Valium Abuse and Addiction

Valium Abuse, Addiction and Where to Find Quality Treatment in Idaho

People in Idaho need to know as much as possible about Valium addiction and abuse.

There are so many people in our state who are suffering, and who may not realize that going to detox and rehab might help. Instead, many of them have resigned themselves to a lifetime of struggling because of their dependence upon this prescription drug.

Valium has become a popular drug of choice both for people who need it and for those who use it recreationally. It is a depressant, and when it is taken appropriately, it can be very effective. But it should not be a medication that people take for long periods of time. Also, taking it without a prescription constitutes abuse, which can be extremely dangerous.

We want to do our part to help people become more aware of the dangers of Valium. We also want them to know that all hope is not lost. It is possible to recover from this addiction with the right support.

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What is Valium?

Valium is a benzodiazepine drug that is also sold under the generic name, Diazepam.

What is Valium?

It is usually prescribed as a way to treat anxiety. This medication is available in 2mg, 5mg or 10mg doses. It is a popular choice for its ability to relax the muscles in the body and because it has sedative properties.

Valium can be used to treat mood disorders, and it has also been used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms, seizures and insomnia.

Valium Addiction

How Valium (Diazepam) Works

Valium, and other drugs in the family of benzodiazepines, strengthens the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain known as GABA.  This causes neurotransmitters to depress many of the brain's processes, slowing the brain down. It reduces anxiety and results in less brain activity as a whole. Valium is meant to be prescribed short-term and does have the capacity to assist greatly when prescribed and managed properly.

The problem lies within Valium abuse and addiction. Diazepam does offer a high, especially when combined with other substances and alcohol. There is also abuse happening when Valium dosage is ignored. As of 2011, Valium was one of the most common prescription drugs in the sedative category to be abused. There were approximately 15 million prescriptions written for Valium last year.

Valium Addiction

If someone is given a prescription for Valium, it's advised that they don't use it for more than 4 months.

Addiction to Valium

Using the drug for longer has shown to increase the likelihood of addiction. The potential for drug abuse is so high and it can quickly turn to physiological dependence, a Diazepam tolerance, and addiction. Especially for those with anxiety, Valium gives a nice sense of relaxation. This is the attribute of the drug that has caused such a high abuse rate. It is considered to be one of the more addictive benzodiazepines in its drug class.

When Valium addiction sets in, withdrawal symptoms will occur when the person abstains.

The symptoms can be quite severe and may include seizures or convulsions. Tapering off is usually recommended when taking Diazepam for a long period of time. It may take a medical detox along with holistic rehabilitation to recover successfully.

Valium Abuse

Valium, being a part of benzodiazepine drug class, is popular for those looking to get high through the depressant effects. It is the sixth most abused prescription drug that people are getting addicted to. For those who abuse Diazepam, they will often combine it with alcohol and other drugs. It is considered Valium abuse when;

  • A user takes excess Valium dosage past the recommendations of a doctor.
  • Using Valium when it hasn't been prescribed to them.
  • Taking it through injection or snorting it as opposed to orally (its original form.)

People who abuse Valium will often smash it into powder and mix it in water so they can take it via needle or snort it. This is so they can get a more powerful Valium high. Once people start abusing Diazepam this way, they're more likely to become addicted.

Valium Abuse

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How Has Valium Abuse Impacted Idaho?

In its earliest days, Valium was considered a wonder drug by housewives all over Idaho, as well as the rest of the U.S. It was known as the “chill pill,” and it was one that many women sought out. They believed it helped them cope with their everyday tasks of managing their households and children.

Between 1969 and 1982, Valium became the most prescribed medication in the country. 2.3 billion pills were sold every single year. It was considered a safer alternative to barbiturates. But since that time, this drug has become a huge problem. What people did not realize in those days was how addictive it could be.

Today, doctors do not prescribe Valium as often as they once did. But it is still begin given to people on a regular basis. Many of these individuals have been on it for years, which means they are most likely addicted. Recreational users can find it on the streets, or even purchase it illegally online.

A lot of experts are saying yes. The opioid epidemic has ravaged Idaho to the point where our attention has not been on other types of drugs. A new benzo epidemic seems to be appearing over the horizon, but might not be flying under the radar much longer.

It is very concerning that primary care physicians are prescribing most of the benzodiazepine prescriptions in Idaho. The same is true for other states. They account for more than half of all prescriptions. But the question is, why?

Many believe that the reason is that there is a lack of good solutions for pain. Benzos are not designed to treat pain, but people may experience pain relief because of their sedative qualities.

Dr. Jeffrey Gudin of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center says, “Curtailing the number of prescriptions for opioids is necessary to reduce drug misuse, but let’s not kid ourselves. The drug epidemic is much bigger than opioids, and effective pain therapy is key. Until science provides it, primary care practitioners much educate patients on appropriate drug use to minimize risks and help prevent another drug-related death.”

Signs of Diazepam Addiction/Abuse

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that will physically manifest and change someone's behavior when they abuse Diazepam.

Signs of Diazepam Addiction and Abuse

Here are some of the symptoms of Valium abuse and addiction:

  • The person will exhibit strong cravings for Valium.
  • They may isolate themselves from family and friends.
  • Even though their lives are falling apart (because of Valium abuse), they will continue to use it.
  • They won't have an interest in activities that were once enjoyable for them.
  • They may ignore obligations like going to work or doing school assignments.

When someone is abusing Valium and they run out of Valium, there will be withdrawal effects. These are also symptoms of dependence. It's important to seek out medical assistance if you suspect someone has Valium addiction. If someone has been abusing Valium to the point of addiction, it can be dangerous for them to withdraw without assistance. The symptoms of withdrawal will be easy to define and you will know there's a problem. Seek help immediately if you know someone is using Valium and has the following signs of withdrawal;

  • They may be drowsy and sedated.
  • If you tell them something, they may not remember it.
  • They may complain of dizziness, muscle weakness, nausea, or difficulty seeing properly.
  • They may vomit.
  • Their eyes will become dilated.
  • They may become confused.
  • They may lose inhibitions which will cause them to act strangely.
  • They may hallucinate.
  • They might talk about suicide or injuring themselves.
  • They may become depresse.
  • They may become hostile or agitated.
  • They may have seizures or tremors.
  • They may lose control of their bladder.

A symptom of Diazepam abuse may become evident through someone's inability to drive properly. The sedating function of Valium causes the brain to work more slowly, meaning a driver won't respond quickly. Highway safety has eluded to the fact that Valium can contribute to accidents. Even if someone has used Valium the night before, it can still affect the user the following day. One of the symptoms a Valium addict will adopt is a loss of judgement. Even if they recognize they shouldn't drive, they will likely do it anyway. Other bad judgments may include mixing Valium with alcohol or opiates.

Valium (Diazepam) High

People that are prescribed Valium often have problems with anxiety. The Valium high a person gets from taking the recommended dosage will give the person a feeling of normality from their stress. They feel a sense of calm they can't create for themselves and will even feel a sense of euphoria. The more a person alters it or deviates from the recommended Valium dosage, the more of a high they'll experience. Users have said that Valium makes you feel as though you don't have a problem in the world. If your house was burning down during a Valium high, you wouldn't react. While this may be an over exaggeration, it does affect the brains chemistry to not react over things

Valium (Diazepam) Overdose Symptoms

Valium (Diazepam) Overdose Symptoms

People often don't regard Valium as dangerous because it's prescribed by doctors. When someone takes the recommended Valium dosage, it is safe and helpful. However, it's when people take more than they should that it becomes dangerous and even life-threatening. When people don't take the drug seriously, there's a tendency to overdose more easily. Here are signs of Valium overdose;

  • Lips or toes may turn blue.
  • They may have difficult seeing.
  • They won't be able to breathe properly.
  • They will appear drowsy and weak.
  • Their movements will be awkward and uncoordinated.

What Happens when you Mix Valium and Alcohol or Other Substances

The warning label on Valium specifically states that you shouldn't mix Valium and alcohol. Many people do because Diazepam increases the effects of alcohol. This is when most overdoses that are associated with Valium will occur. Mixing opiates and alcohol with Valium has an effect on the central nervous system all at once. Each of these substances feed off of one another and they increase in strength when mixed.

If you drink too much alcohol while you've taken Valium, it can kill you. Diazepam was a factor in over 400,000 emergency room patients.

