Valium Abuse & Addiction

What Is Valium?

Colorado is facing a prescription drug problem, and that includes not only painkillers like prescription opioids but also benzodiazepines like Valium. The use of Valium is widespread across Colorado including cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, and the trend is the same around the nation as well.

Valium, as mentioned is a prescription drug, and it’s one of the most commonly prescribed drugs of its type in Colorado and the nation. Valium calms the activity in the central nervous system, so it’s often prescribed to treat anxiety or panic disorders as well as seizures and muscle spasms.

Valium is the brand name of the generic diazepam, and this drug affects brain chemicals and activity that could be unbalanced in people who suffer from anxiety disorders. It can also be used to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

When Valium is prescribed to someone in Colorado, it’s intended to be taken exactly as directed, and people shouldn’t take different doses or take it more often than they’re prescribed. It’s also essential that people who take Valium only take it for the prescribed period of time, and anytime someone is using it outside of how it’s prescribed or without a prescription it’s considered abuse of the drug.

If you do take Valium for a long period, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it.

Some of the general side effects of Valium can include drowsiness, feeling sleepy, muscle weakness and coordination problems.

Some of the severe but less common side effects of taking Valium may include confusion, hallucinations, depression, new or worsening seizures, shallow breathing, urination problems, or tremors.

Valium Addiction

Understanding Valium Addiction

Statewide including in major metro areas like Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver, there has been a major uptick in the number of Valium prescriptions written to patients, as well as increases in the number of all other benzo prescriptions. This isn’t exclusive to Colorado, however. It’s a nationwide pattern that’s being seen, and unfortunately, too many people don’t realize that Valium is potentially addictive.

Valium is extremely addictive, whether you’re taking it as prescribed or not. In fact, some people report becoming addicted physically and psychologically after only taking it for a few weeks.

Valium, which is made from diazepam, is part of a class of medicines known as benzodiazepines, and this entire drug class is known for being potentially habit-forming.

The reason Valium is believed to be addictive is because of how it affects the central nervous system and brain of the user. Like other habit-forming drugs, when you take Valium it elicits a response in your brain that triggers the release of dopamine, in addition to calming the neuron activity in your brain. That release of dopamine and the role Valium and other drugs like it play on your brain’s pleasure and reward centers can lead you to want to continue seeking out the drug, which is when addiction and also physical dependence can develop.

Also worth noting when discussing Valium addiction in Colorado is the fact that addiction is different from dependence, and both are possible with this drug, but you can be dependent without being addicted. If you use Valium to treat anxiety or panic disorder as an example, your body may become used to its presence, and if you were to suddenly stop taking it you would experience withdrawal symptoms. This can go along with addiction, or occur separately.

Some of the reasons the use of Valium has become so widespread in Colorado as well as other states across the country include the fact that doctors have become more lenient in their attitude about prescribing it so it’s more widely available, and there isn’t a lot of knowledge on the part of patients about the addiction potential.

Valium Addiction Potential

Some people genuinely need and benefit from Valium, but as was touched on above, there is a very serious potential for addiction. Valium abuse is definitely a possibility. Some things can increase the likelihood you will become addicted to Valium.

These factors can include a history of substance abuse or addiction and taking it in any way other than how it’s prescribed. For example, if you take larger doses than what your doctor prescribes, you’re at a higher likelihood of becoming addicted, or if you take it for more than a short-term period, you’re also at a higher risk of developing both a dependence and an addiction.

Another thing to think about with Valium addiction potential is the fact that a lot of people will abuse the drug by crushing it up and snorting it, chewing it or dissolving it. This creates a more rapid and euphoric high, and by taking Valium in any of these ways, it’s inherently considered abuse of the drug.

Some of the signs you may be abusing Valium or addicted to it include intense cravings for the drug and the feeling that you can’t function or live normally without it. You may also be addicted to Valium if you feel you require it to deal with daily life stress, or you continue to use the drug even in the face of adverse consequences or outcomes. If you constantly crave Valium and try to seek it in ways such as buying it illegally on the streets or doctor shopping it can be a problem. Also,  if you’re simply taking valium to achieve a high, you may be addicted.

Another form of inherent Valium abuse is mixing it with other substances. For example, people may take it with opioids or with alcohol to intensify the effects, and that represents not only a substance abuse problem, but it can also raise your risk of a deadly overdose.

It’s important for people in Colorado and other states to understand the Valium addiction potential, and to know how important it is not just to be aware of the risks of the drug, but also to recognize the signs a problem might exist.

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.