Benzodiazepines (aka benzos) are a class of drugs used primarily to help patients struggling with anxiety or insomnia. The drugs are commonly dispensed under the brand names Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Halcion, and Valium. They are fast-acting, inexpensive sedatives that provide swift relief for these legitimate medical issues. The problem is, benzos are also highly addictive drugs that quickly cause tolerance to ramp up. Increased tolerance leads to using more of the drug to attain the same effect, and over time the brain may become dependent.
The first sign that addiction has developed is usually the day the individual decides to stop using benzos, or their prescription runs out. In a matter of hours nasty withdrawal symptoms appear, signaling the body’s need for a dose. When addiction has taken root, detoxing from benzos in hospitals or an inpatient treatment program is indicated. Never should anyone attempt to detox from these drugs without medical supervision.
Signs and Symptoms of a Benzodiazepine Abuse or Addiction
Benzos are used not only for legitimate needs but are also abused as recreational drugs. Some with combine benzos with alcohol or other depressants, a potentially lethal mix that can lead to slowed respiratory and heart rates. Some may take benzos with stimulants to reduce the intensity of the stimulant. Whether the drug is being abused or taken for legitimate medical reasons, addiction can occur.
The signs of benzodiazepine abuse or addiction may include:
- Blurred vision
- Weakness and fatigue
- Foggy thinking and confusion
- Mood swings
- Lack of coordination
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty breathing
- Memory problems
- Getting the drug illicitly through doctor shopping, through friends, or by stealing
- Want to stop taking the drug but can’t
Why is Detoxing from Benzos in Hospitals or Rehabs Necessary?
Just like alcohol detox, benzo detox can present a serious health emergency if not medically supervised. For this reason, detoxing from benzos in hospitals or an inpatient rehab is always advised, as these addiction professionals can monitor withdrawals and quickly intervene if necessary.
Someone addicted to benzodiazepines should never attempt to stop cold turkey on their own. The withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpredictable, including the danger of coma or seizures occurring. During a benzo medical detox, all vital signs and withdrawal symptoms will be closely monitored and treated as needed.
Detoxing from benzos requires a step-down process of tapering, versus stopping the drug abruptly. The detox professional will dictate the individual’s tapering schedule based on the history of the addiction and the levels of drug use. The detox process can take 2-4 weeks in all. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Body aches
- Heart palpitations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
Residential Treatment for a Benzo Addiction
Once the body has rid itself of the drug, a structured residential inpatient program can help the individual shed the addictive behavior patterns that have developed. During inpatient care the individual receives 24-hour support and a daily schedule consisting of an assortment of therapeutic activities. Group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication if needed, relaxation techniques, addiction education, and participation in a peer recovery community are common treatment interventions.
The Treatment Specialist Can Locate Benzodiazepine Detox and Treatment
The Treatment Specialist is a one-stop treatment locator resource that can guide an individual to the best detox program for benzodiazepine dependency. Safely detoxing from benzos in hospitals or residential treatment programs is always recommended. The Treatment Specialist can, at no charge, evaluate your treatment needs and locate the appropriate detox services. Our specialists will also conduct a free insurance benefit review so you will know in advance what your plan covers. For help with benzo detox, call The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.