Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine that exerts anxiolytic, sedative, muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant and amnestic effects. Most of these effects are thought to result from a facilitation of the action of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
But, can you overdose from taking too much Valium? We explore the answers to these questions in the text that follows. Please keep in mind that this article has been written for information only and it not meant for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have experienced a toxic drug exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
How does unintentional Valium overdose happen?
The main ingredient in Valium, diazepam, is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders. Diazepam overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.
Valium overdose – How much is too much?
It’s hard to overdose on Valium, but it is possible, especially when Valium has been combined with other drugs, like mixing Valium and alcohol. The recommended daily dose is 4 to 40 mg of Valium throughout the day. Only up to 10 mg of Valium should be taken at one time – less in someone without a tolerance to Valium. Still, people have been reported taking doses of up to 2000 mg Valium without serious effects. That’s about 50 times the maximum recommended daily dose. So Valium is incredibly safe and very difficult to overdose on if taken by itself.
Valium overdose complications
Can you OD on Valium? Technically, yes. Practically, it’s difficult. The hallmark of a Valium overdose is falling into a deep sleep or “coma” while still being able to breathe adequately. Symptoms may include:
- bluish-colored lips and fingernails
- blurred vision
- double vision
- labored breathing
- lack of alertness (stupor)
- rapid side-to-side movement of the eyes (nystagmus)
- stomach upset
- uncoordinated movement
Valium overdose prognosis
Slow or shallow breathing is the most dangerous complication of Valium overdose. In some cases, Valium overdose might stop your breathing completely. Other medications combined with the Valium may also cause overdose, or make these effects more pronounced.
Further, you’re at a greater-than-normal risk of accidents when you take too much Valium. In fact, taking large amounts of Valium can make you dizzy and impair your judgment, which can put you in danger. And when taken at high doses or mixed with other drugs, Valium can cause a slowed heartbeat or breathing problems.
Valium overdose death rate
Overdose on benzodiazepines like Valium is usually manifested by central nervous system depression ranging from drowsiness to coma. In mild cases, symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, and lethargy. In more serious cases, symptoms may include death (very rarely). Overdose of benzodiazepines in combination with other central nervous system depressants (including alcohol) may be fatal and should be closely monitored.
Valium overdose amount questions
Valium overdose is a broad topic, and we hope that we have covered the basics. In case there is something specific you want to know, please post your questions in the comment section below. We will try to provide you with a personal and prompt response.