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Timeline of Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepine addiction is often an underestimated condition that affects people from all walks of life. Even when carefully prescribed, benzos can carry the risk of dependency and addiction due to how they work on the brain.  During the benzo withdrawal symptoms timeline, some people experience symptoms shortly after discontinuing the drug, while others may not feel the effects until later. Since detox is essential to benzo addiction recovery, understanding the withdrawal process can help you prepare.  

What are Benzos?

Benzos, short for benzodiazepines, are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs. The most common benzos include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Ambien (zolpidem). These medications are prescribed for anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms, migraines, panic attacks, and other conditions.

Benzos are highly addictive. In fact, they have been found to be more addictive than cocaine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone. When taken regularly over time, benzodiazepine usage can lead to tolerance and dependence. This means you will need higher doses of benzos to achieve the same effect. Tolerance also makes it harder to stop using benzos once you begin abusing them.

In addition to being addictive, benzos are very dangerous. They’re one of the top 10 prescription drugs abused by teens. Due to the dangers of benzodiazepines, the FDA requires new labeling on all prescriptions. Long-term benzo usage can lead to memory loss, confusion, aggression, psychosis, seizures, coma, and death. Many who regularly take benzodiazepines develop an addiction to them. 

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What are the Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms?

Benzo withdrawal symptoms include a wide variety of issues. While each individual experiences benzo withdrawal differently, specific patterns of symptoms tend to occur. When you withdraw from benzos, you’ll likely experience at least some of the following physical effects:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Additionally, you might experience psychological effects of benzo withdrawal, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Impulsivity
  • Suicidal thoughts

The Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

How long do benzo withdrawal symptoms last? During the benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline, psychological symptoms usually last anywhere from three days to two weeks. However, they can persist longer depending on your overall health and level of stress. Common benzo withdrawal symptoms persist for approximately three weeks after you quit taking benzos. However, this estimate is not meant to replace professional treatment or advice. 

The benzo withdrawal symptoms timeline depends on several factors, including age, gender, dosage, and other medications you may be taking. If you’re withdrawing from benzos slowly, it is much safer than stopping abruptly. It is crucial to taper off gradually instead of quitting cold turkey. Therefore, detoxing from benzos at a proper detox facility is strongly advised. If you have been addicted to benzodiazepines for a while, you may experience withdrawal symptoms for much longer, with greater impact, than someone who has just started using them.

Causes for Benzo Addiction

When beginning benzo addiction recovery, learning what causes this addiction is essential. Once you understand why you initially developed benzodiazepine dependence, you can take the proper steps to work toward overcoming benzo addiction.

The following is a list of possible contributing factors to benzodiazepine addiction:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Stressful life events
  • Poor coping skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • A lack of support system
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Treatment for other mental disorders
  • Prescription drug use

As there may likely be multiple layers to benzo addiction causes, seeking support for benzo addiction recovery at a reputable detox center is important. A professional team can provide mental health support to help you achieve long-term recovery from benzo addiction.

How to Overcome Benzo Addiction

If you want to overcome benzo addiction, you must first understand what causes it. Once you know why you started taking benzos in the first place, you can work toward overcoming your addiction.

Here’s a list of things that may contribute to benzo addiction:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Stressful life events
  • Poor coping skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • A lack of support system
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Treatment for other mental disorders
  • Prescription drug use

It is important to seek help for benzo addiction at a reputable drug rehab center.

How to Overcome Benzo Addiction

An essential step in overcoming benzo addiction is to detox with professional help. This may involve entering a medically supervised program to receive management of withdrawal symptoms and guidance through the detox process. As discussed previously, benzo withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and can become dangerous. During the benzo withdrawal symptoms timeline, an individual needs support and monitoring. 

There are different levels of care offered in benzo addiction treatment programs, including the following: 

Inpatient or Residential Care

Residential or inpatient care provides addiction treatment while a person stays at the facility. This program is best for anyone needing more intensive care and monitoring during detox and addiction treatment.    

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

This program allows clients to live at home while they receive intensive addiction treatment care. At Tennessee Valley Recovery, PHPs involve attending treatment and therapy at the center for five to six hours daily, at least five days per week. 

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

The intensive outpatient program offers flexibility while providing a high level of care. This program helps bridge the gap between addiction treatment and daily life. IOPs involve attending pre-scheduled treatment sessions for three to five days per week. Our recovery center also offers Evening IOP to accommodate busy schedules. The weekly time commitment may range between nine and twenty hours, depending on the needs of the individual.  

Outpatient Program (OP) 

Outpatient treatment allows people to receive structured care while continuing much of their daily routines. The main difference between OP and IOP is the weekly time commitment involved. Most outpatient programs require a person to attend therapy sessions for a few hours per week. However, many individuals in early recovery may need more hours of professional care. 

Recover From Benzo Addiction Around Knoxville, TN

Since benzos are short-acting drugs that are highly addictive, it is understandable why so many become addicted. Those facing benzodiazepine addiction will need support throughout recovery, especially during the benzo withdrawal symptoms timeline. Our team at Tennessee Valley Recovery is here to be a resource of information and provide benzo addiction treatment. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with benzo addiction, contact us today.