Diazepam (Valium) Addiction

Discover the uses, side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options for Valium.

What Is Valium Addiction?

Diazepam (Valium) is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs to relieve anxiety. It is also used as a muscle relaxant, sleep aid, and treatment for seizures. Although this medication has many medical applications, diazepam poses a risk for addiction. If you or someone you know is addicted to Valium, this article will give you all the information you need about Valium addiction, common side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options.

Valium addiction is a substance use disorder (SUD) that causes an individual to continue taking the drug despite the negative consequences. Some Valium addiction signs include intense cravings for the drug, withdrawal symptoms, and increased doses to get the drug’s effects.

Diazepam addiction tends to occur in patients taking high doses of the drug for an extended period of time. Once a person becomes addicted, the risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms increases.

Valium Addiction


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Why Do People Use Valium?

Valium binds to GABAa receptors in the central nervous system, decreasing overall neural activity in the brain. This increased level of inhibition results in:

When people take diazepam in high doses or combined with other sedative drugs, they may experience a euphoric high, which may be the reason why regular Valium use progresses into abuse.

Although some people may use it for its euphoric high, the majority of people use the drug to help them deal with the stresses of daily life. For example, some patients may take Valium because it helps them with their insomnia.

Valium Addiction Statistics

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:1
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), among 2017 to 2018 benzodiazepine mispatients:2

What Are the Side Effects of Valium Addiction?

Valium addiction can cause changes in the brain, causing side effects. For example, people may appear drowsy or tired all the time or have difficulty waking from sleep. If the drug is more heavily abused, people often experience intense psychological symptoms that prompted them to take Valium in the first place, such as depression.

Combining Valium with other depressants or opioids increases the risk of experiencing negative side effects, such as respiratory depression or even death.3

Some common Valium abuse side effects include:

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

Valium taken for an extended period of time may cause withdrawal symptoms when abruptly stopped or decreased in dosage, even if the drug is taken as prescribed. In fact, benzodiazepines like diazepam produce severe withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks. For that reason, doctors recommend the tapering off method, gradually ceasing the use of Valium instead of going “cold turkey.”

The duration and severity of diazepam withdrawal symptoms depend on several factors, including the patient’s mental health, medical history, frequency of use, and average dose. Generally, most withdrawal symptoms resolve within three to four weeks.
The withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological, including:

Valium Addiction Treatment

Valium treatment is available for anyone with an addiction, from mild to severe. There are many different types of treatment patients can choose from, such as inpatient and outpatient treatment. Seeking professional help is the best option for obtaining long-term sobriety and avoiding falling back into Valium abuse.

Treatment for Valium Addiction

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is recommended for patients with a more severe Valium addiction. This type of intense treatment can be critical for the healing process and increase the likelihood of a successful recovery. Patients with a polysubstance addiction should also consider inpatient treatment as each separate addiction requires treatment.

Inpatient treatment offers a structured environment where medical professionals are available to help patients twenty-four seven. The staff usually includes doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and addiction specialists.

Inpatient Therapies

Patients attend daily activities that may consist of group meetings, one-on-one therapy, career counseling, family therapy, and holistic therapies, such as yoga and meditation. Inpatient programs also offer more privacy than outpatient ones, appealing to many people looking to get away from stressful situations or unhealthy habits.

In addition, various forms of therapy are offered during treatment to aid patients in a healthy recovery. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients understand the underlying causes of diazepam addiction, and 12-Step groups can provide a comfortable environment where people who have experienced similar situations can share stories and support each other.

Outpatient Treatment

Patients with a milder Valium addiction should consider outpatient treatment to help them get sober. Outpatient treatment is less intensive, as patients do not stay at a facility. Instead, they live off-site and come in several times per week to attend activities, such as group meetings and one-on-one sessions with a counselor or therapist.

Moreover, outpatient treatment is a great treatment option for patients who completed inpatient rehab but need to remain in recovery.

How To Slow the Progression of Valium Addiction

The first step towards slowing down the progression of Valium addiction is understanding the risk factors. For example, addiction is believed to run in families. Thus, people who have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with a history of addiction are more prone to develop an addiction themselves. If addiction runs in your family, consider consulting with your doctor to discuss possible alternatives to addictive drugs like Valium.
If you are already taking Valium, monitor your medication use and be aware of any changes in thought, behavior, mood, and physical health. Take action immediately if you suspect your Valium use is leading to an addiction.

Get Treatment Today for Valium Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with Valium addiction, it is never too late to get treatment today. Treatment for Valium addiction can greatly improve one’s quality of life, making each day happier and more fulfilling than the last. Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about treatment options and where to begin the journey to recovery.