Today, more than 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorders, and phobias, making anxiety the most common mental illness in the U.S, surpassing rates of depression and bipolar disorder. It comes as no surprise that benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that are central nervous system depressants, are also the most widely prescribed medications in the country, seeing as how anxiety disorders are impacting Americans more than any other mental illness. Valium, in particular, is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S., right behind other benzodiazepines like Xanax and Ativan. When this medication is consumed, it triggers feelings of calm and relaxation, which is why it is as effective as it is in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Between 1969 and 1982, Valium was the most prescribed drug in the United States. Peak sales occurred in 1978, with more than 2.3 billion pills sold within that year alone. By the time the 1980s rolled around, the use of Valium and other benzodiazepines became controversial, as there were concerns that they were too risky and could cause dependence. Though many psychiatrists continued to see these drugs as valuable tools in treating anxiety in the 1980s and straight through the 1990s, concerns about overprescribing benzodiazepines still remained. As a result, these concerns have led to a decline in a prescribing professionals’ comfort and ease of prescribing benzodiazepines like Valium. However, that does not mean that people throughout the country are not continuing to obtain and abuse Valium and other benzodiazepines. In fact, overdoses involving benzodiazepines have increased nearly eight-fold, going from 0.6 overdoses per every 100,000 people in 1999 to 4.4 in every 100,000 people in 2016.
Since benzodiazepines like Valium are so highly addictive, they are typically only used on a short-term basis. When Valium is taken as prescribed by a professional, people can benefit greatly from it. Not only can this medication help those with anxiety, but it can also help treat seizures and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, when it is abused in any capacity, such as for self-medication purposes or recreationally, it can be easy for even the most unintending individuals to begin developing both a physical and psychological dependency on it. And, once a person becomes addicted to Valium, his or her behaviors can start to spiral out of control, leading to countless consequences throughout all areas of his or her life.
Valium works to slow down the processes in the body, meaning that when too much of it is consumed, a person can stop breathing and die as a result. Unfortunately, as with most other drug addictions, users tend to abuse other drugs in conjunction with their primary substance of abuse. Abusing Valium with any central nervous system depressant, such as alcohol or an opiate painkiller, can increase the risk of respiratory failure, which is the most common cause of a benzodiazepine overdose.
Addiction is a serious, life-threatening disease that usually requires professional Valium addiction treatment. When someone who is addicted to Valium does not get help, he or she can continue to struggle with daily challenges such as intense anxiety, insomnia, depression, and, of course, cravings to keep abusing Valium. The cycle of abuse will only continue if the user does not address all issues related to his or her addiction. If you have become addicted to Valium, reach out to our Valium addiction treatment center today and learn how we can help you break free from the shackles of addiction and begin living a happy, healthy life of recovery.
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THE BRAIN, THE BODY, AND VALIUM
Known generically as diazepam, Valium is extremely addictive. When abused, it can cause tolerance, meaning that the user has to keep increasing how much he or she consumes in order to get high. Tolerance leads to dependence, which can make it extremely difficult for a person to stop using. Valium comes in tablets, meaning that it can be swallowed or crushed up and smoked or injected. Some Valium users smoke it and blow the smoke into each other’s mouths, which is known as insufflating. Combining Valium with another substance, such as alcohol or heroin, increases the level of toxicity in one’s body which in turn, increases his or her risk of fatal overdose.
When Valium is consumed, it binds to the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA, which is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, is responsible for suppressing activity in the nerves. Anxiety disorders of all kinds have been linked to overactivity in nerves, which is why benzodiazepines like Valium are as effective as they are in treating this mental health condition. Those who use Valium responsibly will take a dose deemed appropriate by their healthcare provider and will be able to benefit from the release of GABA in the brain, helping them to calm down. When Valium is abused, however, excessive GABA activity is triggered, which sends signals to the body to start slowing down all-natural functions, such as respiratory and cardiovascular functions. Therefore, the blood does not have enough oxygen and/or has too much carbon dioxide in it. As a result, organs in the body like the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys do not get enough oxygen and blood flow to support vitality, causing death if immediate medical help is not obtained.
The half-life—that is, the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated by the natural processes of the body—is long, at 20 to 80 hours. However, the typical half-life of Valium in a young, healthy person is closer to 24 hours. Even though the effects of Valium can last for some time, they wear off with every minute that passes. Most people who abuse Valium are continually chasing the most pleasurable high, which is what drives them to keep using more and more Valium before the body is even able to process it. And, the more that Valium is used, the more tolerant the body becomes, meaning that users have to keep increasing how much they are consuming at once. Eventually, the body will not be able to handle the increasing amount of Valium, which is when overdose becomes a stronger possibility.
Both the brain and the body are susceptible to suffering damage as a result of one’s Valium abuse, even after their use stops. Because of how much this prescription drug interacts with the functioning of one’s entire being, issues such as memory loss, cognitive defects, behavioral changes, organ damage, and symptoms associated with mood disorders like depression can last a lifetime.
SYMPTOMS OF VALIUM ADDICTION
As a Class IV drug, Valium has a lower risk for addiction when compared to other drugs like opioids and steroids. But, if a person takes more Valium than what is prescribed, or uses more often than what is professionally recommended, he or she can become dependent on it. When it comes to benzodiazepines like Valium, however, the vast majority of people who develop a dependence on it are both physically and psychologically dependent on it. This means that they cannot stop using Valium without experiencing painful physical or mental effects.
While there are several common threads that tie those who are addicted to Valium and other benzodiazepines together, there are many aspects of Valium addiction that are specific to each user. The symptoms that a person might show are usually dependent on how much Valium he or she is consuming, how often he or she is abusing it, and if he or she is abusing it alongside other substances. No two Valium users will experience the exact same set of symptoms for this reason, instead, they might experience a few, many, or all of the symptoms most closely related to this type of addiction.
Key Symptoms of Addiction
The signs, symptoms, and behaviors that come along with the disease of addiction transcend the many different mind-altering substances that people abuse, including Valium. A user is likely struggling with a Valium addiction when he or she:
- Continues to take Valium for longer periods of time than what is prescribed
- Requires more and more Valium in order to achieve the desired high
- Feels unwell when Valium wears off (e.g. feeling nauseous, feverish, achy, depressed, or confused)
- Cannot control his or her use of Valium and is unable to stop using even if he or she wants to
- Continues to use despite suffering physical, mental, social, or professional consequences as a result of that use
- Spends an excessive amount of time thinking about and/or obtaining Valium
- No longer shows interest in people, places, and activities that he or she once enjoyed
- Uses Valium in dangerous situations, such as while driving a car
Those who are addicted to Valium can not only experience these symptoms, but can also start to engage in secretive behavior, experience changes in physical appearance, struggle to do regular everyday tasks, and have frequent conflicts with others.
DO I NEED VALIUM ADDICTION TREATMENT?
If you’ve been prescribed Valium or are using it independently but are concerned you may have developed an addiction to it, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I continued taking Valium, even though I know I don’t need it anymore?
- Do I take more Valium than I used to?
- Do I combine Valium with other drugs or alcohol to get a stronger high?
- Do I keep buying Valium even though I can’t afford it?
- Do I keep taking Valium to avoid withdrawal?
- Have I developed problems at work, at home, with my relationships or with money — even if they don’t seem related to Valium?
- Do I still spend my free time doing the healthy things I love, or have I stopped my hobbies almost entirely?
- Do I hang out alone or with a new crowd of “friends” who use drugs?
- Do I feel confused, or do I have difficulty concentrating?
- Have I ever engaged in risky behavior while using that I felt ashamed about afterward?
- Have I started visiting more than one doctor, hospital or pharmacy to get multiple prescriptions filled, just in case I run out?
Even if you are experiencing just one of these symptoms, it can be life-saving to reach out and ask for help. Despite the perceived stereotype, not all people who are addicted to Valium have to reach rock bottom in order to consider enrolling in Valium addiction treatment. When people ask for help, they are often at different stages in their addiction. Thankfully, through professional Valium addiction treatment, everyone who is struggling with an addiction to this benzodiazepine can get the appropriate level of care that they need in order to stop using for good.
SIDE EFFECTS OF VALIUM ABUSE
Abusing Valium for any length of time will cause a person to experience side effects of that use. Usually, the more severe the addiction to Valium, the more side effects a user will experience and vice versa. Valium is associated with a long list of side effects that can develop even in those who take it as prescribed. These side effects include:
- Feeling excessively tired
- Experiencing a spinning sensation
- Ataxia (loss of balance)
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Blurred or double vision
- Skin rash
- Lack of interest in sex
While these symptoms are commonly noticed in those who are under the influence of Valium, there are several other effects associated with Valium addiction that can more long-term, including:
- Memory loss
- Psychotic episodes
- Problems associated with organ damage
- Increased risk for continued substance abuse
When a person continues to abuse Valium despite the side effects that he or she experiences or has the potential to experience, it becomes more likely that he or she will continue to struggle with physical and mental health complications as a result of the abuse. The longer that the addictive patterns of behavior last, the more that professional intervention is needed. At our Valium addiction treatment center, we can help those addicted to this drug stop their active addiction, which will prevent any further health problems or effects from developing. We also ensure that during one’s stay at our Valium addiction treatment center, he or she will be carefully monitored during the beginning stages of detox, which is absolutely necessary to prevent life-threatening consequences.
