What is Benzodiazepine Detox?
In benzodiazepine addiction treatment, a medically supervised detoxification process is often required, but many individuals fear what’s involved in purifying the body and clearing the mind of these drugs’ effects. During the benzodiazepine detox, these prescription drugs are processed by the body and broken down until they no longer remain in the system. As part of that recovery phase, certain symptoms and withdrawal stages present themselves while you detox from benzodiazepines (or benzos).
The individual process of detox and recovery is unique to each person seeking relief from the grip of benzo addiction, yet there are certain key areas to understand about what detox is and what withdrawal might look like. In getting their lives back, those struggling with benzo addiction will find that the process of benzodiazepine detox is very safe and supportive as well as kind to the body and mind.
Indiana Center for Recovery believes in this person-first approach to the treatment of addiction. With the help of expertly trained staff, recovery professionals, mental health help, physicians, and state-of-the-art treatment facilities—Indiana Center for Recovery is a treatment center that creates healthy outcomes for anyone who wants to be clean and sober from benzodiazepines and others.
By moving through the following phases of what makes up a benzo detox process, those addicted to benzos can progress in their journey toward a healthier more fulfilling life. In addition, they can move toward the opportunity for additional mental health recovery through therapy and other programs.
Benzo Detox Assessment
The first step to treat benzo addiction starting with detox is to have a complete substance use assessment completed by the staff of these treatment facilities. To help you, your physician and recovery team must know about the severity of your condition, addiction, and dependency as well as where you are in the many stages of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Importantly, this is also an opportunity to establish a baseline for your mental health since this can play into benzo addiction treatment issues and the mental or emotional suffering that feeds into the substance use disorder. As a result of that assessment, your team will be in a better position to understand if there are added psychiatric issues to keep in mind as a plan for detox develops.
Benzo Detox Customization
Having finished up with an evaluation or initial assessment, your team will move swiftly toward the withdrawal and symptomatic stage. The trained team will be assisting you through what can be a trying and challenging process, so it’s important to know that you can rely on them for support throughout the cycles of symptoms and monitoring that you will all participate in together.
In some cases, this can mean that the recovery team begins work immediately—within the first few hours of quitting benzos—or it could take several days for signs of system purging to begin to take place. Your treatment is customized to you. You can always be sure that you are getting individual help and attention for the issues you face, symptoms you suffer, and the support you need during the detox and recovery process.
For some, the customized treatment can last one day, a few days, or even multiple weeks, but no one can know in advance what the side effects of your withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs will be. Because of this, each recovery team supports every patient with individual, tailored care.
Continued Benzo Addiction Treatment
Detox from benzos is an initial and crucial step in total recovery from benzodiazepine addiction, and it often offers recovering patients the ability to access new forms of treatment for their substance use disorder. These additional supports during their recovery help to minimize the chance of relapse and solidify the important progress made during the detoxification.
In addition to medically supervised benzodiazepine withdrawal, Indiana Center for Recovery offers special programs through inpatient treatment and outpatient rehabilitation. These further programs all start with a foundation of detox and sobriety
providing the structure and stability needed to help our clients achieve recovery goals. Examples include therapy, medical advice, medication management, support groups, and the ongoing treatment of symptoms and side effects.
Symptoms of Detox and Withdrawal
While withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines can appear in as little as a few hours after the last dose or use, they take very little time to develop. Even if you take benzodiazepine medications only as prescribed in small, therapeutic doses, you could still require a supervised detox if you need to quit suddenly.
In addition to appearing relatively quickly after a short period of use, the symptoms of benzo withdrawal and detox can be quite severe, concerning, and even life-threatening. The process can, patients say, be extremely emotionally and physically challenging as the body and mind work to rebalance themselves after abstaining.
Benzo Detox Symptoms
To get specific, the symptoms of benzo detox and withdrawal vary so widely in part because everyone reacts differently to these drugs and partly because the drugs themselves are quite different. This is also one of the key reasons that medically supervised detox is urgently recommended for those struggling with benzo addiction.
There are “short-acting” drugs like Xanax or Ativan that can leave the system more quickly than “long-acting” versions like Klonopin. This simply means it may take more or less time for symptoms to appear as well as varying degrees of severity with how they last and persist.
In general, you can expect that withdrawing from benzodiazepines will be potentially exhausting, painful, and emotional. This is especially true if the person stops immediately without tapering off the drug under the supervision, professional opinion, or medical advice of a doctor. In fact, it can be quite dangerous for someone who takes large doses of benzos to take this approach because of the potential for life-threatening complications.
It stands to reason that those who have abused benzos long-term and most severely experience the most intense withdrawal symptoms, but the symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal can occur for anyone who has used these drugs over a period of time that has resulted in emotional or physical dependence in some form.
