Diazepam Addiction and Abuse
Diazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine drug with a wide therapeutic index that includes anxiety, sleep disorders, restless legs syndrome and symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawals among others. After its discovery, diazepam became extremely popular as a safer alternative to barbiturates. In instances where Diazepam addiction and abuse has occurred, the primary cause is usually attributed to prolonged use, misuse or deliberate illicit consumption of this drug. Also, non-medical use combined with other central nervous system depressants is often cited as a contributing factor in deaths associated with diazepam.
On a global scale, Diazepam is marketed under at least 500 trade names. It was discovered in the United States and initially marketed as Valium which is still recognized as the most common product name for this drug. A special anti-convulsive formulation of Diazepam was also developed for use by the United States military services. This preparation was designed to counter the harmful effects of chemical weapons such as nerve agents until other medical care can be provided.
History of Diazepam Addiction and Abuse
The evolution of Diazepam began as a compound called Librium (chlordiazepoxide) that was discovered by Leo Sternbach in 1956. While working for Hoffman-la Roche, a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey, Sternbach was credited with the discovery of this and various other well-known drugs such as Rohypnol and Klonopin to name a few. In 1963 he released the improved version of Librium that is today known as Diazepam and marketed under the brand name Valium. This discovery earned Sternbach the distinction of “scientific giant” and his reputation as the “Valium Inventor” was forever etched in the annals of history.
By 1969 this version of Diazepam (Valium) was on its way to becoming the most prescribed drug in America. By 1982 it had achieved that status. The explosive demand for Diazepam also made Hoffmann-La Roche one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in America. Diazepam was a not only more potent than the barbiturates being used for sedation at that time; it is at least 2.6 times stronger and proved to be a much safer sedative. It was also an effective treatment for a broader range of symptoms. For many years, this drug was not directly linked to any incident of diazepam addiction. As a result, it spearheaded the development of many other products with benzodiazepine derivatives as the active ingredient.
Use Trends for Diazepam (Valium)
Pharmacological dispensation records indicate that Diazepam has a history of being one of the highest selling drugs in the United States with over two billion tablets dispensed to consumers in 1978. However, in the last two decades or so, over-prescribing and overt abuse resulting in increased incidence of diazepam addiction and abuse has made the use of this drug somewhat controversial. Yet, despite increasing concerns about rampant abuse and diazepam addiction, it continues to be a valuable pharmacological intervention that is still a preferred choice for treatment by most psychiatrists. In 2016, approximately 14,694,000 Valium and other diazepam prescription based drugs were sold in the United States alone.
Common street names for Diazepam (Valium)
Demographics, and regional use trends associated with diazepam influence street names. Street names for diazepam also reflect the diversity in appearance, dosage and combination use of this drug. For instance, “Yellow V’s” and “Blue Vs” refers to dosage amount and the particular color of the tablet. Benzo which is a popular abbreviated slang term for many benzodiazepine products is also used for diazepam. Other street names such as “Tranks” is short for tranquilizer and “Downer” or “Sleep Away” are describe the potential effects Diazepam can have on the user. The following are other common names which, in no means represent all the possible street names that is being used for this drug such as:
- drunk pills
- Dead flower powers
- Old joes
Side effects of Diazepam
One of the primary and possibly the most concerning side of diazepam abuse is dependence. Left untreated, Diazepam dependence ultimately transitions into diazepam addiction.
Diazepam mechanism of action works by increasing the effect of the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The effect of binding to GABAA receptors in the central nervous system result in a decrease of neural activity. This activity inhibits overall feelings of anxiety and panic as well as reduce muscle spasms and prevent or control convulsions and seizures.
Physical dependence and misuse of diazepam can produce a number of side effects such as:
- chronic fatigue
- ataxia or muscle weakness
- slurred speech
- loss of bladder control
- gastrointestinal disturbances
Diazepam withdrawal symptoms typically manifest if chronic drug use is abruptly halted.
The severity of these symptoms is usually based on a number of variables such as duration of diazepam addiction and the level of mental and physical impairment caused by drug use on the patient. Preexisting health conditions can also be exacerbated by diazepam addiction and abuse.
Diazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms that occur after diazepam addiction and abuse has been fully established may include:
- Rebound or worsening of anxiety symptoms
- Overthinking or obsessive rumination
- Depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
- Elevated blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Severe Muscle tension and/or joint pain
- Grand Mal Seizures.
Diazepam Addiction Treatment
Recovery from diazepam addiction and abuse must commence with halting drug use. This typically necessitate dealing with diazepam withdrawal symptoms through a process known as detoxification.
At White Sands Tampa, we access to appropriate medical equipment under the direction of our qualified medical professionals and addiction specialists.
In most cases, a gradual withdrawal that utilizes a tapering procedure keeps most patients stabilized throughout the duration of the detox process. We do this by:
- Providing a thorough physical and psychological evaluation that facilitate the development of a personalized treatment regimen that is based on the specific needs of the individual.
- Addressing the overall health of the person and not just the symptoms of the addiction.
- Creating a planned program of aftercare to support long term sobriety.
If you or a loved one is suffering from diazepam addiction and abuse, don’t hesitate. Call White Sands Tampa now at 1-877-640-7820.