By Irfana
B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)
25 October 2021 -
Medically reviewed by
D. Pharm
Is Diazepam Addictive
Table of Contents


Diazepam or valium is a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs. Anxiety, muscle spasms, and fits are all treated with it (seizures). It can also be used to help you relax before undergoing surgery or other medical or dental procedures. This is referred to as a "pre-med." It's also used in hospitals to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms like sweating and insomnia. Because benzodiazepines function on the same receptors in the brain as alcohol – the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors – they can be used to wean the body off alcohol. This lowers the chances of significant side effects like delirium tremens. (Dhaliwal JS, Rosani A)

Valium, like alcohol, operates on the GABA receptors, thus misusing it can provide similar relaxing, intoxicating effects, and it can become addictive, leading to chronic health problems. Benzodiazepine drugs like Valium, according to the drug's label, should not be used for more than two weeks because they can swiftly build to physical dependence.

Some of the signs and symptoms of its addiction include:

  • Problems with memory
  • Poor reflexes 
  • Nausea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Having a strong need for more Valium and going to great measures to obtain it
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Intoxication as though drunk

Valium is a commonly prescribed drug, and drugs that are available through prescriptions are more likely to be diverted. When taken as directed, this drug is digested and reaches the bloodstream one to two hours after being taken. Abusing the drug in other ways, such as snorting or smoking it, may cause it to become intoxicated more quickly. Valium has been a prescription medication for decades, yet it is still widely used since it is a long-acting benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other benzodiazepines like Halcion or Xanax.

What Makes Valium So Addictive?

Intoxicating chemicals are addictive in part because they stimulate the reward system and release a surge of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine — key neurotransmitters that improve mood and energy – through other brain processes. These medicines may stimulate a person's brain so much by attaching to GABA receptors and causing the brain to create dopamine that they return for larger doses and eventually develop compulsive behaviors; this is addiction. 

The physical dependence on benzodiazepines occurs fast as well. For many people, this is a psychological reaction because Valium and related medicines are frequently used to treat anxiety disorders. When a person suffers from anxiety or insomnia, they may tend to believe that they can't function normally or avoid a panic attack unless they take Valium, even if they don't require it. As a long-term approach to managing anxiety, insomnia, or other mental problems, working with a therapist to modify habits is critical; taking medicine alone will not address a mental health problem and can lead to drug dependency.

It is possible to overdose on Valium, although it is uncommon. Benzodiazepine overdoses are more likely to occur in the presence of other sedative substances, such as opioids and alcohol. Overdoses on benzodiazepines like Valium do happen, so if you see someone overdosing on these drugs, call for help right away.

Taking too much Valium can induce seizures, but abruptly stopping without medical assistance can also result in a seizure disorder. Fever, jaundice from liver failure, an erratic heartbeat, and stopped breathing are all markers of severe withdrawal symptoms. It is critical to get assistance in lessening withdrawal under the supervision of a physician. Quitting the medicine abruptly can be dangerous; it might result in rebound symptoms, such as anxiety, that are comparable to the original disease. This can be extremely uncomfortable and lead to relapse into drug misuse, increasing the risk of overdose.

Inpatient and outpatient treatments for addiction

Valium detox, like any other benzo medicine, requires medical supervision, and users should never attempt to detox from Valium without medical supervision. Professional healthcare experts will do a comprehensive mental and psychological evaluation of the patient before starting the process of weaning them off Valium in a treatment facility. To avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, staff may offer anticonvulsants, anti-seizure, or anti-anxiety drugs to help with the process.

If the Valium addiction is not severe enough to necessitate supervision and protection from relapse triggers, patients may be offered outpatient treatment. This potential may arise if people seek therapy at an early stage in their addiction before they become physically and psychologically reliant on Valium to get through the day. Medical detox with 24-hour supervision is suggested for Valium detox, regardless of whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is deemed appropriate for rehab.

So Although benzodiazepines like valium and diazepam are beneficial in a variety of medical and psychiatric disorders, they should be used with caution, especially in individuals who have a history of substance abuse or addiction, whether recent or distant. Their greatest strength is also their greatest liability: immediate-acting medicines are highly addictive.


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