Benzodiazepines – or benzos, for short – are among the most commonly prescribed prescription medications in the U.S. today. These drugs work by creating a relaxing, tranquilizing effect. Doctors prescribe them for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, panic disorder, muscle spasms, tremors, seizures and insomnia.
Even if you have never heard the word “benzodiazepines,” you have probably heard of one or more of these brand names: Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin. Though they can be beneficial for people with life-disrupting health issues such as anxiety and panic disorders, they are also highly addictive, which makes long-term use risky when people underestimate the consequences. Users can quickly build up a tolerance, requiring higher and higher doses to result in the same calming effects. If you are seeking freedom from a benzo dependency, here are some things you should know about the benzodiazepine withdrawal process.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Severe
Benzos work by dulling the chemical receptors in your brain. When you stop using these medications, the calming chemicals they provide are no longer present. As a result, benzodiazepine withdrawal is often unpleasant and characterized by difficulties such as:
- Muscle stiffness and body aches
- Heart palpitations
- Moderate to severe depression
- Body tremors
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
- Extreme anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight loss
- Sweating, shaking, seizures
Though these symptoms – and the degree of discomfort associated with them – vary from person to person, the acute symptoms of withdrawal can last between one week to three months. However, even after getting clean, some people experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms that may last up to two years, in some cases.
Quitting Cold Turkey Is Highly Dangerous
Once you have realized the extensive negative health impacts of continuing to use benzos, your initial impulse may be to quit using them as soon as possible. However, the challenges of trying to stop using such a highly addictive drug on your own, outside of a medically supervised setting, can be overwhelming. Side effects like agitation, panic, hallucinations and seizures are possible in users who abruptly discontinue benzos, and can be overwhelming or even deadly for people to manage without professional help.
Avoiding Some Substances Can Help
When you are working on getting and staying clean from benzodiazepines, it can help your goals to avoid things like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar. These substances might resolve some of your uncomfortable symptoms and cravings in the short-term, but can be addictive in their own right, and you’re better off staying away from them altogether if you wish to minimize your vulnerability to additional complications.
Consider a Residential Addiction Program
Because of the various risks some people experience when quitting benzos, detox alone may not be enough to help you get clean and make a fresh start in life. As a result, you should have a comprehensive plan for what you will do to continue to avoid withdrawal symptoms after you complete a detox program. Transitioning into residential treatment from benzodiazepine detox can help you fully conquer your addiction and reclaim your physical and mental health.
A Detox Center That Puts Your Needs First
At Inland Detox, our team of specialists provide personalized attention in a medically managed setting. If you are struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines, don’t risk your health any longer. When you need help to reclaim your life, contact us anytime to learn more about customized care in a well-appointed setting.