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The Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology is a non-profit New Jersey corporation that operates as a

By reading this site, the reader acknowledges their personal respnsibility in choices for mental health for themselves and their children, and agrees that the AYCNP or anyone associated with this site, bears no responsibility for one's personal decisions in choices for mental health. Anyone coming off medication should do so gradually rather than abruptly, and under a doctor's supervision. Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should seek support.

The Age of Anxiety: A History of America's Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers by Andrea Tone

Anxious Americans have increasingly pursued peace of mind through pills and prescriptions. In 2006, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 40 million adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year: more than double the number thought to have such a disorder in 2001.

Anti-anxiety drugs are a billion-dollar business. Yet as recently as 1955, when the first tranquilizer—Miltown—went on the market, pharmaceutical executives worried that there wouldn’t be interest in anxiety-relief. At mid-century, talk therapy remained the treatment of choice. But Miltown became a sensation—the first psychotropic blockbuster in United States history. By 1957, Americans had filled 36 million prescriptions. Patients seeking made-to-order tranquility emptied drugstores, forcing pharmacists to post signs reading “more Miltown tomorrow.”

The drug’s financial success and cultural impact revolutionized perceptions of anxiety and its treatment, inspiring the development of other lifestyle drugs including Valium and Prozac.

A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac Edward Shorter

200 years of psychiatric history, compressed.

Good Chemistry: The Life and Legacy of Valium Inventor Leo Sternbach Alex Baenninger (Author), Alex Baenninger

Fifty years ago, when it came to treating acute anxiety and related disorders, the cure was often worse than the disease. Other than "the talking cure," sufferer's options were limited to a handful of toxic substances, such as barbiturates, which, in addition to causing significant impairment of cognitive and motor functions, were highly addictive and potentially lethal. All that changed suddenly in 1960, when the healthcare company Roche introduced Librium, the first of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Offering the promise of a s fast-acting, effective and safer alternative, the benzodiazepines revolutionized the medical treatment of anxiety and convulsive disorders and ushered in a new era in psychopharmacology research.

The authors offer a lively account of Valium's uses and abuses over the past forty years and explain how its evolution from "panacea" to "Mother's Little Helpers" was based on a common misconception of Valium's effects on the human nervous system.

Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise, by Keith W. Johnsgård

Exercise is one of the best natural remedies for depression and anxiety. It is good self help. This book basically proves it scientifically, using clinical studies and presenting evidence. According to the author, both aerobic and anaerobic exercise are effective self help for depression and anxiety. He also presents evidence that the most-severely depressed, clinical or major depression, benefit from exercise.

See also: Marijuana and Medical Marijuana

Page updated: November 25, 2014

Valium (Diazepam), It's History, Use, Addictive Quality

Non-Pharmaceutical Methods to Prevent
and Treat Anxiety

The Academy Psychosomatic Medicine (www.apm.org) describes anxiety as an "ubiquitous symptom of modern life". [2] One of the modern remedies for anxiety has been the use of a drug, which came into general use around 1970, commonly referred to as Valium (diazepam).

Valium (diazepam) is one of the most widely prescribed drugs of all time and twice as many women have been prescribed the drug than men.
Valium, a minor tranquilizer, is closely related to minor tranquilizer Librium (1960) and major tranquilizer Thorazine (1959)
Photo: Rs09985 at en.wikipedia

Use of Diazepam (Valium)

Diazepam is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders, to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. It is also prescribed for short-term insomnia relief. [2] Other uses for this medicine are in treating irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks and certain types of epilepsy. [1]

Valium (diazepam) has been described as a "lifestyle drug," and Cai Guise-Richardson, PhD from Iowa State University refers to Valium as "emotional aspirin" [1] and is a "hypnotic" drug. [2] Like many psychiatric drugs, diazepam does not cure the anxiety or address the cause of the anxiety, but merely temporarily assuages the symptoms. When the drug wears off, like aspirin, another dose is necessary to again relieve the anxiety.

Twice as many prescriptions for Diazepam are made for women than for men. [2] Most prescriptions for diazepam are made by physicians who are not psychiatrists.[2] These prescriptions are most often for anxiety. Physical addiction is not associated with this drug, however, psychological addiction and abuse are associated with this drug.

History of Thorazine (Major Tranquilizer) and Valium (Minor Tranquilizer)

Cai Richardson, PhD, describes the history of psychiatric drugs, starting in 1950, with the creation of the drug chlorpromazine (CPZ), which came to be referred to as Thorazine. Thorazine first came into widespread use around 1959 in psychiatric hospitals for acute patients, and it had a calming and stabilizing affect on patients, revolutionizing psychiatric hospitals and the way patients there were treated. Psychopharmacology became the norm, and other "typical" stronger antipsychotic drugs followed the creation of Thorazine. (A related drug called Stelazine was also created about the same time as Thorazine). [1]

Thorazine is described by Dr. Richardson as as first-generation psychopharmaceutical antipsychotic drug and "major tranquilizer" by Dr. Richardson. Valium (diazapem) described as a "second-generation" psychopharmaceutical drug and "minor tranquilizer". [6] Valium is one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the past 40 years (1970-2010).

