Valium can be an invaluable aid for individuals suffering from anxiety attacks or panic disorders.
Alcohol is one of the most easily available and regularly consumed substances in the world. Unfortunately, people commonly mix alcohol and Valium on accident–or even on purpose.
Understanding potential interactions between the two may help avoid intentional or accidental mixing. By discussing the physical effects of each substance, we can better understand why Valium and alcohol do not mix well.
Valium for Pain: How Does Valium Work?
Valium is the brand name for the drug diazepam, which scientists have classified as a benzodiazepine. This category of drugs is sometimes referred to as “benzos.”
Diazepam diminishes the reactiveness of neurons by essentially making communication between them more difficult. Not all benzos function in this exact method, but the neurons affected by benzos are usually the same.
For individuals suffering from anxiety, this effect can produce a calming sensation, and typically eliminates symptoms of anxiety.
Though its relaxing effects would appear to make it a good painkiller, taking Valium for pain is likely ineffective. It does not affect the neurons in the brain responsible for pain reception, and the risk of dependence makes it a poor option for pain treatment.
What Are Valium’s Medical Applications?
Valium is prescribed to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal, diazepam can also help relax muscles. Additionally, Valium has been found to have some off-label use as a sleep aid, and sedation for patients receiving intensive care.
Medical professionals strongly recommended against taking Valium for sleep at home, as it is all too easy for someone to develop a dependence on the drug. Under proper medical supervision for patient sedation in the ICU is unlikely to be risky, however, since doses are limited in quantity and repetition.
Does Valium Have Side Effects?
Like many prescription medications, Valium may have a number of side effects when taken.
While Valium side effects are typically described as simply ‘uncomfortable’, there are a few rare adverse effects that might arise. The following are some of the common side effects of diazepam use:
Valium has also been known to be a leading cause of seizures, trouble breathing, or suicidal ideation, but these cases are rare.
Additionally, the formation of a substance use disorder (SUD) in relation to Valium is a possibility. As a result, doctors will need to carefully monitor and pace Valium use, to minimize risk of abuse.
Does Valium Have Risk for Abuse?
Valium is manufactured as oral tablets in dose sizes of two, five, and ten milligrams. The generic chemical name, diazepam, is also manufactured as a liquid to be taken intravenously. Valium carries the potential for abuse in any and all of these forms.
Individuals who use benzos without a prescription or who take more than the prescribed dose increase their risk for developing a dependence upon them. People who self-diagnose or simply want something to help them “feel good” may seek illicit forms of Valium for its calming effects.
No matter the initial reason, abuse of Valium can cause an addiction to form. When an individual suffers from an addiction to diazepam, they are also likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop suddenly.
How Long Does Valium Last?
Valium stays in the body for a significant amount of time, especially when compared to similar substances. Valium’s half life of 46 hours makes it an exceptionally long-remaining drug.
This means it takes the average human body nearly two full days to get rid of half of the diazepam they ingest. In two day more, another half would be eliminated.
After enough time, all of the substance will be entirely eliminated. Since the half-life of Valium is so long, it can take as many as 12 days for it to completely exit the body, depending on the dose size.
Though the substance remains in the body for a long time, Valium’s intended effects last only about 12 hours.
Valium And Alcohol Interaction
Alcohol is a substance known as a “depressant” that can result in a plethora of side effects as well as health complications with long-term use.
The most notable side-effects of alcohol consumption include drowsiness, headaches, and breathing difficulty.
Side Effects of Mixing Valium and Alcohol
Since both Valium and alcohol can both cause individuals to feel drowsy, experience headaches, or have trouble breathing, combining the two can be risky.
Since Valium remains in the system for such a long period of time, there is a higher chance of accidentally having Valium and alcohol in your system at the same time.
For example, someone may take their dose of Valium in the morning, then later in the evening go out for drinks. If they have forgotten about the dose, or are unaware of the dangers of mixing Valium and alcohol, they risk experiencing life-threatening side effects.
The compound effect of both alcohol and benzos depressing the central nervous system (CNS) can cause dangerously slowed breathing. A person who has mixed them often appears to be asleep. Whether accidental or not, frequently mixing Valium and alcohol can result in overdose and even death.
Treatment for Valium and Alcohol Addiction
A SUD is a life-threatening problem. Even if Valium’s effects may seem relatively harmless, a dependence on the drug can worsen over time, developing into addiction or even lead to death. This is why it is important to seek help if you think a loved one suffers from a SUD. If you suspect that a loved one is addicted to Valium–or any other substance–contact us today.