Valium and Xanax are both sedatives in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. People take benzodiazepines to eliminate anxiety in order to function, sleep, or cope. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax lose their effectiveness when taken regularly, especially at increasing doses. High doses of benzodiazepines definitely prevent anxiety, but they also impair people’s ability to function, especially when mixed with other psychoactive drugs.
Valium and Xanax are benzodiazepines used to alleviate anxiety. Both work effectively and take effect within an hour, although Valium sometimes works faster. Let’s take a look at how they stack up when compared side-by-side. If you are concerned about the harmful effects of valium addiction or benzodiazepines on your life or the life of someone you love, contact Crestview Recovery for our valium addiction rehab and benzo rehab at 866.262.0531.
What Are Valium and Xanax?
Valium and Xanax are the brand names for diazepam and alprazolam, respectively. They serve the same purposes, but structural differences impact their effect on your body.
Benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system (CNS). This category of drugs includes sedatives, hypnotics, and anti-anxiety medications. They’re some of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs in the United States.
Valium vs. Xanax: Which One Works Faster?
Valium is usually absorbed by your body faster, but the difference isn’t as pronounced — peak concentrations happen within 1-2 hours. Xanax lasts for approximately 5 hours, but that length varies widely for individuals. Meanwhile, Valium lasts about 4 hours or longer. Diazepam may be better than alprazolam if the anxious person suffers from depression.
A dosage of 0.5mg of Xanax equals 5mg of Valium. However, people may react to Xanax differently. This includes those with the following background:
- Liver and kidney disease
- Old age
Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies on the drug’s impact on people of different ethnic groups. Both Valium and Xanax come with a severe risk of addiction. Consult with your health care provider if you feel that you are becoming dependent on these drugs and need substance abuse treatment.
How Do Valium and Xanax Work?
Xanax, Valium, and all benzodiazepines stimulate a specific neurotransmitter in the brain. The GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter calms nerve cells. This alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stops seizures, reduces muscle tension, and helps users fall asleep faster. In turn, this has a calming effect on the person taking the drug.
One of the side effects of benzodiazepines is called the amnesic effect—they disrupt short-term memory. This does pose some inconvenience for those taking Xanax or Valium regularly. The structural differences between various benzodiazepines make some more effective at relieving anxiety, relaxing muscles, and helping you forget. Xanax isn’t as likely to make you sleepy.
Which Is Better for Anxiety?
One trial of Valium vs. Xanax compared the drugs when used to treat anxiety. Researchers concluded that Valium was slightly more effective, especially for those who had both anxiety and depression. You can keep in mind this, and you should consider asking your doctor or pharmacist for more information on both drugs.
Although side effects are rarely reported, some of the most common ones include tremors, slurred speech, drowsiness, dry mouth, and light-headedness. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction, stop taking the drug and contact your doctor right away for dual diagnosis treatment programs.
Which Drug Is More Addictive, Valium or Xanax?
Addiction and withdrawal symptoms can occur if the drugs are taken for prolonged periods. Benzodiazepines that have a short half-life, such as Xanax, are more addictive and harder to give up. Valium has a longer half-life but still carries the risk of addiction if used contrary to your doctor’s orders. Both drugs enter brain tissue, which brings more severe withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Portland
There is no reason to suffer through benzodiazepine addiction alone. Crestview Recovery has a comprehensive array of addiction treatment programs to help you or your loved one begin and sustain the recovery process.
The first step in addiction treatment is detox. During detox, our team of medical professionals will help you through the withdrawal process in a safe and comfortable setting. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be difficult, but our team will be there to support you every step of the way.
After detox, you will begin therapy. Therapy is an important part of addiction treatment as it will help you to address the underlying causes of your addiction. We offer both individual and group therapy so that you can find the right fit for you.
In addition to evidence-based therapy, we also offer a number of other options at Crestview Recovery for a more well-rounded recovery experience. These include holistic therapies, such as yoga, nutrition and recreational therapy. These programming options provide you with tools that you can use for a truly long-term recovery.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.