Benzo Detox

Benzodiazepine medications can help to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, or seizures; however, they are often only prescribed for short-term use. When one uses them longer a physical dependence may occur, which can happen in as little as four weeks. Once one becomes physically dependent on benzodiazepines, the withdrawal can be physically and mentally taxing, and in some severe cases, it may become life-threatening and benzo detox is needed.


What is Benzo Detox?

Benzo detox involves ridding the body of benzodiazepines and restoring chemical levels back to a natural state. Benzodiazepines relax the central nervous system and increase the GABA receptor in the brain. Once someone has been taking benzos for a long period of time, the body will develop a tolerance, meaning someone has to use more of the same drug to achieve the same euphoric effects. When someone stops taking benzos, the body has to adjust back to the lack of GABA in the brain. This results in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.


Benzo detox can have potentially severe side effects and quitting cold turkey or at home is not advised. There are typically two avenues for benzo detox, one involves medical supervision and oftentimes medication to help alleviate the benzo withdrawal symptoms. The other is tapering down benzo use; however, without medical supervision, one may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzo detox can be extremely uncomfortable, and if not under medical supervision, can be life-threatening. 


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    Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

    Those who have been taking benzodiazepines for a long time will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzo detox and withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person based on length of use, amount of use, and age. If there is a history of combining benzos with other illicit substances, withdrawal symptoms can also differ. Symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include:

    1. Disturbed sleep
    2. Physical tension 
    3. Anxiety and panic attacks 
    4. Heart palpitations 
    5. Difficulty concentrating 
    6. Tremors of the hands 

    7. Stiffness and pain in the muscles 
    8. Seizures 
    9. Auditory and visual hallucinations 
    10. Psychotic episodes 
    11. Increased risk of suicidal ideation

    Oftentimes doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to address symptoms of generalized anxiety and to help treat insomnia. When someone stops taking benzos there may be a “rebound effect” where you are more likely to experience an increase in anxiety and develop feelings of intense restlessness. Rebound effects from benzo withdrawal typically last between two and three days.

    Benzo Withdrawal Timeline

    The benzo withdrawal timeline is different for every user. There are several variables to benzo detox, one of the number one variables is the specific drug you are taking and whether it is short or long-acting. 


    Short-acting benzos include alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan), which leave the body more quickly. If you are taking short-acting benzos, you may experience withdrawal symptoms beginning as soon as eight to twelve hours after your last use. 


    With long-acting benzos, such as clonazepam (Klonopin), you may not experience symptoms until one or two days after your last use. Other variables may include how long you have been taking the drug, the dosage you have been taking, genetics, prior anxiety disorders, and the types of medications used in your personalized detox plan. In addition, your particular body type and composition can affect the timeline of your withdrawal. 


    The following is a general breakdown of withdrawal from benzos: 


    • 6-8 hours: first signs of withdrawal, which include anxiety and insomnia. 
    • Days 1-4: Rebound anxiety and insomnia peak after a couple of days. Intense discomfort from insomnia and increased anxiety are common. Other symptoms may be increased heart and breathing rate, sweating, and nausea. 
    • Days 10-14: The symptoms of withdrawal typically continue for at least 10-14 days before going away completely. The withdrawal symptoms associated with long-acting benzos begin to peak at this time and will begin to fade 3-4 weeks from the last time of use. 
    • Days 15+: Those who are heavily dependent on benzos can experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). There can be random periods of sharp withdrawal symptoms several months after quitting. Tapering down benzos with a medical professional can reduce the chance of PAWS.
    • Benzo detox can cause dangerous side effects if not done properly. Quitting cold turkey can be lethal in some circumstances. The best way to detox off of benzos is under the care of a medical professional. Medical professionals help with limiting the more severe fatal side effects, which can include grand mal seizures and suicidal behavior. 

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    Most Common Benzos to Detox From

    The most common benzodiazepines that are detoxed from include the following:

    1. Alprazolm (Xanax)
    2. Lorazepam (Ativan)
    3. Diazepam (Valium)
    4. Clonazepam (Klonopin)

    Benefits of Benzo Detox

    If you’ve found yourself taking a benzo for more than two weeks, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. While the thought of withdrawal symptoms can be scary, assured that our medical staff understands what you are going through and are here to help you during this process. Once you have completed detox, you’ll find the benefits far outweigh the downfalls. Some benefits of benzo detox include:


    1. Improved sleep
    2. Improved appetite
    3. No risk of long-term health effects or overdose
    4. Reducing cravings
    5. Physically clearing your body of banzos
    6. A new start to live a successful life in recovery

    What to Expect During Benzo Detox

    At Detox ATL, our medically-supervised detox facilities provide a safe benzo detox so you can focus on healing. We will assess each client for their history and create a custom benzo detox plan for each individual client. The safety of our clients is incredibly important and we will ensure 24/7 medical supervision while you begin your benzo detox. Once you’re clinically and medically assessed, our staff will show you to your room where you’ll be able to get settled.


    Staff-prepared meals and catering services are provided and typically a snack station is around for proper nutrition. Group and individual counseling is also available to process physical discomforts and emotional feelings during the detox process.

    Can I Detox from Benzos at Home?

    It is not suggested to self-detox off of benzos at your house. There can be lethal side effects to coming off of benzos and it is best to be medically supervised during detox. In addition, those who try to detox at home can find the relapse symptoms so uncomfortable that they resort back to the drug. During the time of abstinence, a person’s tolerance will decrease. If they relapse and begin taking the same dose they were taking prior, it could potentially result in an overdose.


    How To Detox From Benzos: Medications Used During Detox

    There are those that taper down their dose until it is safe to stop all together, under there care of a medical provider. There are also those that choose to enter a medical detox. Here, individuals are administered medications to help ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Some common medications used for detox include:


    1. Buspirone: Those with generalized anxiety disorder and who have a history of substance abuse disorder are often prescribed this. Buspirone does not cause physical dependence and can help to relieve the emotional effects during Benzo detox. 

    • 2. Flumazenil: This drug is primarily used to treat Benzo overdoses, but has also shown success in reducing Benzo withdrawal symptoms from long-acting Benzos. Flumazenil is able to block the effects of Benzos and relieve withdrawal symptoms. It may also be used for rapid detox because it forces Benzodiazepines out of the body. 

    Find Benzo Detox Today!

    Oftentimes, individuals that are addicted to benzos have a hard time quitting because they are scared of the detox process. If you are or someone you know is struggling with benzo addiction and are seeking a supportive, safe, and medically proficient place to detox, please call Detox ATL at 470-828-2226. We are here to ensure your safety at the start of your journey. Our team will monitor you 24 hours a day and ensure you are comfortable and safe during your benzo detox to get you back to living your life.