Q: Is Valium addictive?
Benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam) are commonly used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and a number of other conditions. When used appropriately over a short period of time, they can be very effective. When used in increasing amounts or in OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED they can cause addiction. In fact Valium’s addictive potential is well documented, understood, and treated.
So, who can you turn to if you think you have a problem with Valium? We review here, and invite your questions about Valium addiction help at the end.
How to help Valium addiction
Addiction is a mental health disorder which requires diagnosis and treatment. Once you have made up your mind to address addiction there are two basic steps to take before you start:
STEP 1. Consult your doctor and pharmacist.
Valium is a powerful pharmaceutical. However, your doctor may have views on whether it is appropriate for you to stop Valium, or not. In a small number of cases, withdrawal from diazepam may be inadvisable. For example, some doctors believe that long-term Valium dosing is indicated for anxiety, panic and phobic disorders and/or psychiatric conditions. Still, medical opinions differ and even if complete withdrawal for physical dependence on Valium is not advised, it may be beneficial to reduce the dosage or to take intermittent courses with benzodiazepine-free intervals. Furthermore, your doctor can set up an individualized tapering plan for you which will account for your health and other medications.
STEP 2. Make sure you have adequate psychological support.
Support could come from your spouse, partner, family or close friend. An understanding doctor or a community leader may also be the one to offer support as well as advice. Ideally, your mentor should be someone who understands about Valium addiction or is prepared to read about it and learn. It need not be someone who has gone through withdrawal – sometimes ex-users who have had a bad experience can frighten others by dwelling on their own symptoms. Often the help of a clinical psychologist, trained counselor, or other therapist is valuable, especially for teaching relaxation techniques, deep breathing, how to deal with a panic attack, etc. Some people find alternative techniques such as aromatherapy, acupuncture or yoga helpful, but these probably act only as an aid to relaxation.
How to help a Valium addict
First, be able to identify some of the common symptoms of Valium addiction: loss of drug control and use, continued use despite negative consequences, and/or cravings. Then, treatments for Valium addiction generally begin with a slow detoxification process, eventually weaning a person away from the effects of the drugs while attempting to decrease the severity of the symptoms of withdrawal. As a follow-up to the detoxification program, recovering addicts are encouraged to pursue psychological therapy, group therapy, and other programs to prevent the possibility of relapse.
You can help a Valium addict by first identifying the problem by reporting facts, observations, and your experience. A formal intervention may also be helpful. But the best thing that you can do is to learn about addiction, its impact on family systems, and even look into counseling for yourself. the CRAFT model is gaining momentum, as are Al-Anon and Narc-Anon for helping support loved ones. Finally, you can refer a Valium addict to treatment (options are listed in the following section).
Getting help for Valium addiction
There are several ways to find help for addiction. The following types of treatment approaches address the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. While not an exhaustive list, these are good places to get started and to reach out for help.
Addiction treatment centers: Browse our “Find Treatment” tool to identify treatment options near you.
Internet: The internet is a great resource for you to learn more about an Valium addiction, which can affect the memory, cause drowsiness, depression, and confusion. Search .GOV and .EDU sites to ensure you are getting evidence based information about Valium addiction and its treatment.
A Licensed psychologist: Psychologists and counselors are certified in addressing the psycho-emotional elements of drug addiction.
A Physician: Visit your family doctor who will listen to you and can offer valuable feedback or even provide an initial screening for Valium addiction. S/He can provide you with a list of addiction treatment providers, support groups, or refer you to counseling. Furthermore, there are doctors who specialize in addiction medicine. Browse The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s website for a listing.
A Psychiatrist: These medical doctors specialize in treating chemical addictions., among other brain disorders. Seek a referral from your family doctor or look in a local directory to find psychiatrists that treat addiction near you.
Loved ones: If you feel you have to take a Valium to relieve your discomfort, you need to speak to someone immediately. Reach out to those closest to you or seek help from an addiction support group to help you through the difficult times.
Valium addiction help and helplines
When someone has a drug problem, its not always easy to know what to do. If someone you know is abusing or misusing prescription drugs, encourage him or her to talk to a parent, school guidance counselor, or other trusted adult. There are also anonymous resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP). Hotlines can help address many issues, not just suicide. For example, anyone who feels sad, hopeless, or suicidal; family and friends who are concerned about a loved one; or anyone interested in mental health treatment referrals can call this Lifeline. Callers are connected with a professional nearby who will talk with them about what theyre feeling or about concerns for family and friends.
In addition, the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) refers callers to treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations that can provide help for their specific needs.
Valium withdrawal help and tips
Get into the right frame of mind as you address physical addiction to Valium. Understand that over 20+ million Americans are affected by addiction, many of whom are addicted to prescription drugs. You are not alone! Here are some other tips as you seek treatment of Valium addiction:
Be confident. You can do it. If in doubt, try a very small reduction in dosage for a few days (for example, try reducing your daily dosage by about one tenth or one eighth; you may be able to achieve this by halving or quartering one of your tablets). You will probably find that you notice no difference. If still in doubt, aim at first for dosage reduction rather than complete Valium withdrawal. You will probably wish to continue once you have started.
Be patient. There is no need to hurry withdrawal. Your body (and brain) may need time to readjust after years of being on Valium. Many people have taken a year or more to complete the withdrawal. So don’t rush, and, above all, do not try to stop suddenly.
Don’t expect a “quick fix”. It may be possible to enter a hospital or special center for “detoxification”. Such an approach usually involves a fairly rapid withdrawal, is medically “safe” and may provide psychological support. Such centers may be suitable for a small minority of people with difficult psychological problems. However, they often remove the control of withdrawal from the patient and setbacks on returning home are common, largely because there has been no time to build up alternative living skills. Slow withdrawal in your own environment allows time for physical and psychological adjustments, permits you to continue with your normal life, to tailor your withdrawal to your own lifestyle, and to build up alternative strategies for living without Valium.
Help with Valium addiction questions
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