Addiction to Valium
A man in Cumberland County in the United Kingdom reportedly died of organ failure due to excessive drug use. According to the coroner found that the death of the thirty-year-old man was due to diazepam overdose. Diazepam is a drug used to treat insomnia and anxiety and is commonly known as the brand name Valium.
The postmortem report on the death ruled that the man suffered multiple organ failure due to rhabdomyolysis, which is the breakdown of muscle caused by lying in one position. Such findings provide evidence of the dangers of overdosing with diazepam and similar drugs.
Understanding Valium Addiction
Commonly known as benzos, benzodiazepines are a group of prescription sedatives that are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Some benzos include such popular drugs as Valium (diazepam), clonazepam (brand name: Klonopin), and alprazolam (brand name: Xanax).
But aside from its use to treat anxiety and insomnia, is Valium addictive?
Sadly, Valium is a type of prescription medicine that is often abused due to its calming effect. People commonly use Valium with alcohol or opioid drugs to increasing the efficiency of the substances. According to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involved benzodiazepines. The use of Valium without a prescription is very dangerous. Using it for more than four months increases the likelihood of a person developing Valium addiction.
What Is Valium (Diazepam)?
Diazepam helps people with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. It is a drug that acts as a skeletal muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and antianxiety agent. Generally, benzodiazepines are medications that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
Drugs such as diazepam calm the brain by acting on the GABA receptors, which are neurotransmitters that act as the body’s natural agent to calm the nerves. These receptors are responsible for relaxing the muscles, reducing anxiety, and inducing sleepiness.
When activity associated with the GABA receptors increases, the person who is taking diazepam feels sleepier, more relaxed, and calmer. Because of these effects, diazepam, in forms such as diazepam intensol and Valium, are used to sedate people who are undergoing medical procedures.
People may use diazepam as a tablet, by injection, or insert it into their rectums. Diazepam rectal gel is used to help people with epilepsy. Or, injectable diazepam is injected into a person’s vein or a muscle before surgery or to relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or anxiety.
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Common Drug Combinations
Is Valium a narcotic? Or, is Valium an opiate? People who want to increase the effect of another medication often combine Valium with prescription medications such as Adderall, codeine, Lexapro, Advil, oxycodone (OxyContin), Prozac, and Ranitidine (Zantac), among others.
There are also those who take Valium with substances such as cocaine, opioids, and alcohol. They may do this to reduce the effect of the stimulant, such as cocaine. Or, they may combine the substances to amplify the effect of similar depressant substances such as alcohol and opioids.
Overdose risks increase when people mix Valium with other depressants or with opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, which is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen, and Norco and Vicodin, which are both a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Overdoses may cause respiratory problems that are life-threatening.
If a person who is using other medications such as disulfiram, modafinil, cimetidine, fluconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, progestogens and estrogens, and ritonavir, it may block the breakdown of diazepam in the body. This is why doctors often reduce doses of diazepam for people who are using the drugs mentioned above.
If you are taking other medicines, let your doctor know before you start using Valium.
Using Valium may create short-term and long-term effects. While it helps relax people, Valium side effects may be dangerous when people take higher dosages than their doctor prescribed. If it is combined with alcohol or other substances, whether with prescription or illicit, Valium use may lead to serious side effects. The side effects may include:
- Memory problems
- Breathing problems
When people use Valium in recreational ways, they may have a hard time stopping its intake because they may suffer adverse withdrawal effects. If they are abusing Valium, they may experience painful muscle spasms, problems with speech and memory, and even heart attacks.
Painful symptoms of suddenly withdrawing from Valium may also lead to relapse. At this point, once people identify their Valium addictions, they should immediately receive drug treatment that includes detoxification (detox) processes. Detox may help their bodies eliminate toxins and manage the symptoms of withdrawal.
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Dangers of Valium
When people take Valium for more than four months, they could develop tolerance on the drug, leading them to take more than they need to achieve the desired outcome.
