Valium Abuse: Symptoms and Treatment
Valium, also known as diazepam, is a prescription benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to help people handle extreme stress, anxiety, and chronic pain. While it’s generally only given for short periods of time, it is highly addictive and can quickly cause people to become reliant on the drug. If abused, the side effects can be deadly. Abuse starts as soon as you start taking Valium without a prescription or taking more than what your physician has recommended.
Signs and Symptoms of Valium Abuse
Valium is easy to abuse, even if you’re using it with a valid prescription! Anxiety, which affects 40 million people in the United States, is one of the most common mental-health disorders, and many people with anxiety disorder develop an addiction to a benzodiazepine. If you’re concerned about Valium abuse for yourself or a loved one, consider the following side effects and see if they may need treatment.
- Short-Term Side Effects: Dependency on the medication and constant worrying about the prescription, fatigue, loss of coordination, dizziness, slow speech, depression, nausea, and loss of appetite.
- Long-Term Side Effects: In most cases Valium should not be taken for a long period of time, generally no more than four months, as it may start to affect your work or school, cause problems with family, and cause poor judgement and inappropriate behavior (similar to being very drunk). It can also cause delayed reflexes, blurred vision, confusion, and memory loss. If you’re trying to determine if someone you love is addicted to Valium, look for a change in appearance or hygiene patterns, a lethargic attitude, irrational behavior, and memory loss. Mixed with alcohol or other drugs, these side effects can be deadly.
- Overdose Symptoms: The more of a drug you take, the more your body becomes dependent on the drug to function, causing you to take even more the next time. While symptoms of overdose can start mild with drowsiness and confusion, they can also lead to ataxia (loss of control of body), hypotension, respiratory depression, seizures, and coma.
Valium abuse is a growing problem in the United States. Admissions to treatment programs tripled between 1998 and 2008 for benzo treatment and millions of people are using and abusing Valium. Since this is such a large and growing problem, drug treatment centers are set up to help people who are abusing Valium get the treatment they need. Going to a treatment center means there is medical help and support to help mitigate withdrawal symptoms and teach you the skills to prevent relapse.
Valium addiction doesn’t develop overnight. It takes anywhere from weeks to months for the body to develop an addiction to the medication. It happens when someone starts increasing the doses of their medication to help treat their anxiety or to help them fall asleep. Pay attention to how frequently someone is requesting refills of their prescription or if they’re seeing multiple doctors to get prescriptions.
If you’re struggling with Valium abuse, the best thing you can do is start medically supervised treatment. If your Valium abuse is severe, you may need to seek treatment at an inpatient treatment center where your withdrawal can be slow and accompanied with other medical intervention to help the symptoms.
Valium withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme Anxiety
- Derealization (feeling that your surroundings are not real)
- Epileptic seizures
- Hyperacusis (sound sensitivity)
- Numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Hypersensitivity to noise and contact
These withdrawal symptoms highlight the importance of quitting Valium sooner rather than later and doing so with the assistance of a doctor and the support staff to make you comfortable. Going to a drug treatment center means you will have the staff on hand with the experience to support your withdrawal process and offer the guidance you need to get and stay clean. Close monitoring by medical professionals also means you can be confident you’ll be successful and less likely to relapse.
Unlike other benzodiazepines, Valium is designed to be a long-lasting drug providing extended relief. As a result of this, withdrawal from Valium is a longer process. The first symptoms may not appear for a week or more, even in heavy users. Withdrawal can last up to six weeks and may follow this timeline.
- First 1-2 Days: You may start feeling the first signs of withdrawal around two days after stopping use. Generally, you’ll start with faint symptoms of anxiety and restlessness that begin to increase in magnitude.
- Second Week: Symptoms of Valium withdrawal peek during the second week after quitting. This is when the worst symptoms begin to show themselves such as insomnia, sweating, muscle and abdominal pain, and nausea.
- Weeks 3-4: Withdrawal symptoms can continue for a month after you quit, although the intensity of the symptoms will start to decline and become more bearable.
- Week 5: For those who have developed a physical dependence on benzodiazepines, you may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which can cause symptoms to appear suddenly, months or even years after quitting.
