Although Valium is an extremely powerful stress reducer without visible side effects, it is not as innocent a drug as it may seem.
Valium (diazepam) is one of the most popular anti-anxiety medications available currently on the market. It belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines (also known as BZDs) represent psychoactive medications discovered by Leo Strenbach in 1955. Benzodiazepines can be used as situational drugs and be also a part of a long-term treatment.
How Valium Works
Valium enhancers the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a chemical in the brain, the lack of which causes excessive stress and anxiety. As a result, Valium successfully relieves anxiety, muscle spasms, agitation and seizures. It is often used by physicians to treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal (the effect of benzodiazepines is often compared to that of alcohol) and as a premedication for surgeries and other medical procedures.
Important Precautions That Should be Followed While Taking Valium
Valium should be prescribed by a physician – it is extremely important to follow the doctor’s orders in a most careful manner. According to Waln Braun, M.D the author of Valium and Lubrium here are some important issues to consider once a patient has decided to use the medication:
- Before taking Valium, both doctor and pharmacists should be informed if a patient is allergic to it or any other medication of the BZD group such as prazepam (Centrax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Librax), clonazepam (Klonopin), temazepam (Restoril), clorazepate (Tranxene), lorazepam (Ativan).
- Before prescribing Valium, the physician should be informed about preexisting medical conditions such as glaucoma, lung, heart, liver or kidney diseases, any kind of respiratory problems, history of drug and/or alcohol abuse and depression.
- Some prescription as well as over-the-counter medications are dangerous in combination with Valium because of the fact that they can add to drowsiness caused by it. Special attention should be paid to antihistamines, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, pain medications, cold medications, tranquilizers, sedatives and asthma medications
- It is extremely important to remember that mixing Valium with alcohol as well as with tobacco products is not recommended. Alcohol can add significantly to dizziness caused by Valium while cigarettes and cigars are likely to diminish the desired effect of the medication.
- Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid taking Valium – its affect on a human fetus has not been researched enough in order to consider Valium safe for pregnancy
Valium and Its Addictive Potential
Patients using Valium should keep in mind that it can be habit forming and cause psychological and physiological addiction. In addition, individuals taking Valium on regular basis are more than likely to develop tolerance – they will need bigger dosage in order to reach the desired effect.
Some signs of Valium addiction according to Dr. Braun may include :
- taking more than five milligrams each time
- constant depression
- irregular heartbeat
- excessive sleepiness
- experiencing insomnia, trembling, restlessness, irritability when the medication is not available
Valium is an extremely powerful medication that can effectively treat numerous medical conditions especially those caused by anxiety. However, it should be used with caution and under close physician supervision.