Diazepam Addiction and Rehabilitation

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Last Edited: March 17, 2020
Sarah Ann Niemann
Clinically Reviewed
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Dangers of Diazepam Abuse

Diazepam is a prescription drug in the Benzodiazepines family, one of the oldest Benzos on the market today. It is more frequently referred to as Valium, the brand name version of the drug.

Benzodiazepines are sedatives used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia, which are very common conditions. It is often prescribed off-label to treat a myriad of conditions and symptoms. Diazepam, along with other Benzodiazepines, work on the GABA neurochemical system and cause a decrease in anxiety. It is short acting, lasting anywhere from 4-8 hours and begins working within minutes to a half hour depending on route.

Tolerance, addiction and dependence form quickly from taking Diazepam. When this happens, more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effects, causing the person to take more. People can become addicted before they realize what is happening, developing a dependency and feeling that they cannot function without it. Diazepam is one of the few substances that can be deadly if stopped suddenly. It can also cause dangerous adverse effects when used long-term or abused such as seizures, coma and death.

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Street Names for Diazepam

Diazepam is the generic name for what is more commonly referred to as Valium. This old anti-anxiety medication is often sold on the streets under a variety of names, many of which are regionally specific. Some street names for diazepam are: V’s, Blues, Benzos, Downers, Tranks, Foofoo, Dead Flower Petals.

Diazepam Effects

Diazepam is a powerful sedative used for a variety of legitimate medical conditions. It is commonly used in surgery, certain minor procedures, dental work, anxiety conditions, insomnia, seizures and a host more. This Central Nervous System depressant works by affecting the neurotransmitter GABA. It has an overall calming effect on the mental and physical processes. People tend to feel relaxed, calm and serene while under the influence of small doses. In larger doses, Diazepam renders people unconscious. Too much Diazepam can easily result in unresponsiveness, coma and death. It is popular for its ability to remove stress from a person’s situational experience. It can be a great tool in overcoming such problems as panic disorders if used properly and sporadically.

Warning signs of Diazepam abuse in a loved one

Prescription drug abuse is one of the trickier situations when it comes to addiction. It can be difficult to determine whether a person is abusing a substance or is simply not tolerating the substance well. If your loved one has recently begun taking Diazepam and is displaying problems, this could be due to an adverse reaction. That said, people can become addicted to Diazepam in very little time. Some potential warning sign of Diazepam abuse are as follows.

Running out of a prescription early is a tell-tale sign of abuse. When someone becomes addicted, he or she needs more of the drug more often. This means the original prescription can run out in a matter of days instead of lasting a month when taken as directed.

Doctor shopping and having multiple prescriptions for Diazepam is another good sign that your loved one has become addicted. The person will need more than one prescription, so he or she acquires multiple prescriptions from other doctors for the same substance.

Financial problems are a common symptom of substance abuse disorders. Eventually, the person cannot get enough through doctor shopping, which can itself be expensive, so he or she resorts to buying Benzos off the street, which can be exorbitantly expensive.

Factual Dangers: Diazepam

Diazepam is commonly prescribed and often used for longer and more frequently than it is needed. Taking Diazepam for longer than four months can be dangerous and is not advised. Benzos are known for being addictive and commonly abused. Diazepam inhibits the memory forming functions and may cause memory issues. It also can suppress respiration and lower blood pressure. This drug should not be stopped suddenly, as life-threatening withdrawal seizures can occur.

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Emergency room visits related to Diazepam use rose 153% from 1995 to 2002, while admissions to drug treatment programs for individuals using Diazepam rose 321% from 1995 to 2005

Deaths related to Diazepam abuse rose 160% from 1994 to 2004.

Diazepam abusers get their drugs from friends or family members. Only about 4% get Diazepam from illegal dealers or strangers, and about .1% obtain Diazepam from the Internet.

