Thursday October 30th 2014

Tolerance to Valium

Does Valium (diazepam) not work for you anymore?

It is possible that you’ve developed a tolerance to Valium prescription pills. But how does Valium affect the brain and when does tolerance to Valium become Valium addiction? In this article, we’ll explore Valium tolerance, as well as its relationship to Valium dependence and addiction. We invite your questions about tolerance and Valium at the end.

Developing tolerance to Valium

Taking Valium in high doses or for extended periods of time can easily cause you to develop a tolerance to Valium. Clinically, any kind of drug tolerance means that the drug does not therapeutically work as well as it used to and that you need to take consecutively higher doses to achieve initial effect.

Can Valium be addictive?  Yes. You’ll develop a tolerance more quickly if you aren’t taking Valium in the dosage or manner it was prescribed. However, tolerance to Valium doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted to Valium.  But if you’re using Valium to get high, then diazepam tolerance, withdrawal and addiction become more complicated.

Valium tolerance symptoms

Valium tolerance has two main symptoms:

1. You’ll need to keep taking higher doses of Valium to get the same effects.

2. Valium will stop working to control symptoms over time if you don’t increase your dosage.

Often, tolerance to Valium occurs at the same time as physical dependence on diazepam, which can make it difficult to stop taking Valium. When you are physically dependent on Valium, lower doses or abrupt disruption in dosing results in withdrawal symptoms. Remember that just because you’re experiencing these Valium tolerance symptoms doesn’t mean you’re addicted to Valium. While an addiction is characterized by psychological dependence (you NEED Valium to FEEL normal), tolerance simply means your body is used to the medication, so it isn’t responding as well.

Valium tolerance: How long?

Valium tolerance can develop very quickly. In fact, tolerance to Valium can occur within a week if you’re taking Valium frequently – and withdrawal symptoms can appear just as quickly if you suddenly stop taking it. This is especially true if you are taking high doses of Valium. Doctors try to limit Valium treatment to 4 weeks or less for these reasons.

High tolerance to Valium

Valium prescriptions start at just .2 mg, but go as high as 5 or 10 mg. 10 mg is on the high end of what a doctor will prescribe if you have been prescribed Valium.

How to lower tolerance to Valium

Lowering your Valium dosage is the only effective way to lower your tolerance to this drug. This may leave you without the desired therapeutic effects for some time as your tolerance slowly decreases. There might be other drugs which can help more effectively long-term, so speak to your doctor if you find your Valium tolerance has gotten too high for the normal therapeutic dose of the medication.

Building up tolerance to Valium questions

Do you still have questions about Valium tolerance? Please share your questions and experiences with Valium in the comments below.

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

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13 Responses to “Tolerance to Valium
sandra
11:06 am September 9th, 2013

I have been on diazepam at 2mg twice a day for 8 months, I am finding it is not helping my anxiety anymore. it is also a very difficult med to try to come off. I have tried & failed but decided to try again but cut down at a smaller dose & leave it 4 weeks before the next drop in dose.

11:07 am September 13th, 2013

Hi Sandra. Thanks for sharing about your dosing regimen. Good luck in the taper and please let us know how it goes!

just me
5:12 am December 28th, 2013

Today makes day 6 clean for me. I’ve been taking valium for years, (seriously, I couldn’t say how long precisely just know it’s been too long). Anyway, I stopped thanks to a nasty virus that hit me over last weekend. And I realized I don’t want to take it anymore. I hope I’m strong enough to handle it. ..
I have a few questions, if anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated.
I have an odd metallic taste in my mouth. Hoping it’s residual from the virus. But wondering if it’s related to withdraw symptoms.
And I am trying to breathe through the feelings of impending doom and sweaty palms … I am hopeful to actually sleep on my own and fingers crossed that comes SOON
just wondering how long to expect this to continue.
Thanks for the help.
And Sandra. Best of luck! Any advice?

11:40 am December 31st, 2013

Hello Just Me. Valium is one of the more difficult benzodiazepines to withdraw from. Have you sought a professional medical opinion from your prescribing doctor? Tapering is preferred to cold turkey withdrawal, which can manifest some severe symptoms.

