Can Valium (Diazepam) Help Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

Diazepam (Valium) can be used to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome and has proven to be effective at dampening unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Yes, diazepam — known commercially by the brand name of Valium — can help manage the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Valium is a benzodiazepine, which is a central nervous system depressant that can treat any level of alcohol withdrawal, from minor symptoms all the way to delirium tremens (DTs).

Benzodiazepines are typically used to treat anxiety and insomnia, but can also lessen complications arising from alcohol withdrawal.

These drugs, also called ‘benzos’, have other variations such as oxazepam, lorazepam, and chlordiazepoxide.

Diazepam is the benzo with the shortest ingest-to-peak effect, which can produce a smoother comedown — but any benzodiazepine will function well for treating symptoms of alcohol dependence.

How Valium Is Used To Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Healthcare providers administer Valium in a couple of different ways, including through oral ingestion and intramuscular injection, and it can also be taken as an adjunctive medication.

Given Valium’s short ‘time to peak’ effect, it can be an extremely effective drug, as it facilitates the rapid control of symptoms while refraining from over-sedation.

The long elimination half-life of Valium also contributes to the drug’s tapering effect, producing a smooth comedown while acting as an effective anticonvulsant.

Further, studies of diazepam use have concluded that persons treated with Valium have experienced fewer rebound symptoms, incidence-based complications, and more.

How Valium Dosing Works

The first dosing method is called the fixed tapering dose regimen (FTDR) which begins at an objective amount and slowly but gradually decreases over time.

The second is called the symptom triggered regimen (STR) and delivers Valium on an as-needed basis without the necessity of a standard order measure.

Lastly, the loading dose regimen (LDR) consists of a higher than average initial dosage in a controlled trial environment before dropping to lower doses.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms That Valium Helps Treat

Valium is effective at treating many symptoms of alcohol abuse, such as hallucinations, seizures, and other symptoms which affect the central nervous system (CNS).


Valium can reduce alcohol withdrawal-induced seizures, as it works as an acute alcohol withdrawal medication while also having anticonvulsant properties, much like Baclofen and Librium.


Diazepam relieves feelings of anxiety and agitation, leading to better sleep by preventing alcohol withdrawal-based insomnia. Taking this drug also reduces the amount of time necessary to fall asleep and prevents sleep interruptions.

Chills And Sweats

There are many symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including headaches, depression, increased cravings, and more.

Diazepam also treats one of the most persistent symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal, namely continual chills and sweats, which result from the absence of alcohol in the brain.

Anxiety And Panic

Fixed doses of Valium reduce anxiety and panic by dampening neurotransmitter activity in the brain, resulting in less autonomic hyperactivity.

Side Effects Of Valium During Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

Like many other medications, the active metabolites in Valium can induce negative side effects.

The use of benzodiazepines such as Valium or Ativan can cause the following side effects:

  • drowsiness
  • high blood pressure
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • muscle weakness

Some side effects of Valium use can be dangerous and result in potentially fatal complications from just a single dose.

Immediately cease Valium use and call a medical emergency department if you experience:

  • slurred speech
  • slowed heartbeat
  • loss of bodily control
  • uncontrollable shaking similar to withdrawal seizures
  • respiratory depression

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Use Disorder

Fortunately, treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome comes in a number of evidence-based therapy services and recovery programs.

Types of alcohol and drug rehab services available at addiction treatment centers include:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
  • alcohol detoxification
  • medication supplementation
  • early intervention programs
  • pharmacotherapy solutions including medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • psychiatry services
  • therapy and counseling

Find Drug And Alcohol Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are searching for recovery services for an alcohol addiction, give our free helpline a call today to discuss enrollment at Bedrock.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  2. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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