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Diazepam addiction can creep up on you without warning. Learn about the dangers of this drug and how to break free.
Diazepam (brand name Valium) was once called a “wonder drug.” It had a reputation of being a safe, effective drug for treating anxiety symptoms and an array of other conditions. Early on, it was not known that long-term use of diazepam could cause serious problems.
Those who use diazepam for extended periods may find that the very symptoms they tried to treat with the drug are now ever present. People who abuse the drug, such as taking it with other drugs or alcohol, also risk addiction and overdose.
If you have become addicted to diazepam, there is help available. Rehab programs will provide the treatment and support needed to find your way out of addiction.
Learn About Diazepam
Diazepam is one of the popular sedatives from the benzo family of drugs. For decades patients struggling with anxiety, restless leg syndrome, muscle spasms, and insomnia have relied on it.
Diazepam works by causing the brain to secrete GABA. This chemical helps to calm activity in the central nervous system. Its calming effects can occur in about 15 minutes. When the brain recognizes the pleasant relaxing effects brought on by the drug, it records this experience in the reward system.
The drug was never supposed to be for long-term use, due to its risk for addiction or abuse. As the body becomes more immune to the effects, it demands more of the drug to get the desired results. This leads to dependence or addiction with long-term use.
Long-Term Effects of Diazepam
When someone uses this drug longer than it was designed for, there can be very bad long-term effects. Because diazepam use leads to dependence, the person will start to notice withdrawal symptoms when it wears off. These will prompt the person to take another dose to ward off these discomforts.
Some of the long-term effects include:
- Constant drowsiness.
- Mental confusion.
- Sleep problems.
- Memory loss.
- Impaired judgment.
- Blood in the stool or urine.
How Diazepam Use Results in Addiction
When someone who has been struggling with anxiety is prescribed this drug they are relieved to feel its rapid effects. Within minutes a calming, pleasant sense of being washes over them. This is due to the drug causing the electrical signals to be suppressed in the brain and nervous system.
Over time, a habit forms and the person comes to believe that they cannot get through their days without it. Worse, after a while the drug might begin to cause the very symptoms that the person was trying to treat. These are called rebound side effects. At this point the drug causes more harm than help.
Signs of Diazepam Addiction
Valium should not be taken for more than four months, due to its addictive features. When someone becomes addicted to it, they may display certain warning signs. How does diazepam affect behavior? These signs are common for all substance use disorders and include:
- Can’t cut back on the drug, even though they want to.
- Plans their day around getting, taking, and recovering from the drug.
- Doctor shopping to get more Valium.
- Begins to avoid friends and family members.
- Keeps taking the drug even though it is causing distress.
- Stealing the drug from friends and family members.
- Begins to have problems at work due to the effects of the drug.
- Has withdrawal symptoms when the drug’s effects wear off.
When a few of these signs and symptoms are present it is likely that the person is addicted to Valium.
Breaking Free from Diazepam
Take caution when you decide to break free from this drug. It is never advised to simply stop taking it after you have become addicted. Very severe seizures can occur, which can be fatal. A medical detox can provide the support needed to safely stop taking diazepam.
A doctor will devise a taper plan. This involves you taking less and less of the drug over a two-week period. Slowly letting your body adjust to less diazepam can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms and ease the person into recovery.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Rapid heart rate.
- High blood pressure.
- Stomach cramping.
- Muscle pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Thoughts of suicide.
The detox timeline is affected by how long the Valium addiction was in place, and the daily dosing.
Detox is the first step of recovery. Right after detox, you will enter the treatment program to receive therapy. Rehabs use different types of therapy to help clients learn new ways of managing anxiety or insomnia without Valium. These might include:
- Group therapy.
- Family therapy.
- Process group.
- 12-Step group.
Other aspects of treatment include life skills training, holistic methods, and nutrition.
Finding New Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
Once the rehab program is completed it is time to begin a life without diazepam. It is essential to make some lifestyle changes in recovery. These can help you better manage triggers and stress as you move forward in life. Some of these actions might include:
- Better time management.
- Getting more sleep.
- Getting daily exercise.
- Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Support groups.
- Limit news intake.
- Deep breathing techniques.
- Limit caffeine.
- 12-step group.
It takes time to acquire new healthy habits. It is very much worth the effort, though, as these actions can greatly reduce daily stress. With these efforts, a diazepam addiction will soon become a thing of the past.
LifeSync Malibu Treats Diazepam Addiction
LifeSync Malibu is a luxury rehab that can help give you your life back after a diazepam addiction. Our expert team is trained to provide an array of proven treatment methods to guide you into recovery. If you or a loved one struggles with a diazepam addiction, reach out to LifeSync Malibu today at (866) 491-4426.