If you’ve taken a prescription sedative or tranquilizer, there’s a good chance you’ve taken a benzodiazepine or benzo. Medications belonging to this category are widely prescribed across the U.S. Unfortunately, benzo use can lead to addiction. If this happens to you, treatment in a benzo detox center marks the beginning of your recovery. In detox, you go through the stages of benzo withdrawal under safe, controlled conditions. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect.
How Does Benzo Addiction Occur?
When you take a benzo, it achieves its effects by making significant changes in your everyday brain chemistry. In the short run, your brain will treat these changes as variations from the norm. However, in time it will come to expect them. When this expectation is firmly in place, you have become physically dependent on your medication.
Physical dependence is one of the necessary conditions for a benzo addiction. Those conditions also include psychological dependence. This type of dependence occurs when you have an additional emotional need to keep taking your medication. As a rule, you’re addicted when the two forms of dependence are accompanied by uncontrolled drug-seeking behavior.
Stages of Benzo Withdrawal
The first stage of benzo withdrawal is short-term or acute withdrawal. During this stage, you’re likely to experience substantial feelings of anxiety. Other common symptoms include:
- Increases in your blood pressure and heart rate
- Unusual sensitivity to light and noise
Other, less common symptoms may also occur. The worst possible symptoms are seizures and a highly confused, dangerous state called delirium tremens.
There is no single timeline for this stage of withdrawal. Why? Not all benzos have the same level of impact on your body. Some stay in your system for a relatively brief amount of time. Others take longer for you to eliminate. Short-acting benzos will trigger withdrawal sooner than long-acting benzos.
As a rule, it takes a matter of days to complete short-term benzo withdrawal once it begins. However, you may still have significant symptoms when early withdrawal comes to an end. Examples of these lingering effects include things such as:
- Continuing sleeplessness
- Feelings of depression
- Ongoing anxiety
If you experience these symptoms, no one can say how long they will last. But in some cases, they can continue for several months.
Withdrawal in Supervised Benzo Detox
Supervised benzo detox is specifically designed to make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible. One of the main methods used to achieve this goal is benzo tapering. In a tapering program, you don’t just stop using your medication all at once. Instead, you gradually take less and less of it before stopping altogether.
Why is this done? If you stop taking benzos abruptly, you can increase the impact of your withdrawal symptoms. This will not only leave you feeling extremely uncomfortable. It also increases your risks for withdrawal complications. Tapering helps prevent these things from happening. You may also receive additional supportive care that makes withdrawal even easier to tolerate.
Get Help for the Stages of Benzo Withdrawal at New Start Recovery
Are you addicted to a benzodiazepine? If so, you should not try to halt its use on your own. Instead, turn to the specialists at New Start. The detox treatments we provide help keep your withdrawal symptoms under control. They also provide crucial safeguards for your well-being.
Our goal is to help you complete the withdrawal process. We then follow up with an active benzo treatment to help you stay sober long-term. Call us today at 833.433.0448 for more information on our benzo addiction program. You can also contact us through our online information form.