Author: Alex Thompson

Detoxing From Benzos: How to Do it Safely A Guide

medical detox for benzodiazepines

The best way to detox from a benzodiazepine is under medical supervision and in the care of addiction specialists. Physical symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are slurred speech, impaired vision, vomiting, and flu-like symptoms. Rebound symptoms are possible when someone stops using benzodiazepines.

medical detox for benzodiazepines

Eventually, these adjustments result in neurotransmitters and other substances that exert effects in opposition to benzodiazepines being produced in more substantial amounts. This includes increases in excitatory neurotransmitters and hormones that produce excitation. Physicians will generally employ a gradual tapering schedule to reduce the likelihood and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can begin within as little as six hours to 12 hours after your last dose. Early signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal can develop within hours of your last dose and can be either physical, mental, or psychological in nature. Benzodiazepines are prescription medications that can cause severe physical dependence and withdrawal with stopped use, after as little as one month of drug use.

If you’re looking for a detox program for yourself or a loved one who is addicted to benzodiazepines, we may be able to help. Seizures and other serious symptoms can occur after the abrupt cessation of a benzodiazepine in anyone who’s taken this type of substance for at least one to six months. Physical dependence on benzos can develop in as little as a few weeks after starting the use of the drug. The longer you take it, the more severe your dependence on the drug will become. In this manner, they produce relaxation, anxiety control, seizure control, and sedation. They can even be used to treat withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs.

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

People may begin to experience insomnia or unpleasant dreams when they are able to fall asleep. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) might occur during this time. PAWS triggers sharp withdrawal symptoms long after a person has taken their last dose. Severe benzo withdrawal is a high risk for people who have a history of benzodiazepine abuse, in addition to those who have been taking a high dose of benzos for a very long time. Many symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are flu-like in nature. These can become severe if you try to detox alone, or if you try to stop taking benzodiazepines very suddenly and all at once.

medical detox for benzodiazepines

To expect them to complete an outpatient tapering program successfully or be able to taper their dosage on their own is unrealistic. Benzo withdrawals can be severe, and life threatening complications can occur. A healthcare professional should supervise benzo withdrawal to help monitor and manage the symptoms.

Preventing Severe Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be managed with a gradual dose reduction, which will cause milder symptoms that come and go in waves. An addiction specialist can answer your questions and guide you through your options. Clonidine is a blood pressure medication that has shown promise for treating benzo addiction. It blocks chemicals in the brain that trigger activity in the sympathetic nervous system.

  1. The duration of withdrawal depends on the dosage and length of use.
  2. Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzos begin to taper off around this time.
  3. People may begin to experience insomnia or unpleasant dreams when they are able to fall asleep.
  4. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be managed with a gradual dose reduction, which will cause milder symptoms that come and go in waves.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is when the body begins to rid itself of the drug, which can lead to a state of shock. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can result if a person suddenly stops using benzos or drastically reduces use. Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzos begin to taper off around this time. For those using longer-acting benzos, symptoms will continue for approximately three to four weeks.

Outpatient vs Inpatient Detox

This is especially true for substances that affect the central nervous system (e.g., alcohol). Benzos are safe and effective when used correctly, but carry a risk of addiction. If a person develops a dependence on benzos, they might experience withdrawal.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzodiazepines peak on the second day and improve by the fourth or fifth. Withdrawal symptoms can occur after as little as one month of use, even on small, therapeutic doses. Among people taking benzodiazepines for longer than six months, about 40% experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit suddenly. During this time, the body and brain fight to get rid of the benzodiazepines.

A detox induces withdrawal symptoms, which begin after 24 hours. With that in mind, doctors do not recommend detoxing from benzos at home. Without medical intervention, there is an extremely high risk of suffering from the negative consequences of benzo withdrawal.

These issues can be addressed more effectively in an environment that provides constant supervision, monitoring, and professional care. For example, doctors may recommend flumazenil (Romazicon) to help with severe withdrawal symptoms and other drugs, such as buspirone (BuSpar), to help people with severe anxiety symptoms. Tapering the drug by slowly reducing the prescription strength may help make withdrawal symptoms much easier to manage. Additionally, medical supervision allows doctors to respond much more quickly to potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms. A person’s withdrawal symptoms often depend on the half-life of the drug.

During inpatient medical detox, the person has access to immediate care if they need it. Although this medication is used primarily when treating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, that condition shares multiple similarities with benzodiazepine withdrawal. Acamprosate may be able to treat benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sleeplessness, and jitteriness. Detox may be recommended for anyone who’s taken a benzodiazepine drug for longer than one month.

Some people, such as those with a history of complicated withdrawal, seizures, or severe mental illness, may be better suited for an inpatient setting. This can involve living at a detox facility or hospital for several weeks, where you can receive constant medical monitoring and psychological support. The best way to quit benzodiazepines is to avoid withdrawal by asking your doctor to taper down your dose. Tapering means taking progressively smaller doses over the course of a few weeks or months. Some people may still feel an intensified feeling of exhaustion, but the most intense withdrawal symptoms are typically over by now. Millions of people take benzodiazepines every year, all of whom are at risk of developing an addiction.

When benzodiazepines are metabolized and leave the system, the person stops taking them; there is a state of imbalance. The person experiences withdrawal, which means they have developed a physical dependence on benzodiazepines. During the acute withdrawal phase, doctors may monitor the person and recommend other drugs to control problematic symptoms. Long-term treatment after benzodiazepine withdrawal will depend on your reasons for taking them in the first place and your reasons for quitting. If you have a psychiatric condition that was managed by the benzodiazepines, you will need an alternative plan to manage your condition. Typically, this is a combination of therapy and pharmacologic support.