If you’re familiar with prescription drugs, you’ve probably heard of Xanax, Valium, Tranxene, Librium, or Ativan. These are different brand names of a category of drugs called benzodiazepines. You might have even received them from your doctor to help you manage anxiety, seizures, or panic attacks. They can also help relieve muscle spasms and insomnia.
Benzodiazepines can be extremely beneficial and have a low potential for abuse according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Unfortunately, even though they’re listed as a Schedule IV drug, they can become addictive. In fact, more than 5 million people misused them in 2018.
If you’ve misused benzodiazepines, you know the harm they can cause. Even if you use them for a short time, you can end up with clammy skin, a slow heartbeat, memory loss, have trouble breathing, or suffer from blackouts. Long-term effects of benzo addiction can include respiratory arrest, increased risk of cancer, and an increased risk of developing underlying mental disorders. The best way to prevent these risks is to stop abusing benzodiazepines. If you’re ready to do that, you’ll need to go through addiction treatment.
When you first decide you’re ready to treat your addiction to benzodiazepines, you’ll require an evaluation and medical assessment. During this process, a treatment professional will ask you questions and explore your medical and therapeutic history. If you started using benzodiazepines from a prescription, you’ll want to share why your doctor prescribed you the drugs in the first place. You may also need to take a medical exam.
The goal of this evaluation is to determine what kind of treatment you need. You might have come into the facility for benzodiazepine addiction, but a staff member may discover that you have untreated mental health, behavioral, or learning challenge diagnoses, as well. Evaluating your health is a vital part of making sure you get the comprehensive care you need. After you have a treatment plan in place, you’ll move on to detox.
Detox focuses on your physical body. The primary purpose of the detoxification process is simple: to remove benzodiazepines from your body and brain. But overcoming withdrawal symptoms isn’t always easy. The severity of withdrawal depends on how long and often you misused benzodiazepines and how much of the drug you consumed. There are many withdrawal symptoms associated with benzodiazepine addiction and you may experience some of the following symptoms:
If you’ve taken benzodiazepines for more than 6 months, there’s a 40% chance you’ll experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. But you don’t need to worry. Most detox programs offer medically supervised programs to help ease discomfort and provide 24/7 support. There’s no magic number for exactly how long detox lasts, but on average this process can last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. Once your body is free of benzodiazepines, you’re ready for drug rehabilitation.
Because benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety medications, you may experience an increase in anxiety or stress when you seek treatment. In fact, most programs are aware of the risk of this “rebound anxiety.” To help you get through this period, treatment program therapists will guide you through each step of the recovery process.
In addition to therapy for anxiety, benzodiazepine rehabilitation often includes:
At Genesis Recovery, we know that living with anxiety is hard. We also know that trying to numb your pain with misusing benzodiazepines can lead to addiction. But there’s a better way. Our prescription drug addiction treatment program can help you regain control of your anxiety and your life. Contact us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are ready to begin addiction treatment.