Valium Addiction and Abuse
Valium is the brand name for the anti-anxiety anxiolytic known as diazepam. Almost immediately after its approval and release in 1963, the perceived value of Valium was recognized by the medical community. Scientists revered Valium for its sedating effects and potential to address multiple conditions such as anxiety and sleep disorders, muscle spasms and the potentially lethal symptoms of alcohol withdrawals. A special formulation of Valium (diazepam) was even prepared for use by the United States Military. At that time, any risk factors such as dependency or Valium addiction and abuse was quickly dwarfed by the efficacy of this drug to ease the suffering of chronic conditions like panic attacks and gran mal seizures.
Staggering demand for Valium soon made Hoffman La Roche the largest pharmaceutical company in the nation and brought recognition to Leo Sternbach, who was the first to synthetize this drug. It also spawned a host of comparable benzodiazepine medications that overtime has marginally diminished Valium’s immense popularity.
Valium Drug Classification
Valium is classified as a Schedule IV on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s controlled substance list. Drugs with this designation are considered low risk for dependence and addiction considerations with acceptable medical use.
Valium Addiction and Abuse
During the 1970s, over fifty million Valium prescriptions were issued each year. In fact, Valium was described by a reporter in the New York Times as “America’s Most Popular Prescription Drug”. However, the outcome of over-prescribing was abuse and increasing incidence of Valium addiction. The deviation from purely medical to non-medical use was evidenced by the number of people seeking treatment for Valium addiction in combination with opioid pain pills. Based on information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); between 2000 and 2010 there was a 570% increase in the number of people admitted for Valium abuse and withdrawal symptoms as well as for rehabilitation for Valium addiction.
The development of Valium addiction can be different for each person. How long it takes for the signs of dependence or addiction to occur is typically based on a number of variables such as susceptibility to addiction, duration of use and overall mental stability. The National Institute of Health (NIH) suggest that dependence or addiction to Valium can occur within several weeks of drug use or after a few months. NIH experts also warn that Valium should not be taken continuously for more than four months.
Signs of Valium Addiction and Abuse
Tolerance building is a strong characteristic of Valium abuse. Warning signs that tolerance levels are building include the need to increase the dosage in order to achieve the initial or desired effect. Once dosage changes begin to occur, it may be time to seek help to stop using the drug. It is important to advise the prescribing physician of any changes in dosage or effects. If Valium was being used recreationally, it is a warning sign that the individual is on the path to dependence and Valium addiction and could benefit from participating in a drug rehabilitation program.
Other signs of Valium addiction may indicated by:
- Use of Valium every day; even if you don’t want to.
- Using Valium in ways other than is recommended such as crushing and snorting the tablets.
- A preoccupation with making sure you always have a supply of Valium on hand.
- Becoming anxious when you can’t get or use Valium.
- Regularly increasing the amount of Valium consumed.
- One or more failed attempts to stop using Valium due to the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
- Willingness to engage in risky behavior while under the influence or to support the drug habit.
Physical and psychological signs of Valium addiction include:
- Use of Valium has begun to negatively impact important areas of life.
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Suicide ideation or attempt
- Urine retention
- Loss of bladder control
Valium Side Effects
The most commonly reported side effects of regular use of Valium include…
- Chronic Lethargy
- Forgetfulness or memory problems;
- Muscle weakness;
- Slurred speech;
- blurred vision and or double vision;
- Skin rash and itching
- loss of sexual appetite.
- Cognition problems that last for periods of up to six month after long term use of Valium has been stopped.
Valium Abuse and Withdrawal Symptoms
A popular trend for people in opiate addiction is to incorporate the use of valium or similar drugs into their substance abuse routine. In the last decade or so, rampant dispensation of opioid painkillers has aligned the effects of Valium with the cycles of addiction to these potent substances.
Valium’s calming effect that is common to medications from the benzodiazepine family of drugs is frequently used to mitigate the debilitating and psychologically frightening symptoms associated with alcohol or opiate withdrawals. When used in combination with heroin or prescription pain pills such as oxycodone, Valium help to calm down the hyperactivity of the central nervous system that is typically triggered if drug use is abruptly halted or if dosages are missed. Valium also help to mitigate withdrawal symptoms by relaxing tense muscles and inducing asleep.
Valium also causes its own share of Valium addiction withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptoms associated with valium addiction may include upset of the gastrointestinal system, exaggerated agitation, anxiety or panic attacks and seizures; to name a few. Although these symptoms can be managed with appropriate medical oversight, in rare cases, coma and death can occur if the individual does not have immediate access to medical care.
Valium Addiction and Abuse Treatment
Treatment for Valium addiction typically commence with drug detoxification. The unpredictable and inherent risks involved in the detoxification process suggest that this procedure is best if it occurs under the supervision of a qualified physician or addiction specialist.
Various drug elimination methods are available today to help people in addiction halt chronic consumption of drugs like Valium without undue pain and suffering. In-patient arrangements are always recommended for the detoxification phase of recovery. However, both inpatient and out-patient settings facilitate Valium addiction recovery. The most beneficial arrangement is determined based on the unique needs of the patient.
The primary objective of a Valium addiction and abuse treatment program is to halt the progression of the debilitating effects of addiction. Whether the duration of the recovery period is short or long-term, this is dependent on the physical and psychological impact that the drug has had on the addict.
At White Sands Tampa, we provide professional support to restore normalcy to daily life. Studies show an integrative approach coupled with a strong commitment on the part of the person in addiction is highly effective to achieve full recovery and sustained abstinence, and the overall success of our patients’ recovery reflected accurately upon these statistics. Don’t hesitate. If you or a loved one is suffering from Valium addiction and abuse, call 1-877-640-7820 for help.