Medical Uses of Diazepam and Its Abuse by Addicts
Diazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative that is commonly used for its Central Nervous System depressant properties. Diazepam is prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and opiates. Apart from its medicinal use, diazepam is a highly addictive drug that triggers the activity of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms the nerve impulses causing a feeling of relaxation, sleepiness, reduced anxiety, and relaxation of muscles. Diazepam addiction occurs after recreational abuse to achieve ‘high’ or prolonged exposure to drug among patients.
Commonly Known As Valium
Diazepam is marketed as Valium and is an anti-anxiety and anti-panic drug. Valium is used to treat insomnia, seizures, muscle spasm, and alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal etc. Valium is a highly addictive drug and needs to be taken under doctor’s prescription. Valium affects kidneys and liver, and patients with kidney or liver problems need to inform doctors before taking this drug. Valium should not be administered after mixing it with alcohol which could trigger an epileptic attack. Pregnant women should also avoid this drug as it can cause harm to baby.
Medical Use of Diazepam
Diazepam is widely used for their anxiolytics (anti-anxiety) properties. It is effectively used to reduce the anxiety and agitation that occur in psychiatric illness and bipolar affecting disorder. Diazepam is also used to treat insomnia, night terrors, and sleep walking among children. It is suitable for short term treatment of insomnia as it can cause strong addiction after long term use. It is also used to treat convulsions and seizures as the increased activity of GABA in brain helps calm electric nerve activity. Diazepam is also used to control muscle spasm due to poisoning or tetanus. It is also used as sedative to calm the patient before surgery or dental treatment. It is also given to alcoholics to cope with acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Drug Abuse and Addiction
Diazepam can cause addiction when administered for prolonged period. Addiction can occur after recreational use or when a person is exposed to diazepam for a prolonged period. People abuse diazepam for the ‘high’ they get after consuming it. The ‘high’ is characterized by feeling energetic, relaxed, pleasure, euphoria etc. Diazepam is normally taken orally in the form of tablets, intravenously, or intranasally. Diazepam abuse can result in health complications like blackouts, memory loss, abscesses, deep vein thrombosis, hepatitis B and C, and cause HIV infection etc.
The side effects of diazepam include drowsiness, confusion, sudden violent and aggressive behavior, muscle weakness, dizziness, ataxia etc. A combination of diazepam with alcohol, antipsychotics, and barbiturates etc can lead to complications, sedation, or drowsiness.
Diazepam (Valium) is a regulated prescription drug in most countries. In US, it is a schedule IV controlled drug which means it is illegal to sell the drug without a valid license and it is illegal to possess without a valid license or prescription. Internationally, Diazepam (Valium) is a schedule IV controlled drug under Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Diazepam when mixed with opioids can produce a lethal combination that can result into drug related death. Diazepam finds a variety of medical uses like treating anxiety, insomnia, and muscle spasm etc. Diazepam is suitable for short term use and prolonged exposure can lead to dependence or addiction.