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Valium Withdrawal

Withdrawal Requires Help

As a benzodiazepine, Valium is a strong, psychoactive drug. In fact, Valium’s high addictive potential can led not only to physical dependence, but also psychological dependence. Over time, you may notice you are building a high drug tolerance level. So, when you stop using Valium or even when you lower down doses, you can expect to experience symptoms of Valium withdrawal.

Managing withdrawal requires the application of specific tapering techniques. But, what are some common Valium withdrawal symptoms? How can they be treated? We review in the article below. At the end, we invite you to join ou open discussion in the comments section at the end of the page. Please, share your experience with us. We’ll try to respond to all real-life questions personally and promptly.

Why Does Withdrawal Occur?

Valium – main ingredient diazepam – acts directly on the central nervous system enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyris acid) in the brain. It actually changes the function of the brain, and the system adopts the presence of Valium after only several weeks of daily use.

Over time, the body develops both a physical tolerance to Valium and physical dependence. In this way, you become reliant on Valium to function regularly. As a result, when you decrease or stop taking your regular doses, you will go through Valium withdrawal. This is the body’s way of regaining homeostasis. Withdrawal is actually the manifestation of symptoms the Valium normally depresses/surpresses.

Withdrawal symptoms are the main reason why people feel forced to continue taking Valium, even though they do not want to. Often, taking Valium may seem like the only to avoid the pain and discomfort when the body is going through this period of re-stabilization.

When Does Withdrawal Start?

Valium withdrawal symptoms usually occur a few hours after the last dose effects have worn off. The severity, intensity, and duration of symptoms will depend on many individual factors, such as:

  • age
  • body weight
  • dosage
  • drug metabolism
  • general health
  • mode of administration
  • past history of drug abuse

In reality, symptoms can last for few weeks. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms can reoccur after several weeks after harsh symptoms have ended. These symptoms are known as Post- Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Prolonged withdrawal syndromes include a set of persistent discomforting symptoms that occur after withdrawal from Valium has ended.

Main Valium Withdrawal Symptoms

Being dependent on Valium means you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you decrease the daily drug dose or quit taking it at all. This happens because the body is trying to maintain homeostasis, since it has got used Valium as normal. Below is a list of the most common symptoms reported during Valium withdrawal:

  • abnormal pains
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • delirium
  • dysphoria
  • headache
  • hallucinations
  • increased blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • muscle pain
  • panic attacks
  • paranoid psychosis
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • sweating
  • tension
  • tingling of extremities
  • tremors
  • vomiting

Overall Duration

Generally, people need more time to withdraw from Valium than from other prescription drugs. Acute Valium withdrawal lasts from 3-6 days. However, some of the symptoms may reoccur even several weeks after initial symptoms have worn off.  Most people experience withdrawal symptoms at different levels of severity for several weeks after the last dose in “rebound” cycles. Usually, these withdrawal symptoms come and go. This is why it’s helpful to seek medical guidance during the process: to know what to expect.

Medications

Paradoxically, Valium is commonly used as a replacement medication during people’s withdrawal from other benzodiazepines. It is helpful to those who have developed physical dependence on other benzodiazepine drugs. In these cases, a physician creates a tapering plan that will allow the person to slowly and safely stop the use of his/her benzodiazepine. Eventually, when the dosage reaches a certain level, the medicine is discontinued altogether, and the person has avoided facing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Similarly, doctors usually use a tapering strategy for those who experience Valium dependence. This is considered to be the most effective strategy when it comes to easing Valium withdrawal symptoms. However, medications can also be applied during the acute phase of withdrawal.

Some of the medication aids used during Valium detox are:

  1. Anticonvulsant medications for preventing seizures. Some anticonvulsants have been proven to be also useful in addressing the overall symptoms experienced during Valium withdrawal.
  2. Melatonin is a hormone given to people in detox from Valium with the intent of helping people easily bear feeling of anxiety and insomnia.
  3. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are effective in rebound anxiety.
  4. Muscle relaxants such as Gablofen to reduce drug cravings.

Valium Withdrawal Tips

Withdrawal from Valium could be very harsh and severe. The first step you can take is to ask for advice from medical professionals who are knowledgable about benzodiazepine withdrawal. You can also seek advice from your pharmacist about protocols for diazepam withdrawal as well as look into over-the-counter prescriptions drugs to ease symptoms of Valium withdrawal. Also, it’s highly recommended that you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Here are some basic tips to ease Valium withdrawal:

FIRST TIP: Drink plenty of herbal teas and consider nutritional supplements to help balance out fluctuations in mood and concentration. A variety of herbal teas have proven to be excellent in lessening some of withdrawal symptoms, while supplements can help maintain body weight. Still, note that before starting any supplement regime, you should consult with your physician and/ or pharmacist.

SECOND TIP: Practice mind and body therapies. Meditation, breathing, and gentle exercises can help you focus on your goals. Further, massages and hot baths are helpful for easing body and muscle pain.

THIRD TIP: Build a stable network of support. Share your experience with friends and family. This can help you to get all support that you need for overcoming Valium dependence and its withdrawal. Also, talk with spiritual, religious, or community leader for emotional guidance and support.

Questions?

If you still have questions and concerns regarding the stages of Valium addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to ask us in the comment section at the end or via contact us page. All your comments are welcomed and appreciated. We try to respond to all real-life comments as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: SHAMSA: Abrupt Withdrawal from Pain Medications — Information and Caution
NIH: Diazepam withdrawal syndrome: its prolonged and changing nature
NIH: Clinical management of benzodiazepine dependence
NHTSA: Diazepam

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