What is Valium?Valium, the brand-name version of the drug Diazepam, is part of a large group of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines. Though these drugs can be life-altering for people struggling with chronic anxiety, they're also addictive and potentially dangerous, with side effects that can affect every area of your life.
Immediate Effects and Adverse Effects of Valium Use
Valium addiction, like most benzodiazepine abuse, is notoriously difficult to overcome and frequently requires medically supervised or assisted detox.
Valium addiction, like most benzodiazepine abuse, is notoriously difficult to overcome, and frequently requires medically supervised or assisted detox and withdrawal prior to successful recovery treatment.
Valium potentiates the effects of a neutotransmitter known as GABA, and in doing so modifies activity in your brain and spinal cord, resulting in slowed reaction times and making you sleepy.
Every user is different, and the specific effects of Valium depend on your age, weight, previous drug use history, health, and a host of other factors.
The system-wide depressant effects of Valium can be quite serious, and overdose is a distinct possibility if taken in amounts that exceed what has been prescribed.
Some of the other short-term effects of Valium use include:
- Poor motor control and difficulty driving.
- Depression and loss of motivation.
- Altered perceptions.
- Muscle weakness.
- Nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.
- Disturbing dreams.
- Dry mouth.
- Slowed heart rate and respiration.
- Sudden mood changes.
- Hallucinations, but usually only at very high doses.
The addiction timeline with Valium varies from person to person. Some people begin to experience tolerance and dependence after just a few doses.
Long-Term Effects of Valium
The effects of Valium use tend to get worse over time and with higher doses. Even prescription users can suffer from long-term side effects, so it's important to talk to your doctor about any and all effects you experience. Some of the most serious side effects of Valium include:
- Worsening of depression and mental illness.
- Memory problems.
- Difficulty sleeping without the drug.
- Respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
- Permanent brain damage from cardiac and/or respiratory arrest.
- Organ failure.
- Accidental overdose.
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.
- This is a dangerous cocktail of withdrawal symptoms (that includes generalized seizure) that can land you in the hospital, all while making quitting Valium seem like the worst possible option.
The longer you use Valium, the more likely it is that you will begin experiencing cravings. In the early stages of addiction the cravings may be no more severe than a craving for chocolate.
As the addiction progresses, cravings can become so intense that they are impossible to ignore. If you experience cravings for Valium, this is strong indication that you're on the road to addiction.
Over time, your body adjust to Valium such that it views the drug as necessary for daily functioning.If you continue using Valium, dependence is the inevitable result. Over time, your body adjust to Valium such that it views the drug as necessary for daily functioning.
It's this process that can hasten a Valium addiction since prior to developing chemical dependency, Valium is relatively easy to quit.
Once you become dependent, though, it's unlikely you'll be able to quit without medical assistance.
Withdrawal is both physical and psychological, which means that in addition to anxiety and intense cravings, you may also experience symptoms such as headaches, vomiting and nausea.
Particularly among those in poor health and long-term Valium users, withdrawal symptoms can include seizure and convulsions, and even become life-threatening.
If you plan to quit using Valium soon, talk to your doctor about the safest way to do so.
How Valium Addiction Changes Your Life
- Divorce, breakups, and strained relationships with friends and family.
- Mistreating your loved ones.
- Breaking the law and getting into legal trouble.
- Losing your job, or not going as far in your career as you otherwise could.
- Financial and health difficulties.
Valium Addiction and Mental Health
Valium is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, which means that having an anxiety disorder is itself a risk factor for taking and becoming addicted to Valium. If your addiction festers long enough, it can lead to painful life circumstances that undermine your mental health.
Some people with mental health issues rely on Valium as a form of self-medication that numbs the challenges of mental illness, the pain of mental health stigma and the frustration of trying to find good treatment.
For many Valium users, though, the anxiety actually gets worse on the drug, necessitating progressively higher doses, and expediting the timetable to addiction.
For others, Valium is itself the cause of mental illness. Benzodiazepines can alter brain chemistry, leading to a host of mental health problems.
It doesn't have to be this way. Mental illness is common, afflicting a quarter of the population. Most of them can lead happy and productive lives, and so can you. The same is true of addiction.
Millions overcome the pain of addiction each year, but to get better, you must be willing to admit you have a problem and seek treatment.