Valium, falling under the benzodiazepine branch of drugs, is used to treat severe anxiety. Its sedative-psychoactive properties make it among the most effective ways to treat anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and many other disorders that can be unpleasant and dangerous. Unfortunately, Valium and every other benzodiazepine has a high rate of abuse and are very addictive.
A tolerance to Valium builds quickly, and constant misuse or chronic abuse of Valium (both recreationally and by accident) can easily lead to the building of an addiction. As the tolerance builds, a user of Valium will begin to up their doses to begin feeling the effects of the drug again. It is important to note that you should never increase your dose amount unless instructed to by a doctor, and doing so very commonly leads to an addiction. Because addiction can take root so quickly, early detection is key in treating someone who suffers from Valium addiction.
Valium can be useful in treating conditions such as the following:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms
Intended primarily for short-term use, Valium can be dangerous and habit-forming when abused in the long-term. The long-term use of Valium not only usually results in addiction, but can bring the user a plethora of unpleasant, uncomfortable side effects and withdrawal symptoms both physical and psychological.
Valium addiction, along with every other benzodiazepine, can be so severe that withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Many Valium addicts will try to get around the detox stage of professional treatment by going cold turkey. Unfortunately, quitting cold turkey is the most dangerous way to treat an addiction, and quitting cold turkey is usually the main reason behind life-threatening withdrawals.
In stopping cold turkey, an addict will attempt at self-detox by immediately quitting any consumption of the addicted substance. While it sounds fast, easy, and efficient, quitting cold turkey gives your body none of the much-needed time it requires to adjust from under Valium’s constant sedative effects to complete sobriety. When you are addicted to Valium, your body is under constant fire from the depressant effects of the drug. Because of this, the body is forced to work overtime to stay awake. In engaging in cold turkey detox, your body is denied the time it needs to slowly taper off the drug, causing life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting Valium cold turkey brings exceptionally dangerous and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and can be one or many of the following:
- Convulsions and tremors
- Life-threatening seizures
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Hypertension and Hypotension
- Extreme heart rates
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Depersonalization or dissociation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Manic episodes
Despite these negative side effects, Valium actually does have many uses. Those that are doctor-prescribed Valium benefit greatly from the positive effects of it, and they excel at treating the issue. However, benzodiazepines, in general, are naturally addictive and have a risk of abuse and addiction. If not used as instructed, Valium can lead to many negative consequences, such as the ones listed above, so it is always important to only take Valium as your doctor instructs.
The Effects of Valium on the Brain
Valium use and abuse chemically change the way that a user’s central nervous system functions by altering the inhibitory transmitters. Valium creates a huge surge in dopamine levels in the brain, and the pleasure receptors in the brain are rewarded greatly. Unfortunately, Valium addiction consists of constant dopamine surges, and the brain adjusts accordingly, getting used to the high levels of dopamine by ceasing all production. Now relying solely on the drug for dopamine, this is how a tolerance builds.
Studies show that long-term Valium use is directly associated with brain damage. Seeing as benzodiazepines affect the GABA receptors of the brain, dependency forms much quicker than anticipated in most cases. Valium addiction, in the long run, will sometimes cause Valium to be almost completely ineffective, no longer treating the user’s anxiety or depression. Dependency turns into full-blown addiction as the users begin to lose control over their intake of the drug, in this case, Valium, despite the negative side effects.
Long-term Valium use quickly turns from benefiting the user to severely damaging the user’s health, both mentally and physically. The only use for Valium and other benzos should be short-term, and the only way to safely take Valium is by following careful instructions and warnings. By practicing safe medication use, addiction becomes much less likely in the long run.
Benzos Similar to Valium
Sold under the brand name Ativan, lorazepam is used to treat many of the symptoms similar to what Valium treats: anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. While it treats many different disorders, it excels in treating the withdrawals and Delirium tremens associated with alcohol withdrawal. Lorazepam, while common and relatively safe to use, is still a benzo and thus has much room for abuse and addiction.
Sold under the brand name Klonopin, clonazepam is similar to both Valium and Ativan in the effects it induces on the user. Treating insomnia, seizures, and other disorders treated by benzodiazepines, it is among the fastest-acting and most effective drugs. Unfortunately, this is counteracted by the fact that clonazepam addiction forms much faster than other drugs, and should only be used in the veryshort-term.
Sold under the brand name Xanax, alprazolam treats muscle spasms and convulsions, seizures, and occasionally cases of anxiety. Having among the highest rates of addiction when it comes to benzos, Xanax is one of the most commonly abused benzos. Alprazolam, like Clonazepam, is very effective in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may induce anxiety or agitation.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Valium addiction treatment follows a path commonly traversed by other benzodiazepine addiction treatment programs. An addict will begin treatment with medical detoxification then will transition to either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
As the first step in professional addiction treatment, medical detoxification is commonly viewed as the hardest step for many people. The goal of detox is to completely remove any substance residue or toxins that may have built up due to chronic Valium abuse. The best way to go about medical detox is under professional supervision, as you will more than likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can usually only be properly treated in a medical setting.
Medical detox consists of doctors and nurses offering 24/7 support and intervention when needed, a powerful tool in addiction treatment. Through the use of medications and other methods, medical professionals will make medical detox a breeze for you.
As the next level of care, residential treatment programs offer on-site treatment in which the patient will be living, participating in therapy, eating, sleeping, and everything else that they would normally do outside of the center. Residential treatment helps patients explore the psychological reasoning behind their addiction. The intensity of residential treatment can range from moderate to severe depending on the nature of the addiction.
Outpatient treatment is the final level of care offered in Valium addiction treatment and consists of a patient engaging in therapy and treatment onsite, but going home after each session to live and sleep. Outpatient treatment is tailored toward those that require treatment but also have a stable enough living condition at home as to not put the patient at risk for relapse.
Outpatient treatment is also generally quicker than inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment programs are commonly used as aftercare methods. Because outpatient treatment requires responsibility, it teaches patients how to better transition from treatment to everyday life.