Valium is the trade name of diazepam and is typically used to treat anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. When it was initially crafted in 1963, Valium was seen as a wonder drug, as most drugs of that age were. Unfortunately, it also came with a high risk of dependence that pharmacists and doctors only realized later on.
When Valium went onto the market, it had several competitors, but it quickly beat them out because it didn’t have the bitter taste of other anxiety medicine. In many situations, housewives would use Valium as a way to relax, getting the name “mommy’s little helper” as part of its everyday acceptance. Unfortunately, the little helper usually made itself indispensable, and homemakers across America slowly became dependent on the drug.
It was safer than other drugs of its class, however. An individual taking the substance couldn’t overdose on it, making it strictly safer than barbiturates, which were used before Valium became popular. For nearly fifteen years, Valium retained the position of the most well-sold drug in America, but by the time the 80s rolled around, it became glaringly apparent that something was wrong.
Today’s doctors prescribe other medicines such as Xanax and Ativan, but a few still dispense prescriptions for Valium. The DEA classes Valium as a schedule IV narcotic. This rating says that it’s less addictive than meth, cocaine, or heroin, but it’s still a widely available drug today. Many individuals class Valium as a “gateway drug” that is likely to get someone hooked on something more addictive in the future. Yet, despite its reputation, many people still use Valium. Part of that use cycle depends on how the drug works within the body.
How does Valium work?
Valium forms part of a group of chemicals known as benzodiazepines (or “benzos”). They function by stopping the brain’s neurons from firing so regularly, inducing a feeling of calm and disconnection in the person. Typically, the brain’s neurons would fire continuously, but there’s a chemical that “turns off” these neurons in case they’re firing too much. This chemical is called GABA, and Valium induces the brain to make more of it to switch off more of the brain’s receptors. Since fewer neurons are firing, the brain starts to feel sleepy and lethargic. It can also lead to an altered mood as a sense of well-being washes over the person taking the drug.
By itself, Valium could cause a high in an individual. That feeling of well-being is linked to euphoria, and many individuals take it to chase that feeling. Unfortunately, many people who become addicted to the drug usually mix it with other substances such as alcohol. Valium’s addictiveness might not be as high as other “harder” drugs, but it still has a lot of potential for abuse.
Many people who take the drug for legitimate purposes are usually prescribed it in short bursts of four months or less to lower the chance of addiction. Taking the drug brings about tolerance, and a user needs to take more of it to get the same feelings they had previously. While it’s not possible to overdose on Valium, these decreasing returns mean that a user is likely to start mixing their Valium with other dangerous substances while searching for that feeling of euphoria.
When someone starts to need Valium to function regularly, it’s termed dependence. Dependence makes the body unable to function without the presence of Valium in it. However, dependence and addiction are two different things.
Someone can be dependent on Valium yet not addicted to it. Addiction is a brain disease that uses a person’s dependence against them. Because they rely on the substance, they are likely to go out of their way to acquire it. Addiction causes the person to disregard risks and even put themselves in harm’s way in their search for the drug since the body can’t operate without it. If someone is addicted to Valium, there are ways to treat this situation, but they all depend on the person deciding to quit.
How To Detox from Valium
Recovering from valium dependence or addiction starts with detoxification. When a person checks into a detox facility, the staff may ask them a few questions to develop a profile of their mental and physical state. These questions may include details about how long the patient has been using the drug and if they had tried to quit before. Mental health professionals may also be present to develop a psychological picture of the person’s addiction to continue treatment after detox.
Detox is a necessary part of quitting any addictive substance because it helps to break the physical hold that the drug has on the body. Unfortunately, it usually means that a person will have to go through withdrawal. While a person can detox at home, the process becomes more and more difficult as withdrawal proceeds. By relying on a facility to offer support for Valium detox, a person gets the help of trained medical staff to keep watch over their condition.
Valium Detox Protocol
At the start of the detox process, the facility may maintain the person on Valium but slowly lower their dosage. This “weaning” off the drug is a necessary part of helping someone cope with their situation and gives them the chance to get used to taking less of the drug. The amount of Valium slowly tapers down until the body doesn’t get any. It’s at this point that withdrawal starts happening. Alternatively, some users prefer to cut off the use of the drug “cold turkey.” Users who do so usually don’t have access to a facility or prefer to detox at home. Home detox can be a dangerous pursuit. Stopping the drug without lowering the dosage brings with it its own perils.
