What Is Valium? Identification, Uses & Addictive Qualities
Up to Date
Last Updated - 12/29/22View our editorial policy
Learn about the Valium and the potential hazards of Valium addiction.
Valium (diazepam) is a prescription medication that is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal and seizures. It is designed to be used only under the care and supervision of a doctor. In addition to the calming effect that Valium creates, it can also cause the release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins. When endorphins are released, it causes a pleasurable, euphoric sensation called a high. When someone begins using Valium for the high that it creates, they may have a Valium addiction.
When Valium is misused or used over a prolonged period of time, it can cause dependence. Dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of Valium in the bloodstream and begins needing the drug to function normally. Once dependence has developed, withdrawal symptoms will occur when Valium use is stopped.
What Is Valium?
Valium is an anti-anxiety drug that is part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines interact with a type of receptor in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors.
GABA receptors slow nerve signals in the brain that lead to anxiety. This creates a calming effect when benzodiazepines such as Valium are present. The interaction between benzodiazepines and GABA receptors also reduces the risk that someone will experience seizures.
What Is Valium Used For?
Valium is prescribed for a few different reasons, primarily anxiety and seizure prevention. However, this can include several different types of anxiety. Valium is used to treat:
- General anxiety
- Anxiety before a procedure or surgery
- Sedation during a procedure
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Muscle spasms
- Seizure disorders
Though Valium is intended to treat serious anxiety or seizures, many use it to feed an addictive craving. As many as 20% of people who take Valium or other benzodiazepines are misusing them.
Dosage and Administration
There are several different ways that Valium can be administered as well as different forms of the drug. Valium dosage depends upon the way that it is administered. For example, a normal dose of Valium in pill form will be very different from a normal intravenous (IV) dose. The ways in which Valium can be administered include:
- Oral solution
- Rectal gel
- Intravenously (into the veins)
- Intramuscularly (into a muscle)
The typical dose of Valium depends on the way that it is given and what it is being given for. The Valium max dose for most conditions is 30 mg in a 24-hour period. The proper dosage of Valium depends on each person’s individual situation. If someone has questions about their situation or dosage, they should consult with their doctor.
Valium Drug Interactions
Because of the way Valium affects the body, Valium interactions can occur when the medication is mixed with other drugs. Some common medications that people may mix with Valium include:
A Valium and hydrocodone interaction can be very dangerous, as both substances suppress alertness and neurological function. Combining these medications can make each one increase the strength of the other. This causes them to work together, increasing the risk of extreme sedation, coma, decreased breathing and death. Mixing these medications should be avoided.
A Valium and Benadryl interaction will occur when these two substances are used together and will lead to increased sedation. The sedation caused by Benadryl is not normally dangerous, but it can become dangerous when mixed with Valium. Someone wishing to use both Benadryl and Valium for anxiety should consult with a doctor before mixing these medications.
Valium and Percocet interactions may occur when someone uses Valium and Percocet together. Percocet contains both Tylenol and oxycodone, which is an opioid. Tylenol can interact with Valium to increase the risk of liver damage, and oxycodone can interact with Valium to cause increased sedation. Those considering mixing these medications should first speak with a doctor.
Mixing Suboxone and Valium can lead to Valium and Suboxone drug interactions. The most common interaction between these two substances is increased sedation. Someone considering mixing these medications should first consult with a doctor.
Using Valium and Ambien together can lead to an Ambien and Valium interaction. This can lead to an increase in sedation or nervous system suppression that is normally minor. Someone considering combining these medications should consult with a doctor first.
A Ritalin and Valium interaction can lead to increased stress on the heart and body, as Ritalin stimulates the body and Valium suppresses the body. The opposite effects can be harmful, and someone who is taking both should consult with a doctor before continuing to take both medications.
Valium and Flexeril interactions lead to increased sedation, potentially to a level that could be harmful. Mixing Flexeril and Valium should be avoided, and someone who is planning to take both should first speak with a doctor.
Vicodin and valium interactions can be very dangerous. Both substances suppress alertness and neurological function. Combining these medications can make each one increase the strength of the other. This causes them to work together, increasing the risk of extreme sedation, coma, decreased breathing and death. Mixing these medications should be avoided.
A Xanax-Valium interaction can be serious, as Valium and Xanax are both benzodiazepines. Taking two benzodiazepines together can result in over-sedation and can lead to an increased risk of overdose. Combining these two drugs should only be done with the permission and supervision of a doctor.
Combining Valium with any other substance can be dangerous. Even when there is not normally an interaction between Valium and other substances, certain people may be more prone to having negative interactions. Valium should only be combined with other substances after consulting with a doctor.
Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction?
Our Recovery Advocates are available 24/7 to help.
What Does Valium Look Like?
There is no standard appearance for Valium. The appearance will differ based on its dose and manufacturer. Valium may also be sold as generic diazepam, the active ingredient of Valium.
Those who wonder about what a Valium tablet or pill looks like can use a reputable pill finder to see characteristics and types of Valium. Sometimes, people consider purchasing Valium from a source other than a licensed pharmacy. Purchasing Valium off the street or from someone else is extremely risky.
Pills that are not Valium can still be made to look like Valium. drug dealers may mix other dangerous and more addictive drugs into what they are selling as Valium. This can greatly increase the risk of a fatal overdose. Someone who is considering purchasing Valium from a source other than a pharmacy should carefully consider the very real risks involved.
Valium Street Names
There are several different street names that are used by those selling or using Valium illicitly. These slang names may be changed frequently, as they are learned by law enforcement. The street names may include drugs that contain Valium mixed with other substances.
Many times, a Valium street name will be based on the appearance of the pill. One of the major manufacturers of 10 mg Valium makes it as a blue pill with “v” imprinted on it. This gives Valium its street name of “blue v.” The 5 mg dose by the same manufacturer is a yellow pill with “v” imprinted on it, and this dose has the street name “yellow v.” Some common street names for Valium include:
- Blue V’s
- Yellow V’s
- Dead Flower Powers
Purchasing street drugs is highly dangerous and illegal. Anyone considering purchasing illicit substances should consider seeking professional help with their addiction instead of risking their lives by using street drugs.
What are the side effects of Valium? There are several side effects that people who use Valium may experience, and these can include both physical and psychological side effects. Physical side effects are due to the way that Valium chemically affects the body. Psychological side effects are due to both the chemical effects of Valium on the body and the effects of an addiction to Valium, if an addiction has developed.
The side effects of coming off Valium are separate from the normal side effects that Valium causes. These will typically only be experienced if Valium has been used for a longer period of time or if a Valium dependence has developed.
Physical side effects of Valium are due to the chemical changes in the brain that Valium creates. These effects are dependent upon the dose used and the length of time that it has been used. One of the more common concerns about these side effects are the sexual side effects of Valium, which can lead to decreased sexual desire and performance. Other physical side effects include:
- Difficulty thinking
- Slow or slurred speech
- Difficulty understanding others
- Poor memory
- Poor judgment
- Decreased attention span
- Mood and emotional swings
In addition to these physical side effects, there can be side effects related to the way that the medication is administered. With Valium injections into muscles or Valium suppositories, side effects may include irritation at the site where the medication was injected or applied.
Psychological side effects of Valium that may develop with addiction can include:
- Decreased socialization
- Poor performance at work or school
- Cravings for Valium
- Feelings of guilt or anger about Valium use
- Decreased enjoyment in life
- Deterioration of previously important relationships
- Financial or legal troubles
If you or a loved one have some of these psychological symptoms, it is likely that a Valium addiction has developed. Consider seeking professional help in overcoming this addiction.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
A typical dose of Valium is 5 mg, which may last up to 10 days in the bloodstream. However, it will normally not be detectable in the blood after 48 hours. Some of the common ways that Valium testing is done include:
- Blood: Those who are tested for Valium use may wonder, “How long does Valium stay in your blood?” Typically, Valium will be detectable up to 48 hours after the last dose.
- Urine: Urine drug screens are very common when starting a new job, and those who are about to have a urine screen may wonder, “How long does Valium stay in your urine?” Typical Valium in urine detection time is one to six weeks after the last dose of Valium
- Hair: Hair drug tests, including hair tests for Valium, will show what drugs have been used in the last 90 days.
These times may be different for someone who is taking other medications, is older, has a slower metabolism or has a medical condition that affects how Valium is processed by the body.
No one should take Valium while pregnant without clear direction to do so by a doctor. Using Valium while breastfeeding will result in Valium being transferred to the baby.
How Addictive Is Valium?
Statistics show that around 20% of people who use Valium are not using it correctly and may have an addiction. These statistics also indicate that the number of overdose deaths for benzodiazepines such as Valium is increasing. While many people who use Valium for a short-term medical reason may not develop an addiction, it should still be used under the supervision of a doctor and should not be used for prolonged periods of time.
If you or someone you know has developed an addiction to Valium, the Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is here to help. Reach out to one of our understanding team members to learn what treatment options can work well for your situation.
Medscape. “Diazepam (Rx).” October 2018. Accessed July 20, 2019.
Maiewski, S.F., et al. “Evidence that a benzodiazepine receptor mechanism regulates the secretion of pituitary beta-endorphin in rats.” Endocrinology, August 1985. Accessed July 20, 2019.
Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. “Benzodiazepine Addiction.” 2019. Accessed July 20, 2019.
Thompson, Dennis. “Evidence Shows Abuse of Xanax, Valium on the Rise.” HealthDay News, December 27, 2018. Accessed July 20, 2019.
Drugs.com. “Pill Identifier.” July 1, 2019. Accessed July 20, 2019.
Drugs.com. “Diazepam use while Breastfeeding.” November 14, 2018. Accessed July 20, 2019.
O’Malley, Gerald; O’Malley, Rika. “Anxiolytics and Sedatives.” Merck Manuals, March 2018. Accessed July 20, 2019.