What is Valium (Diazepam) Used For Short-Term?
Valium is a sedative that is used for:
- Sedation prior to surgery
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Relaxant for muscle spasms
- Mild to moderate anxiety
- Prevention of seizures
Valium is intended for short-term use only. After as little as a week or two, a person may develop dependence and could experience withdrawals when stopping the drug. Combining benzodiazepines with other central nervous system depressants can be fatal. Always seek medical guidance before combining medications.
A gentle taper off the drug is recommended to avoid problems with Valium withdrawal.
Valium (Diazepam) Alternative Names and Slang
Diazepam is the generic name for the active drug in Valium. Other trade names exist, including Diastat Acudial, Diastat, and Diazepam Intensol.
Valium has developed a significant street presence, possibly due to, at least in part, Valium’s cheap cost, profound calming effects, and its use in easing withdrawals from other addictive drugs such as opiates.
Slang names for drugs are useful when people want to hide what they are actually talking about for social, legal, or other reasons.
Some slang or substitute names that refer to Valium sold illicitly are:
- Yellow V’s (5 mg.)
- Blue V’s (10 mg.)
- Howards (in reference to Howard Hughes who used Valium)
- Dead flowers
Side Effects of Valium
Valium is used to treat anxiety and as a muscle-relaxant, sleep-aid, and can be used in various settings, for example, during alcohol withdrawal to prevent seizures or pre-surgery to relax the patient. Valium is a fast-acting tranquilizer that produces a calming sensation, slows the heartbeat and breathing, and allows the muscles to relax.
Other Valium side effects include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Negative self-talk
- Severe drowsiness
- Birth defects if taken during pregnancy
- Unconsciousness, coma
- Slowed breathing
- Slowed heartbeat
- Mental fog, confusion
- Amnesia, memory loss, anterograde amnesia, inability to recall events after taking the drug
- Ataxia, loss of muscle control, i.e., stumbling, cannot speak, resembles a drunken state
- Skin rash
- Loss of libido
- Dry mouth
- Slurring of speech
- Weakness in muscles
These are not all the side effects. If any symptoms arise that seem unusual or are of concern, contact your prescribing physician without delay to report the side effects.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
Valium withdrawal, and generally, withdrawals from all benzodiazepines can occur within one to four days after stopping. Dependence can develop after short-term use; hence, the minimum dose and minimum duration of use are recommended.
Some signs of withdrawal may include:
- Depressed mood
- Disturbed sleep
- Tremors, shaking, especially in the hands
- Cramps, particularly stomach cramps
- Rebound anxiety
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- High blood pressure
These symptoms may appear as soon as within a day of the last dose. However, they may not appear for some days after stopping, and can quickly develop into harsh symptoms requiring medical attention or hospitalization.
Abrupt cessation of benzodiazepines is not recommended but a gentle taper off can ease the withdrawals significantly.
Warning About Valium Withdrawal (Diazepam)
NEVER attempt a “cold turkey” approach to Valium withdrawal.
Medical assistance should be arranged to monitor symptoms while gradually reducing the dosage. Sometimes, a bridge medication might be added if the withdrawals become too severe to be tolerated.