Overcoming Valium Addiction
Valium is a popular drug that has been both prescribed and abused in the 55 years since its introduction. While Valium has a number of clinical uses that ensure it will continue to see widespread use to treat certain medical conditions, Valium is also frequently abused. There are significant dangers associated with Valium abuse. The dangers associated with the effects of Valium over a long period of time sometimes eclipse the complications that can occur when individuals addicted to Valium attempt to stop.
One of the central challenges facing individuals that use Valium is navigating the process of cessation. Quitting the use of Valium is often incredibly difficult, and presents unique hurdles that recovering addicts must overcome. In this article, we will explore some of the ways that you can overcome a Valium addiction. Though every individual’s path of recovery is unique, those seeking to overcome an addiction to Valium tend to have the best chances for a successful recovery when they utilize an inpatient recovery program.
Although inpatient treatment programs are not the only treatment option available, the intensive nature of inpatient treatment allows for the targeted use of a variety of treatment modalities. These include the types of therapies and counseling that can help those individuals addicted to Valium overcome their drug addiction. At the same time, inpatient programs may offer recovering addicts the opportunity for a medically managed detox. Medical management of Valium withdrawal symptoms can help recovering addicts navigate withdrawal by easing signs and symptoms. This allows individuals in recovery to focus on their recovery journey rather than withdrawal.
What is Valium?
Before we dive into the steps to overcoming a Valium addiction, it is helpful to first understand exactly what Valium is. This information is helpful because it informs decisions regarding the level and quality of care necessary to overcome valium addiction.
Valium is the trade name for the drug diazepam. Diazepam is a drug within the benzodiazepine family. Benzodiazepines were first invented in the mid-1950s, with the first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide, marketed under the trade name Librium, released in 1960. Like Librium, Valium was also created during the 1950s and began being prescribed and sold in 1963.
Seen as a less toxic alternative to barbiturates, the prescribed use of benzodiazepines surged throughout the 1960s. By the 1970s benzodiazepines were widely recognized as the most prescribed class of drugs in the world. This popularity was accompanied by a growing recognition of the risks that are associated with benzodiazepine use, particularly over extended periods of time. While less toxic than barbiturates, Valium and other benzodiazepines were not without side effects. Foremost among these was a high potential for substance abuse.
What are the Effects of Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines function by enhancing the effectiveness of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter released at the ends of nerves within your body. Through their action on neurotransmitters, benzodiazepines exert a strong calming effect on the central nervous system.
The most common effects of this class of drug when administered are:
- Muscle Relaxation
What is Valium Used to Treat?
Given the strong calming effect that prescription drugs like Valium and other benzodiazepines have on the central nervous system, it may come as no surprise that this class of drugs is most often used to treat anxiety related conditions. Although this article is primarily centered on overcoming Valium addiction, gaining a better understanding of why Valium is prescribed can illuminate some of the most common pathways to valium addiction.
Valium and other benzodiazepines are most frequently used for the short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Other conditions that Valium may be prescribed for include:
- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The profound effect of benzodiazepines on the central nervous system makes these drugs particularly effective at treating anxiety-related disorders. Valium is also commonly seen in a preoperative surgical setting, where it is administered to patients prior to surgery to reduce anxiety.
One thing to note about Valium is that it is a benzodiazepine with a long half-life. The half-life of a drug is the length of time it takes your body to break down, or metabolize, half of the drug. Another way to think of this is how long a drug remains in your body. Drugs with a long half-life, like Valium, have a longer action. Benzodiazepines that have a longer action are typically used for the treatment of anxiety, while Benzodiazepines with a short half-life, such as Xanax, may be used to treat conditions like insomnia which require a more powerful sedative effect.
Steps to Overcoming a Valium Addiction
If you have been struggling with how to overcome valium addiction, you aren’t alone. Overcoming an addiction to benzodiazepines is no easy task. Not only must an individual addicted to Valium contend with a strong chemical dependence, but they must also safely navigate the withdrawal process. The difficulty of overcoming a Valium addiction can often be seen in the fact that many people that seek treatment for Valium addiction have attempted to stop before. While there is no shame in relapsing, it can also be an important marker for when it is time to seek outside help.
In order to gain a better understanding of the process of overcoming a Valium addiction, we’re going to break it down into broad steps. Breaking down the process into chunks that are easier to digest can help make the process more understandable and less formidable. As always, it is important to remember that everyone’s path to recovery is different. Just as everyone’s path to addiction is unique, the path out of addiction towards lifelong sobriety is also unique. So, if your path to recovery doesn’t precisely mirror the steps we outline here, don’t assume that it is less legitimate. The important thing is to achieve long-lasting recovery in a safe, effective manner. Let’s take a look at how that often happens.
Recognize There’s a Problem
Valium is a drug that is often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. While Valium use in the short-term as prescribed can avoid complications, extended use of Valium over a long period of time can result in chemical dependency. Many people that find they are addicted to Valium begin their benzo addiction through a traditional treatment program for anxiety or panic disorder. To be sure, this isn’t always the case. Abuse of Valium is widespread, and due to its popularity for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, there is a wide availability of Valium on the black market.
Regardless of how you or a family member was introduced to Valium, it is important to recognize when the use of Valium has become a problem. Sometimes this comes when your attempt to not take Valium and experience withdrawal symptoms. Other times it is because of the negative long-term effects in your life as a result of Valium use. At a certain point, you must recognize that Valium use has become a problem. This recognition is the first step towards accepting you have a problem and getting the help you need for it from a treatment specialist.
Get the Help You Need
Valium and other benzodiazepines shouldn’t be quit suddenly, or “cold turkey”. This approach to quitting carries with it a number of risks, and is generally accepted as less effective for long-term recovery. The problem with quitting benzodiazepines suddenly is that withdrawal symptoms can be intense, come on suddenly, and result in health complications that can lead to death. In particular, the onset of seizures during benzodiazepine withdrawal is a real risk.
Some of the symptoms of withdrawal also make it much more likely that the recovering addict will return to using Valium. Valium withdrawal often results in intense anxiety. This can be especially difficult for individuals who began using Valium to treat anxiety related issues. The anxiety these individuals feel during withdrawal may be even more intense than the anxiety they felt when they initially began treatment. Known as rebound anxiety, this condition is one of many unique challenges that are part of Valium withdrawal.
In order to have the best chances for overcoming valium withdrawal, it is important to navigate treatment with help and access to the resources that can prepare you for long-term sobriety. Treatment programs give recovery addicts access to medical supervision during the valium detox process and the therapies and treatments for valium addiction that can address the underlying issues that gave rise to the addiction in the first place. The next step in securing a future of sobriety is selecting a treatment facility to work with and identifying the treatment program that is right for you.
Choose a Treatment Facility and Program
Choosing the right treatment facility and treatment program can have a big impact on your success. Each treatment facility has different advantages and disadvantages. You’ll want to find a treatment facility where the staff is engaged and happy with their job, where the facility is clean and well taken care of, and where patient safety and security are the top priority. At the same time, the type of treatment program should also be something you are comfortable with. Take some time to get to know the medical professionals you’ll be working with and to understand their underlying treatment philosophy. If this philosophy aligns closely with your own views, chances are you will have a much easier transition into life in treatment.
During this time, you will also have to make important decisions regarding the specific type of treatment program that you enter. In many cases, you’ll make this decision after consultation with a medical professional who will determine the severity of your addiction and the types of treatment modalities that are most likely to aid you.
Broadly speaking, there are two primary avenues that are commonly used to overcome a valium addiction. Both of these are recovery programs at a treatment facility, which is far safer than attempting to quit benzodiazepines cold-turkey. These two options are inpatient and outpatient recovery programs. Both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs have advantages and disadvantages that you should carefully consider. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that there is no right answer when it comes to treatment options. The best treatment option is the one that works for you and your unique situation.
Inpatient treatment is sometimes the preferred type of treatment program for addiction to Valium and other benzodiazepines. Cessation of benzodiazepines after extended use, or use at high dosages, carries with it a number of risks. Minimizing these risks during withdrawal is an essential component to achieving lasting sobriety in a safe manner. Inpatient recovery programs typically involve living in the treatment facility for anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
The first portion of an inpatient recovery program is usually detox, where all remaining Valium is removed from your system and you navigate the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. After the detox portion of treatment, you’ll move on to therapy sessions and skills courses that will help prepare you for life after treatment.
Outpatient treatment for benzodiazepines can be a good option if the use of Valium has become problematic but isn’t to the level that would require an inpatient program to overcome. You may be required to undergo a detox program prior to starting outpatient treatment, in which case you would spend some time under 24-hour medical supervision while you detox. After detox, outpatient treatment usually requires individuals to go through therapy and skills courses during the day, after which they return home at night. Outpatient treatment can be a good option for individuals that have childcare or employment needs that can’t be met while in an inpatient recovery program.
Overcoming Valium addiction is often an extremely challenging process. Valium is a benzodiazepine that is widely prescribed for the treatment of severe anxiety and panic disorders. Like other benzodiazepines, when the use of Valium is stopped suddenly it can result in severe health complications. Avoiding these complications, and ensuring that you or your loved one has the best chances for a successful recovery, most often means entering a treatment program.
The first step in overcoming an addiction to Valium is to recognize that you have a problem. Once you or your loved one has recognized that there is a problem, understand that overcoming an addiction to Valium is often a team effort. You’ll need to build out a support network to help you navigate challenges during sobriety, and find a treatment facility and program that you are comfortable with and that offers the types of treatment modalities you need. If you are struggling with overcoming an addiction to Valium, please contact Apex Recovery today to help determine the treatment program and level of care that is right for you.