Valium vs. Xanax: What’s the Difference? October 31st, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News Valium vs. Xanax: What’s the Difference?

Valium vs. Xanax: What’s the Difference?

A woman looking at her phone

Anxiety can be debilitating, but there are medications available to treat it. Among the more common anti-anxiety medications available are Valium and Xanax, both of which are popular and can be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety.

Are Xanax and Valium the same drug? Can they be addictive? If so, what can be done to counter Xanax or Valium addiction?

What Are Valium and Xanax?

Valium and Xanax are two types of anti-anxiety drugs that are classifieds as benzodiazepines, a specific class of medications that are commonly prescribed to help alleviate anxiety. Valium is a brand name for diazepam, while Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, both of which act as minor tranquilizers.

They both help to increase the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that sends signals in the body. When there is not enough GABA, feelings of anxiety may arise. By helping to keep GABA at an adequate level, Valium and Xanax can help to alleviate the anxiety that would otherwise ensue.

The two drugs are also similar in their potential side effects, which can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Speech issues

They also compare in their interaction with certain medications and alcohol. Many medications that induce feelings of calm and sleepiness will be amplified if taken with Valium and Xanax together.

Similar But Different in Key Ways

Although these drugs are similar, they are not exactly the same. While Xanax treats anxiety as well as panic disorder, Valium treats these and several other conditions, including muscle spasms, seizure disorders, sleep disorders and withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol addiction.

Despite sharing some similar side effects, they each have their own unique side effects as well. For instance, Xanax side effects can also include constipation, weight fluctuations and memory problems, while Valium side effects can also include diarrhea, muscle spasms, rash, loss of balance, lack of sleep, confusion, irritability, and double vision.

A doctor speaking with a patient

Can Xanax and Valium Cause Addiction?

In addition to their ability to alleviate anxiety, Xanax and Valium are perhaps most comparable in their potential for addiction. If taken in high doses over a prolonged amount of time, the risk of Valium or Xanax addiction increases. Both drugs can lead to addiction if misused.

It is possible to become addicted to either drug even after just a few days of taking them in excess. People who take either Xanax or Valium can develop a tolerance to them, which means they will need larger amounts of the drugs to achieve the same effects.

Further, the risk of addiction typically increases with age, which means that the effects of Valium and Xanax tend to last longer in older individuals. In addition, the drugs usually take longer to leave the system in an older person compared to a younger one.

Where Can People with Xanax or Valium Addiction Get Help?

Addiction is serious, whether it is from illicit street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs like Xanax or Valium. If you believe you have an addiction to either Xanax or Valium, it is important to reach out for help right away.

Rather than abruptly stopping your use of these drugs, it is safer to detox in a medically supervised environment where you will receive the care and attention needed to safely and effectively eliminate the drugs from your system. From there, you can enter a drug rehab program to develop the tools that can help you in your journey toward addiction recovery.

Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today to discuss your treatment options.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.