On this page you will find:
Other names for it
Diazepam is a pharmaceutical drug. Pharmaceutical drugs are drugs made for use as medicines, to be prescribed by doctors and sold by pharmacists. When we talk on these pages about taking diazepam illegally, we mean taking it when it hasn’t been prescribed to you by a doctor, or taking a lot more than the dose the doctor has prescribed (to get a buzz, rather than the medical effect).
Diazepam is considered to be a drug because when taken into the body it changes the way you think, feel or behave. A drug is any substance which does this. Diazepam belongs to a family of drugs called minor tranquillisers, which belongs to a bigger family of drugs called benzodiazepines. A tranquilliser is a drug that causes the user to feel relaxed and calm, and takes away anxiety, helping the person cope with problems and stop worrying too much about things.
Tranquillisers do this by slowing down the body. Drugs that do this are called depressant drugs. ‘Depressant’, when we’re talking about drugs, does not mean ‘makes you sad’. It means ‘slow down’ or ‘push down.’ Depressant drugs depress (‘push down’) the nervous system, and this slows down the heart rate and slows down breathing, which relaxes the body, and causes feelings of calmness, being ‘chilled’, being no longer worried about anything and, sometimes, feeling ‘floaty’. Diazepam is a depressant.
When your body is slowed down by a depressant drug, one of the things that relaxes is your inhibitions. Inhibitions are thoughts and feelings that make us self-conscious – that make us think about what we look like, what impression we’re making on others, what they might think of us if we do this thing or that, and stop us from doing things that might make people think badly of us. One of the reasons that diazepam causes feelings of relaxation and calm is that it has relaxed these inhibitions.
Other names for it
Valium, MSJs, vallies, diazzies
If you’re looking here for a drug that has these effects, but isn’t diazepam, go to our other prescription drugs page.
‘Valium’ was the brand name given to the diazepam produced by a particular pharmaceutical company, and has since become a word used for diazepam in general.
‘MSJ’ is another brand name, used by a pharmaceutical company in China.