Valium used to be considered a safe “cure all” for almost any ill. It was over-prescribed, and its risks were downplayed. Valium is still commonly prescribed, but we know now it isn’t a harmless miracle worker. Use can lead to tolerance and dependence. Tolerance contributes to prescription misuse and abuse. Dependence makes it difficult to stop taking the drug without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Continued use of Valium can lead to addiction.

Why Does Detox Happen?

If you are dependent on a drug, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. Withdrawal symptoms are a natural response. They occur because your body is used to functioning with Valium or other drugs present. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Benzodiazepines weaken the influence of a group of cells, called inhibitory interneurons…These neurons normally help prevent excessive dopamine levels by downregulating the firing rates of dopamine-producing neurons.”1 In other words Valium works by limiting the effects of neurons that limit dopamine. The body recognizes when there is too much dopamine present. It works to prevent this and reestablish balance. It produces more inhibitory neurons or makes existing neurons more effective. This explains why Valium becomes less effective over time. It explains why you or a loved one may find you need to take the drug in larger quantities or more often than recommend to get the desired effects. It also explains why withdrawal symptoms appear.

The body becomes used to functioning with Valium present. When Valium isn’t there, the body has excess inhibitory neurons and no external force balancing them. Until the body can readjust, things will be out of balance. Dopamine will be limited, and individuals will feel bad physically and mentally. This is only temporary, as our bodies are great at repairing and rebalancing themselves. However while detox is happening, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. “Quitting benzodiazepines abruptly can result in more than 40 withdrawal side effects,”ABC News explains, “including headache, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, confusion, dizziness, derealization and short-term memory loss.”2 These and other withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. They vary depending on your unique health and history. They vary depending on how much Valium you use, how often you use it and if you use other drugs or alcohol as well.

Time to detox graphic

What Is the Detox Timeline Like?

Detox and withdrawal vary in length and strength. Symptoms typically appear quickly, and they are often mild. WebMD explains, “The symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to distinguish from anxiety. Symptoms usually develop at 3-4 days from last use, although they can appear earlier with shorter-acting varieties.”3 The more Valium a person has been using, the stronger symptoms will be and the longer detox will last. Individuals who have been taking Valium for years, in high doses or without a prescription are most at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms. Trying to quit without medical supervision increases the risks of detox. It also increases the timeline. ABC News reports that “10 percent of people who quit abruptly may experience a ‘syndrome’ of withdrawal symptoms that extend long after the drugs leave their bodies. This change can reverse, but for a small proportion of people, it can take months or years to recover.”2 Choosing medically supervised detox services ensures you or your loved one has the healthiest, simplest start to recovery. These services can flow seamlessly into the physical and mental health care that allows for years of health and sobriety.

Beginning Valium Detox

The fastest way to recover from addiction is to begin treatment today. Call Black Bear Lodge. We help you get sober safely with medically supervised detox services. We follow these services with therapies designed to build and strengthen your recovery for life. With our help, you or your loved one can move past detox and addiction.


Well-Known Mechanism Underlies Benzodiazepines’ Addictive Properties.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. 19 Apr. 2012. Accessed 9 Oct. 2017.

2 Cox, Lauren. “Tranquilizer Detox Withdrawal Can Last Years.” ABC News. 1 Dec. 2008. Accessed 9 Oct. 2017.

3 Goldberg, Joseph. “Benzodiazepine Abuse.” WebMD. 23 Apr. 2016. Accessed 9 Oct. 2017.