Valium Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment

Outpatient Valium Withdrawal Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Picture of Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Joshua Yager M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Joshua Yager M.D.

Dr. Joshua Yager is an Atlanta native, board-certified family practice physician who is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of his community.

Table of Contents

Valium, also called Diazepam, is one of the most recognized drugs globally and was once the best-selling medication in the United States. It is prescribed to treat anxiety and anxiety disorders, manage withdrawal symptoms from other benzodiazepines and alcohol, control seizures, treat restless leg syndrome, alleviate muscle spasms, and address insomnia. Due to its high potential for abuse and addiction, Valium is no longer the first-line treatment for anxiety but remains in use for various conditions.

What is Valium Withdrawal?

Anyone who has taken Valium for over four months, or even less in some cases, may experience withdrawal symptoms. Valium accumulates in the body over time, leading to physical dependence. As the body becomes reliant on Valium, it reduces its production of natural anxiety-relieving chemicals. This dependence means the body needs Valium to function normally and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Users often increase their doses to counteract tolerance and avoid withdrawal.

Withdrawal from Valium can be dangerous. Stopping the drug abruptly can lead to severe consequences such as seizures, coma, and potentially fatal outcomes. It is essential to undergo medical supervision when quitting Valium to ensure the body and brain can recalibrate safely without the drug.

Benzodiazepines like Valium are challenging to withdraw from due to the severity and duration of symptoms. Acute withdrawal can last up to 90 days, and post-acute withdrawal may persist for 18-24 months.

Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

Diazepam Withdrawal symptoms and other benzodiazepines can begin within one to four days after stopping the drug. Dependence can develop even with short-term use, so minimal dosing and duration are recommended. Abruptly stopping Valium can intensify withdrawal symptoms, which may continue for years without proper treatment.

Common Valium withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Seizures (potentially life-threatening)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart palpitations, tachycardia
  • Rebound anxiety, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, rebound depression
  • Derealization, depersonalization
  • Distorted perceptions (taste, smell, sound, touch)
  • Disturbing body sensations (burning, pins and needles, vibrations)
  • Tremors, shaking in hands, shaking attacks, jerks
  • Dysphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions, paranoia
  • Hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sound)
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli (sound, light, motion, personal contact)

Other common Diazepam withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Tinnitus
  • Insomnia, rebound insomnia, nightmares, disturbed sleep
  • Tension, restlessness
  • Muscle cramps, muscle pain, muscle rigidity
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Shooting pains up the spine and neck
  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Headache
  • Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  • Impaired memory, cognitive ability, confusion, loss of focus, poor concentration

Given the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it is crucial to manage Valium withdrawal under medical supervision. A gradual tapering of the dose is typically recommended to minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of severe complications. If you or a loved one are struggling with Diazepam withdrawal in Atlanta, GA, contact Hope Harbor Wellness today at 770-573-9546 or fill out our online contact form to break free from the chains of Diazepam addiction.

How Does Valium Dependence Happen?

Valium, like other benzodiazepines, has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Valium can only be legally obtained with a prescription.

Even in medical settings, benzodiazepines are known for their potential for abuse and dependence. They often contribute to polydrug abuse and addiction when mixed with alcohol, narcotic painkillers, and other substances to enhance their effects. Mixing benzodiazepines with other drugs significantly increases the risk of fatal overdose.

Valium can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal even when taken as prescribed. Therapeutic doses can cause tolerance, meaning that higher doses are needed to achieve the same effects. When someone with a tolerance to Valium reduces their dose or stops taking the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

While physical dependence is a criterion for a substance use disorder (the technical term for drug addiction), it is not necessary or sufficient on its own for a diagnosis. People who take Valium as prescribed can develop tolerance without being addicted, but they may still experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Does of Valium Withdrawal Last?

Valium withdrawal lasts longer than withdrawal from most other benzodiazepines. As a long-acting benzodiazepine, Valium provides extended relief from anxiety but takes longer for withdrawal symptoms to manifest. In some cases, the first symptoms of Valium withdrawal may not appear for up to seven days in heavy users.

A study from the 1980s examined the duration of withdrawal in people who had used 60 to 120 mg of Valium for 3 to 14 years. The withdrawal symptoms in this group lasted over a month.

