Diazepam is a prescription drug used primarily in the treatment of patients suffering from anxiety disorder. Often sold under the brand name of Valium, diazepam is a commonly abused prescription drug and extended use of it can result in physical and psychological dependence. A stay in a diazepam detox center is often necessary to deal with this dependence, safely removing the diazepam from the user’s system without exacerbating withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to treating anxiety disorders, diazepam is also used for treating alcohol withdrawal as it prevents the symptoms common to that withdrawal process. Unfortunately, diazepam itself can be addictive, with regular use resulting in a tolerance to the drug after an extended period. The speed of tolerance development depends largely on the dosage taken and the rate of drug ingestion. Light but extended use of the drug may result in the development of a tolerance to the drug’s effects within months, while higher doses may lead to development of a diazepam tolerance within weeks. Diazepam detox centers are well equipped to deal with highly tolerant patients though.
As the diazepam user develops a tolerance to the effects of the drug, the user often raises the dosage levels to experience the same results from usage. These higher doses can be dangerous though, sometimes resulting in an overdose. Benzodiazepines, the drug group of which diazepam is a member, account for 35 percent of the drug-related emergency-room hospital visits in the United States, according to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study.
This result of higher dose usage is the development of a dependence on the drug. With dependence, the user needs to continue taking the drug or risk a physical reaction to the lowering of diazepam levels in the body. The symptoms of this reaction, known as withdrawal, often lead users to seek help at a diazepam detox center. For more information about the addictive qualities of diazepam, call 1-888-287-0471 Who Answers? .
Once a dependency upon diazepam develops, withdrawal is the usual result when quitting the drug or reducing the amount taken. The effects of diazepam withdrawal may begin within five days of the last use of the drug, with the peak period of withdrawal symptoms occurring within four to seven days of the start of the withdrawal period. The period itself lasts between seven to 14 days.
“Symptoms of the withdrawal process are both physical and psychological.”Symptoms of the withdrawal process are both physical and psychological. For a user attempting to quit diazepam without the help of a detox center, the symptoms can be strong enough to drive the user back to the drug to stop the symptoms from continuing. Enrollment in a diazepam detox program can stop the symptoms in their tracks, helping the patient to recover from the withdrawal process. Without a diazepam withdrawal treatment facility, however, the user will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
- Suicidal thoughts
Due to the discomfort of withdrawal, most users choose to enter into a diazepam detox center before the withdrawal process even begins.
Detox Using the Tapering Process
The detox center entered into by a patient seeking help with a diazepam dependency is generally a medical facility that deals specifically with guiding the patient through the controlled process of removing the drug from his or her system. With the help of facility personnel, the patient is slowly weaned off the diazepam using a detoxification process known as tapering.
The tapering process gradually lowers the levels of diazepam within the patient’s system over an extended period to prevent the body from entering withdrawal. During the slow reduction, the patient adjusts to the lower levels of the drug in steps. Each step involves a reduction of the dosage of diazepam until the dosage is low enough that discontinuing the drug will not trigger the withdrawal process.
Tapering takes between 10 to 14 days to complete for most diazepam users. The length of time is dependent on the initial levels of the diazepam in the patient’s body and the acceptance of the patient’s system to the lowering levels of the drug. During the process, the patient may enter into withdrawal if the diazepam level drops too quickly. Withdrawal is stopped by temporarily raising the level of drugs given to the patient to allow for readjustment. This can extend the tapering process, but it keeps the patient safe.
Doses during the tapering process usually begin with 10 to 20 mg of diazepam given four times a day. This amount is reduced on a daily basis until the amount of the dose is down to a total of 5 to 10 mg. After this point is reached, the drug is no longer provided. The patient is observed for 48 hours after tapering to watch for withdrawal symptoms or any other medical problems, and then released into a rehab facility for drug counseling.
- Diazepam is used recreationally by heroin users between doses to prevent the beginning of heroin withdrawal.
- Valium, one of the brand names of diazepam, has found popularity in popular culture with a character named after the drug in the classic comedy movie Spaceballs. The character is Prince Valium and happens to be a narcoleptic, a play on the tranquilizing effects of the drug.
- Valium, a brand of diazepam, gained musical popularity thanks to the 1966 song “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones.