How to tell if a loved one is addicted to Valium
Valium addiction rarely develops overnight. You may notice initially that your loved one has started taking higher doses of the medication in order to relieve anxiety or to fall asleep more easily. Eventually, your loved one might start requesting refills of this sedative more frequently or even seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor. He or she may become preoccupied with seeking and taking the drug.
Valium is prescribed to control seizures, prevent muscle spasms, or relieve anxiety, but even users with a legitimate need for the medication can become dependent or addicted. It can take a few weeks to several months for the signs of Valium abuse to develop. Watching for these physical and behavioral red flags will help you determine whether your family member or friend is in danger of addiction.
Physical signs and symptoms
As a tranquilizing medication, Valium (diazepam) slows down activity in the central nervous system. The signs and symptoms of addiction often reflect this suppression of brain and nerve activity. Other vital functions of the body, such as respiration, heartbeat, digestion, and urination, can also be affected by Valium abuse. The user may appear drowsy all the time or be difficult to wake from sleep. He or she might have shallow breathing, pale skin, and poor motor coordination. You might observe a higher rate of bruises or other injuries caused by more frequent falls and accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Valium is a moderate tranquilizer at low doses, causing confusion, impaired motor skills, and drowsiness; however, at higher doses, the effects of diazepam are similar to alcohol intoxication.
- Poor judgment
- Slurred speech
- Double vision
- Dry mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Painful or difficult urination
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle spasms
Valium addiction can have hazardous health consequences, including low blood pressure, respiratory depression, dizziness, seizure activity in the brain, and overdose. When Valium is combined with alcohol, sleeping pills, or other drugs that have a sedating effect, the risk of an overdose is even greater.
Behavioral and psychological changes
Since its introduction in 1963, Valium has been one of the most popular anti-anxiety drugs in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, heavy users often experience an intensification of the psychological symptoms that prompted them to take Valium in the first place. Some of the behavioral and psychological changes associated with Valium addiction include:
- Increased anxiety
- Irrational or disorganized thinking
- Memory problems
Someone who is addicted to Valium will show an increased concern about obtaining and using the medication, even at the expense of his or her health and well-being. Social isolation may occur as the user gradually spends more time taking the drug or recovering from its effects. Your loved one may begin to neglect work and family responsibilities and lose interest in favorite hobbies. His or her personal grooming habits and hygiene may decline. Individuals who are addicted to Valium may borrow or steal money or obtain the drug from friends or dealers to support their need for this tranquilizer.
Getting a loved one into treatment
These significant changes in physical and psychological health point to a serious problem with Valium. A professional intervention may be necessary to persuade your loved one of the importance of seeking treatment. Withdrawing from Valium without medical support can be not only uncomfortable, but also dangerous. Stopping the medication suddenly can trigger seizures, rebound anxiety, and other severe withdrawal symptoms. Talking with your loved one about the positive effects of medically assisted detox as well as the life-changing benefits of rehab may convince him or her that it’s time to get help.
The Recovery Village offers a complete range of rehab services for individuals who need help with prescription drug addiction. They offer transportation services to the facility and expedited admissions for referring health care professionals whose patients need substance abuse treatment. In addition, the services offered include support and therapy for the families of clients. Call the admissions team at any time to find out how The Recovery Village can help you create a healthy, sober life for you and your loved ones.