A person who quits “cold turkey” may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. These may even drive the person back into reuse if the urges become too much to bear. Many individuals who want to get off the substance immediately consider this route, but it may do more harm than good. If someone relapses after an attempt, it makes each successive attempt to quit that much more difficult. When someone undergoes the process of withdrawal, several symptoms show up. These Valium detox symptoms include:
- Panic Attacks
- Muscle Aches
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Loss of appetite and significant weight loss
These symptoms may show up in different combinations or not at all, depending on the level of addiction the person is dealing with. Valium detox is a necessary step in overcoming dependence on the drug. It lays the groundwork for later recovery efforts that focus on the psychological aspect of addiction.
Valium detox programs may last anywhere from four to ten weeks, depending on how much Valium the person takes daily upon entering the facility. The physician at the detox facility will decide on the first visit as to how long detox may need to go on to ensure a safe transition.
Can Detoxing from Valium be Lethal?
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms from detox will vary, depending on how long the person has been using the substance. In some cases, extreme withdrawal symptoms can threaten the life of a recovering person. Seizures that may result from detoxing from Valium may be intense and could cause medical complications that lead to death in some cases. Psychological symptoms such as hallucinations may threaten the lives of those around the individual or direct them to suicidal ideation. Weaning a person off the substance is more likely to result in a clean break and less likely to cause dangerous symptoms. Additionally, a facility will have medical staff on call to ensure that if withdrawal does go badly. Professional staff is present to deal with the situation in the best way possible.
Valium withdrawal can be dangerous for older individuals and those already suffering from seizures due to other conditions. Elderly individuals experiencing Valium withdrawal have a higher chance of experiencing heart failure, increased blood pressure, and potentially stroke. Individuals with unstable mental or physical health may also be negatively affected to a greater degree. The best option for these individuals is to visit a detox facility and have a trained medical professional present while they go through the Valium detox schedule.
Valium for Alcohol Detox
Despite its danger, Valium is less dangerous to use than alcohol and has been used with great success to manage moderate to severe alcohol addiction. Valium, as well as other benzodiazepines, help an individual leave their alcohol addiction behind. Doctors usually prescribe Valium to be taken between two to four times a day. These dosages are usually between 2mg to 10mg of Valium. There’s no standardized dose for Valium for alcohol detox. A doctor will look at the level of addiction and make a judgment call about how much the patient should take. Most individuals using Valium this way may not need to take it for more than a week. However, a person may still become dependent on Valium if they keep taking it after the end of the regiment prescribed by the doctor. Some individuals see Valium as a replacement for alcohol, and become dependent on the drug as a result.
Valium’s use in alcohol treatment also comes with the understanding that the doctor may have to wean the patient off Valium after undergoing alcohol detox. It’s important to remember that Valium isn’t a cure-all for addiction, nor is it something that will automatically make alcohol detox succeed. It helps a person cope with the physical effects of alcohol withdrawal common in detox. Other co-occurring conditions may also impact a person’s ability to overcome an alcohol addiction, even with the help of Valium. Some treatment facilities are trained to deal with these issues through therapy.
Therapy Treatments in Valium Detox
Valium addiction doesn’t end with detox. Detoxification breaks the drug’s physical hold on a person’s body, but there’s still a significant mental factor that needs to be addressed. Most treatment facilities offer individuals a chance to undergo in-depth behavioral therapy to help them cope with their addiction recovery. Valium and other benzodiazepines may retain that psychological hold on a person for as long as a year after detox, and sometimes even longer. Several behavioral therapies have shown promise in helping individuals deal with these symptoms over the long term.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for example, allows a person to pinpoint the negative thoughts that may trigger reactions, such as retaking the drug they’re trying to avoid. By spotting these triggers early, a person can potentially avoid relapsing into use. These therapy sessions usually run for periods varying between thirty to ninety days. While it does give recovering individuals a chance to discover ways to deal with their addiction in a healthy way, it doesn’t stop those urges altogether. Community support can offer help to get over the final hurdle in Valium addiction recovery.
Community groups can add helpful support to the training given by rehab facilities in many ways. California has many different groups of recovering individuals, and several good support programs help individuals overcome their psychological dependence through motivation and support. This support is priceless, but unfortunately, many people don’t have a support network that they can rely on to keep them pushing for recovery. Support groups serve the role of the family in these cases and help recovering individuals create new, healthy relationships with others that aren’t tied to the substance they’re trying to avoid.
Finding Valium Detox Near Me
Finding a facility to go through Valium detox near you isn’t as difficult as it might seem. However, different facilities approach recovery in unique ways. At Divine Detox, we approach it from the perspective that addiction is a highly personal issue, and each case needs to be dealt with as an individual. Our trained medical staff and mental health professionals focus on your well-being and help you overcome your addiction bit by bit. Give us a call today if you’re looking for a professional Valium detox facility that can offer you the long-term support you need to return to your everyday life.