Published on 25 October 2021

Is Diazepam Addictive?: How to Get Treatment?

Table of Contents

Leo Sternbach, a chemist from Croatia, synthesized Diazepam in 1963 to treat insomnia, seizures, and anxiety. The use of Diazepam increased steadily in the United States as stress and Anxiety diagnoses became more prevalent in recent years. 

The drug gained worldwide acclaim very rapidly. According to The New York Times, 14.7 million prescriptions for Diazepam were written by doctors in the United States in just 2011. More than 7,900 people died in 2014 from benzodiazepine overdoses, including Diazepam.

While there are many medical conditions that this prescription can help with, it's critical to recognize that if misused or for a long time, it can quickly become addictive. The brain soon becomes dependent and addicted to Diazepam. Before going deeper into Diazepam use and addiction, let's get familiar with the basics first.

What Is Diazepam?

Diazepam is a popular prescription medicine for those who use it for recreational purposes. Some people use Diazepam or other diazepam-based medications to aid in sedation. Many use it to offset the effects of stimulants like cocaine or to avoid having a "bad trip" after using heroin or LSD. Similar to other narcotics, diazepam abuse is illegal and dangerous.

Diazepam was first introduced as an anxiety medication and sedative. Diazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs and is known for habit-forming. For buying Diazepam online is available as a tablet, an oral liquid, an injectable solution, or a rectal gel, as you can also get it in its brand version Valium.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration categorizes Diazepam as a Schedule IV narcotic substance. It indicates that compared to other drugs, Diazepam is less addictive. It is relatively safe if not combined with alcohol or other depressants.

Uses of Diazepam are Treating Anxiety disorders, Panic attacks or panic disorder, Muscle spasms, Alcohol withdrawal, Seizures, Insomnia, and Restless leg syndrome.

How Does Diazepam Work?

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that works by slowing down the central nervous system. The relaxing and sedative effects of the drug make it popular among doctors and recreational drug users.

In the brain, Diazepam promotes the activity of the chemical GABA by stimulating various receptor sites. GABA lowers activity throughout brain regions, including those involved in emotion, thinking, memory, and autonomic processes like breathing.

The nervous system's dampening lowers anxiety and relaxes muscles. This causes drowsiness, impaired motor and cognitive function, and sleep. The drug also helps in bodily and brain relaxation. When used as directed, Diazepam can provide all-day symptom relief.

Is Diazepam Addictive?

There is a known Abuse potential for benzodiazepines like Diazepam. The overuse of these drugs over time might easily lead to addiction. Diazepam can become addictive if you take it to try to get a euphoric high or combine it with other substances. Even with a doctor's prescription, taking Diazepam for longer than 4-6 weeks increases the risk of addiction.

In the U.S., Lorazepam, alprazolam, and Diazepam are the three tranquilizers that are most widely abused (SAMHSA). It is a sure sign of Diazepam addiction when a patient visits more than one doctor and receives multiple Diazepam prescriptions.

Why Is Diazepam Addictive?

Most people who use Diazepam do so because they need help handling the stress of daily life. Diazepam abuse can occur for various reasons, but many users don't use it to get high. They use it to feel normal and to ease tension. People also misuse Diazepam to aid in sleep.

Particularly with higher doses, Diazepam induces a deep calm and euphoria. The usual prescription for Diazepam is for short-term, low-dose use only.

Due to its frequent abuse and potent effects on the central nervous system, buying Diazepam without a prescription is illegal. The recommended daily dosage for Diazepam is 4 to 40 mg.

A team of medical experts discovered in 2012 that Diazepam blocks a group of neurons known as inhibitory interneurons from preventing dopamine release by increasing GABA. Increased happiness, excitement, relaxation, and pleasure result from unrestricted dopamine production.

These drugs may stimulate a person's brain so much that they require larger doses and eventually develop compulsive behaviors; this is addiction. By interacting with the GABA receptors and enabling the brain to create dopamine, these substances may cause excessive brain stimulation.

Frequently asked questions

Depending on many factors, the time can last 30-56 hours. It, therefore, takes an average of 10 days for the entirety of the drug to leave the system.
Risks associated with Diazepam addiction are high. Even persons who use Diazepam for medically necessary reasons have the potential to become dependent on it if they use it frequently.
The half-life of Diazepam is approximately 48 hours. Diazepam, or the drug's metabolites, can be found in the body in various ways.
Diazepam may be habit-forming. If you don't take Diazepam as directed, you could quickly get addicted. Over time, your brain's ability to function normally without the drug gets harder.

When Is Diazepam So Addictive?

Diazepam addiction consists of an urge to seek out the substance regardless of the dangers associated with prolonged consumption. Put another way, you can be a Diazepam addict if you use the drug excessively to avoid experiencing psychological or emotional problems or to get euphoric.

However, a drug's level of addiction isn't just determined by its molecular composition. Even though most doctors know the risk of addiction associated with Diazepam prescriptions, many still use it to treat patients.

