Statistics show that around 30 million Americans use benzos, with about half a million of them reporting to have abused them. Benzodiazepine dependence is an escalating problem in Los Angeles. Withdrawal symptoms that people experience while detoxing makes quitting their addiction difficult. Detoxing at a licensed facility can help you overcome your addiction while managing the withdrawal effects.
Benzodiazepines are a group of psychoactive drugs. Their name originates from their chemical structure, which comprises benzene and diazepine rings. Benzos such as Valium and Xanax work by intensifying the impacts of GABA-A, which causes a hypnotic sedative effect.
Doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to help patients struggling with anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia, and seizures, among other conditions. You can safely use them to treat these ailments over a short period. Continuous use while increasing the dosage often leads to dependence. This reliance usually has severe withdrawal effects if you detox without supervision by addiction experts, such as those at Novo Detox Center.
Benzodiazepine detox is a process that takes place when you stop using the same dose of benzos that your body has grown accustomed to receiving. Reducing the amount you take lessens the effect it has on your body. While tapering off benzodiazepines lowers your likelihood of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, you should still do it with help from addiction experts. They will recommend the doses for each phase after taking into account your health and level of addiction, among other factors. Doctors can also monitor you to ensure you are detoxing safely.
List of Benzodiazepines
- Serax (oxazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Halcion (triazolam)
- Diastat (diazepam)
- Doral (quazepam)
- Paxipam (halazepam)
- Dalmane (flurazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- ProSom (estazolam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Restoril (temazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
- Tranxene-SD (clorazepate)
Understanding Benzodiazepine Abuse
Many people like the relaxing feeling that benzodiazepines give them. This effect often makes people susceptible to misusing benzos. Managing your benzodiazepine dosage according to the instructions your doctor gives you often reduces your likelihood of developing a dependence on them. However, if you use more drugs than the physician recommends, you can become addicted. Continuous use of benzodiazepines often leads to a high tolerance level, a condition where you need more benzos to produce the same effects over time.
Signs of benzodiazepine dependence include:
1. Increased tolerance level for benzodiazepines (you need higher doses to have the same effects)
2. Withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to detox
3. Inability or failure to stop using benzodiazepines or reduce doses
4. Prioritizing your next score at the expense of its consequences (such as poor health, financial management, and hobbies)
5. Visiting several clinics in the hope of getting more prescriptions
Several risk factors can make you susceptible to developing benzodiazepine addiction:
- Using benzodiazepines while having other conditions such as alcohol addiction
- Having long-term conditions that benzodiazepines treat such as anxiety disorder
- Long-term use of benzos (beyond a month)
- Use of increasingly high doses of benzos
- Having a history of addiction
- Low self-esteem or being unemployed
These risk factors do not necessarily mean that you will become addicted to benzos when you start using them. Your physician will consider them before prescribing your dosage. If you develop the following signs, then you may have benzodiazepine dependence.
- Forging benzodiazepine prescriptions
- Failure to fulfill your responsibilities at home, at work, or in school
- Doctor shopping (visiting more doctors to get more doses)
- Estranging yourself from friends and other family members
- Taking part in high-risk activities
1. Poor coordination
2. Blurred vision
4. Shifts in eating and sleeping patterns
5. Increased respiratory infections
6. Stomach cramps
7. Muscle weakness
8. Slowed reaction time
- Mood swings
- Deteriorating mental condition
- Perception challenges
- Inability to concentrate
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced inhibition
- Memory impairment
- Increased feeling of confusion
- Inability to concentrate
Dangers of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Benzodiazepines distort the normal functioning of your brain. Benzos induce the production of dopamine, making your body reliant on them to produce it. Dopamine is the hormone responsible for the excellent feeling you get when doing something you like. Once you become dependent on benzos, your brain cannot do without them. You experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to detox. Addiction centers can prescribe medications or advise you on alternative ways to avoid or manage these consequences of detox.
Benzodiazepine abuse causes harm to your health, relationships, finances, among others. You will lag in your work leading to your dismissal or poor performance in school. Addicts prioritize their next score of benzodiazepine, and they may put themselves in harm’s way to get it. They risk legal troubles to forge prescriptions, steal, risk overdosing, or they continue to use benzos despite the severe effects they have on their health.
Addiction to benzodiazepines is often time-consuming. You can use them, feeling their effects, or planning how you will get your next score. It barely leaves time to build relationships and often drives rifts between families and friends due to the reckless behavior of addicts.
