Author: James Anderson

Benzo withdrawal: Timeline and symptoms

benzodiazepine detox

Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting drugs, such as Xanax, may come on faster than withdrawal symptoms from long-acting drugs, such as Valium. There is also some evidence that it reduces the withdrawal symptoms of long-acting benzos. Long-term treatment after benzodiazepine withdrawal will depend on your reasons for taking them in the first place and your reasons for quitting.

  1. It blocks chemicals in the brain that trigger activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
  2. The withdrawal symptoms, which vary in severity, typically begin within 24 hours and may last from a few days to a few months.
  3. Seizures and other serious symptoms can occur after the abrupt cessation of a benzodiazepine in anyone who’s taken this type of substance for at least one to six months.
  4. Medically supervised detox includes tapering down the dosage of benzodiazepines.

Dependence appears to occur in a similar way to how it does with other addictive drugs. Taking benzodiazepines causes surges of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a type of messenger that is partly responsible for how humans feel pleasure. Along with these symptoms, the person may experience severe cravings for the drug or other drugs to sedate them. Withdrawal symptoms may begin after as little as 3–6 weeks of use, even when a person uses the drugs as the doctor directed.

Types Of Benzodiazepine Detox

Depending on which benzodiazepine you are currently taking, your doctor may want to switch you to a different one before your taper begins. Short-acting benzodiazepines complicate withdrawal with too many ups and downs. Diazepam, a long-acting benzodiazepine, is the most common choice for dose tapering. Research showed that 40% of people taking benzos for longer than 6 months experienced moderate-to-severe withdrawal symptoms. A person’s withdrawal symptoms often depend on the half-life of the drug.

During the acute withdrawal phase, doctors may monitor the person and recommend other drugs to control problematic symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting benzos begin to taper off around this time. For those using longer-acting benzos, symptoms will continue for approximately three to four weeks. The first withdrawal symptoms begin during this period for people who use longer-acting benzos. A detox induces withdrawal symptoms, which begin after 24 hours.

Benzodiazepine abuse is dangerous alone but even more so in combination with other drugs. Benzos are typically co-abused with other drugs due to their euphoric effects. Approximately a third of people receiving treatment may experience grand mal seizures. Depending on your situation, your doctor may think it best to prescribe very small amounts of medication at a time. This will prevent you from altering the taper, but it might mean frequent trips to the pharmacy.

benzodiazepine detox

This helpline is answered by Ark Behavioral Health, an addiction treatment provider with treatment facilities in Massachusetts and Ohio. Depending on your treatment goals, the end goal of this may be to taper off benzodiazepines completely, or to be maintained on a low dose of a long-acting benzodiazepine. Seizures and other serious symptoms can occur after the abrupt cessation of a benzodiazepine in anyone who’s taken this type of substance for at least one to six months.

During your taper, you may still experience some of the symptoms of withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal, also known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), is a form of withdrawal that can extend beyond the acute detox period. Physical dependence on benzos can develop in as little as a few weeks after starting the use of the drug. The longer you take it, the more severe your dependence on the drug will become. Medical detox involves tapering off the benzo drug under the supervision of a doctor. The main cause of the symptoms of benzo withdrawal is the sudden reduction of dopamine in the brain.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Warnings

No one should attempt to get off benzo drugs without the supervision of a healthcare professional. Severe symptoms and reactions can occur, and working with a professional can help a person avoid or manage these symptoms. Tapering the drug by slowly reducing the prescription strength may help make withdrawal symptoms much easier to manage. Additionally, medical supervision allows doctors to respond much more quickly to potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are prescription drugs that treat anxiety and panic attacks. If your reasons for quitting benzodiazepines are that you were abusing them or unable to control your use, then you may require further substance use treatment. This is particularly true if you are also giving up other substances, like alcohol or opioids. To find a treatment program, browse the top-rated addiction treatment facilities in each state by visiting our homepage, or by viewing the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. The helpline at is available 24/7 to discuss the treatment needs of yourself or a loved one.

The best way to quit benzodiazepines is to avoid withdrawal by asking your doctor to taper down your dose. Tapering means taking progressively smaller doses over the course of a few weeks or months. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be a difficult, even dangerous process. You might feel irritable and hypersensitive to everything around you.

Benzo Overdose Risks & Symptoms

Seizures and suicidal behaviors are the two most dangerous risks. Psychotherapy can help you understand the root cause of your substance abuse problems. It can also help you learn to identify psychological triggers that may cause you to relapse so that you can avoid them in the future. If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your OBGYN or psychiatrist about your plans.

Estimates suggest that 10 to 25% of people who take benzodiazepines for extended periods experience what’s known as protracted withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are a group of central nervous system depressants used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. Several types of benzodiazepines are sold under popular brand names like Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin. Getting off a benzodiazepine drug can be one of the most difficult experiences of a person’s life, according to people in recovery.