Is Valium an Addictive Medication?

Sometimes many of us feel symptoms of anxiety from time to time. But for some people, on a daily occurrence, the anxiety symptoms can be so uncomfortable that it affects the ability to function at home, school, and work.

Is Valium an Addictive Medication?

Using Valium for Anxiety

When it comes to treating anxiety, it often involves some therapy and antidepressant medications. One of the most prescribed benzodiazepines or benzos is Valium. It is one of many medications prescribed short term for the treatment of anxiety. In addition to anxiety, Valium also treats several other conditions, including:

  • acute alcohol withdrawal
  • skeletal muscle spasm
  • seizure disorders
  • chronic sleep disorder

The reason for the short-term use is because, after a few weeks, most people will develop a physical dependence. It doesn’t matter if you were taking the prescription as directed, there is a high chance that once you stop taking the drug, you will start to have some form of withdrawal after a few hours or days.

How to Overcome Valium Dependence

Over time, it is harder for a Valium abuser’s brain to function normally without the drug. Even though, some people addicted to Valium may not even realize they have a problem. Taking Valium for longer than 4-6 weeks, even with a prescription from a doctor, increases the likelihood of becoming dependent on the drug and most likely addicted.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains:

 Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur.

One of the most obvious symptoms of a Valium addiction is needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Other signs of an addiction to Valium include:

  • Strong cravings for the drug
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Continued use despite problems caused by the drug
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Ignoring obligations

Once a person has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be uncomfortable and life-threatening, which makes it hard to for people addicted to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal.

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms of Valium are very similar to withdrawal from alcohol. Both are probably the worst withdrawal you could experience and the only you could die from if you don’t have supervised medical detox. You can feel anxious and have flu-like symptoms. They can be severe or mild and they can come and go.

Since Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, it has a long half-life from 30 to 40 hours so it can take a while for the withdrawal symptoms to start. It can start from two to seven days after the last time you took the drug. The withdrawal symptoms can last on and off from two to eight weeks. The withdrawal symptoms of Valium will affect you physically and mentally.

Serious side effects of using Valium may include:

  • Confusion, hallucinations, or strange thoughts and behavior
  • Depression and thoughts of suicide
  • Aggression and hostility
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Slowed breathing and more

Due to the risks associated with Valium detox, this process should only be carried out under medical supervision. Attempting a “home detox” can be very dangerous. This danger can be reduced through the adoption of a structured detox, which involves a tapering protocol along with comfort medication and counseling. This helps to minimize medical risks and discomfort. Also, tapering promotes:

  • Better engagement and participation in the detox process
  • Increased tolerance to withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduced risk of relapse

Start Healing Today

At Garden State Treatment Center, our customized and personalized drug addiction treatment programs are guided by individual treatment plans that tackle co-occurring disorders. These include disorders such as ADD/ ADHD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Psychological or emotional distress often leads to self-medication and drug abuse and is a big contributing factor to chemical dependency.

Treating drug addiction without tackling these underlying psychological problems is not effective, that’s why we have a dual diagnosis treatment program. Our commitment is to patient safety and upholding the highest standard of addiction treatment care. Explore our clinical facilities at Garden State Treatment Center.