Following oral administration, more than 90 percent of Valium is absorbed on an empty stomach may take as little as 15 minutes for effects to onset. The presence of food can extend the time required for effects to begin to 45 minutes. This information is according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Moreover, absorption is delayed and reduced when administered with a moderately fatty meal. There is also an increase in the average time needed to achieve peak blood concentrations to around 2.5 hours when food is present, compared with 1-1.25 hours when fasting.
Generally, if consumed orally without food, diazepam will be fully absorbed in the bloodstream from between 25 minutes to one hour. That is when the time a person will start experiencing its effects. Valium has a half-life (the time it takes for 50% of the drug to be eliminated from the body) ranges between 20 to 50 hours for a 5mg dose.
What Is Valium?
Valium (diazepam) is a long-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) generally prescribed for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Also, less commonly, it may be used to treat alcohol dependence, insomnia, and seizures.
Valium works in the central nervous system (CNS) by increasing the availability of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical decreases activity and leads to feelings of relaxation and reward.
Valium is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule IV substance, as are other benzodiazepine drugs in its class. This designation indicates that it does have a legitimate medical purpose but can be habit-forming. It can possibly lead to abuse, dependence, and addiction. However, this potential is relatively low compared to drugs on higher schedules, such as the following:
- Schedule I substances (e.g., heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy)
- Schedule II substances (e.g., oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine)
- Schedule III substances (e.g., codeine, ketamine, buprenorphine)
How Long Does Valium Remain in Your System?
How long Valium stays in a person’s system influences how the drug will affect them. As a long-acting benzo, Valium remains in the body longer and produces effects that last longer than short-acting benzos.
The drug’s half-life helps predict how long an individual could potentially test positive for Valium on a drug screen based on the time since their last dose. However, due to unique factors and the fact that the half-life has a relatively wide range, a person should probably expect that it will be closer to the longer side of this spectrum.
A drug test for Valium can be performed using samples of blood, urine, saliva, or hair follicles. The length of time the drug remains detectable depends on numerous factors, including the following:
- Weight and body fat
- Metabolic rate
- Polysubstance use
- Administration method
- Average dose
- Kidney and liver function
- Overall health
Hair follicle testing can detect Valium for up to 90 days. These tests are generally used to check for chronic use or abuse, as they can’t determine if the person has been using the drug recently.
Urine testing is probably the most widely used method to determine if an individual has used Valium in the recent past. The drug can be detected in urine for as long as six weeks after administering the last dose.
Saliva testing is somewhat uncommon for Valium because it is only identifiable using this method for up to 60 hours after the last dose has been administered.
Blood testing is still another way to determine if a person has Valium in their system. However, similar to urine, the medication’s metabolites do not remain in the blood for very long—only about 48 hours following the last dose.
When an individual enters a detox facility, intake staff will often perform one of these tests to evaluate how much Valium is in the person’s body. In most cases, a urine or blood screen will be conducted.
Valium Withdrawal Timeline
Within 1-4 days of administering the final dose, withdrawal symptoms will begin to onset. These tend to be the most obvious by the third day and can include the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps and pain
- Rebound anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Drug cravings
- Mood swings
The acute withdrawal period is then followed by another stage that lasts for about 10-14 days. During this time, the following symptoms can manifest:
- Drug cravings
- Mild headache
- Episodes of anxiety
- Mild fever
Symptoms in this second stage are usually less severe than those that plague the individual during the acute phase. Following this stage, it is possible to continue encountering anxiety and depression as the brain and body continue to stabilize.
Ultimately, however, each person detoxing from Valium will have a different experience. For this reason and others, seeking professional addiction treatment during this process is the ideal option. Trying to detox from Valium on your own could result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, medical supervision is always advised.
Among the most potentially severe effects are seizures and psychosis. This disorder is comparable in many ways to alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Psychosis is characterized by a partial or complete disconnection from reality. If this occurs, an individual might experience the following:
The person may also act in improper ways, talk unintelligibly, and exhibit challenges in overall functioning.
The average seizure can last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Seizures can result in chronic effects or cause the person not to wake up if they persist for longer than 5 minutes. Such an attack may occur as a result of abnormal brain activity and include the following symptoms:
- Loss of awareness
Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction
Valium has a few legitimate medical purposes and has a relatively high potential for abuse and dependence. Individuals who suspect they may be dependent on this medication should seek help through a detox and addiction treatment program. These programs serve to make the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable.
Just Believe Recovery offers customized, comprehensive programs designed to meet the specific needs and goals of those we treat. We provide a warm, stable, comfortable environment that promotes healing from addiction while individuals undergo withdrawal and begin the process of recovery.
Our programs include residential and intensive outpatient formats. They feature various therapeutic modalities and services, including psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, relapse prevention, art and music therapy, aftercare planning, mindfulness therapy, alumni activities, and more.