Some medications can alter a person's state of mind, and because of that, are sometimes taken other than as prescribed or are abused. Coming in just after marijuana and alcohol, the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older are prescription and over the counter drugs. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (oxycodone), central nervous system depressants (Valium), and stimulants (Adderall).
Valium is prescribed for the management of anxiety disorders, in conjunction with other drugs for the relief of skeletal muscle spasms and for convulsive disorders/status epilepticus, as well as for minor tranquilizing or sedative needs. It suppresses acute alcohol withdrawal, and can even help deliver relief for those suffering from stress ulcers. Diazepam is the generic name for Valium. Diazepam is commonly abused recreationally as a sedative or to enhance the effects of alcohol and other drugs. Cocaine users and heroin users have also enlisted the help of Valium to help reduce certain side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
- Intravenous Injection (By preparing a solution from crushed tablets)
- Prescription Injection (Liquid Valium)
- Rectal Administration in Gel Form
- Possible Loss of Memory
- Loss of Inhibition
- Severe Sedation
- Respiratory Impairment
Diazepam can produce a state of intoxication similar to that of alcohol, including slurred speech, disorientation, and drunken behavior. Depending on the amount taken, onset of effects can occur within half an hour and last as long as 12-24 hours. There are some unsavory side effects, but those tend to affect the elderly more often than its younger users.
- Blurry Vision
- Diminished Reflexes
- Dry Mouth
- Excessive Sweating
- Lack of Coordination
- Low Blood Pressure
- Nausea Accompanied by Vomiting
- Severe Headaches
In overdose, contradictory reactions of anxiety, insomnia, stimulation, hallucination, and acute state of overexcitement seem to occur. Shallow breathing, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, and death are also possibilities. Regular use will yield a built up tolerance that lessens the sedative and adverse effects the most, but tolerance may not change the benefits of diazepam for relief of anxiety. Depending on dose and frequency of administration, tolerance may take several weeks or months to develop. Valium has the ability to produce mild physical and psychological dependence and therefore, has a significant risk for potential abuse.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that abrupt withdrawal from use can generate:
- Excitement and Restlessness
- Apprehension and Fearfulness
- Muscle Stiffness
- Sensitivity to Light and Sound
- Intense Nausea and Vomiting Accompanied by Severe Abdominal Cramping
- Delirium, Hallucinations, and Paranoid Psychoses
- Hyperthermia, Tachycardia, and Increased Blood Pressure
- Profuse Sweating
- Panic Attacks
- Seizures and Convulsions