Valium Withdrawal Symptoms | Timeline, Taper, & Detox
Valium is a brand name benzodiazepine that has diazepam as its primary ingredient. It can help treat anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and other conditions.
Though Valium addiction is less common compared to other prescription drugs, it can still cause physical dependence and eventual withdrawal. Valium is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, which makes treating Valium withdrawal a pressing issue.
Valium Withdrawal Timeline
Valium has long-lasting effects. This applies to its intended effects as well as possible side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Taking Valium for a short length of time will lower your risk of dependency.
If you are on Valium for over three to four weeks, you are much more likely to develop a dependence and experience withdrawal when stopping the drug. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as two days after the last dose, and persist for months afterward.
Symptoms can also appear suddenly after disappearing for a period of time. This can go on for months or even years after the last dose. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Common Valium withdrawal symptoms include:
- muscle cramps and aches
- stomach pains
- tremors (uncontrollable shaking)
These symptoms can last for months after the last dose.
Serious/Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
High doses of Valium can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms over time and increase the chance of PAWS. Improper use of Valium, which is a form of drug abuse, may also worsen withdrawal.
PAWS can include many physical and psychological symptoms, such as:
- mood swings
- panic attacks
- tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears)
Some people may need to seek medical help to manage these symptoms.
Tapering Off Valium
It is not recommended to quit Valium all at once, or “cold turkey.” You may experience more acute withdrawal if quitting this way, which can be life-threatening in some cases.
Valium is a central nervous system depressant, which mostly affects the brain. Quitting cold turkey can cause intense bodily reactions and increase your risk of serious withdrawal symptoms.
Gradually decreasing your dose over a long period of time is a safer way of quitting. This is known as tapering off.
Generally, more time spent on Valium leads to longer tapering periods. Tapering can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months, and is usually longer than other benzos due to Valium’s long-lasting nature.
Medical detox can help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce the chances of relapse. A detox supervised by medical professionals can increase your chances of success.
Benzodiazepine detox likely starts with an evaluation where your current condition is assessed. The next step is stabilization, which is when withdrawal symptoms are managed by a professional. The final step is a transition to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
Detoxification treatment programs last for three to ten days, and can take place at your treatment facility or a nearby detox center.
Find Treatment Today
Although their risks are well-known, benzodiazepine drugs are commonly prescribed. Benzos can be dangerous even under normal substance use guidelines. If you are prescribed Valium, it’s important to know all the side effects and risks that come with it.
To learn more about treatment options for Valium abuse and other benzodiazepines, contact us today.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Food and Drug Administration - VALIUM (DIAZEPAM) Label - FDA
National Centers for Biotechnology Information - Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence
National Centers for Biotechnology Information - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Diazepam
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