Home » Benzo Detox: Safely Detox From Benzos and Manage Withdrawal
Benzo detox is the period of time when the body gets rid of any drugs in it. During this time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines. These can be physical and mental. Some of the withdrawal symptoms can cause permanent damage to your brain. That’s why addiction recovery requires medical monitoring and supervision. The time it takes to fully recover depends on individual factors, such as how long Benzodiazepines were abused, the intake method, and your medical history.
Here at Gratitude Lodge, we offer inpatient detox programs, meaning you’d stay in our luxurious, welcoming rooms and have access to professionals during your recovery. Our local partners offer outpatient detox, which is available to those who have a less severe addiction and want to continue their work or school during their detox. Though going through detox sounds uncomfortable, it’s required to get you on the path to recovery.
Removing benzos from your system is the first step to recovery. Detoxing in a safe, professionally staffed environment is important because you may have become dependent on benzos, which can affect your brain’s chemical makeup. In severe dependency cases, suddenly stopping the intake of benzos (benzodiazepines) could lead to delirium, a lost sense of self, and psychosis.
These are the most reported benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms:
After detoxing from benzos, your brain takes time to recalibrate in the absence of the substance. These symptoms may present as you transition from benzo detox into ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment: difficulty focusing, restlessness, detachment, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, mood swings, hallucinations, delirium, suicidal thoughts.
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The onset and duration of benzo detox depends on the type of benzodiazepine.
With short-acting benzos like midazolam and triazolam, the substances leaves the body more rapidly, triggering withdrawal symptoms within 8 to 12 hours of the last use. The onset of withdrawal symptoms with intermediate-acting benzos like Xanax or long-acting benzos like clonazepam may be delayed by one or two days.
Many other factors influence the duration of benzo withdrawal, including:
The benzo withdrawal symptoms that are managed with a medical detox occur as follows:
In the event of protracted benzo withdrawal, symptoms may persist for up to a year.
The benzo withdrawal timeline will vary from person to person. In most cases, a successful and sustainable benzo detox involves a gradual tapering of dosage over the course of a few weeks.
A typical timeline may unfold as follows:
The first signs of benzo withdrawal – insomnia and anxiety – may present within a few hours of the last use. Rebound symptoms of insomnia and anxiety will peak after 2 days of detox. Other symptoms that usually peak during this time are increased breathing and heart rate, nausea, and sweating. The first signs of withdrawal from long-acting benzodiazepines will begin after 2 days, peaking after a week or so.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms typically linger for between 10 and 14 days before fading completely. The withdrawal symptoms associated with long-acting benzodiazepines start to peak during this time, fading within 3 to 4 weeks from discontinuing use.
Those who are heavily physically dependent on benzos may experience PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome). PAWS involves withdrawal symptoms that persist for many months after quitting benzos. A tapered reduction in dosage can help mitigate PAWS.
Whether you require inpatient or outpatient treatment for addiction to benzos, you should consider engaging with a supervised medical detox program rather than attempting to withdraw from benzos at home.
Consult your prescribing physician before you discontinue the use of any type of benzo, even when you have been using benzos short-term and as directed.
An effective detox typically involves a gradually tapered withdrawal. Dosage will be incrementally reduced to decrease the intensity of benzo withdrawal. Substitute medications may be beneficial for mitigating withdrawal symptoms during detox.
There are three phases to benzo withdrawal. Most people experience the first two phases of benzo withdrawal, although not everyone experiences the third and more protracted phase of detoxification.
Drugs for benzo detox withdrawal symptoms commonly include anticonvulsive medication and antidepressants. You may be prescribed other benzos with lower dosages so that way you can slowly come off the drug without experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms or mental disorders, such as psychosis.
A tapered benzo detox may involve slowly reducing the dose of benzos, or it may involve the administration of a less potent benzodiazepine. The approach used will hinge on the severity of the benzo addiction and the type of benzo being abused.
The benzodiazepines used during detox may include:
These benzos are less potent and longer-acting than other benzos, helping to ward off withdrawal symptoms while your dose is incrementally reduced to streamline the detox process.
Other medications may be effective during benzo detox, including buspirone and flumazenil.
Buspirone is prescribed for those with a history of substance abuse and a diagnosis of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). This medication does not trigger physical dependence and may help alleviate the emotional aspect of benzo withdrawal. It may take two to three weeks for the effects of buspirone to set in.
