Valium is a prescription sedative with several legitimate medical uses. Unfortunately, Valium can also be abused by those who become addicted to the drug or who use it for recreational purposes. Valium abuse isn’t something that should be taken lightly, because it can have immediate and long-term negative effects. Rehab, treatment and awareness are the keys to combating the risks of Valium abuse.
Immediate Dangers of Valium Abuse
Valium has been used in a medical capacity since the 1960s, when it was developed as a way to alleviate muscle aches, panic attacks and anxiety. As rates of anxiety rise in the United States and around the world, there is an increasing demand for prescriptions for drugs like Valium, which is classed as a Benzodiazepine. While using Valium as prescribed may not be an inherently bad thing, some people use it without prescriptions, or they use more than the recommended dose. When individuals do this, it equates to drug abuse, and there are some immediate physical dangers that can result.
Improper use of Valium can immediately create confusion or a feeling of intoxication among users. This can cause an increased likelihood of falling over or being involved in an accident, and it means that individuals taking Valium shouldn’t drive cars or even leave their homes. The body will be sluggish and slow, and reaction times will be severely compromised.
Perhaps an even more worrying effect of Valium use and abuse in the short term is what happens after the Valium dosage begins to wear off. Typically, individuals will begin to feel unhappy and anxious, and they may experience stomach cramps or muscle aches. It’s even possible to experience a higher temperature than normal, causing flushing to the skin and extreme sweating. Some individuals report that after their Valium begins to wear off, they sink into a depressed state, which only increases the desire to take more Valium in the future.
Long-Term Dangers of Valium Abuse
Although the immediate side effects of Valium abuse are certainly worrying, there are also long-term effects that have to be considered. Using Valium over several weeks, months or years, particularly when it was taken without proper medical supervision or prescriptions, can result in significant memory loss. It can also lead to social problems, since users may feel more isolated and misunderstood by those around them.
Abusing Valium is also connected to an increase in the number of accidents patients experience, which is a direct result of physical sluggishness and a slowed cognitive reaction time. Valium abuse is also tied to an increased risk of heart attacks, difficulty breathing and even hallucinations. There’s also the risk that heavy users can slip into a coma.
Identifying Valium Addiction
At times, it can be difficult to accurately spot Valium abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, the two are inextricably linked. Using Valium improperly means that patients often feel the need to take one dose as soon as the prior medication has worn off. This continued cycle of improper use is more than just abuse. It’s usually a textbook case of addiction to prescription drugs.
The clearest sign of Valium addiction occurs when consumption is no longer under any personal control. Individuals who are addicted to Valium can’t skip a dose. If they do, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, cravings and the inability to focus on anything but obtaining more Valium or a similar type of sedative. Addiction to Valium can also reveal itself through the development of financial or legal trouble, or the inability to hold down a job, achieve success in school or maintain relationships with friends and family members.
Withdrawing from Valium Addiction
Despite the incredibly damaging effects of Valium abuse in both the long and short term, simply ending the addiction isn’t a matter of willpower. After continued Valium abuse, the body and the brain will depend on its ingredients to function, and the cravings and withdrawal symptoms are difficult to experience. Thankfully, under proper medical supervision the withdrawal process can be manageable, and it can end in under a week for most patients.
The physical symptoms of Valium withdrawal can be unpleasant and at times painful for patients. It’s very common for individuals undergoing a Valium detox to deal with withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, extreme dehydration and even hallucinations. Because Valium is often taken as a way to improve sleep, withdrawal may be accompanied by insomnia or the inability to stay asleep for long periods of time. While withdrawal isn’t easy, it’s worth the effort to become free from the binds of Valium abuse and addiction.
Successfully Treating a Valium Addiction
Many people mistakenly believe that since Valium is a prescription medication, rehab won’t be necessary. In reality, being addicted to Valium is just like being addicted to any other legal or illegal drug. Rehab is about providing patients with education, support and treatment that helps them overcome their addictions and their dependence on Valium.
Valium abuse is tied closely to treating mental illness. Why? Because Valium can sometimes be used to treat mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. For some people who abuse Valium, both of these conditions may appear after consumption of Valium ends. Dual diagnosis treatment may rely on behavioral therapies to find alternative means of stress relief and coping mechanisms, or it may explore hobbies and fitness activities than can accomplish the same goals. Sometimes, patients may benefit from using different prescription medications, with far fewer side effects, to more effectively treat any lingering mental health issues.
Despite the legitimate medical benefits of using Valium in a limited number of cases, Valium abuse as a whole is growing. Valium abuse has immediate effects as well as long-term consequences that include addiction, but treatment is available and can make a tremendous difference.