Side Effects of Valium (Diazepam)
Valium (diazepam) is a member of the benzodiazepine class of medications. Benzodiazepines were developed in an effort to create a medication that could effectively treat anxiety and seizures but did not have the addictive potential of barbiturate drugs that were commonly used for these purposes at the time. Nonetheless, benzodiazepines are significant drugs of misuse.
This article will discuss Valium side effects and how to get professional treatment for Valium misuse and addiction.
What Are the Side Effects of Valium Use?
As with most prescription medications, there are known potential side effects of Valium. Which Valium side effects a person experiences and the severity of those side effects can depend on multiple factors, including whether the person is taking:
- High doses of Valium.
- Valium long-term.
- Valium at the same time as other substances.
Because of its central nervous system depressant effects as well as its effect on several different neurotransmitter systems, common side effects of Valium use may include:
- Feelings of wellbeing or euphoria.
- A reduction in motor coordination that is dose-dependent, such that motor coordination rapidly declines as one takes more of the drug.
- Decreased rate of thought.
- Slurred speech.
- Muscle weakness.
Infrequent side effects of Valium use include:
- Extreme confusion.
- Extreme weakness.
- Significantly reduced energy levels.
- Dry mouth.
Rare Valium side effects include:
- Allergic reactions that can include the development of hives or rash, swelling in the face or extremities, difficulty breathing, anxiety, and confusion.
- Gastrointestinal issues that can include nausea, constipation, and other issues.
- Other central nervous system effects, including depression, dysarthria, tremor, headache, and vertigo.
- Problems with vision, such as blurred vision or double vision.
- Cardiovascular issues including significant hypotension; in some cases, increased potential for heart attack.
- Paradoxical reactions, such as becoming very excited, anxious, agitated, irritable, or more aggressive; in some rare cases, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and/or seizures.
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and nightmares.
- Hallucinations and delusions in some individuals.
- Muscle spasticity.
- Memory issues, such as antereograde amnesia (difficulty forming new memories or remembering events that occurred).
- Liver and kidney damage.
In some cases, individuals who have used Valium for a significant length of time and then discontinue its use may develop a rebound effect. This effect occurs when discontinuation of the drug results in the occurrence of symptoms that the drug originally controlled.
Rebound effects that are common with the discontinuation of Valium include:
- Increased anxiety.
Common Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Because Valium use can result in the development of physical dependence, tolerance is a very common side effect of taking Valium on a regular basis.
Tolerance occurs when the individual no longer gets the same effects from the dosage they have been taking and needs to increase the dose to achieve the desired effects. Tolerance to Valium develops rapidly.
Some individuals who use Valium on a regular basis for more than several weeks may also develop withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing Valium can be potentially severe and include issues with:
In certain situations, withdrawal complications like seizures can occur and be life-threatening. To ensure safety, medical supervision is recommended when a person detoxes from Valium.
Is Valium Dangerous?
According to the FDA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), when Valium is used under the supervision of a physician and in accordance with its prescribed dosage and frequency of use, it produces very few side effects.
Individuals who experience side effects from Valium most often have issues with motor coordination, dizziness, lethargy, and mild muscle weakness. If a person experiences more severe side effects, the medication can be discontinued and a different medication used.
Individuals who misuse benzodiazepines often use them in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol. The potential for the development of any of the above side effects of Valium listed as rare increases when a person takes Valium:
- More frequently than it is designed to be taken.
- At higher doses than recommended.
- With other drugs.
This includes issues with aggressiveness, irritability, psychosis, and potential damage to the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and excretory system.
Individuals who take extremely high doses of Valium are at risk for overdose, which can include comatose states and a lack of oxygen to the brain that can be potentially fatal.
In addition, individuals who mix different drugs are at an increased risk to develop idiosyncratic reactions that can be puzzling to even the most experienced emergency room physicians.
People who mix central nervous system depressant drugs (e.g., Valium and alcohol) are also at an increased risk for overdose and the development of unusual side effects.
The development of physical dependence on Valium (having both tolerance and withdrawal syndromes) is typically not problematic for individuals who use the drug under the supervision of a physician and according to its prescribed purposes.
These individuals often develop a low-level physical dependence that is controlled by their medicinal use of the drug. If the patient and physician decide to discontinue use of Valium, the physician can discontinue it on a tapering schedule to allow the person to slowly be weaned off the drug.
Individuals who misuse Valium often use it in far greater amounts than the dosages prescribed for medicinal purposes, and this often results in significant issues with withdrawal.
For many, the onset of withdrawal symptoms leads to increased drug use, polydrug use, and issues with controlling behavior that can lead to numerous legal problems, financial issues, and other problems.
Issues controlling drug use and experiencing significant dysfunction and impairment associated with Valium use are extremely rare in people who use the drug for medicinal reasons and under the supervision of a physician.
Find Valium Addiction Treatment in Mississippi
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