Benzo Detox and Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious problem. These prescription drugs are often prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and even seizures, but they can be misused and abused. People who abuse benzodiazepines may take more than the prescribed amount, take them more often than prescribed, or take them without a prescription. When misused, benzodiazepines can lead to addiction, overdose, and death.
If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, there is help available. Benzo detox and treatment programs can provide the support and treatment needed to overcome addiction and live a healthy, drug-free life.
Keep reading to learn about benzodiazepine detox and how Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada can help you or your loved one detox from benzodiazepines safely and comfortably.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that act on the brain and body to produce a calming effect. They are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States – approximately 30 million people use benzos in The United States. Though they are effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, other types of anxiety disorders, and other conditions, they can be addictive.
People who abuse benzodiazepines can develop a tolerance to them, which means they need higher doses to achieve the same effect. There are short acting benzos and long acting benzos. Common examples of benzodiazepines prescribed by a medical provider include clonazepam and alprazolam.
While benzodiazepines can be effective when used as prescribed, they carry a high risk for abuse and addiction. If you think you may be addicted to benzodiazepines, here are some signs to look out for.
1. Increased Tolerance
One of the earliest signs of addiction is increased tolerance. This means that the person needs to take larger doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect. As tolerance builds, you may start to taking the drug more frequently or in higher benzo doses than prescribed. This leads to a benzodiazepine dependence.
2. Withdrawal Symptoms
If you suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines or reduce your dosage, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, sweating, shaking, and insomnia. These symptoms can be mild to severe and may last for several days or weeks
3. Uncontrollable Cravings
People who are addicted to benzodiazepines may find that they have strong cravings for the drug. They may obsessively think about obtaining and using the drug and feel unable to control their benzo use even though they understand the risks involved.
4. Neglecting Responsibilities
A person’s life may start to revolve around their addiction as they prioritize drug use over work, school, family, and other obligations. They may start missing work or school, neglecting their appearance, or engaging in risky behaviors such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
5 Being Secretive About Drug Use
People addicted to benzos and other drugs may try to cover up their problem by being secretive about their use or by lying about how much they’re using. People often go to great lengths to obtain drugs, such as doctor shopping or forging prescriptions.
Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious problem with potentially devastating consequences. If you think you might be addicted to benzodiazepines, it’s important to seek help from a professional addiction treatment center as soon as possible. With proper treatment for substance abuse, you can regain control of your life and live a healthy and fulfilling life without drugs.
What is Benzodiazepine Detox?
During benzo detox, clients will be closely monitored as they withdraw from the drugs. The withdrawal process can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is necessary to break the physical dependence on benzodiazepines.
The first step in detox is stopping all use of benzos. This can be difficult because it can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability, nausea, sweating, and shaking. In some cases, they can even lead to seizures or delirium tremens (DTs).
Medical detox can help you manage your benzo withdrawal symptoms so that you’re more comfortable and less likely to relapse. During a medically supervised detox, you’ll be monitored around the clock by medical professionals who will adjust your medication as needed and provide any other necessary care to relieve withdrawal symptoms and make sure you’re safe.
How Long Will I Stay at The Detox Facility?
The length of your stay will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of your addiction, your medical history, and your overall health. However, most people who do a medical detox from benzos in a hospital setting can expect to stay for 5-7 days.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’ve been abusing benzodiazepines and decide to quit, you will experience the acute withdrawal phase. This occurs when you suddenly stop taking the drug that you’ve been using for a long period of time. Your body is no longer able to function without it, and you experience withdrawal symptoms as it adjusts. Benzo withdrawal symptoms are not fatal if managed correctly, but they can be dangerous. That’s why it’s important to detox under the care of a medical professional who can monitor your vital signs and help you through the process safely.
Stopping benzodiazepines can cause a host of uncomfortable benzo withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common benzo withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Panic attacks
- Muscle aches
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
The acute withdrawal phase of benzodiazepine detox can also cause more severe symptoms like seizures and hallucinations. These can be dangerous and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
The length of time benzo withdrawal lasts varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors, including the severity of addiction, whether they were taking high doses of the drug, how long the person has been taking benzos, and whether they have any underlying mental health issues or physical health conditions. In general, though, most people report that benzo withdrawal lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Detoxing from benzodiazepines is not something you should try to do on your own. The best way to ensure your safety during benzo detox is to enter an inpatient treatment facility where you can participate in a medically supervised detox program,
Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), sometimes referred to as post acute withdrawal syndrome, are a set of lingering symptoms that can occur after someone has gone through the benzo withdrawal process. PAWS can happen to anyone who has gone through benzodiazepine detox and is in early recovery. While PAWS can be difficult to deal with, understanding what they are and how to manage them can make a big difference. While the exact symptoms vary from person to person, some common ones include the following:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Frequent headaches
- Memory problems
- Loss of appetite
PAWS typically start within a few weeks of your last use and can last anywhere from a few weeks to many months or a year or more.
