Valium is a prescription medication given to treat anxiety, panic, extreme stress, seizures, muscle spasms, sleeplessness, and more. It’s known as an anxiolytic and a sedative, and the medical community recognizes it for the acute possibility of Valium addiction since patients are likely to develop physical and emotional dependency in short order.
At the Indiana Center for Recovery, our staff physicians, specialists, and nurses watch the latest Valium research to improve our highly successful treatment programs for benzodiazepines, anxiolytics, and sedatives like Valium. With this evidence-based foundation, our clients feel the care of state-of-the-art detox facilities and scientifically demonstrated addiction treatment.
For those interested in or struggling with Valium addiction, Indiana Center for Recovery wants to promote awareness and open information about its dangers and the road to sobriety. Explore what Valium is, how it works, and what it means when someone needs addiction treatment as a result.
What is Valium? (Diazepam)
Valium (known in its generic as “diazepam”) is a drug with great effectiveness in treating various conditions that can be difficult for patients to manage otherwise. Valium, for instance, is FDA-approved to treat many symptoms typical of anxiety and panic disorders, but it can also be useful in alcohol withdrawal, as a muscle relaxant, and as a powerful calming agent before surgeries, in some cases.
Similar to medications like Klonopin and others in its class of drugs, Valium carries the serious risk of addiction even when prescribed by a doctor at a low, starting dose. This is so because the therapeutic effects of Valium can be incredibly pleasant for someone who, until then, struggled to keep anxiety episodes, panic attacks, and emotional pain in check. The door to addiction opens there.
By being able to help people handle pain, Valium presents a puzzle because of its effectiveness at treating symptoms of some mental health and physical disorders—while giving pause about what might happen if the patient becomes addicted. Nevertheless, Valium can very simply subdue common features of anxiety, stress, and panic:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Increased heart rate
- False sense of immediate danger
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty breathing
Valium is not usually prescribed as a permanent solution to the patient’s presentation of symptoms like these, but rather Valium is intended to be taken only for as long as needed to overcome those immediate challenges. A patient who has been prescribed Valium can, in some cases, develop drug dependence and addiction without even realizing it. In many circumstances, this ultimately requires intervention, detox, and extended care at an addiction treatment center.
Doctors, researchers, and the public recognize that the long-term use of Valium often leads to loss of functioning without the drug. When the problem hits an individual, families may see their behavior shift in unexpected ways as Valium takes hold of the person with the promise of being a source of calm and contentment. In reality, the things that make Valium work also make it dangerous in terms of drug dependency.
Valium Use and Side Effects
Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine agent that, in effect, produces a calmer pace of thoughts by working to slow the chemical messages sent by the central nervous system, helping patients to experience more composure with less stress, tension, and panicked fatigue.
Because of this mode of slowing the brain, the body also feels a sense of relaxation alongside the thoughts and emotions that originally troubled the patient. In less than an hour, users can feel its subduing effects. Compared to other medications that treat similar symptoms, Valium lasts longer, making it even more critical to watch for benzodiazepine addiction and side effects:
- Slurred speech
- Vision trouble
Many benzodiazepine drugs like Valium cause such side effects, and they do not indicate addiction in themselves. They do, however, worry medical professionals if patients show no concern about severe side effect reactions and if they worsen over time as a result of increasing dosages, drug tolerance, and misuse. If the Valium-prescribed patient starts to develop a high tolerance, they may experience even more side effects (or the same with more intensity):
- Skin reactions
- Loss of appetite
- Behavioral changes
Only the medical advice of a doctor can determine whether a patient has a problem with Valium (especially if new side effects emerge at higher doses). Still, if a person continues using Valium despite the negative consequences on their mind, body, and behavior—it may be time to get the loved one help through addiction treatment.
Valium Abuse and Signs
Valium creates a sense of calm that some find hard to quit. As a sedative, its relaxing effects tempt people who are finally given the opportunity to feel a sense of ease and simplicity. For years, perhaps, they have struggled with feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, and tense apprehension, and finding Valium may seem like an answer.
Family and friends are often the first to notice the signs of a Valium addiction in the person they love. The person developing the addiction and drug dependency to Valium will show a few, some, or many of the symptoms that have become classic register to medical professionals. At first, nothing might be noticed, but as dependency and drug tolerance build—the red flags become pronounced:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision disturbances
- Extreme sleepiness
- Compromised judgment
- Shopping for doctors
- Seeking pills from others
- Panic episodes
- Attempts to stop Valium
- Increased risk-taking
- Abusing Valium with other drugs (e.g. alcohol)
The process of building a resistance to Valium is patient-specific, but, in each case, they will seek more and more Valium for their use and to safeguard as a supply. As drug tolerance grows, the affected individual will need higher and higher doses to have the desired effect or high. Usually, this is the moment when professionals, families, and friends start to realize the possibility that the person needs real help.
If they can find (or be encouraged to accept) the right help, the struggling patient addicted to Valium can cut it out of their lives with a doctor and consistent support. For instance, they will need to create a plan to detox from Valium in order to start recovery without the drug coursing through their system.
Valium Addiction and Treatment
As a serious prescription medicine, Valium is hardly simple to remove from one’s life after addiction grips them. After it has been taken and abused over an extended period, quitting Valium can be life-threatening, requiring the medical supervision of an addiction treatment program facility.
If you think you or someone you care about might be addicted to Valium (or even another benzodiazepine in this class of drugs)—consider the common character traits and behavioral features of the person. Addiction fundamentally alters how a person acts, how they relate to others, and how they see themselves and the world. The following indicators suggest addiction to and dependence on Valium.
Common Features of Valium Addiction
One person addicted to Valium may show fewer signs of being dependent on the drug than others—even if the addiction to Valium is at an advanced stage. One patient may start by pulling away from their responsibilities. Another might begin by losing sight of their own passions and seeking to replace past pleasures with a large, easy supply of Valium. The variations are countless and patterned by risk-taking and drug-seeking.
Addiction requires supply. In the case of Valium, the person may spend large amounts of money and spare no expense at accumulating the drug even to the extent of stealing from those they love. Leaving nothing to spare, credit will be used up, savings will become drained, and every last resort (even criminal activity) will be taken.
As taking and securing Valium creeps into the majority of the person’s day, consuming their thoughts and energy, there will be little or no time left to spend on their hygiene, health, grooming, or wellness. Those around them will start to notice that they have become less organized (or concerned) with their appearance before the underlying illness starts to visibly damage their body and mind.
People who are in the throes of addiction can be hard to understand and pin down because of the secrecy the drug demands. Discovering the addiction threatens its hold on the person, and to avoid intervention, the person will deceive those around them about what they are doing, thinking, feeling, and how they are spending time.
The Valium addict is never done with taking the drug. Instead, the risks they take, dosages they seek, and effects they want only rise in their demand. They may start to experiment with taking the drug through other methods (such as injection and snorting) and with other combinations (such as with other benzos and alcohol).
Appropriate Treatment of Valium Addiction
Not long after beginning a course of treatment with Valium, anyone can develop a chemical dependence on Valium. This is true even for people who intend to take the drug at the lowest possible dosage and only as their doctor prescribes. Once Valium has taken hold, however, they see disruptive symptoms that need strong attention:
- Persistent cravings for Valium
- Continuing to use Valium despite side effects
- Using Valium for longer than intended
- Compulsively seeking to use the drug
- Failing at attempts to quit Valium
- Losing ability to and interest in other activities
- Finding legal and financial issues
Each year, Valium and other benzodiazepines stir addictions that ruin lives, tear apart families, and make the enjoyment of life itself seem distant and impossible. Through evidence-based treatment and expert support, Indiana Center for Recovery guides the addicted toward a life of sobriety through safe, effective programs like supervised detox, residential treatment, and outpatient continuation of care.
If someone finds themselves addicted to benzodiazepines—and Valium in particular—the way to regain control of their lives is immediately blocked by a wall of “rebound” symptoms that begin because they stopped taking the drug. These withdrawal symptoms can include pain, disorientation, and life-threatening complications.
Formal, supervised detox intervenes. Once symptoms of Valium withdrawal emerge, around-the-clock detox supervision at Indiana Center for Recovery helps to keep loved ones safe, healthy, and ready for the next step.
After purging the body of Valium, our clients begin re-learning the life skills, sensibilities, and coping strategies they need to live without it—for good. Working with our clients compassionately, they discover the underlying roots of their addiction so that they can address the sickness at its source.
Recovering addicts encounter distractions and dangers when they do not have a dedicated facility to promote recovery, wellness, and sobriety. Slipping back into old patterns comes easily, but the Indiana Center for Recovery’s safe, supportive, and drug-free facility keeps focus on restoring lost control, repairing damage, and regaining a positive sense of self.
Outpatient Continued Care
Outpatient treatment at Indiana Center for Recovery merges the sobriety established by detox and skills taught in residential care in order to maintain and extend recovery. Building resilience and independence, patients can engage a partial hospitalization for a few days each week to continue therapy, manage medications, and revisit skills.
Find Help with Valium Addiction
Even a simple medicine like Valium can evolve into a monstrous addiction and drug habit. Prescription drugs like benzodiazepines grip the developing addict in ways that are often just as tragic and devastating as they are with alcohol, heroin, crack, or cocaine. If you or someone you love is currently showing the signs of a Valium addiction, know that they need a combination of well-studied therapies and approaches to reverse and remedy its consequences.
Needing our compassion and expertise, the addicted can repair their body through detox, restore their mind through residential inpatient, and reclaim themselves with supportive outpatient treatment at Indiana Center for Recovery. Our caring experts guide people addicted to Valium through the dangers of withdrawal toward the positive beliefs and practices they need to live rich, full lives. Find true, drug-free serenity—for you or someone you love.
Let’s get you or a loved one help with a few simple steps.