Diazepam (Valium) Addiction and Treatment
Valium is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, a class of prescription sedatives that are often misused in the United States.1 In 2020, nearly 5 million Americans aged 12 or older had abused benzodiazepines (or benzos for short) like Valium within the last year.1 About 1.2 million Americans in the same age group had an addiction to a prescription tranquilizer or sedative within that same time frame.1
The most recent statistics for benzo misuse by region were collected in 2018 and showed that about 1.3 million people aged 12 and older had abused drugs like Valium in the western region of the United States, an area that includes Nevada.2 The western region of the United States had the second highest rates of prescription benzodiazepine abuse in the country in 2018.2
What Is Valium?
Valium is a brand name for the prescription medicine diazepam. Diazepam belongs to a class of central nervous system depressant drugs known as benzodiazepines.3,4 It is FDA-approved to treat anxiety disorders.3 Valium is also used to treat seizures, manage muscle spasms, relax patients before surgery, and ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms.3,4
Other medicines like Valium include:5
Valium Side Effects
Diazepine and other benzos can have some unwanted side effects, even if you take it exactly how your doctor told you. 4 Some common side effects of Valium include:3,4
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Muscle weakness.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Lack of coordination, which can lead to falls or other injuries. This risk increases if you take benzos with alcohol or are age 65 or older.
- Low blood pressure.
- Nausea and constipation.
- Slurring of speech.
- Blurry or double vision.
- Hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t there).
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Regular Valium or other benzodiazepine use and misuse has also been linked to a number of cognitive (thinking) issues.7,8 These issues can last long after you’ve stopped using benzos and include:8
- Memory problems.
- Trouble with concentration and focus.
- Changes in overall intelligence.
- Less able to use language to express meaning, wants, and needs.
Valium Dependence and Addiction
Diazepam is a controlled substance, meaning that even though it has valid medical uses, it also carries a risk for abuse.5
“Abuse” is another word for misuse, which means to take a substance in ways other than intended. Valium misuse can look like:9
- Using it more often than prescribed.
- Taking someone else’s prescription.
- Chewing, crushing, or snorting pills.
- Taking it to get high.
Abusing Valium increases your risk of tolerance and dependence, both of which can be early warning signs of addiction.3,9
Tolerance is when a substance becomes less effective over time and as a result, you need to take higher doses to feel relief from your symptoms or to get high.4,9
Physical dependence is when your body has gotten used to a substance and needs it to function. If you are dependent on Valium and suddenly reduce your dose or stop taking it, you may have withdrawal symptoms.4,7,9
Addiction is when you can’t control your drug use, no matter the harms it causes. The clinical term for addiction is substance use disorder, or SUD. Valium addiction often involves misuse, tolerance, and dependence, but these don’t always have to be present for an SUD diagnosis.6,10
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
As stated, if you suddenly stop taking diazepam, you may go through withdrawal.4 Diazepam withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be life-threatening, so it’s important to talk to a doctor before you try to quit taking diazepam on your own.4 Common symptoms of Valium withdrawal include:4,11
- Anxiety and panic attacks.
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Low appetite.
- Muscle pain.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Delirium (sudden, severe confusion).
You may also notice that the symptoms for which you were taking Valium return during withdrawal.12 These are called rebound symptoms and for many people these are worse than they were before they started taking diazepam.12
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Valium Addiction Treatment Options
For many people, detox is a helpful first step in recovering from Valium abuse. Valium withdrawal symptoms can be distressing—and in some cases fatal—but professional medical detox centers can treat your symptoms and help keep you safe and comfortable.11
While detox can help you clear diazepam and other substances from your body, it does not address the underlying thoughts and behaviors that led to your addiction.10 To address these issues, you may benefit from further treatment after detox.10
- Inpatient Valium treatment offers a safe place to live during treatment, where you will have support around the clock.10
- Outpatient Valium treatment is a little more flexible as you live at home while attending treatment appointments during the week.10
No matter which setting you choose, rehab therapy sessions will most likely include behavioral therapy, which is highly effective at treating SUDs.9,10 Behavioral therapy can help you maintain long-term recovery by teaching you the skills you need to:9,10
- Manage drug cravings.
- Cope with situations that put you at high risk for relapse (return to substance use after a period of not using).
- Communicate better.
- Improve relationships.
Finding Help for Valium Addiction in Las Vegas, Nevada
American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of Valium addiction treatment in Las Vegas and across the country. Our treatment centers offer a full range of treatment services tailored to your unique recovery needs. For more information about our services and how we can help you overcome Valium abuse, call our helpline at . It’s free, confidential, and always open.