Valium Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

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Valium, a benzodiazepine, is typically prescribed to manage seizures, prevent muscle spasms, or alleviate anxiety. However, individuals with a genuine medical need for the medication may still develop dependence or addiction. The signs of Valium abuse can manifest anywhere from a few weeks to several months after initiating use. Being vigilant for both physical and behavioral indicators can aid in identifying Valium addiction in a family member or friend.

Is Valium Addictive?

Valium, a benzodiazepine prescribed for various conditions, has the potential to lead to addiction when used improperly or for prolonged periods. The journey from initial use to addiction involves the progression of tolerance and dependence.

Tolerance refers to the diminishing effectiveness of a drug over time, prompting lots of people to increase their dosage to achieve the desired effects. In the case of Valium, regular use can lead to the body adapting to its presence, requiring higher doses for the same therapeutic impact. As someone builds tolerance to Valium, they may unknowingly escalate their intake, contributing to a cycle where the drug’s effectiveness diminishes, leading to increased consumption.

Dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of Valium, leading to a reliance on the drug for normal functioning. Prolonged use can result in physical and psychological dependence, where individuals feel compelled to continue using Valium to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable and distressing, often include anxiety, insomnia, and shakiness. In an attempt to alleviate these symptoms, individuals may persist in their Valium use, unknowingly developing a dependence that can progress to addiction.

The transition from dependence to addiction involves a loss of control over Valium use. People may find it challenging to cut down or control their intake despite negative consequences like impaired social, occupational, or academic functioning.

Psychological factors, such as the preoccupation with obtaining and using Valium, play a role in the development of addiction. As the compulsion to use the drug intensifies, it can lead to neglect of responsibilities, strained relationships, and an overall deterioration in quality of life.

A man sits in deep thought about the adverse affects and symptoms of Valium addiction

Signs of Valium Addiction

Valium addiction often begins innocuously, with individuals taking the medication occasionally to manage stress or improve sleep. Concealing drug use becomes commonplace, rendering it challenging for loved ones to identify potential issues.

As dependence on Valium deepens, individuals often escalate their dosage, making it more difficult to conceal their substance use. Consequently, visible signs of Valium abuse become more apparent, sharing similarities with the visible and behavioral effects of alcohol intoxication.

Several indicators may suggest Valium abuse, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Changes in appetite
  • Uncharacteristic feelings of sadness or irritability
  • Shaking (associated with withdrawal)

Recognition of these signs is crucial for identifying potential Valium-related concerns and intervening appropriately.

Valium Addiction Symptoms

DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), outlines 11 symptoms associated with Valium addiction. These symptoms include:

  1. A person may find themselves consistently exceeding the prescribed dosage or using Valium for an extended duration.
  2. Despite attempts, an individual struggles to reduce or regulate their Valium intake.
  3. Significant efforts are invested in acquiring Valium, using it, or dealing with its after-effects.
  4. Intense cravings for Valium are experienced by the individual.
  5. Valium use interferes with responsibilities and obligations in various aspects of life.
  6. Relationship issues persist or worsen due to ongoing Valium use, but the person continues to use the substance.
  7. Individuals withdraw from or reduce participation in significant activities due to Valium use.
  8. Valium is used in situations that pose a risk to physical safety, such as operating machinery or driving.
  9. Despite being aware of health problems caused or worsened by Valium use, the person continues to use the substance.
  10. Increasing amounts of Valium are needed to achieve the initial effects.
  11. Unpleasant symptoms occur when Valium use is reduced or stopped.

Treatment for Valium Addiction

Quitting Valium abruptly, often referred to as cold turkey, is strongly discouraged for anyone grappling with benzo addiction. Abrupt cessation of Valium use can precipitate life-threatening seizures and coma. Treatment for Valium addiction focuses on a gradual reduction of dose over several weeks to mitigate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and avert potential complications.

Common withdrawal symptoms from Valium encompass anxiety, insomnia, and shakiness. The duration of withdrawal varies from person to person, with individuals who consumed larger doses of Valium over an extended period requiring a more extended period to attain a sense of normalcy without the drug.

Integral components of Valium addiction treatment involve therapy and support groups. Modalities such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) help people better understand the root causes of their Valium addiction. Support groups and 12-step meetings create a constructive community with shared objectives.

Valium addiction treatment is available in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Individuals seeking assistance are encouraged to reach out to a treatment provider to explore suitable treatment options.

Columbus, Ohio downtown, where substance abuse and addiction treatment is available at Ohio Recovery Centers

Get Treatment for Valium Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

It is possible to become addicted to Valium, even if you use the medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider. At Ohio Recovery Centers in Cincinnati, OH, we specialize in treating prescription drug addiction in an outpatient setting.

If you require a more structured and supportive approach to benzodiazepine addiction, we also offer an IOP (intensive outpatient program) and a PHP (partial hospitalization program). Attend weekday therapy sessions at our Cincinnati rehab facility and return home or to a sober living community between treatment sessions.

All Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs offer a personalized mix of holistic, behavioral, and pharmacological therapies, as well as a comprehensive aftercare component. Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery from Valium addiction in Ohio tomorrow.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn