How To Safely Detox From Valium (Diazepam)

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 4, 2021

Valium (diazepam) is a prescription drug that can cause physical dependence and withdrawal with sudden, stopped use. Getting off Valium after prolonged use or misuse may require professional help through a detox program.

Detoxing From Valium

Valium, also known as diazepam, is a benzodiazepine drug that can cause physical dependence with chronic drug use or misuse.

Stopping Valium very suddenly after taking it regularly for at least two to four weeks may cause symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal can become dangerous without medical support.

Valium detox programs, offered by detox facilities and some inpatient treatment centers, can provide treatment for Valium withdrawal and help individuals safely stop taking it.

Find out more about detoxing from benzodiazepines

How Valium Detox Works

Valium belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which can cause physical dependence and mild to severe withdrawal if you try to stop taking it all at once.

Detoxification, or detox, is a process of eliminating substances like Valium from the body. If you’re physically dependent on Valium, this may cause withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxing from Valium generally requires slowly reducing your dose, or tapering, over a period of time. How long this takes will depend on your current dose of Valium and other factors.

Dangers Of Valium Detox

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is one of the more dangerous forms of withdrawal that can develop, along with alcohol withdrawal, due to a potential for symptoms such as seizures.

Withdrawal seizures, and other severe symptoms such as hallucinations, can occur by quitting Valium very suddenly, or “cold turkey,” without medical support.

Within a detox program, medical professionals can offer treatment to reduce the risk for seizures and manage severe withdrawal symptoms if and when they do occur.

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Side Effects Of Valium Detox

Detoxing from Valium can be uncomfortable physically and may also cause emotional and psychological distress.

Common symptoms of Valium withdrawal include:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • sweating
  • tremors (shakiness)
  • muscle spasms
  • fast heart rate
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • poor concentration
  • memory problems
  • depression
  • increased blood pressure

Serious side effects can also occur while detoxing from Valium. This may develop within the first seven to 14 days of Valium detox and withdrawal.

Severe Valium withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • panic attacks
  • heart palpitations
  • thoughts of suicide
  • thoughts of hurting others
  • loss of touch with reality
  • seizures

Anyone at risk for Valium withdrawal, particularly severe withdrawal symptoms, should complete acute detox within a medically supervised setting, such as a detox center.

Without medical treatment and support, withdrawal seizures and other severe symptoms can be life-threatening.

Valium Detox And Withdrawal Timeline

Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, or “benzo” drug. This means it stays in the body longer than benzos like Xanax, Ativan, and Halcion.

Acute Withdrawal From Valium

After stopping or reducing your Valium dose, withdrawal symptoms may begin within two to seven days of your last dose.

This is the first stage of withdrawal, known as acute withdrawal. Acute withdrawal lasts two to seven weeks on average for people with Valium dependence.

Factors that can affect this timeline include:

  • dose taken
  • duration of Valium use
  • method of use
  • history of Valium abuse or drug addiction
  • use of multiple drugs (including alcohol)
  • impaired liver function
  • overall health status

Protracted Withdrawal From Valium

Protracted withdrawal is a form of withdrawal that can extend beyond the acute withdrawal period. Symptoms of this can last up to 24 months, or two years, after last use of Valium.

Protracted withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • rebound anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • poor concentration and memory
  • mood swings
  • loss of interest

Protracted withdrawal doesn’t develop in everyone. This is most likely to occur in people who’ve been taking Valium in high doses for a long time—months or years.

What Factors Can Affect The Intensity Of Valium Detox?

Valium detox may be more intense for people who have certain risk factors.

Risk factors for severe Valium detox and withdrawal include:

  • older age
  • taking high doses of Valium
  • misusing Valium alone or with other drugs (e.g. opioids)
  • taking Valium for years
  • stopping Valium use all at once
  • co-occurring mental health disorders
  • poor overall health
  • past complications during drug detox

What Are The Best Ways To Detox From Valium?

The safest way to detox from Valium after an extended period of Valium use or misuse is to find a drug detox program. This is offered by detox facilities and some addiction treatment centers.

Medical Detox For Valium Addiction

Medical detox is a type of inpatient detox program that can offer treatment and 24-hour medical supervision within a safe and stable clinical environment.

Benefits of medical detox for Valium addiction include:

  • 24-hour observation and monitoring
  • treatment for moderate to severe symptoms of withdrawal
  • nutritional support and fluid support (i.e. IV therapy)
  • quiet place to detox from Valium
  • can offer referrals for substance abuse treatment

Many detox centers partner with nearby drug abuse rehab centers. After detox, individuals who have been misusing Valium may be directed toward a drug treatment program.

Outpatient Detox For Valium Addiction

Outpatient detox services are available for some people with mild drug dependence. However, this is not typically recommended for detoxing from benzodiazepines like diazepam.

Outpatient detox is a low-intensity detox option that may not be suitable for people who have a substance use disorder or are at risk for moderate to severe drug withdrawal.

Valium Detox FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Valium detoxification and detox treatment options.

❓ Who Needs Valium Detox?

✔️ Valium detox is recommended for people with anxiety disorders who have been taking Valium for a very long time, as well as people struggling with Valium abuse or addiction.

❓ Does Diazepam Build Up In Your System?

✔️ Diazepam, the generic name for Valium, can build up in the body after a few weeks of regular use. This is physical dependence and may cause withdrawal with stopped use.

❓ How Long Does The Valium Withdrawal Last?

✔️ Acute Valium withdrawal may last two to eight weeks.

Protracted withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, may last for several months and up to two years after stopping Valium.

❓ How Long Does Valium Stay In Your System?

✔️ Valium is long-acting, meaning it stays in the body longer. Its half-life is 20 to 80 hours. However, it can take much longer than this for it to be fully eliminated from your system.

Find Valium Detox And Addiction Treatment Today

Getting off Valium can be accomplished most safely within a detox program. If you or a loved one is physically addicted to Valium, we can help you find treatment options.

Call our helpline today to learn more about the Valium detox process and to find Valium detox and addiction treatment options at a treatment facility near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 4, 2021
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