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Valium addiction: causes, symptoms, treatments, and risk factors

Reading time: 18 mins
pills pouring from bottle

Valium addiction refers to a condition in which a person becomes dependent on and addicted to the medication diazepam, more commonly known by its brand name Valium. Valium can be safe and useful when taken as directed. However, chronic or excessive Valium usage might result in physical and psychological dependence. 

The symptoms of Valium addiction include impaired motor coordination, excessive sedation and drowsiness, slurred speech, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory depression, increased irritability, increased anxiety, memory problems, strong cravings for Valium, unsuccessful efforts to cut down diazepam use, and failure in fulfilling major obligations at work, school, or home due to Valium use.

The causes of Valium addiction are prolonged use, self-medication, genetic factors, co-occurring mental health disorders, environmental factors, recreational use, physical dependence, and psychological factors. 

The treatments available for Valium abuse include detoxification, behavioral therapies, support groups, individual counseling, dual diagnosis treatment, holistic approaches, aftercare and relapse prevention, and medication-assisted treatment. 

The risk factors for Valium addiction include taking Valium for longer than four to six weeks, genetic predisposition, personal and family history of addiction, and pre-existing mental health conditions. 

What is Valium addiction?

Valium addiction is a chronic and compulsive practice of drug use and abuse involving the medicine Valium. Valium, a benzodiazepine, treats anxiety, seizures, muscular spasms, and alcohol withdrawal.

Addiction to Valium often develops when people abuse the medicine by taking it in higher quantities, more frequently, or for longer periods of time than prescribed. Some individuals may acquire Valium illegally and without a prescription.

What is the other term for Valium addiction?

The other term for Valium addiction is diazepam addiction. Since Valium is the brand name for the drug diazepam, both terms refer to the same thing: being addicted to this particular benzodiazepine drug.

Benzodiazepines can aid with anxiety and sleep. They are also used to treat seizures and alcohol withdrawal, as well as to produce drowsiness for surgery and other medical operations, according to a brochure on benzodiazepines published in 2012 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

How common is Valium addiction?

Valium addiction is common, since it is the US’s third most widely abused tranquilizer after alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan), as indicated by a 2023 article on the history of Valium use from Drugabuse.com.

In fact, according to a 2022 article entitled, “Valium Addiction & Abuse” from The Recovery Village, in 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted a survey that revealed more than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 had abused benzodiazepines like Valium at least once in their lifetime.

What are the causes of Valium addiction?

a woman holding a glass of water and drinking pill

The causes of Valium addiction include a combination of contributing factors that may play a role in the development of the disease. The causes of Valium addiction are listed below. 

  • Prolonged use
  • Self-medication
  • Genetic factors
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Environmental factors
  • Recreational use
  • Physical dependence
  • Psychological factors

1. Prolonged use

Prolonged use refers to substance or medication use over an extended period of time and on an ongoing basis. This puts someone at risk for chronic drug abuse, which is frequently uncontrollable and difficult to stop. 

Chronic use becomes a cause of Valium addiction because it may encourage drug-seeking behaviors and habits. For instance, with prolonged use, the body can become tolerant to the effects of Valium. 

This means that over time, higher doses are required to achieve the same therapeutic or pleasurable effects. Even in the absence of a medical need, this reinforcement may develop a psychological reward system that encourages continued drug use.

2. Self-medication

Self-medication is the process in which a person misuses medicinal products or other substances in an attempt to manage distress or pain caused by a physical or mental health condition.

Self-medicating with Valium can become a cause of addiction because, without proper medical guidance of a doctor who can prescribe the right dosage, monitor the drug’s efficiency, and guarantee its safe usage, people can take Valium in greater doses or for longer than necessary.

This increases the likelihood of the affected person developing dependence and addiction.

3. Genetic factors

Genetic factors are defined as the hereditary data stored in a person’s genes that can affect different facets of their physical and biological qualities, including susceptibility to specific diseases or conditions.

