Effects of Valium Abuse


In the US, more than three million people take Valium according to their doctor’s prescription. But there are many more people abusing this drug that are not included in this number.

Because a tolerance builds up in a person’s body when they take this drug, one of the main effects they may notice is that they soon have to take more pills to get the same effect. That is true whether the drug is being taken according to a doctor’s prescription or it is being abused illicitly.

The effects of Valium consumption or abuse can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.

Typical or Occasional Effects of Valium:

  • Sedation
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate
  • Memory loss
  • Slower movements
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vertigo
  • Possibly slower reaction time and impaired driving skills

Some people who take this type of drug for a long time lose their ability to focus their attention for a sustained period or accurately judge distances and spaces.

Paradoxical Effects

A paradoxical effect is one that should be eliminated by use of the drug but instead, it shows up stronger when the drug is used. With Valium, these effects can include fits of rage or violence, aggression, excitement, irritability, and hostility. A person may lose control of his impulses which can lead to anti-social behavior, especially among the very young and elderly. Some people may consider suicide. Others may become emotionally blunted.

Some people may take Valium to help them sleep, but after the drug is used for this purpose for a few months, it will lose this effect.

Of course, one of worst effects of this drug is that when combined with alcohol or opiates, it can lead to death. This combination of drugs was involved in the deaths of Thomas Kinkade and Whitney Houston. Amy Winehouse died from alcohol toxicity but according to her father, also had a type of benzodiazepine in her body when she died, as did Heath Ledger and actress Brittany Murphy.

As tolerance builds to Valium, if a person does not get the effect he desires from abuse of the drug, he may add alcohol to achieve that effect he is looking for. As Valium may impair a person’s good judgment, this vicious circle can lead a person right to his own death.

Some people may mix Valium with methadone to try to achieve a specific type of high. In Texas, there is a combination called a “Houston Cocktail” - it’s a mixture of hydrocodone (opioid painkiller), Valium and Soma, a muscle relaxant. This follows the popular pattern of polydrug use.

If you are looking for the effects of Valium abuse on a person, look for shallow breathing, clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse and dilated pupils.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, use of Valium can result in reduced concentration, impaired speech patterns, and amnesia, even after the drug is no longer used. A driver who uses Valium is more likely to wander in his lane and have slower reaction times. When alcohol is added, the resulting impaired effect is greater than the effect of each drug by itself.

Getting Free from the Effects of Valium

When a person is ready to break free from his Valium abuse, he is probably going to need help. Once tolerance and addiction have set it, most people will need medical support during withdrawal. Without support, abrupt withdrawal can result in overexcitement, fearfulness, headaches, stiffness, panic attacks, rapid heart rate and even seizures and convulsions. It’s also possible that there will be nausea and vomiting.

A return to sobriety must be carefully accomplished. For five decades, the staff at Narconon drug rehab centers have been guiding people out of an addictive mentality and to an understanding that life is best lived sober. The path back to sobriety includes a thorough detox to remove the residues left behind after drug abuse and training in the life skills that are needed to make drug-free decisions. A person may have been hiding from decisions for a decade or more and must learn these skills newly. But when they are learned and practiced, these skills are what helps each recovering person stay safe from dangerous mistakes in judgment.

As part of the Narconon program, each person learns which friends will support one’s sobriety and which may bring it to an end and how to deal with each type of person, how to overcome obstacles and problems in life, and he also refreshes his (or her) moral values. These are just a few of the life skills that are trained in as part of this program.

If someone you care about needs to leave Valium abuse behind, find out more about the Narconon drug rehab program, with locations around the world.

Valium™ is a registered trademark of Roche Products Inc.

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