Josh Chandler | March 31, 2022

15 Dangers of Using Diazepam Long Term

What Is Diazepam?

Diazepam is a prescription drug classified as a benzodiazepine, and its more commonly known generic names are Valium, Diastat, and Diastat AcuDial. Patients can use Diazepam in various forms, including an oral solution, an oral tablet, liquid nasal spray, or intravenous injection. Diazepam is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders or panic attacks, sleep disorders, muscle spasms, and severe cases of alcohol withdrawal. 

When you take Diazepam, the effect Diazepam provides an increase in the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a powerful chemical that is responsible for sending signals throughout your central nervous system. When your body lacks GABA, it can create an excited state that will produce feelings of anxiety, cause an individual to experience muscle spasms, or trigger seizures. The effect of Diazepam will increase the amount of GABA produced within your body, helping to reduce the intense symptoms of your anxiety, alleviate the onset of muscle spasms, and eliminate the potential of seizures. 

While prescription medications offer patients a brief break from the troubling side effects of a psychological health disorder or ongoing behavioral health concern, when your use of Diazepam progresses to regular or heavy use over a long period, there can be serious risks to your overall physical and emotional well-being and health including developing a prescription drug addiction. While your original co-occurring disorders are real and cause significant side effects that need to be treated, alternative measures can be taken to effectively manage and treat your psychological health without the use of addictive prescription drugs. Through a dual diagnosis treatment program, patients will be invited to engage in various addiction therapy methods and holistic and behavioral therapy that will assist them in addressing their co-occurring disorder while learning new ways of overcoming negative responses and side effects. 

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

The Risks of Diazepam Misuse

Diazepam abuse over a long period poses significant risks to an individual’s physical and psychological health and well-being. Common risks associated with long term diazepam use are:

  • Cognitive impairment, including memory loss 
  • Learning difficulties 
  • Challenges with problem-solving skills 
  • Increased feelings of depression 
  • Higher thoughts of suicide 
  • Experiencing sleep disturbances 
  • Significant weight changes 
  • Urinary problems 
  • Constipation 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • State of constant drowsiness 
  • Stomach functioning problems 
  • Seizures, sometimes fatal seizures 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Nightmares 

While some originally began taking Diazepam to treat their anxiety disorder or sleep condition and reduce the severity of those symptoms. Many are surprised to find that long-term benzodiazepine use actually creates significantly worse symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders, or sleep conditions. This process is partly due to Diazepam being a long-lasting benzodiazepine that provides a slow-release into the benzodiazepine receptors within the brain resulting in the drug being in your system for longer, causing lingering effects on your brain and body functioning. 

Diazepam’s Effects on the Central Nervous System

Due to Diazepam being a prescribed benzodiazepine, this prescription medication will target your central nervous system as benzodiazepines are depressants. Taking a prescription drug depressant changes your mental state by slowing down your central nervous system activity, reducing physical tensions, and providing relaxation within your muscles and body. When you are experiencing high levels of anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, or insomnia, you want to find a method to bring the high-intensity feelings back down to a bearable state that allows you to relax and breathe. Benzodiazepines such as Diazepam provide individuals with a sense of relief through feelings of sedation and sends users into a euphoric state. 

Is Diazepam Addictive?

Regular diazepam abuse and its impacts on your central nervous system will increase the potential of developing an addiction to valium as your body becomes accustomed to functioning with the support of Diazepam. As your body becomes reliant on Diazepam to produce normal functioning and central nervous system regulation, to feel the same effects, you will require a higher dose to feel the same desired results. As you continuously have to increase your dosage level, your mental and physical dependency on these prescribed benzodiazepines will deepen, causing further cause for concern regarding a tumultuous spiral of drug addiction. 