These factors can play a role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to Valium abuse. While there is no single genetic change that causes substance abuse and addiction, genetic factors may impact how the brain reacts to and how the body breaks down and eliminates benzodiazepines like Valium from the system.

4. Co-occurring mental health disorders

Co-occurring mental health disorders are psychological issues that occur alongside a substance use disorder (SUD). According to an article entitled, “What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?” from Caron, when a person is dealing with co-occurring disorders, it is common for one disorder to worsen the other, and vice versa.

A co-existing mental health condition can be a cause of diazepam addiction because an imbalance in levels of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that control mood, anxiety, and stress reactions have been linked to a variety of mental health conditions. 

As a benzodiazepine, Valium changes how these neurotransmitters function, resulting in a calm and relaxed state. This increases the possibility of some people using it to self-medicate, because it may momentarily lessen the symptoms of their mental illness. However, continued usage can alter the neurotransmitter system’s normal equilibrium, which can result in dependence and addiction.

5. Environmental factors

An article entitled, “What is an Environmental Factor?” from the Genetic Science Learning Center states that environmental factors encompass anything outside of DNA that influences your qualities. They are incredibly diverse and have a wide range of potential effects on you, both alone and in conjunction with genes.

Various external factors, such as accessibility, peer influence, family dynamics, and traumatic experiences can all contribute to an individual’s risk of Valium addiction. For instance, if Valium is readily available, whether through legitimate prescriptions or illicit channels, individuals may have a greater chance of obtaining and abusing the substance.

On the other hand, an individual may also be more likely to partake in similar behaviors if people who misuse or abuse Valium are in their social group. Peer pressure can normalize drug use and foster a culture which encourages and supports substance addiction.

6. Recreational use

Recreational use refers to the non-medical, voluntary ingestion of substances to achieve pleasurable effects, alter one’s mental or physical state, or enhance recreational activities.

Drug use for recreation has no relation to treating a particular illness or symptom, unlike drug usage for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.

Recreational drug use may lead to Valium addiction symptoms because the medication can alter brain chemistry and reward networks when used frequently or in higher doses than recommended. The resultant physical and psychological dependence on Valium might then trigger addictive behaviors.

7. Physical dependence

medical uniform holding a plate of pills

Physical dependence is a state of long-term dependence on a medication or drug brought on by repeated abuse, as stated by an article entitled, “Physical Dependency Definition” from the Authentic Recovery Center. 

This condition produces uncomfortable body sensations in the absence of the abused substance. It can also be a cause of diazepam abuse because as the body and the central nervous system (CNS) adapts its functioning to compensate for the drug’s effects, the body will require more of the drug to function normally. 

If the drug is abruptly discontinued or significantly reduced, withdrawal symptoms can occur.

8. Psychological factors

Psychological factors are defined as the parts of a person’s personality that can strengthen or weaken how they think and act. They also include the processes that happen on an individual level and affect a person’s mental state, according to an article entitled, “Psychological factors” published in Chegg

In the case of drug abuse, psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, stress, pre-existing mental health disorders, or other emotional difficulties can lead people to seek respite or self-medicate using medications such as Valium. 

Valium’s sedative and anxiolytic effects can temporarily relieve psychological anguish, which can lead to a cycle of medication use to address underlying problems.

What are the medical conditions that can cause Valium addiction?