True Stories of Addiction: Stephanie’s Story


Diazepam Rehab Treatment

Rehab is the best method of treatment for an addiction to Diazepam. The disease of addiction is considered three-fold and affects the mind, body and spirit. People who develop addictions to prescription drugs often struggle to differentiate between perceived need from abusive behaviors. An individual may have a legitimate condition that warrants a prescription for Diazepam. If this individual begins to abuse the drug or becomes addicted, the behavior may be easy for them to justify with the perceived need for the drug. In rehab, therapists will help to bring awareness to these distinctions and addiction educators will help to enlighten these people about what has happened to them.

Therapy in rehab will also address underlying problems that are driving the addiction, anxiety being a common one, and give the person tools to deal with these problems without substance abuse. Benzodiazepines are a common issue for people admitted into treatment. Many people who started out only using prescription drugs eventually moved on to stronger street drugs, while others may have only ever had a problem with Diazepam or other prescription drugs.

Through the combined use of individual therapy, group therapy and group educational sessions, rehab provides the help and information that each individual needs to stop using and find a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Diazepam Detox Treatment

The first stage of addiction treatment is detox. This dangerous phase of recovery involves the mind and body adjusting to the absence of the substance that it has become accustomed to. In the case of all Benzodiazepines, including Diazepam, this phase of recovery is very dangerous.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on several factors. These include length of use, amount used, age, genetics, other substances used and a myriad of other factors. Diazepam withdrawal causes a host of withdrawal symptoms, one of which being deadly seizures. Other withdrawal symptoms of Diazepam are headache, anxiety, sweating, tremors, confusion, hallucinations, insomnia, numbness, drowsiness, vomiting and muscle pain.

Diazepam must be tapered off and this should only be done under the strict supervision of a doctor. For those who have become dependent or addicted, it is paramount that the individual enters some sort of detox facility. These drugs have been known to claim the lives of those who try to stop using them alone. The medical professionals in a detox center will provide the around the clock care and support that is necessary for Diazepam withdrawal. Many inpatient rehab centers also offer a detox level of care. Following the detox phase with intensive addiction treatment is considered critical to maintaining sobriety and sustaining long-term recovery.

Addiction to Diazepam

Many Americans become addicted to Benzodiazepines every year because they are so widely prescribed and it only takes a few weeks of use. Those who become addicted to Diazepam should not feel guilty or ashamed. Prescription drug addiction is one of the biggest threats to personal health today.

Addiction is a disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking, drug using and continued use despite significant consequences. Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease that devastates the lives of a significant number of people across all demographics. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately one in ten American adults suffers from substance abuse issues. For the individual who has become addicted to Diazepam, the drug is sought to achieve a certain desired effect. In the case of this drug, this effect may be a high or it may be experienced more as a sense of calm and peace.

Regardless of the extent of your addiction, there is hope. Addiction treatment centers and programs like the 12-step are ready and waiting to help you find a better way to live. If you or someone you love has become addicted to Diazepam, get help. This is a powerful and deadly drug that often claims lives before warning signs are recognized. Diazepam addiction can look drastically different between people. Give us a call and we can help you determine if is a problem.

Diazepam Dependency

Addiction and dependency are very similar with one significant difference. People who become dependent no longer experience the high or initial effect that attracted them to Diazepam. Dependency means that Diazepam is needed simply to feel normal or the way one did before he or she started using.

People who have become dependent on a substance will feel sick without it. If a dependent person runs out of the substance, he or she will typically experience physical and mental discomfort. With Diazepam dependence, though, the person’s life is in danger as lethal seizures can occur with abruptly discontinued use. Lethargy, Depression, body pain and a myriad of other symptoms are also associated with sudden absence of Diazepam. Many people become tolerant and dependent on Diazepam. Because it is often prescribed longer than a few months, which is enough time to become addicted and dependent, many people find themselves unable to function without Diazepam.

