Valium Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, Causes and Treatment

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  1. What is Valium Withdrawal? Does Withdrawal Last Long?
  2. Causes of Valium Withdrawal
  3. Symptoms of Withdrawal
  4. Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms
  5. Treatment for Withdrawal
  6. Help Someone Cope with Withdrawal

What is Valium? Are There Withdrawals from Valium Use?

Valium, the trade name of the drug Diazepam, is a prescription anti-anxiety drug that's part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines.

Though benzodiazepines can offer relief for a host of ailments, they're also among the most commonly abused drugs.

What is Valium? Are There Withdrawals from Valium Use?

Doctors commonly prescribe drugs like Valium on an off-label basis for other disorders, increasing the number of patients with access and, therefore, increasing the number of potential addicts.


If you or someone you love struggles with Valium addiction, know that addiction is a treatable medical condition, not a personal failing. Please call us at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? to speak to a treatment support specialist who can provide further guidance on Valium addiction treatment options that are right for you.

What is Valium Withdrawal? Does Withdrawal Last Long?

The longer you use Valium, the more likely it is that your body will grow steadily dependent on the drug. The timetable for dependency varies depending on factors like your psychological and physical health, age, and stress level.

With prolonged use of Valium, though, dependency becomes increasingly more likely. Especially among those who struggle with anxiety and sleep problems, the draw of this drug can be overwhelming.

Likewise, many prescription users develop a steady tolerance that causes them to take larger

doses of Valium, increasing the odds of withdrawal.

When you grow dependent on Valium, your body treats the drug as if it needs it to survive. Your brain may feel incapable of functioning without Valium, particularly if you have depression or anxiety.

When you stop using suddenly, then, withdrawal is the result of psychological shock and physical dependency, producing unpleasant symptoms that, in some cases, can be dangerous.

Causes of Valium Withdrawal

Dependency on Valium is what causes withdrawal.Valium withdrawal results from a specific chemical process known as the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. It doesn't matter whether you're a prescription user or a recreational one—though recreational users tend to take higher doses and, therefore, experience worse withdrawal.

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In both scenarios, your body can grow dependent on Valium, leading to painful withdrawal. It is this dependency—a building block of addiction—that causes withdrawal.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

You can expect to begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms around the time you'd take your next dose of Valium. For example, if you're a prescription user who takes the drug once per day, withdrawal will usually start about a day after your last dose.

Some of the most common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome include:

Man experiencing depression

  • Muscle pain.
  • Mood swings, especially depression and anxiety.
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and abdominal cramps.
  • Tremors.
  • Confusion and restlessness.
  • Irritability.
  • Headache.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms

No two people experience withdrawal symptoms that are exactly alike. Symptoms can range from mild to so severe you think you won't make it.

Some of the factors that influence how severe your withdrawal symptoms include:

  • How long you've used Valium—long-term use typically produces worse symptoms.
  • Your health—people in poor health may have worse symptoms.
  • Your psychological state—if you're prone to anxiety, you may experience extreme anxiety or panic as a part of the withdrawal process.
  • The dosage of Valium you took—if you exceeded your doctor's recommendations or are a recreational user, your symptoms may be more severe.
  • Your reliance on other drugs—if you use other drugs alongside Valium, your symptoms may be worse even if you don't quit these drugs.

Treatment for Withdrawal

Many people who go through Valium withdrawal can navigate the experience without professional treatment. Addiction, however, is another matter. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, this suggests you have developed an addiction.

Inpatient Valium Treatment vs. Outpatient Programs

  • Inpatient Treatment

    Many Valium addicts are drawn to outpatient programs due to concerns about time constraints and costs. If withdrawal leaves you feeling awful, though, you may need inpatient treatment to get well.

    Inpatient programs offer the medical care you need to treat any underlying conditions you have—including the one for which you were prescribed Valium—as well as therapy, support groups, and a sober living environment.

    Luxury and executive programs are available, too.

  • Partial Hospitalization

    If you're not ready to commit to inpatient care but know you need intensive treatment, partial hospitalization may be a good option. This approach to treatment offers similar benefits to rehab, but you'll be allowed to go home at the end of each day.

  • Outpatient Programs

    Outpatient programs can also work, especially as a way to transition from rehab to independent living. You can try one or more of the following options:

    • 12-step programs such as Pills Anonymous.
    • Outpatient therapy.
    • Support groups through a local church or organization.
    • Medical treatment for any mental health issues you have; remember, most people begin taking Valium to cope with anxiety.
    • Life coaching.
    • Life skills development and training, which can be especially helpful if you are a long-time addict or have struggled to find work.

Help Someone Cope with Withdrawal

If someone you love is going through Valium withdrawal, don't try to treat severe symptoms on your own. Medical attention may be warranted if serious and repeated symptoms occur, such as:

  • Vomiting.
  • Dehydration.
  • Seizures.
  • Delusions.
  • Hallucinations.

Milder symptoms such as anxiety and gastrointestinal discomfort can be safely treated at home.

Comforting a friend
Avoid giving your loved one medication or trying to get him or her to take more Valium. Instead, offer plenty of support by:

  • Staying with your loved one and encouraging him or her to continue the sobriety journey.
  • Offering a distraction in the form of a fun diversion.
  • Providing the same care you'd offer someone struggling with the flu. Offer food, help cleaning, or a warm bed to sleep in.
  • Reassuring your loved one that his or her addiction is not his or her fault. Point out that symptoms will go away.

Addiction is a disease. It doesn't matter whether you had a valid medical prescription or are a recreational Valium user. In either scenario, your odds of a speedy recovery will be greatly increased by professional treatment.

You don't have to suffer alone with Valium addiction, and if someone you love needs help, you may need some support too. Call 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? to find Valium addiction treatment for a loved one or support for yourself, or both.

Additional Resources

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