Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and prescribed for numerous other medical conditions, such as:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Alcohol withdrawals
- Muscle spasms
- Panic attacks
- Some sleep disorders
How long does Valium stay in your system? This depends on many variables, not the least of which is how the body breaks down Valium. After ingestion, the drug travels the digestive tract on its way to the liver. In the liver, diazepam is broken into its three component substances:
These three substances together create the effects felt by Valium. Like all “benzos,” Valium produces feelings of sedation and hypnosis, relaxes muscles, and minimizes convulsions. It is an effective drug, but use of the benzodiazepine class of drugs requires medical supervision. Valium can lead to physical dependence, and in some cases, addiction symptoms are noticed.
Once an individual has been taking diazepam for a certain amount of time, stopping use — especially without the oversight of a medical professional — can create moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. In cases of Valium addiction, a medically assisted detox program is necessary.
In severe cases, people experience acute breathing problems if they miss a dose or mix this drug with other drugs designed to depress the central nervous system, such as opioid medications and alcohol.
Speak to a caring team member at Zinnia Health to learn more about addiction treatment and therapy options available. If you or your loved one is suffering from Valium withdrawals, simply wants to stop using this benzodiazepine, or suffers from other substance abuse history, we’re here for you. Call us at (855) 430-9439.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Saliva, Urine, Blood, and Hair?
There are several methods used to detect drugs in a person’s body:
- Saliva test
- Urine test
- Blood test
- Hair sample
Each of these tests returns different results because the retaining ability of each aspect of the body varies.
Valium can remain detectable in:
What Is the Half-Life of Valium?
A medication’s half-life is how long it takes a body to eliminate half of the substance. The half-life of diazepam is fairly long compared to some medications, lasting an average of 30 to 56 hours, and depending on several factors unique to each patient.
For people prescribed Valium and taking it regularly, it can take around 10 days for all of the drug to be eliminated by the body. But that’s just in reference to the diazepam — the three components it’s broken down into when metabolized by the liver can stay in the body much longer.
What Affects How Long Valium Stays in Your Body?
How long diazepam stays in a person’s body depends on factors unique to every person. Valium detection depends on such things as:
- How well your liver works. People with a damaged or poorly functioning liver, or those suffering from chronic liver disease from excessive alcohol consumption, may retain traces of diazepam in their systems for up to five times longer than people with a healthy liver.
- How much body fat you have. As a long-acting drug, diazepam was designed to leave the body more slowly than other benzo medications. As such, extended large or excessive dosing builds up significantly in the body’s fatty tissues. For people with a higher body mass index (BMI), their bodies eliminate Valium much more slowly than people with lower BMIs.
- How old you are. Valium’s half-life varies drastically by age. Younger people naturally have faster metabolisms than older individuals. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), diazepam’s half-life is 18 hours for young children, while in adults, the half-life increases by about one hour per year of life. So, the average half-life for a 20-year-old is 20 hours; for a 45-year-old, the half-life is around 45 hours.
- How much you take and how often. Your dosage and dosing frequency affect how long this drug remains in your body. Larger doses take longer for the liver to metabolize. Over time, given the drug’s half-life, doses can, in essence, build up, circulate in your body, and be absorbed by your fatty tissues. Basically, the longer you take Valium and the greater your dosage, the longer this drug remains in your system.
- Other substances you take. Each substance a person uses undergoes a somewhat unique chemical reaction within their body. When used as prescribed with no other medications, alcohol, or other substance use, diazepam generally works as described. When Valium is combined with other substances, however, the chemical reaction in the body is altered — not to mention it can lead to severe consequences, such as heart attack.
For instance, the body may break down the other substance(s) before breaking down the diazepam. This metabolic prioritization uses up the resources your body would have used to break down the diazepam. The longer it takes for the body to break down a substance like diazepam, the longer it remains in the body.
How Does a Drug Test Detect Valium?
You might wonder if your prescription for Valium will return a positive result on a drug test or how long the detection window is. The answer is a little tricky. Diazepam isn’t necessarily detected, but the three metabolites mentioned above (that diazepam breaks down into after ingestion) are detectable.
Once these substances are broken down by the body, they can be detectable in a person’s saliva, urine, blood, or hair (note the length of time each is typically detectable above).
How Long Does It Take for Valium’s Effects to Wear Off?
After taking a dose of diazepam, your body absorbs around 90% of it. You’ll feel the drug’s peak effects in about an hour or so. Depending on your body’s metabolism, how long you feel the effects of Valium vary from person to person based on the drug’s average half-life.
Wondering how long it takes for diazepam’s effects to wear off is an important question for people who want to taper off or stop taking Valium. Zinnia Health’s professional team can offer insight. Call (855) 430-9439 to speak with one of our dedicated staff.
Depending on dosing and how long the person has been taking this drug, it can take between one and four days from the person’s last dose to begin experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Fast heartbeat
- Mood swings
Once a person has made it through the acute withdrawal phase, they may experience a phase of moderate withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Milder headaches
- Upset stomach
- Lessened anxiety
Once through this second phase, ongoing depression may still persist as the person’s body grows more used to not having diazepam. For instance, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) treatment center follows a 14-week tapering schedule to help patients successfully taper their use of benzodiazepines.
Zinnia Health Can Help
Going through Valium withdrawals can be a scary situation. Tapering or stopping diazepam shouldn’t be attempted without medical assistance. Some benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening if not conducted in a controlled detoxification program.
At Zinnia Health, we understand how hard it can be to ask for help — but just being here reading this post is the first step. Reach out to our team or call us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about Valium use, misuse, and detox. Therapy, inpatient, and outpatient treatment options are just a phone call away.