The predecessor to Valium was Librium (chlordiazepoxide), also a mild tranquilizer and used for similar reasons (anxiety). (Librium) which was approved for use in 1960. Valium was considered to be an improvement to barbiturates, less dangerous and less physically addictive.


The effects of Librium (Chlordiazepoxide -1960) are similar to that of Valium and it was also used to treat anxiety and is given to patients, pre-surgery, to relieve apprehension. Librium can be habit forming, according to the U.S. Government medical website PubMed Health. Patients should not stop the use of Librium abruptly as it can result in anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability. [3] Drugs such as Valium and Librium should not be taken by pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding, as the drug can be passed on to the baby. [4]

Exercise is an Effective Anti-Anxiety Alternative to Valium
and Other Tranquilizers

Dr. Hollister states in the journal, Psychosomatics, that physical activity (such as exercise) is effective in dealing with anxiety, and can sometimes be used instead of prescribing anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium (diazepam). [2]

How Diazepam (Valium) is Taken

Diazepam comes as a tablet, extended-release (long-acting) capsule, and concentrate (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken 1-4 times a day and may be taken with or without food. Diazepam concentrate (liquid) comes with a specially marked dropper for measuring the dose. Ask your pharmacist to show you how to use the dropper. Dilute the concentrate in water, juice, or carbonated beverages just before taking it. It also may be mixed with applesauce or pudding just before taking the dose. [5]

Diazepam (Valium) Can be Habit-forming

Diazepam can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tolerance may develop with long-term or excessive use, making the drug less effective. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. Do not skip doses even if you feel that you do not need them. Do not take diazepam for more than four months or stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. [5]


Stopping the drug suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability). Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.[5] Diazepam overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication. However, overdose on diazepam (Valium) alone are not common, and are usually associated with the use of additional prescription or non-prescription drugs and/or alcohol. [5]

Side effects from diazepam are common and include the following:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • changes in appetite
  • Other Side-Effects Can Be:

  • restlessness or excitement
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • frequent urination
  • blurred vision
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • Occasional Serious Side Effects Can Be:

  • seizures
  • shuffling walk
  • persistent, fine tremor or inability to sit still
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • severe skin rash
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • irregular heartbeat
  • All above side effects list from , MedlinePlus [5]

    Additional cognitive side effects associated with sedation are,

  • amnesia

  • confusion

  • disinhibition

  • impaired coordination

  • impaired balance

  • loss of normal behavioral controls [2]
  • This can be especially true for elderly persons. Additionally, those using diazepam should exercise caution when driving an automobile. [2]

    Tranquilizers and How They Work - Potential Problems

    Depressants decrease the rate of brain activity. Alcohol prevents some nerve cells from starting action potential. This calms some parts of the brain that sense fears, and relaxes the individual. Long-term use (of depressant drugs) can lead to problems. Depressant drugs reduce effects of natural inhibitors of these neurons (nerve cells). As a result, the user comes to depend on the drug to relieve the anxieties of every day life, which may seem unbearable without the drug. From the book, Biology, The Living Science, (2000). Miller, Levine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

    Natural Remedies and Preventive Measures for Anxiety

    Some natural anti-anxiety methods are,

  • Exercise daily
  • Doing art work
  • Reading
  • Reading the Bible and prayer
  • Green time, that is, taking time regularly to enjoy the outdoors and nature
  • Some preventive measures are,

  • Turn off the TV, or disconnect the TV
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom
  • Don't drink more than one cup of coffee a day, or drink non-caffeinated tea instead
  • Drink herbal tea such as chamomile or non-caffeinated green tea

  • References for article Valium (diazepam), It's History, Use, Addictive Quality:

    1. Guise-Richardson, Cai., (July 2010). Using Patents to Teach History. Organization
    of American Historians.

    2. Hollister, Leo E., M.D. Valium: A Discussion of Current Issues. Psychosomatics.

    3. Librium, (August 1, 2010). PubMed Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000568

    4. Librium, (2009). PDR Health. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drugs/rx/rx-mono.aspx?contentFileName=Lib1226.html&contentName=Librium&contentId=3

    5. Medline Plus

    6. Glenn E. and Barbara Hodsdon Ullyot Scholar, 2010–2011:
    Current Research. Chemical Heritage Foundation
    http://www.chemheritage.org/about/contact-us/staff-and-scholars/beckman-center-for-the-history-of-chemistry/catherine-guise-richardson.aspx 7. Biology, The Living Science, (2000). Miller, Levine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.