As tolerance gets stronger, the user needs higher doses of benzos to feel their effects. Outpatient treatment, which offers weekly individual, group, and family therapy with time outside of treatment to work, go to school, and adjust to living life without drugs. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. Poison centers offer free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week Nonprofit Treatment Centers: Other symptoms that peak during this time are increased heart and breathing rate, sweating, and nausea. At times they may feel strong, but they do not remain at a high intensity forever. Physiological dependence on benzodiazepines is accompanied by a withdrawal syndrome which is typically characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, dry wretching and nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes.
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Call to begin again today at Who Answers? Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous, especially for users with severe dependence and those with pre-existing health issues. Serious symptoms caused by benzo withdrawal can include psychosis and seizures 6. Left unmanaged, withdrawal seizures may be progressive, difficult to control, and potentially lethal. It is important for those attempting to quit a benzodiazepine to get help from a program that can safely usher them into the recovery process.
Suddenly quitting benzodiazepines may also cause a rebound effect, where old symptoms previously treated by the drug return with greater severity 7. Users may experience symptoms such as rebound anxiety and insomnia at a level of intensity similar to what was experienced before starting use of the drug 7. Benzodiazepine users who experience rebound symptoms may contemplate immediate relapse, in an attempt to mitigate the unpleasant withdrawal syndrome. While many of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal are uncomfortable, treatment options are available to manage many of them—making it more safe and tolerable for those in recovery.
To find a program and get help now, call Who Answers? Muscle pain and stiffness. Some benzodiazepine users may experience a protracted or prolonged withdrawal, also known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome , which may last for several months or more 2. Common symptoms of protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal include Medications may be used in the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal in order to taper users from the drug, treat withdrawal symptoms, and reduce discomfort. Your doctor may gradually taper you off your benzodiazepine over a period of weeks or months, rather than abruptly stopping the drug 8.
If you are currently taking a benzodiazepine with a shorter half-life like Ativan lorazepam or Xanax alprazolam , your doctor may first prescribe one with a longer half-life, such as chlordiazepoxide or Klonopin clonazepam to help ease your symptoms during detox and to facilitate the tapering process 8. Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine and valproate.
Sedating antidepressants such as trazodone. Antihypertensive medications such as clonidine or propranolol for those who experience severe autonomic consequences as part of the benzo withdrawal syndrome e. Administration of these medications does not altogether negate the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms like seizures 8. In order to reduce the risk of complications, you should be carefully monitored during withdrawal by medical professionals to ensure your safety. While medications may be beneficial and even necessary during withdrawal, understand that addiction treatment does not solely entail the use of medication or stop when the withdrawal period is completed.
Medications are, however, an important therapeutic adjunct when combined with psychological treatments like cognitive and behavioral therapies. Treating benzodiazepine addiction involves both detoxing users from the drug and treating the underlying addiction. Because benzo withdrawal is associated with both distressing and dangerous symptoms, it is often the safest course for those detoxing from a drug in this class to be treated under close medical supervision.
Benzodiazepine detox may take place in a hospital setting or a treatment facility. Medical and mental health professionals in a detox facility may:. Evaluate the severity of the problem. Monitor vital signs like pulse, temperature, and blood pressure. Gradually taper the dose of the drug. Prescribe medications to reduce discomfort. Prescribe medications to reduce risk of seizures.
Encourage participation in further treatment. While safely detoxing is an important step in the treatment process, long-term recovery requires learning how to cope without drugs. Treatment programs available after completion of detox include:. Residential treatment, which offers intensive therapy and temporary housing in a drug and alcohol-free environment. Residential treatment often takes place in a home- or dorm-like like facility and may offer other amenities, such as exercise programs, skills training, and day trips.
Outpatient treatment, which offers weekly individual, group, and family therapy with time outside of treatment to work, go to school, and adjust to living life without drugs. Psychotherapy, which can be provided by an addiction counselor, therapist, or psychologist. Individual psychotherapy sessions may be attended once or more per week. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is a common approach to treating benzodiazepine addiction.
The goal of CBT is to help people identify the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to negative emotions like anger, sadness, and worry, and to understand how these emotions contribute to negative behaviors such as drug use. CBT also helps people develop a plan for coping with negative thoughts and feelings without turning to substances for relief. Benzo withdrawal can be an uncomfortable and risky process, but receiving the proper care can set the stage for long-term recovery.
To find a program that will help you get off benzodiazepines for good, call us now at Who Answers? Tips to Handle Benzo Cravings. Cravings are strong urges to use that are common when first trying to quit benzodiazepines, but they may last for months after using. Some people experience intermittent cravings even years after quitting. While cravings can feel uncomfortable, they are a normal part of the recovery process.
Falsely believing that cravings can make you use drugs can set you up to relapse. Another common false belief is that cravings will last forever. Many people in recovery experience cravings that come and go. At times they may feel strong, but they do not remain at a high intensity forever. Coping with cravings involves having realistic beliefs about what cravings entail. Keep in mind that cravings are normal—uncomfortable but not unbearable—and they are time-limited.
To manage your cravings: Having an idea of what people, places, events, and feelings trigger your cravings can help you make a plan for managing them. In total, over fifty withdrawal symptoms are listed in this review article. Discontinuing benzodiazepines or antidepressants abruptly due to concerns of teratogenic effects of the medications has a high risk of causing serious complications, so is not recommended.
For example, abrupt withdrawal of benzodiazepines or antidepressants has a high risk of causing extreme withdrawal symptoms, including suicidal ideation and a severe rebound effect of the return of the underlying disorder if present. This can lead to hospitalisation and potentially, suicide. One study reported one-third of mothers who suddenly discontinued or very rapidly tapered their medications became acutely suicidal due to 'unbearable symptoms'. One woman had a medical abortion , as she felt she could no longer cope, and another woman used alcohol in a bid to combat the withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines.
Spontaneous abortions may also result from abrupt withdrawal of psychotropic medications, including benzodiazepines. The study reported physicians generally are not aware of the severe consequences of abrupt withdrawal of psychotropic medications such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants. A study of the elderly who were benzodiazepine dependent found withdrawal could be carried out with few complications and could lead to improvements in sleep and cognitive abilities.
Some worsening of symptoms were seen in the first few months of benzodiazepine abstinence, but at a week followup, elderly subjects were clearly improved compared to those who remained on benzodiazepines. Improvements in sleep were seen at the and week followups. The authors concluded benzodiazepines were not effective in the long term for sleep problems except in suppressing withdrawal-related rebound insomnia. Improvements were seen between 24 and 52 weeks after withdrawal in many factors, including improved sleep and several cognitive and performance abilities.
Some cognitive abilities, which are sensitive to benzodiazepines, as well as age, such as episodic memory did not improve. The authors, however, cited a study in younger patients who at a 3. The reason it took 24 weeks for improvements to be seen after cessation of benzodiazepine use was due to the time it takes the brain to adapt to the benzodiazepine-free environment. At 24 weeks, significant improvements were found, including accuracy of information processing improved, but a decline was seen in those who remained on benzodiazepines.
Further improvements were noted at the week followup, indicating ongoing improvements with benzodiazepine abstinence. Younger people on benzodiazepines also experience cognitive deterioration in visual spatial memory, but are not as vulnerable as the elderly to the cognitive effects. This is an important function in the elderly, especially if they drive a car due to the increased risk of road traffic accidents in benzodiazepine users. Part of the success was attributed to the placebo method used for part of the trial which broke the psychological dependence on benzodiazepines when the elderly patients realised they had completed their gradual reduction several weeks previously, and had only been taking placebo tablets.
This helped reassure them they could sleep without their pills. The authors also warned of the similarities in pharmacology and mechanism of action of the newer nonbenzodiazepine Z drugs. The elimination half-life of diazepam and chlordiazepoxide, as well as other long half-life benzodiazepines, is twice as long in the elderly compared to younger individuals. Many doctors do not adjust benzodiazepine dosage according to age in elderly patients.
Such inpatient referrals may be traumatic for non-abusers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The core structure of benzodiazepines. Catatonia , which may result in death    Confusion  Convulsions ,  which may result in death   Coma  rare Delirium tremens    Hyperthermia  Mania   Neuroleptic malignant syndrome -like event   rare Organic brain syndrome  Post-traumatic stress disorder  Psychosis   Suicidal ideation  or suicide   Violence and aggression  .
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome Benzodiazepine dependence Benzodiazepine equivalence Opioid withdrawal syndrome Physical dependence Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome Rebound effect SSRI discontinuation syndrome Neuroleptic discontinuation syndrome. Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction: A Guide to Coping and Understanding 3 ed. United States of America: I have treated ten thousand patients for alcohol and drug problems and have detoxed approximately 1, patients for benzodiazepines — the detox for the benzodiazepines is one of the hardest detoxes we do.
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