September 5th, 2023
In 2020, the NHS was presented with one of its most challenging periods. While the primary emphasis was on providing care to those affected by a global pandemic, many needs were unavoidably overlooked. A staggering 304 deaths were attributed to diazepam in the same year, marking the highest recorded figures over a twenty-seven-year period. This statistic alone demonstrates the critical importance of medical intervention for individuals with diazepam addiction and highlights the UK’s rising issues with the drug.
At Oasis Runcorn, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive support for anyone dealing with diazepam substance abuse and supplying crucial information to prevent the development of potential future addiction.
What is diazepam and what is it used for?
Diazepam, also known as valium, is a medication belonging to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. The drug is available in various forms, including tablets, oral and injectable solutions. Diazepam enhances the activity of a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps reduce excessive brain activity and produces a calming effect. Because of these effects, diazepam is prescribed for the following disorders:
- Anxiety disorders: Diazepam is commonly prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. It helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, restlessness and tension.
- Seizure disorders: Diazepam is sometimes prescribed to manage and prevent seizures, particularly in conditions like epilepsy. It can help reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures.
- Insomnia: Diazepam can be prescribed for short-term use in individuals experiencing severe insomnia or difficulty falling asleep. However, it is generally not recommended for long-term treatment of sleep problems.
Why is it dangerous to misuse diazepam?
Misusing diazepam can significantly increase the risk of addiction due to the fact that benzodiazepines, in general, are well-known to be addictive. Diazepam boosts the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps calm the brain and body. Regular or prolonged diazepam misuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making it extremely challenging to stop using the drug without professional help.
Physical health risks…
Misuse of diazepam can have severe physical health consequences, including:
- Blurred vision
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Coordination issues
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Liver damage
Psychological and mental health consequences…
Diazepam misuse can have profound effects on psychological and mental health. Prolonged misuse can lead to:
- Mood swings
- Issues with cognition
- Worsening of underlying mental health conditions
Misusing diazepam increases the risk of overdose dramatically. Taking higher doses than prescribed or combining diazepam with other substances can potentially lead to a life-threatening overdose. Symptoms of diazepam overdose may include;
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slowed breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
It’s important to contact emergency services if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these overdose symptoms.
The dangers of diazepam and depressant drug use
Combining diazepam with other depressant drugs, such as alcohol, can be extremely dangerous due to the sedative effects on the central nervous system.
One of the primary concerns is respiratory depression. Both diazepam and other depressant drugs have a suppressive effect on the central nervous system, particularly on the respiratory centres in the brain. Combined, it can cause breathing to become shallow, slow or even stop altogether, leading to a dangerous lack of oxygen supply to the body.
Additionally, taking diazepam and other depressant drugs can intensify the sedative effects. Sedation can lead to excessive drowsiness, impaired coordination and decreased cognitive function. When multiple depressants are taken together, these effects can become more pronounced and potentially debilitating. Tasks requiring alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, can become extremely dangerous, posing a risk to you and others around you.
It is crucial to emphasise that the dangers of combining diazepam with other depressant drugs are not limited to recreational use. Even when used as prescribed, caution should be exercised when using diazepam with other medications or substances that have depressant effects.
How can I tell if I’m addicted to diazepam?
Self-evaluation is an essential step in recognising and addressing potential addiction issues. If you have been using diazepam and are concerned about the possibility of addiction, it’s necessary to reflect on your usage patterns and assess your behaviour honestly. To help you in this process, here are six questions to consider:
- Do you find it difficult to control or limit your use of diazepam?
- Have you noticed an increased tolerance to diazepam, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect?
- When you try to reduce or stop using diazepam, do you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, or insomnia?
- Have you continued to use diazepam despite experiencing negative consequences in your personal or professional life?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from diazepam?
- Have you neglected important responsibilities or activities due to your diazepam use?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, it’s recommended to consider seeking professional assistance, as your responses could indicate potential signs of diazepam addiction.
How can a diazepam addiction develop?
Many variables can lead to a prescription drug addiction like this, and it is important to be aware of potential risks.
Diazepam addiction can begin with legitimate medical use. If you are not careful with following your doctor’s advice, prolonged or excessive use of the medication can lead to dependence and addiction.
You may use diazepam without a prescription to cope with stress, anxiety or other emotional difficulties. Self-medication can quickly escalate into diazepam addiction, as the drug provides temporary relief and a sense of relaxation.
While diazepam is a prescription-only drug, it can be obtained illegally. This could lead to a huge potential for diazepam addiction as the medication is received without a thorough pre-assessment or a recommended dosage.
Social and environmental factors…
Social and environmental influences can contribute to diazepam addiction. Peer pressure, exposure to drug-using communities or lack of support systems can all increase the likelihood of developing an addiction to diazepam.
My loved one is addicted to diazepam – what can I do?
If you believe your loved one may be struggling with a diazepam addiction, it’s important to approach the situation with care and offer your support. Here are some steps you can take:
- Educate yourself: Learn about diazepam addiction, its signs and its effects. Understanding the nature of diazepam addiction will help you approach the situation more effectively and empathetically.
- Express concern and open communication: Approach the sensitive conversation empathetically, expressing your care and worry for their well-being. Encourage open and honest communication, allowing them to share their feelings and experiences.
- Avoid enabling behaviours: It’s essential to avoid enabling diazepam addiction by providing drugs or covering up the consequences of their drug use. Instead, encourage healthy behaviours and support their recovery efforts.
- Seek support for yourself: Caring for someone with a diazepam addiction can be emotionally challenging. Consider seeking support from counselling, support groups or helplines for individuals struggling with addiction.
Remember, an addiction to diazepam is a complex issue, and recovery is a personal journey. Your loved one needs to be willing to acknowledge their addiction and seek help themselves. While you can provide support and encouragement, ultimately, the decision to seek treatment lies with them.
How is diazepam addiction treated at Oasis Runcorn?
At Oasis Runcorn, our diazepam addiction treatment programme offers a focused path to recovery, free from the distractions and pressures of everyday life.
During your stay, detox will gently rid your body of toxins that have accumulated from diazepam abuse. Our dedicated team ensures your comfort and provides round-the-clock support throughout this initial phase.
After completing detox for the benzodiazepine drug, you will transition into our diazepam rehab programme. Our dedicated team of therapists and counsellors will provide compassionate guidance as you embark on self-discovery and healing. Through individual therapy sessions, holistic therapy, group support, and the 12-step programme, you will delve into the underlying factors contributing to your diazepam addiction, develop effective coping strategies and acquire invaluable skills to safeguard against relapse.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a diazepam addiction, know you’re not alone, and support is available. Diazepam addiction can easily take over your life, but reaching out for help is a courageous step towards reclaiming your happiness.
By seeking the assistance of healthcare professionals at Oasis Runcorn, you allow yourself to be guided toward effective strategies for recovery. Reach out today and embark on your journey towards a healthier, happier life.