Why Do People Get Addicted to Valium?

Valium is a medication prescribed to treat a range of conditions where symptom management requires calming and relaxation. Even when taken as directed, dependency and addiction to the effects of valium can develop quickly. 


What Is Valium? 

Valium is a benzodiazepine drug commonly prescribed by medical and mental health providers to relieve symptoms of anxiety. It is also used to address unpleasant symptoms related to seizure disorders and muscle spasms. In the addiction treatment environment, valium is sometimes used as a part of a medically supported detox program to reduce the intensity and severity of withdrawal symptoms. 


Valium helps to slow overactive brain function. Its actions within the brain lead to feelings of calm and relaxation, which are highly desirable for someone struggling with anxiety or unpleasant symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal. Valium is considered a “long-acting” benzodiazepine. When compared to other drugs in the same class (Ativan, for example), the effects of valium last between twenty and one hundred hours. Because valium remains present in the system for so long, fewer doses are required to achieve the same effects. 


Why Do People Get Addicted to Valium? 

Like other benzodiazepines (and many other intoxicating substances), valium acts upon the brain’s reward center to produce a pleasant “high.” When the reward system in the body is triggered, it releases neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of positive mood, pleasure, and increased energy. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are naturally occurring chemicals in the body that produce feelings of happiness when triggered by natural stimuli. Valium and similar chemicals trigger the brain to release far higher levels of neurotransmitters than would be possible under “normal” circumstances. With time, users need higher doses at more frequent intervals to achieve the effects of lower doses once reached. 


A physical dependence on valium develops quickly as users feel they cannot function without valium-even if their symptoms are under control. Someone with anxiety will worry about suffering panic attacks without valium, and someone struggling with withdrawal will fear the unpleasant effects of detox without valium. This leads users to seek out and use the drug, even if they do not need it for symptom management. 


Signs Your Loved One is Addicted to Valium

When your loved one uses valium, even under the direction of a medical or mental health provider, dependency and addiction are possible. Early on, it may be difficult to detect the signs and symptoms of valium addiction; however, as time progresses and dependence on valium increases, the addiction can be challenging to hide. Because valium works to relax the body, the visible effects of valium addiction may appear similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Some examples may include slurred speech, lack of coordination, mood changes, shaking, trembling, and others. 


With long-term valium abuse, dangerous and possibly life-threatening effects can occur as your loved one takes higher and more frequent doses. These can include coma, respiratory distress, and even death (especially if valium is mixed with alcohol or another drug with similar effects). If a friend or loved one is abusing valium, behavioral changes similar to those seen with benzodiazepine and alcohol abuse may occur. Some of the most common include new or worsening financial and legal problems, borrowing or stealing money, mood swings, drug-seeking behavior, voluntary isolation from family and friends, and changes to personal hygiene. 


How To Get Someone Help With a Drug Addiction Today

Medical and mental health providers prescribe valium to help manage symptoms of various medical and mental health concerns. Because a trusted provider prescribes valium, many people do not realize the potential dangers of valium addiction. In fact, many people do not know they have or are developing a dependence on valium until it is too late. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s reliance on valium, it is essential to seek comprehensive detox and addiction treatment help immediately. At Rise in Malibu, our team of treatment professionals can help. To learn more about our programs, contact our admissions team today.

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