What is Valium used for?

Learn more about what Valium is, why doctors prescribe it and its addictive-ness. Plus, if you’ve used or abused Valium, discuss what to do next. We answer all questions about Valium and Valium addiction in our comments or via video!

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What is Valium?

Valium is the brand name for a drug called diazepam. Valium is a type of medicine called a benzodiazepine, which enhances the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The more GABA in the synopses of nerve cells, the less active the brain, which is why Valium is mainly used as a sedative or tranquilizer. Valium (diazepam) is also considered a hypnotic, anti-epileptic, and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drug which affects the central nervous system as a general depressant. Typically, doctors administer Valium in a tablet form in doses of 2-10 mg per dose taken 2 to 4 times per day. Under the Federal Controlled Substance’s Act, Valium is classified as a Class IV substance by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), meaning that it has a current medical use but a low potential for abuse. Valium is also classified as a Schedule IV drug due to its relatively limited physical and psychological dependence when compared to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

What is Valium used for?

Valium is mainly used to help treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal and/or insomnia. Valium is also used to sedate or tranquilize people or to induce amnesia before certain medical procedures. Valium is prescribed by doctors for a wide range of medical conditions. These include:

  • alcohol withdrawal (control agitation)
  • anxiety
  • benzodiazepine withdrawal
  • Ménière’s disease
  • muscle spasms
  • insomnia
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • neurological diseases
  • panic attacks
  • restless legs syndrome
  • seizures
  • tremors

Non medical uses of Valium

Valium (diazepam) can be a psychoactive drug, which creates a “high” in some people. This is why some people use valium recreationally or to calm down. Other non medical uses of Valium include:

  • induce feelings of drowsiness
  • lethargy
  • loss of inhibition
  • relaxation

Can I get addicted to Valium?

Yes, Valium can be addictive. In fact, if you take a larger dose of Valium than prescribed, take it more often that prescribed, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you (often 4 months max), you may develop tolerance to the drug, which means that you may need to take higher doses to get the same effect. Long-term or excessive use can also result in withdrawal (a sign of physical dependence) when you stop taking the drug.


Does someone you know take regular doses of Valium, or mix Valium with other substances such as alcohol or prescription drugs? Do you yourself have a potential problem with Valium? Comment here, and we’ll respond to you as soon as possible. Or learn more about next steps for prescription pill addicts here.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I have been on karma tablets for 15 years. Now l need a permit and l am scared of withdrawal l will be going through. Is there anything else l can take. Thanks

  2. Have been on Valium most of my life never got a tolerance always one or two a day max and it’s been very helpful for eplipsy muscle relaxer and sleep

  3. My 28yr son has posted on social media him drinking voda straight and is crushing 5mg of diazepam and snorting it so far i think hes already used 2 foil packet what can happen..pleaze email me

  4. So I’m a recovering addict ,
    Not Valium but oxycodone .
    I was taking upwards of 600 mgs a day , for the last 6 -7 months ,
    I’m on day 7 of clean and sober from cold turkey quitting the drug ,
    Worst experience in my life , most symptoms are gone , but each day I notice that my legs hurt really bad towards the end of the day. Will this go away eventually ? I’m having to take a bunch of tylenol to minimize the pain , like my bones hurt not my muscles . Any help or tips will be greatly appreciated-

  5. A ent specialist prescribed me valium 2mg to take with my steroids because it heightens my anxiety. I’m not longer on the steroid. Is it wrong for me to utilize the remainder of the prescription when I have panic attacks?

  6. I have been using valium for over 10 years as an anti anxiety and anti insomnia medication. I only use it when absolutely necessary, maybe twice a week and sometimes go for months without using it at all. I resent the horror stories of addiction and abuse that penalises those who truly benefit from this drug. I would suggest anyone taking this medication On a daily basis may have problems that would benefit from an alternate road. 3 times a day? Really? This is the type of abuse that penalises the responsible users. Shame on you!

  7. I am taking 6mg of diazapan doctor put me on 150 pregablin 75 morning 75mg at night for gad toTotalike waste of time put me up to 300 mg done nothing for gad purchase put
    it up again following weeke so far none of the dose have done a thing to lessan my anxietyi have to see sychitarist again and discuss what to do next

  8. My name is Iris I have vertigo do Valium help with my sickness please let me know if not let me know what I can do to help with handling this

    1. Hi Iris. I’d suggest you see your doctor first. It’s best to do some tests to look for the cause of your vertigo instead of just treating the symptom. Your doctor can also suggest adequate medications, if needed, to manage your condition.

  9. I have used diazapam off and on since my wife died and more recently when my mother passed away. It does help to reduce anxiety but having stopped I find myself thinking about it and wanting it. A whisky in the evening helps but I don’t want to depend on alcohol. I don’t feel comfortable in myself and I want to know how to overcome the craving.What do you suggest?

  10. I am scheduled for a chotizone injection in my knee next week. I’m extremely nervous about getting it for several reasons but realize it’s my best course of action. I asked for one Valium tablet to take the morning of the procedure but the doctor flatly refused to prescribe it. Is it dangerous to use this way?

