Tolerance to Valium

Valium users develop a tolerance to Valium within a week of regular or frequent use. Learn more about developing a tolerance to Valium and the connection between tolerance, physical dependence and addiction here.

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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.

Q: Can Valium be addictive

A: 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 tolerance, Valium (diazepam) 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)
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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  1. Hi
    I am finding I am not getting the same therapeutic benefits from 5mg Valium as I used to. It used to help massively with my anxiety. I have been taking it on an off for a yr, but only as and when I need it: not normally more than once/twice a week.
    I don’t miss It when I’m not on it so don’t think I’m addivted just my tolerance is effected. Is there a way to lower my tolerance to it? So I can get the same benefits as before For example take a break from it? Thanks.

    1. Hi Holly. It seems to me that you’ve build up your tolerance to Valium, and the medication doesn’t work as before. First of all, I suggest that you consult with your doctor, s/he may recommend higher dosage. But if you like to lower your tolerance, consider planing a tapering schedule with the help of your doctor. Moreover, you may look into the Ashton Manual, a manual that explains benzo dependence, withdrawal, and provides tapering schedules:

  2. I have been on 3 valium a day over 30 years.
    I find it easy to STOP.
    Would the effectiveness of the drug return again in time

  3. I have been taking Valium for over 30 years from 5 mg up to 40 depends on my level of anxiety. I have been blessed that l havent never abused it but it will give you sweats and weaknesses an bad hang over if taken consistent. Peace be with all they take it.

  4. This week, after about 6 years of taking 2mg valium 3 x a day and 5mg at night, I am getting really spacy and sleepy on 1mg! That’s kinda the wrong way round, isn’t it? Before I built up a tolerance to it and needed more. Any thoughts?

  5. I have taken 10 mg Valium for 17 days for insomnia, worked for a while but not effective now, will not increase dose, want to quit but am concerned about just quitting as I was on every sleeping pill prior to the Valium none of them worked but have been on something since November, ambien restoril, belsomra, lunesta, ativan, rozerem so I am worried about withdrawal effects

  6. I have been on diazapam 51 years .
    I have had cancer, broke my back suffer from oesyeorosis , fybrommyalgia .
    I am so tired .
    I had an accident at work , my leg got caught on a cable .
    I fell heavily in my side .
    I now have periods of numbness down my side . I really don’t feel ivanwork any longer I’m 62 .

    1. Hi Pam. The safest way to quit benzo is by slowly reducing the daily dose. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, you may also check out the Ashton Manual:
      It is a manual that can help you with dealing benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal.

  7. Hi,
    I have been taking 40mg of (prescribed) Diazepam a day plus 50 Mg PRN during the week for 1 year now.
    Are my withdrawal symptoms likely to be quite severe and longer in duration? (They are going to taper me off to a certain point then I will go to a detox clinic).

  8. Been taking Valium for over 40 years. Tried tapering from 20mg daily and finally got down to 10mg daily. I tried to reduce this over several months but suffered extreme side effects. My GP advised me to remain on 10mg daily as this is a very low dose. Happy to stay on 10mg and no more side effects, also my tolerance levels mean I feel absolutely nothing (no buzz,highs or lows) after the dose.

  9. What if i don’t take valium for pleasure only given to by my GP 2 times in small doses for a week at a time in 44 years. I took 30 10mg tablets trying to get sleep but i could not sleep can i have a high tolerance issue as other med’s like velafaxin olanzapine have not worked at the required doses for severe depression , sychosis, anxity and severe insomnia, have i tolerance ISSUE

  10. I need help, I’ve been diagnosed with Anxiety, bipolar, aND my be depression. I have Lupus. I was a product full adult who work in a dental office most of my adult life. Please help

  11. A question . I take up to 25mg of diazepam daily, that’s 5 ,5mg Valium’s sometimes Evan more ,have done for over 10 years addition blog could you please give me a tapper plan , since my gp has not

    1. Hi Shane. I suggest that you speak with your doctor, and tell him/her that you need an individualized tapering plan. If s/he still doesn’t want to, go to another professional.

  12. Hi. I take diazepam infrequently just when I get very bad. It might be for 2 or 3 days then a gap of 3 or 4 months then take it another 2 or 3 days. Other times I’ll take one large ish dose only as a one off. Sometimes I can go over 6 months without any. It used to be that the smaller doses were about 2 up to 5mg and the large ones 10 mg. But now I find the smaller doses don’t do anything. 10mg is the least I need to get the desired effect (reduce anxiety and get some sleep). Today I’ve taken 2 lots of 10mg. So it seems I’m getting a tolerance and I’m worried this will continue to increase. How can I reduce my tolerance? Before today I didn’t take any for about 9 months but still I needed 20mg. Help!

