Substance Use

Valium: What Side Effects Must You Be Aware Of?

doctor holding bottle of valium prescription

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The Valium Side Effects You Need To Know

Valium side effects can range from mild to severe. When a patient uses Valium appropriately, the side effects can be very mild. However, Valium abuse can cause more severe damage—especially when users combine it with other substances. Valium is a prescription medication, but it is also something you can find on the black market. It is a brand name for diazepam, belonging to the benzodiazepine class of drugs (1).

Prescription drug abuse in America is an epidemic. In fact, it is an enormous problem all around the world. In the U.S. alone, 5.4 million people over the age of 12 were reported to be misusers of benzodiazepines like valium in 2018.

Valium abuse—or any substance abuse disorder—can affect your daily life, your ability to maintain a job, and your relationship with loved ones (2). When addiction takes over the brain, it is difficult to stop—but not impossible.

If you or a loved one suffers from Valium abuse, keep reading. You’ll learn everything you need about valium side effects, abuse, withdrawal, and treatment options. Your path to recovery from substance abuse disorder can begin today.

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What Is Valium (Diazepam)?

Valium is a highly addictive benzodiazepine. It is the brand name for diazepam, and the FDA has declared it a Schedule IV controlled substance. Xanax is another similar drug, also belonging to the benzodiazepine category, whose generic name is alprazolam.

Usually, doctors and healthcare providers prescribe diazepam tablets to help patients suffering from alcohol withdrawal or anxiety disorders such as panic attacks (3). Basically, they are used as central nervous system (CNS) depressants or muscle relaxants (1).

Sometimes, doctors prescribe Valium before surgery to calm the patient. A doctor may also prescribe Valium to patients suffering from alcohol abuse disorders.

Alcohol abuse disorder is an addiction that users must wean from. They cannot quit alcohol cold turkey. The side effects could be fatal if alcohol is cut off entirely.

To help patients quit alcohol without giving them alcohol, a doctor will prescribe benzodiazepines like Valium. Benzodiazepines affect the brain in the same way as alcohol and can successfully help wean people living with alcohol abuse disorder.

Valium is a highly addictive medication that is easy to abuse and can even lead to physical dependency rather quickly. Valium helps calm the muscles and nerves, allowing patients to relax in the short term (4). It also causes drowsiness and fatigue, so patients should not drive, operate machinery, or perform high-intensity activities after taking Valium.

Valium side effects can vary from patient to patient. Depending on the person and the quantity of Valium they take, side effects can vary greatly. If you suspect you or a loved one is abusing Valium, you should be aware of the potential side effects of Valium use and abuse. 

Some medications and nutritional supplements aren’t prescribed with Valium, like antihistamines that are used to treat seasonal allergies. The aim is to prevent drug interactions and side effects of diazepam (5).

What Are Common Valium Side Effects?

Valium side effects can depend on the level of use. For those who take Valium as prescribed by their doctor, there may be only mild side effects, but the situation can be worse for those taking higher doses against medical advice.

Some of the common side effects users may experience include:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Skin allergic reactions
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle spasms
  • Frequent urination
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Lower sex drive
  • Blood pressure reduction

Mild symptoms can resolve as patients adjust to Valium. It is important to let your doctor know if Valium’s side effects do not improve or if they are worsening. Valium may not be the right medication for you.

Breastfeeding mothers are advised not to take high doses of diazepam, as it can pass through breast milk to breastfed infants. It should be stored safely out of the reach of children. People with sleep apnea (trouble breathing while asleep), myasthenia gravis, and kidney and liver disease are also advised not to use Valium.

In cases where users abuse Valium, the side effects they experience may be much worse.

Here are some of the more severe symptoms of Valium abuse:

  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of control of bodily movement
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Breathing problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Liver or kidney damage
  • Blurred vision especially in those with narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Depression
  • Vertigo
  • Memory problems or anterograde amnesia

If you are experiencing these severe side effects of Valium use, you should seek medical attention immediately. These Valium side effects may cause permanent damage that could be potentially fatal. Valium side effects that continue for a long time can become very problematic.

If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen, you should visit your local ER or call emergency services immediately. If you or a loved one suffers from Valium abuse disorder, now is the time to seek help. The sooner you get off Valium, the better. Continuous use of Valium can lead to life-threatening complications like overdose or organ failure.

Is Valium Addictive?

Valium is a highly addictive benzodiazepine. Patients taking Valium for longer than four to six weeks are at a high risk of developing Valium abuse disorder. Valium works longer than other medications in its class, which is why it is so addictive.

You should always use Valium only as your doctor prescribes it. Taking more Valium than your prescription allows is dangerous. The more you take, the more you need to feel the same effects.

Valium is habit-forming. The biggest danger is that most Valium abuse disorder patients don’t realize they are developing an addiction.

Users may feel as though their Valium use is in control and safe. The reality is that taking Valium for an extended period is not how you should use the drug. To avoid abuse, you should never tamper with dosage or try to obtain more prescriptions from multiple doctors.

If you are shopping around for doctors and pharmacies to obtain as much Valium as you need, you are likely abusing Valium. Valium abuse can lead to severe side effects affecting physical and mental health.

Side Effects of Valium Abuse

Valium side effects are much more severe when a patient abuses the medication.

