How Effective Is Diazepam for Insomnia?

Sarah Kay Moll

Diazepam is a type of benzodiazepine, a class of drug that causes sedation, muscle relaxation, and a decrease in anxiety. Though using diazepam for insomnia can be effective in the short term, there are many possible adverse effects for this medication. It can be habit-forming and can cause several side effects, such as daytime drowsiness or tiredness.

Using Diazepam to treat insomnia may carry long term side effects.
Using Diazepam to treat insomnia may carry long term side effects.

Also known under the brand name Valium, diazepam is often used to relieve anxiety and is effective in the short term for insomnia caused by anxiety. It can also help people who suffer from panic attacks. This medication is a muscle relaxant, and it is used to control muscle spasms or seizures. It can also be used to control agitation from alcohol withdrawal and treat some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Using diazepam for insomnia can be an effective short-term solution.
Using diazepam for insomnia can be an effective short-term solution.

The efficacy of diazepam for insomnia when used for short periods of time is well-established. Its effectiveness decreases over longer periods, however. Patients taking benzodiazepines for a long time may also develop tolerance to the medication, meaning they no longer feel its effects as strongly.

Diazepam may cause daytime drowsiness in some people.
Diazepam may cause daytime drowsiness in some people.

Benzodiazepines such as diazepam are habit-forming, meaning that people taking the medication may come to rely on it and suffer withdrawal when they stop taking it. There is also the possibility that people may abuse this drug. Although diazepam can be effective, often it is used as a last resort, if other medications for insomnia do not work.

Individuals can try to combat insomnia via natural methods, such as developing relaxing bedtime rituals.
Individuals can try to combat insomnia via natural methods, such as developing relaxing bedtime rituals.

This type of drug helps treat insomnia by changing sleep patterns in several ways. They increase sleep duration, but can also cause drowsiness during the daytime. Diazepam for insomnia helps people fall asleep more quickly. It also decreases nighttime arousal, allowing for a deeper and more restful sleep.

Diazepam helps treat insomnia by changing sleep patterns.
Diazepam helps treat insomnia by changing sleep patterns.

The most common side effects of diazepam include drowsiness and tiredness, which can occur even if a person gets a full and restful night of sleep by taking diazepam for insomnia. This medication may also cause weakness or dizziness. It can cause changes in appetite, nausea, or diarrhea, which may lead to weight loss. More serious side effects of diazepam include seizures, difficulty breathing, or irregular heartbeat. People with these side effects should contact a physician immediately.

Diazepam may help treat some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Diazepam may help treat some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Diazepam can be used to treat recovering alcoholics who suffer from anxiety, agitation, or insomnia. It is habit-forming, however, so it is usually only used when other medications have failed. There are safer alternative medications for insomnia which are typically the first choice of treatment.

When used for long periods of time, the effectiveness of diazepam will decrease.
When used for long periods of time, the effectiveness of diazepam will decrease.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

They do help with insomnia in the short term, but unless the doctor is very careful about weaning a person off them, the rebound insomnia is awful.

I'm sure it's part of the withdrawal, but the insomnia when people come off Valium is no fun. It's not even recognized as something that people have to withdraw from, either. That's sad because a lot of people take this stuff, thinking it will help them, and it does, and then they stop taking it and their lives become a living hell. It's not right.

Grivusangel

Benzodiazepines are the double-edged swords of pharmaceuticals. They are very good at what they do, they help people and they are addictive. My mom took Valium for sleep and got addicted to it, so the doctor gave her Xanax (same drug class). That worked for a while too, and then she got hooked on it.

Coming off these drugs is awful. I get the occasional panic attack and I take half an Ativan for it, and I don't want to take more. Fortunately, the attacks are few and far between, so I don't have to take them very often.

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