How Addictive Are Benzos?
Benzodiazepine products are typically prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Due to the way that benzodiazepines are designed to slow down the central nervous system and produce calming effects, they quickly become an addictive coping mechanism for dealing with stress and anxiety. The brain soon loses the ability to summon calming feelings without the help of benzos as well, strengthening the addictive nature of the drug.Â
Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
Addiction to benzodiazepines is physiological, meaning that there is mainly a mental dependency, but this can be so strong that it causes physical symptoms to appear when going through withdrawal.Â
The withdrawal symptoms experienced by those who have recently stopped taking benzos after long-term use are:Â
- Sleep disturbance
- Panic attacks
- Hand tremors
- Dry heaving
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle aches
These symptoms vary in severity and length depending on how long an individual has been abusing benzos and in what amounts. Not everyone experiences the same or all of these symptoms. Benzos are prescribed to treat anxiety, the most common symptom experienced during withdrawal from benzodiazepines. Suddenly increased amounts of anxiety can explain many subsequent symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, stomach problems, headache, and even heart problems resulting from increased stress.Â
Read more about the benefits of addiction treatment on our blog page.
Benzo Detox Timeline
When detoxing from benzos, there is an initial one to four-day period as the chemicals from the drug are cycling out of the body. During this stage, many people experience anxiety and insomnia. Following this period, the more severe withdrawal process, known as acute withdrawal, begins as long-term users suffer the physical and psychological symptoms of no longer having access to benzos as a coping skill for stress.Â
This process can be exasperated and possibly worsen if behavioral therapy or other addiction treatments are not taught coping methods for stress. Acute withdrawal can last anywhere from five to 28 days, and persistent anxiety and other related physiological symptoms are experienced. Without treatment, these symptoms may decrease slightly.Â
Still, users typically relapse onto benzos or utilize other unhealthy coping mechanisms like abusing a different substance or developing alcohol dependence. While in addiction recovery, other medications may be prescribed if there is an actual underlying issue of anxiety that needs to be addressed, and benzo addiction developed when an original legitimate prescription was abused.Â
It should be noted that the psychological withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines put an individual at risk for relapse. At the same time, the develop alternative coping skills can take as long as 12 months to subside in 10-25% of users. This is because benzos are such a strong and impactful calming agent that directly targets the central nervous system to alleviate feelings of anxiety. The same reason it is considered an effective medication is why it can be highly addictive.Â
Medical Detox for Benzo Addiction
If you are struggling with an addiction to benzodiazepines and want to stop, the best course of action is to enroll in a medical detox treatment program at a qualified drug rehab center. These medication-assisted treatment programs offer those attempting to recover the best chance to follow through with the next stages of a treatment plan that aid with relapse prevention and lead to long-term sobriety.Â
Novo Detox is the No. 1 drug or alcohol detox center in Los Angeles, California, and we specialize in this initial stage of detox and withdrawal treatment. Our focus is on treating withdrawal symptoms by keeping you safe and comfortable and treating you with respect as you begin your recovery. A licensed medical professional will design your benzo detox program and prescribe medications that will be administered to you while you detox, and oversee your observation and transition to the next stage of your treatment plan.Â
The length of detox varies from person to person but generally lasts seven to 10 days. Detox is typically done with the individual staying full time at our facilities. Still, there are options where detox can be completed on an outpatient program basis if it is possible or deemed necessary.Â
For many individuals, the best next step after detox is participating in therapy to identify and address possible underlying co-occurring disorders or mental health disorders. It is recommended that this dual diagnosis process be done during residential treatment, but we also have fantastic partner centers available for outpatient treatment if participation in a residential inpatient program would not best suit your needs and lifestyle. We also offer extensive aftercare support, referrals to sober living homes, and family therapy to help with all stages.
The main goal and priority of Novo Detox treatment centers and all employees and partners are that those in our care receive the highest quality treatment. Your comfort during your stay with us is essential, and we are willing to take all necessary steps to enhance your success and set you on the best path to long-term recovery.Â
Quick admission to detox and rehab could be life-saving, which is why we work 24/7 and provide same-day admissions. For more information, reach out to us at (844) 834-1777Â and a member of our expert staff will be available to assist you.