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Valium Abuse Causes, Statistics, Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Valium?

Valium (chemically known as diazepam) is primarily used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, restless legs syndrome, and alcohol withdrawal. Even though it is used to treat many different ailments, it is still quite addictive. Valium is a sedative and muscle relaxant that affects the central nervous system, and it is a benzodiazepine depressant similar to Xanax. Diazepam is a popular drug that is highly prescribed. The nature of Valium being readily accessible helps promote a Valium addiction. A person who is recreationally abusing Valium is trying to attain an intense euphoric reaction to the drug, also known as getting “high”. Once an addiction to Valium is developed, the side effects can be very difficult to tolerate. Some of the symptoms experienced include dry retching, psychosis, slurred speech, panic attacks, hallucinations, increased risk of suicide, aggression and impaired coordination. Valium is often abused by merely swallowing several pills, but it can also be taken intravenously.

Repeatedly, Valium is abused with alcohol and a number of other drugs. This increases the likelihood of developing a Valium addiction as well as an addiction to other drugs or alcohol. Some of the more common drugs types used in combination are amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine), other depressants (Marijuana, Alcohol), opiates (Heroin, Morphine), and hallucinogens (LSD, Angel Dust). Fatal respiratory depression (unable to perform the needed oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange) can easily happen when a combination of Valium and other depressants are mixed together. Valium is sold to over 500 countries and is marketed under the names of Apozepam, Calmosedan, Benzopin, Anxionil, Calmigen, Bialzepam, Betapam, Azepam, Azedipamin, Calmpose, Apollonset, Antenex, Alboral, and Aneurol.

Statistics on Valium Abuse

Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), an annual compilation of patient characteristics in substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States, admissions due to “primary tranquilizer” (including, but not limited to, benzodiazepine-type) drug use increased 79% from 1992 to 2002, suggesting that misuse of benzodiazepines may be on the rise [1]. Other statistical data follows:

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    • The number of annual benzodiazepine and narcotic pain reliever combination admissions increased 569.7 percent from 5,032 admissions in 2000 to 33,701 admissions in 2010 (Figure 1). By contrast, the annual number of other admissions decreased by 9.6 percent during the same period (from 1,675,736 to 1,514,940 admissions from 2000 to 2010) [2].
    • Almost half (45.7 percent) of benzodiazepine and narcotic pain reliever combination admissions reported having a co-occurring psychiatric disorder [2].
    • The number of benzodiazepine admissions nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008 [3].

    Causes of Valium Addiction

    The potential to develop a Valium addiction is quite high. Often, an addiction can be developed after a few weeks of use. The tolerance to Valium is quickly built up thus requiring more of the drug to feel the same effects. In addition, the reactions felt from Valium are fast which also leads to a quickly developed tolerance. The potential for abuse is increased as Valium has a high binding affinity and short half-life. Abrupt cessation of Valium can create intense withdrawal symptoms. Responsibilities required for work, school and family will be adversely affected by a Valium dependency. There are several reasons as to how a Valium addiction can begin. Often, it is due to peer pressure or curiosity. It can also be initiated because the Valium is being used to self medicate a mood disorder such as depression. A Valium addiction treatment program can help in ending the dependency.

    Signs of Valium Use, Addiction and Dependence

    When someone is abusing Valium, the abuser will exhibit signs that can be observed by others. Recognizing these signs can help save the life of the person that has a Valium addiction. The warning signs indicated can affect both psychological and physical aspects of the body. Some of these signals include:

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    • Dry retching
    • Psychosis
    • Slurred speech
    • Impaired coordination
    • Drowsiness
    • Hallucinations
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue
    • Hostility
    • Memory problems
    • Increased risk of suicide
    • Panic attacks
    • Agitation
    • Mania
    • Dizziness
    • Rage

    Valium Effects

    The effects of dealing with the difficulties of a Valium addiction can be wide-ranging. There are multiple issues experienced when a person abruptly stops using Valium. These consequences can reach several areas of a person’s life. The physical, psychological and personal life can seriously be affected. A few of these effects include:

    Physical signals:

    • Dry retching
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Nausea
    • Twitches
    • Tremors
    • Seizures
    • Hyperactivity
    • Impaired or absent reflexes
    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness
    • Impaired coordination
    • Vertigo
    • Slurred speech
    • Death

    Psychological signs:

    • Psychosis
    • Aggression
    • Panic attacks
    • Increased risk of suicide
    • Rage
    • Hallucinations
    • Difficulty in concentration
    • Confusion
    • Anxiety
    • Cognitive difficulty
    • Hostility
    • Memory problems
    • Agitation
    • Mania

    Personal effects:

    • Career failure
    • Loss of family
    • Friendships and other relationships are ended
    • Monetary problems
    • Stops doing enjoyable activities
    • Avoids personal interaction

    Valium Withdrawal

    Valium is a physically addictive drug. A person fighting a Valium addiction can experience severe withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using the drug. The withdrawal effects are comparable to that of barbiturate and alcohol withdrawal, and the intensity of the withdrawal is directly associated to the length of use, dosage strength, dosage frequency, previous use of cross-tolerant or cross-dependent drugs, and the manner in which the dosage is reduced. The withdrawal symptoms are often typified by sleep disturbance, anxiety, panic attacks, memory problems, dry retching and nausea, hallucinations, seizures, psychosis and possibly suicide. If these effects are experienced, then contact a Valium rehabilitation program for assistance to begin healing.

    Valium Addiction Treatment

    The most effective way to overcome a Valium addiction is gradually reduce the dosage. In severe cases of benzodiazepine poisoning, a pharmacological antidote is available: Romazicon. It reverses the sedative effect, but doctors use it only in the severe cases as it can induce withdrawal and seizures. Since gradual reduction is the most successful method, this can mean that the treatment process for Valium addiction may be lengthy. However, the gradual reduction method is the safest approach as opposed to abruptly stopping. Some of the contributing factors that influence the amount of time needed to stop the Valium addiction include length of the habit and the strength of the dosage. The longer the dependency and the stronger the dosage will result in a longer detox. The severity of the addiction will also determine the level of treatment needed to become well. Admitting there is a problem with a Valium addiction is the best way to begin the process to sobriety. The next step is to ask for help. Consult a Valium treatment center for assistance. Also, speak to a counselor and get your loved ones involved. Help is obtainable, all you need to do is just ask.

    • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 40 million adults over the age of 18 and 1.8 million children under the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. With the vast prevalence of this illness, there is an ever-present need for various treatment options to be made available to help these individuals.

    References:

    [1]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453238/

    [2]: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k12/TEDS-064/TEDS-Short-Report-064-Benzodiazepines-2012.pdf

    [3]: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k11/WEB_TEDS_028/WEB_TEDS-028_BenzoAdmissions_HTML.pdf

    Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
    Published on AddictionHope.com, Substance Abuse Resource

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Julie October 9, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Valium has ruined my life, Iv been going through withdrawal for 16 months now with no let up of pain in my joints pins and needles just constant all my doctor says is my body will ajust in time I really dont think thats going to happen im sure valium have ruined my life for ever. I really and truly think valium should be banned.. its an evil drug….

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