If you or a loved one has been abusing benzodiazepines for a very long time, it is crucial to know how benzo withdrawals work. Withdrawal happens when a person who is physically dependent on benzos stops taking them. It can cause all sorts of unpleasant and potentially life-threatening symptoms if untreated.
Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that reduce anxiety and insomnia by affecting the GABA neurotransmitters of the brain. Due to the powerful effect of this drug, it can cause a very damaging form of withdrawal. Essentially, the brain starts overproducing certain chemicals to compensate for a benzo addiction. When you stop taking them, you end up dealing with the rebound effect of having too much of certain neurotransmitters. People in withdrawal frequently deal with intense anxiety, trouble concentrating, and panic attacks. They may have trouble sleeping and encounter disturbances when they do manage to fall asleep.
Physical symptoms of withdrawal include heart palpitations, extreme sweating, tremors, headache, and muscle stiffness. Long-time benzo abusers may have more severe benzo withdrawal symptoms. Severe withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, and suicidal ideation. Both the mental and physical effects of withdrawal from benzos can be deadly if not properly managed.
How Long Does the Benzo Withdrawal Timeline Last?
Many things can affect the benzo withdrawal timeline. Factors include length of usage time and the brand of benzo used. Things like your weight, metabolism, and overall health can also affect benzo withdrawal. Xanax, Dormont, and Halcion tend to leave the system quicker, so withdrawal may start within eight hours of not using them. Meanwhile, withdrawal may take up to 48 hours to start if you take Valium, Klonopin, or Librium. Generally, the first signs that a person is in withdrawal are anxiety and insomnia.
The next stage of the benzo withdrawal timeline occurs between days one to four after your last dosage. This period is when withdrawal symptoms typically peak. Over the next two weeks, withdrawal symptoms will gradually fade. However, it may take up to four weeks for the initial symptoms to disappear if you take long-acting benzos. In the next few months after initial withdrawal, some people experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS is a random bout of withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety, insomnia, and depression that come and go. It may take months for PAWS to go away entirely, so you may experience it even after leaving your drug addiction treatment center.
Is There Any Way to Shorten the Benzo Withdrawal Timeline?
Because benzo withdrawal is so severe, many people want ways to get withdrawal over quickly. It is possible to do a rapid detox where all benzos get flushed out of the body with flumazenil. However, this can make symptoms far worse. The most effective way of treatment is actually to stretch out withdrawal instead of shortening it. Extending withdrawal involves slowly tapering down usage of the drug, preferably under medical supervision. People may use long-acting, less potent benzos like diazepam to keep withdrawal symptoms as low as possible while they lower their dosage. Tapering can be a very effective way of reducing withdrawal symptoms. Another potential option is medically monitored treatment at a Kemah, TX, detox center. Trained professionals can provide non-benzodiazepine medications that help with managing symptoms.
There is no reason to let the fear of benzo withdrawal symptoms keep you from seeking sobriety. With medically managed detox, you do not have to suffer from intensely uncomfortable symptoms. Kemah Palms Recovery has trained staff who can monitor you and provide treatment to reduce discomfort. After you get clean, we offer a wide range of therapies that can give you the tools you need to fight addiction. Learn how we can help you overcome benzo detox by calling 866.604.1873.