Taking Valium with other medications may lead to the development of depression and affect proper brain functioning. When people take Valium without a prescription, they may also develop a Valium addiction that could impair their memories and cause amnesia.
Meanwhile, sudden reductions of dosage or drastic stops of Valium use may lead to Valium withdrawals. The symptoms of such withdrawals may include increased anxiety, high blood pressure, heightened sensory sensitivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and fatal seizures.
Overdosing on Valium and other central nervous system depressants may also cause hypoxia, which is a reduction of the amount of oxygen to the brain. It may cause permanent brain damage and comas. An overdose of the medication may also slow a person’s reflexes and could cause severe drowsiness, slow and shallow breathing, and a loss of consciousness.
Recognizing an Addiction
When people continue to use Valium even after finishing the prescribed duration of medication recommended by their doctors, or if they have experienced the adverse effects of the drug, they may have developed a Valium addiction.
Addiction to Valium poses risks to a person’s mental and physical health. It may also create negative effect on the person’s relationships with other people, especially with his or her family and friends. Addiction to Valium may impair his or her ability to fulfill responsibilities relating to school, work, or the family.
If you know a person who is unable to function normally because of using Valium, or if he or she continues using it while working, driving, or other performing other regular activities, the person may already be dependent on Valium or has a developed tolerance. People who experience symptoms of diazepam withdrawal or experience urges or cravings to use Valium should immediately find treatment for addiction.
In 2015, there were 8,899,752 total recorded prescriptions for diazepam. As the prescription of benzos has increased — with 67 percent recorded increase in prescriptions between 1996 and 2013 — the deaths due to overdose have also increased. The NIDA states that 23 percent of people who died due to an opioid overdose also tested positive for the use of benzodiazepines.
Such statistics illustrate the dangers of using both kinds of prescription drugs simultaneously. The combination of opioids and benzodiazepines may be dangerous. Both opioids and benzos suppress breathing and sedate people and may cause fatalities due to overdose.
Treatment for Valium (Diazepam) Addiction
As with addiction to other drugs, Valium addiction may be treated, but the process of treatment may not be easy. People need long-term care to treat Valium addiction.
Various treatment programs for Valium addiction start with the initial intake or assessment of people’s medical history. The assessment determines the extent of addiction to the substance. This initial stage will include an interview with a counselor or doctor. Such interviews help medical service providers to craft comprehensive treatment plans for their clients.
After clients finish intake, the detox process helps them flush harmful substances from their bodies that have accumulated over the course of the addiction. During the detoxification process, clients may experience diazepam withdrawal symptoms.
Medically-assisted detox programs may help ease these symptoms. Withdrawing from Valium may last more than month. The intensity and duration will vary depending on the length and severity of the addiction, whether people have other conditions, and other factors.
It is very important for clients to receive assistance and monitoring from doctors when undergoing a Valium detox. An unassisted Valium detox may cause serious problems. After the detoxification process, clients may proceed to outpatient treatment programs or inpatient treatment programs. While in those programs, they will undergo a series of behavioral therapies and may receive medication and choose other treatment options.
Top Rehabs for Valium Addiction
Once a person decides to seek treatment for Valium addiction, the next step will be choosing the best drug rehab center to provide treatment. Treatment for Valium addiction should be customized for people’s needs. Here at Mountain Springs Recovery, we provide top-notch treatment with world-class amenities. The quality treatment here starts from the intake process.
Our treatment programs provide medically-assisted detox to help people cope with the withdrawal from a substance. Our detox program is safe and efficient and helps prepare clients to undergo the succeeding steps in their drug treatment.
We offer holistic drug rehab programs that conform to recommended types of treatment and suit our clients’ preferences. Our medical professionals and experts are on standby to help clients receive customized treatment. We offer effective treatment that helps you overcome your Valium addiction and supports you for a long-term recovery.
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