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Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Valium Abuse

Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Valium Abuse

In most cases, Valium addiction starts with people taking it for therapeutic purposes. They take it in a seemingly harmless way for the treatment of their anxiety or to cope with insomnia and end up becoming addicted to it before even realizing it. Even though Valium is an effective medicine when used over a short period of time, its prolonged use is associated with the development of serious side effects. Most of the addicts try to hide their addiction in order to avoid a treatment. However, as the time passes, it becomes harder and harder to conceal it. Multiple behavioral and physical signs become apparent that can help pinpoint an addiction.

Signs and symptoms of Valium abuse:

Initially, Valium addiction can be difficult to recognize as it is developed slowly over a period of months. However, as the use is prolonged, it can become obvious. It is important to take the drug strictly as prescribed or the addiction will be an unavoidable consequence. The drug does not only produce its effect on the mind and body of the addict, but it ends up affecting every aspect of his life. From his personal relationships to his career, everything is harmed.

Signs and symptoms commonly observed in a Valium addict are given below to help pinpoint an addiction.

Physical signs and symptoms:

  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation
  • Poor judgment
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Double vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dry mouth
  • Painful urination

A person may experience a few or all of these symptoms depending upon the dosage of drug taken.

Mental signs and symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Memory impairment
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Scattered thinking

Behavioral signs and symptoms:

  • Inability to fulfill obligations
  • Frequent visits to the doctor in an attempt to get prescription for medication
  • Prolonged periods of sleeping followed by insomnia
  • Frequent fights with significant others
  • Inability to perform at school or office
  • Lack of interest in hobbies
  • Poor hygiene
  • A change in social circle
  • Legal issues
  • Financial issues

Valium addiction is a serious problem that should not be overlooked. It is important to seek treatment for the addiction in a rehabilitation center for a successful and speedy recovery.

Long term effects produced by the drug:

A research conducted by the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland revealed that prolonged use of Valium and other benzodiazepines is associated with serious mental health issues. The frequent use of the drug over extended periods of time causes the accumulation of the drug in fatty tissues of the body. It results into serious problems with memory, cognition and judgment. Some of the other psychological effects produced by the drug include:

  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Impaired judgment
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Paranoia
  • Delusion
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Disturbed sleep or nightmares
  • Restlessness

These long term effects of the drug are further complicated by a pre-existing mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder or insomnia. People with such mental illnesses are usually not recommended Valium but other drugs with low addictive potential.

Side effects of Valium abuse:

Although Valium has been known to be useful when used over a short period of time, its use is not free of side effects. These side effects are further aggravated when the drug is overused or abused. Some of the common side effects experienced by Valium users include:

  • Day time sleepiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Depressed respiration
  • Skin rashes
  • Mental confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness

Prolonged abuse of Valium can even result into the development of co-occurring mental disorders that did not exist before. Since it is used to manage anxiety, the brain becomes dependent on it to manage stress. Without it, rebound anxiety can be highly challenging.

Planning an intervention for Valium addiction:

Intervention is a rehearsed and planned meeting with a purpose of persuading someone to receive help for the substance abuse. The relatives, friends, employers, and the coworkers are invited to attend the meeting. All the participations talk about the effects of person’s addiction on their work or relationships. A treatment contract is presented to the individual. There are several stages that the addict undergoes before he finally agrees to have an intervention to change the habit. In the pre-contemplation stage, the person knows about the problem but isn’t ready to do anything about it. In the next stage, the person begins to think about getting help in the future. Then he becomes determined to take some positive steps to resolve the problem. The fourth stage is of action, where the individual takes some positive steps towards the recovery.

There are many models of intervention that can be applied. Generally, it has been suggested that there should be an intervention specialist as the addicts are mostly in stage one or two and they can easily become violent, aggressive or even suicidal. To have an effective intervention, it is advantageous to have the therapist in the team because the behavior of addict can be very unpredictive and self-destructive.