Diazepam (Valium) Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options
Valium (diazepam) is a short-term medication for anxiety that some people use to self-medicate. Abusing Valium carries the risk of overdose and can lead to addiction that may require specialized treatment.
Diazepam, under the brand Valium, is a benzodiazepine (benzo) medication perhaps most well known for its use as a treatment for anxiety. While Valium does have a valuable role as a prescription medication for this and other purposes, it can be abused.
In the most serious of these situations, this abuse can foster addiction, deadly withdrawals, and overdose. A comprehensive addiction treatment program, including a supervised medical detox, is the best way to treat, and overcome, the extensive toll addiction can have on your life.
What Is Valium?
Valium is a sedative tranquilizer which means that it slows down the activity in certain parts of your brain, leading to a more relaxed and less anxious state. These actions chiefly occur because it alters the functioning of your central nervous system (CNS).
These properties and others make it an effective medication for anxiety, as well as a treatment for muscle spasms, seizures and even as a treatment for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Like other benzos, medical professionals typically recommend that Valium only be used for the short term, as needed.
When you’re taking Valium within a medical protocol established by your doctor, it’s typically safe. But that safety disappears when you replace trained medical guidance with your own choices, even if you’re trying to self-treat a medical condition on your own. You’re especially at risk if you’re using Valium only to obtain a high or pleasurable state.
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Am I Abusing Valium If I Self-Medicate?
As an example: even though Valium can treat anxiety, this doesn’t mean you should use it on your own in an attempt to remedy this concern. This holds true whether you’re taking your own prescription in a way other than the doctor prescribed, or if you’re taking someone else’s.
Self-medicating your conditions against or without a doctor’s medical directive is abuse. Any time you feel as if a medical condition needs treatment, or if your medication isn’t working in the way that it should, you should promptly seek medical help.
Without this medical guidance and accountability, you’re playing with fire. By altering the dosage of your medication (the amount and frequency of use) you’re opening yourself up to an increased danger of physical dependence, and subsequently, addiction.
Fortunately, treatment for these individuals can address both problems: the addiction and the underlying health issue that you or a loved one were trying to treat.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
At Addiction Campuses we offer compassionate dual diagnosis care. What this means is that we treat mental health disorders like anxiety, and others, along with treating the addiction. For those whose addiction was borne from self-medication this is great news.
Many people who self-medicate (even addicted individuals) fear that once they stop using the medication the disorder will return. Receiving this care within your drug addiction treatment helps to protect you from this threat.
Our staff may administer certain non-addictive medications to help you with your concerns, and we will also use therapy to help you contend with the condition as well. Our therapy, counseling sessions and other unique modalities will help you to form healthy coping skills which can make mental health disorders easier to bear.
In combination with our addiction treatment, these help you to forge a more functional and fulfilling life. Sometimes addiction can actually cause a mental health disorder. Our dual diagnosis programs will help these individuals as well.
Other Reasons People Abuse Valium
The dangers of addiction and those which accompany it are especially high for those who choose to use the drug only as a way to elicit a pleasurable effect. Some people who take Valium for fun do so to intensify the states that the drug is intended to create. That is, they will take doses larger than one would take for prescribed purposes in order to heighten the tranquilizing effects of the drug. Additionally, Valium, like other benzodiazepines, is often used with other drugs of abuse (polydrug abuse).
In these instances, a person could take for the purpose of intensifying the effect of other drugs, like opioids. Also, benzos may be used with other drugs like cocaine to control the high or to reduce symptoms of withdrawal, as explained by the American Family Physician (AFP). These practices are very dangerous. Anytime you combine more than one drug of abuse the risks of adverse side effects and overdose climb, a danger which is especially high when combining benzos with opioids or other CNS depressants.
Signs And Symptoms Of Valium Addiction
A drug addiction doesn’t just alter the way a person’s body functions. As an addiction takes hold, the compulsion and constant desire to use the drug begins to negatively shape a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Beyond this, the drug’s chemical components actually alter a person’s brain, causing further detriment to these areas as well.
If a person is abusing Valium they may exhibit the following signs or symptoms:
Physical Signs of Valium Abuse
- Blurred vision
- Decreased blood pressure
- Extreme tiredness
- Sedation (may become intense)
- Weak muscles
- Withdrawals when they stop taking it
Mental Signs of Valium Abuse
- Limited ability to feel emotions
- Memory troubles
- Shifting moods
- Hostile and unpredictable behavior
Behavioral Effects of Valium Abuse
While these effects are due to the way Valium impacts a person both physically and mentally, to the outside observer they are primarily made evident through a person’s behaviors, such as by:
- Becoming disorientated
- Deceased inhibitions
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired reflexes
- Slurred words
In addition to these behavioral cues, as a person’s thoughts center more and more on drug seeking and using, their day-to-day routines and responsibilities shift and become heavily compromised.
Ways this occurs are by a person:
- Letting their work, school or family responsibilities slip.
- Using Valium even though they know it’s damaging their physical and mental health.
- Being dishonest about their drug use and attempting to hide it.
- “Doctor shopping” or using other methods to try and obtain more of the drug.
- Acting in a way which is atypical to them and/or engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence.
Did any warning bells go off when you read these lists? If any of these characteristics seem familiar to you, either in your own life or that of someone close to you, let us help.
An addiction can seem very overwhelming on your own, like an insurmountable obstacle. While it’s true that it’s not an easy journey to beat addiction, it is possible and it’s a joyous happening we witness everyday here at Addiction Campuses. Let us share this opportunity with you.
Treatment For Valium Addiction
What makes us different at Addiction Campuses is the way we shape our treatment to each individual who walks through our doors. From your initial consultation with us, to the medical detox (if necessary) and the inpatient program itself, our treatment is designed and shaped by your personal needs.
Research shows that this individualized approach garners higher success within treatment and longer-lasting results within long-term recovery. To achieve these goals, we offer the following treatments and modalities:
Diazepam Medical Detox
A severe addiction to Valium or other benzos can cause intense withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms are, along with alcohol, one of the only two which can become so acute as to become fatal. If you haven’t already detoxed, we strongly recommend starting treatment with our medical detox.
Here we’ll monitor you 24/7, while administering medication-assisted therapies and nutritive support as needed. These stabilize your body as it works hard to remove the drug out of its system.
Without this support, withdrawal symptoms could jeopardize your life, and at the least lead you to relapse. Enlisting our aid during this time builds the strongest foundation for your next steps of recovery.
Behavioral Therapies And Counseling
Drug abuse can lead to a psychological addiction as well as a physical one. Here, a person’s mind and emotional states have become negatively impacted by the drug to the extreme. Beyond this, addiction depletes your sense of worth and damages other important aspects of your life (family, job, school, etc.) all of which further this deeply experienced psychological toll.
We use the following behavioral therapies and counseling modalities to help you regain mental and emotional strength and balance:
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Family Therapy And Support
- Mindfulness And Stress Management Practices
To complement and hone the skills you’ve learned within these sessions, we also offer Adventure Therapy, Art Therapy, Wilderness Therapy and more. Together we can battle addiction. With our help you have the best chance of emerging victorious within a changed, drug-free life.
Beat Your Valium Addiction Today
An addiction can seem like a formidable enemy, but with our help you can rise to overcome it. Addiction Campuses wants the opportunity to show you how we can help you develop a sober, stronger life. If you want this for yourself or someone you care deeply for, contact us today for a confidential assessment.Article Sources