January 11, 2024

Diazepam Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

A man sits in discomfort, showing signs of Diazepam addiction symptoms

Valium (diazepam) is a prescription medication mainly used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders or occasional episodes of anxiety. This benzodiazepine induces a sedative effect within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption. That said, diazepam abuse can result in the development of an addiction to the medication. Read on to learn more about diazepam addiction potential and discover how to connect with evidence-based addiction treatment.

Is Diazepam Addictive?

Diazepam can be highly addictive. It is a member of the benzodiazepine class of medications, which are central nervous system depressants commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions. While they are effective for their intended medical purposes, benzodiazepines like diazepam have a strong potential for addiction and dependence.

The addictive nature of diazepam stems from several factors:

  • Tolerance development: Over time, people who use diazepam may develop tolerance, meaning that they require higher doses to achieve the same therapeutic effects. This can lead to an escalation of use, increasing the risk of addiction.
  • Physical dependence: Regular use of diazepam can result in diazepam dependence, where the body becomes accustomed to the drug’s presence. When a person with physical dependence tries to reduce or stop their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be distressing and lead to continued use to avoid discomfort.
  • Psychological dependence: Diazepam can also lead to psychological dependence, where someone relies on the drug to self-medicate emotional challenges. This can create a strong craving for the drug and make it difficult to quit.
  • Misuse and recreational use: Some people misuse diazepam for its calming and sedating effects to achieve a sense of relaxation or euphoria. Misuse significantly increases the risk of Valium addiction.
  • Risk of polysubstance use: Diazepam is often used in combination with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids, which can further potentiate its effects and increase the risk of addiction.

Use diazepam as prescribed by a healthcare professional and only for its intended medical purposes. Abruptly discontinuing diazepam without proper medical guidance can lead to withdrawal symptoms and complications. If you or someone you know is struggling with diazepam use or showing signs of addiction, seek professional help for assessment, treatment, and support on the path to recovery. Addiction to diazepam is treatable, and with the right assistance, individuals can regain control of their lives.

A woman in distress, depicting Diazepam addiction signs

Diazepam Addiction Signs

Diazepam addiction, clinically described as sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder, can manifest through various observable signs. The signs of Valium addiction often become evident to family members, friends, and colleagues. Diazepam addiction signs may include:

  • Social isolation: Individuals with diazepam addiction may withdraw from social activities and isolate themselves from friends and family. They may prefer spending time alone or with others who also use the drug.
  • Neglected appearance and hygiene: Addiction can lead to a decline in personal grooming and hygiene, resulting in disheveled or unkempt appearance and body odor.
  • Changes in sleep patterns: Diazepam addiction often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness or insomnia.
  • Financial problems: Maintaining a diazepam addiction can be costly, and people may struggle financially, frequently borrowing money, or resorting to illegal activities to support their habit.
  • Inconsistent work or school attendance: Individuals may experience difficulties in maintaining regular attendance at work or school, leading to poor job performance or academic struggles.
  • Secrecy and deception: Addiction can lead to secretive behaviors, including hiding the drug, lying about its use, and becoming defensive when questioned.
  • Frequent doctor visits: Individuals may visit multiple doctors or clinics in an attempt to obtain more diazepam prescriptions, a practice known as doctor shopping.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities: Addiction often leads to a loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities as people prioritize drug use over everyday activities.
  • Mood swings and irritability: Frequent mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability are common in individuals with diazepam addiction.
  • Weight changes: Addiction can cause noticeable weight changes, either through appetite suppression or overeating during certain phases of drug use.
  • Physical health issues: Prolonged diazepam use can lead to physical health problems, such as digestive issues, muscle weakness, and cardiovascular concerns.
  • Legal troubles: Engaging in illegal activities to obtain diazepam or as a result of impaired judgment can lead to legal troubles and consequences.
  • Unpredictable behavior: Individuals with diazepam addiction may exhibit unpredictable behavior, which can create tension and confusion in relationships.
  • Loss of responsibilities: Addiction may result in the abandonment of previous responsibilities, such as childcare, caregiving, or household duties.

