Valium (diazepam) is typically prescribed to minimize the symptoms of anxiety. It may also be helpful in controlling alcohol withdrawal symptoms, minimizing muscle spasms brought on by neurological disorders like cerebral palsy, and controlling seizures. Used properly following a doctor’s recommendations, Valium is safe. When misused, Valium can cause numerous negative outcomes, including addiction.
How Does Valium Work?
As a type of benzodiazepine, Valium can be quite effective at helping to control anxiety and manage other health conditions. Benzodiazepines work to stimulate the proper function of the brain. Specifically, they regulate the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate emotional reactions to events or experiences.
Valium often provides immediate relief from symptoms. Because it works so quickly, it’s commonly used for anxiety and panic attacks.
Can Valium Be Addictive?
It is possible to develop an addiction to Valium. This is more likely to occur when Valium is used at a higher dose or more frequently than prescribed. However, it’s not safe for a person who has become dependent on Valium to stop suddenly. This can lead to a high risk of intense symptoms, including a mental health breakdown or muscle spasms and seizures. A careful withdrawal process is necessary to taper off the drug.
Signs of Valium Addiction
It’s often challenging to know when a person has a Valium addiction, especially if they are taking it with a prescription. Some common symptoms of misuse or addiction include the following:
- Taking more than prescribed. This may be indicated by running out of the prescription too soon. Some people may try to purchase Valium from a secondary market or buy or steal the medication from someone else.
- Physical side effects. Some of the physical signs of Valium addiction include memory problems, difficulty concentrating, dilated pupils, and nausea.
- Cravings occur. A craving is an intense desire to use the medication, often leading to an inability to stop thinking about using it. This often occurs when a person reaches a level of tolerance, meaning their body needs more of the drug to reach the same type of relief.
- Pulling away from loved ones. The more Valium a person uses, the more they feel they need to use. That leads to withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed. They may struggle with school, work, or other obligations.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Agitation is one of the most common symptoms of Valium withdrawal. A person may struggle with physical pain, mood swings, muscle spasms, and insomnia when they try to stop using Valium.
How to Get Help for Valium Addiction
Don’t ignore the symptoms of Valium addiction. Without intervention, tolerance will continue to develop, leading to the potential for numerous health complications. Over time, Valium stops working as effectively, which means anxiety may worsen, seizures may occur, and muscle spasms may return.
Treatment for Valium addiction requires a couple of specific steps for most people.
- Detoxification. A doctor or medical team controls the amount of the medication used and slowly weans a person from it.
- Therapy. A therapist can help a person discover the root cause of anxiety and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Over time, taking Valium leads to potential loss of cognitive function, physical limitations, and, in some cases, damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver. Finding treatment for Valium addiction will prevent the onset of health complications and improve quality of life.
Using Valium & Want to Remain Safe?
If your doctor recommends the use of Valium for any medical condition, discuss with your provider your concerns about addiction. Then, strictly follow the recommendations for use. If you feel that you are not getting enough relief from the prescription you have, talk to your doctor about alternatives. Avoid increasing the amount you take or the frequency of use.
Most importantly, work with your doctor to better understand the cause of your symptoms, especially anxiety. Working to alleviate the underlying cause may provide long-term relief without the need to use Valium.