When most people think of drug addiction, they usually think of recreational drugs or alcohol. However, even some properly prescribed medications can cause dependence. Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are one such substance. Common medications include Valium and Xanax. Although these legitimate medications can be used for good, they can also be misused. A medically supervised benzo detox program is the safest way to stop active use. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the benzodiazepine class of drugs and discuss the safest way to eliminate your dependence on them.
GETTING OFF BENZOS: A DAUNTING PROPOSITION
People who know they are addicted to benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, often have a hard time quitting because they’re scared of the detoxification process. They may have attempted to give it up on their own and then relapsed once withdrawal symptoms started setting in. That’s why detox programs are crucial to anyone serious about detoxing from benzos. Medically supervised detox is the safest way to get benzos out of your body’s system.
When it comes to finding a quality addiction treatment and detox program, the Addiction Recovery Institute of America can provide the help you or your loved one needs. Our team provides multiple levels of care and makes a point of constructing an individualized path from addiction to recovery. This treatment most often starts in medically supervised detox with helpful medications provided for safety and comfort.
HOW DO BENZOS WORK?
The human brain processes information by passing neurons between receptors. Our brains make inhibitors, called GABA neurotransmitters, to regulate the flow of information. Benzos work to increase levels of GABA, which slows down the brain. Doctors currently prescribe medications like Xanax and Valium to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Benzos are also used to treat epilepsy. When used properly, benzos can be an effective treatment. However, long-term use can develop addiction, and can lead to serious health problems. Addiction starts to affect every aspect of someone’s life, from their work to their personal experiences. Quitting is the first step, but withdrawal has its own set of challenges.
Withdrawing from benzos is a physically and emotionally trying process. The symptoms are not comfortable and can even be painful. If someone stops using benzos “cold turkey” without any medical intervention, the most severe symptoms can even become life-threatening. When someone is withdrawing from benzos, they may experience symptoms including:
- Disturbed sleep or insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Stiffness and pain in the muscles
People with a long history of benzo use or who have been taking higher doses will have the most severe withdrawal symptoms. The worst cases of benzo withdrawal may involve:
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Psychotic episodes
- Increased suicidal tendencies
HOW MEDICALLY SUPERVISED DETOX WORKS
Medically supervised detox is the process of eliminating substances from the body under the care of medical professionals. Withdrawal can be challenging to get through. However, the assistance of a medical team makes it bearable for clients to get clean and sober. With benzos, the primary concern is preventing seizures, as they can lead to permanent brain damage or even be fatal. In our benzo detox program, professionals will monitor your vital signs and prescribe medication, as necessary, to minimize your symptoms.
Your first step in the process will be a series of interviews with our intake team. We will conduct a medical review to get your full medical history, bloodwork, and vitals. You will also speak with a staff counselor or psychiatrist to assess your mental health status. Be sure to let us know about any other medications you may be taking, as well as any drug or alcohol use. We will also ask about your family history. Your care program will be unique to your specific situation, and your comfort and well-being are our top priority. We accept most major insurance plans. Our team will work with your insurance company so you can focus on your recovery.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING TREATMENT
Once admitted, your medical team will provide 24 hour care and supervision as your body purges itself. We may administer a variety of medications to ease symptoms and keep you comfortable. You will be given plenty of fluids and fed appropriate meals or snacks as desired. We will be happy to answer any questions, or just talk if you are feeling anxious. Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failure. Our team will treat you with compassion and respect during your stay with us.
The most common question many clients have is exactly how long detox takes. That depends on the specific drug you are taking and whether it is short- or long-acting. A variety of other factors affect how long withdrawal and detox take, including:
- How long you have been taking the drug
- The dosage you have been taking
- Your particular body type and composition
- Prior anxiety disorders
- The types of medication used in your personalized detox plan
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DETOX
Medical detox in one of ARIA’s detox centers is just the first step to your recovery. Once your detox is complete, you will enter our residential treatment program. Here, our staff will continue to monitor your physical health while you attend therapy sessions. Our Florida facility provides both individual and group therapy as well as family therapy. As you progress, our team will help you ease back into everyday life. We remain available for follow-up care and support even after you have finished your treatment program.