Recognizing these signs can help inform timely intervention and appropriate support. If you suspect someone is struggling with diazepam addiction, encouraging them to seek professional help can help them recalibrate their life.

Diazepam Addiction Symptoms

According to DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, text revision), these are the 11 Valium addiction symptoms:

  1. Individuals with diazepam addiction often use the medication in larger quantities or for more extended periods than initially intended.
  2. Despite wanting to reduce or control their diazepam use, people may find themselves unable to do so.
  3. Addiction to diazepam can consume a significant amount of time as people focus on obtaining the drug, using it, and dealing with its consequences.
  4. Persistent cravings for diazepam are common among individuals with addiction, which can be difficult to resist.
  5. Diazepam addiction can lead to neglect of important responsibilities, including work, school, and family obligations, due to the drug’s effects on cognitive and physical functioning.
  6. Addiction often results in strained relationships and conflicts, but people may continue to use diazepam despite these problems.
  7. As addiction progresses, individuals may abandon hobbies and activities they once enjoyed in favor of using diazepam.
  8. Individuals with addiction may use diazepam in situations where it can be physically dangerous, such as while driving or operating heavy machinery.
  9. Addiction can lead to the worsening of physical and mental health conditions, yet people may persist in their drug use.
  10. Tolerance is a sign of addiction, where someone requires larger doses of diazepam to achieve the desired effects, or they experience reduced effects from the same dose.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms occur when someone with diazepam addiction attempts to cut down or stop using the drug. These symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and other physical and psychological discomfort.

Seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with diazepam addiction. Treatment and support are available to address addiction and promote recovery.

Treatment for Diazepam Addiction

Treating diazepam addiction requires a multi-layered strategy that includes medical, psychological, and social interventions. Professional help at a specialized treatment center provides the smoothest path to ongoing recovery.

Supervised medical detox

The first phase in treating diazepam addiction usually involves with a medically supervised detox. Healthcare professionals oversee the gradual reduction of diazepam use to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

Inpatient or outpatient rehab

Depending on the severity of the addiction and personal circumstances, individuals may choose inpatient rehab for a structured and supportive environment or outpatient rehab for more autonomy while receiving treatment.


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other forms of talk therapy are central to recovery, helping people change detrimental thought patterns and behaviors related to diazepam use.

Dual diagnosis treatment

For those with co-occurring mental health disorders, dual diagnosis treatment ensures that both the addiction and mental health conditions are treated together for a more seamless and effective recovery.

Support groups

Support groups provide a community of peers who understand the challenges of addiction, offering support and encouragement throughout the recovery journey.

Aftercare and ongoing support

Comprehensive aftercare plans, which may include ongoing therapy and support group meetings, are vital for maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse.

Personalized care is key to successfully overcoming diazepam addiction, as each person’s path to recovery is unique. Seeking professional treatment is the first crucial step towards a healthier life.


Is Valium addictive?

Yes, Valium can lead to the development of tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Is Valium habit-forming when used as directed?

Yes, Valium is habit-forming when used long-term.

Gratitude Lodge, where addiction recovery treatment is available

Get Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

Supervised medical detoxification for prescription drugs is the safest and most effective pathway to ongoing treatment. We can help you with this at Gratitude Lodge in Newport Beach and Long Beach, California.

Although detox is an essential component of treatment, ongoing therapy is required to address the psychological aspect of benzo addiction. During inpatient treatment at Gratitude Lodge, you can engage with the following interventions:

When you are committed to tackling diazepam addiction, call 800-994-2184 for immediate assistance in Southern California.

Want to learn more?

Recent Articles

Begin your journey
to recovery.

Get evidence-based treatment in a peaceful location, with a
team of dedicated, expert staff. 
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share on Email
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
an image of clients representing drug detox california

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
Gratitude Lodge clients laughing, representing drug detox california


An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
woman at beach representing drug detox in california

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
an image of a client and therapist at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach addiction treatment center

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
an image of clients outside after getting help at Gratitude Lodge's rehab in Long Beach, California

Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
an image of clients at Gratitude Lodge's carson drug rehab

Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
An image of clients going through inpatient substance abuse treatment

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
an image of clients at clients at Gratitude Lodge's representing fear in recovery

Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.
Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.