With more than 40 million Americans experiencing an anxiety disorder, benzodiazepines are some of the most prescribed medications in the country. These medications, including Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, interact with the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain to help produce feelings of calm and relaxation. GABA neurotransmitters are responsible for helping to reduce activity in the nervous system, which is beneficial for those who struggle with symptoms of anxiety disorders like panic and fear. For the same reasons, benzodiazepines are also effective in treating sleep disorders and seizure disorders if necessary.
There is no doubt that benzodiazepines continue to improve the lives of countless people throughout the nation, however they can also be highly destructive to one’s life. That is because as helpful as these medications can be, they are also just as addictive. The misuse of benzodiazepines of any kind can quickly lead to addiction, making it extremely difficult for someone to stop using without professional help. Oftentimes, benzodiazepine detox is necessary to safely rid the body of these substances.
What is Benzodiazepine Addiction Like?
Someone who is addicted to benzodiazepines can experience a wide range of side effects that impact their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. The most common symptoms of being under the influence of benzodiazepines include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Blurred vision
- Nodding off mid-conversation
- Appearing detached from surroundings
- Consistently taking benzodiazepines back-to-back in order to remain high
Additionally, people addicted to benzodiazepines often have legal and financial problems, struggle to maintain healthy relationships, become unemployed or experience trouble at work, and experience health problems related to their use. Once addicted to benzodiazepines, it can be difficult to stop using, but it also becomes potentially deadly to quit cold turkey or without the supervision of trained professionals.
Dangers of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
Anytime someone stops using a drug they are addicted to, they will experience some amount of withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms they develop will likely be reflective of how severe their addiction was. In most cases, however, withdrawing from drugs is painful and upsetting but not life-threatening. That is not the case with benzodiazepine withdrawal.
This type of drug withdrawal is deadly because there is great risk for suffering one or more grand mal seizures once benzodiazepine abuse stops. A grand mal seizure is a serious neurological event where a person loses consciousness then experiences muscle convulsions. Some of these muscle convulsions can restrict breathing long enough to lead to death. The greatest risk of a grand mal seizure when withdrawing from benzodiazepines however is the potential for falling and/or unintentionally harming oneself. It is not uncommon for someone having a grand mal seizure to fall and hit their head, fall down the stairs, drown if close to water, or experience a deadly car accident if driving.
When in benzodiazepine detox in Ohio, however, these risks can be mitigated so that the possibility of one or more seizures from occurring is lessened. In the event that a seizure occurs, there are medical professionals who are immediately available to assist. Being in professional care while detoxing off of benzodiazepines is not only beneficial for this reason, but also when it comes to helping manage potentially crippling withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms
Benzodiazepine withdrawal typically begins roughly 6-12 hours after the last use. The first symptoms to occur often include the following:
- Sleep problems
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms persist for up to two days or so before they increase in intensity. Around days 3-5, these symptoms can continue while other develop. They include:
It is during this time that seizures are most likely to occur, which is why patients of benzodiazepine detox in Ohio are monitored closely as the days go on.
By the time a week has passed, some symptoms have lessened, if not fully dissipated. For example, nausea and headaches may have subsided, but it is still possible to be experiencing a continuation of other symptoms. It is most common for people who have abused benzodiazepines for an extensive amount of time to go through a longer bout of benzodiazepine detox, as it takes more time for the benzodiazepines to clear the system.
Around the two week mark, many patients of benzodiazepine detox in Columbus will see the majority of their symptoms fading. They may even begin to start to feel somewhat normal again. Unfortunately, however, lots of people who were addicted to benzodiazepines and who have detoxed go on to experience withdrawal symptoms for months to years after they have stopped. This is known as protracted withdrawal.
When in protracted withdrawal, people often experience continual anxiety, insomnia, and depression, which is why it is highly recommended that they seek continued psychological care to learn how to cope with these symptoms. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to severe depression, anxiety, continued drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, and attempts at suicide.
Importance of Benzodiazepine Detox Under Professional Care
As mentioned before, detoxing in the presence of professionals is vital when someone is ending their benzodiazepine use. The potential for seizures is great enough that everyone attempting to stop abusing this drug should never do so without supervision. And while that is the most important reason to detox under the care of professionals, there are other reasons why doing so is beneficial to one’s recovery and wellbeing.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is notorious for being difficult to manage. Symptoms come and go and come back again, and the physical and psychological distress people go through is enough to drive them back to using. This is a real risk, as their potential for relapsing is greater when not receiving professional care like that offered at benzodiazepine detox in Ohio. Once a person uses again, the withdrawal symptoms they are experiencing go away and they are no longer struggling. Depending on how long a person has been detoxing, however, going right back to using the same amount that they were used to at the height of their addiction can cause overdose, which can be fatal. When in benzodiazepine detox in Columbus, the temptation to go back to using can be prevented through the support that the staff can provide the clients. A major part of that support is given through medication.
Treating Benzodiazepine Withdrawal with Medication
Symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal that go untreated can be difficult to bear. There are several over-the-counter medications and prescription medications that professionals can administer in a detox setting. Medications that can help address physical discomfort like nausea and headaches as well as combat sleep problems. It is also common for people detoxing from benzodiazepines to be slowly tapered off of benzodiazepines to prevent such strong withdrawal symptoms. This is a process that is done best in a professional setting, as it requires benzodiazepines to be carefully administered less and less over time. This is a nearly impossible feat for someone addicted to these medications, as the urge to abuse the medications will be too powerful to resist. Plus, attempting to perform a benzodiazepine taper without any medical training to do so can trigger the onset of seizures and other dangerous side effects.
Do You Need Help? Call Our Benzodiazepine Detox in Ohio Right Now.
At our benzodiazepine detox in Columbus, we can guide you through your period of detox so that you are the most comfortable that you can be. We can offer you the support you need on all levels, allowing for you to slowly but surely end your active use of benzodiazepines.
If you are in need of help, do not be afraid to call us right now. We are ready to help you get started on the road to recovery.