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Teen Valium Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment


valium pills

Valium is a brand-name prescription that is generically known as diazepam. It is a long-lasting benzodiazepine medication. It is used to treat symptoms of anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, as a sedative before surgery or to treat seizures. Valium is a central nervous system depressant that works by acting on certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA-A (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). When Valium binds to this receptor it elicits a calming effect as it slows down excessive brain activity. The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of Valium is about 48 hours. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Valium as a Schedule IV Substance, which are defined as “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” However, teenage Valium abuse is becoming increasingly prevalent. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that a young person abusing Valium could exhibit. Common examples could include, but are not limited to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Depression 
  • Blurred vision
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures 

Every teen is different and will present with a unique set of signs and symptoms when it comes to Valium abuse. Prolonged Valium abuse can exponentially increase a young person’s risk of overdose. 


The first step in the treatment process for a young person struggling with Valium abuse will be to undergo detox, which cleanses the body of all abused substances. Subsequently, depending on the needs of the teenager, continuing the recovery process by participating in a formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program may be advised. There are outpatient treatment programs and inpatient treatment program options available. Outpatient treatment programs offer teens the ability to participate in the program for a previously specified number of hours, daily, while continuing to reside at home. Inpatient treatment programs are an entirely immersive experience as participants live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. At Pacific Teen Treatment, for example, we offer a residential treatment program that utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches. Some of the treatment modalities we incorporate into our treatment plans include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive arts therapy and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Pacific Teen Treatment works with each of its residents to create a tailored and unique treatment plan, catering specifically to each teen’s personal and nuanced recovery needs. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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