The majority of persons who a doctor has given Diazepam in the past and later become addicted to it learn to trick doctors into giving them more Diazepam. The availability of Diazepam is also significantly influenced by social and cultural variables. Other elements that contribute to the drug's ease of addiction include:

  • the attitudes of doctors who prescribe it
  • accessibility of Diazepam 
  • history of illegal diversion
  • state or local regulations on Diazepam
  • widespread knowledge of the effects of the drug

Warning Signs of Diazepam Addiction

The sooner you identify a Diazepam addiction, the more likely for a successful treatment and recovery. While some Diazepam addiction signs could be simple, others might show themselves in less obvious ways. Among the most typical of Diazepam addiction signs include

  • Going to tremendous efforts to obtain Diazepam 
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Continued use despite drug-related issues
  • A loss of interest in once-fun activities
  • Neglect of personal and professional obligations

Diazepam Addiction Symptoms

The following are some signs of abuse of benzodiazepines that may indicate an addiction:

  • memory problems
  • slow reflexes
  • dilated pupils
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty paying attention
  • putting the drug's need ahead of other considerations

Teens Abusing Diazepam

The high rates of diazepam usage reported among teenagers are due to the drug's widespread illicit availability and high prescription rates. In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted a poll that revealed more than 20 million Americans over 12 years of age had abused benzodiazepines like Diazepam at least once.

As part of its Monitoring the Future project, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) releases an annual poll. The findings of the 2015 NIDA survey showed that:

  • In the eighth grade, no students acknowledged ever utilizing tranquilizers.
  • 8% of 10th graders acknowledged abuse during their lifetime.
  • 9% of 12th graders acknowledged abuse during their lifetime.

Education is crucial to stop your teen from doing drugs. Talk to your teen repeatedly about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. When an abuse issue arises, know the warning signs to act swiftly.

You can take the following actions to stop Diazepam abuse:

  • Store all current prescriptions for Diazepam in a secure location.
  • Track and monitor usage carefully to detect any missing tablets.
  • Ask them questions to determine their mental health to reduce your adolescent's chance of self-medicating.
  • Look for indications of use, such as empty prescription bottles and missing cash.

Long-Term Exposure To Diazepam

Abusing Diazepam for an extended period can seriously harm one's health and general well-being. Notably, tolerance, physical dependency, withdrawal, and addiction are all associated with the misuse and abuse of benzodiazepines.

Inevitably, long-term use of Diazepam also makes it challenging to stop using the medication, notwithstanding the decline in the person's quality of life. The Daily Mail warns that Diazepam is "more addictive than heroin" in this sense, citing the case of a woman who was given Diazepam to deal with the despair brought on by the end of her marriage.

That was the beginning of a 10-year habit. She had a heart attack, memory and speech issues, and muscle spasms that prevented her from climbing a stairway when she reduced her dose.


The initial dose of Diazepam no longer has the same effects over time as the body gets used to the medication's regular presence. This necessitates either increasing the dosage taken, the frequency of drug use, or both.


Once Diazepam has become accustomed to the body, it becomes necessary for normal body functions. Even when using Diazepam as directed, dependence is still possible; however, dependence can be a sign that someone is becoming addicted.


When someone dependent on Diazepam stops using medication or drastically reduces the dose, the person may feel uncomfortable and go through potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Side effects Of Diazepam Overdose

The misconception that Diazepam is safer and less addictive than illegal substances like heroin or cocaine stems from its legal use. You might unintentionally overdose on the substance as a result of these beliefs.

Among the warning indications of a Diazepam, overdose is

  • Bluish lips
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Coma
  • Death

Precautions of Diazepam

The use of Diazepam can result in misuse, addiction, physical dependence on the drug, and withdrawal symptoms. Overdose or death can result from abuse or misuse of benzodiazepines when used with other medications like opioids, alcohol, or illegal substances.

Therefore, take suitable measures to prevent undesired side effects of the drug. Always prescribe benzodiazepines for the shortest time possible and at the lowest effective dose.

Before using Diazepam, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • Have a lung, liver, or kidney condition.
    Have glaucoma.
  • Substance abuse history, recreational drug use, or alcoholism or drug addiction.
  • Take medications, including herbal remedies, over-the-counter medications, and medications you buy without a prescription.
  • Have seizures or convulsions, depression, or suicide attempts.
  • Have galactose intolerance.
  • The dosage plan should be gradually tapered under strict supervision to avoid abrupt termination, even if the treatment is for a short time.
  • Tapering should be tailored for the individual patient.
  • If you are pregnant, avoid using Diazepam unless your doctor advises.
  • Diazepam passes into breast milk. Therefore, avoid using Diazepam if you are breastfeeding.
  • Elderly patients should refrain from using Diazepam over an extended period.
  • Keep Diazepam in a safe location to prevent misuse or theft.

What Medicines interact with Diazepam?

Diazepam is a drug with a low risk of side effects when used as prescribed. Diazepam, with other medications or substances that affect the central nervous system, noticeably increases the risk of side effects.

These side effects may include drowsiness, memory loss, confusion, breathing problems, hallucinations, sadness, overdose, coma, and even death.

  • Phenothiazines
  • Antipsychotics:
  • Anxiolytics:
  • Sleep Medications
  • Opioids
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Fluoxetine
  • Sedative Antihistamines

Bottom Line from Practical Anxiety Solutions

While Diazepam has many medical merits, prolonged use of this drug increases the risk of addiction and dependence. Diazepam's effects might make the drug use pleasurable in the short term but harmful in the long run. Stopping Diazepam may cause withdrawal symptoms in people who are reliant on it.

Without medical support, those who try to discontinue using Diazepam have the risk of rebound symptoms, such as seizures, anxiety, and muscular spasms. Using a tapering approach is one way to detox from Diazepam addiction.

Over a few weeks or months, the drug is tapered off gradually. A patient typically experiences withdrawal symptoms when going through detox. Although these side effects might not be pleasant, detox is an essential part of the recovery process.

A crucial aspect of recovery is that it is not a process to be rushed. The key at this time is to remain composed and patient. Remember, even a tiny step in the right direction might help you recover.