Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs that act on specific brain receptors called gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A). Benzodiazepines attach to these receptors and make the brain’s nerves less sensitive to stimulation, causing a calming effect. Sold as prescription drugs for anxiety disorders such as insomnia, panic attacks, and seizures, it is common to use benzos to lead to physical dependence and, ultimately, the need for a benzodiazepine detox program to manage withdrawal symptoms.
The addiction created by benzodiazepines, whether from substance abuse or resulting from a medically supervised treatment plan, requires a medical detox program to overcome. Benzo addiction is considered to have among the worst withdrawal syndrome of any class of drugs. Very few people complete benzo detoxification without professional assistance, and those who do are more likely to relapse. At Compass Detox, we’ve helped many people just like you overcome benzodiazepine abuse. Our programs at Compass Detox have been proven successful, and our facility is designed to foster an environment of relaxation where people under our care feel safe, comfortable, and entertained.
What is Benzodiazepine Detox?
Benzo detox is the first step in overcoming the addiction. Our Florida-based detox program purges the body of benzodiazepines, clearing the way to proceed to the next steps of addiction treatment. Although the physical effects of benzodiazepine withdrawal may only last several days, the addict is far from overcoming physical dependence on the drug. Without completing a formal detox program, a benzo addict is highly likely to return to substance abuse and have to repeat the benzo detox process more than once. Or even worse, the development of what’s called “polysubstance abuse,” which is drug addiction to multiple substances at once.
Across all our addiction treatment programs, we offer a wide range of therapies during detox and treatment to meet clients’ unique needs. For example, some of the therapies we offer include:
- ACT- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Contingency management
- CRAFT- Community Reinforcement and Family Training
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Holistic therapy
As with most addictions to either prescription drugs or ‘street’ drugs, high doses over a long period of time has the effect of rewiring the brain. The brain adapts itself to benzodiazepine and can no longer function without it. In some severe benzo abuse cases, the benzo withdrawal symptoms can include panic attacks, hallucinations, and even death. Because of this, the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms sometimes includes the use of other drugs meant to ease the effects of detoxification – referred to as a “medically assisted detox.” When benzo abuse results in high doses of the drug, the addict might find that completing the detox phase of a treatment program is the greatest challenge they ever faced. But it is required for ending the cycle of benzo abuse and ultimately achieving sobriety.
Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms of a benzodiazepine detox can be physically and emotionally painful and can even be life-threatening if you try to stop “cold turkey.” If you have a history of higher doses or taking benzos for a prolonged time, your withdrawal symptoms will be more intense. Our benzodiazepine detox program creates an experience unique to the individual, managing physical dependence and mental health.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone and often come and go. They may vary in severity and frequency throughout all phases of the withdrawal process. The most common benzo withdrawal symptoms, often called “rebound” symptoms, usually happen within one to four days of discontinuing use, depending on the benzo used, the amount of use, and the frequency of use. Although a doctor often prescribes benzodiazepines, benzo addiction can be as difficult and dangerous to overcome as any street drug.
Benzo withdrawal symptoms typically last up to ten days and include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased tension
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Muscular stiffness or discomfort
- Mild to moderate changes in perception
- Hand tremors
Less common symptoms can occur as well, especially in cases of severe benzodiazepine addiction. These include hallucinations, seizures, psychosis or psychotic reactions, and increased risk of suicidal ideation. Benzodiazepine withdrawal, or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, can result in long-term physical and mental damage and should always be treated in a medical detox program.
Benzo Rebound Anxiety and Insomnia
Benzos are mainly prescribed to treat mental health conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder and insomnia. Examples of benzodiazepines are Valium and Xanax. Sometimes, when you stop taking these medications, you will experience increased anxiety or restlessness. This is called the rebound effect. Rebound effects from benzo withdrawal, such as anxiety or insomnia, typically last 2 to 3 days. The difference between rebound effects and withdrawal is that rebound effects are the return of previous symptoms that were in existence before benzo use began. In contrast, withdrawal symptoms are caused by the body and brain physically struggling to adapt to the end of benzo use.
