Valium Addiction and Abuse

Valium is a drug used for its calming properties. It is often used to treat anxiety or muscle spasms. It’s also highly addictive and commonly abused.

Understanding Valium Addiction

Valium is an addictive benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other drugs in its class. An addiction to Valium can progress quickly if the drug is used in a way not directed by a doctor.

One of the telltale symptoms of a Valium addiction is needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Other signs of an addiction to Valium include:

  • Strong cravings for the drug.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Continued use despite problems caused by the drug.
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities.
  • Ignoring obligations.

Once a user has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to for addicted people to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal.

What Is Valium (Diazepam)?

Valium is most often prescribed to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. It is also used to ease uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Valium works by diminishing hyperactive brain function to relieve severe stress and anxiety. It is ingested orally in pill form and usually taken 1-4 times per day when prescribed by a doctor.

Valium is meant for people to take on a regular basis to be effective. But when someone starts taking Valium more than prescribed, or without a prescription, they increase their risk of becoming addicted.

How Long Do Other Benzos Last?
Brands Ativan Librium Valium
Length of Action Short-acting Intermediate Long-acting
Time 10-20 hours 10-30 hours 20-70 hours

Slang terms for Valium include: Vs, Yellow Vs (5 mg), Blue Vs (10 mg), benzos or tranks.

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Effects of a Valium and Reasons for Abuse

Valium is most often used by people who need help dealing with the stress of daily life. While there are several reasons for Valium abuse, many of those abusing the drug don’t take it to get high. They take it to feel normal by relieving stress and anxiety. People also abuse Valium because it helps them sleep.

Many people often think that because it is legal, Valium must be safe and less addictive than street drugs like heroin or cocaine. Due in part to these misconceptions, many people have accidentally overdosed.

Some signs of a Valium overdose include:

  • Bluish lips
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness
  • Uncoordinated movement

Signs of Valium Use

Valium addiction often starts in a seemingly harmless way: people will take it once or twice to catch up on sleep or cope with a stressful day. Many Valium users hide their drug use, which can make it hard for loved ones to recognize that there is a problem.

The visible and behavioral effects of Valium intoxication are similar to that of alcohol intoxication. Some signs that may indicate Valium abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Changes in appetite
  • Uncharacteristic sadness or irritability
  • Shaking (from withdrawal)
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The Dangers of Valium

Many people underestimate the addictive potential of Valium because it’s prescribed by a doctor. Even fewer people seem to be aware of the dangers of the drug. Valium can lead to convulsions and coma in heavy users. Studies have also shown that people on Valium have an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. And when a user stops taking the drug, Valium withdrawal can be deadly.

Side effects of Valium abuse include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Impaired coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach cramps
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
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What Is Valium (Diazepam) Withdrawal?

Anyone who has taken Valium for over four months (or even less in some cases) may experience withdrawal symptoms. Valium begins accumulating in the body the longer it’s taken.

As Valium builds up, the body cuts back its production of natural anxiety-relieving chemicals. Common symptoms of Valium withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Severe anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Numbness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it takes as little as 15 mg of Valium each day for several months to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. People who have taken more than 100 mg of Valium a day are more likely to experience serious withdrawal symptoms and complications.

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Duration of Withdrawal

Valium withdrawal lasts longer than that of most other benzodiazepines. Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine designed to deliver extended relief from anxiety. Because of its long-lasting effects, it takes a while for the symptoms of withdrawal to start. In some cases, the first symptoms of Valium withdrawal may not occur for up to seven days in heavy users.

Valium Withdrawal Timeline

First 24-48 hrs. The first signs of Valium withdrawal might be felt within two days of stopping use. Symptoms of anxiety and restlessness start out faint and begin increasing in magnitude over time.
Week 2 The symptoms of Valium withdrawal often peak in the second week after quitting. The full-blown symptoms of withdrawal start taking effect during this time. These may include insomnia, sweating, nausea and muscle pain.
Weeks 3-4 Valium withdrawal may continue for up to a month after quitting use. The intensity of withdrawal tapers off during this time, and symptoms become more manageable.
Weeks 5+ Many people who have developed a physical dependence on benzodiazepines like Valium experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These symptoms can appear suddenly after having no symptoms for months or even years.

Top Rehabs for Valium Addiction

Those heavily addicted to Valium or who also suffer from an addiction to another substance often choose to begin recovery in rehab. There are many Valium treatment centers with a strong record of recovery, each with their own approach to addiction treatment. Some of the top rehabs for people addicted to Valium include:

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Find a Valium Rehab

There are many ways to afford treatment. There are financing options, rehabs that accept insurance and programs for people who don’t have insurance. Paying for treatment shouldn’t keep you from treatment for a Valium addiction.

Our addiction specialists can help you determine your options and get you started toward a sober life. Call us now to find treatment for your Valium addiction.