Valium Withdrawal: Signs, Withdrawal and Detox Process

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021

James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Diazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine drug family and is most commonly known by the brand name Valium, but it is often sold under a range of other brand names.

Valium is a well-known drug in the United States. It’s used to treat anxiety as well as detox syndromes from other benzodiazepines and alcohol. It’s also used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, muscle spasms, and insomnia. It is no longer a first-line therapy for anxiety because of its high risk for violence and addiction, but it is also used for a variety of other treatments.

Abuse and Addiction Possibilities

Valium and other benzodiazepines are thought to have a high risk of addiction and dependency. They are listed as Schedule IV controlled drugs by the U.S. Law Enforcement Administration, which means they can only be administered lawfully with a prescription.

Valium has been recognized in both clinical and lay circles as a substance with a high risk of misuse and dependency. Many people who misuse benzodiazepines blend them with alcohol, narcotic pain killers, and other substances to intensify the euphoric impact.

Mixing benzodiazepines with other medications is dangerous because it increases the risk of adverse opioid responses, polydrug misuse, and overdose. Overdose deaths from benzodiazepines increased significantly in the United States between 2011 and 2014, suggesting that benzodiazepine addiction is a growing public health concern.

To make matters more complicated, those who use Valium or other benzodiazepines for an extended period of time will develop physical dependency. This makes it especially difficult to stop using them without professional assistance.

Withdrawal and Physical Dependency

Physical dependency on Valium is a disorder that is marked by addiction to the medication as well as withdrawal effects when the drug is discontinued. To put it simply, resistance develops when a person needs a higher dose or more of a medication to produce the same medicinal or other effects that were previously experienced at lower doses. Tolerance is a typical side effect of many medications that people take for more than a few weeks.

Many people take medications for health purposes under the care of a doctor for long stretches of time and develop a physical dependency on them; however, they do not misuse the drugs by taking them for non-medical purposes, so they do not typically qualify as having an addiction. Thus, a person who uses Valium for seizure control under the care of a psychiatrist who uses it under the specified guidelines will experience physical dependency over time, but they will not typically be identified with a Valium addiction.

Withdrawal Signs

The magnitude of withdrawal symptoms is determined by how long the drug was used, how much the patient took on a regular basis, and whether the person quit “cold turkey” or tapered off gradually.

Overuse of Valium for an extended amount of time causes more difficult withdrawal effects. Valium withdrawal symptoms can be painful, but the effects are usually milder than those associated with stronger benzos or Xanax.

People who experience withdrawal from Valium may or may not meet the criteria for an abuse or addiction diagnosis. However, the cessation phase for most people fits a consistent pattern with some variation.

Based on the clinical experience of patients’ benzodiazepine addictions, withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be divided into stages. It consists of two withdrawal periods where the number and severity of symptoms as well as their length distinguish the stages.

Acute Stage

A person will begin to feel the symptoms of acute withdrawal around one to four days after their last use of Valium. Valium has a variable half-life of up to 48 hours. Certain people may have no noticeable symptoms for a day or two, but by day three or four, they will be experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms.

The period of time that these effects occur after withdrawing Valium is determined by the amount and frequency of Valium used, the length of time that Valium was abused, whether or not any other medications were abused, and human variations in metabolism and mental and psychological health. For example, after a relatively short time of not using Valium, certain people who are vulnerable to anxiety and depression may experience rebound anxiety, which is a return to the anxiety that existed before the person began taking the drug.

The signs of acute withdrawal include:

  • Headaches, fatigue, vomiting, stomach pains, cramps, and tremors are some of the physical signs that can occur.
  • Cardiovascular signs may be linked to rebound anxiety or simply part of the detox phase in general.
  • Confusion and the risk for epilepsy are examples of neurological signs present during the acute stage.
  • Seizures during the acute period of withdrawal are a major complication that can be fatal if not treated promptly.

General Withdrawal

After three to four days of acute symptoms, the individual will most likely go through a longer withdrawal cycle that will last 10-14 days in most cases. Increased Valium cravings, lightheadedness, moderate headache, mild fever, episodes of nausea, possible chills, exhaustion, and ongoing bouts of anxiety can all occur at this time.

The severity of these signs would be much lower than the acute symptoms. Flu-like symptoms, general feelings of disappointment, and a general sense of gloom will typically be present. An additional duration of rebound anxiety may last between 10 and 14 days in some people.

