It seems that Americans have finally started to understand the dangers of prescription drug addiction. Unfortunately, the threat isn’t limited to opioids like many people seem to think. Along with other benzodiazepine drugs, valium abuse can be as life-threatening as the most powerful opioid. by understanding the dangers of Valium and its indicators of abuse, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether you or a loved one needs professional help.
What is Valium?
Health practitioners often prescribe Valium (diazepam) to treat anxiety, insomnia, or seizure disorders. Valium was patented in 1959. It became popular not long after, when the medical community began to use benzos instead of barbiturates for these conditions. Between 1968-1982, Valium was the top selling pharmaceutical in the United States. The peak came in 1978, when some 2.3 billions tablets dispensed.
Benzodiazepines, including Valium, remain among the most commonly prescribed medications today.
Dangers of Valium Abuse
Valium, like all benzodiazepines, is at high risk for abuse and addiction. When taken against medical instructions or for a prolonged period of time, the brain becomes chemically dependent on the drug. As a central nervous system depressant, Valium enhances the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, creating a sense of calm and relaxation. Over time, the brain becomes incapable of naturally regulating this neurotransmitter, requiring continued use and at higher doses, to achieve the same result.
The depressant quality of Valium makes misuse of the drug very dangerous. If the drug is obtained illegally or dosage instructions aren’t followed, ingesting a large amount or for a prolonged period of time can be life-threatening. As a central nervous system depressant, Valium suppresses the respiratory system. This suppression limits the amount of oxygen that vital organs require to function properly. A valium overdose can cause stroke, seizure, brain damage, cardiac arrest, or breathing cessation, leading to an overdose fatality.
A unique trait of benzodiazepines is not only their high risk for abuse, but the danger of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Benzos, such as Valium, are considered more dangerous to withdrawal from than opioids. Due to the sedative effect that benzodiazepines have on the brain, abrupt discontinuation can be life-threatening. Symptoms of Valium withdrawal include panic attacks, tremors, confusion, nausea, heart palpitations, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and seizures. Because of these complications, it is highly recommended to seek professional help while attempting to detox from medications like Valium.
5 Signs of Valium Abuse
Valium abuse is very serious and life-threatening if left untreated. If you believe a loved one is abusing Valium, there are common indicators to look for.
Because Valium is a central nervous system depressant, lethargy is a frequent side effect of Valium abuse. While mild lethargy is expected with most benzodiazepines, excessive fatigue is an indicator that the drug is being abused or used irresponsibly. If an individual is falling asleep at odd hours, constantly drowsy, or has no energy, they may be abusing Valium.
This is a sign of abuse for any addictive substance. Neglecting various responsibilities, whether it be familial, financial, or personal, is a common occurrence among those suffering from addiction. If an individual no longer prioritizes time spent with loved ones, their career, or personal upkeep, they may be abusing Valium.
While Valium is prescribed to treat anxiety in patients, abuse of this drug can actually increase anxiety if used in excess or for a prolonged period of time. As a drug that manipulates chemicals in the brain, valium can actually have degenerating effects on the disorder it was intended to treat. Increased agitation, frustration and anxiety are all signs that this prescription drug is being abused.
This indicator is the most serious as withdrawal from Valium can be fatal if not treated. If an individual has been taking or abusing Valium for 4 weeks or longer, sudden cessation will produce painful withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, body tremors, sweating, heart palpitations, extreme agitation, and potential seizures.
Poor Cognitive Functioning
A common indicator of valium abuse is poor cognitive functioning. This can transpire in various ways. An individual struggling with Valium abuse is likely to be forgetful, have a poor sense of judgment or be incapable of holding a coherent conversation. Motor skills are also usually impaired, resulting in an inability to balance or speak without slurring words.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Treatment for Valium addiction typically consists of two components: detox and a professional addiction treatment program. Before an individual can enter a treatment facility for their addiction, they must first ensure that their body is absent of all traces of Valium. This process is called detox. Due to the severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal, it is highly recommended that detox take place at an accredited detox facility. This will guarantee the client’s comfort and safety while being provided the necessary clinical supervision.
Once the individual has successfully completed the detox stage of treatment, they will be ready to transition to the treatment phase. Most treatment facilities provide various program options depending on the severity of the addiction. Once the client enters into an addiction treatment program, they will undergo various therapies, workshops and exercises within a structured environment designed to prevent outside distraction. Individuals involved in addiction treatment will be able to bond with fellow, like-minded clients, creating a system of mutual trust and accountability. Therapists will utilize proven strategies to expose the root source of addiction and assist the client in developing healthier behavioral coping methods, therefore promoting sustained sobriety.
Don’t Struggle With Valium Abuse Alone
As an addictive benzodiazepine, Valium is hard to quit without assistance. This powerful prescription drug can irreversibly alter brain chemistry, cause organ failure through its depressant qualities, and cause life-threatening symptoms if use is abruptly stopped. Common signs of Valium abuse are lethargy, neglect of responsibilities, increase in anxiety, severe withdrawal symptoms, and poor cognitive functioning, among other ailments.
To effectively combat Valium abuse, an individual must go through an initial detox stage. This stage eradicates all traces of the drug within the physical body. It is recommended that an individual seek clinical supervision during this process as benzodiazepines are notoriously dangerous to withdraw from. After successful completion of detox, the individual is encouraged to enter an addiction treatment program so that the addiction can be confronted and treated at its source.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Valium abuse, our experts at Absolute Awakenings are ready to help. We believe that every individual is entitled to professional and effective addiction care. Regardless of your situation, we are committed to providing quality care to any who are ready to receive it. Call us today and take the first step in your road to recovery.