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Valium, also known as diazepam, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine that is only legally available on prescription and classed as a controlled drug. It’s potential for abuse and addiction is substantial and should only be used under the strict supervision and guidance of a medical practitioner.

Valium can cause drug tolerance and dependence quickly, within 7 to 14 days of continuous use. This is why it is generally only medically recommended for short term treatment.

Over the last 5 years there has been widespread concern over the number of valium and other addictive prescription drug dependencies in the UK. In England alone, 1.4 million adults were prescribed a benzodiazepine class of drug during 2017/18. This equates to 3% of the English adult population.

The overprescribing of addictive drugs is very much a public health issue and contributes to a high number of deaths. Consequently, in 2018 Public Health England were commissioned by the government to carry out a landmark review on commonly prescribed addictive drugs.

As a result of the review there are now more protocols and procedures in place to help avoid prescription drug dependencies and abuse.
Unfortunately for many, this review has come too late. Whilst doctors battle to withdraw patients from benzodiazepine dependency’s, some are sadly turning to the dark web, street dealers and private doctors in order to get their prescriptions fulfilled.

If you or a loved one have a problem with valium addiction or abuse, please call Delamere for a free of charge assessment and expert advise around your best treatment options.

What is valium?

Valium is a generic name for diazepam, the most commonly prescribed type of benzodiazepine in the UK according to Public health England PHE.

valium tablets

Valium is licensed for the treatment of anxiety related disorders, muscle spasms, seizures and alcohol withdrawal. It is also used in hospitals to promote calmness, amnesia and sedation during minor operative procedures.

Valium works by binding to the brains chemical receptors, calming overactivity and reducing stress. As a powerful depressant drug it also promotes muscle relation and can prevent and stop seizures.

Diazepam has a long history of abuse since its first introduction onto the market in 1963 under the generic name of valium. At this time there was very little known around addiction to valium, its potential for abuse and its withdrawal symptoms.

Today, deaths associated with benzodiazepines are at an all time high with 420 deaths being recorded in England and Wales in 2018. This is the highest figure recorded by ONS since records first began in 1993.

The overriding concern with benzodiazepine type drugs such as valium, xanax and librium is their potential for addiction, dependence, overdose and death when abused.

number of drug related deaths due to benzos

Source: Office for National Statistics

Side effects reported by Valium users

  • Feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness and wooziness
  • Blurred vision, sometimes accompanied by headaches
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy and drowsiness
  • A tendency to slur speech
  • Paranoia
  • Yellowed skin

Benzodiazepine withdrawal and detox

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is notoriously hard on the body and the mind. Those that have developed a valium addiction will experience benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms when they try to reduce or stop.

The longer the duration of the valium dependence and the higher the dosage, the more severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms can be.

Valium and Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aches and pains
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramps
  • Severe sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tremors
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal ideation and self harm
  • Seizures

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be effectively managed and drastically reduced by undergoing an inpatient benzodiazepine detox.

When my doctor began prescribing me Valium, I had no idea it was addictive. Over a period of several years my doctor issued repeat prescriptions, gradually increasing the amount I took. I literally felt like I could not breath without valium and needed it to complete the simplest of tasks, even getting out of bed in the morning. My anxiety was worse than ever, yet I had no idea it was the valium causing it. 

Prior to rehab at Delamere I attempted numerous times to try and reduce the valium I took, each time would result in debilitating and terrifying panic attacks. I am so grateful I contacted Delamere and underwent treatment with them. My life has changed immeasurably, I never thought I would be free of valium but thanks to them I now am.

The dangers of Xanax abuse

In recent years there has also been a sharp rise in xanax abuse related deaths. This is largely due to fake xanax (alprazolam) being made readily available on the streets.

In comparison to valium, xanax is around ten times stronger and its effects hit the user faster, causing rapid onset of sedation. This means that not only is there a greater potential for abuse, addiction and dependence but that an overdose related death is a substantial risk.

Like all benzodiazepines, overdose is much more likely when the drug is mixed with alcohol or other depressant drugs g such as opioids.

If you need help with a xanax abuse problem, Delamere provide’s a full xanax medical detox and bespoke rehabilitation programme. Call us today to find out more.


