Author: John Carter

Withdrawing from Benzodiazepines: Symptoms, Safety, and Treatment

benzodiazepine detox

If withdrawal symptoms become severe, doctors may prescribe other medications. They will make this decision on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type and severity of the symptoms affecting the individual. 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.

  1. Research indicates that physical dependence may begin in just a few weeks, even while taking the drugs in low therapeutic doses.
  2. Practices such as drug tapering or using other drugs to help ease withdrawal may make early withdrawal symptoms milder and more manageable.
  3. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be a difficult, even dangerous process.

Other therapies, including counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may be helpful for people looking to manage symptoms without relying on other drugs. Medical detox involves tapering off the benzo drug under the supervision of a doctor. More severe reactions or withdrawals may also be more likely when taking strong drugs either for long periods or alongside other types of medications. The main cause of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal is the sudden reduction of dopamine in the brain.

Suicide prevention

Examples of benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be a difficult, even dangerous process. You might feel irritable and hypersensitive to everything around you. During the first week, you can also expect physical symptoms like headaches and hand tremors. Research indicates that physical dependence may begin in just a few weeks, even while taking the drugs in low therapeutic doses. Supportive counseling and other targeted therapies or medications may help a person manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Practices such as drug tapering or using other drugs to help ease withdrawal may make early withdrawal symptoms milder and more manageable. In addition, over half of the survey respondents said benzodiazepines’ side effects or withdrawal symptoms caused them to consider suicide. Experiencing rebound symptoms means the symptoms you had before taking benzodiazepines come back even stronger than before. Read on to learn more about benzodiazepine withdrawal, including the signs, how long it lasts, and how to get support with tapering off safely. Consequently, experts recommend you take benzodiazepines for no more than 2 weeks if you use them daily. If you only use them once every few days, you may be able to take them for up to 4 weeks.

What happens when you stop taking benzodiazepines?

Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting drugs, such as Xanax, may come on faster than withdrawal symptoms from long-acting drugs, such as Valium. These factors don’t guarantee you’ll have severe withdrawal symptoms, but they can increase your vulnerability. So, your doctor may recommend a slower taper schedule as a safety precaution. Short-acting benzodiazepines are much more likely to cause rebound symptoms. In fact, if you take your medication every other day, you may notice rebound symptoms on the day between doses. If you take benzodiazepines infrequently, such as once a week or once every few weeks to treat panic attacks, you can take them for a longer period of time.

If you want to stop taking benzodiazepines after consistent long-term use, your doctor can help you gradually taper off your medication. Tapering can help take the edge off withdrawal symptoms like tremors and nausea, though it may not prevent withdrawal symptoms entirely. Severe addictions can result in withdrawal symptoms that last up to three months. This is due to the slow tapering process of the drug, which helps prevent potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised detox includes tapering down the dosage of benzodiazepines.

benzodiazepine detox

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988. These symptoms may be troubling or affect a person’s quality of life. Some symptoms may appear without warning and can be a significant source of distress.

Who Is At Risk of Benzodiazepine Addiction?

During the acute withdrawal phase, doctors may monitor the person and recommend other drugs to control problematic symptoms. In addition to the immediate health risk, benzodiazepine withdrawal can seriously affect your quality of life. Benzodiazepines are a powerful class of medication used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorder.

Overview of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

If your reasons for quitting benzodiazepines are that you were abusing them or unable to control your use, then you may require further substance use treatment. This is particularly true if you are also giving up other substances, like alcohol or opioids. If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your OBGYN or psychiatrist about your plans. However, going through any withdrawal during pregnancy has its risks. Your doctor can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of benzodiazepine use and your pregnancy. From 1996 to 2013, the number of people filling benzodiazepine prescriptions increased by 67%.

Benzodiazepine abuse is dangerous alone but even more so in combination with other drugs. Benzos are typically co-abused with other drugs due to their euphoric effects. The duration of withdrawal depends on the dosage and length of use. Symptoms from the mildest addictions resolve within seven to ten days.

Should You Detox at Home?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classify benzodiazepines as a Schedule IV controlled substance. According to the classification, these drugs have a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Withdrawal symptoms may be mild in people who take the drugs for short periods. However, there is still a possibility of severe reactions and withdrawal symptoms.

Reducing the dosage in increments lowers the risk of serious side effects. 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. The best resource in your quest to quit benzodiazepines is your prescribing doctor. If you prefer someone else, any primary care physician or psychiatrist can help you taper your dose. Some people, such as those with a history of complicated withdrawal, seizures, or severe mental illness, may be better suited for an inpatient setting.

All those extra chemicals flood your brain, and the excess activity causes symptoms like anxiety and sweating. Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction does not end after detox. Clonidine is also known to reduce anxiety, and some believe it shortens the detox process. Clonidine is a blood pressure medication that has shown promise for treating benzo addiction.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous when not handled properly. There is a risk that people who quit benzodiazepines without a taper may experience a life-threatening grand mal seizure. The onset of benzodiazepine withdrawal depends on the specific medication you are taking. There are three possible phases for benzo withdrawals, each with an estimated timeline. A person should always withdraw from benzos under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms during tapering, tell your doctor so they can adjust your care plan as needed. Withdrawal symptoms can worsen by the second day and improve around the third day. Users of short-acting benzos (valium) may experience withdrawal symptoms sooner and with more intensity. 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.