The effects of valium abuse on your brain will begin to produce high levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, responsible for increasing an individual’s mood and energy levels. While taking Diazepam, your brain’s ability to produce inhibitory neurons is halted, causing high dopamine levels to rush through the brain, creating significant surges of happiness, pleasure, and relaxation. As you experience the debilitating symptoms of anxiety disorders, panic attacks, or seizures, you long for relief from the unfavorable adverse effects. The high levels of dopamine produced will quickly hook someone into chasing the feel-good feelings of euphoria and escape. Often, the first time you feel the euphoric escape from prescription drug abuse, many will be left chasing the original feeling of having to use more and more of Diazepam to reach the same desired effect. The constant need to increase the dosage puts you at risk of harmful side effects, including overdose in the worst-case scenario. 

Along with prescription medications, see what other household items people can become addicted to here:

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Diazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from Diazepam, like any other drug addiction, will be unique to you as addiction impacts each person differently. Typically, individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms from Diazepam within stages ranging from acute to severe withdrawal symptoms. Generally, individuals will experience mild or acute withdrawal symptoms within one to four days after quitting the use of prescription drug abuse. During this time, individuals will feel the following symptoms during an acute withdrawal stage:

  • Headaches 
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Cramps 
  • Tremors 
  • Rebound anxiety 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Intense drug cravings 
  • Erratic mood swings 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Depression

The other stage of diazepam withdrawal, known as the general withdrawal stage, occurs three to four days after you stop using Diazepam. This phase will often last for 10 to 14 days. The symptoms felt during this time will be less severe than in the acute stage, and common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Nausea
  • Chills 
  • Continued feelings of depression and anxiety 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Flu-like symptoms 
  • Mild headaches 
  • Fever 
  • Strong urges and drug cravings for Diazepam 

During your drug withdrawal stage, it is vital to have the ongoing support of addiction counselors and medical professionals who will help you overcome the unpleasant side effects. They will also support you to achieve your overarching goal of obtaining a life of sober living.

Signs and Symptoms of Diazepam Addiction

If you are concerned about your use of Diazepam or a loved one’s use, it is hard to differentiate when your use of this prescription medication has gone from treating an ongoing co-occurring disorder to a substance abuse concern. The following signs and symptoms indicate it is time to address your prescription drug abuse within a drug rehab program:

  • Your thought patterns and plans for the future are consumed with obtaining Diazepam or taking the medication. 
  • Stealing prescription drugs from your family and loved ones 
  • Engaging in high-risk behavior while under the influence of Diazepam, such as driving under the influence 
  • Experiencing difficulties maintaining responsibilities including work, school, and familial commitments 
  • Isolating from friends and family members 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that once brought you happiness and joy 
  • Going to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions, forging prescriptions, or finding methods to getting access to more medication, such as pretending to lose pills to receive another one 
  • Experiencing financial concerns due to your prescription drug abuse along with stealing or borrowing money to obtain more Diazepam 
  • Hoarding or stockpiling medications to consume them in larger doses to reach the desired effect 

Safe Detox and Rehab for Diazepam Addiction at Muse

At Muse Treatment Center, we believe that it is possible to live a life of healthy emotional and mental health functioning without turning to prescription drug abuse to subside the unfavorable adverse effects of your psychological health concerns. Through our comprehensive approaches to treatment, patients will be able to engage in a medically supervised valium detox that will mitigate any severe symptoms that may arise. After successfully detoxing from Diazepam, patients will be invited to participate in our individualized treatment plans that offer specialized treatments, including behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, and holistic therapy methods. Through the various addiction treatment methods, patients can identify what is at the core of their addictive behaviors while learning and developing new tools for the future for effectively managing the adverse side effects of their ongoing physical or psychological health concerns.

Our team is committed to providing you with the means to create a new, balanced lifestyle that is sober and content. Contact one of our compassionate counselors at (800) 426-1818 today to have any of your questions answered about prescription drug rehab so you can get started on your healing journey now. 

Drug Addiction,Prescription Drug Addiction,
Josh Chandler
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