Medication Monday: Valium

Happy President’s Day everyone. Some of you might have today off if so kudos to you. However, another Monday means that it is once again time for Medication Monday, the weekly series that discusses various mental health medications. It is not a substitute for medical advice, but rather a brief informative introduction to mental health medications. The goal is to help individuals be more educated about the options that are out there while also destigmatizing the use of mental health medication generally. This week we are talking about Valium (Diazepam).

Diazepam is in the class of medications known as benzodiazepines or benzos for short.  It is used to treat anxiety, acute seizure disorders, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle spasms. Benzos are also often used for difficulty sleeping, however, your doctor will judge if a given medication should be used for that purpose. Never use medication for reasons other than those prescribed by your doctor.

Users should exercise care while driving or operating heavy machinery while using Valium due to the risk of dizziness occurring. This is especially true when first starting Valium. Users should also avoid coming off of Valium suddenly, as doing so may cause withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, restlessness, and seizures.

Valium, like most medications, comes with possible side effects as well. These include drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, blurred vision, or unsteadiness.

While these posts may seem scary when listing possible side effects, your doctor will have prescribed this medication, or one of the other ones featured in this series, for a reason. While you should absolutely discuss any concerns you have with your health care professional, the ability to manage anxiety or seizure disorders should not be understated. Often, mental health medications, like Valium, do much more good than bad.

Ultimately, you and your doctor will be able to decide what is the best approach for you. As I said at the beginning, these posts are not a substitute for medical advice. Nevertheless, I hope they are helpful and informative. And I hope they help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health medications. Because these medications help so many people, and there should never have been any stigma surrounding them in the first place.

So check back tomorrow for another new post, and again next Monday for another new installment of Medication Monday. Until then, thanks for reading, and be well.

Sources: WebMD – Valium; NAMI – Diazepam

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