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Signs of valium abuse and addiction in a love one

How do you know is someone in your family, a friend or a work colleague has developed a problem with taking Valium? And, if they do have a problem, what steps should you take to help them?

Signs of valium abuse and addiction include:

  • Significant number of empty pill packs/bottles and blister strips lying around
  • Numerous prescriptions from different doctors
  • Slow to respond and drowsy
  • Yellow or grey pallor to the skin
  • Sleeping far more than usual
  • Signs of mixing valium with alcohol or other drugs
  • Disinterest in family time, social events and things they used to enjoy
  • Unreliability, taking time off work or failing to turn up for events
  • School or work performance is suffering
  • Mood swings
  • Generally appearing emotionally unavailable and non reactive to emotional triggers
  • Unsteadiness on their feet , slurring words (appearing drunk)
  • Changes in appetite and appearance

If you spot signs and symptoms of valium abuse and addiction in someone you know, it is important to address the problem and encourage them to seek help.

You could suggest attending a doctors appointment with them or encourage them to have a chat with one of our addiction experts who are available 24/7

Valium intervention

When someone you love is addicted to valium and is either in denial of their problem or unprepared to accept help, then a valium intervention could well be the solution you are looking for.
Drug interventions are usually considered as a last resort, and in this sense they are often life saving.

Being close to someone who suffers from a valium addiction can be incredibly frightening. It is hard to stand by and do nothing, yet the feelings of helplessness are overpowering.

Thankfully there is help available in the form of a professional valium intervention, delivered by our own highly skilled and experienced interventionist.

Our interventionist will work closely with the family in order to gather as much information as possible about the person who needs the help. Delamere’s drug interventions are intricately planned and highly successful.

Research has shown that those who enter rehab treatment off the back of a professional intervention tend to engage better than those do not. The reason for this is that our interventionist will have already broken down any barriers that could potentially prevent the individual from giving 100 percent focus.

For more information on our interventions and rehab programmes for valium addiction, please call and speak to us directly.

The Delamere detox: individual, flexible, dependable

At Delamere we are able to professionally facilitate full medical detoxes for all manner of prescription drugs, legal drugs and illicit drugs. We provide 24/7 detox care delivered by qualified nurses and therapeutic support delivered by our counsellors.

Every detox is different and in the case of valium and other benzodiazepines it is not uncommon for the person to abuse or misuse other substances such as opiates or alcohol.

Our Delamere detox doctor and clinical team devise bespoke detox programmes for every patient that has a dependence to one or more substances. Our detoxes allow for a safe and comfortable withdrawal, delivered within our onsite purpose built detox centre where rest, recuperation and physical rehabilitation are the focus.

Undergoing a medical detox for a valium dependence is clinically recognised as the safest way to stop valium. It also vastly reduces the chances of developing PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

Call our Delamere admissions team to find out more about how we can help you or a loved one to stop taking valium safely

Struggling with prescription drug addiction? Talk to us today


  • Public Health England PHE – link 1, link 2
  • Calcaterra NE, Barrow JC (April 2014). “Classics in chemical neuroscience: diazepam (valium)”. ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 5 (4): 253–60. doi:10.1021/cn5000056. PMC 3990949. PMID 24552479.
  • Office for National Statistics ONS Benzodiazepine related deaths in England and Wales

Frequently asked questions

Valium detoxes can be a lengthily process IF the individual has been taking substantial amounts of valium and for a long period of time. Trying to stop valium too quickly can be very dangerous and bring about life threatening symptoms such as psychosis and seizures; it can also bring about the onset of PAWS. It is important that if you are addicted to valium that you seek the correct medical help to support your detox.

Addiction is addiction, regardless of the substance that is involved or the source. Many individuals that become addicted to prescribed drugs are in denial of their condition because they are taking legitimate prescriptions. Sadly these people will never recover unless they address their addiction disorder. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is particularly challenging in the community. Due to it being a prescribed drug, there is little specialised or intensive help available on the NHS. If you have an addiction to valium and want your life back, the best treatment that is available would be through a private drug rehab specialising in benzodiazepine addiction such as ourselves.



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