Valium Symptoms and Signs
Benzodiazepines like Valium are generally not prescribed for long-term use due to the risk of tolerance, dependence and addiction. Like all drugs, even when taken as prescribed, Valium has common and more serious side effects. If any of the following serious diazepam symptoms occur, a physician should be contacted immediately.1
- Unusual thoughts or behavior
- Abnormal risk-taking
- No fear of danger
- Decreased inhibitions
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- New or worsening seizures
- Weak or shallow breathing
- A feeling of passing out
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of bladder control
- Little or no urination1
Common Valium Side Effects
- Spinning sensation
- Ataxia (loss of balance)
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Blurred or double vision
- Skin rash
- Loss of interest in sex1
People have reported taking doses as high as 2000 mg of Valium without serious effects, which equates to about 50 times the maximum recommended daily dose. Valium is safer and very difficult to overdose on when taken by itself, however some people combine it unintentionally with other drugs and others abuse it, which increases the risk of overdose.2
Like other benzodiazepines, central nervous system (CNS) depression is the most overt sign of a Valium overdose. In mild cases, symptoms include drowsiness, confusion and lethargy. In more serious cases, symptoms may include ataxia (loss of muscle control), diminished reflexes, hypotonia (loss of muscle tone), hypotension (low blood pressure), slow heartbeat and respiratory depression. If a person exhibits any of these signs, 911 should be called without delay. Coma and death are rare unless Valium is combined with other CNS depressants such as alcohol.2,3
Signs of Valium Abuse
Valium can trigger euphoria, causing some people to find creative ways to boost this effect. Valium abuse is defined as using diazepam in any way other than as directed for means outside prescription protocol. Common methods of abuse include chewing, crushing, smoking or snorting the pills, as well as taking much higher doses than prescribed or combining it with alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol intensifies the sedative effects of Valium and can increase the risk of CNS depression.4 Behavioral signs of abuse include any of the following:
- Buying Valium online
- Frequent driving impairment
- Erratic and unexplained mood changes
- Impaired judgment
- Needing to refill prescriptions often
- Doctor-shopping to obtain prescriptions
- Self-medicating to treat anxiety
- A change in appearance/hygiene
- Shutting out family and friends due to drug use
- Slow movements and speech
- Change in eating habits
- Loss of coordination
- Excessive sleepiness4,5
If these signs and symptoms are observed in yourself or a loved one, consider seeking treatment for Valium addiction immediately.
- Valium Side Effects Center. RX List website. http://www.rxlist.com/valium-side-effects-drug-center.htm Updated April 6, 2015. Accessed February 22, 2017.
- Can you overdose (OD) on Valium? Addiction Blog website. http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/can-you-overdose-od-on-valium/ Published June 17, 2012. Accessed February 22, 2017.
- RX List website. http://www.rxlist.com/valium-drug/overdosage-contraindications.htm Accessed February 22, 2017.
- How is Valium abused? Addiction Blog website. http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/how-is-valium-abused/ Published April 16, 2013. Accessed February 22, 2017.
- Valium Abuse. Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/library/valium-abuse/ Accessed February 22, 2017.