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Valium is a benzodiazepine, prescribed for treating anxiety, panic attacks and sleeplessness, and managing alcohol withdrawal. Often used for its muscle relaxant, sedative and anti-convulsing properties, it is a depressant that lowers anxiety levels and relaxes the muscles by strengthening the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Given its sedative properties, it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

Classified as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), Valium has a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. 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 a result of aggressive marketing. The drug use reached its peak in 1978 when Americans consumed more than 2 billion pills. Although other benzodiazepines are now available, Valium is still widely used.

Nevertheless, the problem of Valium addiction has existed since it was first introduced. In the 1970s, it was discovered that Elvis Presley abused Valium. 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 in the United States.

Valium abuse

Valium is prescribed for a variety of reasons – for sedation, for getting relief from anxiety, and as an anticonvulsant for treating muscle spasms. It is usually consumed orally, though some Valium users prefer to crush the pills into powder and snort it for instant effects. Heavy use of the drug can have powerful effects on the body, some of which can even be permanent and life-threatening.

Following are some of the side effects of Valium abuse:

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

Valium abuse can have a number of negative effects. When used in combination with other addictive substances, such as opioids or alcohol, it can have fatal outcomes.

Valium addiction: signs and symptoms

When used for an extended period or in doses other than prescribed, Valium abuse can result in dependence, tolerance and addiction to the drug. 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 also reports that diazepam is one of the most frequently encountered benzodiazepines in the illicit market.

With time, those addicted to the drug build a tolerance to it, meaning that they need to consume greater quantities of the drug to achieve the desired effects as before. The drug dependence gradually leads to compulsive drug-seeking habit and eventually an addiction.

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of Valium addiction:

  • Doctor shopping – obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
  • An increased reliance on the drug to get through everyday life
  • Depression
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Episodes of psychosis
  • Abuse of other drugs, including alcohol
  • Permanent mental impairments

Treatment for Valium addiction

Valium addiction treatment begins with withdrawal from the drug. For those addicted to Valium, stopping the drug abruptly can be extremely difficult and possibly, dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when abusers quit drugs 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.”

With sudden withdrawal, users experience discomforting and even risky withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations, panic attacks, seizures and memory issues. This is why quitting the drug should be done under professional supervision as the same reduces the chance of a relapse.

A comprehensive treatment for Valium addiction combines medically supervised Valium detox treatment at Valium detox centers and therapy/counseling sessions. While the detoxification program helps the user get rid of the toxins and assists in minimizing the withdrawal symptoms, therapy or counseling sessions help in understanding the underlying causes of addiction, recognizing the trigger situations and developing effective coping skills to live a drug-free life.

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Why choose Sovereign Health

At Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, we provide comprehensive treatment programs for those struggling with addiction to Valium. Upon admission, our patients undergo a thorough physical and psychological assessment of their individual needs. Basis the same, the treatment team recommends individualized treatment programs that combine a range of clinical, evidence-based therapies to facilitate result-oriented treatment in a caring and confidential environment.

During treatment, patients undergo medically assisted detoxification treatment supervised by licensed doctors who oversee the withdrawal process and treat the side effects, employing medication when needed. At Sovereign Health, other treatment modalities are vital components of the approach to providing patients the best possible care. We also offer individually tailored treatment services, including individual, group and family therapy; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, neuro feedback and experiential therapies, such as expressive arts therapy.

Following are some of the evidence-based modalities offered at our state-of-the-art treatment centers:

  • 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

Both at the beginning of and during the treatment, we ensure to identify and treat any underlying causes, which may be playing a part in the patient’s addiction or addictive tendencies. We also specialize in treating co-occurring disorders that may be interfering with the treatment. Simultaneous occurrence of an addiction and a behavioral treatment is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Our holistic approach to treatment differentiates us from other behavioral healthcare providers and makes us the first choice for treatment of addiction, mental health issues, or both.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Valium addiction and looking for professional Valium addiction treatment, look no further. Our committed professionals are dedicated to helping our patients overcome Valium addiction so that they may reclaim their future and enjoy healthy, happy lives. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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Success Story
Success Story

“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