Though benzodiazepines might not be as well known as meth or heroin, they are one of the most-misused drugs in the nation. These prescription drugs are incredibly dangerous and very easy to get addicted to. If you or a loved one is suffering from benzodiazepine addiction, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Benzodiazepines?
- 2 How to Tell If You Have a Benzo Addiction
- 3 Benzo Withdrawal and Detox
- 4 Treatment Options for Benzo Addiction
- 5 Garden State Treatment Center Is Here for You
- 6 FAQ
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are a class of prescription drugs. Benzos are central nervous system depressants that have a tranquilizing effect. Common benzos include:
Benzos have some legitimate medical uses. They’re often prescribed for patients who have insomnia, anxiety, seizure disorders, or muscle contractions, and they’re also used as a pre-anesthetic before surgery. However, in addition to these medical uses, benzos are also very easy to misuse. People may take them without a prescription or take them in higher doses than their doctor recommends.
When people take benzos, they often experience sensations of euphoria, relaxation, happiness, and floatiness. In addition to these more pleasant effects, the drugs also cause mental confusion, slurred speech, memory loss, dizziness, disorientation, poor judgment, muscle weakness, and poor coordination. They go by many slang names including downers, tranks, and zannies.
How to Tell If You Have a Benzo Addiction
Benzodiazepines are both physically and mentally addictive. It is very easy for people who misuse them to end up developing a benzodiazepine use disorder. Benzo addiction is something that only a doctor can diagnose. However, it’s generally characterized by a compulsive need to take benzos and the continued use of benzos after they cause negative consequences. Here are some common warning signs that you need to talk to a doctor about your benzodiazepine use.
- You find yourself taking benzodiazepines more often or in larger doses than you originally meant to
- You spend a lot of your time thinking about, obtaining, and taking benzos
- You neglect responsibilities like work, school, childcare, or housecare to take benzos
- You want to cut back on benzo use but cannot
- You spend money you don’t have to obtain benzos or steal them from loved ones
- You participate in risky behavior, such as driving, while taking benzos
- You mix benzos with alcohol, other medication, or other drugs to get stronger effects
- You bounce from doctor to doctor to find one who prescribes you benzos
- You avoid friends and family to take benzos instead
- You fail to take care of yourself and ignore health, hygiene, food, or medication
Many people assume that benzo addiction is fairly harmless because the drugs are prescribed medication. However, when used improperly, benzos can be quite dangerous. People who take them regularly are at risk for overdoses, cognitive impairment, and other health problems. Addiction can also cause a lot of social, financial, and emotional problems. Many people with benzo addictions damage relationships with loved ones, destroy their finances, or disrupt their careers. If you want to get your life back, it’s essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Benzo Withdrawal and Detox
Over time, benzo users develop a physical dependency on the drug. When you’ve routinely taken benzos for a long period of time, you can start to feel ill whenever the drug leaves your system. The exact amount of time it takes for withdrawal to occur tends to depend on which benzodiazepines you take. Some people can start feeling sick about 10 hours after their last dose while others might not experience symptoms for a few days. Whenever withdrawal starts, it can be very intense and uncomfortable. To safely and successfully quit using benzos, you may need medical assistance from a professional rehab center.
Unfortunately, benzos have one of the most dangerous withdrawal periods possible. With most other drugs, stopping suddenly just causes flu-like symptoms and intense cravings. If you quit benzos abruptly, it can be fatal. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can trigger seizures in otherwise healthy adults. People who try to go “cold turkey” can end up dying.
Even if you don’t experience the most dangerous symptoms, withdrawal can still be quite unpleasant. It typically lasts for somewhere between five to 14 days, and it can include a variety of symptoms, including:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense sweating
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Heart palpitations
- Intense cravings for benzos
- Memory loss
- Confusion and poor concentration
- Blurred vision
How to Detox From Benzos Safely
Because benzo withdrawal is so risky, it’s important to have medical supervision during detox. Most doctors recommend patients slowly taper down usage instead of stopping altogether. This gives your brain time to adjust to the lack of benzos, so withdrawal symptoms are less severe. Many patients can benefit from a medically-supervised detox where they stay in a facility and have their health vitals monitored while they detox.
