Valium Addiction and Treatment Resources
Valium addiction is a more common disease than many people realize. The overuse and misuse of prescription Valium have escalated in the last decade. Understanding how Valium affects the brain, how addiction starts, and what options exist for treatment can help you or a loved one recover from this debilitating addiction.
What Is Valium?
Valium is the trade name for diazepam, a prescription medication belonging to the benzodiazepine group. Diazepam is a muscle relaxant and sedative that acts on the central nervous system. It increases the effects of GABA transmitters in the brain, binding to the receptors and decreasing the brain’s overall neural activity. Diazepam mainly treats anxiety and panic disorders, but doctors also prescribe it for muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and alcohol withdrawal.
History of Valium in the U.S.
America’s long history with tranquilizers and sedatives started with alcohol and quickly moved into more powerful substances. In the late 1800s, bromides, chloral hydrate, and paraldehyde hit the market for medical and recreational use, followed by barbiturates in the 1900s. In 1954, a pharmacist named Leo Sternbach developed a safer alternative to barbiturates, which had a high potential for dependence and overdose. Sternbach invented the world’s first clinically useful benzodiazepine, known in 1960 under the trade name Librium (chlordiazepoxide). In 1963, diazepam, the second successful benzo compound, hit the market in the form of Valium.
Valium quickly gained popularity among patients and doctors alike. Between 1969 and 1982, Valium was the number one most-prescribed medication in America. Valium sales peaked at an incredible 2.3 billion pills sold in 1978. During the 80s and 90s, however, the use of Valium came under global scrutiny. Psychiatrists expressed concern regarding the drug’s potential for abuse and dependence, as well as issues with overprescribing. While diazepam remains the most widely prescribed psychoactive drug in the U.S, its popularity never again reached the lofty heights it had in the 70s.
In 2011, United States doctors wrote 14,694,000 prescriptions for Valium and other diazepam drugs. Valium can relieve painful muscle spasms, prevent seizures and convulsions, and reduce feelings of panic and anxiety. When used as prescribed, Valium is a beneficial drug. Unfortunately, Valium has a high risk of abuse and addiction. When paired with alcohol or other sedatives, Valium can result in a euphoric high, leading many to begin taking the drug non-medically. Furthermore, a person who takes Valium for an extended time, even according to physician directions, can experience withdrawal symptoms.
Valium and Addiction
One factor fueling Valium addiction is its easy accessibility. Doctors readily prescribe Valium for a variety of ailments, leading to many cases of doctor shopping or fraudulent prescriptions to feed addictions. Another factor is the lack of awareness of the risk of addiction to Valium. Many patients do not realize Valium can be dangerous since it is a legal and doctor-prescribed drug. These two factors have contributed to the recent increase in Valium and diazepam addictions. Here are a few recent diazepam addiction statistics for the United States:
- 24,118 diazepam-related emergency department (ED) visits in 2011
- 6,004 diazepam-related suicide attempts resulting in ED visits in 2011
- 5 million people reported using diazepam for non-medical purposes in 2013
- 5 million people reported using tranquilizers non-medically in their lifetime in 2013
- 1,705,000 people used tranquilizers non-medically in the last month in 2013
Compared to other benzodiazepines, Valium is thought to have a relatively low potential for dependence, which is why treatment centers and emergency departments often use Valium to lessen withdrawal symptoms from other benzo addictions and alcoholism. Yet the number of admissions to treatment centers for diazepam use increased almost sevenfold from 2003 to 2012 in the U.S. In 2003 there were 1,023 admittances for Valium. In 2012, this number jumped to 7,272. Professional treatment facilities are the best way to handle a Valium addiction.
Seek Help for Valium Addiction
Visit a professional detoxification facility to wean off a Valium or other diazepam addiction. Sudden withdrawal from Valium after consistent use over an extended period can lead to serious and even fatal withdrawal symptoms. At a professional detox center, Valium addicts have a safe place to recover, complete with a personalized treatment plan. During detox, patients may experience symptoms such as:
A health professional can administer weaker diazepam drugs to taper off the patient’s dependence slowly, preventing more severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. Slowly reducing the amount of Valium in the patient’s system is the safest and easiest way to detox. Medications and holistic therapies can mitigate the pain of withdrawal.
In a full-spectrum recovery program, a patient receives detox support and then enters a rehabilitation program for further treatment. To receive professional help for a Valium addiction, please contact The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village.
Don’t Let Prescription Drug Addiction Take Control of Your Life! NOW Is the Time to Receive the Professional Treatment You Deserve. Reach Out to The Treatment Center Today.