  13. Hi i accidently became a victom of tollerances to zanor and immivane over a 17 year periob. I ran out of hospital on wednesday in agony as she was treating me with extremely low doses of 5 and 2.5 valium with epileptin which did nothing to eleveate my pain, rather making me more aggitated and not to mention all the severe sleepness nights and a conglomorate of ugly horrible side effects. I want to do this not cold turkey but rather taper. I am based in south africa. Does anyone know of a facility that concentrates primarally on benzo withdrawal. I will be so gratefull. God bless xxx

  14. I was on klonopin for almost 25 years. I was taking about 8 mgs. a day. I was taken off of it almost 3 years ago abruptly and suffered terrible withdrawals. I tried to go back on it but it didn’t work anymore. I’ve had 2 cervical spine surgeries in the past 2 years for cervical myelopathy and spinal stenosis. The doctor who did the second surgery gave me .05 valium for 2 weeks twice a day while I recovered. It did nothing. I have severe spacticity that is very painful and we’ve tried almost all the muscle relaxers with no success. Now she wants to try valium 4 or 5 mgs. twice a day but I’m afraid it won’t work. Did I build a tolerance to benzodiazepines that will last forever or will it take more time for my brain to recover? I read that there is no effidence that muscle relaxers relax muscles but that they work similar to benzodiazepines in that they relax you so in turn your muscles relax. Maybe that is why they didn’t work for me. I have severe anxiety and spacticity which makes it hard to move around. I feel trapped in my body with no way out. I would really appreciate any advice you could give me. Thank you. Laura

  15. I’m down to 2 Valium a day after seeing a psychiatrist that let me know of an over the counter drug that will help with coming off benso’s
    I had taken them before but I only thought they helped with sleep not STOP withdrawals.

  16. I can’t call the addiction line I’m in Australia. I went & saw a physc yesterday. He wanted me to go to a detox which I’d love to do but my mum is dying from cancer & im the only one that can look after her for the moment. He also wants me to get Valium brand NO diredicts he said they aren’t consistent in strength & reduce 1 / 5mg val & replace it with a 10mg phenergen hope it works but not over confidant
    I think he may be right about the cheaper vals because that’s what’s gotten me in to all this trouble, feeling bad while having the right amount of pills. I got the Valium brand last time & haven’t had to have any extra since. I know I’m abusing them but it’s really hard when feeling so bad & so many things to do for mum.
    Not looking for any sympathy just help.

  17. I seem to be taking more & more Valium all the time. I’ll reduce then before long I’ll feel withdrawals then instead of taking only what I reduced I need even more. I’m taking 8 mg a day but within 2 days I start withdrawing after taking the 8mg. I really need help & my doctor just didn’t seem to understand.
    Been thinking of going to a mental health hospital or emergency. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Peter

    1. Hi Peter. It seems to me that you’re starting to abuse Valium. Call the helpline displayed on the website to get in touch with our trusted treatment consultants.

  18. I am seeing a pain specialist and got told my Valium and halcyon are not showing up in my urine test I failed it 3 times even though I have been taking the medication why isn’t it showing up I have been on halcyon for 7 years and Valium for about 30 years

  19. Its not related to this but ive been taking valium for a week or so.. i tried ambien which is supposed to be better bur ii did not feel a single effect.. could valium be the reason?

  20. I have been taking Valium, for approximately 15 years. At times up to 60mg, a day. I have been down to 5mg, 3 times a day. The past 2 months I ran out early. I became extremely ill, vomiting, diarrhea, profuse sweating, chills, fever etc.. Ended in ER for dehydration & intense abdominal pain.
    Could this be withdrawal symptoms? Also being on Norco, cause any interaction or harder withdrawal?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Julia. Yes, what you experienced ware all Valium withdrawal symptoms. Your body has gotten used to the presence of the medication after such a long term use. Now, whenever you abruptly drop doses or suddenly stop taking Valium, your body needs it and thus withdrawal symptoms occur. The Norco has nothing to do with the withdrawal effects of Valium. But, you should be careful not to run out early. It’s extremely stressful and dangerous for your organism. If you’d like to lower your tolerance and dependence to Valium, I’d suggest slowly and gradually tapering doses (with the help of your doctor).

  21. Many psychiatrists and physicians are desperately far behind when it comes to understanding addictive withdrawal. The result is failure and unecessry suffering. While a psychiatrist and physician are important in supervising health.

  22. Hey been on valium for 10yrs my last dose was last week and i feel like am about to claspe i go to work and cant really functionplus cant really eat and thr two tohether is just too nuch i send all my time alone its so dam upsetting becauae i was ut on them fir anxierty anci attacks :-(now ive read all these commwts i dont feel as alone as first did am def goon to the root tea thanks and good luck evy1 hope hapy and healty lifes s

  23. After taking diazepam for 2 year I had to stop instantly because I was sent to prison. The pysical withdrawals took about 3 weeks of hell. However, it took about a year for my sleep pattern to get better. Even then I was still only getting 4-6 hours a night. I still can’t sleep as well as I did prior to taking diazepam. I believe once you’ve used benzo’s your sleep is ruined for llife.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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, or 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

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