Valium and Alcohol

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What is Valium?

Valium is used to relieve anxiety and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. It is also used along with other medications to control muscle spasms and spasticity caused by certain neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy (a condition that causes difficulty with movement and balance), paraplegia (inability to move parts of the body), athetosis (abnormal muscle contractions), and stiff-man syndrome (a rare disorder with muscle rigidity and stiffness). Valium is also used along with other medications to control seizures.

Valium is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by calming abnormal overactivity in the brain. Valium may be habit-forming. Do not take Valium and alcohol and do not take a larger dose, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. 

Diazepam, first marketed as Valium, is a medicine of the benzodiazepine family that acts as an anxiolytic. It is commonly used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, seizures, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, muscle spasms, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome.

Valium may cause physical dependence (a condition in which unpleasant physical symptoms occur if a medication is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses), especially if you take it for several days to several weeks. Do not stop taking this medication or take fewer doses without talking to your doctor. Stopping Valium suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms that may last for several weeks to more than 12 months.

Valium and Alcohol
Chemical dependency and addiction are two of the most serious effects of Valium and alcohol on the brain.

Signs of Valium Addiction & Valium Side Effects

Valium may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Changes in sex drive or ability

Some Valium side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • Loss of control of bodily movements
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed breathing and heartbeat

Valium may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

More than 14 million adults ages 18 and older have alcohol use disorder (AUD), and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem. [1] Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. The good news is that research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems. [2]

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. Fortunately, no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from some form of alcohol treatment.

Alcohol-related problems—which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often—are among the most significant public health issues in the United States. Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives.

Valium and Alcohol
Drinking alcohol while you’re taking Valium can increase your risk of experiencing a depressant overdose.

Mixing Valium and Alcohol

There are several facts about Valium and alcohol consumption that everyone should know. Like alcohol, Valium is a central nervous system depressant. Valium is typically used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and seizures. Although Valium can be used to get positive results in medical settings, it is also a prescription drug that can be addictive and has the potential to be abused.

Abuse of Valium can cause individuals to feel an intense feeling of euphoria or a “high.” Valium should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol, and mixing valium and alcohol together can lead to overdose and even death. If an individual is struggling with valium and alcohol abuse, they should seek medical treatment from a professional, either at a traditional medical facility or at a rehab facility.

Effects of Mixing Valium and Alcohol

Concurrent Valium and alcohol problems need to be confronted and treated as soon as possible. Both Valium and alcohol are potentially addictive when used separately. When used together, the symptoms of both drugs are enhanced, as is the danger to the individual taking the drugs. Several of the symptoms of mixing Valium and alcohol include memory issues, impaired coordination, shallow breathing, fainting, drowsiness, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and medical poisoning. Death may also result from Valium and alcohol overdose. Most medical professionals prescribing Valium make it explicitly clear to their patients that using the drug with alcohol can cause death and should not be done under any circumstances. Valium and alcohol use is dangerous and should be treated immediately.

Effects on the Brain

What Are the Long-Term Risk of Valium and Alcohol Addiction?

When taken as directed, Valium is typically more helpful than it is harmful. When people abuse this drug and alcohol over the long term, they can develop:

  • Persistent drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Blood in urine or stool

Effects on the Body

When taken as directed, Valium is usually more helpful than harmful. However, long-term use or abuse of this medication can interfere with normal functions of the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as:

  • Constant drowsiness
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach problems
  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nightmares or hallucinations
  • Impaired judgment
  • Seizures

Ironically, many of the symptoms of long-term Valium abuse, such as anxiety and sleeplessness, are the same concerns that the medication was prescribed to treat. If overuse of Valium and alcohol continues, these symptoms are likely to get worse. Users may experience dangerous, even fatal, seizures, along with extreme anxiety, agitation, memory loss, and exhaustion. As a long-acting benzodiazepine, Valium remains in the system longer than short-acting drugs in the same family, such as alprazolam (Xanax) or lorazepam (Ativan). This means that Valium can have a lingering effect on the body and brain and that the symptoms of long-term abuse or addiction may be more severe.

Treatment for Polysubstance Addictions

Mixing Valium and alcohol puts you at risk for dangerous reactions. Protect yourself by avoiding alcohol if you are taking a medication and don’t know its effect. To learn more about a medicine and whether it will interact with alcohol, talk to your pharmacist or other health care provider.

Mixing any combination of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs, and alcohol can be unpredictable and dangerous.  Most fatal overdoses involve the use of more than one type of drug (poly-drug use).

Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is dangerous because different drugs act on our bodies in different ways. The harmful effects are magnified by using more than one drug type. For example, the more alcohol in the body, the less heroin needed to cause an overdose.

Valium and alcohol detox includes medications that can help people get control without a high chance of addiction. Typically, a key part of treatment is counseling or psychotherapy. It may also require withdrawal detoxification, addiction medication, and recovery support.

Valium and Alcohol
Even though withdrawal symptoms can be distressing, quitting Valium and alcohol too quickly can be even more dangerous. Seek professional help for a safe and comfortable detox program.

Valium and alcohol addiction is a complex issue that requires long-term treatment – not a quick fix. The first step in overcoming substance use disorder is to seek help from your medical provider or a trained professional. Clearing prescription drugs from the body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms is the goal of Valium and alcohol detox, which is the first step of treatment for prescription drug addiction

Dual Diagnosis

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with heavy drinking and drug abuse. Studies show that people who are alcohol dependent are two to three times as likely to suffer from major depression or anxiety over their lifetime. When addressing drinking problems with alcohol treatment, it’s important to also seek therapies for any accompanying medical and mental health issues.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.5 million U.S. adults experienced both mental illness and a substance use disorder in 2019. [3] The best addiction treatment with dual diagnosis is integrated intervention, this is when you receive care for both your diagnosed mental illness and substance use disorder, such as valium and alcohol abuse.

If you or someone you love is seeking a safe, secure, and compassionate resource for valium and alcohol abuse treatment, We Level Up TX is here for you. Call us and speak with an addiction counselor today about our levels of care. Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.