Valium Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Programs
Valium is an addictive prescription medication that can be misused for its sedative effects. Valium addiction can be treated through medically supervised detox, behavioral therapy, and dual diagnosis treatment.
Valium (diazepam) is a long-acting depressant that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Valium can be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, muscle spasms, seizures, and ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Valium works in the body by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical. This can slow brain activity. When taken, Valium can cause drowsiness, reduce tension, and ease anxiety.
Valium is primarily recommended as a short-term treatment. Chronic benzodiazepine use can lead to drug tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction.
Overcoming an addiction to Valium is not a quick or easy process. At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we offer a range of treatment programs to help individuals stop using Valium and begin their journey towards addiction recovery. Here you’ll find information about Valium addiction and treatment options.
Understanding Valium Abuse
Valium is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines in the United States, along with Xanax and Halcion—two short-acting tranquilizers used to treat panic disorders and insomnia.
Although Valium can be effective as a short-term treatment for certain physical and mental health conditions, it can also be misused for its effects. Over time, chronic use and misuse of Valium can lead to severe drug dependence, long-term side effects, and addiction.
Examples of Valium misuse include:
- taking higher doses than prescribed
- taking Valium for reasons other than prescribed
- crushing and snorting Valium
- taking Valium with other drugs to enhance or alter its effects
- stealing Valium from someone else’s prescription
The underlying causes and triggers of Valium abuse are not always simple. Some people misuse drugs like Valium to self-medicate symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
How Valium Abuse Leads To Addiction
Valium can also produce a sense of calm and pleasure that may become addictive to drug users. The longer someone misuses Valium, the more severe their addiction can become.
Over time, Valium users will have to increase their dosage to feel the same strength of effects. They may also experience memory problems and be unable to recognize the dangers of their drug use.
Signs of Valium addiction include:
- constantly thinking about Valium
- feeling like you have to take Valium just to feel “normal”
- craving Valium throughout the day
- lying or hiding about your Valium use
- forging prescriptions
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- taking larger doses over time to feel the same strength of effects
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly five million Americans reported misusing prescription benzodiazepines in 2019. Valium can be misused alone or with other drugs, such as alcohol and opioids.
Polysubstance Abuse And Dangers
Having to take higher doses of Valium over time can become a risk factor for polysubstance abuse—a dangerous behavior of mixing multiple drugs to enhance a drug high.
Mixing benzodiazepines with other depressants, such as barbiturates, opioids, and alcohol is a significant concern. This creates a dangerous combination that can cause drug overdose, life-threatening respiratory depression, heart problems, and coma.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about over 30 percent of all fatal opioid overdose deaths in the United States involve benzodiazepines like Valium. For this reason, substance abuse experts are urging doctors to avoid prescribing both drugs together when possible.
Treatment For Valium Addiction
Prescription drug addiction affects people from all walks of life. Treatment for Valium addiction can address the physical, mental, and behavioral effects of living with addiction—and provide supportive coping strategies for a healthier, drug-free future in recovery.
Treatment for Valium abuse and addiction may include:
- Medically Supervised Detox
- Inpatient/Residential Rehab
- Outpatient Counseling
- Mental Health Treatment
The type of treatment program a person needs can vary from person to person. Overcoming an addiction to Valium may require treatment at multiple levels of care, beginning with detoxification.
Chronic use of Valium can cause severe drug dependence, even in people who take Valium as prescribed. This can make it very difficult to stop taking Valium, or to reduce how much you take.
If you’ve become dependent on Valium, trying to stop taking Valium all at once can be dangerous. This can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that may become life-threatening without treatment. Benzodiazepine withdrawal may cause seizures, breathing problems, and coma without medical treatment and supervision.
Stopping your Valium use may require a tapering process, in which a doctor directs you on how to gradually lower your dosage over time. Full detoxification from Valium may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the level of dependence, how long you’ve been taking Valium, and other factors.
Medically supervised detox through a drug rehab center is the safest and most effective way to detox from Valium. Medical detox offers medical supervision, 24-hour support during early withdrawal, and continued care coordination.
Inpatient treatment is highly recommended for people with severe or chronic addiction. Healing from the effects of Valium addiction can take a long period of time, and may be most difficult to manage in the early weeks and months after first seeking help.
Addiction treatment centers provide a safe, supportive, and supervised environment for people to receive clinical and behavioral treatment. At Spring Hill, our residential rehab program offers a wide array of traditional and holistic therapies for Valium addiction.
Within our residential treatment program for Valium addiction, you’ll find:
- around-the-clock care
- individual and Group Counseling
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- family counseling
- medication management
- dual diagnosis (mental health treatment)
- 12-step program
- holistic therapies
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
At Spring Hill, we recognize that many people who struggle with an addiction to Valium also have co-occurring mental health disorders. Valium abuse can commonly mask or stem from struggles with anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of mental illness.
Our dual diagnosis treatment program can effectively treat people who have both a substance use disorder and mental illness. We offer medication management services, psychiatric care, and mental health counseling.
After completing an inpatient rehab program, many people continue their treatment on an outpatient level. Residents may participate in a step-down outpatient program, or meet with individual outpatient treatment providers on a weekly basis.
At Spring Hill, we offer intensive outpatient treatment for people who are medically stable and can benefit from ongoing structure and support in early addiction recovery. This program involves attending treatment at our rehab center for a few hours a day, several days a week.
During this time, residents may attend individual counseling, support groups, and meet with a psychiatrist as needed to manage medications for co-occurring disorders or Valium withdrawal.
With outpatient treatment, there’s generally no timeline on how long a person may continue to meet with a counselor or treatment team.
Outpatient treatment can be flexible to meet your needs and can be customized according to your schedule for those who may be returning to work, school, or other responsibilities after completing inpatient rehab.
Begin Your Addiction Recovery At Spring Hill Recovery Center
Living with addiction can make many people feel hopeless about the prospect of recovery. Not feeling ready to stop using drugs is one of the most commonly cited reasons for not seeking treatment, in addition to cost and lack of available treatment services.
At Spring Hill, we know how difficult it can be to seek help. We also know that recovery is possible. If you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one addicted to Valium, look no further than our accredited addiction treatment center in Ashby, Massachusetts.
Spring Hill offers residential rehab and intensive outpatient treatment for Valium addiction. We serve the greater New England region, including all of Massachusetts and surrounding states. In addition, we offer access to detox services and partner with nearby sober living homes.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t kept us from helping New England residents access the substance abuse treatment they need. Call us today to learn more about Spring Hill and our addiction recovery treatment programs.
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—Benzodiazepines and Opioids https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/overview
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Key Substance Use & Mental Health Indicators 2019 https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Diazepam https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682047.html