Valium (diazepam) is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions in which patients could benefit from sedatives. In some cases, doctors use it before surgical procedures that require inducing amnesia. Valium was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1963, and it has been one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world since then.
Valium is an useful substance for controlling acute conditions because it has a rapid onset, so doctors can manage severe cases of panic attacks, anxiety attacks, or seizures. However, prolonged periods of use can often lead to substance addiction, especially if patients take higher dosages than prescribed.
Some signs of Valium addiction can overlap with its common side-effects. People who start taking Valium can experience fatigue, dizziness, weakness, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tremors, sleep disturbance, blurred vision, and dry mouth. In most cases, these symptoms will withdraw. However, if they persist or occur after using Valium for a long time, it is important to discuss them with a physician and investigate the possibility of Valium addiction.
Aside from standard side-effects, the most common symptoms of Valium addiction are:
Although these are the most common signs of Valium addiction, one symptom is not a reliable indicator that a person suffers from addiction. Most people addicted to Valium will develop several symptoms simultaneously. Mood swings, behavioral changes, and decreased physical abilities often occur together in Valium addiction cases, and they are the most reliable symptoms of substance addiction.
Pregnant women should avoid Valium because it can cause fetal abnormalities, and nursing mothers should avoid it because it affects their breast milk. People who have previously suffered from glaucoma, any type of seizures, lung disease, heart conditions, or liver disease should avoid Valium. Older adults should avoid Valium because there are safer depressants that do not interact with other medication or cause long-term adverse health effects.
However, the most dangerous side-effect is addiction. Valium addiction is especially dangerous if combined with alcohol, anti-depressants, and narcotics. Those substances enhance its effects, so people will more likely exceed their allowed dosage.
In acute cases, addicted patients will require first aid before medical assistance arrives. Patients will require unobstructed airways, constant pulse and breath monitoring, and possibly convulsion first aid if they experience a seizure.
Valium withdrawal symptoms include headaches, insomnia, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, or nausea. In severe addiction cases, patients may experience seizures. While treating the addiction, a patient should be under supervised detoxification treatment to taper the addiction and avoid those symptoms.
Behavioral therapies show positive long-term results in resolving Valium addiction. They can take place in private settings, group settings, or a combination of both. In most cases, the family is also included in the treatment process.
Behavioral therapies are not restricted to substance addiction, and they will often target the main cause behind the addiction, such as depression or low self-esteem. Effective drug therapies will provide long-term after-care and peer support.