Understanding Valium Addiction

Valium is an addictive Benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other drugs in its class. An addiction to Valium can progress quickly if the drug is used in a way not directed by a doctor. Over time, it is harder for a Valium abuser’s brain to function normally without the drug. Yet some people addicted to Valium may not even realize they have a problem.

Taking Valium for longer than 4-6 weeks, even with a prescription from a doctor, increases the likelihood of becoming addicted.

One of the telltale symptoms of a Valium addiction is needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Other signs of an addiction to Valium include:

  • Strong cravings for the drug.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Continued use despite problems caused by the drug.
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities.
  • Ignoring obligations.

Once a user has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to for addicted people to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal.

I was taking so many pills that I wasn’t even taking them to get high anymore. I was taking them to feel normal. Not that I didn’t get high. I just had to take a ridiculous amount. I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium.

- Rapper Eminem (Marshall Mathers), Rolling Stone, 2011

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What Is Valium (Diazepam)?

Valium is most often prescribed to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also used to ease uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Valium works by diminishing hyperactive brain function to relieve severe stress and anxiety. It is ingested orally in pill form and usually taken 1-4 times per day when prescribed by a doctor. Valium is a long-acting Benzodiazepine. This means it stays in the body much longer than shorter-acting Benzos like Halcion. Because of Valium’s long-lasting nature, people can take fewer doses per day than they would with shorter-acting Benzos.

Valium is meant to be taken regularly to be effective. But when someone starts taking Valium more than prescribed, or without a prescription, they increase their risk of becoming addicted.

How Long Do Other Benzos Last?
Brands Ativan Librium Valium
Length Of Action Short-acting Intermediate Long-acting
Time 10-20 hours 10-30 hours 20-100 hours

Slang terms for Valium include: Vs, Yellow Vs (5 mg), Blue Vs (10 mg), Benzos, or Tranks.

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Reasons For Valium Addiction

Valium is most often used by people who need help dealing with the stress of daily life. These people are also the ones most likely to abuse it. While there are several reasons for Valium abuse, many of those abusing the drug don’t take it to get high. They take it to feel normal — to relieve stress and anxiety. People also abuse Valium because it helps them sleep. Valium produces a sense of intense calm and euphoria, especially in higher doses.

[Valium] makes it so you have no problem. I mean the house could burn down and you’d just sit there saying, OK, this is all right.

- Former Valium addict Sayra Small, NPR, 2014

Many people mistakenly think that because it is legal, Valium must be safe and less addictive than street drugs like Heroin or Cocaine. Due in part to these misconceptions, many people have accidentally overdosed.

Some signs of a Valium overdose include:

  • Bluish lips
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness
  • Uncoordinated movement

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Common Drug Combinations

Valium is often abused in combination with additional prescription medications and alcohol. Because Valium depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), it is especially dangerous to combine with other drugs that do the same. Most overdoses from Valium occur when the drug is mixed with other CNS Depressants like alcohol and Opiates.

Benzodiazepines and the Opiates both can cause death when you take too much of them. But… they make each other stronger. And so one plus one doesn’t equal 2; it equals 3 or 4.

- Dr. Michael Kelley, NPR, 2014

Valium Statistics

4.9+

million

Doctors wrote over 4.9 million prescriptions for Valium in 2020.

3x

admissions

Admissions for Benzo treatment (including Valium) tripled between 1998 and 2008.

1.2

million

In 2013, there were approximately 1.2 million people who abused Benzos like Valium for the first time.

Valium Addiction Treatment

Treatment centers specializing in Valium recovery can help mitigate withdrawal symptoms and decrease the odds of relapse. Attempting to detox from Valium without professional help can lead to medical problems and falling back into abuse. Contact a treatment provider for rehab-related help.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Valium Addiction

Published:

Author

Jeffrey Juergens

Photo of Jeffrey Juergens
  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

  • More from Jeffrey Juergens

Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Theresa Parisi

Photo of Theresa Parisi
  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

  • More from Theresa Parisi

Sources

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SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick , NJ

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Guardian IOP – Hoboken

Hoboken , NJ

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Guardian IOP – New Brunswick

New Brunswick , NJ

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Recovery Centers of America at Raritan Bay

South Amboy , NJ

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Princeton Detox & Recovery Center

Monmouth Junction , NJ

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Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville , PA

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Banyan Treatment Centers – Philadelphia

Philadelphia , PA

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Newport Academy – Teen Treatment Center

Fairfield , CT

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Recovery Centers of America at Devon

Devon , PA

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Serenity Mountain Recovery Center for Women

Waymart , PA

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Recovery Centers of America Outpatient at Voorhees

Voorhees , NJ

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Clearbrook Treatment Centers

Laurel , PA

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Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Bethlehem , CT

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Wellbridge

Calverton , NY

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Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway , NJ

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Recovery Centers of America at Lighthouse

Mays Landing , NJ

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