Valium Addiction

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Danielle Boland

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Last Updated - 12/26/2022

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Updated 12/16/2022

Valium is the brand name for the prescription drug diazepam. Diazepam is prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, as well as to control seizures. The medication is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines.

Valium and other benzodiazepines can be addictive and lead to physical dependence, where the body cannot function normally without the substance. Valium misuse is more likely to lead to Valium addiction and dependence. If you’re struggling with Valium misuse, addiction treatment programs can help.

Valium Treatment

While benzodiazepines like Valium do have medical uses, they also have risks. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. When GABA’s effects increase, it calms brain activity and reduces anxiety. Along with being calming, this drug class can have a sedative effect, so they’re also sometimes prescribed as a treatment for insomnia. 

While Valium and other benzodiazepines are considered safe in the short term, they can be habit-forming. Some people become physically dependent, leading to withdrawal if they try to stop. These drugs can also lead to addiction.

Addictive drugs, including Valium, increase dopamine levels in the brain and induce long-term changes in the brain’s reward system. As the brain’s reward response then reinforces the continued use of a substance, even when it leads to harmful consequences, it can become an addiction. 

Signs of Valium Addiction

Addiction is a chronic but treatable medical disease. When someone has an addiction, they continue to use substances compulsively, even though there are known harmful effects of doing so. Signs of addiction to Valium or other central nervous system depressants include:

  • Developing a tolerance and needing higher doses to get the same effects
  • Continuing to use the substance despite health problems or impacts on other responsibilities
  • Trying to stop using the substance unsuccessfully
  • Risk-taking when under the influence
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns or physical appearance
  • Impaired coordination
  • Being secretive
  • Sudden changes in friends or routines
  • Declining performance at school or work
  • Sudden mood swings or unexplained changes in personality
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to cut down or stop using Valium

While Valium and other benzodiazepines are addictive on their own, they’re rarely the only drug someone misuses. Around 80% of benzodiazepine misuse happens alongside other drugs. Most commonly, people who misuse benzodiazepines also misuse opioids.

See Related: Valium Overdose

Valium Addiction Treatment Program

Recovery from Valium addiction can be challenging, but a professional treatment program can provide the right support and resources to make it possible. A rehab program can help treat Valium addiction, withdrawal symptoms, co-occurring disorders and more. Everyone’s addiction and recovery are different, so it’s important to find the right treatment program for you. 

Valium Detox

The first step in treatment is often a medical detox. During medical detox, a person can receive treatment and care while drugs and alcohol leave their system. Benzodiazepines can cause uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms, so a medical detox can be an important step in treatment. Patients receive a personalized assessment and evaluation for co-occurring disorders during medical detox. Once a full assessment is over, the patient begins their actual detoxification process, which may include withdrawal management medications and a quiet, safe and comfortable environment.

Valium Rehab

The goal of an addiction treatment program is to help someone not only stop using drugs and remain free of substances but also be productive in their lives. Many rehab programs include a combination of behavioral therapy and medications.

  • Inpatient rehab: During inpatient Valium rehab, also known as residential treatment, intensive, structured care includes medical attention when needed, behavioral therapy and safe housing. A residential treatment program uses a variety of approaches to help someone stop using drugs and other substances. Completing inpatient rehab is associated with a reduced relapse risk.
  • Outpatient rehab: Outpatient programs may work well for someone who doesn’t need such a high level of care as inpatient rehab and has a supportive, stable home environment to which they can return. Outpatient rehab may also be one step in the treatment process after completing higher levels of care.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs): PHPs provide more independence in recovery as people transition from inpatient to outpatient care. 

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

People with a mental health disorder are more likely to have a substance use disorder than the general public, so this is an important part of a Valium treatment program. Common mental disorders that co-occur with substance use disorders include anxiety and mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. If someone doesn’t receive treatment for co-occurring disorders, it can put them at a higher risk of relapse.

Aftercare

To support long-term recovery, aftercare planning and implementation may be needed. Recovery is continuous and requires a daily commitment, and aftercare planning helps provide that support. Aftercare programs help someone transition from their formalized treatment program to their new life. The planning may include relapse prevention plans, continuing to work with care providers and establishing a support system.

About Our Valium Addiction Treatment Center in Columbus, OH

The Recovery Village Columbus Drug and Alcohol Rehab is a comfortable and safe place where you can begin your recovery journey. Our facility offers a full continuum of care, starting with medical detox and carrying you through to comprehensive aftercare planning. Patients have access to behavioral therapies, medical care, and healing amenities to prepare them for life going forward. We’re also in-network with most major insurance providers and can help you verify coverage

Contact us to learn more about our Valium addiction treatment programs and get started. 

View Sources

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Diazepam.” MedlinePlus, May 15, 2021. Accessed August 16, 2022.

Mental Health America. “Benzodiazepines.” 2020. Accessed August 16, 2022.

Tan, Kelly R., et al. “Neural bases for addictive properties of benzodiazepines.” Nature, February 11, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2022.

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “Definition of Addiction.” September 15, 2019. Accessed August 16, 2022.

Longo, Lance P. & Johnson, Brian. “Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines—Sid[…]and Alternatives.” American Family Physician, 2000. Accessed August 16, 2022.

Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services. “Warning Signs of Drug Abuse.” Accessed August 16, 2022.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions.” April 21, 2022. Accessed August 16, 2022.

NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Prescription CNS Depressants Drug Facts.” March 2018. Accessed August 16, 2022.

Andersson, Helle Wessel, et al. “Relapse after inpatient substance use tr[…]f illicit substances.” Addictive Behaviors, March 2019. Accessed August 16, 2022.

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