“You need a Valium!”
Parents and teens spit the retort back and forth in a way that is meant to be dismissive, but Valium is a versatile sedative in the benzodiazepine family with real dangers – especially for youths.
Similar to Xanax, Valium is a central nervous system depressant prescribed largely for anxiety disorders, but the drug also treats muscle spasms and seizures.
Valium is also an addictive recreational drug that has unfortunately become all too commonplace.
Sovereign Health provides Valium addiction treatment in all of our locations nationwide.
Valium abuse starts rather blandly most of the time.
People with a prescription may continue to fill their prescriptions long after their medical need for the medicine has passed, having become attached to the way the drug makes them feel. Others may share their pills now and then with friends who are feeling stressed. Soon those friends might start seeking out whole bottles on the black market to maintain their own stash.
Parents and young people often fall into drug dependency because:
- Valium has muscle relaxant properties
- Sedative effects help with sleep disturbances
- The drug causes a sense of euphoria correlated to the dosage and frequency
Use can quickly escalate to dependency and then abuse. There are indications Valium use has gone too far.
Symptoms of Valium Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, central nervous system depressants like Valium can cause:
- Blurred vision
- Changes in appetite and mood swings
- Clumsiness, slowed reflexes and other motor difficulties
- Dry mouth
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sleeping difficulties and lethargy
- Severe withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
Red Flags of Valium Addiction
Sometimes parents with a Valium prescription might not realize unaware their teen is shaving off some of the prescription allotment to use recreationally. Side effects of Valium abuse to keep an eye out for include:
- Abuse of other drugs, including alcohol
- Aggressive behavior
- Episodes of psychosis
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking Valium
- Long-term mental impairment
- Relying on Valium just to get through the day
Valium Inside the Body
Valium affects levels of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), decreasing the activity of nerves.
In addition to evidence-based correlations between lower levels of GABA and anxiety disorders, some researchers actually point to a link between weak GABA levels and epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
Valium latches on and slows down GABA receptors in the brain, not unlike a running back with a lineman hooked on his legs, except in this case it creates a calming effect. This chemical “linebacker” is what makes Valium helpful for medical treatment of seizures, anxiety disorders and even helping alcoholics through detox.
However, it’s bad news for the recreational Valium abuser.
Eventually the GABA neurotransmitters accustom to the extra baggage, tolerance builds, and progressively more Valium is needed to achieve the same high.