Valium Dependence is Treated Medically
Valium is the brand name of diazepam, a medicine that belongs to the group of benzodiazepine drugs. Valium act directly on the central nervous system and this prescription sedative may lead to physical dependence only after 2-3 weeks of regular daily use (despite strict adherence to prescription guidelines).
So, when you try to cut back or stop on Valium after you are drug-dependent, you can experience withdrawal syndrome, characterized by very uncomfortable symptoms. Withdrawal can make quitting Valium a painful process…BUT luckily, it can be treated!
In this article, we explore dependence on Valium and its treatment. At the end, we invite you to join our discussion in the comments section below. Please leave us your questions! We value your feedback and do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate questions.
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What is Valium Dependence?
Dependence is a physical condition that develops when your brain normalizes and adapts to the continued presence of a drug, in this case, Valium. During dependence, the body begins to function normally only if Valium is present. Due to the high likelihood for both psychological and physical dependence, Valium should not be prescribed for use of more than a few months.
How long does it take to develop this type of reaction?
Every person reacts differently to Valium. Some people may become physical dependent only after a few weeks of use, while some need more time to become develop dependence. The risk for dependence increases with recreational use and abuse of Valium.
But this is clear: when dependence develops, you will experience withdrawal symptoms upon dose reduction or abrupt cessation. Valium withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, which may prevent you from stopping. In fact, Valium withdrawal can produce the same conditions it is used to treat:
- Extreme anxiety
- Panic attacks
What’s more, these unwanted symptoms can be quickly resolved by simply taking Valium again. So, people enter into a state of continued use…even when they don’t want to! This kind of Valium use can turn into a slippery slope.
How Does The Brain Become Valium Dependent?
Valium affects levels of the neurotransmitter “gamma-aminobutyric acid”, or GABA, in the brain. Diazepam, the main active ingredient in Valium, helps slow down and stop abnormal brain activity, resulting in reduced brain responses and relaxation of the body. Because of how Valium works in the brain it helps reduce anxiety, cause sleepiness, relax muscles, and stop seizures…which is why Valium is used medically.
However, with continued use, these chemical changes in the brain become the new normal state of being. Any cessation or lowering in doses can throw you off balance. As a consequence, when the daily dose of Valium is cut down or stopped, the body needs time to adapt a new, Valium-free homeostatic balance. Until the brain adapts, the body produces withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms Of Valium Dependence
Tolerance = After a period of ongoing use of Valium, the human body builds up a level of tolerance. This means that your initial doses become less effective, and you require an increased amount of Valium to be able to reach the desired therapeutic effects. In other words, as the brain adapts…the medication becomes less effective.
Withdrawal = The duration of Valium withdrawal varies by person. Generally, the longer you use Valium, the more severe and longer the withdrawal lasts. Usually, the peak of Valium withdrawal occurs between 3 to 6 days after cessation, but some people report symptoms for up to a year after stopping Valium.
Valium withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Increased sensitivity to senses: light, taste, smell, and noise
- Muscle cramps
NOTE HERE: You may experience Valium withdrawal in a delayed manner, even after several weeks pass since your Valium use cessation.
Signs Of a Valium Problem
Crucial signs of a drug problem can manifest any time that you take Valium. The following list of signs can help you identify Valium problems in yourself or a loved one who is using the medication, include:
- Buying Valium through illegal sources either online, off the street, or from someone else who’s prescribed the medicine.
- Continued use of Valium despite negative life consequences.
- “Doctor shopping” from several doctors at the same time.
- Hiding Valium use from friends, family and coworkers.
- Inability to control or stop Valium use.
- Mixing Valium with other drugs and alcohol to enhance its effects.
- Running out of Valium before it’s time for a prescription refill.
- Spending a lot of time and effort obtaining and using Valium.
- Spending a great deal of time recovering from the effects of Valium.
- Using Valium longer or at higher doses than prescribed by your doctor.
If you recognize 2 or more of these scenarios, you might need to speak with your doctor. You can request an assessment of the issue … and seek help for drug addiction or dependence as follow-up.
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Does Valium Dependence = Addiction?
No. Technically, physical dependence and addiction are not the same.
DEPENDENCE on Valium develops with time and regular use. In fact, dependence is a natural and expected physical adaptation mechanism of the human body. It occurs when your brain becomes accustomed to the presence of Valium.
ADDICTION to Valium is a chronic and relapsing brain disease that is characterized by continued use of the drug despite its harmful effects to your health, relationships, work, or other aspects of life. People who are addicted to Valium feel a strong urge for the drug and can’t stop taking it even if they want to. Bear in mind, that successful Valium addiction treatment is made far easier with the support of friends, loved ones, and family members.
Ending Valium Dependence
Above all, the first thing that you should do to end Valium dependence is to ask for advice from licensed medical specialist like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a family doctor. Some of the basic methods for ending Valium dependence include:
Tapered withdrawal – The safest recommended course of lowering tolerance to Valium and managing dependence is by gradually reducing the daily intake of Valium. Going cold turkey off Valium is never recommended. Instead, you should talk to your doctor about creating a custom tapering schedule just for you. Then, you can slowly reduce Valium or enter a Valium detox clinic to ensure your safety and comfort during withdrawal. The Ashton Manual is a good place for direction and guidance.
Supportive withdrawal – It is a good idea to seek help in a medical detox provided by a detox clinic. There, you can take part in a support group during Valium withdrawal and be introduced to concepts of addiction recovery. You will be able to share your own and hear other people’s experiences and advice on Valium withdrawal.
Pharmacological withdrawal – Ending Valium dependence can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Medications can ease the severity of some of the most adverse withdrawal reactions. Meds that your doctor can prescribe – such as antidepressants – can be very helpful. However, these medications are usually prescribed during medical detox in a 24-7 supervised clinic.
Home treatment – Going off Valium at home is possible, but you first must be examined by your doctor and gain medical clearance to follow through. Also, you need to be in a good medical condition with people around you who can help in order to be allowed to treat Valium dependence and withdrawal at home.
Got Any Questions?
This is only a basic review on Valium dependence.
If you still have any concerns about the issue, please explore this section of our website. Further, we invite you to send us your questions via the comment section below. We try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries submitted by our readers.