Individuals will eventually recover after the withdrawal process, but they may also experience fear, depression, and general feelings of being “out of tune.”

Some sources also mention post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which is a longer duration of generalized neurological problems that can appear in some people when they’ve recovered from drug use. Mood problems, issues enjoying happiness to the same degree as before substance addiction, and overall feelings of disappointment and diminished enthusiasm are common symptoms.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is described as a long period of time, ranging from weeks to years, that necessitates ongoing treatment, most commonly in the form of therapy. Otherwise, it may lead to an increased risk of relapse. Addiction specialists and mental health practitioners can provide more guidance about this aspect of quitting drug use.

It’s vital to understand the Valium detox process because people who are suffering withdrawal symptoms are more likely to relapse. The onset of rebound anxiety and physical symptoms will be almost entirely alleviated if the person resumes taking Valium. Individuals who try to avoid using Valium “cold turkey” without medical support may find it incredibly challenging.

Medications to Help with Valium Withdrawal

Valium is often used as a benzodiazepine substitute drug to help people recover from other benzodiazepines. Individuals who have formed a clinical dependency on another benzodiazepine may be offered Valium instead of the other benzodiazepine, and the practitioner will progressively lower the dose to enable the individual to adapt.

When the dose hits a certain amount, the drug use is stopped entirely, and the person has made it through the withdrawal process without having any significant side effects. Physicians should also launch a Valium tapering technique for patients who have a physical dependency on the medication. This may be the most efficient technique for negotiating a physical removal from Valium.

Baclofen in the form of Kemstro, Gablofen, or Lioresal is a muscle relaxant that has been shown to suppress cravings for a variety of drugs of addiction, including benzodiazepines. Medications for nausea, headaches, and other conditions may be added at the doctor’s discretion.

Recovery from a Valium Addiction

Everyone dealing with a Valium addiction should get help regardless of their situation or experience. Depending on your needs, there are a number of therapies available. There is also financial aid available to help with the cost of care. The first move is to make the decision to seek treatment for your addiction.

Valium withdrawal therapy seeks to make stopping the medication as easy as possible. Following detox of the drug, inpatient recovery could be the best solution for heavy Valium users. Some individuals prefer outpatient treatment to help them conquer their addiction while they continue with work and home responsibilities. In any case, healing from a Valium addiction can be a lengthy process.

If you or a loved one is coping with addiction, get support. Granite Recovery Centers is here and eager to speak with you about getting well again.

Granite Recovery Centers

Granite Recovery Centers offers many resources for those suffering from Valium addiction. We’ve been changing people’s lives and giving them hope for more than 10 years. Below are some of the services we offer:

  • Exclusive therapeutic alcohol rehab centers – In Effingham, Derry, and Canterbury, New Hampshire, there are places like Green Mountain Rehab Center, Granite House, and New Freedom Academy. These facilities provide residential detox care, structured client schedules, evidence-based clinical therapies, and discharge preparation to help individuals overcome addiction. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
  • A program that supports mental health – Cognitive behavior therapy and dialectal therapy are offered at our facilities. Via motivational interviews, one-on-one counseling, process groups, and other therapies, our primary goal is to assist you with treating your addiction.
  • Outpatient care – Individualized recovery programs, nutritional counseling and herbal detox are all available at our Green Mountain Treatment Facility without clients needing to stay 24/7.
  • Well-structured sober living services – Our Manchester sober living homes have a welcoming environment where you can become used to the stresses of daily life without relapsing into drug use. You have the ability to remain with your sober peers, who are vital to your sustained sobriety.
  • The Alumni Network – Our programs make it easier for you to form tight bonds with your peers. This friendship is crucial because after you’ve finished the counseling process, you’ll want to reconnect with them to share your progress.

Valium is a widely abused substance, so our treatment and recovery facilities are used to dealing with Valium misuse and dependency. It’s time to get assistance if you’re finding that crucial aspects of your life, such as your work and relationships, are taking a back seat to your Valium addiction. Regardless of how long you’ve been using Valium, you have the ability to overcome your addiction. We can help when you take the first steps toward recovery by seeking treatment.


Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be difficult, but it is possible to alleviate many uncomfortable symptoms with medical help. Because of the possibility of major medical problems, home remedies are not advised for anyone detoxing from Valium.

Detoxing in a professional recovery facility that specializes in treating addiction is the best alternative. Granite Recovery Centers will safely provide you with the relief you need when you’re going through withdrawal.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.