Benzodiazepines Side Effects
While expectant mothers can use them to treat several conditions, some researchers claim that they may have adverse effects on the pregnancy. Some researchers say that overdosing on benzodiazepines leads to floppiness, breathing complications, and sedation in newborns. However, with the right dose, they can be harmless. Please consult your physician to get clear guidance on how you can use benzos without experiencing their side effects.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Benzodiazepines
An attempt to detox from benzos often leads to the following withdrawal symptoms.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks
- Shaking or trembling
- Hand tremor
- Sleep disturbance
- Stomach cramps
- Weight loss
- Muscular stiffness or pain
- Increased tension
The severity of these symptoms depends on the level of your addiction, duration of dependence, method of detox you use, among other factors. Detox facilities such as Novo Detox Center can prescribe medications to help you manage these detox effects. Our physicians may also advise you on alternative techniques to deal with these signs and design a treatment plan that avoids some of them.
Stages of Benzodiazepine Detox
Benzodiazepine withdrawal can typically be in two phases. Each has its timeline and different symptoms. However, some signs from the first stage overlap into the second one. The periods are protracted and acute withdrawal stages.
Benzodiazepines have their half-lives. The half-life of a benzodiazepine shows the duration it takes to decrease its effects by half. As the impacts of the drug reduce, your body will start going through withdrawal symptoms. Longer-acting benzodiazepines like Valium cause withdrawal effects a few days after your last intake. Shorter-acting benzos like Xanax have violent withdrawal symptoms 10-12 hours after your final use.
Acute Withdrawal Stage
This phase of withdrawal starts a few days or hours after your last intake of benzodiazepines. You experience most of the symptoms in this stage, and you will need medication to help you deal with some of them. Therapy can help you deal with suicidal thoughts and other disorders in this phase. The acute withdrawal stage lasts 5 – 14 days. However, some symptoms may last for months.
You will experience the following symptoms in this phase:
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain
Protracted Withdrawal Stage
About 10% of recovering benzodiazepine addicts go through this phase. Its signs develop weeks or months after your last intake of benzodiazepines. You may experience some of the symptoms you went through in the acute withdrawal phase. However, they will be less severe and often come and go.
The signs you may experience in this phase include:
1. Decreased appetite
4. Mood swings
5. Mild insomnia
6. Poor concentration
7. Mild anxiety
Long Term Benefits of Detox
Benzodiazepine addicts that brave the withdrawal process reap many benefits. It enables you to focus on improving your health, allows you to mend your relationships, and helps you live a life away from unnecessary risks. Seeking treatment helps you work on living a quality life with better coping mechanisms and healthier habits.
There are many benefits that you will get as you overcome your benzodiazepine addiction. Our experts can take you through them. Reach out and learn what awaits you once you choose to overcome your benzodiazepine dependence.
At Novo Detox Center, we provide treatment that will help you get better without complications. Our physicians examine your benzodiazepine addiction and develop a treatment plan that will work for you. Various institutions have accredited us, such as the California Department of Healthcare Services. Our facility is in Los Angeles, and we provide reliable detox via our inpatient, outpatient, and PHP programs. We have ten on-staff specialists with experience spanning close to half a decade, and they are available 24/7.
Withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines are often uncomfortable. Our doctors will design a slow detox process for you to reduce their severity. They will also monitor you throughout the process and prescribe medications or teach you alternative ways of dealing with withdrawal symptoms that may arise. We will counsel you to build a strong mentality to get you through detox, and we will prepare you for the challenging part of sobriety.
We help benzodiazepine addicts recover using various proven methods, including:
2. Medication-assisted therapy
3. Counseling such as family, group, individual, CBT, and other therapies
We were able to save 109 lives in 2019. Our success rate of 98% makes us a reliable place to overcome your benzodiazepine addiction.
Benzodiazepine addiction is a problem that affects many residents of Los Angeles and its environs. Some people are more susceptible to developing a benzodiazepine addiction than others. For example, people with a history of a substance use disorder, those with low self-esteem, and those with other conditions, such as alcohol dependence, are high-risk individuals. Benzodiazepine addiction has many adverse consequences.
Overcoming benzodiazepine dependence is a challenging process. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that you may experience often undermine its success. You can turn to benzos to stop the symptoms you go through while detoxing. However, with the right treatment, you can go through detox without the signs being unbearable. Novo Detox Center provides a safe, reliable, and flexible treatment to help you get better without complications. Reach out to us today and let us help you overcome your benzodiazepine addiction.