist could be a godsend. This is the first step towards getting them the help they need. If they refuse your efforts to help them, you need to give them consequences. If your child is in their 20’s and 30’s and not living at home, it may be more challenging to help them. Don’t give up on them. Tell them you’ll be there when they’re ready to make positive changes. 

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms vs. Proper Valium Cessation

Valium does have detrimental long-term health effects but you shouldn’t try to go “cold turkey”. Like alcohol, when you withdraw after long term abuse, it can cause delirium tremens. The symptoms of quitting too quickly can include these tremors, which are potentially deadly. This is one of the substances that should involve professional detox for safety purposes. 

Valium withdrawal symptoms can be mild in some people, but in others, they raise a great deal of concern. 

Mild symptoms might include:

  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia, irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Ringing in the ears. 

It’s also common to experience a reemergence of your original symptoms. This can be difficult for many people because they don’t want to experience anxiety and apprehension again.

Other, more serious Valium withdrawal symptoms can include: 

  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Heart issues.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Grand Mal seizures.

These withdrawal symptoms often cause people to think twice about stopping their use of Valium. They are so challenging to manage because you’re dealing with mental and physical withdrawals. For some, it’s too overwhelming and they relapse. However, there is a right way to abstain from Valium that will reduce the severity of the symptoms. It may even eliminate them altogether. When you taper off the drug slowly, which can be done in professional detox, you have a much better chance of success. You have support 24/7 so if you’re experiencing extreme symptoms, you get the help you need. There is the possibility of medical complications when going through Valium withdrawal. It’s important to have medical staff nearby to prevent any problems throughout the process. 

Valium Effects on the Brain

When you abuse Valium for too long, it causes an accumulation of fatty tissues. This can cause problems with your ability to think properly. You could have memory problems or suffer from bad judgment. Psychological and mental effects that can occur because of this include:

  • You have bouts of anxiety coming back.
  • You feel restless.
  • You can’t sleep. 
  • You have nightmares.
  • You become easily confused.
  • You may become paranoid.
  • You have delusional thoughts.

Valium and Co-Occurring Disorders

Many patients will take Valium because they’re suffering from anxiety. You may have chronic anxiety or depression. When you abuse Valium for a long time, this can have an effect on any psychiatric disorder you have. Studies have found that people who have mental illness are abusing benzodiazepines more and more. If you do have anxiety or are suffering from a mental illness, Valium shouldn’t be the long term medication you use.

Once you’re addicted to Valium and you have a pre-existing mental disorder, the addiction is much harder to manage. There are addiction specialists that help those with dual diagnosis. It is a longer and more complex process but it is possible to recover when given the right help.

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How Valium Addiction Treatment Centers Can Help Those Who are Addicted

If you believe that you’ve become addicted to Valium, it’s very important for you to get professional help if you want to stop. Valium withdrawal can cause you to go right back to using, and relapsing can only drive you further into your addiction. It’s especially challenging to stop using Valium on your own because of the withdrawal symptoms. You usually experience an intense change in your emotions and suffer from physical symptoms too. Valium may be a very addictive sedative, but when you get professional help, you can recover from this addiction. Recovery may include:

  • Tapering down your dosage of Valium until it has been eliminated altogether.
  • Time spent in drug detox to rid your body of any toxins that have been left behind.
  • A referral for an inpatient Valium drug rehab program that will address the source of your addiction.
  • Group therapy sessions.
  • Follow-up care on an outpatient basis to provide you with additional support.

Right now, it may feel as though you need to take Valium in order to manage your day to day activities. The idea of going without it might make you nervous, but the short and long term effects of continued Valium abuse and addiction can have a devastating impact on you. Valium can actually cause psychosis which is going to bring on the anxiety you were avoiding in the first place. When you go through inpatient rehab for Valium, you get the support you need from the staff and peers who are going through the same thing. This is extremely helpful at the beginning of your recovery.

Valium rehab will address not only the physical addiction, but also any underlying mental health issues such as anxiety that either contributed to the addiction or were the reason for which diazepam was prescribed in the first place. The psychological reasons for your addiction are an important factor here. Most people started taking Valium for a mental disorder they were experiencing such as chronic anxiety. There is an underlying issue from the anxiety you experience which needs to be addressed. In fact, it should have been addressed when you were given the Valium prescription in the first place. 

What to Expect from a Valium Rehab Program

There are a variety of different Valium rehab programs. They might by outpatient or inpatient programs. It’s important to know what your choices are so you can get the help you need.

There are LGBTQ Valium addiction programs and gender-specific programs to avoid any distractions. Not only that but there are various levels of quality. You can go to a luxury retreat with all the best amenities available. They can be expensive and are rarely covered by your insurance. Within the programs, there are basic steps that are taken in all of them. They have been found to be effective and necessary.

First you go through admissions where you’ll be evaluated. This will give the addiction center an idea of what your needs are. They will then build a program designed for you. The detox process for Valium is an important step. It will likely involve tapering from the drug to alleviate any health emergencies that could come from going “cold turkey.”

After that you’ll go into Valium addiction rehab. Why you became addicted will be addressed through various treatment styles. This includes one-on-one therapy, group therapy, family counseling, and classes to help you manage relapse. Once you’ve completed the addiction recovery program, the staff at the facility will help you with an aftercare plan. When you’re back at home, you’ll have a plan that will help you integrate what you learned in rehab into your normal life. Throughout the whole process you’ll have much needed support and guidance. 

How to Choose the Best Valium Addiction Treatment Centers

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we offer some of the top Valium addiction treatment options in the Pacific Northwest. By providing our patients with their own personal treatment plans and by maintaining a small population, our patients are able to get the help they need to recover. We offer you a safe environment to deal with your addiction and the reasons that it occurred in the first place. 

We also include family therapy so you can get support once you’re back at home. This is an essential part of the recovery process. We use the most up-to-date methods with every personalized program we create for our patients. It’s not easy to ask for help but it’s available when you need it. We can help you with a financial plan or see if your insurance covers our program. 

If you would like to learn more about how to get help for your Valium addiction, please contact us today.

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