Flumazenil is primarily used for the treatment of benzo overdoses, but may also reduce withdrawal symptoms of longer-acting benzos. The medication blocks the effects of benzodiazepines, relieving withdrawal symptoms by attaching to the same receptors in the brain as benzos.
Detoxing from benzos can be a challenging process, but this process can be streamline if you participate in a supervised medical detox program.
Abruptly discontinuing the use of this class of medication can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening.
A treatment team can slowly reduce your dose of benzos with a taper. Substitute medications may also be administered during detox, as well as other medications that may reduce the severity of withdrawal.
Beyond this, a supervised medical detox program will also provide you with emotional care around-the-clock, minimizing the likelihood that cravings for benzos will derail your recovery with relapse.
Quitting benzos cold turkey at home is dangerous and can even be fatal in some circumstances. Without medical supervision, symptoms like seizures and suicidal behavior can be deadly.
According to DSM-5-TR (fifth revised edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, medical detox “reduces the discomfort of withdrawal, which in turn reduces the chances of relapsing into addiction.”
Aside from potentially lethal medical complications, detoxing at home also increases the risk of relapse during the early challenging phase of detox. Without emotional support, many people detoxing from benzos at home take the medication simply to stave off withdrawal symptoms.
After you receive benzo detox for physical symptoms, you’ll take steps in recovery for mental withdrawal symptoms. Structured activities, group therapy, and individual counseling are built into your day when you stay at a residential addiction treatment facility such as Gratitude Lodge. After that, you’ll be able to transition to outpatient care, where you can stay in your own home, attend work or school, and attend therapy in the daytime or evening.
We accept most PPO insurances at Gratitude Lodge for our Benzo Detox program, whether you’re staying with us for as little as 7 days or more than 90 days. We accept BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Aetna, and many more. As with any insurance, the cost depends on your insurance policy deductible and your policy co-pay. Inpatient and outpatient facility costs may vary.
Some insurance providers want you to contribute to the cost. Most treatment facilities can help determine if your insurance is eligible. We’re happy to see if your insurance covers treatment and detox for you or your loved ones. When you choose Gratitude Lodge, you’re choosing to invest in a new you.
Don’t Let Addiction Control You
At Gratitude Lodge, we offer a full suite of detox programs for all types of addictive substances.
MAT (medication-assisted treatment) can streamline the detox process for both alcohol and opioids. We specialize in the treatment of alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder, with our programs beginning with a supervised medical detox. Whether you are addicted to alcohol, prescription opioid painkillers, heroin, or fentanyl, detox as safely and comfortably as possible at Gratitude Lodge.
For stimulants like meth and cocaine, there are no FDA-approved medications to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Nevertheless, we can help you address physical dependence on these substances with a clinical detox.
Benzo withdrawal can be challenging and uncomfortable, and the symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the duration and dosage of use, the type of benzodiazepine taken, and individual differences. Some common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
Not everyone will experience all withdrawal symptoms during detox.
The duration of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the duration and dosage of use, the type of benzodiazepine taken, and individual differences. However, in general, withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
The acute phase of benzo withdrawal typically lasts from 1 to 4 weeks. The most severe withdrawal symptoms manifest during this month. This initial phase is followed by a prolonged or post-acute withdrawal phase, which may last for several months or more. During this phase, some symptoms may continue, although they are typically milder in presentation. The duration of benzo withdrawal can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may have a relatively mild withdrawal experience, while others might have a more prolonged and challenging experience. The length of time it takes to completely recover from benzodiazepine detox can also vary depending on the individual and their specific circumstances.
Yes, benzodiazepines typically need to be tapered off gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms and other potential risks associated with abrupt discontinuation. When benzodiazepines are used regularly for a period of time, the brain may become accustomed to the medication and can undergo changes that make it difficult to stop using the medication without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, insomnia, irritability, muscle cramps, tremors, and seizures. To minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms and other potential risks associated with benzodiazepine detox, it is generally recommended that these medications be tapered off gradually under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The tapering process involves reducing the dosage of the medication over time until it can be safely discontinued without causing withdrawal symptoms or other complications. The specific tapering schedule will depend on the individual’s needs and the type of benzo and should be developed in consultation with a healthcare professional.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is not typically considered a primary treatment for benzodiazepine withdrawal. While niacin may have some potential benefits for certain health conditions, there is limited evidence to support its use specifically for benzo withdrawal. Niacin is primarily used to support healthy skin, boost brain function, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health, among other benefits. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be a complicated and potentially dangerous process, and it is important to seek medical guidance and support from a healthcare professional with experience in managing this type of drug withdrawal.
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