Medical conditions that can cause Valium addiction primarily involve ailments for which the medication is typically prescribed for. Some medical conditions that can cause Valium addiction are listed below:

  • Anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are all conditions for which Valium is a frequently prescribed treatment. However, long-term or excessive use of Valium for anxiety can potentially lead to dependence and addiction.
  • Seizures: Drug information on diazepam published in RxList states that diazepam is used to treat increased seizure events (such as cluster or breakthrough seizures) in persons who are currently on seizure medication. The only suggested use for this medicine is as a short-term seizure attack therapy, and the goal is not to use it continuously to stop seizures to avoid the potential development of Valium dependence or addiction.
  • Muscle spasms: Valium can be prescribed to treat muscle spasms and calm the muscles. The usage of Valium for therapeutic purposes may be necessary for conditions like muscle strains, spasticity, or specific neurological diseases. However, abusing Valium or using it for a long time beyond what is recommended can cause dependence and abuse.
  • Alcohol withdrawal: According to a 2017 study by Steven J. Weintraub entitled, “Diazepam in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Alcohol Withdrawal” published in CNS Drugs states that diazepam has the quickest time to peak action among the several benzodiazepines most frequently used to prevent the signs and problems of moderate to severe alcohol withdrawal. However, care must be taken to avoid the emergence of Valium dependence or addiction while receiving treatment for alcohol withdrawal.
How does Valium addiction impact mental health?

Valium addiction can impact mental health by exacerbating existing mental health conditions, contributing to the development of new psychological disorders, causing cognitive impairments, ultimately resulting in social and interpersonal difficulties. 

Addiction to Valium can exacerbate the signs of mental health disorders like anxiety or depression in people who already have them. The chemical equilibrium of the brain can be upset by long-term Valium usage, making it more difficult to maintain positive mental health.

Mental illness refers to a wide range of illnesses that influence a person’s mood, thinking, behavior, and functioning. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depressive disorder are some examples of mental health conditions.

Long-term or improper use of Valium can also cause emotional dysregulation and an elevated risk of developing mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. It may undermine the brain’s innate capacity to control emotions, resulting in the onset or aggravation of these conditions.

Benzodiazepines like Valium have been linked to memory loss, trouble paying attention, and trouble making decisions. Addiction to the medicine can significantly exacerbate these cognitive problems, making it more difficult for a person to operate normally and worsening their general mental health.

Finally, addiction to diazepam can lead to damaged relationships, social isolation, and difficulties maintaining personal and professional connections. These issues might worsen mental health by increasing loneliness and diminishing self-esteem.

What are the symptoms of Valium addiction?

The symptoms of Valium addiction may manifest physically, mentally, or behaviorally. The symptoms of Valium addiction are listed below: 

  • Impaired motor coordination: Valium is a drug that slows down your central nervous system. It can make you sleepy, dizzy, and less coordinated. Individuals addicted to Valium may exhibit poor motor skills, difficulty walking, unsteady movements, or slowed reaction times.
  • Excessive sedation and drowsiness: One of the intended effects of Valium is sedation. However, Valium use that is excessive or prolonged can cause excessive sedation and sleepiness, which can result in daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general lack of vigor or desire.
  • Slurred speech: Motor coordination and function may be compromised as a result of Valium’s depressant effects on the central nervous system. This can affect the muscles involved in speech production, causing slurred speech.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Abuse of diazepam can result in digestive irregularities, constipation, nausea, and stomach discomfort. Its prolonged use can affect the normal functioning of the digestive system.
  • Respiratory depression: The respiratory system can be slowed down by Valium, especially when taken in high amounts or with other drugs that slow breathing, like alcohol or opioids, according to an article entitled, “Medicines that can cause respiratory depression” from The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This can lead to shallow or slowed breathing, reduced oxygen intake, and a decrease in carbon dioxide elimination.
  • Increased irritability: Diazepam’s impact on the CNS can cause alterations in brain chemistry, resulting in mood disorders and increased irritability.
  • Increased anxiety: Valium addiction can potentially cause increased anxiety as a psychological effect. While it is primarily prescribed to help manage anxiety and related conditions, prolonged use, misuse, or addiction to Valium can lessen the drug’s effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms. Individuals may require higher doses to achieve the same level of anxiety relief, creating a cycle of escalating drug use.
  • Memory problems: According to a 2022 article entitled, “Does Xanax Cause Memory Loss or Dementia?” from GoodRx Health, memory loss, which may last longer with diazepam, is a side effect of benzodiazepines that can happen when the drug is in your system. This is due to the fact that it takes the body 20 to 100 hours to eliminate half of its dose.
  • Strong cravings for Valium: Someone who is addicted to Valium will develop strong cravings for the drug once its effects wear off. These cravings can be difficult to ignore at first, and may also make it harder for a person to reduce or quit diazepam use.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down diazepam use: Individuals may repeatedly try to quit or reduce their diazepam use but find it challenging to abstain from the drug or consistently lower their dosage. Despite their intentions and efforts, they may find themselves returning to regular or increased use.
  • Failure in fulfilling major obligations at work, school, or home due to Valium use: When a person becomes addicted to Valium, they may neglect important responsibilities or commitments in favor of drug use. This results in diazepam addiction, interfering with the affected person’s major obligations.

