Benzodiazepines, commonly known as a benzo, are drugs that calm the mind and relax the muscles. Some of the most familiar forms of this drug are Xanax and Valium. These drugs are prescribed for several conditions including
- Muscle Spasms
- Panic attacks
Like many drugs, benzo can be habit-forming and eventually become a full-blown addiction. If you try to break that addiction, it is likely that you will have withdrawal symptoms. The severity of the withdrawal depends on the type of benzo and the amount you have been taking. The symptoms of withdrawal mimic the conditions for which the drugs are prescribed. In addition to anxiety and panic attacks, withdrawal symptoms can include
- Heart palpitations
Depending on the strength of the withdrawal, you may experience symptoms anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. In addition, some patients experience rebound anxiety, the return of the original issues for which a doctor prescribed the drugs. To make it through the withdrawal phase, you will need some strategies for dealing with anxiety without medication.
Deep Breathing Exercises
It may seem simple, but a few deep breaths can help you make it through a panic attack or short episode of anxiety. During stress and worry, several things happen in your body. Your heart rate increases. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar increases as the body release energy stored as fat into the bloodstream. This is an automatic reaction to danger over which you have little control.
The one thing you can control is your breathing rate. When you take a few deep breaths, it forces your chest muscles to expand and relax. You start giving your brain the signal that it is time to calm your body down. Like a mother breathing through a contraction, you can breathe through the period of panic until it subsides. When you realize that you can make it through an anxious moment without benzo, you will be better equipped to handle the next episode.
Practices like meditation can be a big help in dealing with anxiety. In mindfulness practice, you are not clearing your mind, but learning to observe it. In the beginning, this can be very difficult as you realize how much your mind races. Over time, you learn that thoughts are just thoughts. They arise and they pass. The worries you feel are those moments when you latch on to a troubling thought and cannot let it go. In mindfulness practice, you learn how to let it pass.
Yoga is another mindful practice that also incorporates the body. In a yoga class, you learn how to concentrate on your body, noticing how it is positioned and how it feels. When you focus on moving from one pose to another, you will block out many worrisome thoughts.
Walking and Other Exercises
A walk in a beautiful space can be a great help in dealing with anxiety. Take a walk down the beach or into the woods. Pay attention to what is happening around you. Many people find that a walk down a forest path allows them to leave their worries at the trailhead.
Exercise of any kind can be an aid in dealing with anxiety. The bodies reaction to stress prepares for physical action. This is commonly known as the fight or flight response. Exercise allows you to engage in physical activity, releasing your nervous energy during the workout.
Worry and anxiety are caused by the inability to let go of a troubling thought. One way to deal with worry during benzo withdrawal is through distraction. If you can find an activity on which to focus, it can help you forget about your worries for a time. There are many ways to distract yourself, some of them are things you can do alone and others are more social. If you are by yourself and need a distraction you might try
- Binge-watching a new series
- Taking up a new hobby
- Starting an art project
- Learning a language
- Reading an exciting book
Your time of benzo withdrawal can be a perfect time to reach out to friends, so long as they are not friends that you associate with the addiction. Social interaction can help you take your mind off your worries. Go with friends to a new restaurant. Invite people over for a game night. Do what you need to do to keep your mind occupied.
Recovering from any addiction is a challenge. If you are ready to stop using benzo, we are ready to help you. Contact us today at 877-497-6180.