Benzos are a prescription drug that is extremely addictive. Those who use benzos, whether medically or recreationally, tend to build a tolerance towards them. This happens after a long period of time. The more somebody uses benzos, and the longer the amount of time that goes by, the higher the tolerance a person develops. The reason a person develops a dependence is that after a while, the body and mind get bored and want more. This has the potential to lead to addiction.
If becoming sober was as easy as stopping their usage of the drug, people probably wouldn’t experience withdrawal symptoms. The most difficult part about withdrawal is that it has no respect for those who aren’t using benzos abusively. Some people are prescribed benzos and wind up dependent on the substance; this is why doctors are oftentimes hesitant to prescribe benzos. Benzos have extreme withdrawal symptoms, and it only takes a short time for the body and mind to become dependent.
Jump to Section
What are the Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal?
The most common symptoms of benzo withdrawal include the following:
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Trouble sleeping and staying asleep
- Irritation and agitation
- Panic attacks
- Muscle aches
- Lack of attentiveness
Benzo withdrawal is extremely painful and uncomfortable. What’s worse is that if a person quits cold turkey, it has the potential to be life-threatening. When a person has been taking benzos for a long period of time, they tend to experience more intense withdrawal than those who did not. The withdrawal process for benzos varies from person to person, but there are typically a few stages.
How Long Does it Take to Experience Benzo Withdrawal?
Benzo withdrawal is a harsh reality to face. Just because you experience symptoms of withdrawal doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong (at least if you’ve been prescribed benzos). That being said, withdrawal symptoms for benzo use/abuse usually show up within a day. Sometimes it could take up to four days, but it all depends on the individual, the type of benzo abuse, the dosage, and the frequency.
Why Are Benzos Prescribed if they’re so Bad?
Benzos are prescribed because of those who suffer from severe mental health disorders. Sometimes this involves more common mental health disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder. Benzos also are prescribed to those who suffer from insomnia. Ironically, when people stop taking benzos, it causes a sort of reverse effect. As a result, anxiety ensues.
How Do You Treat Benzo Addiction?
At our detox for benzodiazepines in Illinois, we understand how imperative it is to remove the drug from a person’s system completely; this is no easy task. Detox is an extremely dangerous task if not done under close medical supervision. Sometimes, people have suffered detrimental consequences as a result of quitting cold turkey or detoxing themselves. Sometimes, attempting detox by oneself may result in destructive or potentially suicidal behavior.
Medically assisted detox is a way to come off of drugs with the help of experienced medical professionals. Getting clean isn’t easy, and this can often discourage someone from continuing treatment. Thankfully, medically assisted detox reduces withdrawal discomfort. This offers a path to coming off of drugs comfortably, which lessens the likelihood of relapse.
How Difficult is it to Detox from Benzos?
It is very difficult to detox from benzos. When it comes to medical detox from benzos, tapering from the drug is the most important practice, especially under the supervision of a trained professional. But what does this mean? A doctor could prescribe less potent benzos and gradually wean them off. Regardless, it is extremely difficult to detox, and doing so requires close medical supervision.
How Long Does Detox from Benzodiazepine Last?
The detoxification process from benzos can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It is important to note that there are many variables that can contribute to the length of time needed for detox, such as the severity of addiction, the type of benzo used, and individual physiology. That being said, it is generally accepted that benzo withdrawal symptoms peak within the first few days and then gradually subside over the course of a week or two.
What is the Withdrawal Timeline for Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but understanding the timeline of withdrawal can help to make the experience more manageable. The phases of withdrawal may vary from person to person.
Most people will start to feel the effects of benzo withdrawal within the first few days after stopping their use. Symptoms tend to peak around day 4 or 5, and then gradually begin to improve over the next week or two. However, some people may continue to experience symptoms for several weeks or even months.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines typically occurs in three phases: early, middle, and late.
The early phase of withdrawal usually begins within a few hours to a few days after the last dose of the drug. Symptoms during this phase can include anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
The middle phase of withdrawal typically occurs a week or two after the last dose of the drug. Symptoms during this phase can include depression, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
The late phase of withdrawal usually begins a month or two after the last dose of the drug. Symptoms during this phase can include anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks.
What is Benzo Tapering?
Benzodiazepine tapering is the process of slowly reducing the dose of benzos over time. This is done to minimize withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to adjust to not having the drug in its system. Tapering typically involves a gradual reduction in dose over several weeks or months. There are several different approaches that can be taken when tapering, and the best approach depends on the individual’s situation and preferences.
Some people may do well with a slow and gradual taper, while others may need to taper more quickly. The most important thing is to work with a doctor or other healthcare professional to create a plan that will minimize withdrawal symptoms and maximize success in quitting benzos.
What Medication is Used in Benzo Detox?
There are a variety of medications that can be used in benzo detox, depending on the individual’s needs. Some of the most common include anti-anxiety medication, sedatives, and sleep aids. These medications can help to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and make the detox process more comfortable. In some cases, other medications may also be used to address specific medical issues that may arise during detox.
What Happens After Benzo Detox?
After benzo detox has been completed, it is important to follow up with a doctor to ensure that there are no lingering effects. Additionally, patients should continue to see a therapist or counselor to help manage any anxiety or depression that may have been caused by the benzos. Finally, it is important to develop healthy coping mechanisms and stress-management techniques to avoid relapse.
After-care is imperative when it comes to long-term sobriety and success. This helps those who have just finished treatment receive support from others. The more community a person has after their treatment has concluded, the more likely their long-term recovery success is.
Additional Treatment for Benzo Addiction
Medically assisted detox isn’t the only method of care a person can receive when they’re suffering from benzo addiction. Some other methods of treatment include the following:
- Inpatient residential treatment
- Outpatient treatment
Every person has a unique history and background; their treatment should reflect that. Individualized options are always the proper way to approach treatment for addiction. When it comes to substance use disorder involving benzos, the right approach is imperative. It could mean the difference between long-term sobriety and relapse.
What is Inpatient Residential Treatment for Benzo Addiction?
Inpatient residential treatment is a form of treatment that holds an individual overnight under the supervision of professional medical personnel. This method of care is typically meant for those who are suffering from a severe addiction. For these individuals, it is imperative that they receive close, attentive care for their substance use disorder. In addition to 24/7 medical supervision, patients also receive room and board, and 10-12 hours of weekly (sometimes daily) therapy.
What is Outpatient Treatment for Benzo Addiction?
Outpatient treatment is a method of care that allows a person to receive the treatment they need while they fulfill their daily responsibilities. This is typically meant for those who either suffer from milder forms of addiction or are trying to transition between the treatment facility and the real world. Outpatient treatment involves 10-12 hours of weekly therapy, whether it be individual or group sessions.
Detox for Benzodiazepines in Illinois
Living with a substance use disorder is no easy task, especially when it comes to benzo addiction. It is imperative that those who seek resources find the option that works best for them. At Northern Illinois Recovery, our goal is to develop a treatment plan that fits the needs of the individual first. If you or a loved one are suffering from a benzo addiction and want help, give us a call today.
Get the help you need at Northern Illinois Recovery!
Northern Illinois Recovery Addiction Treatment Center
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.