Substance Use

How to Detox From Valium Safely

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Detoxing from Valium safely is an important decision for individuals struggling with addiction to this benzodiazepine medication. Valium, or diazepam, is commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. While it provides therapeutic relief, its potential for addiction underscores the need for a thoughtful and well-structured detoxification process. (1)

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Valium addiction is the first step toward recovery, and seeking professional guidance through a treatment center detox program is often essential. These American programs offer a comprehensive approach, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

By understanding the available detox process and the support provided by addiction treatment centers, individuals can get help and start down a path toward sobriety with increased confidence and a greater likelihood of long-term success.

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What is a Valium Detox?

Detoxing from Valium for an extended period can be an uncomfortable experience. This is the process of slowly removing Valium from your system, typically accomplished with a Valium taper. A taper gradually lowers the amount of benzodiazepine you are taking daily. (2)

Due to the many side effects and withdrawal symptoms associated with Valium addiction, medical supervision is highly recommended. Valium withdrawal can cause intense symptoms and typically occurs in multiple stages.

Most detox centers offer medical detox to help manage Valium withdrawal symptoms, and some incorporate more holistic approaches, such as yoga and meditation.

How Long Will a Valium Detox Last?

Valium detox withdrawal symptoms may vary, but most people can expect the process to occur as follows: (3)

  1. Acute stage: When tapering off Valium, you usually start with the acute stage. This stage lasts between 1-4 days. Individuals can experience extreme physical and psychological symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, insomnia, irritability, depression, anxiety, and muscle pain. (4)
  2. General withdrawal stage: The second stage, general withdrawal timeline, often lasts 10-14 days. During this phase, you may have increased Valium cravings and continued bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and restlessness. (3)
  3. Post-withdrawal stage: The post-withdrawal stage is when your body begins to stabilize, and you may start to feel better. This stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It can lead to additional psychological symptoms, such as fatigue, cravings, and insomnia.

When you choose a treatment facility, ensure it has experience with Valium treatment. You want the recovery process to be as safe and comfortable as possible within a good period of time.

What Types of Treatment Are Used During a Valium Detox?

During a Valium detox, you will be medically monitored and given a benzo taper as well as other medications to ease your withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment programs for Valium dependence can be inpatient or outpatient detox and rehab, depending on your specific needs. The main goal of treatment is to help individuals learn how to cope with situations without relying on Valium or other drugs.

The most effective treatments for Valium addiction and substance use disorder involve behavioral health therapy. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the connection between negative thoughts and behaviors. By identifying and challenging these negative thought patterns, individuals gain insights into the roots of their behaviors. (5)

This increased awareness provides them with the tools to make positive life changes, fostering a more constructive mindset and empowering them to navigate challenges with resilience.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a client-centered therapy aimed at exploring an individual’s intrinsic motivations for change. (6) Therapists engage in collaborative conversations, helping individuals articulate their reasons for making positive changes in their lives.

By focusing on intrinsic motivation, this approach empowers individuals to take meaningful actions towards achieving their goals, enhancing their commitment to the change process. (6)

Contingency Management

Contingency Management is a behavioral therapy that utilizes positive reinforcement to encourage and reinforce desirable behaviors. (7) In this therapeutic approach, individuals receive incentives and rewards for achieving specific tasks or goals related to their recovery.

This system of positive reinforcement serves as a powerful motivator, promoting continued engagement in positive behaviors essential for the recovery process. (7)

Group Therapy

Group Therapy offers a supportive and communal environment for individuals facing similar challenges to share:

  • Experiences
  • Insights
  • Coping strategies

The collective dynamics of the group create a sense of camaraderie and understanding, motivating individuals to stay committed to their recovery journey. (8)

Group therapy provides opportunities for participants to gain valuable insights, learn effective strategies to manage temptations and triggers, and receive support from peers who can relate to their experiences. This type of therapy can also help those who experience withdrawal symptoms to speak about their mental health. (8)


After completing inpatient or outpatient treatment, individuals transition to aftercare, a crucial phase focused on relapse prevention and maintaining sobriety. Aftercare may involve ongoing individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and participation in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. (9)

These continued forms of support offer a structured framework for individuals to navigate the challenges of everyday life while reinforcing the principles and strategies learned during formal treatment.

Can You Detox from Valium at Home or Not?

As with other benzodiazepines, due to the severity of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, at-home Valium detox is not typically recommended. (10)

Withdrawal symptoms such as seizures can be life-threatening. (10)

If you are prescribed Valium by your doctor, you may be able to discuss gradually decreasing your dose over time. However, if you have been abusing your medication, or taking it with other substances, it is extremely important that you are honest with your doctor.

What Are the Symptoms Of Valium Withdrawal?

Valium withdrawal symptoms can present a range of challenges for individuals attempting to discontinue the medication. (11) As a disclaimer, this should not be done cold turkey. In the early stages, within hours to a few days after the last dose, anxiety often intensifies, leading to heightened nervousness and restlessness. 

