Substance Use

Diazepam Use Disorder Treatment

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Addressing diazepam use disorder, commonly known as Valium addiction, necessitates a multifaceted approach tailored to individual needs. Treatment typically begins with medical detoxification to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure physical stabilization. Under medical supervision, individuals gradually taper off diazepam to minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of complications during detox.

By providing comprehensive care that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of benzo addiction, individuals can achieve sustained sobriety and improve their overall quality of life. It’s crucial for individuals struggling with diazepam use disorder to seek professional help and engage in a personalized treatment plan to overcome addiction and reclaim control of their lives.

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Diazepam Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options

Anyone who has taken diazepam for more than a few weeks can attest that it’s an incredibly effective medication. For many, it’s vital to managing anxiety and other mental health conditions. However, many people don’t realize that diazepam is also a highly addictive tranquilizer. 

Abrupt discontinuation of the medication can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety, and even seizures.

Here’s what you need to know about benzo drug addiction, including the signs and symptoms and treatment options.

What is Diazepam?

Diazepam is the generic name for the brand-name drug Valium. (1

Valium hit the market in the early 1960s. It was originally intended to treat anxiety and seizures, but the public quickly seized upon it as a way to deal with the stresses of daily life. The 1950s were a time of great social change, and many people struggled to keep up with the fast pace of life. (2)

Valium provided a welcome respite from the pressures of work and family life, and it soon became one of the most popular drugs in America. Indeed, Valium became so popular that it was known as “mother’s little helper,” as stay-at-home moms often used it to help them deal with the demands of child-rearing.

The generic form of the drug is just one type of benzodiazepine, among others, such as:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

Benzodiazepines act on the brain and nerves to produce a calming effect. (3) (4)

Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, tension, and muscle spasms. It’s also used to relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as tremors, agitation, and hallucinations. Medical professionals may also use it before surgery to relieve anxiety and produce drowsiness. (5

Diazepam may also be prescribed for short-term relief of trauma-related anxiety, which could include military combat, violence, or abuse. This drug can also be helpful for people facing an unusually stressful life situation. However, use should be limited and only taken under a medical professional’s guidance due to the risk of addiction. (6

Diazepam Side Effects

Though diazepam is a highly effective medication, it is not without side effects.

The most common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired coordination

These side effects typically occur when the medication is first taken and generally dissipate after a few days of use. In some cases, however, they may persist for a longer period. (5

Additionally, diazepam may cause gastrointestinal problems, such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite

Some people may also experience blurred vision. Though these adverse effects are generally mild, they can bother some people. (7)

As with most other drugs, taking too much or mixing it with other substances carries a risk of overdose, which can be life-threatening.

In rare cases, the drug may cause more serious side effects, such as seizures or allergic reactions, which require immediate medical attention.

Diazepam and Other Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment

Like Xanax, and Ativan, diazepam is a benzodiazepine. Though these benzos can effectively treat anxiety, they can also be highly addictive. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment is necessary for many people to stop taking the drug. (4)

Treatment plans for benzodiazepine addiction typically begin with detoxification, which helps the person stop taking the drug safely.

After detoxification, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, behavioral therapy, counseling, and therapy can help the person understand their addiction and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety without resorting to drugs.

The proper medical detox treatment makes it possible to recover from benzodiazepine addiction or substance use disorders and lead a healthy, drug-free life.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Using Diazepam?

Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and tolerance, meaning that higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings can occur if the drug is stopped suddenly.

Here are some more long-term effects of using this drug.

  1. Physical Dependence: Long-term use can lead to physical dependence, where the body becomes reliant on the drug to function normally. This dependence may result in withdrawal symptoms when the medication is discontinued, or doses are reduced.
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms: Abrupt cessation can trigger withdrawal symptoms, which may include increased anxiety, insomnia, headaches, muscle pain, anxiety disorders, tremors, and seizures in severe cases. (8) Gradual tapering of the medication under medical supervision is typically recommended to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Cognitive Impairment: Chronic use has been associated with cognitive impairment, including difficulties with memory, attention, and concentration. These cognitive deficits with neurotransmitters can impact daily functioning and quality of life. (9)
  4. Psychomotor Impairment: Prolonged use can impair psychomotor skills, including coordination, reaction time, and judgment. These and muscle weakness can increase the risk of accidents, falls, and injuries, particularly in older adults. (10)
  5. Respiratory Depression: In high doses or when combined with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol or opioids, diazepam can cause respiratory depression, characterized by slowed or shallow breathing. Severe respiratory depression can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. (11)
  6. Interactions with Other Medications: Diazepam can interact with other medications, including certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, and opioid pain relievers. These interactions can lead to potentially dangerous side effects or reduced effectiveness of either drug. It’s essential to inform healthcare providers about all medications and supplements being taken to prevent negative interactions.
  7. Impact on Mental Health: Long-term use has been linked to the development or exacerbation of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. These mental health issues can complicate treatment and recovery efforts at treatment centers or addiction centers.

