Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug with potent sedative effects. It is typically prescribed for patients with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, or insomnia. In limited cases, it is used to sedate patients before surgery. Another popular use for Valium is for managing alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Valium’s main effect is making you feel relaxed and calm. It achieves these by slowing down the transmission of signals in your nervous system. With less activity going on in your brain and nerves, you will feel more relaxed.
In spite of the powerful calming effects of Valium, doctors prescribe it with caution. It has addictive properties, so it must be used properly to be effective. In particular, the dose must be carefully controlled to avoid causing physical dependence. Taking more than 40 milligrams of Valium per day is dangerous and can quickly lead to addiction.
If you are afflicted with a Valium addiction, detox is the crucial first step of treatment. But is Valium detox painful? Find out more below.
What does Valium detox do?
Detox procedures aim to rid your body of all traces of psychoactive drugs like Valium. Detox should be facilitated by medical professionals for your safety and comfort. If you go through this procedure as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program, it is usually the first phase.
Medical supervision is critical in case you experience any discomfort from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is a normal part of quitting any addictive drug as the body struggles to adjust to the sudden absence of the drug. If the symptoms become too much to bear, doctors will prescribe medications to ease your pain.
To make sure that detox causes as little discomfort to you as possible, the medical team will typically do a gentle tapering of your Valium intake. Quitting cold turkey is not recommended. Doing this can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms. Tapering, on the other hand, gives your body time to adapt to slowly decreasing amounts of Valium. In effect, any withdrawal symptoms that may develop are milder.
The tapering schedule varies per patient. If you have a severe case of Valium addiction, you will need more time to taper off. But if you have a milder case, your tapering schedule can be shorter.
At the end of detox, your body should be able to tolerate having no Valium at all.
Is the detox process painful?
Valium detox is not necessarily painful. But if you have a severe addiction to the drug, the chances of experiencing much discomfort from withdrawal is higher. On the other hand, if your addiction is milder, and you have an appropriate tapering schedule, any withdrawal symptoms that show up will be less uncomfortable.
Withdrawal symptoms are normal during the detox process. These are signs that your body is trying to get used to the absence of the drug. Typical withdrawal symptoms of Valium include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle pain
- Muscle twitching
- Reduced appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Severe anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Memory lapses
You may experience a combination of these symptoms at the same time. Which ones you get depends on a few factors, such as:
- How frequently you take Valium
- How much Valium you take each time
- Whether or not you take other addictive substances, such as alcohol or tobacco
These factors influence the level of your addiction. If you take Valium more often, in higher doses, or take it together with other substances, you are likely to be more addicted to Valium.
Severe addictions to this drug may lead to complications, such as:
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and/or legs
If you do not get prompt medical attention, these conditions can easily turn fatal. But if you are in a formal detox setting, medical professionals will come to your aid if these emergencies arise.
How are withdrawal symptoms managed?
The medical team assisting you during detox may prescribe certain medications to ease any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Listed below are some of the medicines that may be employed in Valium detox:
- Melatonin, normally used as a sleep aid, can help reduce anxiety as well as physical tolerance to Valium.
- Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, is helpful in staving off cravings for Valium and other benzodiazepines.
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which is a class of antidepressants, are also effective against anxiety from benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Anticonvulsants are helpful if you ever experience seizures during Valium detox.
With the help of these medications, your detox experience should be as safe and comfortable as possible.
Will I be clean after detox?
After detox, all traces of Valium will have been flushed out of your body. You can also tolerate taking none of the drug at all. By then, you would be physically clean, but the psychological effects of Valium still linger. To deal with these, you need to go through the next phase of treatment, which consists of behavioral therapies.
Some of the behavioral therapies employed in rehab include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Family therapy
- Individual counseling
- 12-step groups
- Support groups
- Recreation therapy
These therapies aim to put your mind off of drugs for good. You will learn to develop new habits and coping strategies for stress. You may find a new hobby, like art or sport. If you become more occupied with these healthy activities, your desire to take drugs will soon disappear.
Should I enroll in outpatient or inpatient rehab?
The choice of going through either an inpatient or an outpatient rehab program depends on your needs. Your primary care doctor or a mental health professional can make the best recommendation. If your case of addiction is mild, outpatient rehab may be adequate for you. Otherwise, you may need to go into an inpatient program.
If you are in an outpatient program, you can get treatment without disrupting your daily routine. You can set your own schedules for therapy sessions, and these are the only times you will have to go to the rehab facility.
On the other hand, if you need to enroll in an Inpatient program, you must relocate to the rehab facility. You will have to reside there for the entire length of the program, which can last up to three months.
Whichever program you enroll in, the goal is the same – to help you regain a life free from the influence of drugs.