Prescription drug addiction is a significant and growing problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 18 million Americans aged 12 and older misuse prescription medication each year. Opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, are the most frequently abused prescription drugs, but over 2 million Americans admit to misusing central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including Valium.
Many people take Valium for its temporary calming effects, but when used in ways other than specifically prescribed, Valium can lead to long-term addiction and severe health consequences.
The effects of Valium on the body
Also known as diazepam, Valium is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines – more commonly referred to as tranquilizers. It’s often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders or serious sleep problems, and when taken as directed, Valium can be extremely effective in controlling anxious feelings, relaxing attention, and calming tense muscles.
CNS depressants like Valium work by slowing down brain activity. While this is useful in decreasing anxiety, it also comes with side effects, such as:
Changes in heart rate
When taken in higher doses, Valium can also cause feelings of euphoria. Many people who abuse Valium take it to chase this high.
How Valium addiction develops
Even if you have a valid prescription for Valium, long-term use can lead to an addiction. Doctors often prescribe Valium in extremely low doses and for limited periods of time, due to the addictive nature of the drug. This is because your body can develop a tolerance for Valium over time, meaning you find yourself needing to take more of it to achieve the same therapeutic effects. Increasing your dosage of Valium without medical oversight can significantly increase your chances of an overdose.
As your tolerance for Valium increases, so does your dependence – both physical and psychological. You may feel as though you can’t function without it, and continue to take it in ever-increasing amounts despite negative consequences in your personal or professional life. Furthermore, the longer you abuse Valium, the more your body needs it just to feel normal. If you abruptly stop taking it, you may experience signs of withdrawal, including:
These symptoms can appear within the first few hours after your last Valium, and can potentially last for many days.
Signs of Valium addiction
While Valium addiction does show up differently in different people, there are a few general signs that your Valium abuse has become a problem. For example:
You suffer from severe mood swings
You have difficulty holding down a job, or you’re performing poorly in school
You’ve begun isolating yourself from friends and family members
You’ve been increasing your Valium dosage over time, without approval from your doctor
You need to take Valium to feel “normal”
You’ve made poor choices and put yourself at risk while under the influence of Valium
Taking Valium has become a significant priority in your life
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be addicted to Valium, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Get help for your Valium addiction at Alvarado Parkway Institute in San Diego
At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we can help you break free from the prison of Valium addiction. For over 35 years, we’ve been providing San Diego with drug addiction treatment services in a caring, compassionate environment. Our team of medical experts understands the challenges you’re facing, and can help you detox from Valium safely before identifying the root causes of your addiction so you can stay sober for good.
There’s no need to suffer alone. Call (619) 485-1432 to start the process of overcoming your addiction to Valium today.