Valium is a brand name for diazepam, a medicine in the benzodiazepine class of drugs typically prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and seizures. One of the world’s best-known prescription medicines, Valium is usually found in tablet form although occasionally it can be injected intravenously or intramuscularly, or taken by suppository. As well as its medical use of the aforementioned conditions, is also used (and abused) recreationally for its pleasurable euphoric and sensitive qualities; Valium is highly addictive and, as with all benzodiazepines, withdrawal from Valium addiction can be deadly.
Because of its demand as a recreational drug, as well as being available on prescription Valium is also frequently obtained from the dark web or from street dealers, and as a result its use is significantly more widespread than official NHS figures are able to assert. Valium represents a significant proportion of the UK’s growing benzodiazepine problem – some 1.5 million Britons are now addicted to benzodiazepines, with 12 million prescriptions written each year for these drugs. Street names for Valium include Vs; downers; Vallies; benzos; tranks; and many others.
Effects Of Diazepam Addiction
As mentioned above, Valium is extremely habit-forming, with a dependency potentially developing after only a few weeks; as a result, doctors are required to manage and monitor Valium use very carefully, and restrict prescriptions as far as is reasonable. This has given rise to the phenomenon known as “prescription shopping”, with addicts moving from one doctor to another in order to keep their supply of Valium steady and uninterrupted.
The euphoric and physically pleasant sensations produced by Valium are what drive its recreational use; however these are accompanied by a number of significantly less desirable effects. Motor skill impairment and drowsiness after the consumption of Valium have been factors in many fatal accidents on the road and at work, while long-term benzodiazepine abuse has a number of extremely negative implications for users physical and mental health (see below for details).
An addiction to Valium may strike anyone consuming it to excess, regardless of demographic, and can have catastrophic consequences for a person’s life. Financially, the costs can be high if a user needs to procure Valium from unofficial channels including the dark web; there are also obvious financial implications of any impact a person’s drug abuse may have upon their professional life. Unfortunately, Valium is a factor in many cases of chronic debt and even homelessness. Valium addiction, as with any substance abuse disorder, can also have terrible ramifications for an addict’s relationships with partners, family members, friends and colleagues, and can contribute to extreme social isolation and the consequent development of numerous mental health issues. Furthermore, it can also mean that the addict loses interest in ambitions and objectives which have hitherto been of great importance, which can again cause significant damage to their mental and emotional health.
Signs And Symptoms Of Abuse
The consumption of Valium can frequently – though not always – produce obvious signs of intoxication including lethargy and drowsiness, the impairment of motor skills, verbal incoherence, and dosing off at inappropriate or even dangerous times. Heavy Valium users are likely to be very unreliable in terms of keeping to appointments, with obvious implications for professional life; work is also likely to be impacted by frequent tardiness and even whole days missed due to the effects of Valium consumption.
Neurologically, Valium abuse represents a significant danger to the health of the user. Long-term value can cause serious cognitive deterioration; frequent bouts of confusion and disorientation, which can manifest with little or no warning; and hallucinations and delusions. There are connections between Valium abuse and the early onset and/or acceleration of certain dementia-related conditions. Meanwhile, major depressive disorder can be a consequence both of the direct effects of Valium abuse on brain chemistry and of the impacts of addiction upon the addict’s life and self-esteem.
Valium should never be combined with alcohol as the mixture can be fatal; long-term Valium users are at risk of serious health consequences and even death if they consume even a relatively small amount of alcohol. Long-term use is also associated with enhanced risk of overdose, which can be fatal: immediate medical attention should be sought for any Valium user displaying impaired breathing, loss of muscle control, hypotension, or a loss of consciousness.
Withdrawal And Detoxification Process
Valium abuse can result in a physical dependence as well as psychological addiction, and serious withdrawal symptoms may manifest when the user stops taking the drug. While the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms will vary from one user to the next depending on a number of factors including the length of the addiction, the dosages consumed, and the physiology of the addict, it is vital to bear in mind that (along with alcohol) benzodiazepines are the only drug whose withdrawal symptoms can be fatal by themselves even to an otherwise healthy individual.