When do Valium addiction symptoms usually occur?

pills divided in a divider

Valium addiction symptoms may gradually occur at around four months of use, which is the period of time in which the medication is sometimes prescribed for, according to an article entitled, “Valium Symptoms And Warning Signs” from the Addiction Center

It is worth noting, however, that individual experiences may differ, and symptoms can occur at various stages of Valium dependence. The timing of addiction symptoms can also change depending on elements including dosage, frequency, duration, and personal vulnerability.

What are the risk factors for Valium addiction?

The risk factors for Valium addiction include taking Valium for longer than four to six weeks, genetic predisposition, personal and family history of addiction, and pre-existing mental health conditions. 

An article from the Addiction Center entitled, “Valium Addiction And Abuse” states that even with a doctor’s prescription, the chance of developing an addiction rises when Valium is taken for longer than 4–6 weeks.

Genetic predisposition can also influence a person’s susceptibility to addiction, including Valium addiction. Certain genetic variations may affect how an individual responds to Valium, increasing their vulnerability to developing addictive behaviors.

An individual’s risk for developing a Valium addiction increases if they have a personal or family history of substance abuse issues, such as alcoholism or other addictions, as stated by an article entitled, “Valium Addiction Signs, Symptoms, Effects and Help” from MentalHelp.net

The addictive nature of Valium and the vulnerability to addiction in general can contribute to this increased risk.

Finally, anxiety or mood problems are examples of pre-existing mental health conditions that can raise the likelihood of developing diazepam addiction. Some people may try taking Valium on their own to alleviate their symptoms, which can lead to dependency.

How is Valium addiction diagnosed?

Valium addiction is diagnosed by conducting an initial evaluation, assessing the presence and severity of symptoms, and referring to the diagnostic criteria for sedative use disorder listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)

An initial evaluation may involve a medical history, physical exam, and symptom discussion with the healthcare practitioner. It’s important to provide accurate information about your Valium use, including dosage, frequency, and duration.

Your provider will also assess the presence and severity of symptoms associated with Valium dependency. A person must satisfy at least two DSM-5 criteria over the course of a year to be diagnosed with sedative use disorder. 

These symptoms may include unsuccessful attempts to quit or cut down Valium use, tolerance (needing higher doses for the same effect), withdrawal symptoms, cravings, impaired control over drug use, neglecting obligations, and experiencing distress or impairment due to drug use.

Where can you seek a Valium addiction diagnosis?

There are several options for those who would like to seek a diagnosis of Valium addiction. Below is a list of facilities where you can seek Valium addiction diagnosis.

  • Substance abuse treatment centers: Treatment centers specializing in substance abuse and addiction often have experienced professionals who can diagnose Valium addiction. They offer a range of services, including assessments, counseling, detoxification, and rehabilitation programs tailored to the individual’s needs.
  • Mental health clinics: Professionals skilled in addiction medicine work in various mental health facilities and can identify and treat Valium addiction. As part of the treatment process, they might offer group therapy, individual therapy, and medication management.
  • Community health centers: Community health centers may offer addiction services or can refer you to appropriate resources in your area. They frequently employ medical personnel with expertise in identifying and treating substance use issues.
  • Online resources and helplines: There are online resources and helplines available that can provide information, support, and guidance regarding diazepam addiction. These resources can help connect you with professionals who can conduct assessments and guide you toward appropriate Valium treatment options.

What are the treatments available for Valium addiction?

colorful pills

The treatment options for Valium abuse often include a combination of different interventions. The treatments available for Valium addiction are listed below. 

  • Detoxification
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Support groups
  • Individual counseling
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Holistic approaches
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention
  • Medication-assisted treatment

1. Detoxification

Detoxification refers to the process of getting rid of toxic, addictive substances while being closely monitored by a qualified medical professional team, as stated by a 2023 article entitled, “Medical Detoxification from Drugs or Alcohol” from The Recovery Village

A treatment improvement protocol on detoxification and substance abuse treatment from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration asserts that detoxification does not only help treat addiction to Valium by assisting in preventing potentially fatal complications linked to benzodiazepine withdrawal. It also serves as a form of palliative treatment that aids in easing the severity of symptoms.

On average, the process of detoxification takes five to seven days. However, it is important to note that the length of detox may also depend on different factors, such as the type and amount of substance used, the duration and frequency of drug use, and the physical and psychological condition of the affected individual.

While the detox process may be challenging and somewhat uncomfortable, it is one of the most effective approaches to overcoming a physical dependence on Valium, especially with the support of a team of skilled doctors and counselors.

2. Behavioral therapies

Behavioral therapies are a variety of psychological methods intended to alter a person’s unhelpful reactions or behaviors toward particular situations. These treatments often use reinforcement, modeling, shaping, and other techniques to shift maladaptive behavior. 

Behavioral therapy models help treat diazepam addiction by altering a person’s substance use behaviors, in part through educating them on how to deal with situations that could trigger substance abuse and relapse.

The duration of treatment will depend on the type of behavioral therapy used for one’s condition. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is widely used for substance use disorders, commonly lasts for six to 20 sessions, with each session lasting anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, according to an article entitled, “Overview—Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)” from the NHS (National Health Service). 

Finally, a 2023 article on behavioral therapy published in Healthline states that behavioral therapy is considered to be extremely effective and that approximately 75% of people who start cognitive behavioral therapy see some benefit from it.

3. Support groups

Support groups are groups of individuals who gather together with the intention of conquering or coping with a common issue. They might have a peer or a clinician facilitate them.

Social support groups help overcome addiction to Valium by providing affected people with the best level of moral support and sound advice they need for successful ongoing abstinence. 

While the duration of meetings in support groups may vary from one group to another, Narcotics Anonymous (NA), an organization that helps people with addictions,  advises new participants to attend a meeting each day for at least 90 days, according to a 2022 article entitled, “What to Expect at Your First NA Meeting” from WebMD

Peer support groups are proven to be effective in coping with challenges that come with diazepam abuse because the social support they provide has been found to promote physical health, emotional health, and the ability to cope with pressures, according to a 2016 study by Kevin B. Wright published in the Review of Communication Research.

4. Individual counseling

Individual counseling, also referred to as talk therapy, is a process in which a licensed mental health professional deals with a patient in a one-on-one, safe, and confidential setting. It is a type of psychotherapy that emphasizes on the patient’s unique experiences, ideas, feelings, and behaviors.

One-on-one counseling helps treat Valium abuse by allowing patients to explore their behaviors, feelings, struggles, and issues in their addiction journey with a trained therapist. This personalized care enables treatment plans that are tailored to the individual’s specific needs and situation. 

According to an article about individual therapy (psychotherapy) from GoodTherapy, sessions for individual therapy typically last 45 to 60 minutes. Many factors influence how frequently and how long sessions occur. Some issues can be addressed in a few weeks through short-term therapy. 

However, chronic or more complicated issues could need ongoing care. Sometimes it can take over a year to see a meaningful improvement. A 2010 study on cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance use disorders published in the Psychiatric Clinics of North America also asserts that individual counseling has demonstrated efficacy in treating substance use disorders and may be combined with other interventions for more robust outcomes.

5. Dual diagnosis treatment

empty carcasses of pills

Dual diagnosis treatment is an integrated approach that addresses the problems of those suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD) as well as a mental health condition at the same time. 

This approach helps treat diazepam abuse by getting to the root of addiction and resolving issues that may have led to substance use, or that have resulted from it. These issues often manifest as co-occurring mental health disorders, which can push people to self-medicate with drugs of abuse. 

A few weeks or months of outpatient therapy or an intensive outpatient program may be required in some instances for dual diagnosis treatment. These shorter programs typically focus on stabilization, symptom management, and developing essential coping skills.

On the other hand, individuals with more complex or severe co-occurring disorders may require longer-term treatment. This can involve several months or even years of ongoing therapy, medication management, and support to address the underlying issues contributing to the substance use disorder and the mental health disorder.

Finally, according to an article about the integrated treatment of substance use and psychiatric disorders by authors Thomas M. Kelly and Dennis C. Daley published in the journal Social Work in Public Health, consistently better outcomes have been seen with integrated treatment for comorbidity compared to treatment of specific disorders using separate treatment strategies.

6. Holistic approaches

Treatments known as holistic therapies focus on the “whole person.” These therapies address a person’s emotional, bodily, and spiritual needs in order to promote recovery on a holistic level. 

They are typically considered different from traditional psychotherapeutic methods, and may include tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, art therapy, guided meditation, or breathing exercises. 

The holistic approach to addiction recovery may help treat diazepam addiction by allowing the person to heal all the spiritual, mental, and social aspects of their life instead of just the physical symptoms, which can aid in maintaining sobriety. 

According to an article entitled, “The Power of Holistic Treatment in Addiction Recovery” from Maryland Recovery, holistic treatments can fit into a 28-day program, but many people do better with a three-phase treatment model that gives them longer care to help them transition back into life outside the rehab treatment center. 

A holistic approach can effectively treat Valium addiction, as it recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body and seeks to address the profound psychological and emotional impacts of the condition.

7. Aftercare and relapse prevention

Aftercare and relapse prevention are essential components of addiction treatment that aim to support individuals in maintaining their recovery and minimizing the risk of relapse. 

They play important roles in treating Valium addiction by providing ongoing support, guidance, and strategies to individuals in their recovery journey. 

Aftercare programs ensure that individuals have access to continued support and resources after completing the initial phase of treatment. This ongoing support helps individuals maintain motivation, stay connected to their recovery goals, and navigate the challenges they may encounter in their daily lives.

Relapse prevention strategies reinforce the coping skills individuals learned during their initial treatment. These skills, such as stress management, problem-solving, and healthy communication, are essential for individuals to navigate triggers, cravings, and high-risk situations associated with Valium addiction.

Programs for aftercare and relapse prevention often run for a long time—from a few months to years—in order to offer constant support and direction for one’s healing process.

Aftercare and relapse prevention programs have been shown to be effective in treating Valium addiction and supporting long-term recovery. The ongoing monitoring and accountability involved in these programs help individuals stay focused on their recovery goals and provide an extra layer of support to prevent relapse.

8. Medication-assisted treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a proven strategy for handling substance abuse problems. It takes into account how complicated addiction is and helps people get better by combining the use of medications with counseling and behavioral therapy. 

MAT can be helpful in treating Valium addiction by addressing the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction. For instance, medications used in MAT can help manage the withdrawal symptoms associated with diazepam abuse. 

Abruptly stopping Valium or significantly reducing its use can lead to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, by managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, MAT can help individuals better participate in counseling, therapy, and other components of their recovery plan. This improved engagement increases the chances of successful treatment outcomes.

