Also called Benzos, but what exactly are Benzodiazepines? Well, these are a class of drugs that slow down brain activity (CNS depressants). They are commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep problems. Examples include:
● Alprazolam (Xanax)
● Diazepam (Valium)
● Triazolam (Halcion)
● Clonazepam (Klonopin)
● Lorazepam (Ativan)
Benzos can be habit-forming and result in physical dependence and tolerance. Dependence is when you cannot function normally when you stop taking a drug, while tolerance means requiring larger doses to feel the effects of a drug.
In a benzo-dependent person, reducing the dose or stopping use can cause uncomfortable symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. Most notably, some of these effects can be life-threatening.
If you or anyone you love has benzo dependence, you should seek professional help at Silicon Valley Recovery to help avoid the complications.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms can occur within 24 hours after the last use and persist for a few days to several months. Rarely, some heavy chronic users may experience the effects for a year or longer.
The timeline depends on several factors, such as the type of benzo, duration of abuse, and doses. Moreover, co-existing mental issues and other diseases can affect the course of withdrawal.
(Also called rebound symptoms,) develop shortly after the last intake and mimic the symptoms of the condition being treated with the drug. For example, a person taking benzo for anxiety may experience anxiety soon after stopping the drug.
Symptoms typically begin within a few days after immediate withdrawal and can last from 1 week to 4 weeks. According to those who have undergone benzodiazepine detox, this is the most troublesome phase.
Also called post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), this phase can last a year or longer. PAWS can include sleep disturbance, anxiety, poor concentration, depression, and extreme mood swings.
Once you decide to quit benzo addiction, the first person to consult is a medical professional. They will assess your condition and can refer you to a detox center. Doing this is critical to your safety and long-term recovery.
Most detox centers employ a tapering schedule – reducing your dose gradually – to prevent complications and make withdrawal less stressful. Likewise, a more potent drug can be switched to less potent benzo. A medical team decides whether to taper off or switch.
Outpatient services are ideal for those with a low risk of complications, such as overdose and seizures. A person with no co-existing mental health issue may also consider these services.
In addition to tapering, your doctor may prescribe specific drugs to relieve withdrawal symptoms, including:
An anti-anxiety medicine that can alleviate emotional symptoms during withdrawal. Most notably, this drug is not habit-forming and can be used soon after tapering off the benzo doses.
The main use of flumazenil is to reverse the symptoms of benzodiazepine overdoses. In addition, your doctor may decide to use it to alleviate withdrawal symptoms associated with long-acting benzos.
A warning for anyone considering self-detox!
There have been a few reports of death during benzo withdrawal in the medical literature. Even if death is uncommon, seizures can sometimes permanently damage the brain.
Moreover, if you have been using large doses for prolonged periods, you should never stop the drug abruptly. Doing so can trigger potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.
In medically assisted detox, a medical team monitors your condition 24 hours a day and has resources to manage any emergent situations.
After completing the benzo detox process, you are ready to start behavioral therapies in an inpatient rehab center, preferably in your area. Silicon Valley Recovery offers a comprehensive Benzodiazepine Detox Program to help you at every step of your recovery process.
Our center provides a range of therapies, such as: