Each addiction experience is unique. While the disease tends to develop and progress according to a certain pattern, the details of this pattern vary. You may have taken a drug for years without problems. You may have quickly slid from use to abuse and dependence. There is no specific time frame for how long it takes to become addicted to a drug like Valium.
The Valium Addiction Progression
At first, you choose to use a drug like Valium medically or recreationally. Over time, the choice gradually or quickly disappears. Your body becomes tolerant to Valium, which means you need more of the drug to continue to feel its desired effects. Tolerance develops at different speeds depending on how much you take and how often you take it.
Your physical and mental health also play a role in determining how quickly your brain and body adjust to Valium’s presence. Pre-existing health issues and other risk factors determine how quickly this tolerance becomes dependence and then addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur.”1
You progress past needing more of the drug to feel good; you need more and more of the drug to feel “normal.” At this point, continuing to take Valium becomes a matter of avoiding withdrawal symptoms. You begin to believe you need the drug to feel good or function without realizing that the drug itself is causing many of the negative thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.
When you continue using Valium despite experiencing negative effects related to its use, the disease of addiction has begun. You may or may not be aware of the impact Valium has on your health and your life especially at first. Addiction itself changes your perception of drug use. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) puts it this way: “Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
How Do I Slow the Progression of Valium Addiction?
Not everyone who uses Valium becomes addicted. You can reduce your risk or slow the progression of tolerance and dependence and, therefore, addiction. First understand your risk factors. A family history of addiction puts you at greater risk for developing addiction issues and developing them faster.
“Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction,” according to ASAM.
Consider your parents, siblings and other relatives’ relationships with prescription medications, alcohol and other drugs. If they struggle with substance abuse issues, talk with your doctor about alternatives to addictive drugs like Valium before starting any prescription.
Carefully monitor your drug use, and be aware of and honest about any changes in thought, behavior, mood, and physical health. Take these changes seriously, and quickly take action to slow the progression of Valium addiction and begin your path to recovery.
Genes aren’t the only factors influencing the rate of Valium addiction development. Underlying mental health concerns put you at risk for substance abuse and dependence. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports: “People with a mental health issue are more likely to use alcohol or drugs than those not affected by a mental illness. Results from the 2014 NSDUH report showed that of those adults with any mental illness, 18.2% had a substance use disorder, while those adults with no mental illness only had a 6.3% rate of substance use disorder in the past year.”
It’s important to know if, how and why you are at risk for Valium addiction. Call Black Bear Lodge to learn more about how long it takes to become addicted to this powerful and how you can recover. You can learn to manage your risk factors and relapse triggers. You can overcome cravings and find a life free from Valium and other substance abuse.