A drug that is only available through a prescription, Valium is commonly prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety. It has also helped ease inflammation, muscle spasm, nerve disorders as well as seizures. However, one can quickly become dependent on Valium for daily functioning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend taking it for longer than four months for fear that one may develop a dependence on it.
As a benzodiazepine, Valium penetrates levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine in the brain by disrupting the brain’s natural production of these chemicals. Over time, the brain begins to rely entirely on Valium, and thus, an addiction to the drug begins to form.
First Four days: After discontinuing the drug, the presence of Valium may remain active in a person’s system up until one full day. This implies that Valium withdrawal symptoms may start between 12-24 hours that can result in a rebound effect where drug addicts start experiencing anxiety and insomnia. Sleep disorders including nightmares and vivid dreams may also occur. During early withdrawal of benzodiazepine, it is also common for users to experience mood swings, irritability, restlessness, and fatigue. Within four days, early Valium withdrawal symptoms start dissipating.The Acute Withdrawal: During this stage, the majority of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms occur and can continue up until 14 days. Thus, this stage is aptly referred to as the acute withdrawal stage to include the majority of the following valium withdrawal symptoms:
Since Valium withdrawal can range in its symptoms, one must be on the lookout for more severe complications such as hallucinations, depersonalization, derealization, numbness or tingling of arms and legs, heightened sensations and sensitivities to sound and/or light, psychosis, delirium, or even life-threatening convulsions or seizures. In 2011 alone, over 15,000 Americans experienced an adverse reaction to Valium and ended up needing emergency treatment. Other things to consider are environmental factors such as an individual’s support system, the ability to cope with stress and life-changing situations. Higher levels of stress may attribute to more intense withdrawal symptoms, but more research is needed to document this.
The onset of Valium withdrawal symptoms can be felt a few hours after the effects of the last dose taken starts to wear off. The symptoms usually become more intense and uncomfortable in the upcoming hours and reach their peak around 24-72 hours after the last intake. Some symptoms subside after the first days of detox, while others may persist for several weeks, sometimes even months.
The majority of Valium addicts will experience an initial acute withdrawal that can last up to 90- days and/or a post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), an equally difficult process that ranges from 18-24 months. Such withdrawal symptoms include:
Withdrawing from Valium cold turkey is dangerous, and users should never attempt to quit “cold turkey” as doing this could induce seizures, coma, and other potentially lethal outcomes. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines, such as Valium, require medical management for the brain and body to work together without the presence of the drug.
Detox and withdrawal can range from person to person which is why it’s important to start the recovery journey where one’s withdrawal symptoms are monitored, and medications can be prescribed to treat any complications that may occur. In this way, one’s chance of a full recovery is increased, and the chances of relapse are decreased. Medical detox can help with the process of identifying psychological and emotional triggers to help one learn how to cope with the addiction.
A successful full recovery starting with medical detox to outpatient rehabilitation is crucial. This implies having the support of a professional team in place, and the emotional support of family and friends. The first, most intense and shortest of all stages – medical detox.
During the period of medical detox, a team consisting of doctors, nurses and staff will conduct an intake to determine one’s level of Valium addiction and health needs thus jumpstarting the detox process. Detox at Arete Recovery also includes FDA-approved medications to limit withdrawals to prevent relapse.
The next step of treating substance abuse will be getting admitted to an inpatient or residential program. The specialists at Arete Recovery will recommend the right program based on the detoxification process and the severity of one’s case and symptoms. Generally speaking, an inpatient recovery program extends for 45 days and is better suited for a short-term recovery period. When the addiction is more severe, one might be recommended for a residential recovery program which is appropriate for a long-term recovery period lasting anywhere from 60-90+ days.
Both of these programs help minimize the number of treatments which can be quite intense. On the other hand, a resident learns important coping mechanisms that can ultimately help with preventing relapse and better equipped for long-term recovery and the transitioning to an outpatient program.
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Beyond the walls of the inpatient clinic and residential recovery, is a new, clean world that can be intimidating for the user who is relearning how to navigate life without addiction and drugs for the first time. This is where an intensive outpatient program is designed to provide ongoing counseling as the user navigates life.
If you or a loved one is struggling to stay hopeful while dealing with a Valium addiction, know that you are not alone. We want to give you that hope! The caring, trained medical staff at Arete Recovery, your medical detox, and residential treatment center, want to help you get through every stage of your recovery journey successfully. Call 855-781-9939 now to speak with one of our addiction specialists for more information.
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Samhsa.gov. (2019) from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.pdf
Genetic Literacy Project. (2019). Growing movement against allowing mutagenesis and cell fusion hybrid seeds in organic agriculture | Genetic Literacy Project from https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/05/16/growing-movement-against-allowing-mutagenesis-and-cell-fusion-hybrid-seeds-in-organic-agriculture/