Diazepam is the generic name for the widely prescribed and well-known prescription medication, Valium. Diazepam is generally used to treat a range of medical conditions including muscle spasms and seizures and psychiatric issues including anxiety disorders. This medication is also frequently used in a medical detox setting to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. While this specific medication is very useful when taken as prescribed by a medical professional, it does have a high propensity for abuse. Many individuals who are prescribed Diazepam will develop tolerance over time, which will lead to increased dosages and will potentially lead to serious physical and psychological dependence. Benzodiazepines like Diazepam have a reputation for being highly habit-forming, and they are rarely utilized as a long-term solution for any existing disorder because of this. How does this medication work, and why is it so addictive? Diazepam works by increasing the activity of a chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. Individuals who lack an adequate amount of GABA will have a hard time remaining calm in stressful situations. They may be prone to severe anxiety and regular panic attacks. Taking Diazepam releases more GABA into the body, which makes its way from the central nervous system to the brain and quickly causes a reduction in anxiety.
Dangers of Short-Term Diazepam Dependence
Even individuals who take this medication as prescribed will often fall victim to short-term side effects, which can be uncomfortable but are generally never dangerous or life-threatening. The short-term side effects of Diazepam abuse include (but are not limited to):
- Drowsiness, fatigue, and tiredness.
- The weakness of the muscles/muscle fatigue.
- A general lack of coordination.
- An inability to control the movements of the muscles.
- Persistent headaches, generally mild to moderate.
- Stomach issues like nausea and constipation.
- Tremor-like symptoms.
- Dry mouth and persistent dehydration.
As previously mentioned, the short-term side effects of Diazepam use are easily managed. However, if an individual has developed a substance abuse disorder, he or she will typically experience far more severe, long-term symptoms. If you quickly discontinue the medication, you can be dealing with very uncomfortable diazepam withdrawal symptoms.
Dangers of Long-Term Diazepam Dependence
When individuals engage in Diazepam abuse for an extended period, they will begin to experience a host of serious and potentially harmful side effects. These include (but once again are not limited to):
- Extreme drowsiness that affects day-to-day life/an inability to stay awake for an extended period.
- General confusion – individuals who have been abusing Diazepam might forget where they are or what they are doing regularly.
- Blood in the stool or the urine – this symptom is an indication of a medical emergency and it should be professionally treated as quickly as possible.
- The development of severe psychiatric disorders like anxiety and/or depression.
- Insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep-related issues.
- Hallucinations – these can be auditory or visual, and will greatly disrupt daily life. Hallucinations can occur at any point in time and can lead to intense confusion and a propensity towards risk-taking behavior.
- Seizures. In many cases, random seizures occur permanently, even after Diazepam abuse has been effectively treated.
Evoke Wellness at Miramar and Diazepam Abuse
At Evoke Wellness Miramar, we utilize Diazepam for the comprehensive treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms when we deem doing so necessary. Of course, we thoroughly understand its potential for abuse, and we know that it is not a long-term solution and that it will not be equally as effective for each client. If you have been abusing Diazepam for any length of time, and if you have started experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms (no matter how severe), we are available to help. Simply give us a call and we will help you begin your journey of lifelong addiction recovery – we look forward to speaking with you at your convenience.