Physicians prescribe Valium (Diazepam) for the treatment of everything from anxiety and sleeplessness to certain neurological disorders. Valium is an effective treatment for severe anxiety and panic attacks as well as shakes associated with alcohol withdrawal. It’s also useful for helping ease inflammation, muscle spasms, nerve disorders, and seizures. In all of these cases, physicians prescribe Valium for long-term use to control symptoms. Unfortunately, it’s easy to develop a tolerance for Valium and become dependent on this drug for daily functioning.
***Valium and Xanax may come prescribed under generic names such as “Alprazolam, etc.”
Factors That Affect Valium Withdrawal
Like many addictive substances, withdrawal symptoms from Valium vary based on several factors:
- Time Span Taking the Drug – The longer a person takes a benzodiazepine drug such as Valium, the greater the tolerance will be and the more dependent the person will be on the drug for everyday activities.
- Dosage Amount – The withdrawal process lengthens in relation to the amount of Valium the person takes. Higher doses of Valium result in greater dependency, as does greater frequency of taking the drug.
- Subtype of Valium – There are two main subtypes of Valium: “extended-release” and regular. Those taking regular tablets on an “as-needed” basis won’t have as difficult a withdrawal as those taking extended-release Valium, which is in the system for a long period of time.
- Quitting Gradually vs. Cold Turkey – Valium is a powerful psychiatric medication. As such, physicians don’t recommend quitting Valium abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that people can’t function. A gradual tapering off of Valium can ease withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse.
- Individual Physiology – A person’s environment, genetic makeup, and behavioral tendencies can contribute to how easy or difficult withdrawal is.
- Level of Dependency on the Drug – Valium is remarkably potent, with a high risk of misuse and abuse. When someone takes Valium for recreational or non-medicinal use as a means to “relax,” it can easily lead to an addiction.
Your own withdrawal and detox experience may differ greatly from someone else’s. Your level of drug dependency, timeframe of use, and many personal factors will alter how difficult getting off the drug will be for you.
Possible Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
During withdrawal and detox, Valium addicts can experience a range of adverse physical, mental, and emotional affects. Your personal reaction will be unique – you may feel one, all, or none of the common withdrawal symptoms. However, Valium is known for its difficult withdrawal due to the high risk of building a tolerance and dependency. One common symptom is experiencing anxiety. Since Valium suppresses anxiety, coming off it can bring back natural feelings of anxiety as well as spikes in anxiety due to your brain readjusting.
Some people complain of concentration problems, confusion, memory loss, hallucinations, and depression. These are common withdrawal symptoms that may be associated with elevations in anxiety. Other symptoms may include:
- Mood Swings
These symptoms are generally not life threatening and can be significantly reduced or eased with the proper detox program. A combination of medical treatments and holistic treatments, such as group therapy, can relieve or lessen these symptoms as your body readjusts to life without Valium.
If your dependency on Valium is severe or if you have a strong reaction to withdrawal, you may be at risk of life-threatening symptoms. This is why physicians recommend you tackle detox at a facility with medical professionals and the proper treatment plans. Life-threatening withdrawal responses include risk of seizures. While this is somewhat rare, they can be intense. However, a medical professional can prevent risk of seizures during withdrawal.
Another potentially life-threatening symptom is extreme depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. While this symptom won’t in itself kill you, if someone goes through withdrawal on his or her own, the person may attempt suicide. Rehabilitation and detoxification centers can help relieve deep depression due to withdrawal and prevent someone from taking his or her own life – a rare and extreme outcome of Valium withdrawal. Typically, the deep depression phase will only last a few days if the person experiences it at all.
Timeframe For Withdrawal
In the first days, the early signs of withdrawal may include feelings of anxiety and restlessness. By the second week, withdrawal symptoms are full-blown and come to a peak. These may include sweating, nausea, muscle pain, and insomnia. Symptoms taper off in weeks three to four weeks until they eventually stop. Always undergo Valium withdrawal and detox at a professional center with medical supervision.