If you think you may have an addiction to Valium, our dedicated team at Help4Addiction can discuss your treatment options with you and help to find you the right addiction treatment facility.
Read on to learn more about Valium addiction and about the Valium addiction treatment process, from Valium detox to relapse prevention.
What is Valium?
Valium, also known as diazepam, is a prescription medication used to treat a variety of ailments. This medication belongs to a group of medications known as benzodiazepines. Some other medications in this group include temazepam, Xanax, Librium, and Ativan. [i]
Valium is available on prescription only, although people do acquire Valium on a non-prescription basis. Most diazepam comes in pill form – however, it can also be a liquid that you swallow, or come in a rectal tube. In some cases, Valium is administered via injection – although this is only done in hospital settings.
The tablets come in either a 2mg, a 5mg, or a 10mg dosage. Liquid Valium comes in 2mg in 5ml, whereas injections can contain 10mg in 2ml. Valium rectal tubes contain either 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg of Valium. [ii]
There are many reasons why you may be prescribed Valium. Valium and benzodiazepine prescriptions may be administered to help you relax before an operation or a medical procedure (pre-med), or you may be prescribed Valium to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, or seizures. Valium can also be used to treat certain alcohol withdrawal symptoms during alcohol addiction rehab. [iii]
The Effects of Valium
The effects of Valium can depend on your method of consumption, as can the amount of time it takes to feel the effects of Valium.
You may feel a ‘high’ when taking diazepam – the most common effects of Valium include euphoria, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. Some people report a feeling that is similar to the feeling of being drunk after Valium use.
Shortly after the effects of Valium reach their peak, you may feel a ‘comedown’ – which is essentially a period of withdrawal. You may experience fever, irritability, cramps, rapid heart rate, as well as feelings of anxiety or depression.
Is Valium Dangerous?
Prescription drug abuse/ Valium abuse can be extremely dangerous – just like cocaine abuse, heroin abuse, alcohol abuse and any substance abuse.
If you use more than the recommended amount of Valium or use Valium in any other way that is told by your doctor, you are abusing it. Likewise, if you take Valium with other substances such as alcohol or street drugs, this is Valium abuse and can be lethal.
Valium is rarely dangerous on its own, Valium abuse can have a negative effect on your physical health and mental health and can be dangerous.
The combination of Valium (and other benzodiazepines) and alcohol can be very dangerous, and sometimes even lethal. [iv] Be sure to check with your doctor when taking Valium alongside other medications, as there are numerous dangerous drug combinations with Valium.
As Valium and other benzodiazepines can make you feel drowsy, it’s recommended that you avoid driving or operating machinery whilst feeling Valium’s effects. Driving on Valium poses the same risk as driving with a blood-alcohol level between 0.05% and 0.079%. [v]
Some particularly dangerous side effects of diazepam include hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, risk-taking behaviour, and new/ worsening seizures. [vi]
When taking Valium with frequent doses and high doses, you are at risk of a Valium overdose. Some signs and symptoms of a Valium overdose include abdominal pain, discolouration of the nails, skin, or lips, fatigue, impaired vision, and the inability to remain alert. You may also be more likely to experience a Valium overdose if you miscalculate your drug tolerance.
Valium and the Central Nervous System
Valium works by affecting the central nervous system. When taking Valium, you may feel calm and relaxed as it increases the effects of the GABA chemical at different receptor sites in your brain.
This ultimately reduces activity in certain areas of your brain – areas that can control your emotions, your memory, thoughts, and even automatic functions (for example, your breathing). [vii]
GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid – and is an amino acid that works as the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system. It enables feelings of calmness and relaxation by inhibiting nerve transmission to reduce neuronal excitability. [viii]
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are addicted to Valium, if you stop taking it suddenly – or if you lower your usual dose – you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms as well as psychological symptoms. Some common signs of Valium withdrawal:
- Aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors in hand
- Muscle spasms
- Trouble sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory issues
- Feeling delirious
- Blurred vision/ visual disturbances
Withdrawal from Valium can be dangerous, which is why you may be offered treatment on an inpatient basis with medical supervision/ medical assistance from a medical professional.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Valium can be an addictive substance – and you may need help breaking this addiction. Some behavioural signs that you may have an addiction (substance use disorder) to benzodiazepines/ diazepam include:
- Taking Valium despite the negative effects (societal/ familial/ physical/ mental)
- Developing a Valium tolerance and physical dependence
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it or lower the dose
- Experiencing Valium cravings
- Taking more Valium than recommended
- Trying but failing to stop taking it
This is something we can help with at Help4Addiction. We can help you find the right treatment centre for you – with centres located around England and Wales, we can find you the perfect local rehabilitation centre to help you overcome your prescription drug addiction, benzodiazepine addiction, or diazepam addiction.
The first stage of any drug rehab treatment involves detoxing from the drug. A detox is a process in which you free your body of the drug.
During this period, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In more severe cases, you may benefit from detoxing on an inpatient basis assisted by medical professionals.
The detox and withdrawal process depends on a variety of factors, including the dose you’re familiar with, the amount of time you’ve been using the drug, as well as your height, weight, and personal experiences.
However, the typical amount of time it can take varies between one week and four weeks. That being said, withdrawal symptoms can persist for a month or two. [ix]
Therapy is an integral aspect of drug rehabilitation. Many treatment service providers will offer talking therapies and counselling. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is commonly offered during drug addiction treatment.
This can help you gain an understanding of your addiction, including why your addiction began, your triggers, and how your addiction is influenced by your thoughts and behaviours.
This can help to keep you on track with your recovery and prevent relapse. It can also ease the transition back into your everyday life, and help you break the Valium dependence once and for all.