Benzodiazepines, sometimes called benzos, are a class of psychoactive drugs that act as a depressant to lower brain activity. They are often prescribed to treat conditions like anxiety, sleep disorders and seizures. The most prescribed benzodiazepines include Valium®, Xanax® and Klonopin®. Unfortunately, these medications carry a shockingly high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose.
When you take benzodiazepines, your brain floods with the feel-good hormone dopamine. This hormone helps slow the nerve impulses throughout the body and encourages feelings of relaxation and calmness. This sudden and strong wave of pleasure is understandably rewarding and may become irresistible to some. In fact, these drugs are so addictive that people can become dependent on them in as little as two weeks, and severe benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can make figuring out how to stop difficult.
Why is benzodiazepine withdrawal so difficult?
Once your body is dependent on benzodiazepines, it can be very difficult to stop. Withdrawal symptoms range from slightly uncomfortable to life-threatening.
Quitting cold turkey (all at once) is never advised and will likely result in severe withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Perpetual changes
- Sleep disturbance
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tremors
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can range in intensity and duration and is largely dependent on things like the individual’s health, dosage and frequency as well as the rate at which the medication is tapered. For those on high doses of benzodiazepine, unassisted withdrawal has led to seizures and psychosis.
Severe withdrawal symptoms often prevent people from trying to quit. However, it is possible to slowly wean yourself from these addictive substances safely with the right support and guidance.
How to quit benzodiazepines safely
The safest way to fight an addiction to benzodiazepines is through a medical detox program at a specialized treatment facility like Alpine Recovery Lodge. Our medical staff will assess your unique situation and develop a personalized treatment program suited to your needs.
Typical treatment includes using a slow medication taper that gradually reduces the amount of benzodiazepine in your system. If necessary, you may receive a secondary medication to help relieve severe withdrawal symptoms and make detox safer and easier to get through.
During your first few days of detox, you will be regularly assessed by the Alpine Recovery Lodge medical team to ensure you are receiving optimal and compassionate care for your condition.
Though a medically assisted detox program will effectively remove the addicted substances from your body, it will not address the root cause of your addiction nor what you need to do to maintain your sobriety long term.
Benzodiazepine addiction treatment and rehab options
Need to know how to quit benzodiazepines? Start with a medically assisted detox program at Alpine Recovery Lodge and then continue along your road to recovery with a comprehensive inpatient treatment program. Our program brings together the latest research-based treatment modalities so those who struggle against addiction can regain their hope, freedom and independence. Our treatment methods include:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Rational emotive behavior therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Nature/experiential therapy
- Trauma/PTSD treatment
- The 12 steps
- Emotional processing
Alpine Recovery Lodge offers specialized treatment for benzodiazepine addiction that not only includes a medically assisted detox, but also utilizes the very best in therapeutic modalities that have proven records of lasting success. If you or a loved one needs help with prescription drug abuse, call us at 801-874-3056 to speak confidentially with a recovery expert.