For many individuals, Valium addiction begins with a legitimate doctor’s prescription. Also known as the generic drug diazepam, Valium has been available for prescription use for more than 35 years. Initially prescribed as a painkiller due to the drug’s analgesic properties, today Valium is largely used as an anti-anxiety drug.
Part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (colloquially referred to by the shortened term, “benzos”), Valium can also be prescribed for pre-operative relaxation, muscle tremors and epilepsy — and even can be used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in rare cases. Like many prescription drugs, Valium can also be used and sold recreationally, often referred to on the street as “tranqs” (tranquilizers), “candy” or simply “downers.”
Psychological Effects of Valium Addiction
As Valium use continues, many individuals find it difficult to maintain proper dosage or cease drug use once the original malady it has been prescribed for subsides. Additionally, many individuals prescribed Valium for anxiety purposes find that over time, the drug becomes a psychological crutch, leading to increased and more frequent dosages as use progresses.
Psychological impacts from Valium addiction can include cognitive delays, the development of hyperactive disorders such as ADHD, paranoia, phobias — and, ironically — even heightened anxiety. Depression can also become a side effect of Valium abuse, leading to suicidal ideation. Social anxiety disorders can also set in from prolonged Valium abuse, as well as dissociative symptoms (such as depersonalization and derealization), particularly if excessive dosages of Valium are ingested.
Physical Effects of Valium Addiction
As drug use continues, Valium can take a toll on the body itself. Symptoms of Valium addiction can include migraine headaches, balance problems such as vertigo and even muscle tremors or shaking. Many individuals battling Valium addiction also experience sleep disorders, such as insomnia or hypersomnia.
Extended use of Valium can also lead to eye twitches, ringing in the ears and dry mouth (leading to dental decay and gingivitis). The heart can also become affected by prolonged Valium use, leading to irregular blood pressure, arrhythmia, and heightened risk of heart disease and cardiac arrest. Valium addiction can also affect the reproductive system in men, particularly in the form of erectile dysfunction and loss of sexual drive.
As Valium addiction develops, withdrawal symptoms may occur when use is suddenly stopped without professional medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms associated with Valium use include rapid heartbeat, sleep interruptions, tremors, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting, accelerated levels of anxiety, and even psychotic breaks in some instances.