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What is Valium (diazepam)?
Valium is a prescription drug referred to generically as diazepam. It is a widely prescribed anti-anxiety drug and it is also widely abused. Valium is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Other popular benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), triazolam (Halcion), clonazepam (Klonopin), and lorazepam (Ativan). These drugs are likely to develop tolerance in the user, meaning that more of the drug is needed to get the same effect on a person, and they are also addictive.
The prescribing information for this drug describes its effects as anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and amnesia-causing.
This drug depresses the central nervous system and so will slow the heart rate and breathing. If Valium is combined with other drugs that have a similar effect, like opiates or alcohol, a person could easily suffer an accidental overdose. Alcohol and Valium together are what killed Thomas Kinkade, the popular artist of cozy country houses and landscapes.
What is the right way to use Valium?
- Valium is meant to be taken orally, and usually by tablet. When administered by a professional, Valium can also be given intravenously, rectally, or intramuscularly. The dosage is explicitly defined by a physician and calculated to their patient’s age, weight, other medications, and condition.
- Usually, an adult dose is in the range of 2 to 10 milligrams and is taken two to four times a day. Consult your physician for the best dosage that specifically suits your needs.
- Valium should never be snorted or inhaled, as this can increase the likelihood of overdose. Consumption by these methods signals Valium abuse, and users should seek immediate treatment.
- Medical professionals most often intend for Valium to be a short-use treatment method, as long-term use can lead to physical dependency. It’s not recommended to abruptly stop Valium use as withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.
Side Effects of Valium
While Valium is designed to calm a person down, in some people it may have the opposite effect. Use or abuse of this drug can result in restlessness, anxiety, hallucinations, rage, aggressiveness, and even delusions or psychoses. And though Valium may be given to help some people sleep, some people will experience insomnia, sleep disturbances and nightmares instead.
The usual side effects of Valium include:
- Double vision
- Low blood pressure
Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects
The short-term effects of Valium include:
- Decreased appetite
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
The long-term effects of Valium include:
- Sleeping problems
- Constant drowsiness
- Muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- Blood in urine or stool
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Like the other benzodiazepines, it is dangerous to just quit using the drug. Many people must be tapered down off their dosage in medical detox. In medical detox, a person can be monitored and supported around the clock.
As they come fully off the drug, withdrawal symptoms will kick in for most people.
Withdrawal symptoms from Valium can consist of:
- Muscle and stomach cramps
- Muscle pain
When a person has been abusing Valium heavily, the withdrawal symptoms can be even more unpleasant and dangerous. A person could feel like life is unreal or that he has lost his identity, that his thoughts are not his own. He may have numbness in his extremities. If a person tries to get off Valium alone, without medical help, he could experience dangerous levels of disconnection resulting in inaccurate decisions and judgments.
What’s more, when a person is fully off Valium that he was taking for anxiety, his anxiety maybe even worse when he gets clean than it was before. This is referred to as a “rebound” effect.
Valium comes in 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg dose and is manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Valium addiction, it’s never too late to seek help. There are many treatment options available and your insurance plan may cover some of them.
Because of its effects on the GABA receptors, Valium slows down brain function. This affects your thinking skills and judgment. Activities that require alertness should be avoided while using Valium.
Valium can cause decreased motor function and physical dependency. Activities that involve fine motor skills should be avoided while using the drug. Due to potential physical dependency, consult your physician before discontinuing use.
Contraindication defines a situation where a drug or medical procedure cannot be used due to its potential harm to the patient. This can present with Valium use as well. The two types of contraindication are relative and absolute.
Relative contraindication refers to a situation where two drugs or procedures may present a dangerous situation if caution is not used. However, it can still be done if necessary.
Absolute contraindication means that the two drugs or procedures will cause a life-threatening result. Thus, they should be avoided. Of course, in some situations, there are limited alternatives.
Impacts of a Valium and Reasons for Abuse
Valium is one of the drugs that can cause abuse and addiction when a person has been taking it per doctor’s instructions if they lack adequate education on the problems that can result. If a person has a tendency toward drug or alcohol abuse, using Valium medically is even more dangerous.
As one’s tolerance goes up and the dosage climbs up as well, the side effects are likely to be more pronounced and the problems getting off the drug will also increase.
A person can take the drugs properly and then find that he can’t quit when he wants to, or he could start out abusing them after seeing his friends taking them. Either way, it takes a thorough drug rehab program to help a person steer a clean and sober path after addiction. The Narconon drug recovery program has been helping people find lasting sobriety after addiction to drugs like Valium, alcohol, heroin, and others for forty-nine years.
The Narconon program not only addresses the debilitating effects of drug abuse on the mind and body but also addresses why a person turned to drugs in the first place. As a result, a person can graduate from the program into a new life free from drug use.
Regular Drug Combinations
Other depressants, and especially opioids, should be avoided with Valium use. These can cause confusion, depressed respiration, reduced psychomotor coordination, drowsiness, and sedation. These symptoms can worsen and lead to overdose.
Taking Valium with stimulants causes adverse effects to the heart. Together, these two drugs overwork the heart, causing severe symptoms. This can lead to heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
Antacid and Acid Reducers
The desired therapeutic effect of Valium is reduced with acid-suppressing drugs. These drugs limit diazepam’s metabolism and make it harder for the body to absorb.
Cold and Allergy Medicine
Valium depresses the central nervous system. This effect can be intensified by allergy and cold medications. Together they can lead to increased drowsiness and more severe side effects.
These medicines can slow down the metabolism of diazepam in the body. This leads to a build-up of the drug in your system, which can cause dangerous side effects.