Is Diazepam Helpful for Anxiety?

By: Karen Larsen

Diazepam is a very useful and positive drug in the treatment of anxiety disorders - as well as insomnia, muscle spasms, and seizures. But anyone taking it for anxiety should be aware of its negatives also.

Many people experience some fear and some anxiety at various times in their lives. Those with anxiety disorders are affected by fear to such a degree that they can't function or live a normal live without the help of drugs. One of the most effective and prevalent drugs for anxiety disorder is diazepam.

Over 10% of Americans are on some type of anti-anxiety drug. The most popular one today is Xanax but diazepam is not very far behind.

Diazepam, or Valium as most people commonly know it, is an anti-anxiety or anti-panic agent. It works by effecting the release of the amino acid GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) into the brain. GABA acts to suppresses the nerve impulses leading to a feeling of relaxation.

Although a very useful and positive drug in the treatment of anxiety disorders - as well as insomnia, muscle spasms, and seizures - anyone taking it for anxiety should be aware of its negatives also.

Diazepam is habit forming and very addictive. Self medicating yourself with diazepam is a bad idea. because you can easily develop a dependency on it, especially if you take it in large doses over an extended period of time. Diazepam should only be taken under a doctor's care and never take more than the prescribed dosage. Because of its addictive properties, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms when your doctor eventually weans you off of the drug.

Diazepam is hard on the kidneys and liver. If you have cirrhosis of the liver, any type of abnormal kidney function, or any other medical problems with your liver you should inform your doctor. Your dosage of diazepam may have to be severely cut or dropped altogether.

Diazepam may be taken with or without food. Diazepam is metabolized by the liver and excreted mainly by the kidney. Dosages of diazepam may need to be lowered in patients with abnormal kidney function.

Diazepam may cause drowsiness and dizziness in some people. Until you are sure how your body will react to diazepam, you should avoid driving, sports, or strenuous activities while taking it. One very striking effect of diazepam is that it accumulates in the body. So even if you haven't taken it for the while, you may still find yourself tired or sluggish with not apparent reason why. It very well may be the build up of diazepam in your body.

Be aware that if you take antacids while taking diazepam, the antacids will act to neutralize the diazepam. Thus you may find the diazepam not having the desired calming effect on your nervous system.

Even though diazepam is sometimes used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, this should only be done under a doctor's care. Normally, alcohol should not be taken by anyone on diazepam. Mixing the two could possibly trigger an epileptic attack.

Don't take diazepam if you are pregnant or are breast feeding your baby unless directed to by your doctor. There is strong evidence that diazepam can harm the fetus. In the case of breast feeding, diazepam is retained in the breast milk, which means that it will be passed to the baby possibly causing addiction.

Diazepam is an extremely helpful drug and many suffering from anxiety would have a much tougher time without it. Just be careful when taking it.

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Karen Larsen writes articles on anxiety disorders, symptoms, treatments, including taking Celexa for anxiety for .

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