Benzodiazepines are a class of medications that are often prescribed for mental health conditions like anxiety, as well as brain-related conditions such as seizures. While these medications are regularly prescribed, they still have a high potential for becoming addictive.
Benzodiazepines work by decreasing nervous system activity. These medications reduce anxiety and have a sedative effect, even making users feel sleepy. Benzodiazepines can be short-lasting or long-lasting and also vary in strength.
The use of benzodiazepines also comes with a number of disadvantages, most importantly, their potential for misuse and addiction. There is also the possibility of lethally overdosing on benzodiazepines, causing your respiration rate to lower so significantly you stop breathing entirely. They also have the potential to interact negatively with other drugs or alcohol. Detoxification is the first step towards becoming sober from benzodiazepine use and addiction.
While benzodiazepines are sometimes prescribed for the treatment of conditions like anxiety, they have a variety of negative effects on the body as well as the mind. Benzodiazepines cause feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness, as well as muscle weakness. They may cause blurred visions and confusion. Benzodiazepines are also known for causing feelings of drowsiness, memory problems, and nausea. In rare cases, these medications can cause headaches, low blood pressure, tremors, double vision, rashes, and incontinence. Memory problems caused by benzodiazepines are typically centered around being unable to form new memories, causing a feeling of amnesia.
When taken long-term, benzodiazepines can cause difficulty concentrating, feeling slow, isolated, cut off from emotions, and irritable. These side effects can be difficult to deal with for many, though because of the drug’s habit-forming effect, taking the medication can be next to impossible on your own.
After forming an addiction to benzodiazepines, getting help via a detox program is typically necessary in order to become sober. During the detoxification process, clients will encounter a variety of different symptoms of withdrawal. The amount of time spent experiencing these symptoms will depend on the details of the person’s benzodiazepine use, including the frequency, amount, and length of time they have been on the medication. Symptoms of benzodiazepine detoxification will change throughout the course of the detox program.
The first part of the detoxification process is typically the most difficult. During this stage, the body has to readjust to not having benzodiazepines present. This can cause a number of withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological in nature. While the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are not typically lethal, it is best to detox under the supervision of a medical professional to ensure clients stay as safe and comfortable as possible while detoxing.
The main symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawals include panic attacks and anxiety, tremors, muscle pain, headaches, sweating, heart palpitations, and in some cases, seizures.
During the beginning stages of detox, clients will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can, in some cases, be eased through the assistance of medication. As physical symptoms of withdrawal decrease, psychological symptoms may begin to affect clients on a larger scale. Cravings during the detoxification process can be strong, and clients will likely require the support of treatment center staff and medical professionals to avoid instances of relapse. Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines will continue to lessen the longer a person avoids instances of relapse.
After getting through the bulk of their detoxification program, clients will have the opportunity to enter into the various programs and therapies that are offered here at First Steps Recovery. They will attend both group and individual therapies designed to help them relate to other people with similar experiences and help them delve deeper into the cause of their benzodiazepine dependence. Clients can also take advantage of the various experiential therapies available here through the program to help them heal their minds and body simultaneously.
The amount of time spent detoxing from benzodiazepines will depend on the strength of the drug the client was used to taking, as well as the frequency they used benzodiazepines and how long they have been using them for. Detoxification program lengths for drugs like benzodiazepines have the potential to vary greatly when compared to the detox length for some other addictive substances. Symptoms of withdrawal from benzodiazepines typically begin within 24 hours of the last time the drug was taken. These symptoms can last anywhere from several days to months. Benzodiazepines do have the potential to cause long-term withdrawal symptoms, and some people may experience symptoms for much longer than is normal.
Once a dependency on benzodiazepines is formed, the best option is to get help through a proper treatment program. Treatment begins with a thorough detoxification program. If you find yourself unable to stop taking benzodiazepines without experiencing negative side effects, a detox program is right for you.
There are a number of different treatment programs that are available to clients who wish to detox from benzodiazepines. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available, with inpatient programs being ideal for clients with more severe instances of addiction.
Holistic programs are created with the idea of healing the mind, spirit, and body simultaneously and may include a multitude of different therapies that are not available in more conventional programs.
Medically supervised or medically assisted programs are designed with client comfort in mind. These programs help ensure clients are as safe and comfortable as possible while going through treatment.
Some people feel embarrassed or weak having to seek help for drug or alcohol addiction when in fact, it is one of the strongest, smartest things you can do. Attending a rehabilitation program and learning all the different tools and skills you need to maintain sobriety will leave you feeling so much stronger than you were before attending a program. With skills in coping, dealing with triggers, and avoiding relapses, you’ll be totally equipped to get back to day-to-day life as a happy, healthy, sober individual.
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