As mentioned, Valium is a benzodiazepine, a class of antidepressant medications. It works by increasing the secretion of GABA, a neurotransmitter, within the brain. Normally, this neurotransmitter is responsible for controlling the chemical and electrical activity that occurs within the body’s central nervous system. However, this isn’t always the case; for people who suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, their nervous systems are highly excited, and their brains do not secrete enough GABA to control the reactions and emotions to certain stimuli, and as a result, panic attacks or anxiety attacks can result. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, help to encourage the brain to produce more GABA, which in turn reduces the chances of experiencing a panic attack or an anxiety attack when they encounter stressful situations. For example, someone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder may become extremely anxious in social situations. By taking Valium before encountering a social situation, the individual is less likely to experience an anxiety attack. In other words, Valium squashes hyperactive brain functioning in order to relieve stress, panic, and anxiety.
The effects of Valium last longer than the effects of other types of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin, which means that it remains within the body for a much longer period of time. Since the medication is longer lasting, individuals don’t have to take as many doses as they would if they were prescribed other types of short-lasting benzos in order to feel the same effects.