Valium is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. Like all benzodiazepines, there is a risk of addiction and Valium withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. If you or someone you care about is trying to break the cycle of Valium addiction, they should seek an addiction treatment program.
What is Valium?
Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effect of the neurotransmitter Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid which has the effect of slowing down brain activity leading to a feeling of calm and relaxation.
How Addictive is Valium?
In addition to having a soporific effect on the brain, Valium also produces dopamine surges in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the reward circuit of the brain. It produces a pleasurable sensation and causes us to associate pleasure with activities like running or spending time with friends. This circuit is part of the mechanism that causes positive reinforcement around activities such as eating, drinking water, sex and nurturing.
Unfortunately, the reward circuit can also be hijacked in drug abuse. This causes the drug to become associated with a sense of pleasure and reinforces the activity of drug abuse, leading to addiction.
In addition to becoming associated with pleasure, the brain also develops a tolerance to Valium. As a result, you need more and more Valium to achieve the same pleasurable high. Valium is so addictive, that if you take Valium for more than 4-6 weeks, even under a doctor’s prescription, the likelihood of addiction increases. At this point, drug addiction treatment becomes necessary.
From a 2011 Rolling Stone interview with rapper Eminem:
“I was taking so many pills that I wasn’t even taking them to get high anymore. I was taking them to feel normal. Not that I didn’t get high. I just had to take a ridiculous amount. I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium.”
The signs of Valium addiction include:
- Strong cravings for Valium
- Forgoing social activities with friends and family
- Unable to stop abusing Valium despite negative repercussions
Valium overdoses often occur during suicide attempts or when users mix Valium and alcohol. Signs of Valium overdose include:
- Rapid side to side eye movement
- Blue fingernails and lips.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment
Due to its addictive nature and dangerous withdrawal, Valium withdrawal is done in an inpatient rehab program under doctor care. The signs of Valium withdrawal include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Heart palpitations
- Coma and death
Because Valium is long-acting and stays in the system for a long time, withdrawal symptoms can take up to 6 weeks to pass. To treat the symptoms of withdrawal, the doctor will typically gradually reduce the dose of Valium to avoid the worst of the Benzo withdrawal symptoms.
Soledad House in San Diego California is a women’s addiction center. We specialize in helping women recover from drug addictions like Valium and Valium withdrawal symptoms. Call us today at 866.314.3222 if you or someone you love is ready to end the nightmare of Valium addiction.