• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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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: January 9, 2016

Valium (Diazepam): Its History, Use, Addictive Quality

Non-Pharmaceutical Methods to Prevent
and Treat Anxiety

The Academy of 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 commonly referred to as Valium (diazepam), which came into general use around 1970.

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 (diazepam), a minor tranquilizer, is closely related to minor tranquilizer Librium (Chlordiazepoxide; 1960) and major tranquilizer Thorazine (chlorpromazine; 1959)

Use of Diazepam (Valium)

Diazepam is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders, to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, as well as 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 for 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 it as “emotional aspirin” [1], and a “hypnotic” drug [2]. Like many psychiatric drugs, diazepam does not cure the anxiety or address its cause, but merely temporarily assuages the symptoms. When the drug wears off, like aspirin, another dose is necessary to once again relieve anxiety.

Twice as many prescriptions for diazepam are made for women than for men [2]. However, a worrisome fact is that most prescriptions for diazepam are made by physicians who are not psychiatrists[2], even though said prescriptions are most often for anxiety. There may be no physical addiction associated with the drug, but psychological addiction and abuse are common.

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

Cai Richardson, PhD, describes the history of psychiatric drugs as having started 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 patients with acute disorders. It was observed as having a calming and stabilizing effect, thereby revolutionizing psychiatric hospitals and the way patients were treated.

Psychopharmacology then became the norm, and other even stronger antipsychotic drugs followed the development of Thorazine (A similar drug, called Stelazine, was also developed around the same time as Thorazine) [1].

Dr. Richardson describes thorazine as a first-generation psychopharmaceutical antipsychotic drug and a “major tranquilizer” [6]. Valium, on the other hand, has been one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the past 40 years (1970-2010). It is described as a "second-generation" psychopharmaceutical drug and “minor tranquilizer.”

The predecessor to Valium was Librium (chlordiazepoxide), approved for use in the U.S. in 1960. It is also a mild tranquilizer used for similar reasons, primarily anxiety. When it first gained popularity, Valium was considered to be an improvement from barbiturates; it was less dangerous and less physically addictive.


The effects of Librium (Chlordiazepoxide - 1960) are similar to those of Valium, which is why the drug was also used to treat anxiety in addition to being given to pre-surgery patients in order 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 this can result in anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability [3]. Furthermore, drugs such as Valium and Librium should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as the chemicals can be passed on to the baby [4].

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

Dr. Hollister states in Psychosomatics, published by the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, that physical activity such as exercise is effective in dealing with anxiety, and can sometimes be used instead of prescription drugs like Valium (diazepam) [2].

How Diazepam (Valium) is Taken

Diazepam comes in the form of tablets with extended release, as well as in liquid form, with both taken orally. Patients are usually advised to take the drug 1-4 times a day, with or without food. Diazepam concentrate (liquid) comes with a designated dropper to help patients measure out the correct dose. In case you have decided to take concentrated Valium, ask your pharmacist to show you how to use the dropper. Additionally, it is advised that you dilute the concentrate in water, juice, a carbonated beverage, applesauce, or pudding immediately before taking it [5].

Withdrawal from Valium

Taking Valium can be habit-forming. Additionally, sudden changes in dosing or discontinuation are unadvisable, since functioning can be impaired as a result, and you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, dizziness, inability to concentrate, and aches and pains in different body parts.

Your doctor will likely decrease your dose gradually. A Diazepam overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount. However, overdosing on diazepam (Valium) alone is not common, and is usually associated with the use of additional prescription or non-prescription drugs as well as alcohol [5].

Side effects from Valium (diazepam) are common and include the following:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • changes in appetite
  • More rarely, side effects from Valium can include:

  • restlessness or excitement
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • frequent urination
  • blurred vision
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • Additional cognitive side effects associated with drug sedation:

  • 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
  • *Above side-effects list from MedlinePlus [5]


  • amnesia
  • confusion
  • disinhibition
  • impaired coordination
  • impaired balance
  • loss of normal behavioral controls can result [2]
  • These side effects can be especially severe for the elderly. Those using diazepam should exercise caution when driving an automobile or operating other heavy machinery [2].

    Tranquilizers: Their Functions and Potential Problems

    Drugs, such as diazepam, also referred to as depressants, decrease the rate of brain activity (similar with alcohol), which prevents some nerve cells from being potent. The result is that those sections of the brain responsible for sensing fear become less active, and thus you become tranquilized.

    While depressants have some benefits, long-term use can lead to severe problems. For one, these substances reduce the effects of natural inhibitors of the impacted neurons. As a result, the user comes to depend on the drug to relieve everyday life anxieties, which everybody experiences, and thereby has a more difficult time experiencing emotions of joy, as stated in the book Biology, The Living Science (Miller and Levine, 2000).

    Natural Remedies and Preventive Measures for Anxiety

    Some effective and natural anti-anxiety approaches are:

    Exercising daily

  • Doing art-work
  • Reading
  • Finding a spiritual outlet
  • Green time - taking time to regularly enjoy nature
  • Some Preventive Measures Include:

  • Spend less time around electronics, and more time socializing with people you enjoy
  • Keep healthy by eating well and exercising
  • Do not bottle in your emotions, but rather talk about them with loved ones, as well as a mental health professional
  • Avoid using alcohol and other substances to deal with your negative emotions and experiences
  • Engage in new and interesting activities – take classes, learn a new languages etc.

  • References for article Valium (Diazepam): Its 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

    4. Librium, (2009). PDR Health

    5. MedlinePlus

    6. Glenn E. and Barbara Hodsdon Ullyot Scholar. (2010–2011). Current Research.Chemical Heritage Foundation

    7. Biology, The Living Science, (2000). Miller, Levine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.