Dustin
6:02 am February 21st, 2014

I feel for you guys, never withdrawn from a benzo myself, but I HAVE tapered off of phenibut (which affects GABA B instead of GABA A). I took Xanax XR (extended release once-daily Xanax) 1mg daily for more than a month once (prescribed) and oddly never had withdrawals when I stopped it. Anyways, the key is tapering extremely slow. Disregard whatever a doctor tells you about tapering if they give you that drop by half for a week and then stop crap, they’ve never gotten off it themselves. The key is to taper so slow, by such small amounts, that it’s bearable. Most people just don’t know how to taper. They try to do it cold turkey (which is very dangerous with benzos) or half their tablet because it’s all you can do with a scored tablet. Or at best cut it roughly into quarters. Really you need to get a mg scale. A scale that can read as low as possible. Weigh the total weight of the tablet whole (it’s more than 10 mg btw, 10 mg is just the amount of the benzo, the tablet weighs more) and then break it up or crush it and weigh out the amount you wanna take. I’d reduce by AT MOST 10 percent at a time. If it were me I’d do 5 percent at a time. At this amount the side effects of withdrawal should be tolerable. You can always take L-theanine and GABA w/b6 vitamin, and valerian root to help. Even better though is kava kava. Everyone always goes with extracts and capsules, but honestly you should really go with an instant kava or full on kava “tea” from the root. They don’t taste so good, but they are HIGHLY effective and don’t have a tolerance that builds. In fact, they are reverse tolerance, which means you have to take it 2-3 times to really start getting an effect and it gets better from there for a while and then remains stable. I swear to you though, it’s a lifesaver. The kavalactones (the active ingredients in kava) don’t remain active for long when taken from the root. So extracts and capsules just don’t cut it unless you do it yourself because by the time the seller extracts it ships it, it’s put on the shelves and you finally come around weeks to months down the road, it’s barely active anymore…if at all. I wouldn’t mess around with stuff on amazon or anywhere except nakamalathome.com, bulakavahouse.com or kavabyrex.com. Paradisekava.com is good too, but really a bit overpriced. There’s other good places out there to be sure, but these places are proven and reliable. They’re not all owned by the same people and I’m in no way affiliated with them. Anyways, taper by a low (amount) and slow. take supplements and kava for the symptoms and you’ll be okay. Everyone can do it.

Kay
5:44 pm April 9th, 2014

Dentist prescribed 10 mg for sedation dentistry. It did not help at all. The next app’t he prescribed 15 mg. it knocked me out. The 15 mg dose today relaxed me but didn’t knock me out. The time frame is over about 3 to 4 months. Is this an acceptable reaction to the drug?

1:21 pm April 10th, 2014

Hi Kay. You may want to check in with a pharmacist about dosing and typical reactions people have; they would have more experience and know more about the norms.

Lizzie
6:33 pm April 19th, 2014

I am taking diazepam as an anti-spasmodic, as I have delayed union in a proximal humeral fracture. I’m on 5mg once a day and am finding it effective in helping me push my physiotherapy (as previously the muscle spasms were hindering my progress). However it’s been about a week now and I’m finding that the dose will only last about an hour and that is only time enough to do my physio once really. To begin with it lasted the whole day but now it doesn’t. Is it normal for it’s effectiveness to drop so quickly and if so what should I do? I’m not particularly keen to take more as I don’t want to become addicted.

10:04 am April 23rd, 2014

Hello Lizzie. IT sounds as if you are describing the phenomenon of “tolerance” which occurs at individual levels when your body adapts to the presence of a drug in the system. Chart your progress and the duration of action over time on a calendar and take this to your prescribing doctor, who can recommend a course of action for you. You can also consult with a pharmacist to get some more insight into what’s going on and what can help.

Michael
9:08 am June 19th, 2014

I’m prescribed 56 (2 boxes) of 10mg Diazepam on a monthly basis (I have a collection of about 12 boxes now as I don’t use them). At first, an initial dose of 10 – 30mg was sufficient to achieve a calming state by where anxiety and panic was at bay and I could truly achieve peace (my agoraphobia and panic disorder was very serious and very real). Nearly 2 years on, I need to use at least 160mg (16 + pills) to reach any mental and physical effect of this drug. Whilst I’m not dependant on it, my body has designed such a massive tolerance towards it I wonder why I’m still prescribed it, and the effects of taking such a huge dose can be absolutely crippling for your mood in the few days afterwards whilst the half life of the drug is extinguished. I take 300mg of Sertraline and 150mg of Bupropion daily for 2 years now, which has helped improve my quality of life significantly.

Please be careful with Benzodiazepines, innocent looking little things at first, but can cause you a heap of problems if used for longer periods of time.

Tina
9:55 am July 10th, 2014

I was prescribed 4mg Vallium as an emergency med for depression and anxiety. I was taking 4mg about twice a week. Wasn’t working anymore so I just stopped taking it. Is it at all possible on that small dose to be having withdrawal symptoms? I get chronic anxiety, my hands shake, headaches, despondent etc

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:17 am July 10th, 2014

Hi Tina. It’s hard to tell since every organism is different. The dose you were taking is low, but the duration of time you were taking Valium also influences whether or not your body becomes dependent on it. You can call your doctor and see what he says. It could be withdrawal symptoms, or it’s possible they are the symptoms of some other condition.

Bill
3:44 am August 11th, 2014

I take diazepam to help me sleep, but I don’t want to become addicted and so I only take it once a week to try and get a really good sleep. I started out with 5mg and it worked like a charm, but now I am taking 80mg in one go and it isn’t really helping me sleep. I feel great and relaxed, but don’t sleep particularly well. Why has my tolerance gone up so rapidly and to such a high level when I take it sporadically? Also is there any danger of addiction through taking diazepam once a week?

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