Benzodiazepines are habit-forming drugs. Once an addiction to this class of drugs develops, the journey to recovery can become excruciatingly painful. This is because unlike other drugs, it takes longer to quit benzodiazepines and it produces debilitating withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines are classified as Scheduled IV drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Thus, it should ideally be available through a prescription generated by a registered medical practitioner. Also known as sedatives or tranquilizers, these drugs are often used for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, muscle spasms and even seizures. Some of the commonly prescribed benzodiazepines are Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), and so on.
Detoxification is the first step in the recovery process. However, many detox centers act as commercial houses, which operate with the single aim of bringing the patient off a substance as soon as possible. However, for benzodiazepine addiction treatment, this approach can backfire and can pave the way for a relapse. Moreover, some rehab centers introduce certain medication when patients experience withdrawal symptoms, which can actually worsen the situation.
Therefore, one must be very careful while zeroing in on a detox or a rehab center to get rid of benzodiazepine addiction. Listed below are some of the ways to understand benzo withdrawal and some of the symptoms to note to avoid the damage done during detoxification.
Painful withdrawal symptoms
Benzodiazepines usually have a longer withdrawal duration, ranging from a week for short-acting drugs like Xanax to even 90 days for a long-acting drug like Valium. At times, withdrawal symptoms can even last for nearly a year and can even persist indefinitely in some rare cases.
A detox is not a cakewalk. Despite the availability of skilled addiction treatment specialists round the clock, one has to endure the painful withdrawal symptoms and have the patience to handle it. Some of the commonly experienced painful withdrawal symptoms are sweating, memory lapses, muscle twitching, palpitations, extreme anxiety and at times, moderate to severe depression.
Quitting cold turkey can be fatal
One must understand that if he or she has abused a drug for several years, coming off it in one go or adopting a cold turkey approach cannot be helpful. As soon as one stops taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and panic attack start troubling.
Further, when the level of the drug becomes considerably low in the blood stream, there is a high probability of developing seizures, which has been substantiated by research. The seizures might result in coma and death. Therefore, the drug should be tapered off, rather than quitting cold turkey.
Things to avoid during detox
It is important to strictly stay away from consuming medication during a detox, which work on the GABA receptors like mood-stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants. In addition to this, vitamin B, vitamin D and magnesium should also be avoided as these might worsen the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Likewise, certain food items like monosodium glutamate (MSG), honey, sugar, alcoholic beverages and recipes, food additives and stimulants like caffeine should also be avoided.
Getting addicted to benzodiazepines is precarious as it can lead to the development of incapacitating symptoms, including lethargy, misperceptions, lightheadedness, quivering, vision problems, despair and sometimes, even death. Hence, it is important to seek medical help and undergo detoxification, in case somebody is suffering from addiction to substances.
Detoxification is the first step to recovery, as it flushes out the unwanted toxins from the body. To know more about the best detox programs offered by the drug treatment centers in California, contact the California Detox Helpline. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online with our treatment advisors who would be happy to assist you by giving complete information about various detox centers in California.