Because of this, withdrawal should never be attempted without medical assistance. A number of “at-home detox” kits are marketed online but doctors strongly advise against attempting detoxification and withdrawal alone; despite this advice, unfortunately, a number of people die each year from trying to detox by themselves.
On the other hand, a great many Valium addicts have benefited from residential rehabilitation (“rehab”) at least partly because rehab invariably begins with a medically assisted detox, with medical professionals available 24/7 to monitor the addict’s health and intervene as and when necessary, as well as being able on occasion to ameliorate the worst effects of withdrawal to maximise their comfort.
As discussed above, the precise effects of withdrawal and consequent symptoms can vary quite significantly from one addict to the next. Because of this it is impossible to give a timeline for withdrawal which will apply exactly to every addict’s experience. However, if you are addicted to Valium, a rough guide to withdrawal might look as follows:
- 1-2 days: Around a day after the last dose anxiety and irritability – and possibly aggression – may begin to manifest, along with muscle spasms, restlessness and possible nausea. You are likely to be in a very low mood; cravings will begin to seize you increasingly frequently.
- 2-5 days: The main phase of withdrawal is likely to include extreme restlessness; wildly fluctuating moods; nausea and indigestion; sweating; and insomnia. You may experience hallucinations. Cravings will be constant and intense.
- 5-14 days: Although withdrawal symptoms will begin to fade in intensity after around five days any or all of the above symptoms may still occur. Sleep probably continue to be disrupted. Cravings will be less frequent and intense. A profound depression ma,y set in.
- After a fortnight or so symptoms should have disappeared. However they may persist as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which is likely to require therapy to address the most problematic symptoms, especially depression.
Treating Valium Addiction
Over the last few decades as Valium addiction has become an increasingly prominent problem, a great many different approaches to treatment have been developed. Some of these are not endorsed by the medical profession – indeed, as noted above, some options exist which can be extremely dangerous for the addict – while others may not be appropriate for every user. It is vital that you consult your GP if you are suffering from a Valium addiction before embarking on any course of treatment.
In general, there is a consensus that rehab is the most effective approach to addiction treatment and the one most likely to result in permanent recovery. The combination of detoxing for Valium and on-site therapy in a secluded relaxed environment represents a holistic approach to treatment which no other option can replicate. A number of support groups including Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been established worldwide providing help for recovering addicts, and attendance at such groups should form part of your long-term recovery plan; however, support groups such as NA do not themselves comprise treatment for your addiction, but are more a supplement to your recovery.
Detox & Rehab Benefits
Some of the advantages to rehab include:
- Medically assisted detox with medical professionals at hand 24/7 to ensure your safety and to ameliorate the worst effects of withdrawal.
- An attractive, secluded, and tranquil environment within which you can focus on your recovery without the temptations of the outside world.
- Complete confidentiality to reassure you that details of your condition will not become common knowledge outside the facility.
- Highly experienced, non-judgemental, hugely qualified staff at hand to help you through the key stages of your recovery process.
- A variety of therapy models enabling you to uncover the causes of your addiction and address them in a manner that most suits your requirements.
- A peer group of fellow recovering addicts who understand your experiences and can share support and advice.
- Bespoke fitness and dietary plans to give you the healthiest foundation for recovery.
- One year’s free aftercare to ensure you have the necessary support long after you leave the facility.
As previously mentioned, benzodiazepine addiction is a huge problem in the UK, and Valium consumption represents a significant proportion of this problem. Because Valium is a prescription drug, its abuse does not tend to attract the same degree of stigma as that of many other drugs, especially illegal substances; nevertheless the impact of Valium addiction can be just as devastating and as life-threatening as that of any other drug on the market and if you are struggling with Valium addiction your life is at risk. However, do not despair: the extent of Britain’s benzodiazepine problem means that significant expertise has been developed in the treatment of addiction to these drugs, and every day a great many people set out on the road to recovery with the assistance of addiction specialists like our team at Primrose Lodge.
Call us today on 0203 553 9263 to discuss how we can help you turn your life around.