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Valium Addiction: Effective Treatment Options

Many people begin taking Valium innocently. They receive a prescription from their doctor and use the drug as directed. Some people take Valium specifically to experience its psychoactive effects. One way or another, addiction to Valium can creep in, changing the user’s brain and making them feel as though they can’t function without the drug. Valium is often abused, and effective treatment is needed to help people safely and successfully stop using the drug.

What is Valium?

Valium is a brand name for diazepam, a powerful benzodiazepine drug. Valium works with a chemical naturally made in your body called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA is something your body releases to induce a state of relaxation. GABA levels are naturally highest when you’re going to sleep in a comfortable bed or when you’re getting a massage.

Natural GABA provides a mild feeling of sedation and mitigates the effects of anxiety. Valium attaches itself to the brain’s GABA receptors, helping them to stockpile GABA. Your body is only meant to use a little bit of GABA at a time, but Valium removes the limits when it changes the way the brain works. 

How is Valium Prescribed?

Valium is sometimes used as a pre-sedative before surgery. When this happens, the patient isn’t given a prescription. They’re administered one dose of Valium and resume their normal lives when the procedure is over. 

Valium is prescribed for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, sleep problems, muscle spasms, irritability as a result of adjusting to other medications, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. In every case, Valium is only supposed to be a short-term solution. Depending on the patient’s particular situation, doctors should prescribe Valium for a maximum of 4 to 6 weeks.

Is Valium Addictive?

Valium is addictive, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor and taken exactly as directed. Some doctors may extend Valium prescriptions past the 4- to 6-week window, making patients even more dependent on a drug that is already highly addictive. 

Valium changes the way the brain works. Over time, the brain learns to function with these changes. They become the “new normal,” and many people only feel like themselves when they’re taking Valium. 

Over time, a low dose of Valium may not provide the intended effect, leading users to up their dosage of Valium in an attempt to continue to experience their desired benefits. Anxiety or insomnia may return, as its root cause was never treated. Its symptoms were merely numbed by the impact of significantly higher GABA activity.

This can create a dangerous situation. Each escalating dose can pose a higher risk for overdose. Dangerous amounts of Valium will vary from person to person and can be affected by a variety of factors, such as the tolerance the individual has accumulated for the drug. 

It’s easy for Valium addiction to spiral out of control over a relatively short period of time. The situation is even more dangerous when Valium is combined with other benzodiazepine drugs, opioid drugs, or alcohol. 

Signs You May Be Addicted to Valium

If you’ve been taking Valium for six weeks or longer, you are theoretically addicted to it. You may not be aware of your addiction because an ongoing prescription keeps you in a steady supply of the drug. You would only realize the extent of your addiction upon running out of Valium and being confronted with withdrawal symptoms.

Valium can be purchased on the street, and some people take the medication specifically to abuse its mind-altering and heavily relaxing effects. People who abuse Valium will notice their addiction in the form of withdrawal symptoms when they run out of the drug or a preoccupation with finding and buying Valium.

Withdrawing From Valium

Withdrawing from Valium is dangerous. You should never stop taking Valium without the supervision of a medical professional. To do so may cause irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, or even seizures. Milder but highly unpleasant side effects like depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, stomach cramps, and diarrhea are often experienced by people withdrawing from Valium. 

How to Treat Valium Addiction

Valium addiction requires professional treatment for the best possible outcomes. Whether you’ve become addicted through prescription Valium use or purchasing Valium on the street, effective treatment will always follow the same path.

Safely Detoxing from Valium

It is dangerous to attempt to withdraw from Valium on your own. Serious side effects can have serious consequences. It’s best to withdraw in a medically supervised environment. In cases where patients have been prescribed Valium, a doctor may recommend gradually reducing your dosage before you stop. If you seek treatment through a rehabilitation center, other options for safe detoxification will be made available to you.

Treating the Condition that Lead to Valium Use

This is an important aspect of treatment that many people fail to consider. If you were prescribed Valium to help with the symptoms of a mental illness, such as generalized anxiety disorder or other disorders that may cause anxiety, the mental illness needs to be addressed. The same is true for people who self-medicate with Valium they’ve illegally obtained. The Valium was only designed to obscure the symptoms, and it cannot and will not resolve mental illness.

When you stop using Valium, those unmitigated feelings may come back. This may inspire you to run back to Valium in an attempt to cope with those feelings, creating a cycle. To successfully eliminate Valium from your life, you need effective treatment for the mental illness while receiving treatment for your addiction. 

Individual and Group Therapies

Addiction treatment is a kind of therapy. While drug use disorders have the physical component of addiction, the mental component is just as important to address. Unique therapies provided by qualified experts work to address the root cause of addictive behavior and uncover the reasons why people may feel tempted to choose drugs over healthy coping mechanisms.

Therapies take place in both group and individual settings. Group therapies provide the ideal outlet for people with drug use disorders who need a place to speak freely from judgment. Everyone participating in the group deals with some kind of substance use disorder. There is a larger empathy at play in this setting. Many people with drug use disorder benefit from sharing feedback, experiences, ideas, and coping strategies with people who genuinely understand what that experience is like.

Individual therapies are tailored to a patient’s needs. While all people with substance use disorders have their disorders in common, their life experiences and emotional toolboxes are bound to be vastly different. Individual therapy will speak to each patient’s unique needs and history, providing a specialized roadmap for moving forward with the ability to make healthier decisions and replace drug use with healthier strategies. 

Aftercare Planning

After patients leave inpatient rehabilitation, they re-enter the world. This is where challenges, both positive and negative, will emerge. Everyday life will test a recovering addict’s ability to apply the things they learned in rehab while exploring new feelings or looking at their surroundings with fresh eyes. This may create more questions for someone in recovery, and they need a way to continue to learn and grow.

That’s where aftercare comes into play. People need ongoing support to maintain their progress. They may choose to attend outpatient groups like Narcotics Anonymous. They may choose to continue to work with a therapist on a regular basis. Some people need aftercare to help rebuild their lives after addiction has disrupted them. They might need additional help finding housing or starting new educational opportunities to help them build better, more secure, and highly empowered futures. 

The Takeaway

If you’re living with Valium addiction, you deserve the best possible treatment. Indah Recovery’s luxury rehab in Dana Point provides a comfortable place to begin your journey into a sober life. Our facility provides safe, medically supervised detoxification for patients who are still using Valium. Our therapy staff is experienced in working with patients who deal with mental health disorders in conjunction with drug use disorders, simultaneously treating both conditions. 

We know that the real work begins once patients return to their daily lives, and that’s why we offer comprehensive aftercare services. Our therapists work with patients to create unique roadmaps and goals, and our aftercare planning helps them achieve those goals.

If you’re ready to make a big move for your health and wellness, contact Indah Recovery. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have about our facility or the rehabilitation process.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/gamma-aminobutyric-acid

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1254372/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/benefits-group-therapy-mental-health-treatment/