Valium is a prescription that provides relief of anxiety or muscle pains. It is known for its sedative capabilities, and works by targeting certain unbalanced chemicals in the brain. While Valium is often a safe and effective medication when it is used properly, its risks cannot be underestimated, and anyone who uses it needs to be very careful.
Valium causes a gradual reductions in stress or anxiety, ultimately a “euphoria” of sorts, which takes the person using it to a place of calmness. Valium is so effective at replacing negative symptoms with calmness that many people who take it do not want to stop, even when the prescription runs out. The real damage is done when patients still feel an attachment to their medication after there is no legitimate reason to continue using it, except to fuel addiction or abuse.
Valium prescriptions are increasing in the United States, and this could be because anxiety and stress have become common problems for so many people. This particular trend is disturbing on several levels because Valium is a very powerful drug and has the unique ability to become something users “need” or want for long amounts of time, rather than the initial short-term prescription calls for.
How Valium is Abused
Consumption of Valium normally takes place via swallowing pills, but abuse of it can occur when the person crushes and snorts the pills, drinks more of the liquid form than is prescribed, injects it, or combines it with other drugs to enhance the high. Once someone starts abusing Valium, the initial reason why they took it is often forgotten, and it’s taken for its calming and “euphoric” effects. when the brain gets to this point. When Valium use reaches this point, people who abuse it will seek it out in greater quantities to stay in a calm state.
Short-Term Valium Side Effects
Like any prescription drug, Valium has a series of side effects people experience when using it. Here are some of the short-term effects of Valium abuse:
- The crash – when someone first uses Valium, they are immersed in good feelings as brain messages are traveling much more slowly, yet eventually, they will speed back up, causing the intoxicating rush to subside. In place of the rush, tolerance begins to take hold, making it tougher to reach that same level of euphoria unless the dosage amount is raised.
- Anxiety – users often feel on edge or nervous without provocation.
- Irritation – ups and downs will result in mood swings that are hard to control and they might also bring about an increase in aggression or hostility.
- Fever – this may also involve confusion, feeling faint, experiencing hallucinations or strange thoughts, and odd behavior while the mind is away on its drunken ride.
- Rapid heart rate – this may also lead to tremors that include uncontrollable movement and speed in all areas of muscle, including the heart.
- Stomach cramps – digestive problems can take place, usually with some form of pain or discomfort in the stomach, or loss of control of bladder functions.
- Depression – the letdown of the decreasing impact on a person’s brain puts them in a depressed state of mind that can be accompanied by thoughts of suicide.
Long-Term Valium Side Effects
Unwarranted and extensive use of Valium has many serious, permanent, and sometimes fatal effects that everyone needs to be aware of. Long-term side effects include:
- Memory loss – this may not just be temporary; prolonged loss of memory is possible when brain waves are constantly damaged or intentionally slowing processes
- Hallucinations – mentioned along with fever in short-term Valium effects, illusions are common when a person chooses to stay in a hazy, semi-conscious condition
- Difficulty breathing – shortness of breath or an inability to perform natural, automatic, essential body functions is common
- Slowed pulse – it would make sense that repeated attempts to slow a person’s brain also interfere with other vital processes, like blood flow through veins
- Coma – heavy use of a hypnotic sedative can take the user one step away from unconsciousness, and with addictive use of it, eventually, a body may fall into that deep sleep referred to as a coma
- Heart attack – blood pressure increases while sending each muscle group into shock mode, numbness, and shutdown, preventing blood from reaching the heart
- Social problems – lengthy drug abuse may cause isolation, job loss, failing relationships, and monetary setbacks
- Accidents – while under the unauthorized influence of prescribed medication, the likeliness of an accident increases, and so does the physical damage it can leave
Even though Valium withdrawal is not exclusive to people who abuse it and might naturally happen while taking it as prescribed, the symptoms are magnified after long periods of consumption. They are similar to the more serious side effects and include:
- Cessation of or shallow breathing
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Respiratory distress
- Increased blood pressure
- Numbness or tingling in limbs
- Personality changes
- Vision impairment
- Extreme sweating
- Sleeplessness or chronic insomnia
Finding Help for Valium Abuse
Recovery is not easy and it requires a qualified medical staff that can oversee the necessary detoxification process before stabilizing the patient, minimizing or actually preventing body damage, and preparing the patient for a successful rehabilitation. Interestingly, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report states that 23.5 million people need treatment for an illicit drug addiction, but unfortunately, just over 2.6 million receive it.
Starting treatment for drug abuse is the most important part of achieving recovery, and oftentimes, someone struggling with addiction has no idea about the dangers they live with. People addicted to Valium must rely on people around them or themselves to recognize the following signs and symptoms of addiction:
- Feeling a strong regular need for Valium
- Wanting a supply of Valium that is constant, regardless of whether or not a prescription actually needs to be refilled or is running low
- Unusual or dangerous behavior, such as operating heavy machinery while on Valium
- Problems functionally normally without Valium, even when certain activities are eliminated entirely
Here at Futures of Palm Beach, we specialize in treating Valium abuse with a comprehensive approach that includes understanding the cause of the addiction, guidance towards healthy decisions, and a complete strategy for continued success. If you or someone you know is struggling with a Valium addiction, or there is any reason to suspect drug abuse, please contact us today to learn about how we can help you or a loved one start the path to recovery.