Treating benzodiazepine addiction requires specific steps. These drugs are highly addictive and create severe physical and psychological dependence.
A medically supervised detox is the first step. It’s critical to manage withdrawal symptoms with medical help. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sweating, nausea, and insomnia. These symptoms can be severe, and attempting to detox without medical supervision can be dangerous.
Therefore, a medically supervised detox is recommended to ensure a safe recovery. This process is typically followed by residential drug rehab if the individual has a history of drug abuse and was misusing benzodiazepines. It is also common for people to become physically dependent on benzos when a prescription is taken longer than needed.
The following individuals may benefit from benzodiazepine detox and rehab:
- Anyone experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. If a person is experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, and insomnia when they stop taking benzos, this could indicate a physical dependence on the drug.
- Anyone who cannot successfully stop using benzodiazepines. This could involve someone who has become addicted to benzos by abusing them or someone who was prescribed the medication. And cannot manage withdrawal symptoms.
- Individuals who have tried to quit but were unsuccessful. For those who have attempted to stop using benzos on their own but were unable to maintain abstinence, a detox and treatment program could provide the necessary support and treatment.
Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction involves medically supervised detox, behavioral therapy, and other treatments to help individuals overcome their addiction. As with any addiction, it’s essential to seek professional help to ensure a safe and effective recovery process.
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What type of drugs are benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of depressant drugs that are often called tranquilizers or sedatives. Benzodiazepines work by slowing down brain function, resulting in feelings of euphoria and other alcohol-like effects. There are many benzodiazepine drugs, but prescription medications like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are the most common examples.
What do benzodiazepines look like?
Benzodiazepines usually appear as small prescription pills. Depending on the manufacturer, they can take on many different colors and shapes. However, the most notorious example is likely the high-dose Xanax bar. These wafer-like tablets are rectangular and usually yellow or white, with two or more score marks to break the pill into smaller doses. But benzodiazepines may also be round, oblong, in capsules, or powder form, as is the case with newer illicitly manufactured benzodiazepines.
How long do benzodiazepines stay in your system?
Some benzodiazepines are short-acting and leave the body within 24 hours. Other ones are much longer acting and can stay in the system for weeks. With heavy use, long-acting benzodiazepines can be detected in the urine for up to 30 days after last use. The time it takes for benzodiazepines to leave a person’s body mainly depends on how heavily the drug was consumed and the individual’s physiology.
Why are benzodiazepines so addictive?
Benzodiazepines are incredibly addictive because of how they affect a person’s neurochemistry. Once dependence develops, the body ceases to produce certain neurotransmitters and quitting benzos can become highly challenging. Normal functioning may take many months or even years, making the road to recovery very long. Stopping benzodiazepines once dependent isn’t safe without medical supervision due to health risks like seizures and death. These factors make benzodiazepine addiction one of the most challenging forms of substance use to treat.
How are benzodiazepines used?
Benzodiazepines are primarily ingested orally. The drug is usually swallowed in pill form and rarely is found in other preparations. This is mainly because benzodiazepines aren’t water soluble and aren’t easily absorbed by different methods of ingestion. For example, snorting benzos produces little effect beyond what part of the drug is swallowed post-nasally.
How is benzodiazepine addiction or dependence treated?
Medical detox is the first step. Suppose someone became dependent on the drug because of a prescription. Generally, the person would work with a medical practitioner to taper off the drug and then arrange to enter a medically supervised detoxification program.
When someone has become addicted to benzodiazepine because of misuse, they would still require a medically supervised detox. Withdrawal symptoms are painful and difficult. It is always best to consult medical experts before beginning any form of detox.
Following detox, a residential long-term program is the best choice for anyone struggling with a substance use disorder. Withdrawal symptoms linger, and there are difficult physical and psychological challenges to overcome.
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