For patients that had overdosed on Valium, 27% involved alcohol being mixed. A report through the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly also stated that over 25% of people who died from benzodiazepine overdoses were also drinking alcohol at the same time.  Some of the outcomes also include accidents that lead to serious injury, loss of consciousness, brain damage, or falling into a coma.

Valium and Alcohol

Valium Abuse Side Effects

When someone is abusing Valium, there are some side effects that can indicate long-term abuse.

  • Their appearance may change which includes bad hygiene (greasy hair and they may smell of body odor.)
  • They speak and move slower.
  • They may shake.
  • Their eating habits change drastically.
  • They lose their coordination.
  • They may have a hard time sleeping or they can't sleep at all.

Someone addicted to Valium that has been using it for a long time will show an increase in the side effects that are common with Valium. These include;

  • Problems remembering things.
  • Constant drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • They may feel restless or irritable.
  • They are weak and don't want to participate in activities.
  • They may drool or have slurred speech.
  • They may have a chronic skin rash.
  • They lose interest in sex.

If you notice someone you care about is showing signs of Valium abuse, there is help available. Inpatient/outpatient treatment can allow the person to safely recover from the addiction while determining what made them abuse it in the first place.

What to Expect During Valium Withdrawal

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

Valium withdrawal is one of the health risks when someone abuses Valium. Even one missed dose when someone is addicted to Diazepam can result in symptoms like body tremors, psychosis, stomach pain, irritability and feeling of numbness in the body. The anxiety that they experienced before starting the Valium may come back. The anxiety symptoms will often be worse than before. Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms that will indicate Valium addiction.

  • The person may feel nausea which can lead to vomiting.
  • They may have blurred vision.
  • They may obsess about something unrelated to the moment.
  • They may experience an increase in their heart beat and elevated blood pressure.
  • They may have tight muscles all of a sudden.
  • They will seem extremely restless.
  • They may hallucinate.
  • They may have a seizure.

Valium vs. Xanax

Diazepam is the active ingredient in Valium whereas alprazolam is the active ingredient in Xanax. When comparing Valium vs. Xanax for anxiety treatment, the ingredients are both benzodiazepines. There are differences on how each affects activity within the body. While Valium acts more quickly to ease anxiety, the difference is quite minimal. Xanax may last a little longer in the body.

A study done in the 1980's suggested that Valium is more effective in controlling anxiety levels.

This was found to be the case when a person was also depressed. Valium is more likely to induce sleep in someone while Xanax does not have the ability to help someone with muscle spasms.

If you have a friend or family member who is abusing or addicted to Valium, there will likely be some obvious signs. They will lose their judgment which can lead to bazaar behaviors they didn't have before. The problem with this lack in judgement is that the longer it goes on for, the more likely they could seriously harm themselves. Valium abuse can come with serious consequences that can ruin a person's life. It's likely they'll need professional help to recover from Diazepam addiction.

Addiction Treatment in Idaho for Valium Dependence

Once a person has gotten addicted to Valium, stopping it abruptly is extremely dangerous. There are so many possible complications that can accompany benzodiazepine withdrawal, and people need to know the risks. The best option is to choose to recover under professional supervision at a quality drug treatment center.

Going to drug detox is vital for someone who is addicted to Valium. There, they may be tapered off the drug slowly to reduce the severity of withdrawal. After that, medical detox may be recommended, which means the person would take medications to help with their symptoms.

Detoxing can take a week to ten days, but it is very individualized. From there, people must move on to drug rehab to get further treatment and help.

During rehab, people undergo different types of therapy. They work with a counselor, in group settings, and many require family sessions as well.

Our Outpatient Drug Rehab Program and Services

At Ashwood Recovery, our outpatient rehab program is considered one of the best in Idaho.

We offer three levels of care at our facilities. They are intensive outpatient treatment, traditional outpatient rehab and partial hospitalization. We always assess our clients to determine which level is right for them. It is not unusual for people to transition through all of them over time.

We participate with many health insurance companies to keep out-of-pocket costs low for our clients.

Learn More About Valium Abuse, Addiction, Detox and Rehab

At Ashwood Recovery, we want people to know that recovering from a Valium addiction is possible. It is not something that should be tried on their own, but with the right support, they can get their lives back on track.

Do you have questions about Valium addiction, abuse or recovery? Are you interested in learning more about your treatment options in Idaho? Please contact us right away.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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Valium Abuse and Addiction Infographic

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