Benzodiazepines, more commonly referred to as Benzo’s, are part of a group of FDA-approved prescription drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Benzos work on the nervous system as a sedative that slows down the brain and body.
When used for short periods of time, as prescribed by a doctor, they are harmless; However, with prolonged abuse, they are known to cause dependence, develop tolerance and cause other negative effects associated with substance abuse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzos are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US, with a growing number of overdose cases. Overdoses are most common when an addict develops a dependence on the drug and takes more than his or her body can handle.
Its high potential for abuse and strong withdrawal symptoms can easily drive those with an addictive personality toward abusing the drug.
Signs of Benzo Withdrawal
Because benzos work as a depressant on the central nervous system, the signs and symptoms of benzo withdrawal are similar to those of other central nervous system depressing drugs such as alcohol, affecting the addict both physically and psychologically.
Dependency on benzos is referred to as the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. The syndrome can be developed in as little as one month of continuous use, where signs of physical dependence can start to develop.
Around 40% of those using Benzos for extended periods of time, usually longer than 6 months, are more likely to experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, the remaining 60% will experience milder symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped.
Physical signs and symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:
- Muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Hypersensitivity to lights
- Abnormal bodily sensations
Psychological signs and symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:
- Panic Attacks
- Lack of focus
- Memory lapses
How to Treat a Benzo Withdrawal
The bad news is that benzo withdrawals can be difficult to deal with, but the good news is that modern medicine and treatment programs are available to help combat Benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawals.
Detox and inpatient treatments are most efficient when dealing with benzo withdrawal, given its strong physical withdrawal effects, it’s important that a medical professional is there to assist you or your loved ones during this process. It’s highly suggested that you or your loved ones first consult a doctor before quitting.
Some of the most common treatments include:
- Detox: Detox addresses the physical component of addiction by removing toxins from the body and cutting off medical dependency, under medical supervision.
- Inpatient Treatments: Provides patients with 24/7 care surrounded by professionals that can help them on their road to recovery.
- Tapering Down: Gradually reducing doses will help avoid more severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of benzos such as seizures. It’s recommended that these methods are performed under medical and professional supervision.
Other Therapies: Cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as taking a holistic approach can be helpful under the right medical and professional supervision.
Benzo withdrawals can be dangerous and difficult to overcome. If you or a loved one is experiencing signs and symptoms of benzo withdrawal then it’s time to get help.
Consulting with a healthcare provider or a recovery expert on the best approach or a combination of them is the first step towards recovery.
Hillcrest Recovery is a detox and rehab center in Los Angeles that helps people find sobriety while also helping them transform into the very best version of themselves. They combine their medical and recovery expertise with a holistic approachContact Hillcrest Recovery to learn more about what you can do to help your loved ones receive the treatment they need.