Signs of Addiction
When it comes to prescription benzodiazepines, there are some distinct signs of abuse and addiction. At the same time, some signs of addiction are universal. It’s important to become familiar with both of these due to the fact that long-term use of drugs like Valium are so dangerous and rather common in young people. Studies have found that more teenagers have abused prescription drugs than ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, and all hallucinogens combined.
Signs can include:
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns
- Unexplained, excessive drowsiness
- Visiting several different doctors (“doctor shopping”)
- Changes in social circles
- Anxiety or depression
- Changes in grooming habits or hygiene
- Secretive behavior
- Hoarding the drug
- Mixing Valium with other intoxicants
- Unease about the drug being unavailable
- Inability or unwillingness to quit
Though not the only aspect of addiction, the emergence of withdrawal symptoms when a person stops taking Valium can be an indication of a problem.
Long-Term Health Effects
Addiction and general long-term use or abuse can lead to a number of alarming physical, cognitive, and emotional problems. Some studies have found significant brain changes and possible brain damage in people who have taken drugs like Valium for extended periods of time. Other studies, however, have found no evidence of this. It does appear that people undergo minor cognitive difficulties while on these medications, but they then often improve after intake of the drug is stopped.
Other issues can include:
- Attention deficits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Learning disorders
- Memory problems
- Impaired sleep
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sexual dysfunction
There have also been reports of people developing psychological disorders, including anxiety disorders, that they didn’t have before after long-term use of Valium and similar drugs. But again, these issues tend to improve once these individuals stop taking the medication.