Diazepam Abuse

When legally prescribed by a doctor, diazepam (found in brand name medications such as Dizac, Valium, Diazepam Intensol, Diastat, and Valrelease) can be safely used to treat muscle spasms, anxiety, and seizures, as well as to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal.

However, when diazepam is taken without a prescription, or in larger doses or more frequently than prescribed, usage can easily lead to addiction.

If you or someone you love is addicted to diazepam, call 800 774 5796 now to find a quality treatment facility for the kind of substance abuse rehabilitation that will suit your individual needs.

Understanding Diazepam Abuse

Diazepam is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, and is most often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. It is found in medications such as: Dizac, Valium, Diazepam Intensol, Diastat, and Valrelease. Taking diazepam in higher doses than prescribed, or for a longer period of time than recommended, will result in addiction. Some people become addicted even while taking diazepam as prescribed. It is easily habit-forming.

Diazepam functions by depressing activity in the central nervous system, which can relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, and induce sleep. Larger doses can produce feelings of euphoria and intense calm, so that users can “get high” from the drug.

Many people abuse diazepam at lower doses to self-medicate insomnia and/or stress and anxiety. They don’t take diazepam to “get high,” but rather, to feel normal.

Benzodiazepines are only legally available through prescription. Many addicts obtain the drug by forging prescriptions, getting prescriptions from multiple doctors or clinics, or by purchasing them illicitly. Diazepam is one of the most common benzodiazepines to be sold illegally.

Signs and Symptoms of Diazepam Abuse

Some signs and symptoms of diazepam addiction may include:


Someone who abuses diazepam may lose interest in things they once enjoyed.

  • Needing to refill a prescription before it is scheduled
  • A change in appearance or hygiene
  • A change in eating habits
  • Slow movements and speech
  • Hostility and irritability
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Tremors
  • Problems with coordination
  • Excessive sleepiness and/or sleeping
  • Vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Amnesia
  • Lack of interest in activities the user previously enjoyed

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the most common sign of diazepam overdose is falling into a deep sleep or “coma” while still being able to breathe. Other symptoms may include:

  • Bluish-colored lips and fingernails
  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing is slow, labored, or stopped
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Excitability
  • Hiccups
  • Lack of alertness (stupor)
  • Rapid side-to-side movement of the eyes
  • Rash
  • Stomach upset
  • Tiredness
  • Tremor
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Weakness

Dangers of Diazepam Abuse

The confusion, depression, reduced coordination and impaired judgement that often accompanies diazepam abuse may lead some addicts to unintentionally harm themselves or others.

Sustained diazepam use, even at prescribed levels, will create a tolerance for the drug, forcing users to increase their dosage to experience the same effects. Taking large amounts of diazepam can have deadly consequences, such as difficulty breathing, seizures, or coma.

In addition, complications may develop from sedation and central nervous system depression, such as pneumonia, muscle damage from lying on a hard surface for a long period of time, or brain damage from lack of oxygen. It is crucial for addicts to get help before the consequences of their diazepam abuse become too severe.

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Who Abuses Diazepam?

Although a person of any age, gender, financial status, or ethnicity can become addicted to diazepam, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, “(diazepam) abuse is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it up and snort it to get high. Abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine abusers.”

Once a person is addicted to diazepam, their brain chemistry is altered, resulting in unpleasant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as severe anxiety and seizures. Addicts who may have once taken diazepam to feel euphoric wind up needing to take the drug to simply keep themselves from feeling awful.

Diazepam Addiction

Anyone, from any walk of life, can become addicted to diazepam under the right conditions. When used appropriately, under a doctor’s instruction, the drug can improve a patient’s mental well-being and quality of life. But overuse and abuse of diazepam will lead to addiction, and serious mental and physical consequences.

Because this medication is available through a doctors’ prescription, many users believe that diazepam is harmless, and non-addictive. This is an extremely hazardous misconception. Diazepam is only safe when used in a precise dosage, as determined by a medical doctor, to treat a specific condition or disorder. Even then, patients who take diazepam as directed may still develop a physical and/or psychological dependency on the drug.

Am I Addicted to Diazepam?

If you fear that you are addicted to diazepam, ask yourself, and honestly answer, the questions listed below:


Becoming defensive over your drug use is a sign of addiction.

  • Do I abuse diazepam every day?
  • Do I abuse the drug in order to combat feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, depression, etc.?
  • Have friends or family members mentioned more than once that they are worried about my drug use?
  • Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
  • Do I ever experience withdrawal symptoms such as: an inability to feel pleasure, depression, anxiety and irritability, headache, tremors, fatigue or intense cravings?
  • Do I feel like I can’t have fun, be normal, or complete everyday tasks without diazepam?
  • Am I secretive about my drug use, lying about when I use or how much I take?
  • Do I combine diazepam with other drugs or alcohol?
  • Do I crush or snort the drug for a faster, more intense high?
  • Do I need more and more diazepam each time I abuse the drug in order to feel its effects?
  • Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as a breakup, job loss, car accident, family problems, financial problems, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
  • Despite these problems, do I feel unable to stop using diazepam on my own?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be addicted to diazepam and in need of professional substance abuse help.

Diazepam Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that “repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that enable you to exert self-control. These and other changes can be seen clearly in brain imaging studies of people with drug addictions.”

This is why addicts require professional help to break the cycle of addiction. The substance abuse specialists at a qualified drug and alcohol treatment center are trained in how to manage addiction, both physical and psychological, and lead addicts safely to recovery.

There are a wide variety of affordable treatment options available, but all of them begin with abstaining from drug use.


Detoxification is the first step to any recovery plan. A person needs clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before they can be effectively treated. However, it can be dangerous to abruptly cease taking diazepam after extended use. For safety, the dosage should be gradually tapered according to a doctor’s instruction.

To minimize the chance of dangerous physical withdrawal effects such as seizure, and to maximize comfort as the addict suffers the various emotional effects of withdrawal, detoxing in a rehabilitation center under the care of medical professionals is ideal. Sometimes doctors may prescribe alternate medications to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.


Whether addicts choose inpatient residential treatment and/or outpatient treatment for their diazepam addiction, all substance abuse recovery plans will include talk therapy.

Individual therapy allows for patients to work intensively on issues specific only to them, while group therapy allows them to both support and experience support from other addicts who are struggling with similar challenges. Family therapy is a valuable tool to ensure individuals receive the best environment possible when they return home, in order to prevent relapse.

Other treatment options include:

  • 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are an invaluable resource to support long term sobriety.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT teaches patients to retrain their brains with new methods of coping with stress and cravings, and avoiding trigger situations
  • Treatment for co-occurring conditions: most addicts suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that underlie and fuel their substance abuse. These co-occurring disorders must be addressed as a part of recovery.
  • Nutrition, fitness and recreational therapy: a strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to long-term recovery. The better a person feels, the more prepared they will be to handle life as it comes.

Seek Help Today

Addiction to diazepam is a serious issue, but recovery is possible. Call 800 774 5796 today to speak to one of our treatment advisors. We can guide you to the right kind of substance abuse treatment for your individual needs.

Don’t wait a moment longer. Take the first step towards transforming your life right away.