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Cold turkey Valium

Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine. It is used to provide short term relief for anxiety. While Valium is used to help treat addiction to other substances, it can be just as habit forming as the opiate class of drugs. In fact, there may come a time when you will need to stop taking Valium.  Especially if you’ve been abusing Valium.  But how can you stop taking Valium responsibly?

First, you should never stop taking Valium cold turkey. The risks and dangers of seizure or extreme side effects are too many.  So whether you are exhibiting signs of Valium addiction or not, what can you do to get diazepam out of your body?   We review here.  Then, we invite your questions about Valium withdrawal, how you can treat Valium addiction, and where to find help at the end.

Going cold turkey Valium?

When you stop Valium after a period of physical dependence, you go through a period of withdrawal. There are many ways to stop Valium but when you quit taking Valium cold turkey, you risk more severe and intense withdrawal symptoms. First, why does withdrawal occur at all?

Cold turkey off Valium

After you have developed a dependency to Valium (actually to the diazepam found in Valium), your body has become accustomed to having diazepam in the body. When you stop taking diazepam, chemical transmitters which have adapted to the presence of diazepam need time to adjust to the new conditions. This is why withdrawal symptoms occur. But when you chose to stop Valium cold turkey instead of slowly tapering from the medication, you increase the severity and the intensity of withdrawal.

Cold turkey Valium withdrawal

Valium withdrawal onset can occur as quickly as about 2 to 3 hours after the last dose of medication has worn off. Those who stop the use of Valium can expect to feel the effects of the withdrawal up 3 to 6 days after last intake of Valium. Symptoms can continue to occur for up to 6 weeks after stopping Valium. The reason withdrawal can take so long is because the nature of benzodiazepine withdrawal. The long half life of Valium and the way Valium is metabolizes in the body can trigger symptoms to actually resurface after a period of weeks or months. You may even have these symptoms long past a designated acute medical withdrawal. The most commonly reported symptom is rebound anxiety. Other symptoms of Valium withdrawal to expect include:

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  • abdominal pains
  • extreme anxiety
  • dysphoria (extreme dissatisfaction with life)
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • restlessness
  • tremors
  • tension
  • tingling of extremities
  • seizures
  • suicidal thoughts
  • sweating

The thing about stopping Valium cold turkey is that this method can be dangerous. Psycho-emotional withdrawal symptoms that occur can land you in the hospital or can do damage to your body. If you are withdrawing from Valium, you need to make sure you are a good candidate for sudden withdrawal to experience the best potential outcome. However, be advised that withdrawing from Valium cold turkey is not safe or medically recommended. Always seek medical supervision and a tapering schedule for safe withdrawal from Valium.

Quitting Valium cold turkey

Quitting Valium cold turkey is not recommended. You should always seek medical advice for a personalized tapering calendar. However, if you must quit Valium without a taper, those who are best suited to going cold turkey off Valium are those that have lower dependency rates. When you have a lower dependency rate on diazepam, your body doesn’t have to compensate as much for the drug’s lack of presence in the body. The healthier you are, the better as well. It is always better if there are no co-occurring medical problems going on that will compromise your withdrawal process. Because Valium helps to treat psychological upsets it is also important you have the necessary environment to deal with the symptoms that will come up during withdrawal. For those addicted to Valium, a genuine desire to stop taking the drug is helpful in order to inhibit relapse from occurring.

Stopping Valium cold turkey risks

As mentioned, stopping Valium cold turkey carries with it risks and dangers. Not only is withdrawal severe and some of the symptoms of withdrawal painful… some are so painful that they can damage your body. Seizures can put you in compromising positions. You may also suffer such anxiety and depression that can result in self harm or even temporary psychosis. Add the fact that you will experiencing being extremely sick will also add tension to your mental state.

Get off Valium cold turkey

In general, if you can help it, doctors recommended that you not stop taking Valium cold turkey. Instead, they recommend that you taper your doses of Valium over a period of time designated by a physician. While this is a slow process, a gradual taper allows your body the time to readjust and compensate for the effects of not having Valium in the body. If you can’t avoid a cold turkey then doctors recommend that you stop Valium while under supervision. This way you can be treated for the severity of your withdrawal symptoms without the fear of not being able to get to a hospital or receiving medical help too late. A solo cold turkey Valium withdrawal also dramatically decreases the changes of accidents. Detox, hospital, or clinic facilities you can get the psychological help you need to support your continual withdrawal of Valium.

Can I quit Valium cold turkey?

That there are a lot of risks when quitting Valium cold turkey. For this reason, it’s never recommended that you casually or systematically consider this type of withdrawal. Quitting Valium cold turkey can be dangerous to your body and there might be a better way to keep your body safe without the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Make sure that a medical professional supervises any Valium withdrawal process so they can help just in case something goes wrong.

Questions about cold turkey Valium

Do you still have questions about stopping Valium cold turkey? Please provide your questions in the comment section below. We would also like to hear from people who have tried stopping cold turkey. Your experiences are important to us and we respond to all comments personally and promptly.

Reference Sources:  NIH Screening for Drug Use
Daily Med: Valium
SAMHSA: Abrupt withdrawal

Photo credit: City of Woodburn Oregon

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44 Responses to “Cold turkey Valium
irene boyle
11:16 pm April 18th, 2014

I have been using 5mg of diazepam for about 2months for sleep and I want to come off them how can I do it without withdrawal symptoms/

7:14 am April 19th, 2014

Hello Irene. You can taper your doses down with the help and supervision of your prescribing doctor. This will minimize withdrawal symptoms…but may not eradicate them 100%.

Dylan
2:58 pm September 1st, 2014

Hi I have been on Valium for about 2-3 years around 30mg a day and I also suffer from post stroke epilepsy is it safe for me just to go to bed for a month and stop this evil drug as it is destroying my life and I regret the day I ever took the first tablet.
And the irony is it was given to improve my mood yet it has left me more stressed and depressed then I could ever of imagined.

8:59 am September 2nd, 2014

Hi Dylan. You should never stop taking Valium cold turkey, the risks and dangers are greater than you imagine. Get medical professional’s help. When kicking Valium, tapering is the safest way to go.

Rachel
3:33 am December 6th, 2014

Hi there. My mum was on diazapam 5mg for about 20 years & her doctor has recently taken her off them cold turkey she has been experiencing a burning sensation through her body i think mainly tummy area and also suicidal thoughts as she can’t cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Is it part of the symptoms this burning feeling or something else?

5:00 pm December 11th, 2014

Hello Rachel. It is never recommended to quit a powerful psychiatric medication, such as Diazepam cold turkey. Benzodiazepines are considered some of the most difficult drugs to withdraw from and the doctor should have known that. The list of possible symptoms and effects is long, and I’d suggest not leaving them untreated. So, please seek medical help.

breanna
6:15 pm January 16th, 2015

Ive been abusing valium and alcohol for a week now and I take other meds too. I took 212 valium since sat. Should I go to the hospital?

2:35 pm January 20th, 2015

Hi Breanna. I’d advise you to see a doctor and get help with stopping the Valium and alcohol consumption completely, and doing it in a manner that will be safe for you. So, yes-consult with a doctor first.

Linda
7:56 pm February 15th, 2015

I have gone cold turkey from diazapam and it has been about 6 weeks.. I have experienced many of your list of symptoms and still do, and also numbness, sweating, dehydration . My PA does not agree that I am having rebound problems, and is going to send me to a nearologist to find out why I have. numbness. I think it all has to do with diazapam withdrawal. she disagrees. She refuses to put me back on it, I continue to have symptoms I wanted to go back on it, stabilize my symptums, then slowly detox from ig. She refuses. I can’t go out and enjoy life, have continuously reneged on social outings, having people over, as I have numbness, tingling, sweats, visual swiminess, puffy face, eyes, in other words, feel really bad. Even my heart has been unhappy. I wonder if there may be a clinic I could go to who believes me and helps me with diazapam withdrawal. Linda

2:24 pm February 18th, 2015

Hello Linda. After 6 weeks of not using diazepam you have already detoxed. Even if the numbness is a withdrawal symptom, I wouldn’t advise you to go back on the medications again. It’ll be over soon. I’d recommend going along with your doctor’s suggestions and getting examined as she ordered. Even if the results come back negative, you’ll know it’s not neurological.

hilde
10:36 pm March 28th, 2015

I was told by my psychiatrist to stop cold turkey.It is 5 days now and I am in a real mess ready to call the emergency at times. I have not been able to contact my dr. but it seems to get worse by the hour. I will call the office on Monday not much else I can do. Please help me with some answer. I had been on very small dose for quite some time.
Thank you,
Hilde

11:38 am March 30th, 2015

Hi Hilde. Your doctor shouldn’t have suggested that and not give you any guidance on how to treat or soother withdrawal symptoms. You can ask a pharmacist at your local pharmacy for some OTCs that will help relieve some of the symptoms until you can get a hold of your doctor.

James
4:34 pm April 1st, 2015

Hello. I am 49 days clean from Diazapam today. I would have to say Kicking diazapam, has not been fun, at all. But I would say its doable. My wife and I are both Kicking it.. Here is what I noticed. It took me pretty close to 8 months, to taper from 30mgs to 20mgs. I found tapering to be so brutally painful, that I simply could not do it any longer. I found that after 3 weeks cold turkey, I felt, far better than I did while tapering. I would like to add, my wife has reported the same thing, as we have been recovering together.

Now, I would like to add, at the beginning of our detox, My wife and I went to a detox facility, for 7 days to try to avoid any seizures, or anything too nasty. We wanted to be as safe as possible. I feel it may have been a little overkill for us. I feel I probably could have handled it on my own.

I was also prescribed gabapentin, which is a anti seizure medicine. it, helped with our withdrawals tremendously. we found, that the it, pretty much cut the pain in half. The doctors did not know what to prescribe us, so I specifically asked for Gabapentin, I managed to taper off it last week, but I am not sure, I could have kicked diazapam so easily without it.

Next, I would like to mention, our decision to go cold turkey, because it was our decision. Meaning no doctor forced us to go cold turkey. I had read, so many warnings on line to not go cold turkey. For me, that was simply bad advice. I am 100% certain, that going cold turkey was the right decision. Hell, my depression, has mostly lifted. Im getting out of the house, and working. I had been tapering for months, and was just getting no where. It would have easily taken another 2 years for me to taper. I could not go another 2 years in that pain. There were times, while I was tapering, that I questioned, whether it was worth going on like this. So I sort of reached a place in our recovery, where it became Do or Die, for us.

I only mention all of this, because there is so much overwhelming cautions, on line, to never go cold turkey. Which was the reason, I didn’t try to go cold turkey several months ago. Now, I would say, going cold turkey off benzos for some folks, could be quit dangerous. But at the same time, I feel this is way blown out of proportions. I’m not saying to run out, and go cold turkey, without a doctors supervision. I am saying this, My wife and I did it, and we would do it again, if we had to. I even believe that the warnings to not do so, actually hindered our recovery.

Furthermore, I would like to add, that it is not uncommon, for your doctors, to cut us off cold turkey, and force us,to go through this without a tapper. It happens all the time. Its been happening for almost 50 years or better. So, if you are going cold turkey, you should realize that millions of people have successfully managed to go cold turkey, and they did not die, or have permanent damage. Hell my 81 year old grandmother did it 2 years ago. And she didn’t even know, any better. Although I know, there is a risk in going Cold Turkey. For some of us, that risk, is our only option. Anyway, I am wishing us all the best in our recovery.

smurf
3:57 am May 17th, 2015

I’ve been taking valium every day for the past 3 and half years and the dose I’ve been taking is 70mg to 100mg a day, I’m now been cold turkey for a week now and it’s a living nightmare, how long will the withdrawal take?

georgia
11:36 pm June 15th, 2015

I want to stop the valium – I have taken 5mg a night for acouple of years – can I stop cold turkey or should I taper

5:08 pm June 18th, 2015

Hi Georgia. Tapering is the recommended way to go, as cold turkey can cause abrupt and harsh withdrawal reactions. Get medical help, follow a slow and gradual tapering plan, join a support group and stay focused on your goal. It may take some time for your organism to heal itself from the long-term use of Valium, but it will. Good luck!

Mike
3:04 pm August 26th, 2015

Hi Ivana.
This is day 28 and one hour. I certainly can say that this is a very twisted process. Last Saturday after being encouraged by a few good days. I was hit with the mind twisting physical feeling and waking up with anxiety and a feeling of never getting better. It has been up an down since then. I am so grateful to have your post. This morning I read the one where the girl was at 6 weeks. She was still having symptoms. Linda 7:56 pm February 15th, 2015 You said that detox was complete at 6 weeks. A number to shoot for. The best medicine is to see you write. It will be over soon. I did jump the gun with CT but It was not working anymore. I have been 45 days since I jumped to 5 mg and then quit 17 days later. I know that I will be better soon I just am looking forward to the relief from withdrawal. This keeps me going on, not that I would ever take this substance again. Well tomorrow I will be at the first day of week 5. Any suggestions for me.

Regards God bless

11:33 am August 27th, 2015

Hi Mike. It’s nice to read about your determination and progress. I’m glad we have inspired you and encouraged you to continue in your quest to recover completely from Valium use. Keep in mind that every individual heals differently, and your symptoms may subside much earlier or later compared to other users. It all depends on how uch and how long you were taking the medication, as well as your general physical health state. But, keep up the good work! One thing’s for sure – it gets a lot better with time.

john
3:33 am August 31st, 2015

My primary care physician retired, and after 15 years following a prescription of 10 mg X3 daily, my new medical professional cut me off diazapam without ceremony or explanation, and offered no advice as to what symptoms I might experience—my God, I wasn’t expecting the horrible twisting, roiling gut pain.
Or the dry heaves and copious diareaha—I live in a rural area, and most of the docs belong to a ‘group’, all of whom refuse to work with chronic pain conditions. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t travel well and the nearest doc not associated with this area is at least two hours away.

I am 65 year old male with a progressive, painful neurological condition. I realize no one can really help, but I wanted to reach out to this forum in any case. Thanks for reading.

john
11:46 pm August 31st, 2015

I thought I had posted yesterday—-I have been ‘cold turkeyed’ from a regimen of 20-30- mg daily for 12 years. At 65, and suffering from a progressive, painful neurological disorder, I am also being titrated down over a 3 month period on my other pain meds, hydrocodone and morphine–also long term history. Meds are being replaced by meloxicam, buspirone, baclofen, nortriptyline, and some Clonipine to treat the acute withdrawal syndrome. I have lost 12 pounds in the last month and am experiencing roiling pain in the gut, anziety and confusion—-very remote location, not much help here—any ideas for natural remedies?

Baines
7:02 pm September 6th, 2015

I have been prescribed a very low dosage of Diazepam (2mg) to help me cope with the anxiety of tinnitus. However I feel no effect from taking 2mg. I do not think that my GP will prescribe any stronger as I am also taking fuloxitene anti depressants which also have little effect.

2:57 pm September 8th, 2015

Hi John. How have you been since your medication was discontinued? Did you go to a hospital to seek help?

Joy
12:08 pm September 28th, 2015

Hi- I`m 64 yrs old, and cold turkeyed from Valium 5 months ago. I`m mostly bedbound still and very frightened that I`ll not get well. Can you offer some hope please?

Thanks

Methinks
11:18 pm September 29th, 2015

At some point a person must simply stop. Where is this point. Is it 5mg per day or 2.5mg per day. For me the point was 2.5mg and I just stopped with mild withdrawals. No seizures. Does body weight have anything to to with it as I weight about 20 lbs.

Abby
10:19 am January 14th, 2016

I’ve been taking 5mg of Valium for 4 days every 4 hours for alcohol withdrawals. Am I and will I get addicted and if I am how can I get off of them ? Am I safe ?

Melanie
11:05 pm March 6th, 2016

I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 4 years ago and it was then that my PCP prescribed 5mg diazepam 3x daily. Up until a month ago I’ve had the same insurance. Once it changed my PCP was no longer covered under this ins and I could not see her and she would no longer prescribe my medication. I went to a new PCP and instead of continuing my medication, this Doctor referred me to a psychiatrist with no medication. Therefore, I am currently waiting to see this psychiatrist (which I don’t even understand why considering my previous PCP never recommended this treatment) as well as going thru SEVERE withdrawals from being taken off the medication cold turkey. First, I’m confused as to why any doctor would put a patient under this kind of stress (especially after cancer) when clearly this type of medication requires tapering. And second, how do I ease the side effects of this severe withdrawal? The last thing I need is to actually look like a lunatic when in reality I’m just going thru severe anxiety plus multiple symptoms of withdrawal! Very disappointed in the healthcare system right now. I trusted them to take care of me and was left to take care of myself until I can be “evaluated” which isn’t for another 2 weeks. By then who knows where I will be in this “detox” situation. Thank you for your time.

aaron
6:06 pm March 7th, 2016

Hi there. I’ve been addicted to Valium now for 5yrs.. I first started on 30mg daily to the point now where I am taking 2mg daily and some days none at all(when I can) all I want to do now is rid myself of this substance. How do you think my cold turkey would go and would it still be just as dangerous.. I have my own thoughts on this bit expert advice is always use full. Thanks in advance.. Aaron

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:50 pm March 8th, 2016

Hi, Aaron. I’ve read that experts claim that gradually lowering the dosages is a safer way to quit a drug. So, I suggest you seek help from a doctor or a pharmacist to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

Irv
5:31 pm March 8th, 2016

There are many articles on how to get off valium. At some point you must simply stop. My suggestion is to reduce to one 2mg per day for 3-6 weeks then just quit. At 2mg there is no danger of seizures, etc. For a 200 pound personm 2 mg is nothing. Do expect headaches and other mild physical symptoms, the rest is simply psychological dependence.

aaron
9:25 pm March 12th, 2016

Hi guys, thanks for the comments. I’m now on day 8 of cold turkey after getting myself to 2mg a day.. Feel better than I thought I would at this point.. Some pretty strong headaches and cramp like discomfort in abdominal area.. Mild discomfort in other areas such as joints.. General anxious feeling and panicky. Its all manageable at the moment.. I got a feeling there might be some more to come.. Any idea how long the physical pain might last guys? So can’t wait to be done with this stuff

Georgia
2:33 am March 16th, 2016

Even if you only take 5 Mgs a night will you go thru withdrawals?

Karen
10:58 am March 21st, 2016

I have been taking 12 mg of Valium over a day (5 in morning, 2 at midday and 5 at night) for the last 2.5 months. Can I cold turkey of do I need to do this gradually?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:30 pm March 21st, 2016

Hi Georgia. Every drug affects each person in a different way. So withdrawal may vary from person to person no matter the intake, time, etc.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:28 pm March 23rd, 2016

Hi Karen. I suggest you to quit Valium gradually, since it’s a safer way to do it. I suggest you speak with your doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

Lysette
11:19 pm March 25th, 2016

Hi
I have been clod turkeying off 4mgs of clonazepam twice a day for the last three moths. I did not realise that that was equivalent to 80mgs of valium. I have been fitting and unable to drive, hence not eating well for that time. This morning I took 10mgs of valium and the symptoms seem to be easing. Would you recommend I follow the Ashton Manual to withdraw from this medication. I have never had any psych illness and was given this amount as a muscle relaxant after a serious motor bike crash where I damaged my spine. I cannot keep going through this withdrawal as it has been impossible to function for 3 months. I think I would have been better following the manual for the last three months. I should be past the 3 month stage so what do you recommend as a dosage. Thank you.

Gerald
10:39 am April 6th, 2016

I am taking 120 Mg of diazepam a day . They set up my appointment for 9 months which means I will run out in a couple months. What should I do?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:37 pm April 8th, 2016

Hi Gerald. Have you talked with your doctor? Call him/her, and tell them that it’s an emergency. Also, you may consult with a pharmacist.

david
3:42 pm April 8th, 2016

I have just written and posted a long detailed account of my experience and t was a cry for help.
I have been told by your site its a bit spammy what can I do

4:17 pm April 8th, 2016

Hi David. I send you an email. You may write to me.

Gary
6:58 pm June 29th, 2016

Im on day 6 of cold turkey. Was taking 22.5 mg of temazapam and 20 mg of diazepam. Plus my antidepressant clod as well.
I shake, hot then cold then got then cold……..cant really think, cant sleep.

Tim
9:06 am July 3rd, 2016

My partner stopped valium cold turkey 6 days ago. She was taking up to 30mgs per day for around 3 months. She started having severe withdrawal symptoms on day 5. If she is agreeable, should she go back on them and then start tapering off or would that be dangerous make things even worse?

Malvina
5:23 pm July 6th, 2016

I went cold turkey off of 10 mg. of diazepam every day or other day for years..It has been over 2 weeks..I am feeling quite stressed but my biggest fear now is seizures as i just read about them. What are my statistical chances of having a seizure after this amount of time and the dosage I have been taking?

Tara
6:40 pm July 21st, 2016

There are so many different opinions about tapering. Personally, I am taking 2mg twice a day of diazepam. I have been tapering for 2 years from 1mg of Clonazepam 3 times a day. Now, I feel like any slight reduction (after 5 days) sends me over the edge. I feel like going CT, ripping the band aid off so to speak. These drugs are lethal. The Doctors should tell you that they will destroy your life and any short term relief is not worth what happens to you in the end. I have been reading a a lot about things that help with withdraw and sleep. Valerian herb capsules, Lavender essential oil, warm baths, magnesium supplements, eating well, sweating (exercise increases natural endorphins in the brain) and NO GRAINS in your diet. Read “Grain Brain” book. Jesus is our healer and I am praying for all of you. We are loved more than we can imagine, and perhaps if I understood this love better, I would not have trusted a Doctor who left me worse off. It is HEARTBREAKING. Take care of yourself, believe in the Lord Jesus and all the good He has for you! These drugs are NEVER good.

Sheena
9:09 pm October 6th, 2016

Hi I’ve been on Diazepam for years, sometimes every day, sometimes manage a couple days without, – dose usually 2mg – 5mg, never more than 5mg twice a day. Am also on Venlafaxine and Mirtazapine antideps, high dose, for 5 years, and can’t get off any of them. Even a very slight reduction makes me freak out, and not sleep. Had no Diaz yesterday or today, and feel really bad.
Just don’t know where to start, apart from ending up in Psych ward again.

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