Valium Abuse and Addiction

Valium Abuse and Addiction

Valium is a brand name the drug diazepam is sold under. Like Xanax, it belongs to benzodiazepine drug family. It is commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder and muscle spasms. In some cases, it is also used during the treatment of alcoholism. Like other benzodiazepines, it is a central nervous system depressant which means it produces its effects by slowing down mental activities. It is a widely used and abused drug and millions of prescriptions are written for it in United States alone. Its prolonged use has been known to cause addiction that needs proper treatment for recovery.

What is Valium (diazepam)?

Valium is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of a variety of conditions including anxiety, panic disorder, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, seizures, muscle spasms, insomnia and restless legs syndrome. It is significantly more potent than the other drugs of its class and is widely abused due to calming effects produced by it. In 1970s, Valium was an extensively used drug in United States. Although its use has declined in recent years as the awareness has been created about its addictive potential, it still continues to be a challenging drug.

Apart from Valium, diazepam is sold under a number of brand names throughout United States. It is available in the form of oral tablets, injectable solution and inhalable powder.

Is Valium addictive?

Valium can prove to be a fairly addictive when abused. It is only prescribed for a short term treatment due to its addictive potential. Dependence can develop even when the drug is used for therapeutic purposes for more than 4 months. With the continuous use of drug, the brain of the user becomes habitual of working in the presence of drug and when it is not supplied, severe withdrawal symptoms are appear. Dealing with these symptoms can be a challenging task and most of the users end up relapsing during this period.

Since most of the users start taking the drug for therapeutic purposes, they do not even realize they have a problem and as a result, do not seek treatment for it. If a loved one is taking Valium, it is important to keep an eye on them to monitor the dosages and frequency of use.

Prescription amounts for Valium:

The dosage amounts of Valium prescribed depend upon the severity of patient’s condition and the disorder it is being used for.

  • For anxiety:2-10mgs of the drug are prescribed to be taken orally 2-4 times a day. IV and IM doses ranging between 5-10 mgs can also be given depending upon the severity of condition.
  • For alcohol withdrawal:10 mgs of the drug are prescribed to be taken orally 3-4 times during the first day. After that, follow up doses of 5 mgs are prescribed. 10 mgs IV or IM doses can also be given, followed by 5 mg doses.
  • Muscle spasm:2-10 mgs to be taken orally 3-4 times a day.

How long does Valium (diazepam) last in the body?

Valium works by slowing down hyperactive brain activities. It is a potent, long acting drug which means it lasts in the body much longer than the short acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan etc. Due to its long lasting effects, it can be taken in fewer doses per day compared to the short acting benzos. However, its addictive potential is also higher compared to other drugs.

How long do benzos last in the body?
Length of actionShort actingIntermediateLong acting
Time10 to 20 hours10 to 30 hours20 to 70 hours

It shows that Valium takes significantly longer to leave the system compared to other benzos.

Common Valium drug combinations:

Valium is a highly addictive drug when used for prolonged periods of time. Even people who take it for therapeutic purposes end up becoming addicted to it. Its long term use is known to develop tolerance which eventually evolves into addiction. Because it is used for medicinal purposes, it becomes harder to detect when its use has become a problem. The earlier signs of addiction include cravings for the drug forcing the user to take more and more amounts of the drug. Some users even end up combining it with other substances in order to boost its effects.

Some common substances combined with Valium include other benzos, OTC medications and alcohol. Combining it with another CNS depressant such as alcohol can be particularly dangerous since the reinforced effects of both the depressants can slow down the brain and bodily activities to such a level that life is no more sustained. It is important to be aware of the results before mixing it up with other substances.

Statistics on Valium abuse:

The abuse of prescription medications has been a significant problem in United States. Benzodiazepines are among the most widely abused substances by American youth.

  • Statistics reveal that teenagers are more likely to abuse benzodiazepines like Valium. A survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2014 revealed that 1.7% 8th graders, 3.9% 10th graders and 4.7% 12th graders had abused or misused tranquillizers like Valium over the past year.
  • In 2013, over 1.2 million Americans abused benzos including Valium for the first time.
  • Over 14.7 million prescriptions were written for Valium in 2011 alone.

Addiction to prescription medications can be just as much dangerous as the addiction of any other heavy drug. if a loved one is struggling with Valium abuse and addiction, get them the help they need without any further delay.