Diazepam is known to be a red flag for dependence, and few doctors prescribe it as a long term solution. Unfortunately, there are still many caught in the cycle of addiction when it comes to these types of drugs, but there are some treatment options available for those in need.
Benzodiazepines – sometimes called ‘Benzos’ – are a class of psychoactive drug often prescribed by doctors for short term treatment of mental health disorders such as anxiety, insomnia and panic disorder. The most common types are Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam and Alprazolam.
Diazepam is a tablet that is known both by its generic name “diazepam” and its brand name: valium. It is commonly used to treat a range of conditions including anxiety, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, muscle spasms, seizures, trouble sleeping, and restless legs syndrome. It may also be used to cause memory loss during certain medical procedures, such as tooth extractions. Diazepam can be taken by mouth, inserted into the rectum, injected into a muscle, or injected into a vein. Diazepam is marketed in over 500 brands throughout the world.
Diazepam is primarily used to treat anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks and symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam is the drug of choice for treating benzodiazepine dependence as it has a long half-life which enables easier dose reduction.
Most commonly, the prescribed drug Diazepam, or Valium, is given for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia or other acute psychological disorders. It is usually given for short term use only, to help in crises.
Benzodiazepines are effective at treating a range of psychological and neurological disorders, these include
There are as many as 1.5 million people addicted to benzodiazepines in the UK, making them second only to alcohol on the scale of addictive substances. At least 50% of those addicted are prescribed their medication via their GP while others purchase them over the internet, from street dealers, or through friends and family.
Diazepam is generally taken by mouth as a pill. The amount prescribed will depend on some factors, including your age and current medical condition. The usual oral dose is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily.
Alcohol should also be avoided when taking diazepam as it can affect your judgement, thinking and motor skills.
Common side effects of Valium include:
Call your doctor at once if you have:
This is not an exhaustive list.
Diazepam is not recommended for those who have a history of addiction because of its habit-forming nature.
A Diazepam overdose requires high amounts of Diazepam or can occur when the user is also drinking alcohol or taking other medications.
The most visible signs of a diazepam overdose are deep sleep and a significantly slowed down breathing rate. However, other symptoms to be on the watch out for might be:
Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and can be frightening and quite dangerous without proper medical assistance. They might include;
More severe symptoms of valium withdrawal might include:
These withdrawal symptoms make supervised detoxification and treatment for diazepam addiction essential.
There are various approaches that can be effective for treating diazepam addiction; you may benefit the most from a blend of rehab, medication, and therapy.
Rehab will help you not only break the physical addiction but can help you address the contributing factors to your addiction with a combination of research-based therapies, in a warm and supportive environment.
Rehab generally approach addiction as a multifaceted problem, but one that can be treated effectively. Your treatment programme will be tailored to the person rather than to their drug(s) of choice. Medication will often be used where it necessary for detox or to treat mental health issues that are co-occurring.
A residential rehab is a great option for the treatment of diazepam addiction because it provides intense and rigorous professional support in a therapeutic community setting. Residential rehab programmes usually require a 90-day stay, giving you the opportunity to work with addiction experts, mental health counsellors, and holistic therapists. It is essential to treat addiction on the physical, emotional, psychological and physical level, and the programmes provided in rehab reflect that.
On attending rehab, you will usually benefit from;
Here at Banbury Lodge, we provide all of the above services as part of our drug addiction rehab programme.
It is usually suggested that reducing from benzodiazepines should be a gradual process, throughout weeks or months, rather than abruptly stopping the drug. Medication may be used to treat withdrawal symptoms and reduce discomfort.
If you are currently taking a benzodiazepine with a shorter half-life like lorazepam or alprazolam, your doctor may first prescribe one with a longer half-life, such as chlordiazepoxide or clonazepam to help ease your symptoms during detox and to facilitate the tapering process.
Other drugs that may be used in benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
Medications can be very useful when combined with psychological treatments talking therapies.
Individual counselling sessions between yourself and a focal counsellor typically last for fifty minutes to an hour. These sessions will give you the best opportunity to explore your issues in depth and identify areas which you would like to work on in a private and confidential environment.
Your counsellor will help you to share, to challenge your unhelpful thinking patterns, and to heal from your diazepam addiction and any other contributing factors.
Group Therapy usually consists of a small group of peers that share similar issues. These sessions you will benefit from both the facilitation of the counsellor and from the insights and experience of your peers.
Addiction treatment therapies include (but are not limited to) the following:
Therapy offers those battling drug addiction a safe space to explore their past, their feelings, as well as their hopes for future, in a way that nurtures and nourishes and helps them lead happier and healthier lives.