Benzodiazepines Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse1, there has been a 4.3-fold increase in overdose deaths from benzodiazepine abuse in the last 15 years. Benzodiazepines are being abused at higher rates than ever, and we’re seeing a national trend of more and more people admitting to addiction treatment centers after their abuse. Because tolerance builds quickly, physical dependence is created easily, and the detoxification process can be deadly, benzodiazepine addiction is dangerous and can be lethal. As with many other prescription medications, people believe they are safe because a doctor prescribed them. However, prolonged use and misuse can lead to a strong addictive cycle that may be hard to break.
Benzodiazepines belong to a class of medication known as tranquilizers, often colloquially called benzos. There are dozens of different kinds of benzos, with some of the more well known ones including Xanax® (Alprazolam), Librium® (Chlordiazepoxide), Valium® (Diazepam), Ativan® (Lorazepam), Klonopin® (Clonazepam), and Rohypnol® (Flunitrazepam) which you may know as an infamous date-rape drug “roofie.” Benzodiazepines are prescribed to help treat a variety of conditions including anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, and more. Taken as prescribed, these drugs can be extremely useful. They act on the central nervous system producing a sedated state, relaxed muscles, and decreased anxiety. Because of the effects and side effects produced by these medications, they are highly susceptible to abuse.
Benzo Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms
Benzodiazepines effect the GABA receptors, like alcohol does. Because of this, withdrawal symptoms may be fatal. The most common benzo withdrawal symptoms are insomnia, anxiety, irritability, sweating, and difficult concentrating. It’s important to know that with benzodiazepines, you can develop serious withdrawal symptoms even if you were taking the medication exactly as prescribed. Withdrawal symptoms have been found to arise in patients taking benzos for only three months. In more extreme cases usually related to abuse, withdrawal may cause hallucinations, seizures, psychosis, mania, delirium trmens, and suicidal or homicidal ideation. Because these symptoms can potentially be fatal, it’s important to find benzo withdrawal help. If you are coming off benzos, it is necessary to do so with doctor approval and medical oversight.
The benzo withdrawal timeline depends on the drug you were taking. Some benzos are short-acting (like Xanax®), while some are long-acting (like Valium®). Generally speaking, withdrawal effects begin to arise within a few hours after your last dose, with the worst symptoms coming 2-4 days later. The short-acting benzos will cause harsher and quicker withdrawals, while the long-acting ones will often have longer withdrawal periods. Although the worst is generally over within a week, symptoms of coming off benzos can last for a couple weeks or months. Depending on your body’s metabolism, your medical care, and how long you were taking your medication for, withdrawal will vary. Because everyone is different, it’s important to seek professional help to stay safe.
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased anxiety
- Delirium tremens (DT’s)
- Manic state or episode
- Suicidal and/or homicidal ideation
Detox from Benzos
Benzo detox must be taken seriously. In order to stay safe during detox from benzos, professional medical care is highly advised. As the symptoms of withdrawal can potentially be fatal, it’s imperative that you come off benzodiazepines the right way. Wanting to rid your body of drugs like Xanax®, Valium®, or Klonopin® is a wonderful intention, but it’s not worth the risk to attempt the process by yourself at home. Here at Changing Tides, we have years of experience working with those going through the withdrawal process. We will make sure you are provided with the best care in your detox process, starting you off with a strong and healthy foundation for a lasting recovery. If you wish to get off your benzodiazepines, why not start by detoxing the right way? Don’t try to detox at home, or do some do-it-yourself method. Benzo detox can be lethal, and it is not something to be taken lightly.
If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine dependence or abuse, give us a call today for help! We are standing by and ready to take your call.