Cold turkey Valium

Doctors recommend tapering off Valium rather than a cold turkey Valium withdrawal. Learn why here. And inform yourself on best practices in getting off Valium.

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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 (diazepam) 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:

  • 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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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