  11. I have always been afraid to take any drugs as don’t want to become addicted..I am 72 & do not take any drug of any kind. I lost my husband end of Jan. to alzheimers after 53 years married. I was devastated. I am not crying as often & have tried to make friends. I am awake quite often in the night & have trouble getting back to sleep as I think about him. I was trying to find something that I could take maybe once a week so I can sleep through the night. I found pills my dr. gave me in 2006 to help called imovane. I tried one 1st time & slept 7 hrs. First time opened. I flushed in toilet. Is there anything that would keep me sleep for 8 hours without morning grogginess. My friend takes valium but I think should not be taken every night. They is listening to me & is only now taking the less. My dr. trusts me fully & I am sure will give me something but doesn’t know much about sleep meds. She also looks at the computer. Any suggestions for me? In advance, thank-you for listening. Carol

    1. Hi Carol. Have you tried any alternative medications for insomnia? Melatonin and kava products are good in treating insomnia. Here’s suggested reading on the topic:

  12. I recently had full blown panic attack at dentist, there are some places that just trigger something I don’t know why just happens. Anyway dentist perscribed me Valium 5mg and wants me to take it an hour before my next appointment…. I know I have to get that shot up front that kills all the way up your sinus cavity and feels like it’s going into the brain. Is it going to help with the pain of the shot and if not do I really need it. I think the fear of going thru that is what’s causing the panic attacks.

    1. Hi Yvonne. Valium is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. Sometimes, it is used with other medications to treat seizures. I suggest that you speak with your doctor about the treatment of Meniere’s disease.

  13. I’m going down a road that I do like, Anxiety, Anger, Self loath, bipolar, I’ve been charged with Theft, more than once, I want help but don’t want to suffer or die. I’VE BEEN ON many Many Medications that hasn’t helped. I’M AT my Whitsunday end…. can you help? I’m on disability so money is a hardship. Help Me P,ese

  14. rescently in hospital for alcahol withdrawl i was taking apo-diazepam 10mg ever 4 hours for 7 day .When i left i was prescribed 50 pills and to take 3 per day only have had for 3 days and lost the rest i am worried if i should see my doctor because im worried about seisures because of not finishing script . have a little shakyness but not sure when i can get appointment soon enough

  15. Hello homage. Have you spoken with him about your concern? Stick to the facts, including data on becoming dependent on Valium (http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/dependence-on-valium/) or tolerance to its effects. If he is not addicted, he will be able to stop using Valium with the help of his prescribing doctor and an individualized tapering plan. If not, you’ll next an expert opinion from a family psychologist who specializes in addiction. I wish you my best!

  16. My husband who is doctor has. developed dependency on diazepm after he got fracture of his elbow joint .now he is taking diazepam kinz n sometimes mixed with avail once or twice a day.is there any solution to get rid of this dependency.he is also diabetic n hypertensive and using these injections since 10 months or may b more I’m not sure about the time period.plz help me.

  17. Hello Carmen. You are in quite a specific situation. I believe your question will be better answered by a doctor or pharmacist. It’s possible that the body becomes dependent on Valium, even if taken in smaller doses and infrequently. So you might experience some withdrawal symptoms, but since you’re not a every-day user, they will probably pass quickly and less painfully. You should also check to find out if the thyroid medications interact with diazepam, in which case, you may need to wait to get your system cleaned from it, and start using the new meds afterwards.

  18. Hi , in currently in the process of trying to get a diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism . I possibly have underlying thyroid issues as well. Since the horrible symptoms started almost 18 months ago I started taking 5 mg of Valium since may 2013 not every day but when I was feeling really anxious or teary and and emotional due to whatever hormonal issue I have . .. I take 5 mg every two or 3 days … For muscle pain as well from parathyroid disease. Is that considered addiction ? I don’t want to take anti depressants until I find out the real cause which again is likely to be parathyroid issues . So again I’m wondering if my issues were sorted would Valiam be easier to get off especially if I only take it 2-3 times a week . Thank you

  19. Hello Dale. Valium isn’t really used as a pain medication. And you don’t want to really mix a benzodiazepine with an opioid. For break through pain, doctors usually prescribe hydrocodone or oxycodone (the main ingredient in Percocet). Check with your prescribing doctor or visit an emergency clinic if you can’t wait.

  20. i just had back surgery and the percocette does not seem to dull the pain much and now my right leg hurts from the knee to the ankle and acrost the buttoxx i see the doc in a couple days and woncering if and what dose of valume can ease the pain ,,just wondering thanks dale for break thru pain

  21. Hi Tara. Both heroin and diazepam are central nervous system depressants. When taken together, heroin and Valium have an additive effect on one another and your heart can slow down, as well a breathing. When combined, this can lead to overdose or death! In fact, using pills and heroin within 12 hours of each other is the single largest cause of fatal overdose in the U.S. More on overdose interventions here: http://www.adp.cahwnet.gov/oara/pdf/overdose_interventions.pdf

  22. HI there, I am just wondering what the effects are of diazepam when mixed with heroin? I have heard that it is very dangerous and can be fatal. Would this occur with even a small dose of diazepam? Thank you for any insight you can give.

  23. Hello,
    My Mom is taking valium 10mg 3x a day for the past several years. She is also taking Prozac 20mg 3x a day. She was recently prescribed Concerta 36mg for Adult onset-ADD. Is this safe? Stimulants with tranquilizers? Thank you for your reply.

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