Valium (Diazepam) withdrawal and detox

Also known as diazepam, Valium is a benzodiazepine that is usually available on prescription. However, Valium abuse can inflict significant harm on your physical and mental health. Valium detox is a crucial first step toward healing from diazepam addiction. As your body begins to clear this substance from its system, you will no longer feel dependent on this drug for your personal happiness.

When conducted in a controlled and safe manner, medical detox can help to manage Valium withdrawal symptoms. Read on to learn more about how diazepam detox works, the reality of diazepam withdrawal and how detox can set you on the path to Valium addiction treatment.

Signs and symptoms of Valium withdrawal

Valium is designed to treat anxiety by inducing sleepiness and relaxing your muscles. This benzodiazepine works by generating a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, which calms down regions of the brain that are responsible for breathing, thought and emotion.

However, chronic abuse of Valium causes an overproduction of GABA, which can become very psychologically addictive. Trying to detox from Valium on your own can be very dangerous. If you do not manage your dosages correctly or suddenly stop taking Valium altogether, your GABA levels will decrease dramatically.

This sudden change can send your body into shock, which can worsen your diazepam withdrawal symptoms. Valium withdrawals often cause a variety of different physical and psychological symptoms depending on the severity and length of the abuse.

Physical diazepam withdrawal symptoms

Sudden and unmanaged diazepam detox can cause post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Whilst it is a rare scenario, severe cases of post-acute withdrawal syndrome that go without medical attention can prove to be fatal. Some of the physical warning signs to look out for in yourself and others include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pains and muscle cramps
  • Tremors and seizures
  • High blood pressure

Psychological diazepam withdrawal symptoms

As your body becomes dependent on the GABA produced by Valium, withdrawing from this substance can cause difficult mental withdrawal symptoms. Psychological signs of diazepam withdrawal are:

  • Intense cravings
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion and paranoia
  • Hallucinations

What to expect from Valium detox

You can pursue professional and safe Valium detox at an outpatient rehab clinic such as an outpatient day centre in your local area, or an inpatient rehab clinic such as those provided by UKAT. If you decide to attend inpatient rehab to detox from diazepam, you will receive medical treatment from a healthcare professional who has a full understanding of Valium and its effects on your body. You will begin diazepam detox upon arrival at an inpatient rehab centre.

At UKAT, our highly-trained team will be on standby to gradually reduce your dosage throughout your rehab programme. Our members of staff will carefully control your dosage so that your struggle does not worsen throughout your Valium detox. Whilst you may still experience Valium withdrawal symptoms, managing your dosage will alleviate the severity of these symptoms and prevent post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

A timeline of Valium withdrawal during detox

Valium is a long-acting drug, and one dose can stay in your system for several days. If you experience diazepam withdrawal symptoms during your detox, you are not alone. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks until they begin to wane.

Here is a typical timeline of how your body may react as you experience withdrawal from diazepam:

Week 1 of Valium withdrawal

You will begin to feel the initial effect of diazepam withdrawal within the first 24 or 48 hours of your last dose. The first symptoms of withdrawal are a general sense of irritability, anxiety and restlessness. These symptoms may become more severe throughout this first week.

Week 2 of Valium withdrawal

The second week of diazepam withdrawal is when symptoms are the most severe. You may feel a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as muscle cramps, profuse sweating, insomnia and nausea. However, this is usually the worst week for Valium withdrawals. After this week, you should begin to see an improvement in your symptoms.

Week 3-4 of Valium withdrawal

At this point of your detox, your diazepam withdrawal symptoms will begin to ease as the drug leaves your system. By now, you have likely made it through the worst of your Valium withdrawal. During these last two weeks, you will start to feel the positive effects of Valium detox on your mental and physical health. Agitation, insomnia, nausea and pain should begin to subside to an elevated sense of self-awareness, focus and clarity of mind as you begin to think ahead to your future after rehab.

Why Valium detox is important for addiction recovery

You may be concerned about the unpleasant symptoms and difficult emotions that come with Valium withdrawal. However, we would always recommend pursuing Valium detox with the help of a healthcare professional rather than a friend, family member or alone. It is important to remember that diazepam withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. Therefore, you should not let the possibility of a difficult short-term withdrawal period deter you from pursuing long-term addiction recovery.

Inpatient diazepam detox clears this addictive substance from your body as healthcare professionals carefully monitor the reduction of your dosage. Additionally, the medical teams at our inpatient rehab centres offer safety, emotional support and expert guidance. All of these factors will help your body and mind start to heal from the damage caused by Valium addiction.

Should you decide to detox at one of our facilities, you will be receiving high-quality treatment in a safe and secure environment. Valium detox is a vital aspect of recovery because it frees your mind and body from dependency on this addictive substance. When diazepam no longer controls you, you will gain the attention and motivation you need to focus on your recovery.

Next steps after Valium detox

Diazepam detox is only the first step toward addiction recovery. To truly heal from Valium abuse, you will need to confront the underlying psychological roots of your struggle. Fortunately, you can receive Valium detox as part of a full addiction treatment programme at one of our eight UKAT rehabilitation centres.

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Frequently asked questions

Is Valium withdrawal dangerous?
Valium withdrawal can cause significant danger to your health if you begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Sadly, symptoms such as respiratory distress and seizures can sometimes be fatal. This is why you should never attempt Valium detox alone. Always seek professional medical assistance to detox from Valium safely.
Does Valium withdrawal cause depression?
There are many different symptoms associated with Valium withdrawal, depression being one of them. This can be the result of the sudden drop in GABA, the neurotransmitter that your brain has become dependent upon for feelings of calmness and contentment. Depression can also be a Valium withdrawal symptom for those who experience PAWS, as they often feel as if there is no end to their symptoms.
How do I minimise Valium withdrawal symptoms?
The best way to minimise Valium withdrawal is to gradually reduce your dosage over time. Sudden cessation of Valium can be extremely dangerous and cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Tapering your dose slowly over the course of several weeks or months will help prevent severe symptoms from occurring.
How does rehab help to ease Valium withdrawal?
At an inpatient detox facility, your comfort and safety are assured. Highly-trained staff and drug addiction support workers will monitor your progress at all times and offer medical and emotional support to help ease any withdrawal symptoms. You will also be provided with medication, nutritional supplements, and relaxation therapies to ease you out of Valium withdrawal and refocus your energy on addiction recovery.