Valium Addiction & Withdrawal
Valium is classified as a benzodiazepine and is useful in the management of various anxiety and panic disorders, as well as the relief of muscle spasms, nervousness, and sleeplessness. Valium has also been found to offer short-term relief of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, paranoia, tremors, and acute delirium tremens, which can be deadly. While over 3 million Americans regularly use this drug for medicinal purposes, many more abuse it daily. Because of the euphoric high and general feeling of relaxation that Valium induces, it is no surprise that it is currently one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the world.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 3 million people use Valium monthly for non-medicinal reasons.
Side Effects of Valium Abuse
While many people generally view prescription medications as inherently safe, they can sometimes be as dangerous or even more dangerous than illicit street drugs, especially when abused. Valium is no different. Among all the suicides in America, 26% involve some type of benzodiazepine drug, such as Valium. Valium abuse is associated with a long list of harmful side effects, including:
- Suppression REM sleep
- Impaired motor function
- Stunting of emotions
- Lower levels of concentration
- Reduced abilities
- Potentially aggressive and violent behavior
- Physical and Emotional dependence
The long-term effects of Valium abuse can be life-threatening.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Slowed pulse
- Heart attack
- Memory loss
However, when Valium is combined with alcohol, it can have devastating effects on the body. Because both substances are depressants, they act similarly in the body to slow down and depress the central nervous system. When this happens, oxygen has a more difficult time getting to the brain, which can stop heart and brain function. Ultimately, death and overdose can occur.
While Valium is not by nature a highly addictive drug, with prolonged use, an individual can develop a physical, as well as a psychological dependency to the drug. Studies show that approximately 55% of people who use Valium for over a six-month period of time develop some type of physical or psychological dependence. One of the major reasons why people become addicted to Valium is because the body can eventually build up a tolerance to the drug, and more and more is needed to feel the same desired effects. Many times, individuals don’t feel the calmness and anxiety-reducing effect they once felt, so they decide to up the dosage. However, upping the dosage only exacerbates this process until the individual has become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. Not only will they need to take higher doses of Valium every day just to feel normal, but they also might experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms if they have not recently taken the drug.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Valium withdrawal symptoms occur when an individual has abruptly stopped taking Valium after using it for a long duration of time, generally about 6 months. Because the diazepam contained in Valium interacts with the central nervous system as a powerful depressant, the body will eventually have to compensate when a regular dose of Valium is not in the system.
This can cause a variety of withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Sleep disturbances
- Intense cravings
- Visual disturbances
- Muscle cramps
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increased sensitivity to light
Moderate Valium withdrawal symptoms generally last from 7 to 21 days but peak within the first 3-6 days. However those that develop a psychological dependence to Valium may experience a more difficult time during withdrawal, as withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and linger for a longer period of time. While Valium withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, it can be dangerous to people who are already in a poor state of health.
If you are experiencing moderate to severe Valium withdrawal symptoms, you may consider visiting a drug rehab facility specializing in treating benzodiazepine addictions. Here they can safely assist you in the Valium detoxification process as well as offer expert addiction counseling and therapy to help treat the underlying symptoms that may have led to your Valium addiction.