The Dangers Of Mixing Valium And Alcohol
Any form of substance abuse can have negative impacts on an individual’s health more times than not, without knowing how damaging it can be if taken over a long period.
Most people take valium to treat muscle spasms or anxiety to relieve their symptoms whilst alcohol consumption is generally associated with having relaxing effects and relieving stress. However, due to the nature of these substances, they often lead to addiction and potential overdose but when combined they can become a fatal cocktail if left untreated.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2022, 1 in 4 (26.8%) of adults exceeded the Australian Adult Alcohol Guidelines whilst statistics on other substance abuse reveal alarming rates for concern.
It is not clearly understood why there has been such an increase in recent times for alcohol and other substance abuse although indications would point to socioeconomic motives and the pressures and stresses of daily lives.
This blog is intended to put a perspective on understanding the dangers of substance abuse, like alcohol and valium, and how to get treatment when you suspect someone needs help.
The Reason For Taking Valium
First, let’s look at valium and what it is used for. Valium is the common name for the substance diazepam which forms part of the drugs called benzodiazepines used for central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
Valium is a legal substance only when it has been medically prescribed and is generally administered to treat conditions for severe pain, muscle spasms, and cases of anxiety due to its sedative effects.
Diazepam may also be considered to treat severe withdrawal symptoms in cases of alcohol addiction but always under the strict supervision of highly trained medical specialists as these symptoms may include seizures or fits that need a swift and effective intervention.
The problem with valium is that its main component is highly addictive and in most cases of abuse, the individual is not aware of the potency of the drug or the negative effects it has on health.
Valium can help alleviate pain and create a feeling of relaxation that can prompt the user to take more of the substance to enhance the impact it has. Taking too much of the substance can act as a strong sedative that may have some benefit but overconsumption for a long time brings about several negative consequences.
As with most drugs, there are several side effects that, like valium, should be carefully considered and taken only as a prescription drug as directed by a professional healthcare provider.
Some of the side effects of diazepam may include:
- Tremors or shaking
- Lack of coordination
Due to these undesirable side effects, valium is generally prescribed with the lowest dose concentrate and for short-term use only.
What Happens When You Mix Valium And Alcohol?
Whether intentional or unintentional, combining valium with alcohol can be extremely dangerous and lead to a risk of overdose.
Alcohol can induce sedation and have a relaxing feeling, yet ironically, it can also produce feelings of euphoria. Both alcohol and valium are depressants that impact the central nervous system interrupting neurotransmitters in the brain.
Both substances act similarly and individuals find that mixing valium with alcohol helps to intensify the effects they want to achieve but in the majority of cases they are unaware of the side effects.
Mixing these CNS depressants can seriously slow down breathing, potentially damage internal organs, and heighten the risk of overdose.
Short-term effects may seem manageable and of not much concern but entail other risks such as blurred vision, delayed reactions, or a lack of coordination that could cause potential harm if one is working, driving, or operating machinery. There is a much higher level of side effects when alcohol and valium are taken together and may include:
- Feeling confused or dizzy
- Lack of concentration
- Impaired judgement
- Violent or risky behaviour
Should you experience any of these side effects you should consult with your healthcare provider.
In the long term, diazepam and alcohol may result in dependence and could harm other psychiatric conditions, especially anxiety and depression. It may be worth mentioning at this point that many individuals with alcoholism are more prone to using benzodiazepines which requires also considering their long-term alcohol abuse.
Long-term effects are serious and may result in the following:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Risk of strokes
- Certain cancers
- Serious memory problems such as dementia
- Alcohol use disorder
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Serious depression or anxiety
Mixing alcohol and valium over time can lead to dependence on both substances and as both depressants act similarly to achieve the desired requirement, the individual finds it necessary to consume larger amounts that can potentially lead to overdosing and can become fatal.
Potential Overdose Of Valium And Alcohol
Taking multiple CNS depressants, like alcohol and diazepam, can significantly increase the likelihood of overdosing. An overdose needs urgent medical assistance and it is critical to contact the emergency service immediately.
Possible signs of overdose can include:
- Shallow, irregular breathing
- Reduced heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or fits
- Confusion or disorientation
- Reduced gag reflex
- Bluish coloured skin
The effects of these substances are life-threatening and associated with fatal overdose. Any addiction to valium or alcohol has health risks but the effects of mixing both depressants may significantly enhance the effects and require professional help.
Withdrawal Dangers of Mixing Valium With Alcohol
Should you consider a time to stop taking either of these substances or both, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider in the first instance to work out the best approach to stop the habit. Attempting to quit on your own or going cold turkey should not be an option as it could prove extremely harmful or even fatal due to the extent of withdrawal symptoms.
As both substances have a similar impact on the brain, withdrawal symptoms can become more complicated when withdrawing from both and generally, the effects vary depending on how long and how much of the substances you have been using.
People who have used alcohol and benzodiazepines in conjunction may develop more severe, often life-threatening symptoms making it a high priority to seek medical help when considering stopping consumption.
Some of the symptoms that may manifest are:
- High blood pressure
However, the most severe form of withdrawal is a symptom known as delirium tremens (DTs) and requires immediate medical intervention. Signs of DTs include hallucinations, elevated blood pressure and racing heart, high temperature, sweating and extreme agitation.
Treating Alcohol And Valium Substance Abuse
We have seen how dangerous mixing valium with alcohol can be and why it is so important to find a suitable treatment programme to address the condition.
The first stage of getting help is to seek professional treatment when an initial assessment can be made to determine the severity of the problem and whether any other underlying conditions need to be addressed.
Once an assessment has been made, the individual will be expected to undergo a detox process to fully rid the body of all traces of the substance in question. This phase is the most dangerous when withdrawal symptoms manifest and need to be properly controlled and managed by medical experts.
After a successful detox, the patient transitions to rehab for ongoing treatment such as group and individual sessions, counselling and other therapeutic support which will continue during their road to recovery.
Sivana Bali is a rehab and treatment centre located on the island of Bali, Indonesia. We have a luxury facility and a highly qualified medical team to assist every individual through the phases of recovery.
We have comprehensive, evidence-based programmes including prescribed drug treatment and alcohol addiction treatment and provide round-the-clock care and support during our medically managed detox treatment.
Our residential treatment offers a wide spectrum of activities and continued support for patients to benefit from by which they can learn coping strategies to assist with sobriety and sustain a long-lasting recovery.
If you or a loved one is seeking advice or concerned for the welfare of someone struggling with addiction, why don’t you give us a call? Our friendly staff will be more than happy to help in any way they can without any obligation for you to make a decision.
We consider ourselves to be experts in this field, and our main objective is to assist, wherever possible, those who may need our help. If you would prefer to write to us, you may contact us by email and we will get back to you at our first opportunity.