Diazepam (Valium) Addiction: Effects, Symptoms, Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 12, 2022

Valium is a benzodiazepine that is typically prescribed for anxiety disorders, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Because Valium has potential for misuse and addiction, it is considered a controlled substance and should be taken carefully.

Diazepam (Valium) Abuse And Addiction Treatment Options

Valium (diazepam) is a long-acting benzodiazepine that can provide relief for anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. It is also sometimes used to sedate people before surgical procedures.

Similar medications are Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Librium (Chlordiazepoxide).

Valium has strong sedative effects and can be habit-forming, so prescriptions are generally only meant for short-term use.

If someone starts to abuse Valium, they may require professional benzodiazepine addiction treatment.

Is Valium A Controlled Substance?

Valium is a controlled substance and is considered a Schedule IV drug according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Valium has a considerable amount of medical value and is also considered to have a low potential for abuse and dependence, at least in comparison to drugs in lower Schedules.

Learn more about why Valium is a controlled substance.

Why People Abuse Valium

Most people who abuse Valium and other benzodiazepines do so because of the sedative effects and mild euphoria that they provide.

Others may rely on Valium in order to sleep and feel that they would have trouble functioning without it.

Yet extended Valium use can have some potential negative side effects.

Side effects of Valium use include:

  • drowsiness
  • slurred speech
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle weakness
  • confusion
  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

Methods Of Valium Abuse

When a person is given Valium by a medical professional, it is either injected directly into a vein at a healthcare center or given as a prescription to take home in pill format.

When Valium is purchased on the street, it is often misused in other ways in order to experience faster and more intense highs from it.

Some of the ways people may misuse diazepam include:

Signs That Someone May Be Abusing Valium

Valium abuse can potentially put a person in danger, and it can be important to be able to recognize the signs of a person who is abusing Valium.

Warning signs that someone is abusing Valium include:

  • inability to handle responsibilities
  • motor function difficulty
  • strong cravings for Valium
  • loss of appetite
  • doctor shopping
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • using Valium without a prescription or after one has ended

How Long Does Valium Stay In The Body?

Valium can be detected in a person’s system between 48 hours and 90 days after their last use, depending on the method of testing.

The most common method of testing is urine testing, which can detect Valium for up to six weeks after the last use.

Valium can be detected in a person’s hair for 90 days or even longer after the last use.

Street Names For Valium

Valium has a few different nicknames when bought and sold on the streets. Additionally, benzodiazepines also have nicknames such as “nerve pills” and “benzos”.

Common street names for Valium include:

  • eggs
  • jellies
  • vallies
  • blues

Learn more about the street names for Valium.

The Cost Of Street Valium

The cost of a Valium pill on the street may be around $2 to $10 depending on the dosage of the pill, the local demand, and local availability.

Valium is currently one of the most commonly found prescription drugs that are illegally sold on the streets.

Find out more about the street cost of Valium.

Is It Dangerous To Mix Valium With Other Drugs?

It is dangerous to mix Valium with other drug use and substances, regardless if they are depressants or stimulants.

Consider the effects and drug interactions of combining diazepam with the following substances.

Mixing Valium And Alcohol

Valium and alcohol are a dangerous mix, as they are both central nervous system depressants and act on the brain and body in similar ways. Essentially, they amplify each other’s effects.

Both of these drugs also slow a person’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Taking them at the same time will greatly increase a person’s risk for overdose and death.

Learn more about mixing Valium and alcohol.

Mixing Cocaine And Valium

It is a common misconception that combining a “downer” drug like Valium with an “upper” drug like cocaine could mask or cancel out each other’s effects.

In fact, the main reason why a person may combine these drugs is in order to balance out their opposing effects.

This is not actually the case, however, and combining these two drugs together can greatly increase a person’s risk for accidental overdose.

This is especially true if a person continues to take more doses of one drug in order to compensate for the symptoms of the other.

Read about mixing cocaine and Valium.

Dangers Of Valium Addiction

An addiction to Valium can be dangerous for a few different reasons and will only become more problematic the longer a person abuses it.

Tolerance To Valium

The longer a person takes Valium, the more of the drug they will start needing to take in order to feel the effects that they originally felt with it. This can result in the person taking higher and higher doses.

Learn more about Valium tolerance.

Valium Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Valium and other benzos can be severe, uncomfortable, and potentially deadly.

Symptoms of withdrawal can include seizures and psychosis and may cause a person to act out in uncharacteristic ways.

Overdose Risk

While overdose on Valium is pretty rare, the chances of it happening will greatly increase if someone is abusing Valium to the point of addiction.

They may find themselves unintentionally taking too much and not even realizing it.

Can You Fatally Overdose On Valium?

It is possible to fatally overdose on Valium, however, instances of this happening are uncommon.

Because of this, the lethal dose of Valium would depend on many factors.

While fatal overdoses on Valium by itself are rare, the risk of overdose becomes much higher when a person combines Valium with other drugs such as alcohol or opioids.

Read more about the lethal dose of Valium.

How To Detox From Valium

Detoxification from Valium should always be done under the supervision of medical professionals.

This is because Valium needs to be tapered off slowly in order to avoid adverse effects and potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms like seizures or psychosis.

Learn more about Valium detoxification.

Treatment Services For Valium Abuse

Anyone who is recovering from benzodiazepine abuse should have their mental health and behavioral health addressed at the same time as their drug addiction.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often a great choice for this type of drug treatment, following medical detox.

Counseling can be done in either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program setting. A person’s treatment providers will likely have a recommendation as to which option is best for them.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Services

There is no shame in seeking help for yourself or a loved one if you have an addiction to Valium or any other prescription drugs.

If you have any questions that you need answered about substance use, help is just a phone call away. Reach out to us as soon as you are ready to begin addiction treatment.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 12, 2022
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