Doctors and patients turn to Valium because it works. From the benzodiazepine family, Valium helps with anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Among benzos, Valium is by far one of the most commercially successful prescribed medications in the nation—maybe even the world. However, there’s still a lot about Valium addiction facts and statistics people aren’t as aware of.
What is Valium?
Valium is a form of benzodiazepine for treating anxiety and panic attacks. Some people also use it as a muscle relaxant, a sedative, or an anticonvulsant. Valium, also known as diazepam, is a depressant prescription drug.
By affecting GABA neurotransmitters, Valium slows down brain activity, which then reduces anxiety. Valium abuse is relatively common and can lead to dependence, tolerance, and, eventually, addiction.
5 Interesting Valium Addiction Facts You Should Know
When people start taking prescription drugs, more often than less, they don’t think they’ll become addicts. However, when it comes to Valium, the medication itself fosters a care-free mental state. Not to mention, it’s remarkably effective at keeping struggles like anxiety and seizures at bay. However, it’s precisely these characteristics that make Valium so dangerous.
1. Valium is Extremely Addictive
Because Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, it’s formulated to stay in the body much longer than other shorter-acting benzos. Ideally, the long-lasting nature of Valium means that patients can take fewer doses per day and reduce their likelihood of becoming dependent.
However, the majority of people misuse their Valium prescription. Those taking Valium for over four weeks, even with a doctor’s order, instantly increase their likelihood of becoming addicted. Even the FDA says there’s little evidence to back up claims that long-term Valium prescriptions are still useful.
2. Valium Withdrawal Is Extremely Challenging
Dependency and addiction are perhaps the worst side effects of Valium. Once the central nervous system and the brain become dependent on the substance, it can take about six months for it to turn into an addiction. When someone tries to quit Valium without supervision, it can result in severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Even those who use low doses of the medication can still experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Not to mention, people often mix Valium with alcohol, which also leads to alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they try to get sober. Those who want to stop taking Valium should always seek medical attention and do so only through clinical supervision.
3. Often Affects to Ataxia
Ataxia is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Around 1-10 percent of people who misuse Valium can struggle with this side effect. Ataxia mimics the consequences of being drunk, including slurred speech, incoordination, and stumbling. These symptoms arise from damage to the cerebellum, the part of our brain’s responsible for coordinating movement.
4. Commonly Misused with Other Substances
Because Valium depresses the central nervous system, it’s especially dangerous to combine it with other drugs that do the same. Most people combine Valium with other prescription medications and alcohol. Most overdoses from Valium happen when people mix it with other depressants like alcohol and opiates, which are relatively common combinations.
Combining Valium with opiates or alcohol makes each other stronger, which means people keep increasing their doses to achieve the heightened feelings they experience when combining these substances.
5. Valium is Still Legal
Despite these valium addiction facts, the substance remains widely available. It seems crazy to believe that a highly-addictive drug like Valium is still legal. Today, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Valium as a Schedule IV narcotic, which means it’s less addictive than other substances like heroin or methamphetamine.
However, because Valium is so widely available, diazepam is now a common drug of abuse. Long-term use of Valium can lead to chemical dependency, which can quickly transform into an addiction. Similarly to other benzodiazepines, Valium is relatively easy to misuse, and people can find it on the streets by shopping for different doctors, and so on.
Valium Addiction Statistics
Unfortunately, when it comes to Valium addiction statistics, the official numbers don’t show the full spectrum of the addiction epidemic. Even when Valium side effects are severe, people with substance abuse issues don’t understand the repercussions of their actions even despite medical advice. Here’s what to know about Valium addiction statistics and other facts you should know.
- In 2011, Valium was the fourth most-prescribed benzo in the US, with 15 million prescriptions written, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Valium is frequently moved to the illicit market, with over 6,500 reports of the substance to forensic laboratories in the United States.
- The Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that 345,000 emergency room visits in 2010 were related to Valium.
- According to JAMA Psychiatry in 2008, over 5 percent of American adults ages 18-80 used Valium or other benzodiazepines, a number that increased with age.
- Clinical studies have not confirmed the effectiveness or safety of Valium when the drug is taken for a period of time over four months.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Addiction to Valium is widespread, but those ready to break the addiction cycle can find hope in treatment. Cutting Valium cold-turkey can be life-threatening, so most people start with a partial hospitalization program (PHP), in conjunction with Valium detox programs to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.
It’s paramount to speak with an addiction treatment specialist to determine the best way to start seeking help for Valium addiction. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug addiction recovery programs include:
Valium Medical Detox: A clinically supervised detox process held in addiction treatment centers ensures the patient’s safety and makes the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Often, people who misuse Valium mix it with alcohol, struggle with opioids misuse, or have co-occurring mental health illnesses. The dual diagnosis treatment plan collectively and holistically treats the various ailments.
Intensive Outpatient Programs: For patients looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs offer more flexibility. These programs include services like behavioral therapy to manage addiction.
Long-term Recovery Programs: It’s easy to relapse after treatment; almost sixty percent of people relapse. Long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with Valium abuse, seek help immediately. Call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction center specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.
Our philosophy revolves around treating each patient on a case-by-case scenario because we know no two addiction stories are alike. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment–your life depends on it.