Does Valium Recreational Use Lead to Addiction
Valium is one of the first known benzodiazepine drugs in its class, generically known as diazepam. Valium helps to relieve anxiety, to reduce seizure activities in the brain, reduce muscle spasms, and promote sleep.
Its abuse liabilities are in its calming and sedative effects that are much like alcohol, another central nervous system depressant. In fact, initial exposures to Valium are often during an alcohol detox where seizures and agitation control needs are clearly evident.
Scientific research and neurological studies have shown that Valium recreational use does lead to addiction based on its ability to alter dopamine surges in the brain’s reward pathways, a fundamental neurological aspect of every addictive drug.
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The Neuroscience Of Valium Addiction
Valium recreational use leads to addiction in ways similar to other substances like alcohol, opioids, or cocaine. According to the NIDA, “The pleasurable sensations that make addictive drugs disastrously attractive for vulnerable individuals occur when dopamine levels in the brain’s reward area abruptly surge.”
Although Valium doesn’t directly increase the dopamine levels like opioids and other drugs do, it activates alpha-1 GABA receptors in the brain, weakening the influence of inhibitory neurons that “normally help prevent excessive dopamine levels by down-regulating the firing rates of dopamine-producing neurons.” This, subsequently, allows the dopamine-producing neurons to increase their productions. Future exposures lead to more susceptibilities and larger dopamine surges, increasing the potentials for Valium addiction.
How Valium Recreational Use Leads to Addiction?
Although recreational users of Valium may use the drug intermittently, they often use excessively higher than therapeutic doses to enhance or prolong the pleasurable effects, either from the sole use of Valium or in combination with other substances.
With a longer half-life compared to the more popular benzodiazepines, Xanax and Klonopin, used for recreational purposes, Valium can build up in the person’s system and repeat dosages accumulate the drug’s presence in the body although the individual may only feel subtle effects.
Every Valium exposure adds to the changes in how the brain’s reward pathway responds to Valium use and the addictive potentials are reinforced. According to NIDA, “Dopamine surges are transient events, but addictive drugs cause long-lasting changes in the reward system.”
Over time, tolerance requires higher amounts of the drug to produce desired effects and once dependency sets in, use of Valium increases to avoid the negative symptoms of not using (withdrawals).
Addiction is characterized by compulsive use despite negative consequences or harm to the user or others. Some people are more vulnerable to Valium addiction than others depending on a variety of contributing factors such as their biological make-ups, their methods of Valium use, their social or home environments, their mental health status, their access and availability to Valium, and their experiences when using it.
We can help you find Valium addiction treatment. Call 800-895-1695 toll free today.