Monday March 30th 2015

How to stop taking Valium

How to stop taking Valium

Interested in quitting Valium (diazepam)?

Seek medical help. For one, it’s not always easy to quit taking this medication. Developing tolerance to Valium as well as physical dependence is expected when you take diazepam daily for more than a week.  Plus, it’s hard to quit without experiencing side effects even when you aren’t addicted to Valium. Plus, some diazepam withdrawal symptoms include delirium, seizures, and death. Finally, some medications may help you during Valium withdrawal.

Learn more about Valium dependence, addiction, and how to stop taking Valium below. Then, ask you questions about stopping Valium at the end.

Can I just stop taking Valium?

Not easily. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t abruptly stop Valium. Valium causes strong withdrawal symptoms, which make it hard to quit. It’s easy to go back to taking Valium when it makes you feel better! And because Valium duration of action is so short (4-6 hours), regular dosing is very tempting. Plus, some Valium withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and can cause serious injury. Additionally, if you are addicted to Valium, just stopping Valium probably won’t be successful – you need to address the underlying issues first. For these reasons, many people will find it difficult to quit taking Valium..

What happens when you stop taking Valium?

How does Valium work in the body? Your body becomes used to the effect of the main ingredient in Valium – diazepam – on your brain over time. When you stop taking Valium, your body has to re-adjust. This period of adjustment is what causes physical withdrawal symptoms, and is the time period which required monitoring by medical professionals.

Side effects stop taking Valium

It only takes a few weeks to develop a Valium addiction. Withdrawal effects can include a number of side effects, such as:

  • anxiety
  • distortions in perception (smell, taste, sight, etc.)
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • memory loss
  • numbness or tingling
  • personality changes
  • seizures

Withdrawal effects may be worse if you’ve taken Valium for the long-term management of anxiety.

Stop taking Valium suddenly

It’s not a good idea to quit Valium suddenly. Doctors always recommend that you gradually reduce your Valium dose over a period of weeks to help avoid dangerous or bothersome withdrawal effects. Plus, stopping Valium suddenly can easily result in a relapse due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, especially after long-term use.

Stop taking Valium cold turkey

You may be able to quit Valium cold turkey if you’ve only used it for a very short time. However, if you’ve taken Valium for more than a few weeks and developed a dependence, quitting cold-turkey is actually dangerous due to the severity of potential withdrawal effects. Always ask your doctor for guidance if you’re planning to quit taking any medication.

How do I stop taking Valium?

The best way to stop taking Valium is by gradually reducing your dose over weeks or months. In general, you should not taper any kind of benzodiazepine more rapidly than by 10% every three to five days, or 25% per week. Additionally, you should be evaluated daily the first week or as your condition condition indicates. Nonetheless, you must get an appropriate dosing schedule for stopping Valium by talking to your doctor.

How to stop taking Valium safely

The safest way to stop taking Valium is by consulting a doctor and following his or her instructions. You may also need to speak to a counselor or mental health professional to cope with an addiction, if your psychological dependence is keeping you from quitting.

How to stop taking Valium questions

Do you still have questions about how to stop Valium? Please leave them here. We’ll be happy to try to answer you ASAP or refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: Pub Med: Detoxification from benzodiazepines: schedules and strategies
PubMed: 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances

ToxNet: Diazepam
Medline Plus: Diazepam
PubMed: Addiction to diazepam (Valium)

Photo credit: Skley

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34 Responses to “How to stop taking Valium
3:31 pm November 17th, 2012

I take 10 mg of valium daily. 1/2 around 4pm and the other 1/2 at bedtime. On difficult days, I take another 1/2.

I HAVE to be without my valium on Jauary 8, 2013 for 72 hours.
Today is 11/17 so I actually have 51 days until that date.

How can I taper down by usage so that by January 8, 2013 I will be safe to be without them for 72 hours?

I’m very scared of withdrawal syptoms and want to know the safest and best way to taper and also how low my dosage needs to be to safely be without them for 72 hours in 51 days.

Please advise. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

12:31 pm November 19th, 2012

Hi Ginger. Thanks for getting in touch with us. This is a question for your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist. You must get an appropriate dosing schedule for stopping Valium by talking to your doctor and set up a plan. Good for you for planning early! Please let us know how it goes.

reena dosaj
11:13 pm December 13th, 2012

I have tried to get off Valium most of my life on only 2mg got addicted since I was 23 for anxiety in 1979 since then doctors have tried to get me off Valium but each time was in bed for 1 year with horrendous withdrawal symptons these include the sky looked so low, feeling dizzy, losing my balance, vomiting, diahorrea, the ground moving the body went into spasms, got terrible insomnia could not sleep at all
everytime I tried to withdraw but doctors had to put me on double doses for my body to get back to normal now I am 58 still on the ame dose 2mg every night. Do not come of this dangerous medication suddenly or do not stop at once the withdrawals are horrendous.

B Lynn
7:03 am December 15th, 2012

I developed a stress-related severe muscle spasm in my neck, with intense pain. the Dr. gave me a muscle relaxant and prescribed valium alongside tylenol and ibuprofen, and heat and ice. He told me it would take about a week for the muscle to relax and stop causing severe pain. I took the meds for 5 days straight and on the 6th day the muscle relaxed significantly and I stopped taking all the meds. My neck is still a little sore but much better, but I feel depressed and anxious. Can this be due to valium withdrawal after such a short time?

pierre bussiere
7:08 pm February 3rd, 2013

ive been off diazapam for 14 days now ..not one pill.. was on clonazapam for 7 years before..tapered off to fast went into dt,s…not good…doctor at icu hospital had me on 30 nil diazapam…tapered off slowly .5 off every 3 weeks.. at 4 mil a day i was having the same withdraws symtoms …so i stopped completly taking diazapam…withdrawals are pretty severe.. but have not touched any pills for 14 days now.. how long will withdrawal stay.. i realy dont not taking any anymore. was just wondering how lond it would stay with me. ty ps..please reply..Pierre Bussiere

pierre bussiere
7:26 pm February 3rd, 2013

GINGER or anybody else>> tapper off only .5 mil every 3 to 4 weeks..cause to fast will give you evil withdrawals..there not funny at all been off thease diazapam now for 14 days and still withdrawing from them.. i went off completly at 4 mil a day.. not suggested tho….but miself i have a high tolarance for pain… but it,s realy hard… cannot explain it … but i dont feel so great… but faith will get me through , im tapper off only .5 mil every 3 to 4 weeks..i know its a long time.. but worth it. pierre.

Karen Hadder
3:06 pm April 11th, 2013

I was taking 20mg morn. and nite a year ago and now am @ 6 mg each time.I have fibromyalgia and still have stress inmy life(family). Should I taper down more now or wait til these issues get resolved?

Brenda Cortright
12:12 am April 14th, 2013

My dr had me on 10mg. of valium 4x per day. I wanted off and have been on it for a long time. In the last month I tapered down to 3, then 2. then 1 and finally 1/2 of a tablet (5mg.) so the valium level should be very low. Will I be ok? It hit the controlled substance list and every doctor is afraid of DHEC. I’m sick of being treated like a junkie. I do have an extra heart beat but cannot take a beta block which is how I got stuck on this medicine in the first place. I am also on Zoloft.

8:33 am April 15th, 2013

Hi Karen and Brenda. Please check with your prescribing doctor or a local pharmacist for a tapering calendar. You should always taper from Valium under medical supervision.

12:05 pm June 4th, 2013

Hello there a couple months ago i was placed on Valium for anxiety after the first 2 weeks or so i stopped taking it because i didn’t want to get addicted.After a while my symptoms came back and were worse so i started taking them again and stopped. Is this a bad practice and what are the risks involved in doing this? because my symptoms seems to be worse now.

1:01 pm June 5th, 2013

Hi Robinar. Hmmm. Valium should only be prescribed for short term management of anxiety. It’s not an ideal long term solution. Talk with your prescribing doctor and seek alternative treatments…or take as prescribed. Stopping and starting is certainly not helping. Seek a consultation with a pharmacist, as well, to learn more about the pharmacological effects of stopping and starting.

Loch Burns
1:49 pm June 29th, 2013

I have been taking diazepam for 3 yrs now. 10mg @8am & 10mg @5pm
I tried 3 yrs ago and Grand Mall Seizures (4). How do I get off of them. I’m taking anti seizure med now. Pls help.

2:01 pm July 1st, 2013

Hello Loch. You would probably benefit from seeking consultation with your prescribing doctor. Ask for a tapering schedule that will be monitored and supervised weekly.

Marty Summerour
4:53 am August 20th, 2013

I didn’t know. I stopped diazapam cold turkey without tapering. Can I go back on and then take off again slowly? Is there anything I can do? I
have tinnitis.. Is there a solution for me? I am very miserable. Is there anyway to cut down on these symptoms?

I was only taking 5 mg at bedtime?


5:04 am August 20th, 2013

Hi Marty. You’ll have to consult with your prescribing doctor about whether to initiate diazepam dosing, or not.

10:24 am November 8th, 2013

5 months ago I was diagnosed with panic disorder treated only with CBT (still continuing) as I could not tolerate antidepressants. I also developed during the panic attack atrial fibrillation – one episode only and I am on anticoagulant. I was put on temazepam 5-10 mg nightly and these stopped working 4 weeks ago. My GP changed the medication to diazepam 5 mg at night 5 weeks ago.
I have started reducing the dose to 3.75 mg 3 weeks ago and. have insomnia plus night sweats. My anxiety is not too bad at the moment. How should I proceed with the withdrawal.

2:43 pm November 13th, 2013

Hello Ewa. A tapering schedule, especially for benzodiazepines like diazepam, require medical supervision. I’d suggest you return to your prescribing physician or consult with a pharmacist on how to proceed. Best of luck! Sounds like you’re coping well.

8:42 pm December 27th, 2013

I have given up any idea of ever giving up valium. I’ve been on 2mg for about two years, but before that I was taking up to 10mg for about twenty years. I began using it as a muscle relaxant in my early running days, but it did what valium does. In the past I’ve tried stopping abruptly and been okay for a few days, but recently I ran out and the very same night I was in a bad way. I took some left-over co-dydramol and some tramadol to get through the night. Determined to stop after this experience, I broke my tablets into quarters, and cut down to 1.5mg. Within a few days I could no longer function, and I’m back on my 2mg. If I could live in some sort of paradise, with zero reponsibilities, perhaps I could slowly cut down, but living in the real world I have no hope. I will need some sort of substitute, but in all my reading I have come across none. Any help out there?

Pam Korman
9:53 am December 29th, 2013

I have been taking 2.5 mg 3 times daily for 1.5 months. I want to stop
For the first time reducing dose, what do you recommend I reduce to?
I see my doctor on Jan 9 and want to have an idea of a plan before I see her

Thank you

1:05 am March 2nd, 2014

I have a friend who has told me that he has been taking about 30 tabs on weekend with drink for about 13 years, is having effect on him, depressed, he is wanting to stop, but is not wanting to see a doctor but say he is just going to stop, go cold turkey! Is this possible for him to do?

11:21 am March 3rd, 2014

Hi Lynn. It’s always recommended that you taper off Valium over the course of several weeks with the help of a doctor. Cold turkey withdrawal from Valium can cause rebound symptoms of extreme anxiety, insomnia, or depression. More here:

Ron Sutton
6:54 pm March 3rd, 2014

I have taken valium periodically for 8 years. It began with malaria contracted in Mali , Africa and a subsequent reaction to the malaria medication Lariam. The reaction to Lariam left me with severe insomnia which resulted in up to 7 days with some nights totally sleepless and others with about 1 or 2 hours of restless sleep. I sometimes experience micro sleep where my brain evidently shuts down for seconds to do repairs or restoration. It is like being momentarily knocked out. Periods when I stop valium are living hell and I spend night after night reading or listening to music, the Bible or watching movies. Keep taking it so I can function or is that too dangerous? better to bite the bullet and withdraw now? I am 64 years old. Prior to malaria and Lariam I led a highly productive life- missionary work, starting churches, schools, orphanages, conducting crusades, running drug rehab programs, etc. Now it is a battle to accomplish much at all.

2:10 am April 18th, 2014

Do I need to taper down 5mg of valium after eight days of use

8:16 pm May 25th, 2014

Ive been on valium for 2 weeks. 20mg a day and I dont see my doc for 10 more days and I want off from this stuff. Is it early enough to start decreasing it myself maybe 50% down to 10mg a day

7:51 am May 27th, 2014

Hi Al. We’re not medical experts and cannot advise on a Valium taper. Instead, speak with your physician or check out the Ashton Manual for withdrawal from benzodiazepines here:

7:07 am September 9th, 2014

I took valium 5 mg for two days because I had severe migrane because of anxiety. Today is the third day and I want to stop today because I hav a major exam in two days. Will I have any problems? I don’t want to be forgetful in the exams.

10:36 pm November 15th, 2014

My parnter has been on Valium for long period off time, the doctors got him taking from 10 a day then reducing down so now he’s on 3 day and they would like him to stop at 3 with out completing down to 2 and then 1 , won’t do you think .

12:50 pm November 19th, 2014

Please check your data on Valium “duration of action”. Valium has the longest half-life and the least likelihood of making one want to “pop a pill” after a quick letdown. That is why it is recommended for tapering off benzodiazepines. The information on Dr. Ashton’s website is invaluable! My doctor is the most respected psychiatrist in this area and he never heard of Dr. Ashton. He prescribes benzodiazepines to anyone who expresses even slight anxiety and seems totally unconcerned about addiction. I believe that in this situation one has to be very well informed and be their own health advocate, since doctors seem to be in complete denial or ignorance about the dangers. It does not help that people who get off benzodiazepines may no longer need regular appointments. So of course you need a doctor but do your homework too!

10:40 pm January 9th, 2015

Hi there. After a family trauma I very stupidly took (apparently) an average of 245mg of Valium per day for 4 days. I’m desperate to taper this down to nothing over a few weeks, and still can’t quite believe how much I took!

I have pills enough to taper say avPAyadnER 60mg down to 5mg over 6 weeks, but is this realistic?

I should also point out that I am still suffering from moderate to severe anxiety despite the diazepam.

Please, please help!

8:13 pm January 12th, 2015

I wonder if anyone can advise. My daughter has been suffering from extreme anxiety so much to the point that she looked like she was taking a fit. Doctor prescribed short term 2 mg dizapam. However she has been getting some from a friend and when really anxious has been taking 5mg. when needed. Maybe one every few days. She is also on Sertraline 50 mg daily. She has had good days when she has not been anxious but now it has returned and she has been really anxious for about the past week. I am past myself and do not know what to do. i have advised her to speak to her doctor who does not know about her extra use of diazapam. Can anyone advise the best course of action. She is doing all the right things, talking therapy, exercise, distraction but still feels really anxious.

1:28 pm January 16th, 2015

Hello Jean. I’d say it’s best to talk to her doctor. If the medication she’s taking isn’t helping her manage the condition, she may need a different medication or a dose adjustment.

9:28 pm January 19th, 2015

I have been on Valium for 12 years. It was prescribed because I have pulmonary fibrosis and when I got away from home and experienced shortness of breath I would start getting scared which would feed on itself until I was in a full blown panic attack. Family Doctor prescribed 10mg 4x a day. I never abused it and the most I ever took was 30mg in a day. Over the years I lowered my dose on my own to 15mg a day and stayed until 4 months ago. I am down to 2mg now for 3 nights and feeling pretty rough. I have a few 2mg pills left. I can probably get more somewhere but no advice. The only advice I got was from a NP who said “We get people off Valium in a week at the Hospital.” Well, I’m not in the hospital. How do I get off the 2mg? Is that to much to c/t? Thanks

5:33 pm January 22nd, 2015

it is very difficult to stop Benzodizepines at least for me. I started with .25 mg Alprazolam in2001 and gradually increased to 1mg daily . After ten years I started taking 10 mg Dizepam daily instead of Alprazolam. Reduced the dose every fortnight and after ten month stopped taking it . Was absolutely ok for three months but later on developed withdrawl symptoms like restless leg and sever palpitation and had to continue with Dizepam initially with 2mg daily and then with 1 mg daily. I tried again to stop it but failed. Now I can not live without it. Can somebody help me I am otherwise quite healthy.

5:50 am February 18th, 2015

I’ve been taking 10 mgs of diazepam for several years. My new doctor doesn’t want to write a prescription for me and wants me to quit the drug. He put me on Trazadone. I take 5 mgs of diazepam each night plus 1 tablet of Trazadone. How long should I take the 5mgs with the Trazadone each night before I go to 2 mgs of diazepam and 1 Trazadone? Then when can I completely stop the diazepam?

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