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Keep your eyes open if taking Valium for anxiety or sleep

They say that valium is patience in pill form. Whether it’s aerophobia (fear of flying), social awkwardness, or difficulty sleeping, many have found ways to cruise through different situations with the help of nerve pills. But are they safe? Let’s dig deeper into valium, the most commonly used pill for calming the nerves.

Valium: Facts Vs. Fiction

Valium is a trade name for diazepam, a drug that belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines which are mostly used for their tranquilizing and calming effects. Valium has been used as a sedative to reduce all types of anxiety, from medical anxiety which is associated with illnesses such as bipolar and alcohol withdrawal, to social anxiety that is triggered by situations around a person. It is however also referred to as an anticonvulsant as it can be used to treat medical conditions such as seizures and muscle spasms.

Valium is not to be confused with Xanax. Whereas both belong to the same class of drugs, Xanax differs slightly in terms of side effects. They are, therefore, never to be taken concurrently. It’s best to visit your doctor before starting on any of these medications.

Your doctor may prescribe it for anxiety, sleep disorders, muscle spasms, or seizures.

Are there hidden risks?

Yes! Possible side effects include drowsiness, confusion, minor tremors, uncoordinated movements, hallucinations, and amnesia or memory loss. Drowsiness can increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents or injury on the job.

You should also ensure you get your medicine from a trusted source. A case arose in Central Africa where over 400 patients suffered from severe tremors as a result of an improper brand of valium that had been used for over a year across Africa. Accidental overdose can be fatal and is more common if combined with other sedatives, alcohol, or addictive street drugs.

Can I become dependent or even addicted to Valium?

Definitely! This is a major issue with drugs like valium, and is the reason why many people advocate it should be considered a “controlled substance” and available only by prescription. However, it is often available without a prescription in Africa. Because of the risk of dependence and addiction, it is best to involve a doctor if considering taking valium. Persons who have become dependent experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to discontinue the medication. Withdrawal symptoms include excessive anxiety, tremors, excessive sweating, vomiting, among others. These are the discussions to have with your doctor when considering taking valium. Your doctor will guide you through possible ways of reducing the risk of dependence.

Do not use valium if….

There is a long list when it comes to contraindications. Among them include:

  • Allergic reactions to diazepam
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diagnosis of a personality disorder
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction

Consult with you doctor before starting on diazepam if you’re taking the following medications:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiretroviral
  • Sedatives such as antihistamines
  • Opioids such as morphine or codeine
  • Antifungals such as fluconazole
  • PPIs such as omeprazole
  • Theophylline

Take-Home Message

It’s always best to weigh the risks versus benefits when going for valium. While the calming effect is unquestionable, much like the high that comes with alcohol intake, it comes with its baggage. Make sure you check with your doctor before popping those pills and never combine valium with other sedatives or alcohol.