Valium (Diazepam) Addiction & Treatment

Valium is the brand name for diazepam, a type of benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat a variety of health issues.1 Despite its utility, misuse of the drug can have dangerous side effects, including the development of dependence.2

This page will explore why Valium is prescribed, effects of Valium, symptoms of Valium withdrawal and addiction, and treatment options.

Why Is Valium Prescribed?

Valium is prescribed to help manage symptoms of anxiety disorders, as a bridge to help manage the effectiveness and safety during alcohol withdrawal, to relieve muscle spasms, and to aid in treating convulsive disorders.1 With each indication, Valium is only intended for short-term use.1

Valium can be extremely effective and is relatively safe when taken as prescribed.2 However, taking Valium in ways other than prescribed or without having obtained a personal prescription can be dangerous.1 Valium and other benzodiazepines can have harmful side effects or interact in unwanted ways with other substances.1

What Are the Effects of Valium Misuse?

As a Schedule IV controlled substance, Valium is federally recognized as having the potential for misuse and dependence, which can lead to addiction.1

Dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body to a substance, wherein the body becomes so used to the drug being present in the system that when the individual cuts back on their use or quits entirely, withdrawal symptoms emerge. With significant levels of physiological dependence, a person may continue to compulsively use Valium to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms.

With continued misuse, a pattern of behaviors that are motivated by drug-seeking behavior and disregard for consequences in other areas of life may develop and require professional addiction treatment.3

Valium misuse can lead to several unwanted side effects, including Valium addiction.1 Some side effects of the use of this medication can include: 1

  • Drowsiness or fatigue.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Confusion.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Tremor.
  • Blurry or double vision.
  • Insomnia.
  • Behavioral changes with loss of inhibition.
  • Amnesia.

Symptoms of Valium Withdrawal

 Symptoms of Valium withdrawal may occur on a wide spectrum of severity, from manageable to life-threatening.1 After prolonged or heavy use, quitting Valium “cold turkey” typically results in more dangerous symptoms.1,2

Sign and symptoms of Valium withdrawal may consist of:1

  • Tremors.
  • Insomnia.
  • Severe anxiety.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Confusion.
  • Increased irritability.
  • Feeling disconnected from reality.
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and touch.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Severe seizures.

Valium Detox

Due to the danger of potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, seeking professional help during detox is highly recommended.1 Many treatment centers offer medical detox as the first step in recovery, as outlined by the Principles of Effective Treatment for Substance Use Disorders.6

With professional supervision, a person can increase their chances of having a safe detox and smooth transition into further addiction treatment. In fact, withdrawal from benzodiazepines is never recommended without medical supervision.7 While detox is the process of physically cleansing the body from Valium, further addiction treatment is required to heal the mind and increase the chance of continued recovery.6

Can You Overdose on Valium?

Overdose on benzodiazepines, including Valium, is possible when taken alone in high doses or in combination with other substances.1 However, the risk of overdose and life-threatening symptoms increases significantly when benzodiazepines are taken with other CNS depressants, such as opioids or alcohol.1,5 In 2020, 16% of deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines.5 Benzodiazepine overdose, including Valium overdose, may present with the following signs and symptoms:1

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Weak muscle tone
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dangerously slowed breathing
  • Coma
  • Death

Valium Addiction Treatment Options

Valium addiction is best treated when a person can acquire both medical detox and continued care. Continued care in addiction treatment may look different depending on a person’s recovery needs, co-occurring conditions, and substance use history.6 Recovery may occur in inpatient, outpatient, or residential settings, but generally involves a variety of therapeutic interventions in any location.6

At Sunrise House Treatment Center, patients have access to medical detox and inpatient rehab. Knowledgeable admissions counselors are available 24/7 by phone or online to answer any questions you may have such as “does insurance cover rehab”, “how to begin drug rehab admissions”, “what are the levels of addiction treatment”, or “what are my rehab payment options”. Call today to start your road to recovery from Valium addiction.

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