Valium Abuse and Addiction in Orlando
Common questions people have are, “What is Valium?” and, “What does Valium do?” Valium is a prescription, brand-name drug. The generic name is diazepam, and this is part of a drug class known as benzodiazepines. What is Valium used for? Diazepam and other benzodiazepines can be prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures and alcohol withdrawal. Unfortunately, Valium has a recreational abuse potential and can become addictive.
What Is Valium Addiction?
Diazepam may in some cases be used to treat muscle spasms and to sedate someone before surgery or a procedure. Valium is taken orally, and the lowest possible effective dose is usually what a doctor will start someone on to prevent risks and severe side effects. Unlike another commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, Xanax, Valium isn’t used to treat panic disorders.
Some of the possible side effects of Valium that can occur (even if used as prescribed) include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision and problems with coordination. Severe side effects that may require immediate medical attention can consist of changes in mood such as agitation, confusion or depression, muscle weakness, urine retention, or problems walking and talking.
Along with prescription Valium uses, it is a drug that can be addictive. Valium and other benzodiazepines are designed for short-term use. For example, in most cases, a doctor will not prescribe Valium for more than a few weeks because the longer someone uses it, the more likely they are to become addicted.
Why Is Valium Addictive?
Is Valium addictive? The answer is yes. Valium is addictive because it affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain. When someone uses Valium, it boosts the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. This brain chemical transmits messages through the body. If someone doesn’t have enough GABA, they can experience anxiety. With the use of Valium, since the effects of GABA are increased, feelings of anxiety may decrease. Additionally, Valium can slow brain activity, which is why side effects include drowsiness.
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When someone takes Valium, it can also create pleasant feelings or even a sense of euphoria. Any time a substance has that effect on the brain, it can trigger a reward response. The brain then wants to seek out the stimulus that led to pleasant feelings compulsively, and that’s how addiction forms.. The longer a person uses Valium, the more likely they are to become addicted to it.
Physical dependence on Valium can occur as well. With dependence, if someone’s brain and central nervous system are repeatedly exposed to the effects of Valium, a need to continue using it develops. If a person is dependent on Valium and they cut down their dosage or stop using it suddenly, they’re likely to go through withdrawal symptoms.
Valium Addiction and Abuse Statistics
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 1996 and 2013, the number of U.S. adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription went up 67 percent. In 1996 there were 8.1 million benzodiazepine prescriptions filled. By 2013, that number was 13.5 million. The quantity obtained per prescription also went up significantly during that time.
In 2015, 23 percent of people who died because of an opioid overdose also had a benzodiazepine like Valium in their system. A study found that many people are prescribed benzodiazepines and opioids at the same time, which can often be deadly. For example, a study looking at more than 300,000 people found that patients receiving an opioid prescription between 2001 and 2013 as well as a benzodiazepine went up to 17 percent from nine percent.
The study also indicated the people who use both opioids and a benzodiazepine like Valium at the same time are at a significantly higher risk of going to the emergency room or being admitted to the hospital because of a substance-related emergency. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, there were around written for Valium in 2013.
Valium addiction can be severe, harmful and even deadly. If you or someone you know struggles with Valium abuse or addiction, treatment is available. Contact Orlando Recovery Center to learn more or get started with Valium addiction treatment.