Valium Withdrawal Timeline

The duration of withdrawal from diazepam can vary widely depending on individual factors and the extent of use, but it commonly ranges from a few days to several weeks.

The stages of valium withdrawal often include:

  • Days 1-7: Valium is a long-acting medication whose effects generally last four to six hours. It can take up to a week for withdrawal symptoms to manifest. During the first week of withdrawal, common symptoms may include a fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever.
  • Week 2: The second week of withdrawal is generally when symptoms are at their worst. You may experience additional symptoms such as tremors, shaking, anxiety, irritability, confusion, disorientation, sweating, agitation, hallucinations, and seizures.
  • Weeks 3-4: Symptoms should gradually lessen in scope and severity during the third and fourth weeks of withdrawal. By the end of a month, most symptoms should have significantly diminished or disappeared.

Valium in the Body

Although you may not feel the effects of Valium after a month, the drug can stay in your system for longer periods:

  • Up to six weeks in urine
  • Up to 48 hours in blood
  • Up to 10 days in saliva
  • Up to three months in hair follicles

Understanding the withdrawal experience with Valium is crucial for reducing the risk of relapse and staying safe while the drug clears the system. Rebound anxiety and physical symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage, which is why quitting Valium “cold turkey” is not recommended.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome for Valium

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a collection of withdrawal symptoms that can persist for weeks or months after the initial withdrawal period. PAWS is also known as post-withdrawal syndrome, prolonged withdrawal syndrome, or protracted withdrawal syndrome.

PAWS symptoms commonly occur after withdrawal from substances like alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines such as Valium.

These symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty with learning, problem-solving, and memory recall
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Depressed mood
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Intense cravings
  • Apathy or pessimism
  • Sleep disturbances

Valium Withdrawal Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Medication and Detox for Valium Withdrawal

Valium is often used to manage withdrawal symptoms from other substances, including other benzodiazepines, and is gradually tapered off once withdrawal symptoms subside. When withdrawing from Valium itself, several medications may be used to manage symptoms:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): These antidepressants can help address rebound anxiety.
  • Melatonin: This hormone can relieve anxiety and aid sleep, helping to ease withdrawal symptoms.
  • Anticonvulsant Medications: These are used to manage seizures that may occur during Valium withdrawal.
  • Baclofen: Known by the names Gablofen, Lioresal, and Kemstro, this muscle relaxant can help reduce cravings for various substances, including benzodiazepines.

Given the severity of Valium withdrawal, it is advisable to undergo medical detox rather than attempting to detox on your own. Medical detox provides care and supervision to help you manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure your safety and comfort throughout the process.

Valium Withdrawal Treatment at Hope Harbor Wellness

Located in the serene suburbs of Atlanta, Hope Harbor Wellness is your ally in the fight against Valium addiction in Atlanta. Our drug rehab center, dedicated to holistic recovery, is ideally situated to offer you the support you need.

Our compassionate outpatient program collaborates with top-tier medical valium detox facilities, ensuring a safe and effective detox process. Once free from addictive substances, you can seamlessly transition into one of our specialized outpatient treatment programs at Hope Harbor Wellness, designed to address substance use disorders:

  • Outpatient Rehab: A flexible program tailored to fit into your daily life.
  • PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program): Offers a structured yet non-residential approach to treatment.
  • IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program): Provides more intensive care while allowing you to maintain daily responsibilities.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program: Caters to those with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Our Valium addiction treatment programs incorporate a variety of interventions:

  • MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment): Utilizes medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Psychotherapy: Addresses underlying psychological aspects of addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Offers peer support and shared learning experiences.
  • Individual Counseling: Provides personalized guidance and support.
  • Family Therapy: Helps heal and strengthen family relationships.
  • Holistic Therapies: Focuses on overall well-being, including physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Aftercare: Ensures ongoing support post-treatment.

Embark on your journey from addiction to recovery with Hope Harbor Wellness. Trust in our dedicated team to guide you every step of the way. For more information on valium withdrawal treatment in Atlanta, GA or to start your journey, call our admissions team at 770-573-9546 or fill out our online contact form.

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