Benzodiazepines are a commonly prescribed family of depressants that are generally used to treat general anxiety, insomnia, depression, panic disorders, seizures and acute stress reactions. They decrease the activity in the brain and suppress the central nervous system, and they make users feel drowsy and calm. Although there are many therapeutic uses for benzodiazepines, there are also some drawbacks. It’s possible to become physically and psychologically addicted to these drugs. In fact, addiction can occur in as little as four to six weeks after regular use.
Sometimes people don’t intend to become addicted to benzodiazepines; they begin taking them with a legitimate prescription but then find they enjoy how the drugs make them feel. Over time, many people abuse benzodiazepines so they can escape the problems they are facing, or they may take benzodiazepines with alcohol or other drugs, in order to enhance their “high.”
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are taking benzodiazepines on a regular basis, you may experience a cluster of withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using them. These symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms like muscle weakness or muscle pain
- Excessive sweating
- Severe anxiety or panic attacks
- Depression or anxiety
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Vision problems (blurred vision, dry and sore eyes, seeing spots)
- Heightened sensitivity to lights, smells and sounds
- Unsteadiness or dizziness
- Feelings of unreality (feeling like you are detached from the rest of the world)
According to an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the severity of your withdrawal symptoms depends on your dosage, the duration that you were using benzodiazepines, and whether you stopped abruptly or you slowly tapered off. Since this medication works on slowing your brain activity, when you stop taking them, your brain has trouble adapting to this sudden change. Since detoxing from benzodiazepines can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s best to go through detox at a drug addiction treatment center.
Long-Term Use of Benzodiazepines
Although the withdrawal process may be uncomfortable and risky, it’s necessary in order to achieve sobriety. Chronic use ofbenzodiazepines can lead to memory problems, depression and panic attacks. You may also begin to feel emotionally numb.
Quitting Cold Turkey is Not Recommended
Benzodiazepines are one of the most dangerous drugs to withdraw from due to the serious risks involved. Medical supervision is highly advised during detox, as you may suffer seizures, severe depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and psychosis. A detox center that specializes in benzodiazepine withdrawal is essential; the professionals there can address health problems that manifest as you go through the withdrawal process. They can also give you psychological support as you free yourself from your addiction. At a top exclusive inpatient detox center, you may learn relaxation techniques that can help you cope with stress and anxiety. You will also work with a therapist who can help you address the root cause of your benzodiazepine addiction.