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The Dangers of Benzo Withdrawals

If you stop or reduce your dose suddenly, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal may start between either within a few hours of the last dose up to several days later, depending on the type of benzodiazepine medication taken and its half-life. A drug’s half-life is the length of time it takes for the drug to leave the bloodstream. While generally not considered life-threatening, withdrawal from benzodiazepines is best managed through medical detox, which can offer both physical and mental health support and supervision. Many instances of benzodiazepine withdrawal have resulted in serious, life-threatening complications.

Cautionary advice regarding “benzo” drugs for Lyme patients –

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Cautionary advice regarding “benzo” drugs for Lyme patients.

Posted: Wed, 06 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

This will prevent you from altering the taper, but it might mean frequent trips to the pharmacy. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Benzo Withdrawal Risk Factors

Withdrawal phenomena appear to be more severe following withdrawal from high doses or short-acting benzodiazepines. Dependence on alcohol or other sedatives may increase the risk of benzodiazepine dependence, but it has proved difficult to demonstrate unequivocally differences in the relative abuse potential of individual benzodiazepines. There are several factors that influence benzodiazepine withdrawal, specifically its duration and severity. Perhaps one of the biggest factors influencing the dangers of withdrawal is the fact that benzodiazepines are so commonly mixed with other drugs and/or alcohol. Benzos are commonly termed “downers” due to their suppression of the central nervous system. When they are mixed with other depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, they can amplify each of these substance’s side effects and complicate treatment, thereby increasing the withdrawal timeline and severity of symptoms.

benzodiazepine withdrawal

Supportive rather than specific treatment is indicated in patients who are undergoing withdrawal from stimulants. Observation and monitoring for depression and suicidal ideation are advised (Table 1). The dosage is maintained for three to six months and discontinued by gradually tapering the drug over two weeks.4,9 However, desipramine is not recommended routinely for management of withdrawal. After a few days of stopping a benzodiazepine, acute withdrawal may begin. It is during this phase that specific medications may be most beneficial at targeting some of the certain symptoms. Suicidal thoughts and actions may occur during acute withdrawal from a benzodiazepine as well, and therapy and support groups may help diffuse these complicated emotions.

Benzo Withdrawal Timeline

There are three possible phases for benzo withdrawals, each with an estimated timeline. A person should always withdraw from benzos under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They should never quit benzos suddenly without first consulting a professional and developing a plan with them. If you take benzodiazepines infrequently, such as once a week or once every few weeks to treat panic attacks, you can take them for a longer period of time.

Seizures, specifically grand mal seizures, are potential when a benzodiazepine is abruptly eliminated from daily use. A symptom, such as a seizure, can arise very quickly and without notice. This is why we recommend that you seek immediate medical attention BEFORE you decide to quit taking a benzodiazepine whether it has been prescribed or you are taking it due to an addiction. When you quit taking valium or Xanax or any benzodiazepine medication after prolonged use you are at risk of a wide range of withdrawal symptoms.

Overall effects on everyday life

Both of these patients were felt to be suffering from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome, as the name indicates, quite simply results when a patient stops taking a benzodiazepine drug. Benzodiazepines are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world today. First introduced in the 1960s, these drugs have significant anxiolytic, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant actions. When they are removed, the brain may experience a rebound as GABA and dopamine levels decrease. This rebound effect often includes a return of symptoms the drugs may have been treating, and when they return, the symptoms may be more severe than the original symptoms.

  • Benzodiazepines are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world today.
  • Symptoms include anxiety, depression, and cognitive and memory difficulties as well as some physical symptoms, such as muscle spasms or feelings of electricity in the limbs.
  • When benzodiazepines attach to your neurons, they invite a bunch of chloride ions inside.
  • For shorter-acting benzos like Xanax, withdrawal may start within hours of stopping the drug.
  • The severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can fluctuate markedly and withdrawal scales are not recommended for monitoring withdrawal.

Medical detox can aid in the safe removal of benzodiazepines from the body and brain, and following up with therapy and family support services promotes a smooth recovery. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants ” prescription medications that suppress brain activity related to anxiety, panic and stress. Benzos are also prescribed to treat insomnia, muscle tension, and seizures.