Drug and Alcohol

Valium: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage | How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?

Valium can be detected in your system for a surprisingly long time. Learn more about the side effects of Valium use and abuse in our blog.

How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

April 20, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

In the United States, valium addiction has significantly increased recently. The widespread use of Valium contributes to the increased addiction rates. Even if there are better, less addictive options, many medical professionals recommend benzodiazepines like Valium as a first-line treatment for anxiety. In addition, some individuals may abuse Valium as a recreational drug, frequently in combination with other substances, which raises the danger of addiction and overdose.

An individual's life may be significantly impacted by Valium addiction. Long-term drug use can result in physical and psychological dependence and several harmful side effects, including drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, and vertigo. Moreover, it may result in concerns with money, relationships, and performance at work or school.

By the Numbers

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.2% of individuals aged 18 and older used antidepressant drugs in the past 30 days between 2015 and 2018. Women used more than men (8.4% vs. 17.7%).

What Is Valium?

The drug diazepam, known as Valium, is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. It is a part of the benzodiazepine drug class, which works by boosting the activity of the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid neurotransmitter (GABA). This contributes to reducing the nervous system and brain activity, which has a soothing effect on the body.

Valium comes in tablet and liquid forms that can be injected or taken orally. Depending on the illness being treated and the severity of the symptoms, the tablets are normally taken two to four times per day and range in strength from 2 mg to 10 mg.

Although Valium requires a prescription, simply a doctor's note is needed to purchase it. While long-term use might result in dependence and withdrawal symptoms if the medicine is abruptly stopped, it usually is only given for short-term use.

Possible negative consequences of Valium include drowsiness, vertigo, weariness, muscle weakness, forgetfulness, and memory issues. It can also interfere with other prescriptions, such as other benzodiazepines, specific antidepressants, and particular pain relievers. As a result, it's crucial to inform your doctor about all of your current medications before beginning Valium.

As a result, Valium works well to treat seizures, muscle spasms, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal. It should only be used with a doctor's approval and for the smallest amount of time to reduce the risk of dependence and other negative effects.

What Is Valium's Half-Life?

The prescription drug Valium is a member of the benzodiazepine drug subclass. Muscle spasms, seizures, and anxiety disorders are all treated with it. The half-life of Valium, which measures how long it takes half of the drug to leave the body, is a crucial physiological characteristic.

Valium's half-life varies based on several variables, including age, liver and kidney function, dosage, and length of use. However, the half-life of Valium ranges from 20 to 50 hours on average. This indicates that it takes 20 to 50 hours for the body to eliminate 50% of the medicine.

It's important to keep in mind that Valium is not eliminated in a linear fashion. The medication concentration in the bloodstream gradually declines over time as it is digested and expelled from the body. A longer half-life results from a slower rate of elimination when drug concentration falls.

It's also important to consider that Valium's effects can linger into its half-life. This is because the drug can build up in the body over time, especially in those who use it frequently or for a long time. Even after stopping use, the drug may stay in the body for several days.

So, it is important to consider Valium's half-life before taking it and figuring out the right dosages. In addition, it's crucial to adhere to the prescribing doctor's dosage recommendations and refrain from using the drug for longer than is advised.

What Is The Half Life of Valium? This image describes the half life of Valium

How Does Valium Work?

The prescription drug known as Valium is primarily used to treat seizures, muscle spasms, and anxiety disorders. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter, is how Valium works by boosting its actions in the brain.

The chemical messenger GABA is in charge of reducing the activity of brain neurons. It aids in lowering nervous system activity and fostering calmness and relaxation. GABA activity in the brain is increased by Valium, which has a relaxing impact on the body and mind.

The GABA-A receptor is a specific class of receptor that Valium interacts with. This receptor, which is present throughout the brain and spinal cord, regulates the activity of neurons. The enhanced inhibition of neuronal activity that occurs due to Valium's binding to the GABA-A receptor is caused by the enhancement of GABA's actions on the receptor. This lessens seizures, muscle spasms, and anxiety.

Effects of Valium start to take effect within 15 to 30 minutes of taking medicine. However, the medication's effects usually peak one to two hours after taking it and persist for many hours. Age, liver and kidney function, dosage, and usage frequency are some variables that affect how long Valium's effects last.

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How Long Does It Take for Valium to Kick In?

Valium usually begins to take effect within 30 minutes of taking it. However, this can depend on the person. For example, when taken on an empty stomach, the effects of Valium can be felt as soon as 15 minutes.

However, on a full stomach, the effects can take longer to kick in. Also, the kind of food can affect this time as well. Fatty food takes longer to digest, and Valium can take nearly three hours for its effects to peak after a meal of fatty, rich foods.

The effects can last anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on the individual and their metabolism. It is important to remember that Valium should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Taking too much or using it recreationally can lead to serious consequences and addiction.

When used properly, Valium can provide relief from anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also commonly used as a sedative to help people relax before medical procedures or surgery. It's important to speak to your doctor about any potential risks or side effects when taking Valium.

How Is Valium Detected in the Body?

Valium (diazepam) can be detected using various methods, including blood, urine, and saliva tests. These tests work by detecting the presence of the drug or its metabolites, which are the byproducts of the body's metabolism of Valium.