The rebound effect can be just as serious of a threat to your sobriety as withdrawal from the benzodiazepine itself. Because the rebound effect means returning the symptoms that originally lead to benzodiazepine addiction, you are much more likely to abuse again without a treatment to resolve these underlying issues. In fact, having been prescribed benzodiazepine statistically increases the likelihood of a future overdose of a range of drugs. In many cases, Compass Detox can help find ways for people to manage these underlying symptoms without drugs, for example, by discovering new talents or hobbies or simply feeling they are not alone in their struggle.
Duration of Benzo Withdrawal Syndrome
Benzos’ half-life (the time it takes for the amount of the drug in your body to reduce by half) varies by brand. Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzodiazepines begin sooner than those from longer-acting ones because it takes a shorter amount of time for the drug to leave the user’s system.
The first signs of withdrawal usually start within 6 to 8 hours for short-acting benzodiazepines and 24 to 48 hours for long-acting benzodiazepines. Some other traits to consider include:
- Short-acting benzodiazepines: Short-acting benzodiazepines are notable because of the intense and serious withdrawal symptoms people experience when they quit taking them. Long-acting benzos cause less intense withdrawal symptoms, and it takes longer for symptoms to start.
- Short acting benzodiazepines: Examples of short acting benzodiazepines are Xanax, Dormonct, and Halcion. Long acting benzodiazepines include Valium, Klonopin, and Librium.
Taking benzos more frequently, in higher doses, in more potent forms, and/or for a prolonged time all increase the duration of withdrawal. In cases of mild addictions, it may take as little as seven days to overcome withdrawal symptoms. Other cases can take up to three months as the user is slowly weaned off the drug to prevent life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
It is this unpredictability that makes benzodiazepine detoxification so volatile. Our highly skilled medical team is well versed in tackling any issue that may arise during any form of withdrawal, ensuring that withdrawal from benzos will be smooth and successful. From there, our therapeutic team will work closely with our medical team to get you on the path to sobriety and ensure that you have the tools to stay on that path after discharge.
Benzo Detox at Compass Detox in South Florida
We manage benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome in three steps in a program that has been carefully designed based on 25 years of psychiatry, medical science, and the staff’s personal experience. Each stage involves:
- Evaluation: We assess your unique situation and develop a custom treatment plan. Our staff will ask about the types of drugs you have used, other medications you may have taken simultaneously, and any previous substance abuse history. The ultimate goal is to find the safest and most effective treatment.
- Stabilization: Think of this as the treatment program in action; it is the beginning of the withdrawal process from your benzodiazepine dependence. This can include medications as part of the treatment program to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, along with access to all the amenities at the Compass Detox facility in Pembroke Pines, Florida, to keep you entertained and occupied. Our staff will be available to you around the clock to offer assistance of any kind. We have created the ideal environment for completing the withdrawal process from benzo abuse. The goal is to get you through benzo withdrawal as safely and effectively as possible, enabling you to move onto the next steps in managing your addiction.
- Aftercare: We focuses on the detoxification process resulting from both long-acting and short-acting benzodiazepines. If you do not already have arrangements for aftercare treatment to address the underlying reasons you were prescribed benzo or why it leads to high doses and benzodiazepine dependence, our staff will help find the right facility to continue your care. Without mental health and emotional support, benzodiazepine dependence may return.
The effects of benzodiazepine abuse come in all shapes and sizes, but our friendly staff is here to assist you through the medically assisted detox that’s right for you.
Discover How Compass Detox Can Help You Recover
We understand that benzodiazepine abuse and addiction can happen to anyone from all walks of life. Even when common prescription drugs such as Xanax are used as part of a medically supervised treatment program for anxiety and insomnia, seizures, or other anxiety disorders, it can lead to drug addiction and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Our staff is accepting of everyone who comes through the door – without judgment or bias. We all have our own journey in life; we’re here to help guide you through yours.
If you or someone you love is struggling with benzo addiction, we are here to help. Our warm and caring staff is happy to answer any question you have about benzodiazepine addiction and the process of detoxification. We are experts at helping people just like you or your loved one, who are ready to end their addiction and begin a rich and rewarding new life.