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The generic drug diazepam is commonly referred to by its brand name, Valium. Valium is a prescription drug that has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), sedative, analgesic (pain reducing), muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties. It is commonly prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems and seizures. People who take Valium may swallow or inject it in either a pill, capsule, or liquid form.

Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) are drugs that are categorized as prescription sedatives, tranquilizers, or central nervous system (CNS) depressants as they reduce the activity of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. Other prescription sedatives include barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital) and non-benzodiazepine sleep medications (e.g., Ambien).

In the brain

Anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by lack of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that helps cells communicate. Valium works by increasing the activity of GABA, which slows brain activity to produce feelings of calmness and relaxation. Known to enhance neurotransmitter effects, it helps lower anxiety levels and relaxes the muscles by working on the central nervous system.

What conditions does Valium treat?

Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders and anxiety related to medical conditions, surgical procedures or mental disorders such as depression. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance that is available as an injectable, tablet or gel form. Its dosage typically ranges from five to 40 milligrams per day.

Valium (diazepam) is prescribed for the treatment of the following disorders.

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • Chronic sleep disorders
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizure disorders
  • Anxiety before a medical procedure

Side effects of Valium

Valium generally begins to take effect in about 30 minutes, and these can last for 12 to 24 hours. Following are some short-term effects of Valium:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Vision problems (e.g., blurred vision)
  • Decreased alertness
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Poor concentration
  • Coordination problems, such as loss of balance (ataxia)
  • Problems with memory and movement

Paradoxical effects such as aggression or disinhibition can also occur with benzodiazepines but these side effects are usually rare. Valium can be particularly dangerous when combined with other drugs such as alcohol and opioids, as this combination can dangerously slow heart rate and breathing, which can be fatal.

Benzodiazepines such as Valium also have a high potential for abuse, physical dependence and addiction. When taken for long periods of time or in larger doses than prescribed, the risk of negative side effects increases as does the risk of dependence and addiction on the drug.

Valium abuse: Long-term effects

Valium abuse often begins with a valid prescription from a medical professional that leads to drug tolerance with the drug’s long-term usage that may even cause some patients to increase their dosage, virtually leading to a drug addiction.

Taking Valium longer than three months can cause cognitive problems and can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal; physical dependence can develop after a few days or weeks of Valium use. Additionally, long-term Valium use can also slow a person’s breathing and heart rate and increase the risk of infectious disease when the drug is injected via shared needles.

Valium addiction: Dependence and withdrawal

Valium addiction can lead to compulsive drug use, drug cravings and continued use of the drug despite negative consequences that result from its use. Valium addiction is associated with withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop taking the drug. While Valium abuse rarely leads to death, it can still lead to physical and psychological dependence and its withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening.

People who take diazepam for long time periods or who take the drug in higher doses or longer than prescribed may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to suddenly stop taking the medication.

Following are some of the withdrawal symptoms of Valium abuse:

  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal and muscle cramps

People who wish to stop taking Valium after taking the medication for a long period of time may need to be tapered off the drug by their prescribing physician.

Valium addiction treatment

Realizing that one has an addiction to drugs can be scary but timely and professional treatment can help one overcome his/her drug addiction and lead a clean and sober life. Depending on the intensity and frequency of the drug usage, a comprehensive treatment for Valium addiction is a holistic combination of medications, detox program and counseling sessions.

Due to the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms experienced by it’s users, detoxification treatment at certified Valium detox centers involves a tapering schedule to wean the patient off the drug in a way that minimizes the drug’s withdrawal symptoms. The doctor will slowly reduce the patient’s dosage to minimize withdrawal effects of the drug. A supervised Valium detox treatment is followed by individual or group counseling sessions to address any underlying psychological issues that an individual may have and also involves imparting life-skills to patients to help them cope without drugs post their treatment.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health of Arizona offers various types of treatment options for women who are addicted to Valium or have problems with Valium abuse. The Valium addiction treatment program offered to women at Sovereign Health of Arizona offers a holistic array of evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders, including addiction to Valium and other benzodiazepines. Women are thoroughly evaluated during intake to identify the primary and all co-occurring conditions to provide an individually tailored treatment plan optimized to each person.

As a dual licensed network of treatment centers, our residential rehabilitation facility for women at Sovereign Health’s Chandler location specializes in the treatment of trauma and abuse along with specialized treatments for substance use disorders, mental illness and co-occurring disorders. In addition to evidence-based therapies, female patients also receive the following treatments at our state-of-the-art treatment facilities.

  • Combination of individual and group psychotherapy sessions
  • Psychoeducation
  • Stress and anger management
  • Stress reduction and relaxation techniques
  • Music therapy and art therapy
  • Process groups
  • Trauma-trained therapists
  • Family therapy
  • Evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Specialized treatments for trauma such as eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Complementary and experiential treatments such as yoga and meditation

For more information about our top-notch treatment programs including treatment for Valium addiction or to locate our state-of-the-art treatment centers, near you, please call our 24/7 helpline and speak to a member of our admissions team. You can even chat online with our representative for further assistance.

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