October 10th, 2023
Benzodiazepines, commonly nicknamed “benzos”, are strong psychoactive drugs which are commonly prescribed to treat health conditions like insomnia, anxiety and seizures. Sadly, the addictive qualities of these drugs can lead some people to abuse them, which too often results in benzodiazepine addiction. Participating in benzodiazepine detox at a rehab centre gradually removes these addictive drugs from your body and provides you with the clarity you need to focus on your recovery. Keep reading to discover how benzo detox works, how professional treatment will ease withdrawal symptoms and why inpatient benzo rehab can help you recover from compulsive behaviours.
Common signs and symptoms of benzo withdrawal
As powerful psychoactive drugs, benzodiazepines can be used as sedatives and tranquillisers. In this regard, extended abuse of benzodiazepines can cause notable damage to your physical and psychological health. If you are dependent on these drugs, benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can affect your body and your mind:
Physical effects of benzo withdrawal
- Stomach cramps
- Reduced appetite
- Blurry vision
Psychological effects of benzo withdrawal
- Panic attacks
- Agoraphobia (fear of scenarios or places where you cannot access)
- Loss of libido
- Focus and attention problems
Can you detox from benzos at home?
In theory, it is possible to attempt benzo detox alone or with friends and family at home. However, this can be very difficult in practice. Benzo withdrawal symptoms may be similar to the ailments that were originally treated with benzos, even though these withdrawal symptoms are normal. With such easy access to benzodiazepines in your home environment, it can be difficult to commit to detox.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
While detox from harmful drugs is the first step to recovery, complete and sudden cessation from benzos can cause severe harm to your body, and in the worst possible scenario, can result in benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is a dangerous bodily reaction to incorrect methods of detox.
Symptoms of this condition include panic attacks, heart palpitations, weight loss, hallucinations and seizures. In some cases, benzo withdrawal syndrome can be fatal. For these reasons, we would always encourage you to receive benzodiazepine detox under the supervision of a medical professional.
How professional detox provides safe benzo withdrawal treatment
Undergoing benzo detox at an outpatient or inpatient rehab may offer you professional medical treatment for any benzo withdrawal symptoms that you may experience. Outpatient facilities such as detox day centres in your local area will administer daily or weekly doses of medication to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms at home.
Alternatively, you can pursue benzo detox through a treatment programme at an inpatient rehab centre. At UKAT, we offer professional rehab treatment programmes in our eight rehab clinics around England for a multitude of mental health disorders, including benzodiazepine addiction.
Benefits of benzo detox at inpatient rehab
Should you decide to attend benzodiazepine detox at one of our residential rehab centres, you will receive professional treatment delivered by our highly-qualified medical team. Our understanding staff help you to wean off of benzos by gradually decreasing your dosage for the duration of your treatment programme.
Some people may falsely believe that this access means your addiction will only get worse. However, our well-trained medical professionals will keep a close eye on your dosage to ensure that your dosage is decreasing throughout your benzo detox.
Another benefit of inpatient benzo detox is that you will be in a supportive and safe environment to work through any possible benzo withdrawal symptoms. Our understanding medical team and addiction support workers will be at your side to provide emotional support as you readjust to life without benzodiazepine dependence.
A typical timeline for benzodiazepine detox
Everybody experiences different levels of withdrawal symptoms during benzodiazepine detox. Despite this, we have provided a typical timeline for benzo detox so that you may get a better idea of what detox is like:
You may start to feel the initial symptoms of benzo withdrawal within the first few hours of your detox, including mild discomfort and irritability. The onset of these symptoms will depend on the half-life of the benzodiazepines that you took. If you took short-acting benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan) and oxazepam, you will experience withdrawal symptoms sooner than long-acting benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) or chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
For those who were abusing short-acting benzos, this is usually the most difficult period of benzo detox. Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, hallucinations, nausea, headaches and insomnia may be at their most severe during these few days. If you were taking long-acting benzodiazepines, you may only now start to feel early benzo withdrawal symptoms. This period is where medical attention and support are crucial to ensure that you do not develop benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.
Throughout the first two weeks of benzodiazepine detox, you will likely experience fluctuating levels of withdrawal symptoms. If you have chronically abused benzodiazepines for a long time, symptoms may persist for a little while longer. Some days may be harder than others, but you will be well on your way to completing benzo detox.
After 2 weeks
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for withdrawal symptoms to cease completely. In severe cases of benzo abuse, symptoms may come and go for up to a year. As benzos are one of the most difficult medications to come off in a short period of time, we would recommend selecting a treatment programme that allows ample time for all traces of the drug to leave your system, minimising the risks of relapse and setting you on the road to lasting recovery.
Continuing recovery after benzo detox
Finishing benzodiazepine detox is a huge first step toward addiction recovery, and you should be very proud to get through withdrawal symptoms and reach sobriety. Benzo detox can be a long and challenging road, but once you start this path at inpatient rehab, you will be surrounded by mutually supportive medical staff and addiction support workers who understand what you are going through.
Should you join a treatment programme at one of our private rehab centres, benzodiazepine detox will form the first part of your rehabilitation. After detox, you will participate in one-to-one therapies, group therapy and holistic treatments. Our treatment programmes aim to treat not only the physical factors of addiction, but also the contributing psychological aspects of your struggle. The professional therapists at our rehab clinics can give you the tools and techniques you need to handle your benzo cravings and triggers in a healthy and productive manner.
Once you have completed benzo detox, you will regain mental energy and motivation which was previously consumed by benzo dependency. This allows you to focus on the remainder of your treatment programme and to spend some time thinking about how you will reconnect with your loved one and form new and exciting plans for your future after rehab.
If you would like to enquire about treatment with UKAT, feel free to have a chat with our friendly admissions team and start your journey toward benzodiazepine detox and recovery today.
Frequently asked questions
Which benzodiazepines does UKAT provide detox for?
What does benzo withdrawal feel like?
Benzo withdrawal may induce unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms such as nausea, stomach cramps, depression anxiety and panic attacks. These are all completely normal withdrawal symptoms for most people, and should begin to wane after the first few weeks of benzo detox.
How long does benzo withdrawal last?
Benzo withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere between a few days to several months, sometimes even a year. The length of benzo withdrawal often depends on the extent of your benzo abuse and whether you have been taking short-acting or long-acting benzodiazepines.
Does benzo detox cause rebound anxiety?
Benzo detox can involve withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and intense cravings, which may lead to concerns that you may rebound after detox. However, if you receive professional treatment at rehab, you will receive medical attention and emotional support to help you manage the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.