Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

What Causes Valium Addiction? Exploring the Risks and Signs

Key Takeaways

Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine that acts as a muscle relaxant, making it useful for procedures like colonoscopies or MRI scans. It enhances neurotransmitter activities in the brain and nervous system, resulting in mental and physical relaxation.

Despite these benefits, some abuse Valium in large doses for intense calm and euphoria. Others do so to self-medicate stress and other mental health conditions.

As such, it's vital to know Valium's potential for misuse, dependency, or addiction. The following sections explore the implications of Valium misuse and provide critical information for those concerned about addiction.

Is Valium Addictive?

Yes, routinely consuming Valium over time leads to tolerance or dependence on the drug. Once this happens, you’ll need to take higher doses to gain the same effects you once experienced at lower doses.

People who are physically dependent on drugs can experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. This can occur even after using Valium for a short time. 

If you suffer from mental illness or substance abuse, you're at a higher risk of developing a problem with Valium use.


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What are the Signs of Valium Addiction?

Signs of Valium addiction may be challenging to recognize. Addiction to this medication can develop slowly over up to four months, which aligns with typical prescription periods. 

Misusing Valium against your doctor’s prescription constitutes abuse. Meanwhile, cravings or withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use indicate addiction.

Look out for these Valium addiction signs that you or a loved one may gradually exhibit:

  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Double vision
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability 
  • Paranoia
  • Poor judgment
  • Restlessness
  • Slurred speech
  • Taking valium at higher doses and out-of-prescription guidelines
  • Frequently asking for Valium prescription refills
  • Having an unusual preoccupation with taking the drug
  • Having money problems from buying Valium
  • Losing interest in things and activities you used to love
  • Placing addiction before professional and personal obligations
  • Performing poorly at school or work
  • Being in a constant state of sedation from taking too much Valium
  • Reduced ability for regular doses to control seizures or anxiety
  • Increased cravings for alcohol or increased alcohol consumption
  • Higher incidence and severity of side effects
  • Having benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms

What are Valium Withdrawal Signs?

Valium withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pains or cramps
  • Tremors
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or rebound anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

What are the Signs of Valium Overdose?

A Valium overdose can lead to severe complications and side effects. If you notice these signs of a Valium overdose, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hyperventilation or slow breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of strength or energy
  • Muscle spasms, pain, or weakness
  • Pale or blue hue to lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Sleepiness, drowsiness, or fatigue
  • Dulled or slowed thinking or movement

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Valium Addiction Treatment

If you have concerns about Valium use in yourself or a loved one, it's critical to seek help immediately. Treatment for Valium addiction can vary depending on the level and length of abuse.

Treatment options include:

  • Detoxification: This process involves managing withdrawal symptoms by tapering off doses over time. It's best under medical supervision to ensure safety and reduce relapse risk.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation: This treatment will provide a safe environment to stop taking Valium, especially if you have severe addiction. It also offers individual therapy, group counseling, and support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA).
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation: For less severe cases of addiction, this may be an option. Outpatient treatment allows individuals to continue their daily routines while attending therapy sessions and support groups.
  • Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)  can help identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to Valium addiction. Support groups also provide a supportive community for those going through similar struggles.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Some medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, may help manage withdrawal symptoms or co-occurring mental health disorders.

How to Prevent Valium Addiction

It’s possible to reduce your risk of developing tolerance, dependence, and addiction to Valium. First, you'll need to understand your risk factors:

  • Family history: If you have a family history of addiction, you’re at a higher risk of developing addiction problems. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about alternatives to drugs like Valium.
  • Mental health: An underlying mental health problem can also put you at risk of substance abuse and dependence. Consider talking to a doctor about your condition before taking Valium; they may adjust your dose or provide alternatives.

If you take the drug, it's essential to monitor your drug use and take Valium as your doctor prescribes. Avoid sharing prescriptions, track your medication, and consult your doctor immediately if you notice changes in your thoughts, behavior, mood, and overall health.

Guidance for Caregivers and Family Members

Here are some ways to help those struggling with Valium abuse:

  • Educate yourself about the drug: Research and learn more about Valium addiction, its signs, symptoms, and effects on the body. The more knowledge you have, the better you understand your loved one's struggles.
  • Encourage them to seek treatment: Offer your support and encouragement to seek professional help. Let them know you're always by their side, and you can accompany them to appointments or even help them find a treatment facility.
  • Be patient and understanding: Recovery from addiction is a long process, and there will be setbacks along the way. It's essential to be patient and understanding with your loved one as they work towards sobriety.
  • Avoid enabling behaviors: It can be tempting to try and protect your loved one from the consequences of their addiction, but this can actually hinder their recovery. Avoid giving them money or making excuses for their behavior.
  • Take care of yourself: Supporting a loved one through addiction can be emotionally and physically draining. Take care of your well-being, and seek support from others if necessary.

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Resources for Help and Support

If you or someone you know is struggling with Valium addiction, there are resources available to help. Consider reaching out to:

  • National Helpline: 1-800-237-TALK (8255)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment locator
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • Your primary care provider or a mental health professional: Consult them for personalized guidance and treatment options

Valium Drug & Medication Interactions

Valium’s interaction is more potent in combination with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol, sleep medications, and cold medications. Other examples of drugs that interact with Valium include:


Valium is the brand name for the benzodiazepine diazepam. It treats various conditions and provides sedation for certain medical procedures.

Although it has many uses, some users abuse it due to its euphoric and relaxing side effects. Valium abuse can quickly lead to addiction and dependence, with many adverse side effects.

Fortunately, help is always available for anyone with a Valium addiction. With the proper support and resources, there’s a high probability of overcoming Valium dependence.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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