For the most part, benzodiazepines, or benzos, are important prescription medications typically prescribed for people with anxiety, panic and sleep disorders. Popular brand names include Valium, Klonopin and Xanax. When used properly, this class of medication can help people overcome disabilities and lead a normal life. Unfortunately, these very same drugs are prone to be abused.
We have to remember that people with the aforementioned disorders rarely go into remission. They need their maintenance drugs for the entirety of their lives. It’s only natural that some patients will build up a tolerance that requires them to start taking increased doses. When that happens, there’s a fine line between dependence and addiction. In the worse cases, patients begin abusing their medication, which usually leads them right into the cycle of addiction.
Of course, there’s a whole other class of benzo abusers that warrant mentioning. These are the people who buy the drugs from the streets with the intention of self-medicating away their personal problems. Street benzo users are very much prone to end up addicted. Ultimately, that’s what gives these drugs a bad name despite the good they can do when used properly.
The abuse of benzos has become commonplace, perhaps much more than any of us would like to admit. The side effects of benzo abuse are easily recognizable. They include:
- Heart rate and blood pressure issues
- Breathing issues like apnea
- blurred vision or double vision
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin rash and complexion issues
All of these conditions warrant scrutiny for the simple fact they present a danger to the user’s health. With that said, the most dangerous side effect would have to be addiction.
Detoxing From Benzos
It’s always encouraging when someone decides to stop abusing benzos and seeks help for their addiction. However, the people who make the decision to stop have to face another major obstacle, withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, these withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to cause people to abort their decision to stop using. Here’s a list of some of the more worrisome withdrawal symptoms one might encounter:
- High levels of anxiety and and nervousness
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Stomach and muscle cramping
- Convulsions, tremors and hallucinations
- Difficulty concentrating
Clearly, any one of these symptoms would scare a normal person. If more than one were to become evident, there is cause for concern. Let’s take a look and some information related to benzo detox.
Depending on the depth of one’s benzo addiction, withdrawal symptoms can begin 6 to 8 hours after the last dose. By the end of the first day, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms should become apparent. These symptoms can last as long as one week, again depending on the depth of one’s addiction. By the end of the first week, the body should start functioning properly, though some residual symptoms may appear at random.
Dealing With Withdrawal Symptoms
Out of ignorance or desperation, some people try to “kick the habit” by going cold turkey. No doctor in their right mind would prescribe that approach because it’s simply too dangerous. Still, some physicians are perfectly comfortable with the idea of prescribing certain medications to help a patient deal with specific health risks. That’s an approach, but not the best approach. The best approach would be checking into rehab with a medically-monitored detox program as part of treatment.
The Medically-Monitored Detox Process
Under the watchful eye of medical professionals, a medically-monitored detox program allows the patient to get through the detox process with a minimum of discomfort. Should pain or sleep issues become evident, a doctor could choose to step in and prescribe the appropriate medications to help provide the patient with temporary relief. In the case of a severe addiction, tapering medications could be used to slowly and safely get the patient off benzos and ready for treatment.
The fact you are reading this information would seem to indicate you are considering reaching out for help with your benzo addiction. You are to be commended. If this is you intention, we would like to encourage you to call one of our profession staff members at 877-497-6180. Whether you realize it or not, a full recovery from your addiction might be nothing more than one phone call away. We ask that you make that call.