Valium (Diazepam) Addiction

Diazepam, known by its brand name Valium, is a medication prescribed for managing various disorders. While a useful tool for managing anxiety, Diazepam addiction is known to develop quickly and withdrawal symptoms can be severe, making it challenging to quit the drug without professional help.

Valium addiction - tablet

What is Valium and how can it be abused?

Diazepam is a medication belonging to the benzodiazepine class and is often prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorders, muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal. Its mechanism of action involves binding to GABA receptors in the brain, which promotes a sense of relaxation and calmness.

Diazepam is a prescription-only medication in the UK and it is illegal to provide the drug without a legitimate prescription. Despite this, diazepam abuse is frequent due to its calming and euphoric effects. Individuals may exceed the prescribed dose, crush and snort the pills or take the medication more often than recommended to intensify the high. In 2021, 290 people in the UK died from overdosing on Diazepam.

What is Valium addiction?

Addiction to Valium, or diazepam, is a prevalent form of prescription drug addiction. It is defined by the compulsive use of the medication despite being aware of the potential negative consequences. Diazepam addiction affects individuals on both a physical and psychological level.

Physically, when diazepam attaches to the GABA receptors in the brain, it causes a reduction in neurological activity. This can lead to a physical dependence on the medication, wherein the body becomes accustomed to functioning with diazepam and may struggle to function without it.

Psychological dependence can evolve when an individual perceives the need for diazepam to cope with challenging emotions or situations. For instance, if one self-medicates with diazepam for insomnia, they may begin to feel incapable of managing the condition without the medication. This can lead to a psychological reliance on the drug, which can be challenging to overcome.

Common paths to diazepam addiction

There are two primary paths to Valium addiction: the misuse of prescription Valium and recreational Valium abuse.

Prescription use leading to Valium addiction

While Valium can be lawfully prescribed for various medical conditions, even legitimate usage can lead to addiction. As individuals continue taking their prescribed dosage, they may develop a tolerance to Valium, requiring larger doses to achieve the same desired effects. This escalation of dosage increases the risk of diazepam addiction.

Long-term Valium abuse can increase the likelihood of developing tolerance, as the body becomes accustomed to the medication’s presence. Once tolerance develops, the next stage may be dependence, wherein an individual feels the need for diazepam to function normally and may experience diazepam withdrawal symptoms if they discontinue the medication. Such symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Seizures

Valium addiction - man with headache

Valium addiction from recreational abuse

Recreational Valium abuse refers to the use of the drug without a medical justification, solely for the euphoric effects it can produce. Individuals who engage in recreational Valium abuse frequently consume doses exceeding the recommended amount, which can lead to the rapid development of tolerance and dependence.

Regardless of the original motive for taking Valium, once physical dependence has formed, there is a significant risk of developing diazepam addiction, especially if there are one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or PTSD
  • A family history of addiction or abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Easy access to the drug
  • Past trauma
  • Excessive stress
  • Insomnia

How do I know if I have a Valium addiction?

Identifying a Valium addiction can be challenging, as the addiction itself may attempt to conceal the indications and symptoms. Nonetheless, several self-evaluation questions may help identify potential diazepam addiction symptoms, such as:

  • Have you attempted to reduce or quit taking diazepam but failed to do so?
  • Are you finding that you need to take diazepam more frequently or in higher doses to achieve the desired effect?
  • Have you been concealing your Valium abuse from loved ones?
  • Do you spend a significant amount of time thinking about or attempting to obtain Valium?
  • Have you suffered from diazepam withdrawal symptoms when you’ve attempted to quit using the drug?
  • Are you experiencing any of the health effects associated with Valium addiction that have been described on this page?
  • Have you been seeking multiple prescriptions for diazepam by visiting multiple doctors?

If you responded yes to any of these inquiries, it is probable that you are suffering from Valium addiction. Contact Banbury Lodge today and we can talk about the initial stages of obtaining help for Valium addiction.

The effects of Valium abuse and addiction

There are multiple ways that Valium abuse and addiction can influence the state of your physical and mental health. These include:

Physical health effects…

  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased chances of risky behaviour
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headaches
  • Constipation

Mental health effects…

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Delusions
  • Cognitive declines
  • Hallucinations

Valium addiction - woman with anxiety

Further risks of diazepam addiction

Diazepam addiction can impact every area of your life, including your performance at work or school. The tranquillisation effects of diazepam can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks or complete them effectively.

Your relationships may also be affected by diazepam addiction. For example, you may neglect your loved ones due to your preoccupation with the drug, experience financial difficulties due to your diazepam addiction or treat them poorly due to uncontrollable mood swings or depression caused by diazepam abuse.

How is Valium addiction treated?

Successfully addressing Valium addiction requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses Valium detox, rehabilitation treatment and post-care. Our tailored approach of combining different therapies allows us to cater to each individual’s specific needs and tackle all the intricate aspects of diazepam addiction.

How to get the help you or your loved one need

Seeking professional help for diazepam addiction or any benzodiazepine addiction is crucial for those who are struggling. At Banbury Lodge, we have a team of highly experienced addiction specialists who can provide expert guidance and support throughout the recovery journey. Whether you or someone you love is dealing with diazepam addiction, our team is here to help. Here are some ways you can help a loved one that may be dealing with a diazepam addiction.

  • Gain knowledge: Educating yourself about codeine addiction, its effects and options for help can enable you to understand your loved one’s situation and how to offer the best support.
  • Approach with care: When talking to your loved one about their addiction, show compassion and empathy instead of being critical or blaming. Express your love and concern for them and their well-being.
  • Offer assistance: Let your loved one know that you are available to support them and help them find a suitable programme. You can also accompany them to appointments or offer practical help as needed.
  • Set boundaries: To avoid being overly involved or affected by your loved one’s addiction, set clear boundaries that protect your own health and happiness. This might mean refusing to enable their addictive behaviour or seeking help for yourself.
  • Encourage professional help: Encourage your loved one to seek professional help, such as a Valium rehab programme or counselling. You can help them research options, provide encouragement and offer support throughout their recovery journey.

Frequently asked questions

Can diazepam addiction be fatal?
Diazepam addiction can have life-threatening consequences, including fatal overdose. It is crucial to note that mixing diazepam with alcohol or other substances can significantly increase the risk of an overdose, which can be deadly.
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