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COVID-19 and Rehab: Facts about drug and alcohol addiction treatments during pandemic.

dr-vorobjev

April 27, 2021

Diazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine drug which was released to the public in 1963 and is frequently called by its brand name, Valium. It is an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and sedative drug that requires a doctor’s prescription. Benzodiazepine drugs are known predominantly for their sedative effects, but may also produce mild to moderate feelings of euphoria which contributes to the possibility of addiction.

This article will help you learn about what makes Valium (diazepam) addictive and teach you how to recognize the signs and symptoms of Valium addiction and overdose. You will also discover a great addiction treatment option that can help you or your loved ones get off of Valium for good.

What is Valium (diazepam) and why is it addictive?

This substance works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that decreases activity in the central nervous system. Since this produces a calming effect in both the brain and the body, Valium is prescribed to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures, and is sometimes used to sedate patients before operations.

White diazepam tablets.

Valium (diazepam) dependence can form quickly if it is not taken as directed. Even when Valium is used as prescribed, it is possible for a tolerance to form, which means that more of the drug has to be taken in order to feel the same effects. The longer that diazepam is taken, the higher the chance of forming a tolerance or a dependence. The risk of developing a dependence also increases as you get older.

Once the body and brain are dependent on diazepam in order to function normally, drug abuse can occur, which involves using the substance in higher doses, more frequently, or for longer than directed. This can lead to addiction if it continues unchecked.

Pharmaceutical and slang terms for diazepam 

Diazepam is the generic name for a certain type of substance in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Though the brand name for diazepam is Valium, generic slang terms for benzodiazepines may still be used on the street to refer to diazepam, including: “downers”, “bars”, “benzos”, “blues”, and “tranks”.

Valium comes in tablet form and is meant to be taken orally. These pills may have different colors or shapes depending on the strength and the manufacturer, but they are generally white, yellow, or blue, and round in shape. Diazepam may be sold illegally on the street or on the internet, and some common slang terms include “eggs”, “jellies”, “moggies”, and “vallies”.

Signs and symptoms of Valium addiction 

Valium tablets being crushed into a powder.

When you become dependent on a drug to function normally, there are often psychological and behavioral changes that occur. If you can recognize the signs of Valium abuse, you can get yourself the help you need faster. Some possible behavioral signs of Valium (diazepam) addiction include:

  1. Using diazepam alongside other substances such as alcohol or opioids.
  2. Taking more of the drug or taking it for a longer period of time than advised.
  3. Taking Valium through methods that are not recommended, such as crushing and snorting the tablets.
  4. Participating in risky behavior such as driving after taking a high dose of diazepam.
  5. Continued drug use despite negative effects on your quality of life.
  6. Lying to a doctor to get more Valium or going through doctors quickly to get new prescriptions.
  7. Attempting to procure diazepam through illicit means.
  8. Unusual mood changes.
  9. Attempting to quit and failing, or the presence of withdrawal symptoms and strong drug cravings upon trying to quit.

In addition to the outwardly observable changes that come with Valium addiction, people who abuse this medication may experience uncomfortable and potentially harmful physical symptoms as well.The symptoms associated with diazepam addiction may include:

  • Chronic or intense drowsiness
  • Confusion or mental fog
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle weakness and lack of coordination
  • Reduced respiratory function

This list does not include all possible symptoms that may occur, and people who have been abusing diazepam for long periods of time or those who have severe addictions may experience more intense and uncomfortable symptoms. Some long-term risks associated with the use and abuse of benzodiazepines include substantial cognitive decline, increased risk of car crashes, and a higher incidence of hip fractures in older users.

Contact us for a free online consultation with a medical expert to learn how to manage these withdrawal symptoms for you or your loved one >>>

Diazepam overdose symptoms

Overdose is one of the most dangerous risks associated with drug addiction. As tolerance to diazepam grows and the user needs to take higher doses to feel the desired effects, the chances of overdose increases. Valium (diazepam) overdose can also occur when the drug is mixed with other substances such as alcohol, opioid medications, or other benzodiazepines. This increases the sedative effects of diazepam and can be very dangerous.

Someone going through a Valium overdose might experience intense drowsiness and weakness, blurry vision or double vision, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing or slowed breathing, and may have bluish lips due to low oxygen levels. The best way to avoid overdose is by following your doctor’s instructions regarding use and by not mixing substances. In the case of an overdose, contact a healthcare provider right away.

Treatment for Valium (diazepam) abuse

Seizures are known to occur during the benzodiazepine withdrawal process, which means that detoxification should not be attempted alone. The safest place to go through benzodiazepine detoxification is in a medical facility that specializes in addiction treatment. If your Valium addiction is severe or if you have preexisting conditions or other health concerns, it is especially important to have medical supervision throughout the detox process.

An addiction treatment expert conducting a blood analysis.

The addiction treatment process is made up of several stages, including: diagnostics, detoxification, and post-procedure therapies such as pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy.

During the diagnostics phase, medical experts evaluate the physical and psychological state of a patient to determine the best course of action for detoxification, and to ensure that the patient’s health is not compromised. This can consist of a variety of tests including a blood analysis, urine test, ECG, and more, depending on the needs of each patient.

After the patient has been evaluated, addiction treatment experts may safely begin detoxification. This may involve the administration of anti-seizure drugs and other medication infusions that promote the cleansing and restoration of the body and prevent withdrawal symptoms. This must be done in a qualified medical facility, as the patient should be constantly monitored in order to prevent seizures and other health complications.

After medically assisted detox is completed, different therapies may be recommended including pharmacotherapy and physiotherapy in order to provide support and promote long-term sobriety. Psychological addiction also requires treatment, which can consist of pharmacotherapy, use of various medical devices, and sessions with psychologists, including both individual and group therapy.

You don’t have to suffer through Valium addiction alone. Contact us today to get help quitting this harmful drug and prevent withdrawal-related seizures.

Get a free online consultation to find out more about the treatment options for Valium addiction and discuss the various outcomes with an expert of the clinic >>>

Frequently asked questions 

Why is Valium (diazepam) addictive?

Diazepam (brand name Valium) is a long-acting benzodiazepine medication that is prescribed for its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and sedative effects. Benzodiazepines are known mainly for their sedative effects, but may also produce mild to moderate feelings of euphoria, which contribute to the addiction potential of the drug. Even when users take Valium as directed, a tolerance can develop and a dependence can form, which drives people to abuse the drug, leading to addiction.

What are the signs and symptoms of Valium addiction?

Some common behavioral signs associated with diazepam addiction may include: using it alongside other harmful substances, participating in risky behaviors while on the drug, lying to doctors to get more Valium, and unusual mood changes. People addicted to Valium may also experience some of the following symptoms: drowsiness and confusion, weakness and lack of coordination, heightened anxiety, and problems with vision and slurred speech.

How can I get off of Valium?

Since withdrawal from benzodiazepines can cause seizures, the safest place to go through benzodiazepine detoxification is in a medical facility that specializes in addiction treatment. The addiction treatment process will involve diagnostics, which are meant to evaluate your physical and mental state, detoxification, which may involve the administration of medications, and post-detox therapies including pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy.

Published on April 27, 2021

by Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

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