Valium withdrawal symptoms encompass a spectrum of both psychological and physical challenges, underlining the importance of not discontinuing the medication abruptly. Here’s a consolidated list capturing these diverse manifestations:

  • Intensified Anxiety: An increase in anxiety levels, marked by heightened nervousness and restlessness within hours to days after ceasing Valium.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulties in falling asleep or staying asleep contribute to fatigue and emotional instability.
  • Muscle Stiffness and Spasms: Physical discomfort arising from muscular issues is common during withdrawal.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps add to the distress experienced during this period.
  • Irritability and Mood Swings: These symptoms become more pronounced over time, impacting daily life and interpersonal relationships significantly.
  • Compromised Concentration & Cognitive Abilities: Withdrawal may lead to difficulties focusing on tasks requiring attention due to diminished cognitive functions. Physical symptoms may accompany the psychological aspects of diazepam withdrawal. Muscle stiffness and spasms are not uncommon, adding to the overall discomfort. Gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps, may further contribute to the distressing experience. (11) (12)
  • Appetite changes: These changes are another facet of Valium withdrawal. Some individuals may experience a decrease in appetite, leading to weight loss, while others may turn to emotional eating as a way to cope with the stress of withdrawal. (11) These changes in eating habits can contribute to nutritional imbalances, adding a layer of complexity to the overall withdrawal experience.

As the withdrawal progresses over the following weeks, persistent symptoms like ongoing anxiety, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating may continue. While the acute phase of withdrawal typically subsides within the second week or longer, some individuals might experience a protracted withdrawal syndrome characterized by lingering psychological symptoms.

Seeking professional help becomes crucial during this period, ensuring a personalized and supportive approach to managing the complexities of Valium withdrawal. A healthcare provider can offer personalized strategies to manage symptoms and ensure a safe and gradual tapering process. 

How Long Does Valium Withdrawal Last?

Here’s a timeline to  illustrate how this process typically unfolds:

  1. Initial 24-48 Hours After Last Dose: The Onset. The journey into withdrawal often begins within the first 1 to 2 days after the last dose. Individuals may start experiencing mild symptoms such as anxiety or restlessness during these initial hours. This period marks the body’s immediate reaction to the absence of Valium, signaling that it has started adjusting to functioning without the drug.
  2. Days 3-7: Escalation Phase. As we advance into days three through seven, symptoms generally intensify and reach their peak. This stage could manifest more severe manifestations like tremors, increased heart rate, heightened anxiety levels, potential hallucinations or delusions in acute cases; sleep disturbances become more pronounced here too.
  3. Weeks 2-4: The Plateau. After navigating through what could be considered turbulent waters in week one post-discontinuation—there’s somewhat of a plateau effect experienced between weeks two and four where although still present—symptoms might not further escalate but persist at a steady level. During this time frame individuals might face ongoing challenges related to mood regulation such as depression or continuing anxiety alongside possible physical discomforts like headaches or muscle pain.
  4. Months 1-3+: Gradual Alleviation & Recovery Pathway. Beyond month one leading up to months two and three plus onwards—the light at end of the tunnel becomes gradually visible for many recovering from Valium dependency though recovery trajectories vary greatly among individuals. Symptoms begin lessening in intensity around this time. However, some residual effects termed ‘protracted withdrawal’ may linger involving psychological components primarily, which include prolonged bouts of depression/anxiety amongst others. 

What Happens To Your Body When You Take Valium?

When Valium, also known as diazepam, is taken, it interacts with the central nervous system to produce various effects on the body. As a benzodiazepine, Valium enhances the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of nerve cells in the brain, leading to a calming effect. (13)

When Valium binds to GABA receptors, it enhances the effects of GABA, resulting in sedation, relaxation of muscles, and an overall sense of tranquility. (13)

One of the primary effects of Valium is its anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing properties. By modulating GABA activity, Valium helps alleviate excessive neuronal firing associated with anxiety, promoting a state of calmness. Additionally, Valium has muscle-relaxant properties, making it effective in treating conditions involving muscle spasms or tension. (13)

However, these calming effects come with potential side effects. Valium can cause drowsiness, impairing cognitive and motor functions. It may also lead to dizziness and coordination difficulties. While these effects can be therapeutic when used as prescribed, misuse or excessive use of Valium can intensify these side effects and lead to dependency or addiction.

How to Find a Valium Detox Center Near You

Zinnia Health has multiple rehab centers throughout the United States, and we are committed to providing quality care for those struggling with Valium addiction.

To find a facility near you, for you or your loved one review our locations or contact us directly at (855) 430-9439.

Valium abuse or drug abuse can be very difficult to overcome, and medical supervision is essential for a successful detox. Detoxing from Valium can be hard, but with the proper care and support, it is possible to overcome drug addiction and lead a healthy life.

At Zinnia Health, we provide comprehensive treatment options tailored to each individual’s needs.

Contact Zinnia Health today or call our 24/7 hotline at (855) 430-9439 to overcome Valium substance abuse.


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Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
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