Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of drugs that act as a depressant on the central nervous system. Physicians typically prescribe them for patients who struggle with anxiety, insomnia, seizures or panic attacks. Although benzos have medical benefits for certain patients in the short-term, long-term use can lead to addiction. Take a closer look at what to expect from a benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Timeline for a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
There’s no drug rehab guide that can spell out exactly how long withdrawal takes. The length of withdrawal depends on the patient’s typical dosage as well as the history of addiction. Someone taking benzodiazepines for several years will naturally have a longer withdrawal period than someone who only used it for a few months.
The duration of withdrawal also depends on how individuals used certain drugs. Many benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, have an extended release. Anyone who crushes or breaks these pills to get a more intense high will have a tougher time of withdrawal.
A withdrawal from benzodiazepines is longer, on average than for many other types of drugs and addictive substances. Symptoms begin to appear one to four days after the last dose. Then, symptoms will increase in intensity for one to two weeks. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last for several months, although an average of 30 days is more common.
Most Common Withdrawal Symptoms
While every patient is unique, there are some common withdrawal symptoms anyone can expect during a benzodiazepine detox. Patients should expect for withdrawal to be uncomfortable at times. However, many of the symptoms are psychological or emotional rather than physical in nature.
Anxiety is perhaps the symptom that users report most often during withdrawal. Depression is often the partner of anxiety. This happens for neurological reasons, but also because many patients struggle with mental health disorders already. By quitting benzos, these problems may come back and feel more pronounced than ever.
Body tremors are also possible, along with migraines. Muscle twitching can happen as well, especially in the first few weeks of detox.
Tapering vs. Cold Turkey
One way to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal is to slowly taper off of benzodiazepines. However, patients should only do this under medical supervision. Going cold turkey may be less comfortable, but it can result in a faster recovery.
Either way, there’s no risk-free way to detox. For that reason, all patients should get medical attention in an addiction treatment facility.
How to Increase Comfort During a Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
There are countless DIY recommendations for minimizing discomfort during a detox. However, none are 100% effective or safe. Medical professionals, however, have evidence-based approaches for recovery that can help. Some of these might include:
- Prescription medications
- Massage therapy
- Nutrition therapy and chef-prepared meals
- Comfortable accommodation for maximum relaxation
- Housekeeping services
- 24/7 medical attention
Overcoming a benzodiazepine addiction is tough. At The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California, you can access the resources and support you need to combat your addiction. Call 866-323-4665 for the first step on your journey to recovery in benzodiazepine addiction rehab.