Valium is a prescription drug that is a type of benzodiazepine. These medications are some of the most widely prescribed in the United States. Because it is so frequently prescribed, Valium abuse has become a widespread problem.

Valium is the trade name for the drug Diazepam. It first appeared in 1963 and soon became the world’s most widely prescribed drug – the first in history to reach $1 billion in sales. This was in part a result of aggressive marketing. Valium usage reached its peak in 1978 when Americans consumed more than two billion pills. Although other benzodiazepines are now available, Valium is still widely used.

Valium is classified as a Schedule IV drug by the Controlled Substance Act. Schedule IV drugs, substances or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse, and low risk of dependence. Nevertheless, the problem of Valium addiction has existed since it was first introduced. In the 1970s it was discovered that Elvis Presley was a Valium abuser. In 1978, First Lady Betty Ford revealed that she also struggled with Valium addiction. Although the number of prescriptions written for Valium has decreased over the years, Valium addiction remains a serious problem.

The Effects of Valium Abuse

Valium is a depressant and works by stimulating the production of a chemical in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA sends messages between brain cells. When GABA activity increases it slows down brain activity.

Valium is prescribed for a variety of reasons, including sedation and the relief of anxiety. It can also be used as an anticonvulsant to treat muscle spasms. It is taken orally although some Valium abusers crush the pills into a powder and snort it in order to get a faster effect. Some of the side effects of Valium abuse include:

  • Memory problems
  • Drowsiness, tired feeling
  • Dizziness, spinning sensation
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea, constipation
  • Drooling or dry mouth, slurred speech
  • Blurred vision, double vision
  • Mild skin rash, itching
  • Loss of interest in sex

About Valium Abuse

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), people who abuse Valium maintain their drug supply by getting prescriptions from several doctors, forging prescriptions or buying them illicitly. The DEA reports that Diazepam is one of the most frequently encountered benzodiazepines on the illicit market.

Over time, those addicted to Valium build up a tolerance for the drug, meaning that they need to take greater quantities of it to achieve the desired effects. This means that overdosing is a serious problem. NIDA reports that in 2014 more than 7,900 fatal drug overdoses involved benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax.

There are a number of behaviors that are indicative of Valium addiction. Some of them are:

  • Doctor shopping — obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors to obtain more Valium
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking Valium
  • An increased reliance on Valium in order to get through everyday life
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Episodes of psychosis
  • Abuse of other drugs, including alcohol
  • Permanent mental impairments
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Treating Valium Addiction

Valium addiction treatment begins with withdrawal from the drug. For those addicted to Valium, stopping abruptly can be extremely difficult and possibly dangerous. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), when abusers quit abruptly “the brain reacts strongly, even violently sometimes, because it is missing the chemicals it’s come to depend on through repeated drug use. In some cases, the brain activity races out of control to the point where it causes seizures.” Because of this, Valium withdrawal should not be undertaken without professional help, as potentially dangerous side effects may accompany the process.

At Sovereign Health of Texas we provide comprehensive treatment programs for those struggling with addiction to Valium. We offer medically assisted detox where our doctors to oversee the withdrawal process and treat the side effects, employing medication when needed. Other treatment modalities are vital components of our approach to providing our patients the best possible care. Some of these include:

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

We also make sure to uncover and treat any underlying causes which may be playing a part in the patient’s addiction. This is known as dual diagnosis treatment.

Our staff of committed professionals is dedicated to helping our patients overcome Valium addiction so that they may reclaim their futures and enjoy healthy, happy lives. If you believe that you or someone you care about is in need of valium addiction treatment please call our 24/7 helpline for information about how we can help.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie