Valium: Abuse Symptoms, Fatal Outcomes and Getting Help
Valium (generic name: Diazepam) is commonly used as an anti-anxiety drug and is one of several popular benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system (Mayo Clinic). Most CNS depressants act on the brain by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that inhibits brain activity. This mechanism of action causes the calming effects that make the medicine useful for anxiety disorders (National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA).
Valium Abuse Symptoms and Fatal Outcomes
What may have started out as legitimate reasons for using Valium sometimes turns into a substance abuse disorder. This can take the form of an unintentional dependence on the medication or abusing Valium with other substances like opiates or alcohol. The latter form of abuse is particularly dangerous, due to the fact that all of these substances cause slow breathing. This rapid decrease in respiratory function, also known as hypoxia (the inability for oxygen to reach the brain), can lead to brain damage, coma, or death. Other symptoms and signs that someone is abusing Valium can include:
- Change in consciousness
- Difficult or troubled breathing
- Irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of strength or energy
- Pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- Unusual drowsiness, tiredness, or weakness
It’s also important to note that those addicted to benzodiazepines should never attempt to stop taking them abruptly or on their own. Withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, shakiness, and increased heart rate from these drugs can be severe. In some cases, it can even lead to seizures or life-threatening outcomes, such as a stroke.
Benzodiazepine Addiction and Getting Treatment
Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for legitimate reasons such as anxiety disorders, epilepsy, sleep problems, and even alcohol withdrawal. However, over time, an unintentional dependence or intentional abuse of the medication can form. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have a benzodiazepine addiction, it’s vital to take action. The harmful effects of this addiction will only worsen and can even become life-threatening over time. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and recovery is possible. Make the life-saving decision to get help today—contact Daylight Recovery Services at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT to speak with one of our recovery experts.