Valium is a brand of the narcotic benzodiazepine and is prescribed for the treatment of seizures, panic attacks, sleep problems, muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is also used to induce sedation before medical procedures. Abuse of Valium may lead to physical and psychological dependence. Stopping the drug abruptly can be dangerous and a person addicted to Valium should be weaned off of it slowly. The elderly are more sensitive to the effects of Valium and may experience confusion, ataxia, cardiac arrest, amnesia, sleep apnea and falls while taking the drug. Elderly patients who are prescribed Valium should be carefully monitored by their physician.
The drug can be taken orally, rectally, inhaled or injected and is commonly known on the street as Foo Foo, Yellow Vs (5mg.), Blue Vs (10mg.), downers, benzos, sleep away, tranks and Howards.
Addiction to Valium
People with co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder are more prone to becoming addicted to Valium. Other high-risk conditions for addiction include:
- A history of alcohol or drug abuse in the family.
- Personality disorders.
- Dependence on alcohol or other drugs.
- Victims of sexual or physical abuse.
Valium slows down the electrical activity in the body. Eventually the drug will alter the functions and structure of the nerve cells in the brain. The brain becomes unable to properly produce important chemicals that the brain requires leading the user to take more Valium to compensate for the loss. This process leads to dependence on the drug.
Adverse effects of Valium abuse may include sleepiness, slurred speech, depression, rapid heart rate, agitation, severe respiratory depression, ataxia, confusion, amnesia, short-term memory and motor function impairment, psychosis, shock, heart attack, coma and suicide. Cognitive problems may continue for months after the drug has been stopped.
Recovery from Valium Addiction
The severity of withdrawal from Valium depends on how long the person has been taking the drug and at what dosage. The longer someone abuses drugs at high doses the more severe the withdrawal symptoms may be. Withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs like Valium is a serious matter and should not be attempted alone. The assistance of experienced medical professionals at an inpatient rehab facility is the safest and most effective choice for going through detox. The patient will be monitored during the detox process as they are slowly weaned off the drug. Keeping the patient in a stable condition without injury or serious complications is a top priority among the medical staff as they assist the patient through the withdrawal process.
Medications may be given to help alleviate or stop withdrawal symptoms and the patient will be kept as comfortable as possible. Each patient will experience the withdrawal process differently as each case is unique. Some of the Valium withdrawal symptoms include depression, psychosis, increased blood pressure, stomach problems, tachycardia, shallow breathing, seizures, muscle cramps, tremors, respiratory distress, irritability, hallucinations, anxiety, aggression and seizure activity of the brain.
Rehabilitation includes individual, group and family counseling. The patient will learn to make smart, healthy choices by changing negative thoughts and behavior patterns into positive ones. Interpersonal therapy helps the patient find solutions to relationship and role identity problems, unresolved grief and other issues they may be facing. The patient is also taught new coping skills to become more flexible in handling stress, emotions, triggers, cravings, etc. Support groups like 12-step programs offer the patient the support and accountability that they require to keep them going in the right direction. Family counseling helps to resolve issues and build stronger, more supportive bonds between family members. There are also spiritual and holistic programs and treatments available to help the patient renew their body, mind and spirit.
With the proper help anyone can recover from Valium addiction and remain strong, focused and centered. A new life filled with peace and purpose can be theirs by acquiring the right skills and attitude.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.