Benzodiazepines: An Introduction
The class of benzodiazepines is prescription tranquilizers and can also be called anxiolytics or sedatives. These drugs can be prescribed to help with panic disorders, anxiety disorders, or other medical conditions. Some of these conditions include seizures, muscle relaxation problems, and insomnia. These drugs can also be used under popular brand names, including Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. These drugs are some of the most commonly prescribed in the United States. The drug acts on the central nervous system and produces sedation and muscle relaxation and can help lower anxiety levels. Death by benzo or Xanax abuse alone is uncommon, but these drugs can be combined with alcohol, which makes them dangerous and lethal.
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The Signs + Symptoms of Alcoholism
Physical signs of benzo addiction can include blurred vision, drowsiness, weakness, and mood changes. Due to the process of building a tolerance, over time a person that is addicted will require more in order to get the same high. When this happens, family and friends may notice doctor shopping, as well as asking friends and family for their benzodiazepine bills. You can also notice risk-taking behaviors after taking benzos such as driving while medicated.
The mental health community uses the term sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder to describe this addiction or abuse. In order to be diagnosed with this, at least two of the possible 11 symptoms must show within the same 12-month period. Some of these symptoms include:
- Taking the sedative in a higher volume or over a longer period than it was first intended.
- A considerable amount of time spent acquiring the drugs, using the drugs, and recovering from the effects.
- More of the drug is needed to achieve the desired effects that are familiar.
- There is an impaired performance at work, home, or school because of the effects of benzos.
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Why is Detox Needed for Benzo Withdrawals?
The withdrawal process can be long and it usually isn’t just a matter of days. The withdrawal time will vary depending on the type of benzo that was being used. A short-acting drug, such as Xanax, has a shorter withdrawal period that can last around seven days. Valium abuse can have withdrawal symptoms that last around ninety days.
The symptoms can be painful and some of the symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, poor memory, heart palpitations, night sweats, and muscle twitching. Due to the symptoms and the long withdrawal process, going cold turkey is not recommend. When the level of medication becomes too low in the body, then there is the possibility of withdrawal seizures.
A slow taper detox supervised by a medical doctor is necessary to avoid harsh withdrawal symptoms. Tapering off of benzo will usually involve a doctor prescribing a smaller amount of the drug over time or prescribing a different one that is less potent. Certain medications can also make the withdrawal process worse.
When coming out off of a benzodiazepine, it’s important to avoid herbs or drugs that work with GABA receptors in the brain. Some of these drugs can include mood stabilizers and antidepressants. Vitamins, such as B, D, and magnesium, can also make withdrawal symptoms worse. Since a benzo withdrawal is one of the few withdrawals that can kill you, it is necessary to seek interventional or medical supervision in the detox period.
Substances of Abuse
Treatment Options for Benzodiazepine Addiction
Since quitting cold turkey is dangerous, finding the right treatment program is necessary.
Inpatient Treatment: An inpatient treatment center will provide care 24 hours a day, generally in a non-hospital setting. Lengths of stay can vary depending on if it is a long-term or short-term inpatient treatment program. Treatment is structured and there are activities that are designed to help patients examine any beliefs that could have lead to addiction in the first place. There are different types of therapy throughout treatment, both individual and group, in order to treat the addiction. This type of treatment can be useful in the beginning, especially as patients are suffering from withdrawal. Sometimes there are programs like Launch Centers that offer partial day with supportive housing which can provide a similar experience to residential inpatient treatment.
Outpatient Treatment: This type of treatment can vary with different types of intensity and this treatment is preferred by people who have jobs or for those who have extensive social support. In many of these types of programs, group counseling is a major component. Some programs are designed to treat patients with other mental health or medical issues in addition to drug addiction.
Sober Living: Sober living after treatment can be a bridge between an inpatient facility and the real world. After leaving an inpatient facility, many can struggle with returning back to daily life. A sober living home can help reinforce some of the lessons that were learned in rehab and alleviate concerns individuals have about going from a monitored environment to back to daily life.
Therapy: Therapy will address the underlying causes of benzo addiction. This is key to almost any part of the treatment journey. Therapy can be in different forms and it can be done individually or in group settings. There are many factors that can be triggered to relapse and therapy can help teach individuals ways to deal with those triggers.
Support Groups: Ongoing support is necessary during treatment and a support group will offer members support on a number of different issues. These groups are run by others who have gone through the same thing and are designed to help reduce the chance of relapse and make sure members stay sober. Groups like AA will follow a 12-step program to develop a fulfilling life without the need for alcohol.
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Learn How to Manage Anxiety + Quit Abusing Benzos at Launch Centers
Launch Centers offers clients a smooth transition from addiction to recovery. The treatment program at Launch is designed to address behavior and emotional problems, including Klonopin addiction and other drug abuse, chronic relapse, depression, co-occurring disorders, and more. Services include group therapy, family therapy, individual sessions, substance abuse education, relapse prevention education, and more. Our clients will learn about the important concepts that can set a foundation for recovery and also be introduced to educational and vocational programming that prepares them for life after rehab.
Contact us today at 1-877-895-3231 to speak to someone who’s been in your shoes and to learn more about our innovative program.