Valium is the brand name for the generic benzodiazepine diazepam. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance that is FDA-approved for anxiety, sedation, seizures, alcohol withdrawal and muscle spasms, among other reasons.

When someone is on Valium and abusing it, people around them will often notice strange behaviors, such as nodding off randomly or sleeping more. If you know someone is on Valium but worry they’ve started abusing it rather than taking it as instructed, signs might include trying to get refills more often or trying to obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors.

Signs Someone Is On Valium

When someone is on Valium, there is the potential for certain side effects, whether they’re taking it as prescribed or abusing the drug. Possible signs of using Valium include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Problems moving
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue

Infographic detailing the visible sign of valium usage

When someone abuses Valium, they may:

  • Take more than the directed dose
  • Take it more frequently than prescribed

Take it without a prescriptionSigns of being high on Valium include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Euphoria
  • Problems concentrating or thinking
  • Memory problems
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Depression

Signs of a Valium Addiction

If you feel like someone close to you is on Valium, it can be scary and overwhelming. The person may be exhibiting not just the signs of being on Valium, but of being addicted to the drug.

People may continue to take higher doses of benzodiazepines like Valium to keep achieving the high they had when initially abusing the drug. When someone becomes addicted, lifestyle and behavioral shifts often occur and can be red flags that someone is addicted to Valium. If you’re unsure, look for signs such as:

  • Disappearing frequently 
  • Withdrawing from professional or school commitments
  • Not engaging with people in their lives
  • Having relationship problems 
  • Declining in performance at school or work
  • Poor physical appearance or hygiene
  • Having legal problems

If you know someone is prescribed Valium, but you wonder if they’ve moved away from using it for legitimate medical purposes and are instead addicted to the drug, you might see signs such as:

  • Taking more Valium than prescribed 
  • Taking Valium more frequently than prescribed
  • Asking the doctor or pharmacy for early Valium refills
  • Claiming they lost their Valium prescription
  • Going to different doctors (“doctor shopping”) to seek Valium prescriptions
  • Claiming their symptoms are worse than they really are to get Valium prescriptions
  • Buying, borrowing, or stealing Valium from others
  • Becoming anxious at the thought of running out of Valium

Signs and Symptoms of Valium Withdrawal

When a person takes a drug like Valium over a long period of time, they can become physically dependent on it. This means that the brain and body have adjusted to expect the drug’s presence, so stopping it suddenly can cause unpleasant Valium withdrawal symptoms, like:

  • Sweating 
  • Heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute
  • Tremors 
  • Insomnia 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Agitation 
  • Anxiety 
  • Seizures

Infographic detailing the withdrawal symptoms of valium

Is It Dangerous to Be On Valium?

If someone close to you is on Valium or abusing it, you may wonder if it’s dangerous.

When used exactly as prescribed, Valium isn’t necessarily dangerous. However, as a controlled substance, there is always a potential for abuse, addiction and dependence. An overdose potential also exists, especially if someone combines Valium with other drugs, such as opioids. About 16% of opioid overdose deaths involve benzodiazepines like Valium.

Being on benzodiazepines may also be linked to long-term health effects, even if a person is taking the drug exactly as prescribed. These effects include:

  • Long-term cognitive decline
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Hip fracture in older adults

For this reason, even with a prescription for Valium, it is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of staying on the medication.

Infographic detailing the long term effects of valium

Getting Help for a Valium Addiction

The best thing that can happen with someone addicted to benzodiazepines is when they seek professional help. Experts can help get them through the withdrawal symptoms, move through a complete recovery and deal with any co-occurring mental disorders they may suffer from.

The Recovery Village offers complete Valium addiction treatment services, including medically-supervised detox, rehab and aftercare options. Call today and talk to one of our intake experts.

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.

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