Valium Abuse Treatment


Description: Valium withdrawal, effects of Valium, Valium and alcohol, Valium abuse, Valium street names
Valium (C16H13ClN2O), manufactured by Roche, is a benzodiazepene derivative is in the anti-anxiety agent drug class. Chemically, diazepam is 7-chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-methyl-5-phenyl-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one. It is a colorless crystalline compound, insoluble in water and has a molecular weight of 284.74.

drug abuse help

Diazepam is the well known generic name for Valium which is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepenes. Other popular “benzos”includes Ativan, Alcelam, Alplax, Alpram, Alprax, Alprazolam Intensol, Alzolam, Anpress, Ansiopax, Pharnax Prinox Ralozam, Tafil, Trankimazin, Tricalma, Zacetin, Zanapam, Zenax, Zolarem, Zoldac, Zoldax and Zotran.

Street names for Valium include candy, downers, sleeping pills, and tranks.

Valium is in the anti-anxiety agent class and in Schedule IV of the DEA Controlled Substances Act.

Early in 2004, Valium celebrated its 30th anniversary. After three decades of both appropriate use and inappropriate abuse, the drug has stayed well mired in ongoing controversy. Much of the dispute around the use of Valium is because new prescriptions written in good conscience can turn out to be a problem later. Known generically as diazepam, the drug was widely prescribed in the 1960s and 70s, before its potential for serious addiction was realized.

Valium and chlordiazepoxide (Librium)were introduced in the early 1960s by Roche. These benzodiazepines were lauded as a safer alternative to barbiturates and meprobamate because they were thought to be non-habit forming and less lethal in overdose. Since the late 1960s there has been considerable debate over their side effects, potential for addiction, and abuse.

Valium is prescribed for anxiety disorders and the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Valium is also used to relieve the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal; to relieve skeletal muscle spasm; to control involuntary movement of the hands (athetosis), to relax tight, aching muscles; and, with other medications, treat convulsive disorders such as epilepsy.

In acute alcohol withdrawal, Valium provides symptomatic relief of acute agitation, tremor, impending or acute delirium tremens and hallucinations.

Valium is also used as an adjunct prior to endoscopic procedures if anxiety or acute stress reactions are present.

As a long-acting benzodiazepine, Valium is often prescribed to patients withdrawing from shorter-acting benzos, such as Xanax.

Valium tablets are intended to be swallowed whole and are available in the following strengths: 0.2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg. Valium injectable emulsion is intended for intravenous use only and should never be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

One inappropriate use of Valium is by snorting, which many users will try to minimize the unwanted effects of street drugs, such as cocaine.

Never increase the amount or frequency without your doctor’s approval, or take this drug for any reason other than the one prescribed.

The effects of Valium are felt within thirty minutes after oral injestion and one to five minutes after injection. This medicine works by increasing a chemical in your brain (gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA) that acts as a sedative.

Valium is one of the most slowly eliminated benzodiazepines. It has a half-life of up to 200 hours, which means that the blood level for each dose falls by only one half in about 8.3 days. This makes it an ideal choice for withdrawing off the shorter acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan.

This slow elimination of diazepam allows a smooth, gradual fall in blood level, allowing your body to adjust slowly to a decreasing concentration of the drug. With more rapidly eliminated benzodiazepines such as Ativan (with a half-life of 10-20 hours) the blood concentration drops rapidly and withdrawal symptoms can occur between doses, because your body has little time to adjust to low concentrations.

Benzodiazepines act at the level of the limbic, thalamic and hypothalamic regions of the CNS, producing any level of CNS depression including sedation, hypnosis, skeletal muscle relaxation, anticonvulsant activity, and coma. The action of these drugs is mediated through the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Central benzodiazepine receptors interact allosterically with GABA receptors, potentiating the effects of GABA and increasing the inhibition of the ascending reticular activating system. Benzodiazepines block the cortical and limbic arousal that occurs following stimulation of the reticular pathways.

Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.


Side Effects:
While side effects cannot be anticipated, typical Valium side effects include: drowsiness, abdominal cramps, clumsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue, light-headedness, heart palpitations, slurred speech, difficulty urinating, convulsions, hallucinations, amnesia, difficulty breathing, loss of muscle coordination, trembling, headache, and confusion.

If any of your side effects change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Valium.

If you experience any of the following symptoms they should be brought to the immediate attention of your physician.

Cautionary Notes:
Valium intoxication symptoms include, but are not limited to: confusion, diminished reflexes, sleepiness, coma, and death. If overdosage or life-threatening withdrawal is even suspected, seek immediate medical attention.

Side effects due to rapid decrease in dose or abrupt withdrawal from Valium are
abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, sweating, tremors, and vomiting.

Fatalities have been reported in patients who have overdosed with a single benzodiazepine, such as Valium, and alcohol, although the blood alcohol levels in some of these patients was lower than those usually associated with alcohol-induced fatality. In other words, alcohol and benzodiazepines is a potentially fatal combination. Again, immediate medical attention is required if this ingestion of this combination is suspected.

Combining Valium with certain other drugs can increase, decrease, or alter its effects. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Valium with:

*Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin
*Antidepressant drugs such as Elavil and Prozac
*Barbiturates such as phenobarbital
*Cimetidine (Tagamet)
*Digoxin (Lanoxin)
*Disulfiram (Antabuse)
*Fluoxetine (Prozac)
*Isoniazid (Rifamate)
*Levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet)
*Major tranquilizers such as Mellaril and Thorazine
*MAO inhibitors (antidepressant drugs such as Nardil)
*Narcotics such as Percocet
*Omeprazole (Prilosec)
*Oral contraceptives
*Propoxyphene (Darvon)
*Ranitidine (Zantac)
*Rifampin (Rifadin)

Other Medical Problems:

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of benzodiazepines. If you have any of the following conditions, make sure you discuss your use of Valium with your physician. Examples include:

* Alcohol or Drug abuse or dependence (or history of)
* Brain disease – Benzodiazepine use may increase CNS depression and other side effects
* Emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic lung disease
* Glaucoma
* Hyperactivity
* Mental depression
* Mental illness (severe)
* Myasthenia gravis
* Porphyria
* Sleep apnea (temporary stopping of breathing during sleep)
* Epilepsy or history of seizures
* Kidney or liver disease

Dependency and Withdrawal:
Valium depresses the nervous system much like alcohol and is abused by all segments of society.
Valium is both physically and psychologically addicting and as is considered one of the toughest addictions to break. With chronic use, its abuse potential is high. Withdrawal symptoms can be seen after only 2 or 3 days of repeated use.

Tolerance to Valium builds quickly and is the effect of cellular adaptive changes or enhanced drug metabolism. This tolerance develops over days, weeks, or months is a diminished response associated with chronic use of this drug.

All benzodiazepines, even when used as recommended, may produce emotional and/or physical dependence. Valium has the potential to cause severe emotional and physical dependence in some patients and these individuals may find it exceedingly difficult to stop using. It is important that your physician help you discontinue this medication in a careful and safe manner to avoid severe withdrawal.

To abruptly stop Valium after an extended period of use is extremely dangerous and can cause seizures and sometimes death. Discontinuation of the medication must include a physician supervised gradual taper schedule and/or adjunct medications to minimize acute withdrawal.

Essentially, withdrawal symptoms from Valium are like the mirror of its therapeutic effects. Valium withdrawal can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms similar to those in alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal, including jittery, shaky feelings and any of the following: rapid heartbeat, tremor, insomnia, sweating, irritability, anxiety, blurred vision, decreased concentration, decreased mental clarity, diarrhea, heightened awareness of noise or bright lights, impaired sense of smell, loss of appetite, loss of weight, muscle cramps, seizures, tingling sensation, and agitation. In more extreme cases, typically associated with sudden cessation of the drug, users may experience convulsions, tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting and sweating. After extended abuse, abrupt discontinuation should be avoided and a gradual dosage tapering schedule carefully followed.

Obviously, the severity of withdrawal symptoms is directly related to the amount of the drug taken and the length of time over which it has been taken.


Long term Valium users must taper down slowly under a knowledgeable physician’s care, or enter a detox center for 24/7 treatment. With a moderate to severe addiction from relatively long term use, an in patient detox in a hospital or medical supervised setting is highly recommended for its multi- disciplinary approach.

However a person chooses to free themselves from the clutches of a drug, there is one constant each needs: Support. Narcotics Anonymous remains a successful choice for many addicts, with world-wide availability. The “information age” has produced numerous on line support forums, popular with many recovering addicts, useful to some addicts as their sole means of support and for others, as adjunct therapy. Drug addiction is treatable, with help out there for everyone.

Treatment Information: Valium Addiction Treatment – Valium abuse can be treated successfully

treatment helpline

DEA: Drug Enforcement Agency

Self Help:


Treatment Centers:

More Information: