If you’ve started using benzodiazepines (also known as benzos), you’ve probably done so because they help you feel calm and relaxed, or because you they were prescribed to you for anxiety, insomnia, seizures or another similar issue.
But if you’ve tried to quit, you’ve probably found that it’s easier said than done. And if that’s the case, you’re not alone. Benzos are highly addictive, and coming off of them can pose some challenges. More importantly, the effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal are highly dangerous, so it’s important to get professional help as you stop using these substances. Here’s some information about benzo withdrawal, how to quit and what to expect when you receive treatment.
If you’ve been using for awhile, your brain and body will have become dependent on benzos. In this case, it’s extremely important that you do not suddenly quit. Quitting benzodiazepines cold-turkey without medical supervision is extremely dangerous.
This is because once you’ve become dependent on anti-anxiety medication, the chemicals in your brain need it in order to function normally.
If you suddenly stop using them, these chemicals will be thrown drastically off balance, affecting your nervous system and other vital systems in your body. This can result in serious conditions like psychosis, seizures and suicidal thoughts.
Sometimes when you quit taking anxiety medication, the symptoms of your original problem come back – and sometimes they’re even worse than they were before.
This rebound anxiety is likely to be more severe for those who quit cold-turkey – another reason why it’s important to detox under medical supervision and receive follow-up treatment for your anxiety’s underlying causes.
Compounding this issue is the fact that many benzo users are also using alcohol, other medications or other illicit substances.
Because benzos have such high-risk withdrawal symptoms – which become even more pronounced when combined with other substances – addiction treatment professionals strongly recommend that you receive medical attention in order to stop using.
Your treatment provider can help you create a plan that allows your body and brain to adapt to the absence of the drug while minimizing harmful side-effects.
Detoxing from benzos involves a process called tapering: you’ll receive gradually reduced amounts of the drug, along with other medications that help manage the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal.
Eventually, your brain and body will return to a state of chemical balance again, without the presence of your medication.
Detox usually takes place in a hospital or treatment center. At the beginning, you’ll receive a few tests to help your doctor create a personalized treatment plan.
You might prescribed medications to help your body initially deal with the effects of withdrawal, but the goal is to help your mind and body function well without any substances. Once this stage is finished, you’re ready for addiction treatment.
If you’re struggling with benzo abuse and want to quit but don’t know how, we can help. Our expert staff has helped many people detox from benzodiazepines, learn to conquer their addictions and get back to living their best lives.
We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.