Can you get addicted to Valium?
Is Valium addictive?
In fact, Valium should only be used for a short period of time, or as doctors usually suggest, for 1-2 weeks at a time. Prolonged Valium use is considered to be the use of this medication for more than four consecutive weeks. By this time, quitting has become an uncomfortable process due to physical dependence and withdrawal, so many will continue to use the medication. With continued use there is a possibility for developing Valium addiction.
Here, we discuss about Valium’s addictive effects, the signs of Valium addiction, and how you can avoid becoming addicted. Then, we invite you to ask questions in the section at the bottom of the page.
Psychoactive ingredients of Valium
Valium is available for oral administration as tablets containing 2 mg, 5 mg or 10 mg diazepam. In addition to the active ingredient diazepam, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients:
- anhydrous lactose
- corn starch
- pregelatinized starch
- calcium stearate
What does Valium do in the body?
Regardless of potency, speed of elimination or duration of effects, the actions in the body are virtually the same for all benzodiazepines. This is true whether they are marketed as anxiolytics, hypnotics or anti-convulsants. Valium exerts five major effects which are used therapeutically:
- anxiolytic (relief of anxiety)
- hypnotic (promotion of sleep)
- myorelaxant (muscle relaxation)
- anticonvulsant (stop fits, convulsions)
- amnesic (short-term memory impairment)
How do you get addicted to Valium?
Valium (diazepam) is listed as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. However, benzodiazepine abuse and dependence are more common than the scheduling suggests. In fact, Valium addiction may develop even if you take your medication as prescribed by your doctors. Here are some of the main terms when defining addiction to Valium:
Tolerance – As your body grows its tolerance to the medication, the initial amount has diminished effect, so you feel like you require more Valium to achieve the same effects as in the beginning of therapy.
Physical dependence – This means that your body has become accustomed to the presence of the medication and cannot function normally without it. Moreover, once physical addiction to Valium has developed, termination of treatment is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms – They occur when regular Valium use is drastically lowered or stopped. These symptoms tend to be severely uncomfortable and can drive people to go back to Valium just to relieve or avoid the withdrawal effects.
Addiction – Taking Valium in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended, not being able to cut down or control Valium use, and continuing to use Valium despite knowledge of physical or psychological problems that are caused or exacerbated by Valium may suggest that a person has become addicted to the drug. If you also catch yourself obsessing over using and obtaining Valium, or if you’ve started to give up on miss out on important social, work, school, family, or recreational activities because of drug use – it may be time to seek help for Valium addiction!
Signs of Valium addiction
In order to be able to identify whether you or a loved one is addicted, learning more about the tell-tale signs and symptoms of Valium addiction can be of great help.
- Do you feel that you have lost control over Valium use?
- Do you run out of your prescription before it’s time for a refill?
- Do you continue to use Valim despite feeling negative consequences?
- Do you feel a need to take more Valium more frequently than intended?
- Have you tried to cut back or stop use several times but fail to succeed?
If your answer to most of these questions is YES, then schedule a visit at your doctor’s office. Treatments for Valium addiction generally begin with a slow taper of Valium doses and a detoxification process, followed by psychological therapy, group therapy, and other programs to prevent the possibility of relapse.
How to avoid Valium addiction
The best way to avoid Valium addiction is to never continue therapy for longer than two weeks. You may experience difficulties when stopping Vlaium even after a short period of use. But, these are usually minor withdrawal effects which soon ease off.
However, long term use can result in withdrawal effects which are too severe to cope with. Therefore, it is often best to reduce the dose gradually over several months before finally stopping it. Your doctor can help you create a tapering schedule and monitor your Valium withdrawal process, or refer you to a detox clinic or a treatment center.
Addiction to Valium questions
Please share your opinions or send us your questions regarding Valium addiction in the designated section at the bottom of the page. We try to respond you personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will gladly refer you to professionals who can help.
Reference sources: FDA: Valium
Photo credit: Mads Bødker