Valium is an effective medication for treating a variety of medical conditions and is one of the most widely-prescribed drugs of its kind in the United States. However, due to the high risk for dependency, it is classified as a Schedule IV Depressant under the Controlled Substances Act. Read on to find out more about valium and valium addiction — as well as how rehabilitation centers can help.
What is Valium?
Valium is not a narcotic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as a benzodiazepine, a group of drugs used to treat medical issues such as:
- Anxiety and panic disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Symptom relief of alcohol withdrawal
- Muscle spasms
How Does Valium Affect the Body?
Valium has a sedative, anti-anxiety, muscle-relaxant and anticonvulsant effect upon the body. These stem from valium’s strengthening of gamma aminobutycic acid (GABA), which inhibits the central nervous system.
How Long Does Valium Last?
The effects of valium peak between .25 hours and 2.5 hours, but it can linger in the body between 20 and 100 hours, depending on the dose and on other factors, such as the age of the individual. It is the longest-acting benzodiazepine.
What are the Side Effects of Valium?
Drug Detox.Org reports that, even when used as prescribed, valium can cause unpleasant side effects, including:
- Nervous system side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, tremors, dizziness.
- Emotional changes such as anxiety, feels of anger or rage or depression.
- Digestive or urinary problems such as nausea, constipation, urinary retention or difficulty urinating.
- Visual disturbances such as blurred or double vision or hallucinations
- Cardiac problems like extremely low blood pressure.
- Skin problems such as rashes.
Why is Valium Easily Abused?
Valium is by prescription only, but Drug Abuse.com reports that abusers often first receive this drug from family or friends. Because of the way Valium affects the brain, it is easy to build up a tolerance and people often find they need to take the drug more frequently or at a higher dose simply to function. Abuse can occur if a person takes a higher dosage of valium than prescribed, takes it more often than prescribed or for reasons other than the ones the doctor intends.
Effects of Valium Abuse
Valium abuse leads to a variety of negative side effects, including:
- Clumsiness and lack of coordination
- Excessive sleepiness
- Slowed movements and slurred speech
- Decrease in ability to concentrate and remember things
- Decrease in respirations and heart rate
- Aggressive or violent behavior
How is Valium Addiction Treated?
Withdrawal from valium addiction is a dangerous and (though rarely) even a fatal process. It should only be done under the direct supervision of a doctor or other professional for the health and safety of the patient. Fortunately, there are many rehabilitation facilities which can guide a patient through detoxification, where a patient is prescribed a tapered dose of valium so that they can withdraw from it safely with minimal side effects.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal?
One of the reasons that valium withdrawal should only take place under close supervision are the sometime severe side effects, which may include:
- Abdominal pain and muscle cramping
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disturbances
The goal of treatment at a recovery center is to detoxify the body and to guide and encourage the patient through withdrawal, managing symptoms and monitoring vitals signs (like breathing and heart rate) closely. This decreases the risk of withdrawal and increases the chance of patient success.
To sum up, valium is an easily obtainable drug and because of its effect upon the brain, it is also easy to build up a tolerance and become addicted. Because of the dangers of valium withdrawal, this process needs to take place under close supervision. This is why rehab centers are so important for those who are making the decision to break their valium addiction.
Patterson, Eric. “Valium Abuse”. Drug Abuse.com Website. Drug Abuse. 2015. Web. February 17, 2016
“Valium”. Drug Detox.org Website. Drug Detox.org. 2014. Web. February 17, 2016.
“Valium” Food and Drug Administration. Roche Products, Inc. January 2008. Web. February 17, 2016