Someone who is addicted to Valium is not afforded the luxury of being able to just stop using cold turkey without experiencing any serious consequences. Instead, those who are looking to end their Valium addiction for good should reach out for professional help, such as that offered at our Valium addiction treatment program. This is because when someone goes from regularly abusing Valium to no longer consuming it at all, a number of withdrawal symptoms can develop that can cause death if not properly treated. These symptoms include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Fast pulse
- Heart palpitations
These dangerous withdrawal symptoms often occur in concert with more manageable symptoms, such as:
- Stomach cramps
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Intense cravings
Within the first few days after one’s last use, someone detoxing from Valium will experience acute symptoms. By the time that he or she hits the day 4 mark, he or she will start to experience longer-lasting symptoms of withdrawal that can continue for up to two full weeks. During this time, symptoms such as cravings, depression, nausea, chills, and mild fever can occur, however will not be as intense as their acute symptoms felt in the first few days of detox. For some, these symptoms taper off, but for others, rebound symptoms like anxiety and panic attacks can continue for an additional two weeks. The length of time that Valium withdrawal can take is also another reason why enrolling in our Valium addiction treatment program is so important. If attempted independently, the symptoms that can be experienced and the length of time that they occur for can be too much to bear, and a user is at greater risk for going back to use to get some relief. At our Valium addiction treatment center, we can provide a medical taper that will slowly wean the client off of Valium, helping to minimize the intensity and duration of these symptoms and in turn, increase his or her odds of remaining drug-free.
Withdrawing from any drug is never a comfortable experience. In fact, many people who abuse drugs continue to use just to avoid the symptoms they can experience if they stop. However, without properly detoxing from a drug as powerful as Valium, being able to maintain a steady recovery is not possible.
At our Valium addiction treatment center, we know how overwhelming detoxing from Valium can be, which is why we do everything in our power to make it less stressful and easier to manage, allowing you to start focusing on making a full recovery.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT OUR VALIUM ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER
If you are ready to end your active addiction once and for all, our Valium addiction treatment center in Florida can help. Even if you have tried treatment once or several times before, we are confident that at our Valium addiction treatment center, our services will help you make the change you need in order to save your life. Our treatment methods include medically managed detox, evidence-based therapies, and comprehensive aftercare that is the best in the business.
Not only do we offer impeccable services, but we also help each client get through those difficult days that Valium withdrawal can bring by providing medically managed detox. We focus on designing a comprehensive holistic recovery plan that is unique to the needs of each and every client so that he or she can address the core reasons for his or her Valium abuse. This involves taking an integrated treatment approach for co-occurring disorders, which are mental health disorders that occur alongside substance addiction.
Integrated treatment combines proven substance use and mental health interventions into a client’s treatment plan so that both the substance use disorder and the mental illness can be treated simultaneously instead of treating each disorder separately, which has proven to be ineffective. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends the integrated treatment approach, which we proudly provide at our Valium addiction treatment center. This specific form of treatment helps clients think about the role that Valium and any other addictive substances play in their life. It offers them a chance to learn about how certain substances like Valium interact with mental health disorders. It also educates clients to develop recovery goals.
At our Valium addiction treatment center, our qualified and compassionate staff will help you feel comfortable during withdrawal so you can focus on making a complete recovery. We will develop an individualized plan of care just for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Quite simply, you’ll learn how to manage cravings and triggers while rebuilding your life to reflect the person you want to be, not the person that you were while caught in the throes of Valium addiction.
When you make the decision to get treatment for your Valium abuse at our Valium addiction treatment center, you’re taking control of your life instead of letting Valium control it for you. One call can be the difference between life and death.
GET THE HELP YOU DESERVE RIGHT NOW AT OUR VALIUM ADDICTION TREATMENT IN FLORIDA
No matter how you may feel about your ability to stop using Valium, know that you have the power to change your life for the better. All you need to do is reach out for help and we can show you the way.
Call us right now for more information. The call is free, confidential, and there is no obligation to enroll. Let our Valium addiction treatment help you restore your wellbeing and get you on the road to recovery for good.