While there is no surefire way to prevent the post acute phase from occurring, there are some things you can do to manage them if they do occur:
- Get plenty of rest: Fatigue is a common symptom of PAWS, so it’s important to get enough sleep at night and take breaks during the day as needed.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating nutritious foods helps your body recover from the effects of drug use and also helps boost your mood and energy levels.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise releases endorphins—a natural mood booster—and can help reduce stress levels.
- Avoid triggers: If there are certain people, places, or things that make you want to use drugs or alcohol again, do your best to avoid them during early recovery when PAWS are most likely to occur.
- Seek professional help: If your symptoms are severe or last longer than a few months, it may be helpful to see a therapist or counselor who specializes in addiction recovery. They can help you develop coping skills for dealing with difficult symptoms of withdrawal.
Can I Detox From Benzos at Home?
Detoxing from Benzodiazepines at home is dangerous because of the potential for seizures. They are a common symptom of withdrawal from Benzodiazepines, and they can be life-threatening without a medically assisted detox with supervision from medical professionals.
Additionally, attempting to detox from Benzodiazepines without professional help can lead to relapse. If you don’t have a medical team or any other drugs and medications to help with your withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms), you’re much more likely to start using again to relieve these symptoms of withdrawal.
Tapering vs Cold Turkey
Tapering means gradually reducing your dose of benzodiazepines over time until you are eventually able to stop taking them altogether. This process can take weeks or even months depending on your specific situation. Tapering off gradually gives your body time to adjust to lower doses of the drug and minimizes the worst withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting “cold turkey” refers to stopping your benzo use abruptly, without slowly reducing your dosage first. This approach is not recommended because it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous and even fatal without medical supervision.
Common Fears About Benzo Detox
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be intense and scary, so it’s no wonder that people who are considering quitting benzos often have a lot of fears and doubts. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common fears about benzodiazepine detox.
· It Will Be Painful
One of the most common fears about benzo detox is that it will be painful. And it’s true, there can be some uncomfortable physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, sweating, and nausea. But these symptoms are usually mild and short-lived. And they are nothing compared to the pain of continuing to live with an addiction.
· It Could Kill Me
Another common fear is that detoxing from benzos could be fatal. It is true that there have been some reports of deaths during benzodiazepine withdrawal, but when you do it safely and under the care of a medical professional, it’s very unlikely that you will die from benzodiazepines detox.
· Can’t Function Without Benzos
Many people who are addicted to benzodiazepines also suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders. As a result, they may believe that they can’t function without the drug. However, with proper treatment, it is possible to manage your mental health without benzodiazepines. In fact, getting off benzos can be an important step in recovery from mental illness. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be tough, but it’s not impossible.
After Benzodiazepine Detox
Making the decision to detox from benzos is a big first step in taking control of your life and your health. However, benzodiazepine detox is only the first step on the road to successful recovery. After you’ve detoxed, you should strongly consider entering a residential treatment program or an outpatient facility to help you through the next stage of your journey. Here’s why:
Treatment will give you the tools you need to stay off benzos
When you’re in treatment, you’ll learn about the triggers that led you to abuse benzos in the first place. You’ll learn how to identify those triggers and how to avoid them in the future. In other words, treatment will give you the skills and knowledge you need to stay off benzos for the long haul.
Treatment will help you rebuild your life.
Treatment is not just about not using drugs; it’s also about rebuilding your life. You’ll have time to focus on your relationships, your career, and your goals for the future. You’ll also receive support and guidance from counselors and therapists who have been through what you’re going through and who can help you get back on track.
Treatment will give you a sense of community.
In rehab, you’ll be surrounded by people who are going through the same thing as you are. This sense of community can be invaluable during the beginning phases of recovery. Knowing that there are others who understand what you’re going through can make all the difference in sticking with your recovery plan.
Let Us Help with Benzodiazepines Now
Benzo detox is a big accomplishment, but it’s only the first step on the road to recovery. Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada has a dedicated team of professionals who will work with you to find the best treatment option for you and get you started on your road to long-term recovery. Contact us today for help.
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