Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Diastat Abuse

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Diastat is a prescription medication with the generic name diazepam. Diazepam is a controlled substance and is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines can cause addiction and physical dependence. These risks are higher in people who misuse this drug class. Benzodiazepines are one of the most prescribed and misused drug classes in the U.S. Generally, benzodiazepines are given for anxiety, panic disorders, sleep disorders, alcohol withdrawal syndrome and to treat muscle spasms and seizures. These drugs have a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system. They reduce electrical activity in the brain, and as a result, can also cause side effects like drowsiness and sedation.
Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Diastat Abuse
Diastat is a unique benzodiazepine used to treat breakthrough seizures. Diastat isn’t an everyday seizure medication. Instead, it’s prescribed to people who are already on a daily seizure control medication and may experience breakthrough or cluster seizures. Diastat is only a short-term treatment option. If someone is medicated daily and has breakthrough or cluster seizures, it can turn into a serious or deadly situation. Diastat is given rectally in a syringe, and the dosage comes pre-measured by a pharmacist. Signs of Diastat abuse can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Sedation
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in coordination
  • Older people abusing benzodiazepine may also seem confused, or as if they have dementia
  • Using Diastat without a prescription
  • Using higher doses or taking Diastat more often than prescribed

Benzodiazepine abuse doesn’t necessarily mean a person is addicted. However, abusing a drug like Diastat with an addiction potential can increase this risk. The best way to prevent Diastat addiction is to follow a doctor’s instructions exactly when taking it. If someone has a history of substance misuse or addiction, they should also discuss this with their physician before they’re prescribed Diastat.

When someone is misusing a drug like Diastat or is addicted, there will be certain symptoms and side effects that become apparent to the people around them. Many people who are addicted to benzodiazepines will lose interest in things previously important to them, such as school, work or relationships with friends and family. People who are misusing Diastat or another benzodiazepine may start to withdraw from people and activities. This is often because the side effects of their drug misuse are obvious and they’d rather not have people around them notice. Diastat abuse symptoms can include trying to get multiple prescriptions for drugs, doctor shopping or creating fake symptoms in an attempt to get more drugs. Diastat abuse may also include mixing benzodiazepines with other types of drugs, such as alcohol or opioids.
Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Diastat Abuse
People who use Diastat are warned of the risk of addiction that is possible. All benzodiazepines have the potential to be addictive because they change the brain and affect the GABA neurotransmitter. With repeated exposure, these brain changes can lead to the disease of addiction. Other factors contributing to Diastat addiction can include a family history of substance misuse, specific elements of brain chemistry and the environment a person is in. For example, if someone has high levels of stress in their life, they may be more likely to become addicted to benzodiazepines. People with mental illnesses may also be at a higher risk of Diastat addiction because of their attempts to self-medicate. Addiction is defined as compulsive, out-of-control use of a drug. Signs of Diastat addiction can include:

  • Being obsessed with the use of Diastat or constantly preoccupied with it above all else
  • Continuing to use Diastat, even when there are negative side effects
  • Trying to stop using Diastat and being unsuccessful
  • Being dishonest to cover up drug use
  • Developing a physical dependence
  • Emotional symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, confusion and hostility
  • Changes in cognition and memory
  • Developing tolerance for the drug

Another side effect of Diastat addiction can be the development of polysubstance abuse. This is a scenario where someone misuses or is addicted to multiple drugs. Benzodiazepine addiction rarely occurs on its own. Instead, it more often occurs with other substance addictions, such as alcoholism or opioid addiction. Not only does this make addiction treatment more difficult, but this also increases the likelihood of an overdose.

If you’re struggling with Diastat addiction or misuse, The Recovery Village is available now. From answering questions to providing rehab information, we’re here to talk.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.