The timeline for Valium withdrawal and detox is different for each individual based on certain factors. The duration of use and dosage taken also contributes to the timeline. Since Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, withdrawal from this medication doesn’t start right away. Withdrawal from Valium usually starts 2-7 days after using the last dosage and goes on for 2-8 weeks, going on long after that. Valium’s half-life is 24-48 hours, after which the drug is eliminated from the body. However, this period typically goes up for users who have been taking the medication repeatedly for an extended period.
According to research, the severity of withdrawal symptoms from Valium typically peaks in the beginning before diminishing in the first two weeks. During the third week, the symptoms will peak again before lessening. The symptoms can go on for longer in some individuals. One study deduced that the average duration of withdrawal for people with a benzodiazepine dependency was 14 months. More research indicated two benzodiazepine withdrawal phases; the acute withdrawal stage that goes from 5 to 28 days and the protracted withdrawal stage that goes on for at least 12 months.
Factors Influencing the Valium Withdrawal Period
The severity and duration of Valium withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. There are several factors impacting the period, such as the following:
- Social support: People with the proper support from medical professionals and loved ones will likely have fewer symptoms of Valium withdrawal.
- Accompanying mental health problems: medical conditions such as anxiety or depression might affect the psychological Valium withdrawal symptoms.
- Using other substances with Valium can aggravate the withdrawal symptoms.
- The duration and frequency of use: People taking Valium for extended periods or in higher doses often experience more intense withdrawal symptoms
- Metabolism: How fast an individual’s body breaks down Valium affects the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.
- Genetics: Some genetic factors influence how long the drug stays in the system.
- Size: The individual’s body fat percentage, height, and weight impact the processing speed and elimination of Valium from the system.
- Age: Older people eliminate Valium slower than younger people from their bodies because of organ performance.
When Valium is eliminated from the body, withdrawal symptoms will present in the individual. Without proper care and treatment, the user’s withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming, with life-threatening side effects to boot. With an average half-life of 12 hours, Valium can be active in the body for almost an entire day meaning withdrawal can begin 12 to 24 hours after taking your last dosage. Eliminating Valium from the body means it no longer represses the central nervous system’s functioning. During the first few days, the individual may experience some rebound which may force the recovering user to go back to taking Valium. Other people may experience a rebound of insomnia and anxiety and unusually vivid dreams, nightmares, or sleep disturbances. During the early stage of benzodiazepine withdrawal, people get fatigue, restlessness, irritability, and mood swings. This phase lasts for about one to four days. The symptoms can be mild initially, and the intensity increases with time.
Acute Withdrawal Stage
The peak of Valium withdrawal usually goes on a few days after taking the last dose of the medication. It proceeds for ten to 14 days and is known as acute withdrawal. Most of the symptoms will happen during this period, including insomnia, irritability, tremors, vomiting, and headache.
Late Withdrawal Stage
Even though most physical withdrawal side effects can diminish gradually after one or two weeks, some psychological symptoms might go on after that. This includes suicidal thoughts, trouble with sleep, depression, and anxiety until the individual gets the necessary treatment. Valium is frequently taken to reduce stress and resolve anxiety, and both of these symptoms can be overpowering during the withdrawal process.
Valium withdrawal typically proceeds for one to four weeks. The overall timeline for the same is as follows:
Given the 12-hour half-life of the drug, withdrawal symptoms can start within 24 hours after taking the last dosage. For the next few days after that, the individual will experience trouble sleeping, nausea, loss of appetite, and anxiety. Other expected withdrawal symptoms include drug cravings, depression, mood swings, blood pressure, and heart rates.
After the initial two days, the user’s nausea, anxiety, and insomnia will diminish. It is not uncommon to experience hallucinations and seizures at this phase of the withdrawal process.
After the initial five to seven days, the symptoms will keep diminishing, but the possibility of experiencing irritability, anxiety, and nausea can stay on for two weeks.
Some people will have acute symptoms following the first two weeks of Valium withdrawal.
Overall, Valium withdrawal symptoms can go on for a few more weeks which is why tapering off the drug in an appropriate detox program under medical supervision is highly advisable. Detox from Valium may go for weeks to months, depending on the individual. Qualified medical professionals can develop a detox program for each individual depending on their medical history and previous Valium use.
People who have been taking Valium for longer might have to detox for an extended period. This is because they will need to taper off the medication gradually to reduce their withdrawal symptoms and make the process slightly more comfortable. The advisable tapering schedule for Valium involves reducing the dosage by 50 per cent during the initial 2-4 weeks. This dosage is then maintained for almost two months and then decreased by 25 per cent after every two weeks until the person is off Valium entirely.
Generally, Valium detox and withdrawal experiences differ in each person, so yours might not be the same as the next person’s process.