Wondering What to Expect When Going Through Benzo Withdrawal?

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Benzodiazepines are pharmaceutical drugs which are often prescribed to those who are suffering from issues like anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and tensions, and seizures. Sometimes called benzos, benzodiazepines are sometimes even used in order to treat those who are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs.

But, although they are used to help people end substance addiction, they have been known to cause addiction themselves. Even though benzos are seen as helpful substances, they can actually be very problematic.

Some people who develop benzo addiction problems may feel afraid to stop using the drugs because they’re not sure what to expect when going through benzo withdrawal. But, it’s important to end substance abuse and addiction immediately in order to become a healthy and whole individual.

About Benzo Abuse and Addiction

Since these drugs can be so addictive, doctors generally prescribe them for short-term use. However, many people end up using them long-term and, as a result, they begin to develop a high tolerance for the drugs.

When individuals become tolerant of benzos, it means that they need to use higher dosages in order to feel the effects of the drugs. Basically, their bodies have become used to the effects of the regular dose and they no longer respond the same way. In order to get the desired results of effects, individuals have to up the dosage.

This, of course, can lead to benzo misuse as individuals may begin using more of the drug than their doctors have recommended.

If you’ve noticed a benzo dependence, abuse, or addiction problem in your life, it’s important to get help right away. Maybe you’ve considered treatment but you’re a little concerned, wondering what to expect when going through benzo withdrawal. If so, we’ve got some information that might help you.

What is Benzo Withdrawal?

After using benzos for a while, people may become physically and even mentally dependent on them. They may begin to feel like they need to use the drugs in order to feel “normal”. This is mainly due to the fact that the body goes into withdrawal just hours after a person uses short-acting benzos (i.e. Xanax or Halcion).

Although long-acting benzodiazepines don’t cause withdrawal symptoms as quickly as short-acting benzos, individuals will still feel the effects of withdrawal fairly soon after using them. Valium and Librium are a few examples of long-acting benzodiazepines.

Withdrawal is almost like a state of shock that the body experiences after it is without a substance that it has grown dependent on. If a person has been using a substance like benzo medication for a while, his or her body has likely gotten used to functioning under the influence of that drug. So, without that substance in its system, the body will become uncomfortable and experience symptoms of withdrawal.

What to Expect When Going Through Benzo Withdrawal

“Withdrawal” is a term that causes a lot of people to feel uncomfortable and even afraid. This is because withdrawal symptoms can be very intense depending on how long a person has been using a specific drug.

Benzo withdrawal can definitely be a challenging process. Common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tension
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Weight loss
  • Increased anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscular pain and stiffness
  • Shakiness and hand tremors
  • Sleep problems (insomnia, etc.)
  • Concentration difficulties

Sometimes, benzo withdrawal can even cause people to have psychotic experiences. Some individuals have experienced hallucinations and even had suicidal thoughts throughout the withdrawal process.

The symptoms of withdrawal are certainly not pleasant and often lead individuals to relapse in order to make the symptoms go away. But, this isn’t the way to resolve the problem. Relapsing and using benzos regularly again will only lead back to addiction.

The best way to get through withdrawal is through a professional detox and treatment program.

About Benzo Withdrawal and Detox

It’s true. Benzo withdrawal is far from easy and it can be extremely overwhelming for those who are going through it. In some cases, the effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal can even be fatal. Not only is it uncomfortable to go through this process alone, but it can also be dangerous to do so.

Now that you know what to expect when going through benzo withdrawal, you may feel even more concerned about the process. No doubt, you want to end addiction in your life. You want to find freedom from the negative effects of substance abuse and dependence. But, the thought of going through withdrawal might make you feel uncertain about taking the road to recovery.

You’re not alone. As we mentioned before, a lot of people choose not to get treatment for substance abuse and addiction because, although they want to be free, the process of withdrawal sounds a little scary.

But, this is why it’s very important to avoid trying to do it alone. Withdrawal is characterized by some very serious symptoms. So, it’s best to have support and guidance as you work to end benzo use in your life.

Through a professional detox program, you can get that support and guidance. You can work with professionals who understand what you’re going through. Through a medication-assisted detox program, the detox process becomes much more comfortable and safe.

Quitting benzo use cold turkey is one of the most dangerous and harmful things you could do. It can cause major problems and even lead to addiction relapse. So, if you want to truly overcome substance dependence, it’s best to do so in a safe and comfortable setting, like the one we offer here at 1st Step Behavioral Health.

Benzo Detox and Treatment at 1st Step Behavioral Health

You’ve been struggling with substance abuse and addiction for long enough. Benzo use has affected you and your loved ones in more ways than one. Maybe addiction has caused emotional separation between you and your family. Perhaps it has caused you to feel alone and without hope.

That ends here and now.

You can break free from the grip of addiction today by calling the professional and compassionate team here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Let us help you find your way to the freedom you deserve; call (866) 319-6126!

Resources:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/benzodiazepines/

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/benzodiazepine/length-of-withdrawal

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7841856 https://www.addictioncenter.com/benzodiazepines/benzodiazepine-withdrawal-and-detox/

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.