Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos,” are a type of prescription sedative used for the treatment of moderate or severe anxiety disorders, severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, and sleep-related issues like insomnia. When you use as intended, benzodiazepines can prove extremely effective for the treatment of these issues, however, when they are taken other than as prescribed they can easily lead to physical and psychological dependence.
More About Benzodiazepine Addiction and Abuse
Some examples of commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include Xanax Valium and Klonopin. If you have been prescribed one of these medications and you have begun to take it in a higher dose than suggested by your primary care physician or psychiatrist, you might be struggling with a diagnosable substance abuse disorder. Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with benzodiazepine addiction include:
- An attempt to cut back on the number of benzodiazepines taken daily, but being unable to cut back or quit entirely.
- Relying on benzodiazepines to function at a basic level and complete daily tasks and responsibilities.
- Developing a physical tolerance, meaning that a higher dose of the benzodiazepine you are taking is required for you to feel the same effects.
- Engaging in drug-seeking behavior like doctor shopping or stealing Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin from the medicine cabinets of friends or relatives.
- Experiencing severe mood swings, which are usually a combination of periods of happiness inhalation coupled with extreme agitation and irritability.
- Experiencing physical symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking benzodiazepines suddenly.
If you or someone close to you has been struggling with a benzodiazepine abuse disorder, professional addiction treatment is necessary. Attempting to quit on your own or attempting to quit cold turkey can result in a range of serious health-related consequences.
Tapering From Benzodiazepines Requies Medical Attention
When it comes to overcoming a benzodiazepine abuse disorder, numerous recovery methods will be actively employed. When it comes to medically monitored detox, several detox methods are more beneficial than others – one of the most beneficial being tapering.
When someone has tapered off a drug it essentially means that he or she is slowly weaned off of the drug under the careful supervision of a medical professional. It is safe to taper off benzodiazepines if you are doing it with the guidance, direction, supervision, and support of a clinical addiction treatment staff.
Coming Off Benzos Too Quickly is Painfully Uncomfortable
Tapering off of benzodiazepines is common practice even when the medication is being taken exactly as prescribed. Stopping any dose suddenly can result in serious – sometimes life-threatening – withdrawal symptoms. There are several steps involved when it comes to successfully tapering off of benzodiazepines, which include the following:
- Switching from a short-acting benzodiazepine to a long-acting. benzodiazepine, which might include diazepam or clonazepam
- Reducing the dose by roughly 5% every week – in some cases, if a high dose was not being taken, reducing the dose by 10% might be beneficial.
- Prescribing a wide range of other non-addictive medications that can help with withdrawal symptoms, including non-narcotic pain relievers, sleep aids, and anxiety medications.
- Decreasing the dose once per month until the patient has reached at least half of the original dose – this method of tapering is carried out if an individual is not addicted to the medication, and if he or she is not planning on entering into a long-term program of recovery.
Contact Our Benzodiazepine Abuse Treatment Program
Tapering off of benzodiazepines is a process that must always be closely observed by a medical professional. If an individual has been suffering from a benzodiazepine abuse disorder the tapering process must be undergone in a medical detox facility to treat any withdrawal symptoms that arise. Afterward, transitioning into the ongoing next level of care can include intensive counseling at an outpatient setting or partial hospitalization that is more supervised.
At Garden State Treatment Center, we have extensive experience treating benzodiazepine addiction and all related symptoms, and we are very familiar with treating protracted symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. To learn more about the benefits of living a life without benzodiazepine dependence, or to begin your journey of recovery, give us a call day or night.