What is Valium (diazepam) used for?
Valium is a sedative in the benzodiazepine class that is used for:
- Sedation prior to surgery
- Preventing tremors, DTs, agitation or seizures during alcohol withdrawal
- Relaxant for muscle spasms
- Mild to moderate anxiety*
- Treating convulsive disorders such as exposure to some poisons
*Valium is intended for short-term use only, as advised by the FDA and noted on the drug’s label.
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 hallucinations, seizures, etc., 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 even short-term use; hence, the minimum dose and minimum duration of use are recommended.
Stopping Valium abruptly intensifies withdrawal symptoms.
Valium Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Epileptic seizures*
- Depressed mood
- Disturbed sleep
- Tremors, shaking, especially in the hands
- Cramps, particularly stomach cramps
- Rebound anxiety
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- High blood pressure
*Abrupt discontinuation should generally be avoided and a gradual dosage
tapering schedule followed according to the FDA.