This means that its mechanism of action is to increase levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA to reduce nerve activity in the central nervous system that may otherwise contribute to anxiety symptoms and seizures. As with other benzos, long-term diazepam use can lead to dependence and withdrawal. It’s important to be aware of diazepam withdrawal symptoms and signs if you are or will be taking this medication.
Physical dependence refers to the development of tolerance to a drug and withdrawal symptoms when drug use is ceased. Simply put, tolerance occurs when a person requires higher doses of a drug to achieve the same effects.
The development of tolerance is common with many drugs that people regularly take for more than a few weeks. When a person who’s become tolerant of being physically dependent on a drug goes without it, they may experience some negative symptoms known as withdrawals.
Although not all drugs produce physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms, benzos like diazepam do. It’s also important to note that while physical dependence is considered a symptom of addiction, physical dependence on a drug is neither necessary nor sufficient enough for a substance use disorder diagnosis.
Physical dependence on drugs can occur in people who take prescription medications under the strict supervision of a physician for long periods. These people do not abuse drugs (use them for nonmedical reasons), so they don’t technically qualify for an addiction diagnosis.
People who demonstrate Valium withdrawals may or may not fully qualify for an addiction diagnosis. However, the withdrawal process is similar to the withdrawal process in someone who is addicted to diazepam.
Additionally, diazepam is an addictive substance, and increased tolerance often leads to increased use of the drug to experience certain desired effects. If you find that you require higher doses of your benzo medication to experience relief, speak to your doctor about other options to avoid addiction.
The diazepam withdrawal timeline depends on how much of and how long the person has used diazepam. Those who have taken this medication for longer periods are more likely to experience more severe symptoms.
Common diazepam withdrawal symptoms include:
Factors that may impact the severity of Valium withdrawal symptoms include the severity of a person’s addiction, how long the person has used diazepam, the dose they usually take, and their mental and physical health. Many people abuse benzos like Valium for their sedative and dream-like side effects, and chronic users tend to have a harder time with the withdrawal process.
It is recommended that people who are addicted to diazepam undergo a medically monitored detox rather than attempt diazepam withdrawal cold turkey to avoid any complications, such as seizures or depression.
Below is a general timeline of diazepam withdrawal symptoms. Due to the drug’s long half-life, withdrawals may persist longer than the time frame indicated below.
Week 1: Following a person’s last use of Valium, they will begin to experience acute withdrawal symptoms like elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Due to Valium’s long half-life, it may take longer for these symptoms to kick in.
Week 2: After acute withdrawal symptoms, symptoms may peak in intensity as the drug is eliminated from the body. Severe diazepam withdrawals include anxiety, disorientation, confusion, sweating, irritability, agitation, hallucinations, and even seizures. Due to the severity of benzo withdrawal symptoms, it’s crucial for people who are addicted to undergo medical detox to avoid complications.
Weeks 3 & 4: After about a month of withdrawing from diazepam, symptoms will have most likely improved or gone away completely. Depending on how long the person has used this drug, certain symptoms may persist longer.
The diazepam withdrawal schedule can be a challenging and lengthy process for someone with a diazepam addiction or dependence. If you or someone you know has become dependent on their prescription benzos, the best course of action is to seek professional treatment.
Banyan Treatment Center offers medical detox in Delaware to help people safely withdraw from drugs and alcohol. Under the 24-hour care of our medical team, patients are slowly weaned off of these substances while receiving medication (as needed) to reduce the discomfort of symptoms.
Because every drug is different, we offer prescription drug detox as well as other specialized detox treatments to ensure that clients receive individualized care. Following detox, patients will then have the opportunity to move onto our inpatient treatment program so they can focus on their mental recovery, as well.
Our Milford rehab is here to service everyone in the community who’s been affected by drug and alcohol abuse. To learn more about our Delaware addiction treatment, call our Milford treatment center today at 888-280-4763.