Some of the most common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms that appear are called “rebound symptoms” because the person feels them after discontinuing use. And, the common symptoms of the “rebound effect” include:
● Intense anxiety
● Chronic insomnia
● Hyper irritability
● Persistent restlessness
● Hand tremors
● Muscle spasms
● Constant headache
● Perfuse sweating
Some other benzodiazepine symptoms, which can also last over 10 days in some cases of benzodiazepine withdrawal, are less common but present cause for concern if someone were considering detoxing from benzos at home:
● Racing pulse
● Possible hyperventilation
● Uncontrolled vomiting
● Intrusive nausea
● Chronic pain
● Panic attacks
● Light sensitivity
● Touch sensitivity
Even more benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are possible, and they mean that people should always seek medical supervision when detoxing from benzos. The symptoms, which can include manifestations of what look like serious illness, include:
● Auditory, tactile, and visual hallucinations
● Phantom sensations (crawling, goosebumps, chills, etc.)
● Deep depression
● Poor concentration
● Compromised memory
● Visual disturbances (light flashes, blurred vision, fuzzy focus, etc.)
● Possible derealization (disconnection from reality)
● Possible delirium
● Possible seizures
Most authorities advise that withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzos might last a few days, peaking on the second or third and improving by the fifth. But, long-acting benzos may lead to a long-term detoxification and withdrawal period—even lasting for several weeks in a “protracted withdrawal” or withdrawal syndrome.
The symptoms of protracted withdrawal or PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) from benzos can last several months rather than the days that many people are able to endure and recover from. During this period, the symptoms may be mild to moderate, and they rarely ever last longer than one year to fully resolve themselves.
Forms of Detox and Withdrawal
After benzo withdrawal symptoms first appear in detox within 24 hours, they usually last several days while the team at Indiana Center for Recovery prepares clients for a lifetime of sobriety. Depending on the length of abuse and strength of the drug, the supervision of detox will change, but it can depend on other factors as well. (Research indicates that there are numerous variables in the treatment of benzo withdrawal.)
In light of this, there is no fixed timeline for the recovery from benzo addiction, and each will experience the symptoms of withdrawal differently. Some people will experience protracted withdrawal, and others will establish themselves easily again after a matter of a few days. It all depends on the patient’s own history
● Time spent using benzodiazepine drugs
● Amount of benzodiazepine prescribed/abused
● Action of drug used (long-acting vs. short-acting)
● Type of benzodiazepine used
● Method of benzodiazepine use
● Personal medical or mental health concerns
● Co-occurring substance use disorder
Because of the complex interplay of factors involved in predicting how someone will react to discontinuation—the first step of an addiction recovery center or benzo detox center is to fully evaluate the patient in order to develop a custom treatment plan and solid medical advice for them as monitoring and observation moves forward. After that period, patients can expect to progress through stages of withdrawal that will get them closer to their ultimate goal of clean recovery.
The Onset of Benzo Withdrawal
Because benzodiazepines were not designed to be taken over a long period of time, using them recreationally or for longer than prescribed can result in psychological and physical dependence. The onset withdrawal symptoms that come along with this are usually mild at first and include nausea or diarrhea early on (if they do not also come with some of the common symptoms described above).
It should be noted as well that anyone who has had previous issues with drug dependency or substance use disorders could experience detox from benzos very differently. Family histories and personal experiences can change how your brain and body react, meaning that your treatment team must be vigilant from the beginning about getting the right help for your particular situation.
Drug-Specific Benzo Withdrawal Periods
Benzodiazepine drugs are all unique with a specific amount of time that it takes for that drug to exit the bloodstream. If someone is dependent on that drug, they will start to experience withdrawal symptoms according to its drug-specific half-life (in as little as 10 hours). For this reason, to describe acute withdrawal, there is a difference between long-acting and short-acting benzodiazepine medications to consider as you estimate what the experience of benzo detox could be like.
Users of long-acting benzodiazepines would start to experience pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more after a longer period than those taking short-acting benzodiazepines, but they may also experience them for an extended interval. With the short-acting benzo, like Xanax, withdrawal would be similar, or it may have a swifter intensity because of how the metabolizes.
Beyond differing according to their action, benzodiazepine drugs work on the central nervous system differently. While all of them are depressants of the nervous system, they repress certain unwanted symptoms differently and with unique criteria. Some drugs like Restoril, Dalmane, and Halcion are prescribed merely for insomnia; others—like Xanax, Ativan, and Librium—exist to treat anxiety and panic. Those detoxing from medication for insomnia may see and experience different acute withdrawal symptoms from someone dependent on an anxiety-focused benzodiazepine.
In short, benzo detox symptoms differ from person to person, drug to drug, history to history—and, there is no telling what the reaction will be to the discontinuation of a benzodiazepine drug. Nevertheless, if you want to quit benzodiazepines, there are many great benefits to completing a detox. You can find medical supervision at Indiana Center for Recovery.
Begin Benzo Detox in Indiana
Indiana Center for Recovery medically supervises and carefully coordinates benzodiazepine detox for patients across the state and nation. With our patients, we create strength, resilience, and sobriety that starts from the moment you walk through the door and continues with you for the rest of your life.
Beginning with a safe and secure place to detox from benzodiazepines prepares you for a lifetime of satisfaction and contentment without drugs. End your physical, emotional, and mental dependence on benzodiazepine medications, and move ahead with your life by reaching out for help.
Let’s get you or a loved one help with a few simple steps.