Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. Unfortunately, they are also among some of the most addictive. If you or someone you know is battling a benzodiazepine addiction, getting treatment at an accredited drug and alcohol rehab center can help you taper off benzodiazepine use in a safe, controlled environment. Furthermore, a prescription drug rehab can lessen any discomfort you might experience from benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a type of medication known as sedative-hypnotics, which work by inhibiting the central nervous system (CNS). They are mostly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders like insomnia and are named after their chemical structure. Some examples of benzodiazepines include Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin.
During the initial rollout, benzodiazepines were marketed as a safer alternative to barbiturates for treating certain mental health conditions. However, it soon became apparent that benzodiazepines, like barbiturates, also have a high potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose. Moreover, benzodiazepines can also cause serious health problems when misused, like benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
However, before we dive into depressant drug addiction and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, let’s take a closer look at how this medication works.
How Do Benzodiazepines Work?
Benzodiazepines produce sedative and anxiety-reducing side effects by interacting with receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA, which is a chemical in your brain that can influence mood and stress levels. Benzodiazepines bind to a subset of GABA receptors that are commonly referred to as “benzo receptors.” When benzodiazepines bind here, they can strengthen the effects of GABA, which in turn slows down your nervous system.
In short, this means that benzodiazepines change the ways that your brain sends signals throughout your body. This can result in muscle relaxation, feelings of tiredness, and an overall reduction in anxiety levels.
As a result, you feel tranquil and relaxed, both mentally and physically, which is why benzos are effective in treating conditions like the following:
Just like anything that changes the way that your brain sends signals, however, benzodiazepines can be addictive for the exact reasons that they’re prescribed. Over time, individuals may only be able to relax while on benzodiazepines, especially if they have not developed healthy coping skills. This is a common-but-dangerous scenario in which an individual is at high risk for experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
Benzodiazepine abuse and addiction are not typically life-threatening, which leads some people who misuse them to try to detox alone. However, quitting benzodiazepines is not simply a matter of not taking them, and the people who discontinue use tend to endure some pretty troubling benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Shortness of breath
- Restlessness and agitation
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
In extreme cases, someone may encounter more severe benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, such as suicidal ideations, auditory and visual hallucinations, and seizures.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms usually begin within the first six to eight hours of detox and can reach their peak intensity within three to five days. However, these benzo withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks or even longer in cases of severe addiction.
As a result, it’s normal for individuals to relapse while experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, since they naturally want to feel better. For this reason, it is safer to seek medical supervision before detoxing at home, as the risk of dangerous complications and relapse increase if the addiction is left untreated.
Benzodiazepine Detox Program
Detoxing is the process of removing harmful substances and toxins from the body. In the context of substance abuse, this means abstaining from all drug or alcohol use. Detoxing correctly is important for anyone; whether they are new to recovery or have been through the process before, detoxing sets the stage for overcoming addiction. Notably, this is also the part of recovery where benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms start to arise.
The Willough at Naples uses medical detox as one of the first steps for patients entering addiction treatment. During medical detox, individuals receive around-the-clock care and monitoring to ensure that any concerning symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal can be addressed immediately.
This kind of care keeps people safe and helps establish a strong foundation for the rest of their recovery journey. At The Willough at Naples, patients are never alone during detox. Instead, they are supported by medical professionals who provide 24/7 support and medical monitoring to ensure safety and comfort throughout the recovery process. While detoxing can be difficult, many people find that with proper care, a benzodiazepine detox program can help them stop using for good.
After participating in a drug and alcohol detox program and most of the benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are gone, patients should consider an inpatient prescription drug rehab to address the underlying causes of addiction.
Inpatient Prescription Drug Rehab
After completing detox, when the benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms have subsided, individuals may choose to enter a prescription drug rehab program to address the underlying causes of their addiction. At The Willough at Naples, our dual diagnosis program can help you treat both addiction and its underlying mental health causes.
These centers often use therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients understand how their thoughts and actions contribute to their addiction and mental health issues. With these tools, patients can work towards overcoming their addiction daily.
Other treatment options available at The Willough at Naples include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Group therapy
- Nutrition Consultations
- Behavioral health services for family members
- Recreational therapy
- Relapse prevention planning
- Links to community-based services
Our inpatient dual diagnosis program offers these therapeutic activities to help patients develop the skills and coping mechanisms necessary for long-term recovery. These programs teach patients how to handle triggers and manage obstacles once they return home, preparing them for life after treatment. The knowledge and tools gained during prescription drug rehab can be crucial for maintaining sustained sobriety.
Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Florida
The Willough at Naples is a Florida-based treatment center committed to helping adults overcome benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Our patient-centered approaches support individuals during and after recovery.
If you are ready to overcome your addiction to benzodiazepines and let the healing begin, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact our admissions specialists by calling 800-722-0100 or submitting a confidential contact form online. It is never too late to take the next step in your recovery journey.