What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, also known as ‘benzos’, are prescription drugs in the tranquilizer family that are used to treat issues like severe anxiety and insomnia. They work by producing short-term calming effects, relaxing muscles and easing feelings of distress, by raising the amount of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, and depressing the nervous system. They usually come in tablet form, to be swallowed or dissolved under the tongue.
Commonly prescribed benzos include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
These drugs are addictive, and may be chronically misused, with the user taking more than prescribed over a long period of time, or in one large dose for a more intense effect.
When these medications are abused they can cause dangerous sedative effects like blurred vision, weakness, slurred speech, confusion, lack of coordination, and depressed breathing, especially if mixed with alcohol or other drugs. Abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to overdose and death.
If you feel you may have developed a physical dependence on benzos, or have been abusing these drugs and want to stop, a medical detox is the safest method, due to the uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms these drugs can produce in your body.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
Common symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms, twitches or tension
- Anxiety and panic
- Decreased appetite resulting in weight loss
- Clouded thinking and trouble concentrating
- Mood swings or agitation
- Drug cravings
- Depression and suicidal ideation
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are usually acute, meaning they are temporary, but in approximately ten percent of cases, there can be a protracted withdrawal syndrome that can last months or even years after quitting.
Factors That Can Influence Severity of Benzo Withdrawal
Some of the factors that can influence the severity of your withdrawal during benzodiazepine detox include:
- The amount you were taking each time
- The frequency with which you were taking benzos
- If you were using other drugs or alcohol alongside benzos (poly-drug abuse)
- Your physical and mental health at the time of detox
- The type of benzo you were using and its half-life
- The method of ingestion (snorting, injecting, or oral ingestion)
The Stages of Benzo Withdrawal
The stages of benzo withdrawal are as follows:
Within a Few Hours/Days of Stopping Use
You may experience a return of anxiety and insomnia, or other symptoms you were taking the benzos to suppress.
After a Few Days
Acute withdrawal will begin after a few days, withdrawal symptoms will begin to ramp up and may require intervention such as prescription medications, therapy and counseling, all of which are provided during a medically assisted treatment (MAT) detox program
Over the Next Couple of Weeks
Symptoms will reduce in severity, and, depending on the half-life of the particular benzo you were taking, may disappear quickly or over the next few weeks. You will feel better gradually as the drugs leave your system and your brain makes chemical adjustments.
Benzodiazepine Detox at The Healing Place
At The Healing Place, we offer a medically assisted treatment (MAT) program for benzodiazepine withdrawal that will keep you safe, comfortable and supported as you taper off of your benzo use in our luxury facility.
Once you have completed your detox, we can transition you into a comprehensive rehabilitation program that will help you heal your mind, body and spirit by getting to the root of your addiction through trauma informed care, and a combination of:
Psychological treatments like behavioral therapy and counseling that will help you find the underlying causes of your addiction, teach you new coping mechanisms and provide recovery skills, helping you change behavior patterns to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Physical health care that will treat the issues caused by drug addiction, along with dual diagnosis treatments for those dealing with co-occurring mental health issues.
Holistic treatments like massage therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, acupuncture, aromatherapy and nutritional counseling. These treatments will help you deal with anxiety, stress and depression, as well as physical and psychological pain that addiction can cause.
Benzodiazepine detox and withdrawal does not have to be a scary or dangerous experience. Contact The Healing Place at (844) 524-6873, and we can help you begin your journey down the road to recovery.