Valium abuse can cause even more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Overdose
  • Organ failure
  • Death
  • Permanent organ damage
  • Permanent heart damage
  • Permanent memory loss
  • Permanent vision problems

If you suffer from Valium abuse side effects, you should seek emergency medical intervention. If you cannot stop taking Valium, seek rehab treatment to help you cope with your problem.

Once permanent memory loss and organ damage are a reality, the damage is irreparable. You can treat some of these health conditions, but some will eventually lead to death.

Valium side effects can be particularly devastating for people who consume high amounts of it and do so for a long time. Valium abuse disorder can also cause serious side effects, with increased risk in older adults, if patients combine Valium with other substances.

Months or years of Valium abuse can lead to catastrophic side effects for both users and their families. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from Valium abuse disorder, find out what you can do to help them by contacting Zinnia Health today.

How Do I Know If I Am Suffering From Valium Abuse?

Valium abuse is often noticeable to family and friends, but the user may be unaware of the addiction. They may feel as though they are in complete control.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you understand if you are suffering from Valium abuse disorder:

  • Have I been taking Valium for longer than four to six weeks?
  • Do I need to see more doctors and shop at different pharmacies to get the Valium I need?
  • Do I need to turn to the black market for more Valium?
  • Am I mixing Valium with other substances?
  • Am I taking more Valium than my prescription allows?
  • Am I taking Valium the right way, or am I snorting it or injecting it?
  • Am I unable to survive a few days without Valium?

If you answer yes to even just a handful of these questions, you are likely suffering from Valium abuse disorder. This addiction can have very harmful consequences. Valium side effects may be much more severe for Valium abuse disorder patients.

Do not hesitate to seek care if you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from Valium abuse disorder. A substance abuse rehabilitation center like Zinnia Health can help you quit your habit safely and stay sober longer.

With a proper understanding of the disease of Valium use disorder, you can equip yourself with the right tools to safely support your loved one through recovery. The process of recovering from substance abuse is a challenge. Love and support from those around the individual can make all the difference in staying sober.

How To Quit Valium

If you know you need to quit Valium but don’t know how you can seek help at Zinnia Health. Through either inpatient or outpatient care programs, you can find the treatment plan that works best for you. You also need to ensure you are shedding your habit safely under the supervision of healthcare practitioners and recovery experts.

Valium is an addictive substance that can’t be cut cold turkey—much like alcohol, quitting Valium in one shot can cause the body to go into a state of shock. The results of quitting too fast can be dangerous and even potentially fatal. To be safe, detox under the care and supervision of a team of substance abuse rehab experts.

In many cases, someone suffering from Valium abuse disorder will be given a different benzodiazepine to wean slowly. A medication that is similar to Valium but has a short half-life may be beneficial to you. If you are looking for help weaning from Valium, we can help.

Call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 to find out how we can help you slowly wean from Valium safely. Withdrawal can be difficult, but if you do it safely, you can break free of your addiction for good. You are not alone.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Valium Detox

Valium withdrawal is the first step on the road to recovery (6). Because patients must wean slowly from Valium, withdrawal symptoms may be less severe but will last for a longer period.

Acute withdrawal happens in the first 5 to 28 days as the benzodiazepine dose is lowered. This phase can be the most difficult for many substance abuse disorder patients. The body is adjusting each day to a lower dose and is likely reacting to it.

Here are some of the acute withdrawal symptoms you may experience:

  • Headache
  • Psychosis
  • Convulsions
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramping
  • Sleep disturbances

In many cases, doctors will prescribe other medications like melatonin to help with sleep problems and anticonvulsant medications to minimize the impact of withdrawal. Under the supervision of a professional, Valium withdrawal can be safe.

Some withdrawal symptoms can last for a few months, but the initial symptoms should taper off in the first few weeks. If symptoms do not improve or if they worsen, seek emergency treatment right away.

How To Heal From Valium Side Effects

If you are recovering from Valium withdrawal, you may need more support from loved ones or rehab experts. You may need medications to help you deal with withdrawal symptoms for the first few weeks or months. If this is the case, you can seek help from your doctor or a rehab center.

Some side effects of withdrawal may include depression, anxiety, panic, or fear. If you are suffering from these side effects, you can and should seek therapy to help you.

Healing from Valium side effects with therapy is an excellent addition to any recovery program. Therapy programs provide support for anyone suffering from substance abuse disorder. Therapy can help you get to the bottom of your addiction and deal with the emotions you need to address to stay sober.

You should seek care immediately if you have suicidal thoughts or extreme depression in the days or weeks following withdrawal. Do not wait for things to get worse.

Healing from Valium abuse and Valium side effects can be a long process, especially after their long-term use. With the proper support and treatment strategy, you can recover from the effects of Valium abuse and withdrawal and begin a substance-free life. The first step is asking for help.

How To Get Help for Valium Abuse

If you are suffering from Valium abuse, you can seek treatment from a substance abuse rehabilitation clinic like Zinnia Health. A professional rehab clinic can help you safely detox from Valium or other substances. We can also provide therapy programs to support you through recovery after withdrawal is complete.

Millions of Americans live with substance abuse disorders. You are not alone and you do not need to go through this alone. Zinnia Health is here to help support you and your family along your path to recovery.

Finding the right therapy programs for your individual needs will help you get and stay sober. This support can be invaluable in your ability to lead a sober life from here on out. If you are contemplating getting help, call us today at (855) 430-9439.

You can do this. We can help.


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