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Benzodiazepine Detox

What is Benzodiazepine?

A benzodiazepine, or benzo, is the name of a class of drugs used to treat various conditions.  Conditions commonly treated with benzos include insomnia, anxiety, sleep disorders, and even alcohol withdrawal.  In addition, these substances act on the GABA receptors in the brain as they produce a very calming effect.  Unfortunately, dependence can develop in as little as a month.  High-risk patients or those with unstable medical conditions or a significant seizure history may benefit from admission to an inpatient service for benzodiazepine detox or withdrawal.  [1]

Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain.

Types of Benzodiazepines

There are many different benzodiazepines on the market.  Doctors may prescribe one over the other for several reasons.  Perhaps their patients have seen more progress for one over the other, or the formulation of specific benzo is known to meet a particular client’s needs better.  Furthermore, here is a list of the different types of benzos with their generic and brand names.

  • Alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR)
  • Clobazam (Onfi)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium, Diastat Acudial, Diastat)
  • Estazolam (Prosom – discontinued brand in the US)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxazepam (Serax – discontinued brand in the US)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
Benzodiazepine Detox
We Level Up New Jersey offers a personalized benzodiazepine detox and benzo addiction treatment.

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Impaired Coordination
  • Vision Problems
  • Grogginess
  • Feelings of Depression
  • Headache

Long Term Side Effects

  • Possible Dementia
  • Physical Dependence
  • Overdose

Benzo Overdose

The most significant risk of using benzodiazepines and a reason to get into a benzo addiction treatment program is likely overdosing.  With a capacity for developing a tolerance, the longer someone takes benzodiazepines, the greater dosage they will probably need to take to reach the desired effect.  Hence, the greater the risk of overdosing.  In addition, sedative benzos cause breathing to slow.  In turn, less oxygen is directed through the lungs to the brain and the rest of the body.  Finally, once you take a larger dose, breathing delays to the point of being fatal.

Benzo Withdrawal

Basically, the benzo withdrawal symptoms will differ depending on how the benzodiazepine detox process is administered.  For instance, in a professional detox center where the client is weaned off properly, symptoms can occur and include feeling sleepy and depressed and sweating and chills.  The following are the significant symptoms of withdrawal from benzos.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms [2]

Benzodiazepine withdrawal becomes much more severe and fatal most especially without medical supervision. You may develop Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome that could cause more painful effects to your body and mind.

General

  • Headache
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Muscle pain, stiffness, and aches (limbs, back, neck, jaw)

Neurological

  • Dizziness
  • Paraesthesia or shooting pains in neck and spine
  • Visual disturbances (blurred vision, diplopia, photophobia, image lags behind eye movements)
  • Tinnitus
  • Faintness and dizziness, sense of instability
  • Confusion, disorientation (may be intermittent): A common cause of disorder in older patients
  • Delirium (in the absence of autonomic hyperactivity): Particularly in older patients
  • Delusions, paranoia
  • Hallucinations (visual, auditory)
  • Grand mal seizures 1–12 days after discontinuing benzodiazepines

Gastrointestinal

  • Nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea (may resemble irritable bowel syndrome)

Psychological

  • Rebound insomnia, nightmares
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Irritability, restlessness, agitation
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Perceptual distortions – sensory hypersensitivity (light, sound, touch, taste), abnormal sensations (e.g., ‘cotton wool’ sensations)
  • Metallic taste
  • Distortions of body image
  • Feelings of unreality, depersonalization, derealization
  • Depression, dysphoria

Benzodiazepine Detox Withdrawal Timelines

Much like detoxing from other prescription drugs, benzo withdrawal timelines can differ from case to case.  For someone who was using short-acting benzos, withdrawal symptoms may begin to present themselves in as little as 6 to 8 hours.  However, if a longer-acting benzodiazepine was used, it could be 24 to 48 hours before symptoms are observed. Withdrawal symptoms typically last about four days.  And, rebound symptoms may last about 2-3 days from when they begin.

Rebound Symptoms from Benzos

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Benzodiazepine Detox

In addition to withdrawal symptoms, benzo detox most commonly also brings on rebound symptoms.  Rebound symptoms are the return of symptoms that may have been present at the start of taking the medication, and the symptoms may intensify for a few days.  This may include insomnia, anxiety, and stress. However, as the body adjusts through the detox process, these symptoms will likely subside or decrease.

Benzo Withdrawal Treatment

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be difficult and it is important to have a Benzodiazepine detox plan in place before you start Benzodiazepine tapering. Benzodiazepines come in many forms, which means that there are many Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines include Benzodiazepine pills and Benzodiazepines that are taken orally, Benzodiazepines that are snorted, Benzodiazepines that can be smoked or injected, and Benzodiazepine liquids.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms usually peak within the first week of Benzodiazepine detox and begin tapering off after about 3 weeks. Benzodiazepines should never be stopped suddenly or without close Benzodiazepine doctor supervision and guidance, as Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and extremely unpleasant is very recommendable to find out a Benzodiazepine Detox treatment.

Detox Centers

Benzo Detox
Benzo Detox

Detox centers are inpatient rehab facilities that provide medical detox for substance abuse issues. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to treat addicts during withdrawal.

Residential or Inpatient Rehab

Treatment begins when the patient checks into the facility and typically lasts 5-7 days depending on their needs, including medications if necessary. Patients will attend group meetings, morning lectures, and one-on-one sessions. After completing detox, patients are transferred to an outpatient facility to continue with CBT for 12 weeks.

Benzodiazepine Detox at Home

As mentioned above, benzodiazepine detox can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.  However, proper care can reduce the probability of developing these symptoms and ensure a safe detox process.  Generally, this means that the individual detoxing will be weaned off of the substance slowly.  Depending on their biology, dosage, and frequency of use, the time it takes to taper off will vary. Trying the benzodiazepine detox at home would be a grave mistake, as benzo’s withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable and dangerous to deal with without medical assistance.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

These provide some psychoeducation for addicts on what they can expect during withdrawal, along with medications as needed. These are programs that last 6-8 hours per day, 5 days each week. Most of the time is spent attending lectures and group therapy sessions.

Benzodiazepine Addiction: Detox Treatment

Benzo addiction can have social and psychological effects on those who struggle with it. Some may find these effects to be the most significant difficulty they encounter.  However, for others, it is the physical effects that are the scariest.  When one stops taking benzodiazepines without tapering off, severe symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even death can occur.  For this reason, professional treatment at a medical benzodiazepine detox facility is crucial.

Once the benzo detoxification process has been safely completed, then an individualized treatment plan is developed.  Most importantly, during treatment, individuals who have struggled with benzo addiction will learn skills and mechanisms to help them stay off these drugs and lead better lives.

Benzodiazepine Detox Center NJ: If you or someone you love struggles with an addiction to Ativan, valium, or any other form of benzodiazepine, get them the help they need and deserve.  Contact our team at We Level Up New Jersey to get started today!

Sources:

[1-2] Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence – National Center for Biotechnology Information