Relief from muscle spasms, management of seizures, control of symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal and detox, and relief from anxiety symptoms – there are a number of reasons why a physician may prescribe Valium, also known as diazepam.
Classified as a benzodiazepine, there are a number of possible side effects when taking the drug for the short term or long term. Though most people can take low doses of Valium as prescribed by their doctor and experience few side effects, some will experience such significant acute side effects that they will be forced to stop taking the medication immediately. Others who abuse the prescription may increase the chance of experiencing negative effects in the long term.
Short-Term Side Effects
Some patients experience side effects when they first start taking Valium that pass within a few days or weeks. Some of the commonly reported side effects that usually fade in short order include:
- Dry mouth
- Altered eating habits
If these symptoms are intrusive and do not pass as the patient grows accustomed to the medication, they are encouraged to call their doctor about the issue. Additionally, intervention is warranted if any of the following symptoms occur, grow serious and/or do not pass on their own:
- Blurry vision
- Having a hard time urinating
- Urinating often
- Diminished sexual interest or function
The following are serious side effects that require an immediate call to the doctor:
- Shuffling walk
- Serious skin rash
- Heart palpitations
- Hard time swallowing or breathing
One of the side effects of Valium can occur when the patient stops taking the medication after long-term use. Those who were prescribed the drug in order to manage the symptoms of an anxiety disorder may experience a return of those symptoms when they stop taking the medication. The symptoms may or may not be more severe than before treatment began and may also be characterized by extreme mood changes and restlessness.
Rebound anxiety is more likely to occur with abrupt cessation of the use of Valium after months of taking the drug. If this is a concern, it may be less likely if the patient lowers his or her dose slowly over time.
Physical dependence upon benzodiazepines can occur through normal use of the medication even when taken as prescribed by the doctor. Over time, a tolerance to Valium can build, requiring the patient to take steadily increasing doses in order to continue experiencing therapeutic effects. When this physical dependence is compounded by psychological dependence (e.g., cravings, obsession with getting more pills, compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences, inability to stop taking the medication, etc.), then it is classified as an addiction disorder and treatment is recommended.
Treatment for Valium Addiction
Abrupt cessation of Valium use can result in serious medical issues and complications. It is not recommended that anyone attempt to stop taking the drug without medical supervision. Rather, a professional detox program followed by an addiction treatment program that offers traditional and alternative therapy options as well as holistic treatments and long-term aftercare support is the best – and safest – option.
Contact us at the phone number listed above today for more information about what you or your loved one can expect when you enroll in drug addiction treatment for Valium addiction.