Almost everyone has heard of Valium. Unfortunately, it’s one of those drugs that’s almost become a joke and gets talked about as if everyone who takes it is abusing it.
However, that’s a big problem for people who take Valium because they need it and for people who have become addicted to Valium. There’s a ton of misinformation, and the jokes about the drug can make it more dangerous and stigmatized for the people who take it, regardless of why.
Here’s what you need to know about how long Valium lasts, what it does, the real addiction risk, and more. Hopefully, this article will help debunk some of the misinformation and help to start changing the perception of Valium to one that better reflects the realities of the people who take it.
What Is Valium?
Valium, generic name diazepam, is a benzodiazepine, and a fast-acting drug, which means that you will feel the effects of Valium relatively quickly after taking the drug. However, it has different durations for different people and situations, depending on your body’s needs, why you’re taking the drug, and what stressors might speed up its use in your body.
Like other benzodiazepines, Valium works to calm you down and can help deal with feelings of anxiety or panic. It can be used in various situations but requires a prescription.
More importantly, Valium is generally only approved for short-term use, and you may get a prescription for as little as a single dose. In other cases, you may get a prescription for more of the drug but specific instructions for how to and when to use the drug.
Unlike other common medications to help manage anxiety, addiction, and other stressful situations, Valium isn’t meant to be taken regularly. Instead, it is important to take the drug as recommended and only when you need it.
How Long Does Valium Last?
Valium is a medication that can be given in different ways. Its effects and durations can depend on how you take it. Most of the time, people take oral Valium, which usually kicks in after about an hour and can last long.
Valium has a half-life of about 48 hours, which means it’s a long-lasting drug. However, for some situations, you may need to take Valium more often than that, and, depending on the dose and how you take it, you can take Valium up to 4 times a day.
Injectable or rectal Valium may take effect faster, and the dosing may differ. Make sure you always take Valium as prescribed.
If you’re asking how long Valium lasts because you’re worried about a drug test, Valium is detectable for a fairly long time after you take it. Valium and the detectible metabolites produced as your body breaks down the drug can be detected in urine for between 1-6 weeks after taking the drug. It’s detectible in blood for up to 48 hours and saliva for up to 10 days.
Like most drugs, Valium is detectable in your hair follicles for up to three months after your last dose.
There aren’t effective ways to change the detection time for Valium or any drug.
How Is Valium Used?
Valium is a medication with a fairly wide range of uses, and it is sometimes prescribed off-label or for uses that aren’t part of what it’s officially approved for.
Valium is approved for use with people who have anxiety, a couple of different kinds of seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. It is also used as a medication given just before anesthesia and sometimes as a pre-surgery medication to help people with a lot of anxiety about the procedure.
In general, Valium is only used for the short term because it’s known to cause both chemical dependence, where your body needs a certain amount of the drug to function normally, and addiction, which is typically a combination of chemical dependence and psychological dependence on the drug.
That said, there is some risk of addiction even when Valium is used properly and even when you only take the drug for short periods.
Side Effects And Risks Of Valium
All drugs have potential side effects and risks, and understanding them can help you manage the drug while you’re taking it, help you avoid addiction, and help you manage your risks even if something does happen.
Side Effects Of Valium
Common side effects of Valium include:
- Memory problems
- Loss of balance
- Muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth or drooling
This isn’t a complete list, but it should help give you a better idea of what to expect if you’re given Valium.
Risks Of Valium
There are a few risks to consider when taking Valium. Valium is a drug that you may not want to take during pregnancy, and you should talk with your doctor about the risks if you already have a prescription and want to become pregnant.
Valium can also be passed to a baby through breastmilk, so it should not be taken if you’re nursing, and you should talk with your doctor about how long you need to wait after taking a dose to start nursing again.
Valium is also known to have potentially dangerous interactions with various drugs, including alcohol, and the two should not be mixed.
Like all drugs, there is some risk of an allergic reaction to the drug, even if you’ve taken it before. Additionally, you should not operate heavy machinery or drive while taking Valium.
But the last, and probably most pressing, risk of Valium for many people, is the risk of addiction.
Can Valium Be Addictive?
Yes, Valium can be highly addictive, and it’s a drug that can take only a couple of doses to become addictive.
There are a few reasons that the risk of addiction to Valium is so real. For one thing, benzodiazepines can quickly cause a chemical dependence in your body and brain when taking them.
The other big reason that Valium and other benzodiazepines can be fairly addictive is that these drugs are incredibly relaxing and can feel very good and feel like they are helping you manage your life.
Unfortunately, those good feelings can make it tempting to take Valium when you don’t need it, and doing that can quickly lead to doing it again and again. That’s one of the reasons that many doctors prescribe a very small amount of Valium at a time, to make it harder to abuse the drug.
One of the problems is that it can be relatively easy to get Valium from illegal dealers and even online pharmacies, which means that people who become addicted might be able to continue feeding their addiction relatively easily, even if they can’t get the drug from their doctors.
Long-Term Risks Of Valium Addiction
One of the serious risks of Valium use is that long-term use of this drug isn’t recommended, not just because of the addiction risk but also because long-term Valium use can cause a range of other side effects and change the way your body and brain work.
Common long-term side effects can include memory loss, hallucinations, an increased risk of heart problems, loss of consciousness, and other serious problems.
Long-term valium use can also cause increased anxiety and depression, increased risk of using and becoming addicted to other drugs, and other mental health complications.
Like many addictive drugs, taking Valium to excess isn’t just a risk in terms of immediate addiction; it can also damage your long-term health. Therefore, it may mean that you need additional health care and support for both physical and mental health to recover.
How To Get Help With Valium Addiction
If you’re dealing with an addiction to Valium or any other drug, it can feel like an impossible situation and impossible to escape.
Fortunately, there is hope, no matter how you got addicted or how severe you feel like your addiction has become.
You can overcome addiction. All you need to do is make the decision you want to and then find the help and support you deserve that can help you get through it.
One of the best ways to get that support and help is to go to an addiction treatment center that specializes in helping people overcome addiction and identifying and building the life skills needed to stay healthy and sober.
If that sounds like the kind of treatment that would be best for you or a loved one, contact Achieve Wellness treatment center. We know how to help, and we’re more than willing to answer any questions or concerns you might have before you start.
You deserve to be well, and we can help you get there.
- Diazepam: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Published May 15, 2021. Accessed January 27, 2023. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682047.html
- T B. How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Body? Verywell Mind. Published May 2, 2022. Accessed January 27, 2023. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-valium-stay-in-your-system-80344
- Mental Health Medications | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Published January 2023. Accessed January 27, 2023. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Diazepam-(Valium)