Benzodiazepines, or tranquilizers, are the most frequently prescribed drug in America. In addition, benzodiazepines withdrawal is strenuous and tedious. The following are conditions for which the drug is prescribed:
- Muscle relaxation
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Seizure control
- To induce amnesia for uncomfortable procedures
- Before anesthesia is administered (such as before surgery)
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are highly abused because of their widespread availability. Death rarely results from benzo abuse alone. However, they are typically taken with alcohol or other medications and that combination is what can be fatal. There are about fifteen FDA-approved benzos in the United States (although more than two thousand have been produced). Benzos are classified by how long their effects last:
- Ultra-short acting
Benzos are a common date-rape drug. In recent years, the numbers have sky rocketed. This is due to the drugs ability to impair functions that allow a person to resist sexual assault or sexual aggression.
Benzodiazepines withdrawal is one of the most arduous stages to get through. It is a long withdrawal process with severe symptoms. Due to the severe nature of benzodiazepines withdrawal symptoms, it is not recommended that one do so cold-turkey. Tapering off of benzos is much safer. You may be curious as to, “how long does benzo withdrawal last?” Typically, acute withdrawal symptoms last seven to ninety days. However, that is not all. Expect post-acute withdrawal symptoms that may last up to two years in some cases. Below are five things you may not have known about benzodiazepines withdrawal.
- Painful Symptoms
It is important to note that getting clean is personal and differs by person. However, some are very common across most addicts. Here are some of the benzo withdrawal symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Moderate to severe depression
- Body tremors
- Extreme anxiety
- Burning sensations going through the brain
- Sleep disturbance
- Weight loss
- Emotional outbursts and increased irritability
Benzos act as a depressant and dulls chemical receptors in the brain. So, when one ceases using benzos, the calming chemicals that benzos provide are no longer present. Benzodiazepine withdrawal may be exhibited through inappropriate responses to social cues, obsessive, irrational raging, and hyperactive or hysterical behavior.
Again, these symptoms vary by the individual. The longer the individual can stay abstinent from benzo use, the quicker their brain may begin to heal. Of the utmost importance is a solid support system. A support system can consist of a twelve-step program, family, friends, or anything else that will help you stay on the path to recovery.
- Avoidance of certain foods can help
Avoiding the following foods can help ease the pain of benzodiazepines withdrawal:
- Cane sugar
- Garbanzo beans
- Muscle stiffness and body aches
A prevalent complaint in the benzodiazepines withdrawal process, is that it literally hurts. This can be extremely uncomfortable and lead the addict back to using. Typical areas for pain are in the legs, shoulders, neck, and arms. Yoga and/or stretching have been reported to be very helpful. Additionally, a warm bath may provide some relief. The most important thing to remember is to remain active through the pain or it may worsen.
- You can do it!
Although it may seem impossible – you can do it! Don’t think about, “how long does benzo withdrawal last?” Take things one day at a time and it will get easier. If you or someone you love are contemplating suicide during this trying time, please contact 911, then White Sands Treatment Center immediately for assistance with recovery. Meditation has been proven to help those withdrawing from benzo abuse.
It is a long road to recovery for those fighting an addiction to benzodiazepines, however, it is not impossible. With the tips above, research available, and strong support system – you can do it. For more information on withdrawal from benzos, contact White Sands today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.