- What are the Signs and Symptoms of Valium Addiction?
- Am I Addicted to Valium?
- How to Encourage Someone to Get Treatment
- Support Groups for Family and Friends
- Valium Addiction Treatment
- Finding the Best Valium Treatment
Is Valium Addictive? How Addictive is Valium?
Valium -- a brand-name version of the drug diazepam -- can be highly addictive. It is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety.
While benzodiazepines can be helpful in reducing anxiety when used correctly, they have a high potential to be habit-forming and can lead to both physical and mental dependence.
Benzodiazepines -- the class of drug that Valium belongs to -- are among the most widely abused prescription drugs. Because Valium has a high risk for dependence, particularly when misused, it's important to understand the signs of addiction and the treatment options that are available.
Benzodiazepine dependence is well documented. A National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 423,000 people in the US were dependent on or abused, tranquilizers and/or sedatives in 2013. Valium, like some other benzodiazepines, is fast-acting and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream to consequently exert its effects in the brain, which may be one reason it has a high potential for dependence.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Valium Addiction?
Other irregular behavior, such as having trouble keeping up with responsibilities at work or home, can be an indicator of addiction as well. The disintegration of close relationships also illustrates that your abuse of Valium may be getting out of hand.
Troubling physical symptoms such as confusion or memory lapses, restlessness, changes in mood, and/or loss of motor coordination could also indicate a dangerous pattern of Valium abuse.
Am I Addicted to Valium?
Addiction is often defined as mental or psychological dependence. If you feel a mental or emotional compulsion to keep taking Valium, and you feel that you can't stop -- even if the drug is having negative effects on your life -- then you may be addicted to Valium.
How to Encourage Someone to Get Treatment
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that more than 20 million people who needed treatment for drug dependence in 2013 did not receive treatment at a specialty facility. Clearly, there is a staggering number of individuals in need that go untreated, so it's all the more important to understand the best ways to encourage a loved one to seek the care they need.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) many people may be afraid of seeking treatment because they don't want others to find out about their substance abuse issues. It may help to reassure your loved one that the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures that medical professionals cannot disclose private medical information to others without permission. And, according to NIDA, it's not necessary at most jobs to specify the medical condition an employee is being treated for.
Staging an Intervention
It may be tempting to stage the kind of intervention often depicted in television or movies, with a heated confrontation involving friends and family members. But experts say this probably isn't the best approach, as it can cause the individual in need of help to pull further away, or lead to an emotionally charged reaction.
Instead, interventions are best conducted with the help of a doctor, drug counselor, or professional interventionist.
The Mayo Clinic's tips for a successful intervention include consulting a professional and researching the addict's condition; forming an intervention team, which may include both family and non-family members; forming a plan for what each team member should say during the intervention, with each member helping to present examples of problems the addiction is causing in their loved one's life; and deciding on consequences if the addict refuses to seek treatment.
The success of interventions can be highly variable. They can be successful, especially with the help of a professional, but they can sometimes result in anger or resentment on both sides. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends keeping the focus on convincing your loved one to at least consult with a professional and avoiding encounters driven by anger or other negative emotions.
Support Groups for Family and Friends
Benzodiazepine addiction is commonly found in conjunction with the abuse of other substances, such as alcohol or opioids. So, friends and family of individuals struggling with Valium addiction may find it helpful to become involved with organizations that deal with a wide array of substance addictions.
Nar-Anon is a general program for the friends and family of people suffering from addiction, and is separate from, but complementary to, Narcotics Anonymous, a support program for addicts.
Nar-Anon uses a 12-step approach, also used by Alcoholics Anonymous, and its complementary program Al-Anon, which is based on 12 principles, to help people cope with problems related to addiction. Adult Children of Alcoholics is another helpful organization that specifically reaches out to the children of addicts or people who grew up in otherwise dysfunctional homes, and is not limited only to alcohol addiction.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Valium withdrawal can include some potentially dangerous side effects, such as seizures.
Withdrawing from a benzodiazepine can be an especially difficult process. If the cessation of Valium use is attempted abruptly, withdrawal can include some potentially dangerous side effects, such as seizures. Patients may also experience a phenomenon known as rebound anxiety, which is a return of the psychological symptoms the drug was originally prescribed to treat. Rebound anxiety can be so severe that it drives patients back to the drug.
For these reasons, a carefully tapered withdrawal schedule, closely supervised by medical professionals, is recommended for people who are addicted to Valium and other benzodiazepines. Such programs may be accompanied by different levels of psychological support, depending on the severity of the patient's rebound symptoms. For some, a brief consultation may be enough. For others, ongoing psychosocial treatment such as cognitive or behavioral therapy, may be necessary to help the patient cope with his or her anxiety.
Finding the Best Valium Treatment
It's important to evaluate the seriousness of your dependency, and the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms when choosing a program. In general, outpatient programs are best for people at lower risk for the dangerous withdrawal symptoms that frequently accompany benzodiazepine addiction, and may not be the best choice for people concurrently suffering from severe anxiety, depression, psychosis, or other physical, mental or behavioral health issues.
It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the professionals who will be treating you before entering a treatment program.One good way to ensure that a patient is receiving proper care is to look for medical professionals who are certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.