How Long Does Valium Stay In Your System? This chart shows how long Valium stays in urine, saliva, blood, and hair

Blood Tests

Within hours after taking it, Valium can be detected in blood tests. The test examines the bloodstream for the drug or its metabolites. Depending on the dosage and frequency of use, different blood tests have different detection windows.

Typically, Valium is detectable in blood for up to 24 to 48 hours after the final dose.

Urine Tests

The most popular method for finding Valium in the body is through urine tests. The test scans the urine for the presence of Valium or its metabolites. Depending on the dosage and frequency of use, Valium can be found in urine for anywhere between one and six weeks following the last dose.

Saliva Tests

Valium can also be found in the body using tests on saliva. The test scans the saliva for drugs or their metabolites. Depending on the dosage and frequency of use, Valium can be found in the saliva for up to one to ten days following the previous dose.

Hair Tests

Valium in the body can be found through hair testing. The test looks for the drug or its metabolites in the hair strand. Depending on the dosage and frequency of use, Valium can still be found in hair 90 days after the last dose.

What Are the Symptoms of Addiction to Valium?

Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication commonly used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. While it can be an effective treatment option when prescribed, it also carries the risk of addiction and dependence, especially when used for long periods or in higher doses than prescribed.

Here are some common symptoms of addiction to Valium:


A person may become tolerant to Valium with time, needing bigger dosages to have the same results. This may result in increased use or exceeding the recommended dosage.


When trying to quit taking Valium, a person who has become dependent on it could experience withdrawal symptoms. Seizures, sweating, sweating excessively, anxiety, and sleeplessness are all possible withdrawal effects.


A person who is addicted to Valium may experience strong cravings for the medication, which can make it difficult to quit or reduce use.

Social and Occupational Impairment

Valium addiction can make it difficult for a person to carry out their obligations at home, work, or school. Also, it may cause issues in one's social interactions and personal relationships.

Mood Changes

Valium can affect a person's mood, causing euphoria, relaxation, or sedation. However, when used in excess, it can also cause emotional instability, depression, or irritability.

Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences

Despite negative consequences such as financial problems, legal issues, or relationship difficulties, a person addicted to Valium may continue to use the medication.

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What Are the Side Effects of Addiction to Valium?

Valium is primarily prescribed for treating anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, prolonged use of Valium can lead to addiction, which can cause a wide range of side effects.

Here are some of the common side effects of addiction to Valium:

Physical Dependence

Physical dependence is one of the most severe adverse effects of Valium addiction. When someone gets dependent on Valium, stopping the medication abruptly may cause withdrawal symptoms. Tremors, convulsions, sweating, and sleeplessness are some of the most serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur.


Long-term usage of Valium may cause the body to become tolerant to it, requiring greater doses to get the intended results. Overdose risk may rise as a result of it.

Impaired Cognitive Function

The cognitive abilities of memory, attention, and decision-making can all be affected by Valium. Valium used for an extended period may result in cognitive impairment that lasts even after the medicine is stopped.

Mood Changes

Valium can cause mood changes, including depression, irritability, and aggression. These mood changes can be particularly severe when a person withdraws from the drug.

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression, which results in short and sluggish breathing, can be brought on by Valium. This can be fatal when coupled with other medications that have a similar effect.

Muscle Weakness

Valium can cause muscle weakness, particularly in older adults. This can increase the risk of falls and injuries.

Sexual Dysfunction

Valium can cause sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and delayed orgasm.


Addiction is a significant side effect of Valium use. Addiction can cause various problems, including social, financial, and legal problems.

Treatment of Addiction to Valium

A combination of pharmaceutical and behavioral therapies is used to treat Valium addiction. The basic treatment objectives are to control withdrawal symptoms, stop relapse, and assist the patient in learning healthy coping skills.

Detoxification under medical supervision (also known as drug detox) is the initial stage in treating Valium addiction. To avoid severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations, and delirium, Valium must be gently tapered off. Depending on the extent of the addiction, detoxification can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

After detoxification, a comprehensive therapy program will start for the patient. Behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment are frequently combined in this.

The main goal of behavioral therapy is to pinpoint and alter the unhelpful thought patterns and actions that fuel addiction. One of the best behavioral therapy for treating Valium addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It helps people find healthier ways to cope with stress and anxiety without taking medicines.

MAT, or medication-assisted treatment, involves the use of medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for Valium. The most commonly used medications for Valium addiction include:

  • Antidepressants: These medications can help to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany Valium withdrawal.

  • Anticonvulsants: These medications can help to manage seizures that may occur during Valium withdrawal.

  • Benzodiazepine agonists: These medications bind to the same receptors in the brain as Valium but with less risk of addiction and dependency. They can help to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Support organizations can be beneficial in treating Valium addiction in addition to medicine and counseling. Individuals can share their experiences, find encouragement, and forge community in these groups' encouraging environments.

Thus, behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, and medically supervised detoxification are all used to treat Valium addiction. To ensure a safe and effective recovery from Valium addiction, it is crucial to seek professional assistance.

Addicted to Valium? The Edge Treatment Center Effectively Treats Benzo Addiction

The Edge Treatment Center provides a safe and supportive environment for patients to receive adequate treatment for addiction to Valium. Our outpatient drug rehab employs highly trained medical professionals specializing in addiction medicine and is equipped with the latest tools and technologies to provide comprehensive care. 

Benzo addiction can be lethal if untreated. Don't risk an overdose on Valium; reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more about our benzodiazepine treatment program.

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