Diazepam belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which work on the central nervous system (CNS). While normally used to treat panic disorder, anxiety, and seizures, they have been also used in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia since the 1980s. Long-term use of diazepam is not recommended anymore because of the drug’s potential for abuse.
Typically known as “benzos,” some drugs in this class include Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Halcion (triazolam), Doral (quazepam), ProSom (estazolam) that are approved for the treatment of insomnia.
How Diazepam Puts You to Sleep
Benzodiazepines have been available in the market for sale since the 1960s. Diazepam is one of the most popular sedatives and tranquilizers used in America. So what effects does it have on your brain?
The biological processes in your brain are complicated and your Circadian Rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) is a part of them. When a person suffers from irregular sleep not only it is a nuisance, but it can also hurt your physiological balance. Basically, your neurological clock that normally runs in sync with the real world creates rhythmic falls and rises in brain melatonin. When you experience sleep disorders this natural process is disturbed: you could be confronted with staying asleep, falling asleep, or sleeping early in the morning– which is linked to melatonin production.
Diazepam (Valium) attaches with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) censors in your brain, to increase an enzyme that inspires sedation or drowsiness. Most benzodiazepines are quick to act and have a short life which makes them especially useful for treating middle insomnia or sleep onset insomnia.
Treating Insomnia with Diazepam
Since the 80s, physicians have treated insomnia pharmacologically, with hypnotics or prescribed sleep aids. Diazepam has been helpful, especially as an anti-depressant and an increasing number of non-benzodiazepines such as Lunesta, Sonata, and Diazepam. While they’re distinctive structurally these sleep aids work quite similarly, by stimulating the neurotransmitters in your brain which are responsible for the production of a relaxing chemical.
Precautions and Warnings
- Take the medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never increase the frequency of doses without the consultation of your healthcare provider.
- Diazepam should never be taken with any other sedating drugs or alcohol. , do not mix Valium with opioids like Tramadol and Tapentadol, which are typically found in prescription cough syrups and pain medications. Taking diazepam with other drugs can have severe health altercations, including slow breathing and eventual death.
- Discontinuing the use of diazepam suddenly after a long period of consumption can lead to physical withdrawals and seizures. You should always quit this medication under the care of your doctor, who will normally create a 3–4 month plan for you to safely decrease the medication.
Diazepam valium should never be taken for treating insomnia and other sleep disorders under some particular conditions. For example, pregnant women should not use this drug unless recommended by your doctor.
Benzodiazepines should be used with care by people who:
- Are over 65
- Have depression
- Have a history of drug abuse, alcohol or tobacco
- Suffers from impaired kidney, liver, or breathing function