Despite the fact that benzodiazepines are taken by illicit drug users, many people became dependent on them as a result of medical treatment. When trying to discontinue benzodiazepines the most important thing to have into consideration are the withdrawal difficulties. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be quite dangerous mainly because of the shock to the nervous system through inappropriate and dangerous tapering methods such as detox and abrupt discontinuation.
Considering to free yourself from taking benzodiazepine, but don’t know how? In this article, we review the safe ways to get rid of benzodiazepines once and for all. Then, your questions are welcomed at the end of the page.
Is Benzodiazepine Addiction Normal?
Regardless of recommendations to limit benzodiazepines to short-term use, in the timeline of 2 (two) to 4 (four) weeks, doctors are still prescribing these medications long term, for months or years. The over-prescribing benzodiazepine trend has resulted in large populations of long-term users who have become dependent and has also led to the increase of illicit benzodiazepine drug traffic.
Anyone can become dependent and/or addicted to benzodiazepines. Individuals who take bezos more than several weeks risk to develop tolerance and physical dependence. After repeated use for months users and/or abusers develop benzodiazepine addiction. Coming off benzodiazepines can be challenging resulting with feelings of losses, isolation. Most benzodiazepine abusers feel misunderstood and unsupported when they decide to quit these medication. The extremely uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal is what leads so many people to the emergency rooms.
If you want to get rid of benzodiazepines once and for all, it’s best to go through a medically supervised detox to ensure your life and health safety.
What Are The Characteristics Of Benzodiazepine Dependence?
Benzodiazepines are medications with high level of dependency. Medical practice has shown that 50-80% of people who regularly take low doses of benzodiazepines for longer than a few months will develop a physical tolerance and become dependent. As the lack of recognition of benzodiazepine dependency is common, it often goes undetected or is misdiagnosed. Be alert for dependency, even though it may not be initially identified as a problem. Benzodiazepine dependence is usually visible through physical and psychological signs. Individuals with benzodiazepines dependency usually have the following symptoms:
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit
- Find it extremely difficult to stop taking benzodiazepines
- Have cravings for their benzodiazepines
- Lose their ability to respond to the effects from benzodiazepine, so they increase their dose to be able to achieve
- The same effect
- Need benzodiazepines to function normally
- Unable to cope without their benzodiazepine pills
Unless users are well informed about the risks associated with long term benzodiazepine use, they are likely to continue to use them and end up developing dependency. In the short-term, benzodiazepines are very effective in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and promoting sleep. People who use them will feel much better and will often choose to continue using them because they have not been warned about the risks.
What Do The Experts Say About Benzodiazepines?
Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Psy.D. says that Benzo withdrawal can take years and they can kill you. Benzodiazepines kill people. They can totally obliterate people’s lives when they try to stop taking them. Granted, not every benzo user will experience extreme benzo withdrawal, but a good proportion will. Benzos are dangerous at any dose and even when used for a few days. Poll a group of benzo survivors and you’ll hear horror stories from people who took them for a handful of days, and then took years to heal.
Benzodiazepines destroy lives. That’s the bottom line. For those of us in the trenches healing from their damage, we are busy trying to put our lives back together again from the debilitating emotional and physical symptoms benzo withdrawal causes. Add in the bankruptcy, abandonment, divorce, and homelessness that withdrawal can cause, and you understand our grumbling when the media doesn’t portray the real reasons why benzos are dangerous.
Jillian Jesser talks about hope in the treatment of benzodiazepines. The new data did confirm impaired cognitive abilities persist six months after the detox/withdrawal period of chronic benzo use. However, there is an important “but” to that statement. Some of the specific cognitive skills need a longer period of recovery to improve, so six months should not be used a benchmark for “full recovery.”
Another important area of hope in treating the thinking, reasoning and other impairment issues that result from long-term benzo use is the new area of neuroplasticity. This means that the brain can be retrained and that the brain can actually change in structure resulting in cognitive improvement.
How Can You Get Rid Of Benzodiazepines?
Addiction counselors and doctors treat benzodiazepine dependence with gradual reduction of the doses people usually take.
Doctor’s advice is that benzodiazepine dosage should be tapered gradually in cases where the individual was a long time users/abuser. Abrupt withdrawal, especially from high doses, can cause convulsions, acute psychotic states and panic reactions. Even with slow withdrawal from smaller doses, psychiatric symptoms sometimes appear and anxiety can be severe.
Withdrawal from Benzos is different in every dependent individual, but it usually last from 6-8 weeks to a few months and some for some people it may last even up to a year. Addiction professionals advise that very slow rates of withdrawal might prolong the agony, and that although symptoms may be more severe with more rapid withdrawal, they do not last so long. But the tapering dynamics should be in accordance with the individual case of the person.
The size of each dosage reduction depends on the starting dose. Individuals who used higher doses can usually tolerate larger dose reduction than those on lower doses. The reduction would of course vary according to the type of the abused benzodiazepine. But the scariest thing for addicts is stopping the last few milligrams. This is so mainly because of fears about how they will cope without their Bezos at all. However, doctors and addiction counselors constantly provide psychological support and encouragement to addicts reminding about the new sense of freedom when you completely come off Benzos.
Guide on best practices and psychotherapy treatment for benzodiazepine treatment. What are the exact ways that counselors or mental health professionals treat benzodiazepine dependence? Describe the steps and/or treatments.
Residential Vs Counselling Treatment: What Works Best?
There are divided opinions on the matter of should you choose residential setting or home setting for benzodiazepine withdrawal. Some favour treating people in a counselling setting rather than treating them in hospital or a residential withdrawal facility. Benzodiazepine addiction treatment results show slow reduction of as the safest, most cost effective and most successful way for people to become pill-free. Slow reduction is best achieved in a counselling or home based withdrawal setting.
Residential withdrawal is recommended only in the following cases:
- Cases of more severe medical problems
- History of withdrawal seizures
- Psychiatric disorder as well as benzodiazepine dependency
- If the person is a high dose user
- In case the individual feels that they will be able to reduce their dose more successfully in residential setting
- If the individual is a polydrug user
Who Can Help You With Benzodiazepine Dependence?
When facing benzodiazepine dependence and looking for help, you can always trust this issue into the hands of:
- Addiction counselors
- Licensed psychiatrist