Detox from substances isn’t limited to alcohol. Even prescription medication that gets misused can be a reason to make a plan for finding a detox program. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are among the pharmaceuticals misused by people before arriving in detox.
Which Drugs Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are depressants used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They’re known by generic names such as diazepam, alprazolam, and clonazepam, whose brand names are Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin. Benzos can be short-acting, intermediate, or long-acting. Valium and Klonopin are considered long-acting with an active duration of 1-3 days. Xanax is an example of an intermediate-acting drug with 11-20 hours of effects. Short-acting benzos may be used for insomnia or in critical care environments and prior to administering anesthesia.
Do Benzos Cause Withdrawal?
Stopping the use of benzodiazepines can produce withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours. These symptoms may last from several days to several months. The dosage taken and the duration will influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Benzos Withdrawal Risk Factors
- Length of time taking benzodiazepines
- Dosage amount
- Type of drug used/abused
- Method used to take or abuse benzodiazepines
- Underlying medical or mental health issues
- Abuse of other drugs or alcohol concurrently
Benzos Withdrawal Symptoms
General symptoms tend to last 1-4 days. Acute symptoms can begin in the second week of withdrawal and last months if left untreated. Withdrawal from short-acting benzos starts sooner and comes with higher intensity. As longer-acting benzos stay in the body for a longer time, the onset of withdrawal comes much more slowly.
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Poor concentration
- Sensory distortions
Is Withdrawal from Benzos Deadly?
Withdrawal and detox from benzodiazepines at home can present additional risks to a person’s health and well-being. Severe benzo withdrawal symptoms can include depression, delirium, paranoia, sensory distortions, and seizures. Seizures from benzodiazepine withdrawal can be fatal.
Additional medical threats from benzos withdrawal come from its serious psychological symptoms. For example, a person suffering from depression, mania, or psychosis or pre-occupied by suicidal ideation, self-harming, or violence may put themselves in risky and life-threatening situations while experiencing withdrawal.
Seniors face unique issues with a higher risk for heart attack, falls, and delirium. People with a history of misusing other drugs, a history of seizures, or who have co-occurring mental health disorders also face additional risks during withdrawal from benzodiazepines.
Can I Detox from Benzos on My Own?
The choice to end harmful drug use should be followed up with finding the proper resources to do it safely. Ending the regular use of benzos at home is not recommended as the complications from withdrawal can be life-threatening. Even individuals with stable homes and strong family support need to recognize the risks of attempting to quit this kind of drug without medical care.
A medical provider at detox can help a patient safely taper their use of benzodiazepines. Tapering can be a slow process, taking weeks or months to complete for some people. At the same time, it’s safer to help the body adjust to lower amounts of the drug from day to day and week to week.
In some situations, a replacement medication may be administered first and then tapered later. Supplemental medications may be given as well to address specific needs, such as anticonvulsants for seizures. In addition to new medications given to the patient, a medical team in detox can provide round-the-clock monitoring for all medical, physical, and psychological needs.
Restored Path’s Solution
Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 561-841-1268.