Benzo Withdrawal: What You Need to Know About Benzodiazepine Addiction
17 June, 2022
Benzodiazepines, aka “benzos,” are a commonly used class of drugs. Benzos are also highly addictive, and consistent use can lead to both physical and emotional addiction.
It’s also surprisingly easy to overdose on benzos.
Overcoming an addiction to benzos or other prescription drugs is a complex journey, and there is no single path to a successful recovery and sober future.
Addressing addiction to benzos often comes with withdrawal symptoms early in the recovery journey. Education and preparation are necessary for navigating the unique symptoms of benzo withdrawal to begin a truly transformative journey.
What Are Benzos?
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs only legally available through prescriptions and are used as depressants—slowing the central nervous system and affecting motor skills and thought patterns. Common benzos include drugs such as:
They are most commonly used to treat cases of high anxiety and panic to calm one’s body and mind into a more sedated state, preventing one from reacting self-destructively as a result of anxiety, paranoia, or other stressful, emotional states. Their use is intended to quickly treat the symptoms of these emotional states and is not intended for prolonged use.
The potent effects and addictive properties of benzos have led them to be used outside of dedicated medical settings, and even those who have been prescribed benzodiazepines at one point may find themselves developing an addiction and craving more once the prescription has run out.
This can lead an individual to seek dangerous and illicit alternatives.
The Effects of Benzos
Benzos affect the body by slowing certain processes, affecting everything from one’s emotional state to physical coordination. Symptoms of benzo abuse can include:
Compromised motor skills
Difficulty forming memories
These symptoms and more are all possible while under the influence of benzodiazepines.
The battle with benzo abuse will be met with withdrawal symptoms when one ceases their use and being prepared to cope with the effects of benzo withdrawal is essential for maintaining abstinence from these substances.
Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal
There are many factors involved in the manifestation of benzo withdrawal symptoms and the intensity at which they present themselves. How long one has been using benzos, the dosage, and the simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs all impact how one may experience withdrawal. While these factors influence each individual's unique reaction to benzo withdrawal, some common symptoms one can expect in detox include:
Withdrawal can be incredibly intense and difficult to process. Due to the potential for more serious symptoms like hallucinations and seizures, medically monitored detox is usually recommended for people in withdrawal from benzos.
The Benzo Withdrawal Timeline
While each individual will have their own unique timeline when it comes to battling an addiction to benzos, many will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of the last use.
Depending on the frequency and intensity of use, these withdrawal symptoms can persist for anywhere from a few days to a few months. However, this doesn’t mean that one’s withdrawal symptoms will be consistently severe.
While prolonged withdrawal symptoms can occur, the brunt of the difficulty will typically be over within the first few days or weeks of one’s cessation of benzo use.
The Need for Dedicated Withdrawal Treatment
It can be impossible to predict exactly what symptoms will manifest in withdrawal or the severity at which they may present themselves. Withdrawal is a time of intense physiological and emotional change and having dedicated professional support during this time is essential for navigating this time safely.
Withdrawal is an uncomfortable experience, so having medical support to manage physical needs, process extreme emotional states, and otherwise battle the effects of withdrawal on the body and mind is necessary.
Even in the presence of the genuine care of supportive loved ones, there is no replacement for professional education and care during this process. Ultimately, drug rehab makes withdrawal symptoms easier to tolerate, and increases the chance that withdrawal will be successful.
The intense effects of benzo withdrawal need a professional outlet to process safely, not just in managing physical discomfort but also in processing complex emotional states and dangerous physical reactions. In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be used to address some of these symptoms.
The threat of relapse is also incredibly prevalent during withdrawal, with urges and cravings being prevailing and intense. Navigating withdrawal in a safe environment free from access to benzos and anything that may cause unnecessary stress or reminders of their use is instrumental in getting through the worst of this time, with sobriety and motivation intact.
There is nothing easy about battling an addiction to benzos, but overcoming one is always possible. There is never a point that is “too late” to pursue sobriety. Preparing for intense symptoms, seeking professional help, and keeping the focus on a sober future can all help each individual navigate withdrawal safely and successfully.
The Edge Treatment Center Will Help You Overcome Benzo Addiction
Benzos are a dangerous class of drugs and overcoming an addiction to benzodiazepines is a difficult task.
The Edge Treatment Center understands the unique struggles and challenges of recovery from an addiction to benzos, and our caring staff is prepared to help you take the first steps to a sober future. From detox and withdrawal management to outpatient care, we can help you each step of the way on your recovery journey. For more information on how we can support your sober life free from benzos, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.