Diazepam Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

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Diazepam addiction is a dangerous disorder that can be treated through the help of opioid addiction recovery programs.

Diazepam, commonly known as Valium, is an anti-anxiety medication frequently prescribed to manage anxiety disorders or episodes of anxiety. Administered orally, this benzodiazepine induces a sedative effect within 30 to 60 minutes. However, misuse of Valium can lead to the development of an addiction to the medication.

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Diazepam addiction potential is not limited to those who abuse this benzo. In some cases, those who are prescribed the medication long-term develop dependence and addiction over time, although the risk of this occurring is relatively low. If someone takes diazepam in higher doses than prescribed, though, the risk of triggering dependence and addiction increases. The risk of diazepam addiction is greatest in those who abuse the drug for non-therapeutic purposes. How quickly can you get addicted to diazepam, then?

Is Diazepam Addictive?

Diazepam can be highly addictive, especially when used other than as prescribed by a healthcare professional. As a member of the benzodiazepine class of medications, it has the potential to induce both physical and psychological dependence when used for extended periods or at high doses. The addictive properties of diazepam are attributed to its ability to enhance the effects of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, leading to sedative and anxiolytic effects.

Individuals who use diazepam for an extended duration, exceeding the prescribed dosage, or using it in ways other than directed by a healthcare professional are at an increased risk of developing a dependence on the drug. Prolonged use can lead to the development of tolerance, meaning that higher doses are required to deliver the initial effects. Abrupt discontinuation of diazepam can result in the onset of withdrawal symptoms, further underscoring its addictive nature.

To mitigate the risk of addiction, use diazepam strictly as prescribed by a healthcare provider and follow recommended tapering protocols when discontinuing its use. Consult with a healthcare professional regarding any concerns or questions about the use of diazepam.

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Diazepam Addiction Signs

Identifying Valium addiction can pose challenges for both the affected person and their loved ones. In certain cases, Valium may be prescribed for a period of up to four months, inadvertently leading to the gradual development of addiction.

Individuals grappling with Valium addiction often prioritize their dependency over personal and professional responsibilities, which can lead to a lack of motivation and waning interest in previously enjoyed activities.

While drug abuse can pave the way for addiction, not all those who engage in Valium abuse develop an addiction – any use of Valium that deviates from a doctor’s instructions constitutes abuse. Indications of abuse escalating and developing into addiction can include experiencing intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as well as requiring larger doses of Valium to attain the desired effects.

  • Neglected priorities: Giving precedence to obtaining and using diazepam over previously important life priorities, leading to the neglect of essential responsibilities and obligations.
  • Social isolation: Withdrawing from social interactions and activities to prioritize diazepam use, leading to isolation and a decline in social connections.
  • Concealed usage: Hiding or concealing the extent of diazepam use from loved ones or peers to avoid scrutiny or intervention, often accompanied by feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Doctor shopping: Engaging in the practice of visiting multiple doctors or healthcare providers to obtain multiple prescriptions for diazepam, a behavior often associated with attempts to escalate dosage or quantity beyond prescribed limits.
  • Erratic behavior: Demonstrating unpredictable or erratic behaviors under the influence of diazepam, leading to impulsive decision-making, mood swings, or sudden changes in personality.
  • Compulsive drug seeking: Experiencing a persistent compulsion to seek out and consume diazepam, even in the absence of a genuine medical need, as a means of coping with emotional distress or discomfort.
  • Defensive attitude: Responding defensively or becoming agitated when questioned about diazepam use, often exhibiting denial or resistance to acknowledging the severity of the addiction.

Diazepam Addiction Symptoms

Symptoms of diazepam addiction (benzodiazepine use disorder) are listed in DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, text revision) as follows:

  1. Consuming a higher quantity of Valium or taking it more frequently than originally intended.
  2. Demonstrating persistent concern about stopping the use of Valium or experiencing unsuccessful attempts to quit.
  3. Devoting a significant portion of time to acquiring, using, and recovering from Valium.
  4. Failing to fulfill major responsibilities at work, home, or school due to Valium use.
  5. Experiencing intense cravings for Valium.
  6. Persisting in the consumption of Valium despite the medication exacerbating or causing health issues.
  7. Continuing to use Valium despite its detrimental effects on relationships, leading to conflicts, discord, or heightened stress.
  8. Repeatedly using Valium in hazardous situations, such as driving under the influence of the drug.
  9. Sacrificing hobbies, social engagements, and interests due to Valium use.
  10. Developing a tolerance for Valium, necessitating an increase in dosage to achieve the desired effects.
  11. Manifesting withdrawal symptoms when the use of Valium is discontinued or the usual dosage is reduced, indicative of physical dependence.

Diazepam Addiction Treatment

Treating addiction to diazepam normally involves a comprehensive approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Several effective treatment strategies can aid individuals in overcoming diazepam addiction and regaining control over their lives.

Medical detoxification

The initial step in treating diazepam addiction often involves a medically supervised detoxification process. This allows for the safe management of the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting diazepam. Medical professionals can provide necessary support and monitoring to ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification experience.

Behavioral therapies

Behavioral therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and CM (contingency management), can help people better understand the underlying causes of their addiction and develop healthier coping mechanisms for sober living. These therapies also assist in identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with addiction.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

In some cases, medication-assisted treatment may be recommended to manage cravings and reduce the risk of relapse. Medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions and support overall recovery.

Support groups

Participation in support groups, such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or other addiction recovery groups, can provide people with valuable peer support and encouragement throughout their recovery journey. Sharing experiences with others facing similar challenges can foster a sense of community and understanding.

Aftercare programs

Continuing care through aftercare programs, which may include ongoing therapy, support group participation, and regular follow-up appointments with healthcare professionals, can help people maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse over the long term. Building a strong support network and implementing healthy lifestyle changes are integral components of aftercare programs.

Consulting with healthcare professionals or addiction specialists can help individuals create a tailored treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and supports their journey toward recovery from diazepam addiction.

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Get Treatment for Diazepam Addiction at California Detox

If you are addicted to diazepam, whether through misuse or long-term therapeutic use, we can help you address the physical and psychological aspect of addiction at California Detox in Laguna Beach.

Engage with our supervised medical detoxification program to benefit from a tapered reduction in dosage under controlled conditions. Detox serves as a bridge to ongoing inpatient treatment at our luxury beachside facility. All treatment programs offer an individualized blend of evidence-based and holistic interventions, such as:

When you are ready to break your dependence on benzodiazepines like diazepam, call California Detox at 949.694.8305.


As a member of the benzodiazepine class of medications, it has the potential to induce both physical and psychological dependence when used for extended periods or at high doses.
Any use of Valium that deviates from a doctor’s instructions constitutes abuse. Indications of abuse escalating and developing into addiction can include experiencing intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as well as requiring larger doses of Valium to attain the desired effects.


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