Anxiety is on the rise. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, 40% of Americans reported an increase in the amount of anxiety in their daily lives.
Approximately 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder. Many turn to help from prescription drugs. Valium is one of the most popular anxiety-reducing drugs available to Americans.
Valium can help to greatly manage anxiety, as well as control muscle spasms and seizures. It can also be potentially dangerous in its own right, especially if used improperly.
How can you tell if you or a loved one are becoming addicted to Valium? It can be hard to notice if you don’t understand the effects of the drug. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Valium addiction and abuse.
Valium Addiction Statistics
Who does Valium addiction affect and how bad is the problem? Research on such questions has only really just begun. As Valium becomes more and more popular, so does the potential for abuse and tragedy.
General Statistics On Addiction To Valium
Abuse of valium has increased steadily over the course of the last decade alongside the demand for prescriptions. On average, Valium and other benzodiazepines are a contributing factor in nearly one-third of prescription drug-related overdoses.
There about 15 million prescriptions for valium in the United States, making it one of the country’s most popular prescription drugs, behind Xanax and Ativan.
In film, television, and pop culture at large, Valium abuse has been characterized as a problem that affects mostly upper-middle-class women. The stereotype of a busy housewife juggling responsibilities and social obligations while popping pills is a common one. It’s also completely untrue.
Valium is heavily abused by people of all different demographics.
Signs Of Valium Addiction
Despite the common and widespread use of Valium, many people don’t understand the drug and its effects. This can make it difficult to discern when addiction is developing.
The intended use of Valium targets the GABA receptors in the brain. Once these receptors are activated due to contact with Valium, they release sedation and anxiety relief. Medical guidelines intend Valium to be used in short-term situations.
But desire for longer-term use can frequently snowball into more harrowing addiction scenarios.
Am I Addicted?
There are a number of Valium addiction signs to look out for. First among them is a strong increase in tolerance of the drug. Increased use of Valium by an individual can result in the body getting used to the chemical for normal functioning.
Higher dosages will then be required to achieve the desired effect of the drug. If you’ve found yourself requiring such higher dosages, it can be the first serious sign of an addiction problem.
This need can continually snowball if not properly taken care of, with an individual requiring more and more to stay ‘normal’ as time goes on.
Attempting to step away from the Valium can result in serious withdrawal symptoms. These can include painful physical and mental states.
Dizziness, headaches, nausea, and a lack of coordination are common, as well as fatigue and insomnia. In severe cases, withdrawal can create hallucinations, seizures, or psychosis.
Attempting to dial back Valium use can also create a “rebound” effect in terms of anxiety and stress. If you experience such symptoms when you stop taking Valium, you very likely are in a serious addiction situation.
The second that you or a loved one has difficulty functioning without the drug is the second that an intervention needs to occur. Addiction and abuse can only get worse from that moment on.
Valium addiction is particularly hard for the abuser to come to terms with due to the positive feelings and attitude that the drug generates. Any and all attempts to receive higher dosages or greater amounts of Valium should be seen as a sign of addiction.
Repeated failure to honor social or familial responsibilities also indicates a behavioral swap that is indicative of extreme addiction.
Dangers of Valium Addiction
There is more than one threat of danger when it comes to Valium addiction. Both the use of and withdrawal from heavy opiate use can have potentially harmful effects on the body. This is what makes such an addiction so difficult to overcome.
Withdrawal from Valium is a serious matter and should be done under the supervision of medical professionals. Withdrawal symptoms, if extreme, can actually be life-threatening.
Status epilepticus, the dangerous kind of brain seizure that Valium withdrawal can cause, kills around 50,000 people a year. Going through withdrawal symptoms alongside trained medical practitioners can greatly decrease the risk of incident. It can also give you a strong emotional support system.
Valium abuse can also result in death by overdose. As levels of the drug increase, there can be serious damage done to cognition and memory. Valium chemicals can accumulate in the fatty tissues of the brain and stay rooted.
In worst case scenarios, large amounts of Valium can threaten to shut the brain down completely. If a loved one falls into a difficult to wake state from sleep or coma, they might be overdosing.
Even if they remain conscious, blurred vision, blue lips or nails, and a loss of cognitive control all are indicative of a possibly fatal shutdown. If you or a loved one are experiencing such symptoms following Valium use, you should seek medical help immediately.
Despite being one of the most popular and most heavily prescribed drugs in America, Valium can be incredibly dangerous and possibly fatal if abused.