Diazepam dependence is incredibly dangerous. Given the life-threatening nature of sudden withdrawals, which can happen after mere hours of missing a dose, Diazepam is one to be avoided. This drug can be safely used if administered by a medical professional for a procedure, however, long-term use will likely prove problematic. If you have already become dependent, reach out and get the help you need and deserve.

Intervention for Diazepam Abuse

When a friend or family member has become addicted to Diazepam it can seem like everything is wrong. Irritability, depression, mood swings and a host of other behavioral and emotional issues can come with addiction. If your loved one is struggling with abuse of Diazepam, or any other substance, an intervention may be the best way for you to help.

People who are abusing prescription pills like Diazepam also tend to hide and lie about their using. It can be difficult to know the extent of the substance abuse as the person using may go to great lengths to disguise the evidence. Despite all the effort, however, inevitably the person’s life begins to fall apart. He or she may have difficulty keeping up with finances and other responsibilities. Appearance and coherence may also begin to suffer or the individual’s health may begin to deteriorate. From an outside perspective, it may seem obvious that the person needs to stop using. However, the individual who has become addicted may not see that the using is a problem or believe those who try to address the issue.

An intervention is a pointed conversation where the person is confronted about his or her using and behavior. The concern and danger surrounding the person’s use of Diazepam should be discussed in a caring, understanding and loving way. It is important not to blame or judge your loved one as this may push him or her further into the addiction. Professional interventionists can help you plan and execute an intervention with the best chances of success. – Learn More

Recovery from Diazepams Abuse

For people who are stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction, it can seem as though there is no way out. The disease of addiction with regards to prescription drugs can be especially difficult to break. Diazepam is a medication that can be therapeutic, however it ceases to help and only harms individuals once addiction is formed. No matter how hopeless you feel, know that you are not alone. Millions of people struggle with substance abuse issues in the United States today. Although many remain in the cycle of abuse, you can break free and find recovery.

Worldwide, millions of people have found a better way of life by working a program like the 12-step. These programs are guides to how to discover a brighter, healthier path free from all mood and mind-altering substances. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the two oldest programs, while Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous and Pill Anonymous developed later in response to the ever-increasing diversity of addiction related issues.

These programs incorporate sponsors, clean and sober members of the program who have completed more steps than you and act as mentors. Sponsors help newcomers to stay on track and feel supported in their sobriety. 12-step programs are the oldest and most well-established way of successfully addressing addiction. Everyone’s experiences are different, though, which is why there are many programs to choose from. There are many alternatives to the 12-step model, which may suit people with unique needs and preferences.

Dangers of Diazepam Overdose

If you believe that you have or that someone else has overdosed on Diazepam or any other substance, contact emergency medical services immediately. Do not hesitate to get help as many people die from prescription drugs like Diazepam each year. Prescription drug overdoses are a common problem in the United States today. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, estimates that nearly a million people visited emergency departments between 2005 and 2011 for complications from Benzodiazepines like Diazepam.

Diazepam is one of the most commonly misused prescription medications. Amnesia is a typical side-effect and so people will often take one dose, forget completely, then take another. This means that a person can take many doses within a short period without realizing how many have been taken. This may easily result in an overdose which can cause severe health conditions and death. An overdose occurs when someone ingests more of a substance than the body can handle. Diazepam often comes in small pills that have huge effects. It does not take many of these tiny pills to cause a fatal reaction.

Diazepam is a Central Nervous System Depressant, which means it slows or inhibits the primary functions of the body that are controlled by via the complex of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. An overdose causes these functions to be dangerously suppressed. Breathing may slow or cease and the heart beat may become slow, irregular or cease. This limits the oxygen and nutrients in the brain, causing stroke, seizure, coma, permanent brain damage and often death. – Learn More

Diazepam History and Treatment of Sleep Disorders

In 1960, a revolutionary drug called Librium hit the market, the very first Benzodiazepine. The success and revolutionary action of Librium ignited a fire and eventually a more powerful anxiolytic was demanded. The second Benzodiazepine ever discovered was Diazepam, with the brand name of Valium. In 1963, it was introduced to the world and throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s it became the number one selling drug in the United States. The Rolling Stones even released a hit song in 1966 titled “Mother’s Little Helper,” which is about Diazepam. The song title has been a nickname for Diazepam ever since. One line in the song states that, though mom’s not really sick, there’s a pill for her. It seems the problem of overmedication reaches back many decades in the United States.

