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Understanding Benzo Detox
Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. When used as prescribed, many patients report them being extremely beneficial. However, when abuse or even when used as prescribed for long periods, they can cause dependence and addiction. Individuals who have developed a physical dependence on benzos will go through detox when they discontinue use. This is a necessary process to recover from the addiction.
Types of Benzos
Ativan is a powerful anti-anxiety medicine that is part of a class of substances called benzodiazepines. Ativan drug addiction is a severe disorder that can be damaging without professional addiction treatment. Ativan is intended to assist people with the symptoms of short-term anxiety and not for long-term use.
Valium is a prescription medication that taken in small doses helps to manage insomnia and anxiety symptoms. When used in combination with other drugs, severe effects can result. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last from days to weeks to months following the last use.
Xanax is a prescription drug that falls into the category of a Benzodiazepine. The medication helps induce sleep, treat anxiety and panic disorders, and alleviate alcohol withdrawal. Prolonged daily use can result in physical dependence and withdrawal when discontinued.
Opioid Detox Treatment Options & Details
Not every individual who uses benzodiazepines will experience withdrawal symptoms, but those who consume larger doses and over greater periods of time are more prone to them. Additionally, depending on the detox method attempted (discussed below), the symptoms may come on stronger or milder. Symptoms can be both physical and emotional (psychological).
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Muscle cramps
Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Feelings of excitement
Depending on the type of benzodiazepines used, withdrawal symptoms can begin to be observed anywhere from 6 to 48 hours after the last use. For shorter-acting benzos, it may only be 6 to 8 hours before symptoms appear. Longer-acting benzodiazepines may prevent symptoms for 24 or even up to 48 hours after the last dose.
The first 5 to 14 days of benzodiazepine withdrawal are known as acute withdrawal. Symptoms are the most intense, hallucinations, and extreme anxiety are common. At this point, inpatient rehab is the most beneficial. In some cases, medication-assisted treatment can help to control the withdrawal symptoms or to taper off the drugs and minimize the effects of detox.
Less intense, but still serious benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can continue on for a year or two. During the weeks, months, and years following detox, the body normalizes and brain healing occurs. The ability to function normally slowly comes back and the symptoms disappear a little by little. Some of the symptoms that may still be present during this time period include:
- Lesser forms of anxiety
- Mild insomnia
- Diminished appetite
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
Benzo Treatment Options
Since benzodiazepines vary greatly, so do the treatment options. The history of a patient’s benzo use and the programs available will likely dictate the treatment route recommended. Options for detox range from acute detox treatment for those who go “cold-turkey” and abstain from benzo use to medication-assisted detox programs.
Many consider absolute and immediate benzo abstinence as the only legitimate option for detox. However, quitting in this manner can bring on the most severe and intense withdrawal symptoms. For one, they can be mentally and physically difficult to manage. However, in a detox facility, there is access to options such as IV fluids, 24/7 monitoring, and alternative therapies. These sorts of interventions can make the detox process much more tolerable. Additionally, there is the oversight and support of experienced addiction counselors and medical professionals.
Medical detox programs may be inpatient or outpatient. As benzo detox can last more than 7 days for many people, some physicians recommend a medically-assisted detox program. Through these programs, the benzodiazepine dosage is reduced slightly over a period of weeks or months. This allows for the body to re-adjust to lower doses without creating the onset of severe withdrawal symptoms.
Rapid Benzo Detox
Some benzodiazepine detox programs offer a rapid detox practice where they will abstain from benzo use completely, and a medication such as a Flumazenil injection or a subcutaneous infusion is administered. This method is more commonly used to treat benzodiazepine overdoses and is completed in a medical setting.
Professional Benzo Detox
Due to the severe nature of detoxing from benzos, getting help from a professional addiction treatment program can mean the difference between long term recovery and rapid relapse. Although we do not offer medical detox at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we can refer you to a trusted facility that provides the highest quality detox treatment. Additionally, we offer inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment for individuals who may experience months or years of withdrawal symptoms. Our joint commissions accredited facility would love to be the community lighting your way to a better tomorrow.
Paying for Benzo Detox
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we understand that for the body and brain to recover from benzodiazepine addiction completely, it can require years of support. That is why we work with you to determine how much will be covered by insurance, if applicable, and develop a reasonable payment plan for benzo detox. Detox mustn’t drain your bank account so that long-term benzodiazepine addiction treatment is attainable. We want to make a recovery accessible to everyone who needs it.
We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one.