What Is Valium Addiction?
Valium, also known by its generic name Diazepam, is a sedative and tranquilizer that comes from the class of drugs known as Benzodiazepines (benzos). As a class, these prescription medications are used to treat anxiety, seizures and muscle spasms. Valium relieves anxiety by diminishing brain function. It stays in the body longer than other benzos, which means that patients can take it fewer times a day for the same effect. It has to be taken on a regular basis to be effective. However, when a patient starts to take it more often than prescribed, they can become addicted to it. People who take Valium without a prescription also run the risk of Valium addiction.
Valium Use and Abuse
When Valium was initially introduced to the marketplace in 1963, medical professionals were enthusiastic about its possibilities. Valium was more effective than the barbiturate drugs previously used to treat anxiety, with a lower potential for valium addiction, abuse, and overdose.
However, the early 2000s saw a spike in admissions for treatment of tranquilizer and sedative abuse, including Valium addiction. Treatment for Valium abuse rose sevenfold between 2003 and 2012; at that time, Valium was the third most abused tranquilizer in the United States. Although Valium addiction started to decline slightly in 2013, more than 11 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 12, or almost 30 million people, use benzos, with 1.7 million people misusing benzos every month.
Signs and Symptoms of Valium Addiction
It’s possible to for a Valium addiction even if you’re taking the drug with a prescription. The likelihood of Valium addiction increases after taking Valium for just four months. The longer a person takes Valium, the more dependent the brain becomes on the drug, so that it even becomes difficult to function normally without it.
Many people who have a Valium addiction sometimes don’t realize they’re addicted. They didn’t start taking the drug in order to get high, typically, and they think it must be safe because it is a legally prescribed drug.
Because Valium users think the drug is safe, they often feel free to increase their doses, hoping either to decrease their stress or to sleep better. Nevertheless, 1.2 million people abused Valium and other benzos for the first time in 2013. Valium helps them feel calm; it helps them to feel normal, and as a result, they can’t imagine that anything could be wrong. However, with increased doses come both addiction and greater difficulty hiding their usage of the drug.
Benzos are particularly dangerous when used concurrently with opioids, with a 20 percent greater risk of a serious outcome, even death, for patients of all ages, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Valium addiction and overdoses are far more likely when the drug is combined with either opioids or alcohol.
Symptoms that indicate that someone may be taking inappropriately large doses of Valium are similar to those of alcohol abuse. They include:
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Irritability without provocation or unexplained sadness
- Loss of physical coordination
- Changes in appetite
Signs that indicate an addiction is in play include:
- Cravings for the drug
- Continuing to use the drug even after realizing it’s causing problems
- Needing larger doses to get the same effects
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Ignoring responsibilities
- Isolation from friends and family
- Withdrawal symptoms if use of the drug is paused
Valium Overdose and Withdrawal
Because Valium can make people feel calm even in a crisis situation, it can be hard for a user to recognize the signs of their own overdose. Symptoms of Valium addiction and overdose include:
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Awkward, uncoordinated movements
- Unexplained weakness
- Bluish lips
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory loss and inability to concentrate
Withdrawal can also cause grand mal seizures, which require immediate emergency medical treatment.
In addition, Valium withdrawal can involve psychological symptoms, including:
- Delirium and confusion
- Hallucinations and delusions
Ignoring these psychological symptoms can increase the risk of relapse.
The acute phase of Valium withdrawal can take anywhere from one to four weeks, with a longer-lasting, post-acute phase that can last up to a year. While the more intense withdrawal symptoms, including grand mal seizures, typically occurring during the first week or two of withdrawal, rebound withdrawal symptoms sometimes occur in the third or fourth week; these can be as intense as they were when withdrawal began.
Valium addiction is a serious problem, and it shouldn’t be ignored just because Valium is a prescription drug. Watch for signs of abuse and Valium addiction if you have a loved one who is taking the drug by prescription, and be prepared to reach out for professional medical help if you notice signs of abuse or overdose.
Call Lumiere Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with a Valium addiction in Florida, give Lumiere Detox Center a call now at 855-535-8501. The specialists at our detox and treatment program in Florida are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the admissions process. Break free from addiction now and live the life you are destined for.