Treatment Options for Benzo Addiction
Benzo addiction can be quite dangerous and damaging, but fortunately, you have a lot of treatment options. At rehab centers like Garden State Treatment Center, you can get professional help with benzo addiction. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment includes a broad range of therapies. Depending on your health and current situation, your care provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective types of addiction counseling. This talk therapy consists of identifying problematic thought patterns and replacing them with more effective ones. It can be a very useful way of finding the triggers that drive you to use benzos and discovering healthier coping skills. CBT is also very useful for unpacking the various stressors and traumas that encouraged addictive behaviors in the first place.
Group and Family Therapy
For most people, recovery is a team effort. Family therapy can be a great way for others in your support circle to encourage you and stop enabling behaviors. Another beneficial type of joint therapy is group therapy where you talk with other people dealing with addiction. This can be an excellent way to get insight and support from those who are in the same place as you.
Medication-assisted treatment is a special type of treatment that involves taking low doses of certain medications that reduce benzo cravings. Different medications may be recommended based on your situation, but common ones include buprenorphine and methadone. These medications do not cause a euphoric high as benzos do, so they don’t trigger the same drug-seeking behavior. However, they do help to mute cravings and withdrawal symptoms, so you can more easily focus on your mental health.
12-step programs are a popular form of treatment that follows the “Alcoholics Anonymous” model. These involve a formal structure with groups of people who meet and work on their addiction together. Many people find that this sense of stability is very helpful. This like 30-day chips and mentors can provide a lot of motivation and reassurance.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Many people who take benzodiazepines do so because they’re trying to self-treat an undiagnosed mental health condition. Dual diagnosis treatment lets you identify and treat any underlying conditions like PTSD, anxiety, or depression. In a dual diagnosis program, you get therapy for addiction and therapy for your co-occurring disorder. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or other medications that treat your condition without causing addiction.
Garden State Treatment Center Is Here for You
If you’re looking for benzo addiction treatment in New Jersey, Garden State Treatment Center is an excellent choice. Our team of dedicated professionals provides you with compassionate, dignified care. You can always count on us to be friendly, caring, and supportive as you journey to recovery. We prioritize evidence-based treatment and employ highly qualified counselors and other healthcare professionals.
Garden State Treatment Center has many programs available for those with benzodiazepine addiction. Our partial care and intensive outpatient programs let you stay at home but still get frequent treatment. We also offer outpatient programs where you can come to us for treatment a few times a week. Even after the early stages of recovery, we’re still here for you. Our alumni program provides ongoing support as you continue to recover.
If you or a loved one is dealing with benzodiazepine addiction, turn to Garden State Treatment Center. We can provide an assessment of your current health and help you find a safe way to detox from benzos. Our team also provides personalized treatment plans with a blend of therapy that is right for your situation. To get started, contact Garden State Treatment Center today.
How long do benzodiazepines stay in your system?
The length of time benzodiazepines stay in the system depends on several factors, including the specific benzodiazepine, the dose, the frequency of use, and the individual’s metabolism.
Typically, benzodiazepines have a half-life ranging from 6 to 48 hours, which means that half of the drug will be eliminated from the body within that time period. However, the length of time benzodiazepines remain detectable in the body can vary depending on the test used.
Benzodiazepines can be detected in the blood for 1 to 2 days, in urine for 2 to 7 days, and in hair for up to 90 days. It is important to note that the length of time benzodiazepines remain in the body can be influenced by several factors, including the individual’s age, weight, metabolism, and overall health.
If you are concerned about benzodiazepines showing up on a drug test, it is best to speak with the testing facility or your healthcare provider for more information about the specific test being used and the length of time benzodiazepines may remain detectable in your system.
Can you die from benzo withdrawal?
Yes, in rare cases, benzo withdrawal can be life-threatening and can result in death. Benzos, or benzodiazepines, are a class of medications that are commonly used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and other conditions. They work by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
However, because benzos can be habit-forming, they can also lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when they are discontinued. Benzo withdrawal can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, tremors, and heart palpitations.
In rare cases, benzo withdrawal can cause a potentially life-threatening condition called status epilepticus, which is a prolonged seizure that can cause brain damage or death. Additionally, individuals who have been taking high doses of benzos for a long time may be at higher risk of developing withdrawal symptoms that are severe or prolonged.
It’s important to seek medical support when discontinuing benzos or any other medication that has the potential for dependence or withdrawal. Healthcare providers can help to develop a safe and effective tapering schedule to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms, as well as monitor for any potential complications. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe or potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency medical care immediately.