In its early days, Diazepam was prescribed for just about every ailment. Thought of as a miracle drug, more than two billion tablets were sold in 1978 alone. Before Benzodiazepines were discovered, the medical industry relied on Barbiturates and other problematic substances to ease the suffering of people. So, with the advent of Diazepam, doctors handed out prescriptions for everything from a headache to a broken wrist. Diazepam initially was thought to have no down-side and no significant side effects. Over the years, its addictive nature and laundry list of adverse side effects has become clear.

Recently, newer and more powerful Benzodiazepines have been formulated that outmatch Diazepam in popularity and number of prescriptions. Diazepam or its brand name counterpart, Valium, still ranks in the top psychiatric drugs prescribed, though, coming in at number 13 with over 14 million prescriptions a year. It has been dramatically outflanked by Xanax, brand name for Alprazolam, which is prescribed approximately 50 million times a year, which amounts to more than one prescription written per second. Despite its relative decline, Diazepam remains on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications and it is still widely prescribed, if not over prescribed, in the United States.

Many Diazepam prescriptions are handed out for problems like insomnia and mild anxiety, but this is problematic because it is disruptive and addictive. Drugged sleep is not the same as healthy and quality sleep, as Diazepam and other Benzodiazepines affect the structure of your sleep. “[Benzodiazepines] tend to decrease the amount of time spent in certain stages of sleep, particularly stages 3 and 4, the deepest, most restful stages of sleep,” says Donna Arand, PhD and clinical director of Kettering Sleep Disorders clinic in Kettering, Ohio. Additionally, medications like Diazepam tend to cause hangover like symptoms. Technically, anyone taking such medications for sleep are not supposed to drive the next day, a warning that is almost always ignored.

Medications like Diazepam are not a good answer for sleep problems. The act of turning to a pill for relief is a problem in and of itself. Finding answers to any problem in pharmaceuticals may be the greatest factor leading people to addiction. The core belief driving this behavior, that a pill can fix anything, is inherently problematic.

In fact, many of us don’t practice the kind of hygiene required for quality, restful sleep. Some of the recommendations for good sleep hygiene may even come as news.

First, avoid caffeine, nicotine and Alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine should not be consumed at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Give yourself more of a gap of uppers if you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Alcohol is a major disruptor of sleep, although it may aid in falling asleep. It too affects the structure of sleep and, once its effects wear off, will likely disrupt your ability to stay asleep.

Second, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This trains your body to know when and how long it has to rest. You will feel dramatically better if you can get and stay on a regular sleep schedule – even on the weekends.

Third, dim the lights, turn off electronic devices such as the TV, phone and computer. Anything that produces bright light tells your brain to wake up. These modern conveniences can be especially detrimental when it comes to sleep.

Fourth, do not watch the clock. Clock-watching can create anxiety and fear which will keep you awake no matter what time it is.

Fifth, take a bath. Bath time aids in sleepiness as it raises your body temperature. Once out of the bath, your body temperature drops again, which is a natural trigger for sleepiness.

There are many other recommendations for how to get on a sleep schedule that will allow you to get healthy, natural sleep. Unfortunately, most people go the route of the “quick-fix,” which in this case does not produce the kind of quality result that everyone needs. If you have problems with insomnia, talk to your doctor about ways to improve sleep naturally. Drugs like Diazepam should only be used in situations that are severe and as a last-ditch effort.