As the body processes and removes the drugs, these symptoms can show up. With medical guidance, most Valium users gradually reduce their doses to help prevent the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and dangerous side effects. Most guidelines suggest a schedule of four to eight weeks of a slow withdrawal. Obviously, this will vary depending on the health of the patient, the severity of the addiction, and more personalized factors.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
Thankfully, there are many treatment options for Valium rehabilitation. From visiting an inpatient rehab center staffed with experts to offer you the support you need around the clock to private inpatient and outpatient treatment options. These options will all help you detox, then give you the education and support you need to kick your addiction for good. Finally, you’ll enter into an aftercare program designed to help you keep your resolutions and provide additional support as you get back into your normal life. Rehab facilities range from comfortable to five-star-resort luxury. There are single-gender options, structured and unstructured programs, and more. Many centers offer dual-diagnosis treatment to help you handle the underlying cause of your addiction as well as the addiction itself. Others offer more holistic approaches that focus on faith-based healing or the mind-body connection.
Since there are so many treatment options available, reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org. We can help you determine which type of facility will best meet your needs and determine what your insurance will cover. With this information and more, you’ll have what you need to make the right treatment decision.
Paying for Treatment and Rehab
Going to an inpatient rehabilitation center to treat your Valium abuse can be expensive, especially if you choose one of the nicer facilities. Many factors will play into the cost, including the therapies received, the length of your stay, and how much your insurance will cover. If you choose a treatment option that isn’t completely covered by insurance, the expense can add an extra level of stress on top of your treatment. Understand that treating your Valium addiction will not be easy, but if you don’t, it will have worse emotional and financial consequences. Your life and freedom from addiction is worth the effort and expense of treatment.
At Rehab-Finder.Org, we know that there is a treatment center that is right for you. Let us work with you to look at the options, determine what insurance will cover, and find treatment that meets your specific needs. We’ve already done the research on the best treatment and rehab facilities and can save you time and energy in finding the available options.
Dealing With a Valium Addiction
While your Valium addiction may be new and you may still be in denial, you may also sense things changing as your body becomes dependent on the drug to feel and act normal. If you find yourself craving the drug and using more and more of it, you need to take a step back and stop the cycle. Can you give your prescription to someone else and have them control when you take your medications? If not, it may be time for some intervention.
You’re not alone in your search for a healthier lifestyle and there are people ready to help you every step of the way in your journey.
If you’ve been using Valium longer than you originally intended, if you’ve been unsuccessful at weaning yourself off Valium, if you go to great efforts to obtain more Valium, or if you’re letting other activities and interests such as work, school, and hobbies slide because of your Valium use, then you’re addicted. Instead of being upset with yourself, start taking positive steps to address the issue. Valium addiction is prevalent in the United States and you should know that you’re not alone in your addiction. Addiction can happen to anyone. Make yourself your first priority and do what you must to correct the mistake.
If you’re facing a loved one you believe has a Valium addiction, do what you can to help them realize the problem and find the treatment they need. With your support, they are more likely to recover from their issue and prevent future relapses. If you’re concerned someone you love is abusing Valium, look for the following signs of abuse:
- Marks in the body from injections
- Shallow or slow breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Small pupils
- Constant itching
Start by educating yourself about addiction and understanding that they may not have noticed their pattern was leading to addiction and abuse. When you can approach them from a supportive and understanding place, you can start a conversation with them about their problem and about treatment options.
Having a conversation with someone who has a drug addiction can be difficult as they may still be in denial about their issues. They are likely to become defensive and emotional during the conversation instead of listening and agreeing. For your approach to be effective, make sure you remain calm. If you get upset and accuse them, then they are unlikely to listen to what you’re telling them. You should also remember to listen to what they’re saying. All you have to go on at this point is what you’ve observed, so they may share some new information.
Don’t start the conversation until they’re in a good place mentally to listen. If you can, catch them when they aren’t under the influence of the drug. Make sure that they understand that there is hope and that you want to help them find the treatment they need. If they persist in their denial, be patient, show them the consequences of their addiction, and bring the topic up again in the future. You may only be planting the seeds initially, but in time, the Valium addict will come to see that change is possible and that you’re there to support them every step of the way.
You can beat a Valium addiction. If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to seek treatment, reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org. You’re not alone in your search for a healthier lifestyle and there are people ready to help you every step of the way in your journey. Finding a center to treat your Valium addiction is an important first step in this path, and you want to make sure it’s somewhere you’ll be comfortable while you go through withdrawal and learn the coping skills you need to return to normal life.
Call us today at 877-251-4813. We can help you find the treatment that fits your specific needs, finances, and personal situation.