Valium Withdrawal Symptoms | Timeline & Detox
Withdrawal from Valium occurs as a result of the body adapting to the presence of the drug. Without it, some physical process and hormonal levels, fail to behave normally. Withdrawal symptoms that result from dependence on Valium can include panic attacks, seizures, and vomiting among other unpleasant side effects.
Valium is the brand name for the benzodiazepine and central nervous system depressant prescription drug diazepam. Benzos like Valium are often used to treat anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Valium works by increasing the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This slows the activity in the brain and lessens anxiety.
When Valium is abused or taken in high doses over a long period of time, you can build up a physical dependence on the drug. When this happens, your body becomes dependent on the drug and can’t function properly without it.
If you’re physically dependent on Valium and stop taking it, your body reacts by creating unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can last for a few weeks and range in severity.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
When you stop taking Valium after long-term use, a variety of withdrawal symptoms can show up. This can include physical symptoms as well as psychological symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of Valium withdrawal can include:
- mood swings
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- low appetite
- heart palpitations
- panic attacks
- memory issues
Factors That Affect Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to how long your withdrawal symptoms last and how intense your symptoms are, including:
- the severity of the addiction
- body composition
- the dose of diazepam.
- how long you’ve abused diazepam
- mental health status
- physical health
- any co-occurring drug use
Valium Withdrawal Timeline
How long the withdrawal process varies from person to person. However, there are some guidelines you can look to when you’re looking to determine whether your withdrawal symptoms are normal or not. A general Valium withdrawal timeline can look like:
1 Week After Last Dose
Valium is a long-acting drug with a long half-life, so it may take up to a week for you to experience withdrawal symptoms. These side effects may include elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, fever, body and muscle pain, shakiness, anxiety, and irritability.
During the second week of withdrawal, your symptoms will likely peak in intensity. This is when you’re most likely to relapse. The symptoms you may experience include tremors, anxiety, disorientation, sweating, agitation, hallucinations, and seizures.
After roughly one month, your symptoms are likely to have mostly dissipated, but you may still be experiencing insomnia, depression, or anxiety.
After four weeks, if you’re still experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you’re likely experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
Symptoms of PAWS can include difficulty learning, problem-solving, or remembering, irritability, anxiety, depression, cravings, and sleep problems. These symptoms can last months or years which is why it’s important to get professional help.
Because withdrawal from Valium can be such a difficult process, going to a detoxification or detox program is recommended. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening so these treatment programs can be crucial. Detoxing at home or cold turkey is not recommended.
The medical professionals in a detox program who oversee the process can ensure your symptoms are controlled and that your vitals are stable.
The most common method of Valium or benzodiazepine withdrawal is tapering. During the process, you’re under medical supervision and prescribed lower and lower doses of Valium over time until you can stop taking it entirely with few or no withdrawal symptoms.
If you still struggle with symptoms, your healthcare provider can prescribe specific medication to help control those symptoms.
During the first week of tapering, your dose may be reduced slightly. At week 2, your daily dose will likely be reduced by 25%. At week 3, you’ll likely stay at the same dose, and then in week 4, it will be reduced by another 25%. This will continue until you don’t need to take the drug anymore.
Valium Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one are struggling with Valium addiction or benzodiazepine abuse, you are not alone. Many people are struggling with prescription drug abuse and substance use disorder.
At Ohio Recovery Center, our treatment specialists can create a plan that fits your specific needs. Some of the addiction treatment options we offer include detox, inpatient drug rehab, medication-assisted treatment, and aftercare support.
To learn more, please call our helpline today.
- Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1862031/
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682047.html
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs https://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/AcademicDetailingService/Documents/Academic_Detailing_Educational_Material_Catalog/59_PTSD_NCPTSD_Provider_Helping_Patients_Taper_BZD.pdf