Valium Withdrawal

As prescriptions for benzodiazepines have increased, so have overdoses for these prescription medications.  Overdoses related to benzos increased sevenfold between 1999 and 2015, from 1,135 deaths to 8,791 deaths. Valium is one of the most common benzos. While Valium may be helpful in the short term for anxiety-related problems, addiction is common and withdrawal from it can be difficult.

What Are the Valium Withdrawal Symptoms?

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” such as Valium, are tranquilizers and they are often prescribed for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and as an anesthetic given before surgery. Valium can become addictive because of its powerful relaxation effects. If someone builds up a tolerance to it, or becomes addicted, and then stops taking it suddenly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Valium withdrawal can be uncomfortable.

Valium withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Tension
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures



What Are the Stages in the Valium Withdrawal Timeline?

Research has shown that the stages of Valium withdrawal symptoms generally fall into three groups. Certain symptoms are experienced throughout the withdrawal process. The ongoing symptoms are:

  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms (myoclonus)

The second group of symptoms usually occur within the first 10 days. This may include symptoms such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive disturbances
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

The third group of symptoms occurs within the third and fourth weeks of withdrawal from diazepam. These symptoms are related to sense perception:

  • Sensation of “pins and needles”
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Abdominal pain
Valium Withdrawal

Why Should I Detox?

Detoxing from Valium can cause agitation, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs). Because of the severity of symptoms Valium detox can cause, withdrawing on your own or going “cold turkey” can be dangerous.

It’s much safer to go through a medical detox process as part of a professional treatment program. Going through an addiction treatment program also gives you a better chance at lasting recovery because of the structured medical and emotional support provided.

What is the Next Treatment Step?

While treatment for Valium addiction is available in different formats and levels of intensity, following a full continuum of treatment provides the most comprehensive approach. It begins with the highest and most intense level of care during the detox phase and then progresses through less intense levels of treatment. Going through the full continuum of treatment will position you better to be successful in your recovery. Stages of treatment usually include: detox/inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and alumni or aftercare.


During the first stage of withdrawal treatment, the goal is medical stabilization through detox. You will receive a complete medical assessment to determine your level of addiction and any additional medical needs you may have. This will include a medical exam and urine or blood tests to screen for drugs.

Your physician may also require additional testing such as: additional blood tests, including a CBC (complete blood count), chest X-ray, ECG (electrocardiogram), and testing for other diseases.

Once the doctor has your test results, he or she will design a detox plan for you. Then, under the care of your medical team, you will begin the detox process. Your medical team will include doctors, nurses, and support staff.

Your medical treatment may include the administration of other drugs to help manage the physical symptoms of Valium withdrawal.

In addition to medical care, your treatment plan will also include emotional support as you begin addiction therapy. This is because many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges as they detox.  


After completing the detox phase of treatment, the next stage is to continue treatment in a partial hospitalization program. During this phase, you’ll live at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive, rigorous, and structured treatment program. Treatment sessions are held five days a week for six hours each day and include individual, group, and family therapy programs to address your emotional and mental health needs.

Your goal during partial hospitalization will be to learn positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse so that you will be better prepared for long-term recovery. This training will help you begin the process of transitioning back to your life outside the treatment center.  


The stages of the full continuum of treatment are designed to slowly move you back to life outside the rehab facility while helping you build the skills and resources you need to cope and avoid relapsing. After you have completed the inpatient program, you will move into the intensive outpatient program (IOP) stage.

Sometimes this stage is used as standalone addiction therapy. However, it is also a vital part of the full continuum of treatment. At this stage, your therapy sessions won’t be as frequent and the program will be more flexible. You will still attend intensive therapy sessions, and continue with medication management, if required. This stage of treatment will help you continue to be accountable for your recovery. It will also include periodic weekly drug testing. The main focus of IOP is to help you continue to build coping skills and prevent relapse.


Once you have completed the treatment program, you will have the opportunity to join other treatment center alumni during weekly support groups and social events. These opportunities to meet other program graduates can help you develop new friendships and build social support with others who understand the recovery process. This support network can be a vital resource to help you grow and stay focused on your recovery as you continue to adjust to life after the treatment program and take on new responsibilities.  

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

You don’t have to struggle with valium withdrawal alone. The admissions specialists at Serenity at Summit are available for free and confidential help. They can provide the guidance and support you need to start your recovery by explaining the process and answering any questions you may have. After you speak with a specialist, you will know what to expect from our evidence-based services and feel confident to make an informed decision about your treatment plans.

Our specialists can also check with your private health insurance to see if your treatment costs will be fully covered. Call us today at (844) 326-4514 and let us help you get started on your journey to recovery.