What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines belong to a class of medication known as tranquilizers, often colloquially called benzos. Benzodiazepines are prescribed to help treat a variety of conditions including anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms, and more. You can read more about the prescription information for benzos here. 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. At Changing Tides Treatment Centers we can and will help you or your loved on with the benzodiazepine detox process

Here are some of the side effects associated with benzos:

  • Next day drowsiness
  • Hypotension
  • Memory loss
  • Slow heart rate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dependence, abuse, and addiction

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 benzodiazepine detox process, starting you off with a strong and healthy foundation for a lasting recovery. If you wish to get off your benzodiazepines. Don’t try to detox at home, or do some do-it-yourself method. benzodiazepine detox can be lethal, and it is not something to be taken lightly. We provide a medical detox that also incorporates a holistic approach so that every part of you will be taken care of.

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!  1-844-88-DETOX

There are dozens of different kinds of “benzos” that are available by prescription. Whenever we talk about psychoactive medication there is both a generic name and a brand name. Here is a list of common benzodiazepines as well as what they are usually described for. Usually, people are more familiar with the brand name rather than the generic drug name so we have included both here for convenience.

Valium is an addictive benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other drugs in its class. An addiction to Valium can progress quickly if the drug is used in a way not directed by a doctor. Over time, it is harder for a Valium abuser’s brain to function normally without the drug. Yet, some people addicted to Valium may not even realize they have a problem.

Once a user has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to for addicted people to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal

Like other benzodiazepines, Librium is a habit-forming, psychotropic drug. Users who are prescribed Librium for a legitimate medical purpose, like to treat insomnia or anxiety, can still develop a dependence on the drug. Some people start abusing Librium by ramping up their dosage because they are no longer experiencing the desired effect. Others start using Librium to purposefully get high or to enhance the effects of other drugs. Those with underlying mental conditions are also at a greater risk of becoming addicted to Librium.

Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine that is often prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders and insomnia. It is extremely addictive when used long-term. Xanax is the number one prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. Seventy percent of teens with a Xanax addiction get the drug from their family’s medicine cabinet.

Tolerance to Xanax develops quickly, requiring the user to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Someone with a Xanax addiction may take up to 20 to 30 pills per day. If the user decides to stop taking Xanax, they may experience withdrawal effects, such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The onset of withdrawal symptoms is a sign that a physical dependence has developed.

Once a Xanax addiction has taken hold, daily responsibilities, such as school, work or family, are ignored as energy is redirected towards drug seeking behavior.

Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication also prescribed to treat other ailments ranging from insomnia to epilepsy. Ativan is a strong benzodiazepine that has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Taking Ativan for any period of time can lead to physical and psychological dependence based on a number of factors, including genetics and personal history. People with a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse or untreated mental health disorders are at a greater risk for developing an Ativan addiction

A habitual user will eventually need more Ativan to produce the same effects. This is a tolerance to the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can make quitting even more difficult. Rehab, therapy, and medically assisted detox can help those struggling with an Ativan addiction.

Used to treat panic disorder and as an anti-seizure medication. The drug has hypnotic, sedative, anxiety-reducing, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant and amnesic properties. It is available as oral tablets, liquid solutions and injectable solutions. It takes only two to four weeks to develop a dependence on the drug.

Misusing Klonopin may lead to psychological and physical dependence, acute depression, sleep disorders and aggression. The serious withdrawal symptoms typically affect those who have been taking larger doses of Klonopin over a prolonged period. Acute withdrawal from benzodiazepines such as Klonopin can result in death. Withdrawal symptoms should be managed in a professional setting, such as a rehab facility, by a trained health care professional.

Rohypnol is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with general properties similar to those of Valium (diazepam). It is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia, as a pre-medication in surgical procedures and for inducing anesthesia.

Since the 1990s Rohypnol has been used illegally to lessen the depression caused by the abuse of stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and also as an aid for sexual assault. The so-called “date-rape drug” was placed unknowingly in the drinks of victims, often at a bar or party (“club drug”). Due to the strong amnesia produced by the drug, victims would have limited or no memory of the assault.

Benzo Withdrawal Timeline And Symptoms

Benzodiazepines affect 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 difficulty 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 tremens, and suicidal or homicidal ideation.

Because these symptoms can potentially be fatal, it’s important to find benzodiazepine detox help. If you are coming off benzos, it is necessary to do so with doctor approval and medical oversight. It can be necessary to come off benzos in a safe environment like a detox facility.

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, benzodiazepine detox withdrawal will vary. Because everyone is different, it’s important to seek professional help to stay safe.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome can be intense and even dangerous without proper care; it is therefore best managed with medical benzodiazepine detox. Detox is the removal of toxins from the body, and medical detox is a comprehensive method that provides medical and mental health supervision and monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Generally, medical detox lasts 5-10 days in a specialized, safe, and secure facility.

Relapse following benzodiazepine detox is another serious concern. Many people who return to using benzodiazepines after stopping use for an extended period of time go back to using their previous dose. However, the person’s tolerance levels drop after being without the drug. Resuming use with a high dose can lead to overdose, especially when combined with other sedative medications or alcohol.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms often continue to occur for six months or longer after ceasing benzodiazepine use. Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Persistent anxiety
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Difficulty performing complex tasks
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Depression

Day 1-3

Seizure
Increased Heart Rate
Mood Swings
Insomnia
Nausea
Vomiting
Nervousness
Tremors

Day 4-7

Sleep Disorder
Irritability
Racing Thoughts
Rebound Anxiety
Depression
Cravings

Week 2

Anxiety
Sleep Problems
Mood Swings
Depression
Cravings
Irritability

Week 3

Agitation
Anxiety
Decreased Cravings
Irritability

Week 4

Anxiety
Depression
Energy Regain
Sleep Stabilization

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

Benzo medications can be helpful for many people. However, there are a number of side effects associated with the use of this type of medication. When discussing adverse reactions there are generally three types of effects we talk about.

Benzodiazepines are intended for short term use. Research indicates that the longer these medications are used for, the higher the risk for dependence and adverse effects. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are taking benzo medication and experiencing any of these symptoms.

  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

The first is allergic reactions.

Like any medication it is possible to have an allergic reaction from benzo medication. They can be as mild as a rash or skin irritation or as severe as anaphylactic shock. Allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock can be extremely dangerous and might lead to death. The second type of adverse reaction is often called “dose related”. These are the most common types of side effects. They are known by the drug company and often printed on the prescription insert. Dose related reactions happen when someone is prescribed too high a dose of the medication.

 

The final type of adverse reactions are drug interactions.

Drug interactions occur when the medication you are taking interacts with another medication or drug. When benzos are combined with alcohol, tranquilizers, barbiturates, or narcotics they can cause excessive sedation or memory loss. Drugs that slow the liver down also might interact with benzos. When medications slow down the liver it takes longer for benzos to leave the system. This can lead to high concentrations of benzos in the blood which can increase the risk of other side effects.

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!  1-844-88-DETOX