Short & Long-term Effects

Benzodiazepines like Diazepam are some of the oldest and most addictive prescription drugs on the market. Taking one of these drugs for even a short amount of time is risky as some people become addicted in much less than four months, which is the suggested limit for treatment periods. As a short-acting Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, effecting GABA and other neural processes, Diazepam creates a variety of cognitive and experiential changes.

Short-term side effects of Diazepam are numerous and varied. The person may be lethargic, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, have slurred speech, feel euphoric, nauseous, feverish or tremble. Diazepam can hinder the motor skills and so it is dangerous to operate any kind of heavy machinery while on this drug. One of the more troublesome effects of Diazepam is its tendency to cause amnesia. For this reason, it is used for surgery, minor outpatient procedures and illegally as a date rape drug.

Long-term use of Diazepam may cause a person to have extended periods of memory loss. Diazepam inhibits the formation of memory and can keep memories that do form from being stored long-term. Therefore, if Diazepam is taken for years, those years of the person’s life may be unclear, scattered or lost. These memories may never be regained and unfortunately the patterns of memory formation issues can persist even after discontinuing use. Long-term use of Diazepam can cause a number of other devastating conditions, including depression, cognitive difficulties, psychosis, heart attack, addiction and further drug abuse.

True Story of Addiction: Susana’s Story

Your loved one feels isolated and alone in their fight against their addiction. Give them the backup that they need. Holding an intervention for a loved one not only brings their problem to the surface, but shows them that people still care about them. They might be in denial with other people, but most people who have a substance abuse problem are not in denial with themselves. Deep down inside, they know they need help. If you show them that they have support if they decide to get that help, they will be more willing to go to rehab. Let them know that you are not giving up on them.

Inpatient Diazepam Rehab

The premier treatment programs are usually inpatient because these offer the most intensive care. For anyone dealing with Diazepam addiction or dependency, inpatient rehab is the recommended course of action. Inpatient treatment centers are usually 30, 60 or 90 days and are residential programs. Clients live at the facility where meals, transportation and medical supervision are all provided. The unparalleled level of support and care are ideal for helping people find their path in sobriety.

A variety of therapeutic and healing methods are utilized in inpatient programs by experts in the field of Addiction Medicine, many facilities even offering detox or stabilization. During inpatient treatment, clients will typically attend individual therapy, group therapy, life coaching and educational seminars. Individual therapy usually includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which helps identify negative thought patterns and core beliefs and replace them with positive ones. In group therapy, members give and receive feedback, learning from the collective experiences of the group. Educational sessions provide much needed information about the disease of addiction and other common co-occurring problems.

Combined, these therapies and seminars help each person understand how his or her own addiction story unraveled and lends the coping skills necessary to stay free from mood and mind-altering substances for good. For the best in addiction treatment, inpatient treatment should be followed with outpatient rehab and sober living. – Learn More

Outpatient Diazepam Rehab

Outpatient rehab programs offer similar treatment options, however on a much less intensive basis. These programs are offered several times a week for a few hours. Often, they are scheduled at night to allow clients to continue with work, school or other responsibilities. Clients reside elsewhere and travel to the facility for sessions. Outpatient treatment typically offers the same therapies as inpatient. Individual therapy, group therapy and educational groups all work to help each client understand the underlying reason for his or her using.

These treatments provide the coping skills and techniques needed to stay sober for a lifetime. Research the outpatient treatment centers before going to ensure that you get the help you need. Staying in the environment where you once used can be problematic to recovery. Many people find the familiar surroundings and lack of change in environment to be detrimental to their attempts to get sober. If this resonates with you, consider first attending an inpatient program or find a sober living facility to stay for the duration of treatment.

Outpatient programs are often utilized by individuals who have just completed inpatient treatment to help ease the transition into his or her new life of sobriety. It is also a great tool for people who have been in recovery for a long time, but are wavering in their sobriety. Most people who have an addiction to Diazepam would be better off attending an inpatient treatment program first and then moving on to outpatient. – Learn More