Valium abuse occurs when someone who has been prescribed the drug uses it in a manner for which it wasn’t intended. They may take the pills without letting enough hours pass between doses, or they might take more than is prescribed at one time. Some people who don’t even have a prescription for Valium purchase it illegally, often over the Internet, and without a physician to guide them in how to take the drug, they become addicted.
With a drug of this type, unfortunately, Valium abuse isn’t necessary to become addicted to the drug. Even taking it according to a prescription can cause a person to become addicted, if it’s for too long a time or at too high a dose. And there’s no predicting a cut-off for any one type of person, as each person’s body responds difficult to the drug. The psychologically addictive points are even harder to pin down, so knowing which people are more likely to become addicted is almost impossible.
It’s this addictiveness and difficulty in managing this drug and other benzodiazepins like Xanax that has led doctors to prescribe them far less than they did 30 years ago. Valium is a depressant that soothes nerves, calms anxiety and is even used in some cases as a sleep aid. Its sedative effects can help in a variety of situations, like moderate insomnia. But taken over a period of time, even in regulated doses, the body gets used to its presence and so more is needed to get the same level of relief over time.
Ironically, valium is sometimes used when a person is suffering through withdrawals after abstaining from alcohol. It can calm the tremors (or the DTs) and help ease the withdrawal period for an alcoholic. Valium abuse comes with its own set of withdrawal problems and challenges.
As a central nervous system depressant, Valium taken in too a high a dose can kill. It depresses everything including heart rate and breathing. Too much valium can cause slurred speech, a near inability to wake, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, skin rashes, and bladder and bowel incontinence. The liver can be slowed and damaged, as well.
Valium abuse also can cause reactions totally opposite of what the drug is intended for. It can cause the anxiety, insomnia and hyperexcitation that the drug is prescribed to prevent. Withdrawal from Valium is about the same as other withdrawals, with nausea, vomiting and tremors being common.
Valium abuse presents dangers besides addiction, though. Valium taken incorrectly can even risk a person’s life. If it’s combined with alcohol, other depressants and a few other drugs, it can cause death.
Tolerance to the drug that typically occurs soon after the person begins taking the drug leads a person to take larger amounts, and soon Valium abuse is occurring. It’s the sedative effect of the drug that leads some to take more and more, putting them at risk of addiction and the long-term health effects like lung and liver problems that can occur with abuse of this drug.