Diazepam, also known as Valium, is a long-acting benzodiazepine medication. It is most commonly prescribed for things like anxiety and panic disorders. However, it can also be used to treat insomnia, seizures, and even alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam belongs to a specific group called benzodiazepines. It works by affecting several different chemicals within the brain to promote relaxation and an overall sense of calmness. Mostly, it works by affecting the GABA receptors and makes your brain less sensitive to outside stimulation. The GABA receptors control emotion, memory, thought, and automatic functions such as breathing.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
Once diazepam has been taken orally, over 90 percent of the drug will be absorbed within 15 minutes when you take it on an empty stomach. However, when food is present in your stomach, it can extend absorption time and feel its effects upwards of 45 minutes. The amount of time it takes to kick in can also depend on what kind of food is sitting in your stomach. For example, when you have a fattier meal, it will take nearly two and a half hours for diazepam to peak compared to 1 hour when you have an empty stomach.
How Long Does Diazepam Stay in Your System?
How long Diazepam stays in your system will also influence how the drug will affect you. Since it is a long-acting benzodiazepine, it will stay in the body longer, meaning the effects it produces will last much longer than short-acting benzos. Diazepam has a half-life of about 48 hours. The half-life means that is how long it takes for half of the dose taken to be expelled from the body. The amount of time diazepam stays in the body is a pretty wide range of time as there are many factors that you need to take into consideration such as age, percentage of body fat, metabolic rate, dosage amount, overall health, your kidney and liver function, and whether there is polysubstance use.
Diazepam Abuse and Withdrawal Symptoms
Diazepam, and any other benzodiazepine medications, should only be prescribed and taken for a short period. This is because, even if you take it as prescribed, you can depend on it. This occurs when your body gets used to having diazepam in your system and no longer knows how to function without it. Abuse can also occur when you take this drug long-term. As dependence develops, you may come to realize the amount you are prescribed by a doctor no longer works for your life it used to. This may cause you to take larger and larger doses to feel the same effect. This is drug abuse and can lead you down a very dangerous path to drug addiction. Withdrawal from diazepam occurs when you suddenly stop taking the drug once you have become dependent or do not take a big enough dose. Withdrawal can begin 1-4 days after the last dose. The withdrawal symptoms can be painful and scary and include nausea and vomiting, headaches, tremors, body aches, panic attacks, rebound anxiety, mood swings, depression, drug cravings, and seizures.
Diazepam Dependence and Addiction Treatment at Evoke Wellness at Miramar
While Diazepam does have some legitimate purposes medically, it also comes with a very high potential for abuse and addiction. If you suspect you may have become dependent or addicted to diazepam, you should seek help through a medically assisted detox followed by addiction treatment. This will make the withdrawal process much safer and as comfortable as possible. It is never too late to start the healing process, and we are here to help you through it.