Is Diazepam a Narcotic?
What Is Diazepam?
Diazepam is a generic drug with the brand name Valium. It’s prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and is classified as a benzodiazepine. This drug class also includes alprazolam, which is Xanax, clonazepam or Klonopin, and lorazepam which is the brand name Ativan. Along with being used to treat anxiety disorders, diazepam can also be prescribed to treat tremors, seizures, and delirium associated with withdrawal from alcohol.
Benzodiazepines are considered psychoactive substances, meaning they affect the thoughts and behaviors of the person using the drug. There are risks associated with the use of benzos like diazepam, but they remain one of the most commonly prescribed drug classes in the U.S. Diazepam and other benzos are believed to work by stimulating a calming or tranquilizing brain chemical. Common side effects of diazepam and other benzos include drowsiness, dizziness and, in some cases, feelings of depression. For someone with anxiety, the brain tends to be over-active. The brain isn’t able to naturally produce enough tranquilizing signals to calm this activity. One of the primary neurotransmitters responsible for providing a calming effect in the brain is GABA. Diazepam and other benzos are thought to improve the effectiveness of GABA, creating a tranquilized brain effect. Specific disorders diazepam may be prescribed to treat along with alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Epileptic seizures
- Panic attacks
Doctors are advised not to prescribe diazepam or other benzodiazepines as a long-term treatment option, however. These drugs can be habit-forming, and physical dependence is also possible. They are usually safe for short-term use of around two weeks. Any longer than this and someone’s chances of becoming addicted or dependent are significantly higher.
Inside Addiction, Nov. 24–30: Trump’s Medicare Proposal, Amanda Bynes’ History of Addiction, Bruce Springsteen’s Mental HealthNovember 30, 2018
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