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What is Valium Used to Treat?

People often wonder, “What is valium used for?” Valium is a brand-name, prescription drug classified as a benzodiazepine. The drug’s generic name is diazepam. Valium is a central nervous system depressant, like other benzodiazepines. It’s a controlled substance and Valium does have the potential for misuse and addiction. So, what is Valium used for?

Teen looking into a medicine cabinet

Prescribed Uses for Valium

Valium may be prescribed for a few different reasons. Regardless of the reason it’s prescribed, Valium is usually only intended to be a short-term treatment because of the potential for it to be habit-forming. The following are the main medical uses for Valium:

  • Valium is a short-term treatment to help manage symptoms of anxiety. When someone takes Valium, it slows down neural activity in the brain, creating a sense of calm and reducing anxiety. For anxiety symptoms, the prescribed Valium dosage might range from 2 to 10 mg, often taken several times a day.
  • Valium and other benzodiazepines are sometimes used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as seizures and insomnia
  • Sometimes Valium is a treatment for seizure disorders. It’s not the primary treatment for most patients who have seizure disorders and is instead an add-on to other medications.
  • Treating skeletal muscle spasms from certain conditions such as trauma may be a prescribed use for Valium

Sometimes a doctor may prescribe valium to someone with bipolar disorder as a way to help reduce manic symptoms while waiting for mood stabilizers to start working.

Valium is often compared to another frequently prescribed benzodiazepine, Xanax. Valium is usually reserved for the treatment of less severe anxiety disorders than Xanax is. Also, Xanax is used almost entirely for anxiety and panic disorders, while Valium has other uses.

Valium Recreational Uses

Unfortunately, while Valium has important prescription uses, it also has the potential for misuse. Large doses of Valium may be used as a way to achieve desirable effects, such as relaxation or euphoria. Another Valium recreational use is combining it with other substances to increase the effects and feel more intoxicated or high. For example, people may misuse Valium by combining it with alcohol or opioids. Signs of Valium misuse are:

  • Using Valium without a prescription
  • Taking more Valium than prescribed, or taking it for longer than instructed
  • Using Valium only for certain effects, like euphoria
  • Combining Valium with other psychoactive substances
  • Using Valium outside of its intended use, such as crushing it up and snorting it

There are risks of using Valium recreationally. One risk is developing an addiction. Valium is addictive and can also lead to physical dependence, which is why it’s usually not prescribed for more than a few weeks. Along with psychological addiction, physical dependence to Valium can form relatively quickly and lead to withdrawal symptoms if someone stops using it suddenly. Valium withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Pain and cramps
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Rebound anxiety that may be worse than the original anxiety Valium was used to treat

When Medical Use Becomes Abuse

There are instances where legitimate prescription drug use evolves into abuse. It’s important to understand the implications of taking certain prescription drugs like Valium and follow prescribing instructions carefully. If you think your teen could be recreationally using Valium, contact Next Generation Village to explore the available options.


Sissons, Claire. “What’s the difference between Valium and Xanax?” Medical News Today, December 6, 2018. Accessed March 28, 2019.

GoodRX. “What is Valium?” Accessed March 28, 2019.

Purse, Marcia. “Valium to Manage Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms.” Verywell Mind, March 21, 2019. Accessed March 28, 2019.

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