According to information on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is no utmost duration recommended for maintenance treatment with MAT. In fact, treatment could continue indefinitely for certain patients.

A brochure entitled, “10 things you need to know about Medication-Assisted Treatment” from the South Dakota Department of Social Services also states that at two years, up to 90% of patients who use MAT continue to be sober. 

This makes MAT an effective treatment for people who are struggling with any kinds of addiction, including diazepam.

When should we seek treatment for Valium addiction?

You should seek treatment for Valium addiction as soon as you notice signs or symptoms of addiction or feel like your use of Valium is getting out of hand. 

For instance, if you find yourself taking more Valium than prescribed, using it more frequently, or unable to quit using despite wanting to, these could all be signs of addiction and the need for therapy.

Physical, psychological, and negative effects on daily life produced by Valium are additional warning signs that it may be time to seek treatment.

Can Valium addiction be treated without medication?

No, Valium addiction cannot be treated without medication. Detox, which is often offered by treatment centers as a first step to recovery, frequently includes medications that imitate the effects of drugs in order to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. 

In fact, according to a 2023 article entitled, “Drug and Alcohol Detox” from Addiction Center, alcohol and benzodiazepines like Valium are the drugs that are most hazardous to detox from and frequently call for medication.

How is Valium addiction prevented?

scattered colorful pills

Valium addiction can be prevented by proactively lowering the possibility of becoming dependent on the substance. These measures may include responsible use, increased awareness, and creating supportive environments. 

Valium should be used strictly as prescribed by a healthcare professional. It’s crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage and duration for use. Avoid increasing the dose or prolonging the time frame without first visiting a healthcare professional.

Increasing awareness about the risks and potential consequences of Valium misuse and addiction is also crucial for prevention. Healthcare professionals, educators, and community organizations can play a role in educating individuals about the addictive properties of Valium, safe use, and potential alternatives or non-pharmacological approaches for managing anxiety or other conditions.

Creating supportive environments that promote healthy coping mechanisms, stress management, and positive social support networks can contribute to preventing Valium addiction. Encouraging open communication, providing access to mental health resources, and promoting self-care practices can all be helpful in prevention efforts.

Can offering alternative therapies prevent the need for Valium use?

Yes, offering alternative therapies can be beneficial in preventing the need for Valium use in some cases. Giving people non-pharmacological therapy choices may provide them the chance to manage their illnesses without relying on Valium or other benzodiazepine drugs.

Psychotherapy, relaxation exercises, more physical activity, and complementary and alternative medicine are a few non-drug alternative methods for managing anxiety.

Common problems for which Valium is prescribed can often be managed with other forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based therapy. These therapies focus on identifying and changing thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to distress and provide individuals with coping skills to manage symptoms.

Teaching relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation can also help individuals reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. These methods can be learned and practiced on your own or with the help of an expert.

Regular physical activity has been demonstrated to improve mental health, including lowering signs of stress and anxiety. Endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting substances in the brain, are released during exercise. One can benefit from including exercise in their routine as a healthy outlet for stress relief and overall well-being.

Some people may also benefit from supplementary and alternative medical practices including acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, or herbal supplements. While evidence may vary for the effectiveness of these approaches, they can be explored under the guidance of qualified practitioners.

Can healthcare providers limit Valium prescriptions to prevent addiction?

hand in a medical glove holding pills

Yes, healthcare providers can limit Valium prescriptions to prevent addiction. Healthcare providers can play a crucial role in preventing Valium addiction by implementing appropriate prescribing practices and monitoring patients’ medication use. 

In fact, according to a 2015 article by Jonathan Brett and Bridin Murnion published in the Australian Prescriber, the management of benzodiazepine dependence includes prescribing measures, substitution, psychotherapies, and pharmacotherapies. By writing prescriptions with a supply that is only enough for one to two weeks, the danger of dependence can be decreased.