The Basics of Valium Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the Valium rehabilitation process, as well as to offer helpful resources for persons recovering from Valium addiction.

When an individual struggling with Valium addiction is ready to receive treatment, the process usually begins with an intake session. During this session, the individual meets with treatment staff and learns what the facility has to offer in terms of behavioral therapies, group counseling, and other services. The individual also provides information about his or her medical history and family background to help staff members develop a customized plan that accounts for factors such as co-occurring disorders and medical conditions that could affect the best approach to treatment.

Following this intake session, the user completes an initial detoxification period in which Valium is eliminated from the body. The facility’s treatment professionals are on hand during this process to ensure that the user is as comfortable as possible. Some facilities offer medically-managed detoxification to help the user manage any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, making the process even safer. Once Valium has been eliminated from the user’s system, staff members provide ongoing support, reducing the risk of relapse.

the four steps of rehab process

What Makes Valium Rehabilitation Difficult?

Under the guidelines established by the Controlled Substances Act, Valium is listed as a Schedule IV substance. Although Schedule IV substances are considered to have a low risk of addiction, some users become addicted to Valium due to the euphoric feeling it produces. As a result, the nonmedical use of Valium is a growing problem around the world.

Due to increased demand for Valium, trafficking of this substance has increased, prompting law enforcement officials to seize nearly 50 tons of diazepam, the generic version of Valium, in 2017. According to the World Drug Report, traffickers in China, the Republic of Korea, and Hong Kong are heavily involved in the illicit manufacturing and transportation of Valium to destinations all over the globe. Officials in France, Germany, and other European countries are also concerned about the use of Valium with opioids and other substances that slow down the central nervous system. When Valium is combined with other substances, the undesirable side effects become more pronounced, increasing the risk of overdose.

The Unique Struggle of Valium Addicts
  • slows down the central nervous system, which has a euphoric effect that can be very desirable for nonmedical users
  • increases the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which relaxes users and makes it difficult to stop taking the drug
  • can produce uncomfortable withdrawal effects, causing some users to keep taking it even when they want to stop
  • produces a sense of relaxation, prompting users to keep taking it to help cope with stress

Valium Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated in 2015:

  • 1,511,000 individuals aged 12 and older used sedatives, such as Valium, within the past year.
  • 154,000 individuals aged 12 and older were addicted to sedatives, such as Valium, and in need of treatment.
  • 2,801 individuals aged 12 and older in need of treatment enrolled in a rehabilitation program for the misuse of sedatives, such as Valium.

Sedative Treatment Admissions by Gender

45.3 Male
54.7% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Valium Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly funded substance use treatment facilities, women are more likely to seek treatment for sedative abuse, which includes Valium. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for sedatives was 54.7% female and 45.3% male. While sedative addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for sedative use was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 45 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Sedative Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission Percentage of Sedative Treatment Admissions
12-17 3.7%
18-24 12.2%
25 – 34 26.9%
35 – 44 14.6%
45-54 10.0%
55-64 8.1%
65+ 24.8%

Valium Detoxification and Withdrawal Process

Rehabilitation for Valium addiction begins with the initial detoxification process, which allows the user to eliminate Valium from his or her body before receiving behavioral therapy and other rehabilitation services. Due to its half-life of 24 to 48 hours, approximately half of the Valium in a user’s system is eliminated within one to two days. Therefore, the full detoxification process typically takes three to four days; however, it may take longer, especially in chronic users and users who have kidney disease or other medical conditions that affect kidney function.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms persist for several weeks or longer. When this occurs, they are known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms. The total amount of time it takes a user to withdraw completely from the drug depends on several factors, such as medical history, the extent of Valium use, and whethe

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Difficulty sleeping
Heart palpitations
Muscle stiffness
Muscle pain
Difficulty concentrating
Long-Term Symptoms Weight loss
Sleep disturbances

Sources: Petursson

Sudden withdrawal from Valium can cause dangerous side effects

Valium affects the central nervous system, increasing the risk of serious side effects during the withdrawal process. These side effects include tremors, changes in heart rate, and changes in breathing rate. Serious side effects are more likely in users who stop taking Valium suddenly.

Valium withdrawal is associated with serious psychological symptoms

Individuals who stop using Valium and other benzodiazepines sometimes develop a condition known as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Not only does this syndrome produce unpleasant physical side effects, but it can also cause panic attacks and other psychological symptoms. These symptoms include heightened levels of anxiety and increased irritability.

Withdrawing from Valium can cause dangerous changes in perception

Some users experience changes in perception while withdrawing from Valium, which can affect what they hear, feel, and see. Changes in perception can be dangerous, especially for users who rely on their senses to perform safety-sensitive jobs. For example, a doctor who experiences a change in visual perception may have difficulty conducting a physical examination in a safe manner.

Valium Detoxification Medications

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has not approved any medications specifically for the treatment of sedative withdrawal; however, supportive medications may be used to relieve unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse. One of those medications is carbamazepine, which is typically used to treat seizures. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be relieved by substituting alprazolam for Valium. Like Valium, alprazolam is used to relieve anxiety.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Valium Addiction.

Treatment for Valium Addiction

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments, such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments, are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves attending scheduled appointments at a facility in which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Valium Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Support Groups Support groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day:


Days Per Week:


Behavioral and Medication Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and, thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Behavioral Therapies for Valium Addiction
Type of Therapy Definition
Panic Control Treatment for Benzodiazepine Discontinuation

Further reading:

Panic Control Treatment for Benzodiazepine Discontinuation (PCT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to help users avoid relapse by learning how to manage the panic and anxiety that sometimes lead to Valium addiction.

PCT is most effective when it’s used in combination with a tapered withdrawal strategy. Tapering refers to slowly reducing an individual’s Valium dosage over time. This tapering process can help users avoid some of the most unpleasant symptoms of Valium withdrawal.

Motivational Interviewing

Further reading:

Motivational interviewing involves interviewing a user to determine if he or she has reached the contemplation, preparation, or action stage of the process of withdrawing from Valium or another benzodiazepine.

By determining if the individual is ready to change or merely thinking about making a change, the treatment professional has a better chance of developing a successful rehabilitation plan.

How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Valium Addiction

When searching for a rehabilitation center, it’s important to look for a facility that offers programs specifically for individuals who are addicted to Valium and other benzodiazepines, as withdrawal from these substances can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Choosing a facility that offers both social support and behavioral therapies may help reduce the risk of relapse. Facilities that use PCT or motivational interviewing in their programs may be the most effective, as both strategies have been used successfully in treating individuals with benzodiazepine addiction.

Both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs are available, but a long-term user may benefit from the 24/7 support and sense of routine offered by inpatient facilities.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.