Diazepam Addiction

Users are at risk of developing tolerance and physical dependence.

Tolerance occurs when the body uses the drug and needs higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Physical dependence occurs when the body adapts to the presence of the drug and experiences withdrawal symptoms when it’s suddenly discontinued.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and use despite negative consequences. People who abuse diazepam may have trouble quitting even when they want to, and they may continue using the drug despite financial, relationship, or health problems.

Is Valium Addictive?

The short answer is yes; Valium can be addictive. Valium works by calming down your brain activity. (12) For someone experiencing severe anxiety or other mental health disorders, this effect can feel like a huge relief. However, over time, your brain might rely on Valium to stay calm and function normally.

Valium use is a go-to for tackling things like anxiety and muscle twitches. It even steps up to help individuals shake off alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

It’s often prescribed to help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal

But, the effects of valium aren’t all positive. After using Valium for a while—even as prescribed—you may notice you need higher doses to achieve the same calming effects as before. This is when substance use typically begins for many Americans.

Diazepam Withdrawal Process

When people with a diazepam addiction stop taking the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and irritability. In severe cases, withdrawal can also cause seizures. Because of the potential for serious side effects, it’s important to detox under medical supervision if you’re addicted.

Valium withdrawal symptoms, or valium abuse, typically peak within a few days and then gradually subside over a week or two. However, some people may continue to experience milder symptoms for months afterward.

If you’re struggling with addiction or valium overdose, there is help available. Treatment typically begins with detoxification, followed by counseling and therapy. With treatment, it’s possible to recover from addiction and lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Diazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzo withdrawal symptoms can be serious and even life-threatening. The most common symptom is anxiety, which is a feeling of extreme tension, irritability, and restlessness. (13)

Others may experience the following withdrawal symptoms from diazepam: (13)

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (14)

The diazepam withdrawal process is typically more severe in people who have been taking high doses of the drug for long periods. This is when aftercare is very important.

What Are the Risks Associated With Quitting Diazepam Cold Turkey?

Quitting any addictive medication cold turkey can be risky. Diazepam is a safe and effective way to treat anxiety and other conditions when taken as prescribed.

However, it is possible to develop a dependence on the drug, and sudden withdrawal can cause serious side effects and impact your well-being negatively. In severe cases, withdrawal can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions characterized by hallucinations and extreme agitation.

For these reasons, talking to a doctor before quitting Valium or any other medication is essential. Withdrawal should always be done under medical supervision to minimize the risk of complications.

How Do You Know If You Are Addicted to Diazepam?

There are a few key signs to look out for.

If you find that you need to take higher and higher doses of diazepam to get the same effect, that’s a sign that your body is becoming tolerant to the drug. Tolerance can lead to dependence, and dependence can lead to addiction.

People who abuse diazepam may take it in higher doses than prescribed or more frequently than prescribed. They may also crush and snort the pills or inject them intravenously. These methods of abuse increase the risk of developing an addiction.

Other signs of addiction include changes in behavior, such as neglecting responsibilities at work or home in favor of drug use. You may also start engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving while under the influence. If you’re addicted to diazepam, chances are good that you’ve tried to quit before and failed.

Addiction and drug abuse are powerful diseases, but there is help available. If you think you might be addicted to this drug, please reach out for help before it’s too late.

Get Help for Diazepam Addiction Today

You’re struggling with diazepam addiction and don’t know where to turn. You’ve tried quitting on your own, but you can’t seem to make it through the withdrawal symptoms without hospitalization.

With Zinnia Health, you can finally get the substance abuse treatment you need to overcome your addiction, no matter your insurance coverage. We offer a variety of outpatient and inpatient rehab programs tailored to your specific needs so that you can find the right fit for you. Our team of experts will be with you every step of the way, providing support and guidance when you need it most.

Contact Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 today. Don’t try to beat Valium addiction on your own. Get help from Zinnia Health for you and your loved ones, and we’ll provide the treatment program you need to overcome your addiction and start living a healthier, happier life.


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Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us